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F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
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BOOK REVIEW


OS2U Model: How to Build Kitty Hawk's OS2U Kingfisher Model by Glenn Hoover -- CreateSpace Publishing



As scale modelers, we all know that there can be glitches, oversights, nuances, and occasionally counterproductive parts of the instructions.  Often, this owes to the manufacturer compressing assembly steps into as few steps as possible, and that’s partly motivated by the need to make instructions as short and inexpensive to print as possible.  Personally, I always consult the instructions but frequently re-order, modify, or alter the order, sequence, and sometimes, the broader sequence of assembly.  Sometimes, it involves leaving off an antenna or two until the very end of the project (though the instructions have you putting that on in Step 4), or it involves more significant issues regarding fit conflicts between entire subassemblies.  Going out of order often works out, but it also carries elevated risk and potential headaches.  In this new series of books, Glenn Hoover takes a systems engineer’s look at kit assembly.  He considers all the potential issues in kit assembly and how to solve them – so you don’t have to.  Here, let’s take a look at his book on the 1:32 scale Kitty Hawk Kingfisher, a kit that I myself recently finished.            

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Glenn Hoover spent six years in the U.S. Navy followed by a 35 year-long career as a systems engineer in the aerospace industry.  Over that timespan, he has written hundreds of user manuals, test instructions, systems requirements, and system design documents.  He is also an avid scale modeler and brings systems thinking to the process.  This led him to begin publishing this very helpful instructional series.

Hoover’s process begins by researching the aircraft’s history and design.  He then photographs the box and each individual sprue along with any photoetch frets or other detail parts if they are in a kit.  Applicable aftermarket detail parts or sets are then added to the mix.  From this, Hoover carefully scrutinizes each instruction step as he builds a detailed and logical checklist illustrated by the pertinent element of the manufacturer's instructions.  Once the checklist is complete, he builds the kit, making any adjustments or further corrections as needed, from small improvements to making sure you drill the holes for the wingtip floats (omitted by the instructions).  Accompanying this narrative are lots of photos of the assembly process and the finished model.

In the Hoover’s 150 page-long Kingfisher volume, he takes on the 1:32 scale Kitty Hawk Kingfisher and includes the Eduard Big Ed set and one of the three Yellow-Wings Decals decal sheets.  The book’s contents cover the Kingfisher’s history (albeit quite briefly) and a detailed look at the model kit contents, followed by sections titled “Get Organized” and “Build Flow.”  He then lists all the paints one will need (nearly all in the Tamiya line), and gives the typical list of tools (and where you can get them) needed for the job at hand.  The next 96 pages of the book cover the sequential process of the modified build itself, illustrated by a mix of construction photos and annotated versions of the kit instructions.  The process itself is broken down into nearly 900 individual steps – all there in the kit and aftermarket instructions, but broken down into smaller and individual processes.  Any incorporation of aftermarket parts (here, the three PE sets in the Eduard Big Ed set and the masking set) are highlighted in yellow, and if you don’t have those, just skip the highlighted steps.  The volume is capped off by photos of the very nice completed kit and some reference photography of the real thing.     

I found Hoover’s build guide on Kitty Hawk Kingfisher to be absolutely spot-on.  It would have been very handy when I built the kit, and it would have eliminated all the guesswork, test fitting, alternate approaches to test fitting…and a few little mistakes that now I know I committed in my assembly.  There are also solutions on how to overcome a few of the bad fits (engine conduction and alignment issues such as the pushrod fit problems and fit conflicts between the left and right observer’s floorboards) as well as the most optimal way to incorporate all the great Eduard photoetched metal parts.  Hoover also provides builders a heads-up where parts are brittle or easy to break when they come off the sprue.   

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Not a shortcoming, but an observation – the book is published in two formats- one spiral bound, and one spine-bound.  While it costs a little more, I suggest the spiral bound edition – it is FAR more workbench friendly.

In terms of organization, the section on aircraft reference photography might work better at some point before the illustrated build begins, since speaking of conceptual and workflow structure, research and gathering of reference materials begins before the build.  There is also a small detail that caught my eye:  the engine block and pushrods are painted blue, and at least in my own research and reference photography of the Wasp Junior powerplant, the engine block is closer to a gray-blue color and the pushrods can vary between black and a dark anodized steel-like sheen.  But of course, I’m now just splitting hairs, but I can’t say from my experience that those colors are accurate.

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Glen Hoover has done a great job in producing this build guide, and we look forward to reviewing more (keep an eye out, readers – we’ve got a few more titles on the review bench). Hoover’s book is clear, detailed, and consistent.  The logical flow is impeccable and it really represents the most optimal way to build the Kitty Hawk Kingfisher and how to incorporate the Eduard detail parts in the best way possible.  Further, with a complex kit such as this, this guide will serve builders well as a rather valuable companion through their build.  Looking back, I wish I had had it when working on this kit!       

Sincere thanks to Glen Hoover (and Mike Swinburne) for the review sample.  You can find out more Glenn Hoover’s other titles and more at https://glennhoovermodels.com/. This book and the others in his series are available at amazon.com. 

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale


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Quick Links to Available Special Editions and Colors & Markings Series Publications.

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U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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