by: Roman [ ]
Recently, non-military subjects have been getting more attention from scale modellers, but the range is still rather limited. We have a considerable amount of trucks and various cars, however, construction vehicles and various tractors are often still neglected by plastic manufacturers. Resin items are here to rescue if you are ready to use some extra money on kits and don’t want to paint die cast stuff.
Plusmodels from the Czech Republic are one of the leading resin manufacturers and they have a number of full resin kits of various vehicles as well as tractors. The Fordson N-big (ref# 448) is their most recent release and we at Armorama.com already did an unboxing video review. This build review completes the picture.
The kit comes in a cardboard box with images of the finished product on top. As indicated there are 40 high quality cast resin parts, a small fret of photoetch parts, wire of different sizes and a decal sheet with several options. The parts inside the box are placed into a protective plastic bubble bag and none were damaged in my set. The manual is typical for resin manufacturers – several black and white A4 sheets. The assembly is shown as exploded diagrams with arrows indicating attachment point. For most of the parts it is very easy to find out what you should do, however the connecting rods made of wire are confusing. No clear image shows how they should look when finished and the package photograph also does not focus on that aspect.
I spent a considerable amount of time on the internet but did not find a clear drawing of all the rods, so those parts were assembled according to the references found, although I am sure they are not 100% correct.
The main resin parts such as the tractor body with engine, fuel tank and axles are beautifully cast without any defects. The detail is excellent and corresponds well with reference images. The fuel tank and radiator have the inscription “Fordson” as per the real tractor. On the side of the fuel tank that is facing the driver we can read “Ford Motor Company, England” also as per original. The assembly of resin parts goes without any trouble, they all have location points and the parts fit each other like a glove. It is basically a Lego kit with superglue involved!
The casting blocks carry some smaller elements and they were easy to remove with sharp knife. The exhaust system is made of several resin parts and one of the tubes had 2 tiny bubbles, which is not a big deal to fill with putty at all. The variant proposed by Plusmodel has a tool box attached to the engine on the left side. Many of the references do not feature it; however it is seen on the photographs of original RAF service tractors. But you are free to choose if you would like to install it or not.
The tractor in this kit represents the rather minimalistic design that was used before and during WW2 without the mud guards that are often seen on post war variants which might have been customized or a later production variant. The front axle is made of multiple parts and can articulate in the vertical axis in case you want to place the model on uneven groundwork. The front wheels are positioned slightly inwards in the lower part and I think this is according to references although looks a bit confusing. The rear wheels are impressive with the tires tread pattern and tire markings carefully reproduced. They are simply asking for some mud and dirt deposits in the pattern pockets! Their hubs are separate parts and these are the only parts I had to polish with a sanding stick to fit them into the tires. Just don’t forget the precautions – sanding should be done “wet”, so that no dust is inhaled during the process.
The kit also has 2 headlights with covers. I did not install the cover as I plan to add a reflector inside and glass. The wire that was included in the kit is rather stiff so I replaced it with a softer type of brass wire for easy assembly. Please note that I do not pretend to be 100% accurate when it comes to connecting rods in that kit as I could not figure out some of the aspects of the original mechanisms.
The proposed painting and marking options are all for Royal Air Force (RAF) – dark green or medium grey with ID numbers and RAF inscriptions. The decals also include the aerial identification sign. If you Google “Fordson N” you can find a plethora of other options including modern day preserved examples which would reveal endless finishing options.
Overall I think Plusmodels has provided a great model that is very easy to build. The casting is clean and sharp, not much work is needed to remove the smaller parts from the casting blocks and there are no obvious defects in resin. The assembly is a bit vague when it comes to wire and cords but after some research I think I did something rather close to real thing. I am sure there will be modelers that will add extra detail to this already very nice kit, and personally I think it is a good replica of the original. This model can be built within 1 day due to the low parts number and finished in the desired paint scheme/idea.