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Built Review
135
Frogghopper Mk II
Frogghopper MkII
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by: Matthew Quiroz [ RED4 ]


Originally published on:
ModelGeek

I was given the opportunity to build the very first issue of this kit after it was cast. It is a garage kit produced by my friend Steve Carricato here in Colorado Springs. It is a sci-fi fantasy ship loosely based on a famous sci-fi movie which shall remain nameless. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Steve got the inspiration for the kit after seeing some less than stellar like items being offered for sale online. He thought he could do better, and thus far he has done well in producing them. As I stated initially, the kit I built was the very first production batch and I sent a list of changes to Steve that he has since implemented to provide for a better quality model

The kit is resin. Every bit and piece of it is resin. It looks like there are more parts than there really are as there is a lot of detail on the surfaces that busy things up a lot. The canopy feature details on the inside as well as the outside. Assembly took me all of a couple hours due to mold line clean up etc. I used two-part five-minute epoxy to attach the wings to the fuselage as I didnít want to put that much stress on butt joints using CA glue. There is a substantial amount of weight to this thing hence the five-minute epoxy. Future buyers/builders might even want to pin the wings in place for added strength


**The canopy was initially going to be cast in clear resin, but problems with the resin has resulted in it being cast in cream colored resin and the windows being cut out from clear sheet and added separately.** Instructions are simply photos of the parts lay out, and where they go on the kit. It's pretty basic, but easy to follow. Steve is working on improving this aspect of the kit as well. I was able to build mine without the instructions if that is any indication of how easy it is.

assembly and painting

I started by removing the glass portions of the canopy so I could make and install my own glass with lexan sheet. I made templates using a 3x5 card to trace the window openings, and then cut them out. I taped these to the lexan and cut them out again. My templates were about as close as could be and what small gaps I did have were filled with Micro Krystal Kleer. The transition is virtually invisible. The windows were installed after final painting and weathering.
I assembled the engines next and set them aside to dry. I repeated this for the heavy cannons on the wings, and the smaller ones on the fuselage bottom. Each got painted by itself and installed at final assembly.

I pre painted most of this kit prior to assembly as there is a lot of surface detail that is hard to reach once assembled. The cockpit was the first item painted and I went with a nice dark German gray for this. Not quite RLM 66, but a close second if there was one. Gloss coating with Future prepared the office/cockpit for the onslaught of washes that were to follow. Once these had been laid in and had dried, I began picking out individual panels, knobs and such with Vallejo acrylics. A final dry brushing of Titanium White in oil brought out the last little bit of highlights. The cockpit is busy to say the least. The only items missing are a couple sets of shoulder restraints for the pilot and WISO. These are easy to source or scratch build. Iím just lazy and havenít gotten to it as yet!

Initial painting was a good solid primer coat of Tamiya Fine White followed by more coats of flat white from the rattle can. I decided to pick out the two upper panels in the salmon color to help add a little eye appeal to the overall white that was shaping up. Gloss coats followed this, as did further airbrush treatments in blacks and browns for blast marks, and space residue grime. I flat coated everything to protect what I had done thus far and to prepare the surfaces for the heavy chipping I had planned for this little beauty. The chipping was done using a small pointed brush and heavily thinned Vallejo flat black and white mixtures.

final assembly

Installation of the engines and guns were the final step in completing this build. The engine were painted in a dark gray similar to the cockpit, and then over-sprayed with Model Master Metalizers and various shades of Alclad II. I over shot the ends of the ďcansĒ with Alclad clear blue to give them that heat stained look. I also sprayed this on some of the other engine parts. I decided to branch away from the traditional white under carriage legs and gear and opted to go with gloss black reminiscent of some Japanese aircraft of WWII. It isnít easy to see unless the kit is picked up, but it has a nice look to it. There is no worry in this being a tail sitter as there is ample weigh in the ass end to hold it down. The landing gear is strong enough to hold the weight of this solid resin kit. The builder has the option to build the Hopper in gear up mode or gear down.

There were no decals for my FH-MkII when I started, but I believe Steve is working on some at this point. Even without them, the little ship has a certain character to it. You could raid your spares box to find some if you just had to have some on it.

Post build update

Since my build up, Steve has re-engineered some parts for better detail in the casting process. He also re-did some of the molds for easier assembly. I spent just a couple of hours assembling mine and the rest of the time painting. I imagine with these improvements assembly time is just at or even under an hour. The detail is well captured and abundant on the entire kit.
Retail price for this kit is $49.99 and can be purchased directly from Steve via his email address @ carrisj63@q.com.
SUMMARY
Highs: All resin kit. Great detail. Easy assembly. Affordable. Room to add even more to it if one so chooses.
Lows: Not much. Since mine was a preproduction kit I had to deal with some minor issues; all of which have been identified and corrected. No decals for mine.
Verdict: It is nice little kit that builds quickly, and is different looking. Lots of potential for superdetailing.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: FHMKII
  Suggested Retail: 49.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 21, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.68%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.35%

About Matthew Quiroz (Red4)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

After a several year break from the hobby I have happily returned to it. Slowly, but surely getting my mojo back.

Copyright ©2019 text by Matthew Quiroz [ RED4 ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks for the kudos. The production run kits are coming out far better than my "First out of the starting block" kit. He has another kit in the works that is larger and looks awesome. He has me tapped to do the same build and review for it as well. I will send it in as soon as it is available. Thanks again for the kudos. "Q"
OCT 21, 2009 - 04:14 PM
How's the resin look? Does it have a lot of flash or stub issues when shipped (do you think )? Paint prep issues? Is it worth (objectively) the $50.00 price tag? I really do like the look of the finished product and your paintjob rules, only making me more interested in fact. Cuhail
OCT 21, 2009 - 04:23 PM
Flash is minimal if at all. The initial piece I did had some mold shift in it requiring some clean up, but the new casts have rectified that and there are no mold seams where I had them before. Where they were, was in easily cleaned up areas. Major pour stubs are removed prior to shipping by Steve himself. Only minor stubs left to remove. The resin was initially gray in color, but I think he has switched to a cream colored resin now. Compared to other kits I am seeing on the market of similar subjects its worth the price tag. I have found several other "Star Wars"-ish kits out there that are fetching considerably more. I will contact Steve to see if I can grab an unbuilt kit from him and take some pics of the parts to post to give you a better idea of the quality and overall parts count. I think there is a total of about 30 parts if that. So far he has received three orders for them since the review went up. Back soon with more info and pics. Thanks again for the kudos on the paint job. Much appreciated. "Q"
OCT 22, 2009 - 03:04 AM
Well that sounds dandy, man! I'm glad he's getting orders, too! Parts pix are cool, but, don't hurry on my account. Thanks Matt. Cuhail
OCT 22, 2009 - 03:49 AM
I'm picking up the kit tomorrow so I should be able to get the pics taken and posted over the weekend. Stay tuned. "Q"
OCT 23, 2009 - 08:08 AM
I picked the kit up today and will get the shots taken tomorrow. It looks a lot different than what I started with...in a good way of course! Back soon with pics of the raw kit. "Q"
OCT 24, 2009 - 04:08 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting these posted. I actually was able to set down at the bench yesterday and build.....all fricking day. Before I knew it, it was 10pm and I had to drag myself away from the bench and head for bed. Obviously I forogt to get the pics shot, BUT,,,, here they are. After going through these parts and pieces, this offering is considerably better than what I had to work with. Steve has even made an instruction sheet to go with it. I'll let the pics speak for themselves. Hope this helps. "Q" Fuselage, canopy, wings and acetate for the windows. Canopy interior- The window portions are paper thin and pop right out by hand or with a #11 blade Engines and guns- Engine close ups- Cockpit peices- Cockpit detail shots- Landing gear detail- Rear and bottome of fuselage-
OCT 26, 2009 - 08:32 AM
Give me a couple of days and I'll have these moved into the permanent review.
OCT 26, 2009 - 10:45 AM
Thanks Scott. Was going to contact you about that. Thanks for the help. "Q"
OCT 26, 2009 - 01:45 PM
   

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