Originally built for SAMI and appeared in the April 2005 issue.
Supplied in their customary blue and white box, with a colour profile glued on the lid, are a variety of bags filled with resin parts, together with a set of instructions and a decal sheet. As ever, the quality of the casting is first rate, displaying the kind of crisp detail and subtle fabric effect that's synonymous with this manufacturer.
Without being overly critical, the instructions are the weakest part of the Choroszy Modelbud package. This time around they are spread over 3 folded A4 sheets. Some history and technical information are found on the front page, the rest taken up by 3 pages of notation-free assembly diagrams, 5 colour-schemes and one 3-view drawing, all in no particular order. The last page is an itemised Choroszy Modelbud kit range. No specific colour references or parts list are given, so extra research and careful identification of some of the parts will be necessary to ensure a smooth assembly.
The fuselage halves are the first items to be worked on. This is to remove the relatively large amount of waste resin material left over from the casting process. It is important to get this bit right otherwise problems are likely to arise when assembly starts in earnest. The cockpit detail is quite well done. As is common to Choroszy kits, sidewall detail is moulded inside each fuselage half and will stand out nicely with a wash and dry brush treatment. The front bulkhead, floor and instrument panels all need to be trimmed to fit. The rear two-part seat will also need to be made to fit by trimming away some of the back rest. An unexpected bit of detail is a complete engine! I felt there was no point in trying to get it installed, as it will never be seen, unless of course you should decide to remove a panel to display it. With no colour instructions given, I used a pale grey for the interior, picking out various detail in silver or black. The two fuselage halves can now be lined up, applying thin super-glue along the seams to join them together. The bottom wing and tail surfaces are the next items to be installed, using a similar method, i.e: line up first, then apply the glue, just like on injection moulded kits. The top wing, which is in two halves, are joined together only after their mating surfaces have been checked for correct alignment.
If there is one other blot in Modelbud copy book, it relates to their strut parts, which are nearly always over long and over scale. Maybe it's better to have stronger struts to model with rather than fragile scale-like struts that are prone to breakage. For the purists, alternative strut material may be preferred. The undercarriage struts need shortening, as did the wing to fuselage struts. The moulded-in fairing detail on the wings for the main strut were much too big. I completely removed them, but only after an unsuccessful attempt to reduce their size. As a result, I had to locate spare strut material to replace the kit ones, which were now too short.
Another thing to check is whether the scheme chosen for your Ca.164 has wheel spats or not. I blindly followed the assembly diagram, which is for a spatted aircraft, only to discover that that my first choice had them removed! The rest of the construction posed no problems at all, which included the prop & exhaust stubs, followed by the vac-formed canopies, which needed a fair amount of trimming to fit.
The kit measurements are: a lower wing span of 131mm (upper 113mm), a length of 110mm and a height of 41mm. This scales out to 9.4m, 7.9m and 3.0m respectively. Against the dimensions given on the sheet, which were 9.0m, 7.62m & 2.55m respectively, the kit does not even come close! I double checked the kits measurements and looked elsewhere for published dimensions and found quite a few. Despite 2 conflicting fuselage lengths, I felt confident that 9.4m span, 7.74m length and 3.0m height were the correct dimensions. This meant that the kit scales out correctly, with only the fuselage length being debatable. The model itself looks fine when compared with various photos.
There are 5 schemes to choose from, 3 Italian and 2 French. Of the Italian choices, there's an ANR Ca.164 of overall olive green with grey lower surfaces. The most interesting scheme is for a unique Caproni camouflage of densely applied stripes, rather than blotches, which would require exquisite airbrush control to apply correctly. The others are all mottled schemes of sand blotches on an olive green base. The actual patterns used is very difficult to discern on the instruction sheet, so I took the easy route, namely the ANR scheme, using Xtracolor X109 for the olive green and X134 for the grey.
The decal sheet is very nicely printed and in perfect register. The decals for the ANR option posed no problems, with the yellow showing up nicely against the dark olive green. Rating 9/10.
After a relatively easy construction process, apart from the usual tweaking of the struts and interior detail, it did come as a bit of a shock to find the kit dimensions were so much in conflict with those given by Choroszy. Thanks to the internet, I was able to resolve this. What is not in question is that the rather elegant lines of this trainer/liaison aircraft makes for quite an attractive addition to any biplane collection and to Italian in particular. Again, another hearty recommendation for this new addition to the Choroszy Modebud range.
Many thanks to Choroszy Modelbud for the review sample.