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In-Box Review
148
E-Z Snapz Kits
  • PH_Comp

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

Love them or loath them, one of the big growth markets in the last few years has been ready-built and painted display models. They are certainly attractive, but of arguable value in developing a new generation of modellers, so it's great to see a new breed of releases - basically the self-same models, but sold in an unassembled form and requiring painting. Perhaps these are the perfect kits for beginners to cut their teeth on?

I've previously come across Pegasus Hobbies through their good-value diorama accessories, but now they've entered the 1/48 scale aircraft kit market with their series of E-Z Snapz models. The range so far includes:

Kit #4811 - Hawker Hurricane Mk.1
Kit #4810 - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1
Kit #4813 - Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6
Kit #4815 - Messerschmitt Me 262
Kit #4816 - V-2 Rocket

I haven't found the kits in many UK shops yet, but bought the first three of the kits as soon as I spotted them at Model Hobbies.

So, what do you get? Well, the kits are neatly packed in conventional boxes. Each kit is extremely simple with a minimal number of parts. The basic moulding in each case is best described as "heavy" and details are mostly fairly crude. Exterior surfaces have distinct "pebble-dash" texture and deeply engraved panel lines. On the plus side, there are very few sink-marks and virtually no trace of flash. Sprue attachments are a bit thick and some of the sprues themselves are really thick, so they'll definitely be worth keeping as stock.

Dry Fit
The kits are sold as snap-together, so the obvious test was to dry-assemble them all to see if you really can build a 1/48 scale fighter with no cement at all. They all pass with flying colours! There are some really hefty locating pins and the fit is often very snug, but the parts can be prised apart again without fear of damaging them. The propellers are designed to rotate and the Spitfire's was the only sloppy fit I found.

Accuracy
Each kit looks basically like its subject but, beyond that, rivet counters will be risking high blood pressure. To be fair, the kits are aimed at beginners and casual modellers, so accuracy has taken second place to easy assembly. In terms of general outline, the Hurricane is probably best, the Bf 109 in the middle, with the Spitfire bringing up the rear. Trailing edges of the flying surfaces are mostly very thick and the Spitfire suffers from a slim nose profile and also lacks the original's distinctive "gull-wing" on the underside.

Each kit is supplied with a choice of raised or lowered landing-gear and this is functional, rather than very accurate. In the case of the Spitfire and Bf 109, the angle of the gear legs looks odd, throwing off the "sit" of the models.

Cockpit interiors vary considerably - the Spitfire has virtually none, but the Bf 109's and Hurricane's do at least resemble the real thing - albeit very heavily done. Radiators are mostly see-through, but the Bf 109 looks as though it was designed for radiator inserts that aren't included in the kit (there's a similar case on the Hurricane, where there's a locating hole ready for a non-existent pitot-tube). The exhausts and propellers are quite basic.

The cockpit canopy for each kit moulded closed as a plug-in fit. They are thick, but crystal-clear - I wish all kit clear parts were this clear. Sadly, the locating tabs are quite prominent and likely to show even after painting the frames.

Instructions and Decals
The assembly instructions are clearly drawn (the kits are so simple, experienced modellers will hardly need them) and include a good general guide on painting the model and applying decals to get beginners started.

Each kit is supplied with markings for a single ace's aircraft:

Hurricane - s/n P3901, RF-E, flown by Witold Urbanowicz of 303 Sqn.
Bf 109G - "White 1", flown by Erich Hartman
Spitfre - s/n R6885, flown by Eric Lock of 41 Sqn.

The decals are thin and glossy with good register. In the case of both the RAF aircraft, the fuselage codes are shown reversed on one side, but it's a simple matter to slice the decals to put things right. Similarly, the Hurricane's tail markings look taller than usually depicted for this machine, but can be trimmed down easily enough. More of a problem is the colours, because the both the red and blue inks used are very bright and some of the printing is also a bit ragged on the edges of the roundels, so many modellers will prefer to replace them. No swastikas are provided for the Bf 109.

Not mentioned in the instructions, along with the water-slide markings each kit also includes a matching sheet of stickers. Ironically, the blue used is actually better than on the decals, but most modellers will ignore them as they are thick with massive clear surrounds. However, they do provide a useful alternative for youngsters wanting an ultra-quick finish.

Conclusion
Most of the above reads rather like a list of negatives. So, do I regret buying the kits? Not a bit of it! Judging the kits in terms of accuracy doesn't take into account their fun-value. For pocket-money prices, you can assemble a reasonable-looking 1/48 scale kit in a matter of minutes, so they are ideal for youngsters and beginners. Thanks to the snap-fit, you are virtually guaranteed a good looking model (although using cement and filler will obviously improve matters further).

Confirmed rivet counters will probably scoff at the toy-like details, but for the rest of us E-Z Snapz also score in providing a little light relief between more serious projects and are also perfect to try out new painting and weathering techniques on. In terms of accuracy, you could probably bring them more up to scratch if you were very determined, but I wouldn't bother; it would be such a major project, you're probably better off enjoying them for what they are - quick, fun builds. They might also serve to fill the background of large dioramas where they won't be scrutinised too closely.

I haven't rated the kits, because how you'll view them will be so subjective, but if Pegasus Hobbies E-Z Snapz kits succeed in encouraging a new generation of aircraft modellers, I welcome them wholeheartedly.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Cheap and very easy to build.
Lows: Heavy details. Accuracy is sacrificed for simple construction.
Verdict: Ideal for beginners and casual modellers - or experienced modellers wanting a quick fun build or a subject to test painting techniques on.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: See Text
  Suggested Retail: £6.29 each
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 26, 2008
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 91.50%

Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • PH_Hurricane_2
  • PH_Hurricane_1
  • PH_Bf109_2
  • PH_Bf109_1
  • PH_Spitfire_2
  • PH_Spitfire_1
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2019 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Interesting. I was just having a conversation with a fellow modeler, a week or so ago, at the LHS about how you can sometimes get a usable kit in the form of a Snap together.
APR 26, 2008 - 10:52 AM
Thanks for the review. A good alternative for young modellers and maybe as spare parts. Rowan, Have you tried the decals? At this price just buying the them for decals and an extra set of wheels would be justifiable.
FEB 06, 2009 - 03:08 AM
Hi Jesper I haven't used the decals, because they weren't very accurate (the RAF ones, anyway). Jon Bius did use them though in his excellent Hurricane review and found they snuggled down superbly. All the best Rowan
FEB 06, 2009 - 05:21 AM
OK, thanks for the quick answer, rowan. I might consider that 109 for spare parts and decals. The camouflage scheme is quite attractive and I have not been able to find the old Hasegawa kit with the "tulip" markings.
FEB 06, 2009 - 08:30 AM
This past weekened I was introduce to a friends 10-year old son. He took one look at my collection and said, "Can we build one?!" We were short on time so I agreed to build a kit the next time we were together. One of these snap kits would have fit the bill perfectly and might have been the foundation for a love affair with model building. We can worry about glue, airbrushes and accuray later.
APR 20, 2009 - 07:05 AM
Hi Erik That would be absolutely the perfect occasion for these kits - and they're cheap enough to have a couple on the shelf as ammunition. As you say, a lifelong interest in model building may spring from such opportunities. All the best Rowan
APR 20, 2009 - 09:59 AM
Thanks for the review, Rowan. It's great to see the most basic of basic kits also being reviewed. These sort of kits really are perfect for introducing youngsters to the hobby. We used to sell similar kits (by other companies) in the LHS in which I worked, and they've always proved hugely successful. Let's not forget though, that many of the Star Wars kits are snap-tite kits, and we've all seen how great some of those have turned out. Rudi
APR 25, 2009 - 04:38 PM
“The decals are thin and glossy with good register. In the case of both the RAF aircraft, the fuselage codes are shown reversed on one side, but it's a simple matter to slice the decals to put things right. Similarly, the Hurricane's tail markings look taller than usually depicted for this machine, but can be trimmed down easily enough. More of a problem is the colours, because the both the red and blue inks used are very bright and some of the printing is also a bit ragged on the edges of the roundels, so many modellers will prefer to replace them.” The codes read left to right RF*E on both sides of the fuselage of P3901, The fin flash was definitely the 27 inch square type. Pegasus told me (last year) that both thee mistakes would be fixed on future releases. As far as I can work out, P3901 was a Hawker built Hurricane so the colours of the national markings were probably the dull versions that were supposed to be used with camouflage. However, the bright, pre-war colours were used on Gloucester built Hurricanes such as V6665 RF*J.
APR 25, 2009 - 11:39 PM
Hi Antoni That's a really interesting note about the roundel colours on Gloster-built Hurricanes. I've never heard that before. Do you know how long (roughly) the practice continued before they fell into line with officialdom? It's also noticeable in those shots that the blue of the fin flash photographed differently to the fuselage roundel (more than just attributable to being on a flat(ish) surface?). I always think we should team you up with Peter (Flitzer) to produce some RAF Camouflage & Markings Features. All the best Rowan
APR 26, 2009 - 09:39 AM
   

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Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • PH_Hurricane_Parts_1
  • PH_Hurricane_Parts_2
  • PH_Hurricane_Parts_3
  • PH_Hurricane_Canopy
  • PH_Hurricane_Decals
  • PH_Hurricane_Surface_2
  • PH_Hurricane_Surface
  • PH_Hurricane_Sidewall
  • PH_Hurricane_Cockpit
  • PH_Hurricane_Instruments
  • PH_Hurricane_Gear
  • PH_Hurricane_Mainwheel
  • PH_Hurricane_Propeller
  • PH_Bf109_Parts_1
  • PH_Bf109_Parts_2
  • PH_Bf109_Parts_3
  • PH_Bf109_Canopy
  • PH_Bf109_Decals
  • PH_Bf109_Wheelwell
  • PH_Bf109_Sidewall
  • PH_Bf109_Cockpit
  • PH_Bf109_Instruments
  • PH_Bf109_Droptank
  • PH_Bf109_Mainwheel
  • PH_Bf109_Propeller
  • PH_Spitfire_Parts_1
  • PH_Spitfire_Parts_2
  • PH_Spitfire_Canopy
  • PH_Spitfire_Decals
  • PH_Spitfire_Surface
  • PH_Spitfire_Instruments
  • PH_Spitfire_Gear
  • PH_Spitfire_Mainwheels