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Revell Germany 1/72 scale Grizzly

Kit:04800 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$99.98
Revell Germany, 49-05-223-965-0
Detailed landing gear; accurate props; options for props, landing gear, cargo, and main entry doors; extensive decal sheet
Large sprue gates on delicate pieces, particularly the prop blades; matte decals prone to silvering; windows stand out from fuselage
Injection-molded, 221 parts, decals

Airbus’ newest aircraft is the A400M “Grizzly,” a transport designed to fill the gap between the C-130J and the C-17A. Everything about this kit is big: box, decal sheet, the works. The 16-page instruction booklet shows 60 steps, ending with a four-page decal and painting guide. The extensive decal sheet has markings for four: two prototypes and one each for French and German military aircraft. The latter two schemes are speculative, since the Grizzly is not in service yet.

Construction is straightforward and the instructions are clear. Given the size of this model, I made adjustments in the build, assembling and painting it in stages: fuselage, tail and stabilizers, wing and engines, and, finally, the gear sponsons and landing gear. When I had to wait for something to dry, I worked on the props. Detail throughout is excellent, but at the cost of thick sprue attachments.

Cargo bay and cockpit are sandwiched between the fuselage halves. Most of the cargo compartment is hard to see. But the large cockpit windows allow much of that area to remain visible, so take your time painting it. Clarity of the clear plastic is excellent, but I would use Micro Kristal Klear rather than the fuselage windows; they stand proud of the fuselage and are difficult to mask.

Instructions call for a hefty 80 grams (almost 3 ounces) of weight to keep the nose gear on the ground. I didn’t think the nose wheel axle would stand up for long under that load, so, rather than add all that ballast, I left the cargo ramp down to serve as a support.

The Grizzly has complicated landing gear, and the model follows suit. I knew I would knock pieces off if I put it on by the instructions, so I added the gear later. 

The long, three-piece wing fits well, with some filler needed around the flap actuator “canoes.” The engines are nicely detailed. Inside each two-part nacelle a compressor and turbine blades are visible through the intake and exhaust, respectively. The fit to the wing is excellent, but make sure you put them in the correct order; each is subtly different. 

Revell Germany provides color references only for its own paints, but IPMS Stockholm’s website came to the rescue with appropriate FS numbers. (Revell provides a chart converting Revell paints to Testors on its website.) Tamiya’s gray surface primer closely matched my interpretation of Revell Germany’s grau (No. 374), so that was all I used. The rattle can made fast work of the big parts. To break up the mass of gray, I airbrushed some panels with a lighter shade of the base color and called out selected panels with Tamiya smoke. These aircraft do not exhibit much weathering, so use restraint.

Revell provides two prop options: in-flight and ground pitch. The blades are accurate in thickness and shape, but you’ll have to sand off sprue attachments and mold lines. No mention is made of the aluminum leading edge on the top half of each prop blade. These are obvious in pictures, so I used a silver permanent marker to replicate them. Also note that, when viewed from the front, the two propellers on each wing turn toward each other — again, watch those part numbers.

The props consume 96 decals, a third of which are numbers for the individual blades. So, applying all the A400M’s decals will take time. Having a matte finish, they are prone to silvering.

Final assembly revealed a large gap between the lower wing and fuselage. I layered full-chord shims on the lower wing because this is an awkward location to fill and sand.

Dry-fit the gear to make sure all wheels touch the ground before you glue them. Some fine-tuning was needed on my sample.

Revell Germany’s A400M, the largest model in my collection, took about 90 hours to complete, if for no other reason than its size. The scale measures accurately, and the kit produces an impressive model that will surely grab attention. It might not be the best choice for your first build, but any modeler interested in a big project and willing to put in some time can handle this bear. You’ll be happy with the result.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2012 FineScale Modeler.

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