Fokker F.27 Friendship

Airfix 1/72

This is a very old Airfix kit and can be bought very cheaply these days. The Friendship is an old favourite civilian regional airliner of mine, so it was an easy choice to buy and build.The build itself took a very long time, mostly due to problems with the fuselage fitting. I did also have to order a full set of wing halves and engine housing parts from Airfix replacement parts service - and a doff of the cap to them on the very fast and efficient service here - which took just a couple of days from notification on the internet to receiving the parts from the postman.

I don't think I have built a model with as large a fuselage as this, so the problems I had getting the two halves to stay together may have been partly due to my own inexperience in that area, but the things just kept repeatedly cracking along the top seam. This resulted in many hours of sanding and filling and seam smoothing, many times over. Even after the intended final coat of paint was sprayed on, a crack reappeared and needed to be sorted yet again. If I build another one, I will definitely put some kind of joint strengthening in place along the fuselage seams, especially between the wings.

I think it's a well known fact that the fuselage is not the right shape for the versions represented by the decals included. The instruction sheet offers a choice between the 100 and 200 versions, but although different nosecones and propeller blades are provided for the different versions, in real life the two differ markedly in the fin shape, too.There were other differences not catered for, but if these are overlooked by the modeller, the kit can build to a nice looking subject, with a bit of work and dedication.

I accidentally scratched the windscreen with a scalpel whilst cutting the masking tape to shape over the frames. It was a deep scratch, but I was able to remove it by applying acrylic polishing paste with a battery powered sander fitted with a polishing buffer tip for about an hour continuously. This removed the scratch to the extent that it was barely visible at all, so well worth the effort.

All the finished models I have seen around the internet are presented in the colourful blue Australian or Dutch airline colours, so I decided to finish mine in the bright red Turkish Airlines livery. The decals were excellent and presented no problems at all. The real aircraft was not well looked after and in fact at the time of its service, Turkish Airlines had a very bad reputation for both maintenance and safety of their fleet. I did try to dirty up the finish, but found it very difficult for such a bright subject - bearing in mind this was the first model I ever tried my hand at weathering on.

Despite this I am very pleased with the outcome and despite the amount of work involved, I have every intention of building another one of these in the future.

Recommended if you're up for a challenge - the end result is worth it