My Review and Build of Welsh Model's 1/72 scale Kit #MT72/006,
U.S NAVY P-8A Poseidon

Adding the decals, touch up, complete - January 6, 2014 <-- Click to go directly there

Introduction and What's in the Box - December 23, 2013

The US Navy, since World War II has built up and maintained the largest fleet of long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft on earth. Over the last 50 years, this dutry has fallen to the US Navy P-3 Orion aircraft made by Lockheed, the latest version of which has been the P-3C.

Operated by four turboprop engines, with a combat radius range of over 1,500 miles, and with a total of ten external store staions and eight internal store statioon, this aircraft was capable of carrying HArpoon missiles, Maverick missiles, SLAM-ER missiles, numerous general purpose bombs, nculear bombs, nuclear depth charges, convetnional depth charges, every major torpedo oin the US inventory, every major min in the US inventory, a Magnetic Alloy Detector, and a dispensor for literally scores of sonarbouys. The P-3C is manned by two pilots and nine mission specialist, and its service ceiling is 28,300 feet. Almost 800 were built, and 150 are still ins ervice with the US Navy. Nineteen allied nations bought the P-3 Orion and 18 of those nations still operate them today.

However, the P-3C fleet is old, and maintenance intensive and the US Navy has sought a replacement for some time.

The Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) Program was developed to allow manufacturers to compete for and win that replacement contract. The two finalist in that competition were Lockheed who proposed a modernized version of the P-3, and Boieng who proposed a new jet aircraft based on their 737-800 aircraft, redeigned for naval maritime patrol and ASW use, which would all be new builds. In May, 2004, Boiengs design was selected as the MMA winner and offered an intial contract for six tes aircraft and nine production aircraft. it is anticpated that the US NAvy will buy around 120 aircraft worth over $15 billion dollars.

The new Boieing aircraft were designated the P-8A Poseidon in 2005, and the first test aircraft flew in April of 2009. The P8-A is a twin engined, turbofan aircraft. It has a combat range of 1,400 miles, which includes maintaining station there for four hours. It's service ceiling is 41,000 feet, and it has five internal stations and six external stations capable of carrying air to surface missiles like the Harpoon missile and the SLAM-ER, antisubmraine torpedoes, naval mines, and will also carry the new High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon (HAAW), and its own sonar bouy dispenser. It has a crew of two pilots and seven mission personnel for a total of nine.

The first production aircraft was turned over to the US Navy in March 2012. In July 2013, the US Navy claimed that the P-8A was operationally suitable and ready to be introduced to the fleet. To date, 14 production aircraft have been delivered, along with six test aircraft. In 2013 the Indian Navy selected the P-8 as the winner of its own long range maritime patrol aircraft competition and an initial order of twelve aircraft were ordered for the P-8I Neptune aircraft. Todate, three of those aircraft have been delivered. Australia has announced that the P-8A had been slected as the replacment for its P-3C Orion aircraft and will begin taking delivery of those aircraft in 2017.

On 29 November 2013, the P-8's inaugural deployment began when squadron VP-16 departed Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, for Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Six aircraft and 12 air-crews were deployed to suplement P-3s already based out of Kaedna Air Base.

In 2014 initial low-rate production of the aircraft will cease and full rate production will begin. It is anticpated that the US Navy will have 37 P-8A aircraft in operation by 2106.

The Kit:
The first, and to date, only 1/72 scale model of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft is made by Welsh Models, kit number MT72/006. It is a mix plastic vaccum molded, resin, metal model. it is also not cheap (any good resin model is going to be more expensive than an injected modled model...but also usually more durable, and heavier.

The fuselage is vaccume formed into a sturdy plastic sheet. This sheet also includes cutouts for internal structural supports and the plastic is white. Eight major parts altogether. The wings, vertical stabilizor, horizontal stabilizors, engines, antennae, and numerous other parts are resin moldings. The resin is in an aircraft grey. 47 resin parts altogether. The seats, cockpit consoles, and the front and main landing gear are all metal parts. 21 metal parts altogether. There is also a clear plastic cockpitcanopy/windows which must be cut and fitted. Altogether, 78 pieces to the model.

The instructions are on a printed sheet of paper and refer to a nice, detailed side view of the aircraft telling where the various parts go, and also serving as a very good decal and paint guide.

There is a sheet of excellent water-slid decals for this model that allow you to represent the model in either the US Navy's roll-out scheme, or one of the production test aircraft.

Aircraft numbers 953, 954, and 955 , included in the mpodel decals are all from Squadron VX-20 from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. If the builder wants to build one of the aircatf from an actual patrol squadron, they would need to use aircraft numbers 928-930 currently as these aircraft are operating out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida and being deployed, as necessary overseas. These numbers are not cinluded with the decals, but could easily be substituted from ohther similar sized number decals if available.

All in all, I have to say that the model parts look very good and the kit should build up into a very nice model. The different processes required for the vaccum formed plastic, the resin, and the metal will all have to be taken into account, but with sifficent tools, sand paper, grinders, etc, that can all be accomplished.

Here's the box and what all you get in it:

Here's the various parts, the vaccum plastic, the resin, and the decal sheet, etc.:

The Build - Cutting out the fuselage, adding the cockpit, assembling the fuselage, wing roots and landing gear - December 27, 2013

So, I first cut the vaccum parts out with my xacto knife. With the vacuum formed plastic material, scribing it with your knife is the best course, carefully following the contour of the part and applying equal pressure as you go. Once you do that, you can go and scibe similar lines out to the edges and then carefully bend the plastic and it will come apart right along your scribed lines. I cut out both main fuselages, both tail sections, and all four internal structural supports in this fashion. I then used my xacto knife and my dremmel drills to cut out the windows.

Then, it was time to put the cockpit together and fit it, along with the front landing gear bay and fuselage supportstogether. The cockpit is made up of a resin cockpit area and a resin support wall with a door leading aft into the rest of the aircraft. There are two pilots seats, two yokes for sterring, and then the control panels. I painted all of these first, and then glued them together using my resin/metal glue. I generally mix in a little pastic cement to allow it to form up a little quicker. I then used plastic cement for the fuselage supports along the length of the fuselage. These are necessay because the vaccum formed plastic along such a length is not that strong and could easily deform. These give support to the length of the fuselage.

I then glued the cockpit area and the landing gear bay into the forward section of the fuselage and added wuite a few pennies as balance weight. Quite a bit of weight is required to keep this aircratf sitting straight becuase the vertical and horizontal stabilizors on the very end of the aircraft are quite heavy and with a significant balance weight, the aircraft would tip back.

Now it was time to glue the halves together and add the wing roots. I painted the entire fuselage halves and the wing roots in Model Masters Light Gray, and the wheel bays in white. I used rubber bands to hold the fuselage together and let it dry, and then used my dremmel tool to grind/sand down inperfections along the fuselage.

At this point I added the landing gear. They are metal and I first added the main gear in each position, and let those dry. I then carefully painted the tires black, let that dry, and then added each wheel to the gear and let those set real weel. I used some of my clamps to set those wheeles correctly on their axels. I then added the support bracing for the main gera.

The Build - Adding the engines, the wing tips, and the wing details and weapons - December 29, 2013

I proceeded in this session to assemble and paint the engines. These come in several pieces including the front fans, the main engine, and the supplemental power units mounted to the side of each engine. I put them together, painted them, with the rear exhaust being pained a model mater engine gray, and then added them to the aircraf. Upon doing so, I found that the landing gear as assembled, were simply not long enough to place the model high enough to allow for the proper clearance of the engine nacelles off of the ground. The nacelles are literally almost touching the ground and they should be several feet (in actual size) above the ground, or at least 3/8" or so in scale. I will have to deal with this later.

At this point it was time to add the wing tips to the aircraft. These are flaired back and up to allow for better manuieveraability and life at altitude. It was necessary to cut off the existing wing tip which was representative of the older standard commercial wing, and then add the wing tips provided. All in resin. I did this, using my xacto kife to scribe and break the old tip off, my dremmel tool to grind/sand the edges, and then glued the wing tips in place on both winge.

Now I added the weapons. The aircraft did not come with the weapons or the pylon. So I used some left over pylons I had from other modern US aircraft in 1/72 scale, painted them, and added them to the proper location on the wings. I then used one of my Testor's Modern US Aircraft Weappons sets in 1/72 scale and selected two Harpoon and two Maverick air to surface missiles for the weapons fit. One of each on each wing, with the Harpoon on the inboard station.

I glued these together, painted them accordingly and then added decals for the stripes left over from other models. I then added these weapons to the pylons on the wings. I then added the completed wings to the aircraft

Looking pretty nice now.

The Build - Adding the fairings, antennae, sensors, and othe details - January 2, 2014

At this point it was time to add all of the antennae (there are seven spaced along the top of the aircraft. In addition, to add the various fairings holding varios sensors, and other details to the aircraft. I added all of these, which all came as resin parts with the kit, and then painted them. The aircraft is now nearing completion structurally.

Looking very nice indeed at this point. A worthy successor to ther P-3C Orion.

I will add the many decals to this model in the next session and complete the kit.

The Build - Adding the decals, touch up, complete - January 6, 2014

Okay, I remembered that I had four UHF/VHF antennae I needed to add to either side of the upper fusealge just forward of the wings, so I got those on there. Also, needed to grind down the top of the vertical stabilizer about 1/4" and provide a good flat surface for the upper fairing to the vertical stabilizor. I did these two things, and then it was time to add the decals.

The decals that come with the kit are very nicely done. Good color, and a lot of accuracy. However, be advised, the dcale sheet is one continuous decal. These are not individual decals, so you will have to carefully cut each one out individually and then slide them off of their individual portions of the overall sheet.

And there are a lot of decals.

The large insignia are very distintive, as are the larger details like the doors, and they add a very nice overall look to the aircraft. But a lot of the outlines for various panels and verious wantring and informational messages, and other markings add a lot of the really nice detail and realism to the model.

One of these areas to be careful with and which really helps out are the "No Step," markings along the trailing edge of the wings and horizontal stabilizors. I always cut these long thin sections like this into smaller sections. I have found that trying to put a single very long, thin line with a few informational areas is a recipe for torn decals, twisted decals, etc. So I cut it into manageable sections (usually no lponger than 3") that I then place in line with one another. Just a word to the wise.

Anyhow, once the decals were placed, it was time for final touch up pinting, and then the two coats of Flat finish.

This led to a very nice look for the completed model:

Then, here are some different angles and different close ups of the aircraft. The many antennae, fairings, and details make for a very good look.

You will notice one detraction, and that is the blocks I had to glue onto the landing gear tires. As mentioned earlier, the gear, once placed, though adequately supporting the model, were simply not long enough with the wheels and tires to allow the aircraft to sit high enough so that the proper clearance was availabe for the engine nacessles. Adding those blocks to the wheels was how I chose to handle it. Welsh Models should look into this and adjust the length of the gear as required.

So, that completes the Resin/Metal/VAccum formed plastic 1/72 scale model of the new US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and ASW aircraft. Depsite a few trather small issues, the overall model is an excellent kit and highly recommended. Be advised, if you are not used to resin and metal and plastic all coming together like this, read up a bit on the tools and glues you will need in order to put these models together. They can make for a very satifying build, but the process is somewhat different.

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - January 6, 2014

  1. By Feb 31, 2014, Start the Russian Carrier Group centerd on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov with a CGN, a DDGs and a SSN.
  2. By Apr 31, 2014, Start the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Gallery USS Wasp with an LHD, an LPD, a DDG, a SSN and two LCS.
  3. By Jul 31, 2014, Start the PLAN Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Trumpeter Type 071 LPD-999, with a FFG, and three DDGs.
  4. By Sep 31, 2014 Go back and start fleshing out the rest of the DDG and FFG escorts for each CSG and ARG group.

The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, propbably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.

The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.

The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Sommerset, LPD-25, Bronco Models 1/350 Scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Acadamy's 1/350 scale USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and another Flight IIA US AEGIS class detroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82...all of these models which I already own.

The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its centerp[iece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will use tt to start building a Royal Navy ARG.

The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grrasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.

The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be relased, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.

Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (which I own), the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Some time in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.

Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable airwing for the Sao Paulo.

Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.

Years more worth of work!

You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:


...and most of their surface escorts at:


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