This is definitely a short-run model. The box is nearly twice as big as it needs to be, there is flash, the edges are rough and the sprue gates are much larger than those of a mainstream model. But it's all good, because no mainstream producer would be likely to do a Comet. Treat this kit like a vacuform that's already been cut out but not yet completely sanded down. The panel lines are scribed and fairly delicate. They'll look good under a coat of paint. The plastic is fairly smooth, although it will benefit from a good polishing if your scheme involves natural metal. The instructions are one 8 1/2 X 11 page with a one step exploded diagram and full colour painting guide on one side and a complete history of the Comet 1 including a listing of all airframes and their eventual fate.
Fuselage The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. The only interior piece is a roof for the nose-wheel well. No sides are provided so if you want them you'll need to make them. Nothing much will be seen when the strut and doors are in place so it's up to each modeller to decide whether or not to do it. There are no windows. If you want them open, you'll have to drill them out yourself. The plastic is fairly thick so the edges of the windows should be thinned. The instructions call for 15g of nose weight.
Wings The wings are two pieces each, and include the engine cowlings. The ejector pin marks inside the wing halves look like towers. They will have to be sawn or chiseled out and the rough edges ground down before the wings will be able to be assembled. The control surfaces are moulded with the upper wing halves. The trailing edge could benefit with thinning down. The lower right wing detail looks a little marred on one of my copies. There's supposed to be a row of small holes just in front of the flap hinges but 5 of them are filled so far they're actually sticking out of the wing surface. They will need careful trimming and drilling to match the left wing. The other kit looks fine so this is a demonstration of the variability of short run kits. The wing fences are separate, and will need to be thinned before being glued in place. There is a deep scribed line to locate them properly
Empennage The tail-planes are one piece mouldings which have a small locating tab. The modeller may wish to drill and pin them just to make sure.
Engines The Comet's engines were buried in the wing roots so the only parts given are the intakes and exhausts. They will need careful cleaning up before they're glued into place. At first glance it looks like there's only 2 exhausts on the sprue, but a careful search will find the others hiding among the wheels.
Landing gear The landing gear struts and wheels are basic. They need cleaning up before they can be assembled. The wheels are quite small and the hub detail is fairly plain. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes.
Accuracy I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a Comet.
Decals and markings The decal sheet is good. The BOAC boxing has markings for BOAC and the Comets that South African leased which consist of winged Springboks, SAA titles, and South African flags to add to the basic BOAC scheme. The sheet allows for any of BOAC's Comets to be built. I have a feeling that many modellers will build G-ALYP, the first production Comet built, and the last to crash before the fleet was grounded. The Canadian box gives options for 412 Sqn's VIP Comets 5301 and 5302 which pioneered transatlantic jet service or CF-CUN of Canadian Pacific Airlines which crashed in Karachi on its delivery flight to Canada and CF-CUM which was not delivered to CP after -CUN crashed. Neither of Canadian Pacific's Comets managed to fly in revenue service for Canadian Pacific but they were painted so the scheme is not a “what if”. -CUM went on to serve with BOAC/SAA as G-ANAV before its nose section was retired to the Science Museum in London. Decal windows are provided on both sheets. The RCAF fitted 5301 and 5302 with oval windows after the crash investigations revealed the Comet's fatigue problems. The decal sheet does not provide them but replacement sheets may be ordered from Canmilair decals. The Royal Canadian Air Force titles are black when they should be red with black “Shadows” as shown on the painting guide. Canmilair has just released several different sheets which feature the different schemes the RCAF Comets wore during their service lives which solves this minor problem.
Conclusion My review sounds fairly harsh, but when built with the usual amount of “some modelling skills required” this kit will yield a convincing Comet. Remember that this is a French short run kit, done by a cottage industry company. Treat it accordingly and it will give you a good model.
Highs: The first Comet 1 full kit in 1/144. No more converting the Airfix 4B (If you can even find one these days)Lows: It's a limited run kit. It's rough. Modelling skills will be required.Verdict: If you want Comet 1 it's the one to get. Try this one as your first limited run kit. It's small, simple and it's all plastic.