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Italeri Short Stirling Mk.IV

Kit:1350 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$59.99
Nice detail; good fit of flying surfaces to fuselage
Issues with fit of the bomb-bay doors; stubborn decals
Injection-molded, 297 parts (43 photoetched-brass), decals

A big huzzah! to Italeri's new Stirling. Molded in gray, its recessed panel line and rivet details are perhaps a little more pronounced than some modelers might prefer, but, happily, they are much moderated by a coat of paint.

The landing gear is beautifully molded and, just like the real thing, looks like building a bridge from flimsy pieces — but is rock-solid once finished. A little plastic surgery (shown in the instructions) allows you to pose the model with retracted gear, but there’s no stand in the kit. Flattened main-wheel tires enhance the stance of the finished model. Detailed wheel hubs, flame-dampening exhausts, and other parts are nicely done. Posable control surfaces and a fret of photoetched metal are included.

Crew-compartment detail is basic but fairly extensive, and the aft entry door may be posed open. Unfortunately, closing up the fuselage leaves only the flight deck easily visible. But I know the detail is there.

The Mk.IVs were designed for towing gliders. As such, the kit includes a strop guard aft of the belly hatch plus the glider tow yoke. The only armament is the tail turret. The instructions specify gluing the fuselage and wing bomb-bay doors closed — I had issues getting all 18 to fit flush.

Take care when smoothing the seam along the wings’ leading edge. You don’t want to sand through the thinly hidden holes I assume hint at the next Stirling Italeri plans to release. The fit of the wings and tail to the fuselage is excellent, allowing them to be attached after painting. So, masking was easy.

Inside each nacelle and cowl ring is a multi-armed sprue support that must be removed. It’s difficult to remove the attachment nubs, but necessary. The close-fitting engine and nacelle parts have to be installed precisely so the photoetched-metal cowl-ring supports will properly align. 

Dimples mar the cabin windows, and Italeri missed the upper frame of the co-pilot’s windshield. But the clear parts are otherwise nice.

Except for the tiny parts, the model’s sturdy — a good thing, since I whacked its extremities several times. I wonder if the real Stirling was as tough.

The kit provides markings for three D-Day and one later aircraft. I chose No. 295 Squadron’s D-Day version for its nose art, invasion stripes, and slightly unusual code letters. Plus, they spell my grandson’s name — he builds models, too, so he’ll get a kick out of that. 

The decals were a little stubborn. I used setting solution to convince the invasion stripes to conform to the airplanes’ compound curves. The ailerons’ stripes are separate decals and are supposed to be applied before the control surfaces and photoetched-metal parts are attached to the wings. The instructions don’t note this and neither did I, so I had to perform a little decal surgery to make things work.

I spent 44 hours building my Stirling. The contrast between the dull, weathered aircraft and its just-applied bright invasion stripes makes a great-looking model.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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