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1/32 Arado Ar196 Canopy (for Revell kit)


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1/32 Arado Ar196 Canopy (for Revell kit)

Alley Cat
Catalogue # AC32091C
£12.99 from A2Zee Models




Revell's Ar196 floatplane is an excellent kit in every respect: accurate in outline and dimensions; great detail; fantastic value. Excellent in every respect, apart from the clear parts, and in particular the slab-sided main framework (rather than the windscreen area). The fault is not one of detail or dimension, but one of frustrating parts breakdown. The canopy is quite large, even for a relatively small plane, and Revell must have thought it too difficult to mould the sides and top as an all in one clear part. The result is a fairly logical breakdown into two side panels and a roof one, but they are joined by small tabs on the mating edges. Once put together, the tabs are very visible.



Revell parts: sharp and super clear, but....



...annoying tabs will show up once put together


I bought my Ar196 kt a while ago, knowing already the issue with the clear parts, but I confess I had not actually examined the kit's contents. So, on receiving the sample from A2Zee, I thought I had best make the comparison: the Revell parts are wonderfully clear and definition is super sharp, but...but...those tabs! After only a few seconds glance I could see the potential problem, and also the solution (albeit to late): why didn't Revell provide the same parts breakdown, but just without the tabs, and give us a jig or solid frame template for the canopy, and then we just glue the edges accordingly? Well, they didn't. So, Alley Cat to the rescue...



Mask set - a bit curly!



Nice and simple - three clear resin parts replace nine or so plastic ones


The set comprises three replacement clear parts, and a set of canopy masks. Whereas the kit parts look like something from a well-known Nordic store that has managed to convince people that flat-pack is cool, the entire 'glass house' from Alley Cat comprises just three parts. They are cast in clear resin, and each attached to their respective casting block by a thinner fillet of material. I lined up the Alley Cat parts against the kit parts, and also sections of the fuselage, and think the fit should be spot on. No annoying tabs, so all good. I will point out that the clear resin is not as super sparkly clear as the kit parts. The detail is good, but not as sharp as the kit parts. Having said that, the pictures you see are quite literally straight from the box they came in, and not cleaned up or polished at all. I will definitely use these parts, but will give them a good clean in mild detergent (washing up liquid) first, and then probably use a very fine grade polishing cloth. That and a dip in Future / Klear etc and I think they will be good to go.



Alley Cat parts: no tabs, good casting






The masks are a nice touch - I was not expecting them. The box means that the sheet arrives curled up which is a bit annoying. But in the time you are waiting for your Future to dry, put the mask under a heavy book etc and it should come out nice and flat. The masks themselves look to be the sort that Montex make for canopies: great for flat parts, not so great when faced with curves - so basically perfect for the Ar196.








A word about price: spending 50% of what you shelled out for the kit on three small resin parts seems harsh, but the kit is extremely cheap. I also don't think that trying to amend the kit parts is a viable option for most modellers. And you also get a canopy mask, which some manufacturers would charge you nearly £10 for anyway. So all in all, I think the price is fair enough.



Excellent replacement for problem part of an otherwise superb kit. Could be cast a little clearer, but should clean up fine. I will definitely use this set.




With thanks to A2Zee for the review sample. To purchas directly, click THIS link.


Nicholas Mayhew

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