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Ebbro HondaJet HA-420

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale aircraft kit
As a car guy who has owned and enjoyed both a Honda car and motorcycle, I was intrigued when Ebbro announced its 1/48 scale HondaJet. Known for its die-cast models, Ebbro began offering plastic models in 2012; the HondaJet is its first aircraft. 

This kit offers a choice of red or blue color schemes. (But the day I completed it, Ebbro announced plans for variations offering silver, dark green, or bright pearl yellow schemes, plus a clear upper fuselage.) The color break on the real jet allowed Ebbro to mold a portion of the fuselage in color; this can ease painting, and you can remove the upper fuselage to show off the interior. Red and blue decals with silver separation stripes complement each color scheme and color the tops of the engines and vertical stabilizer. If you want to paint instead, decals provide a separate set of silver stripes for trim.

The interior plate has molded risers for four passenger seats, two cockpit seats, and a large side-facing jump seat, all with molded seat belts. The two-piece instrument panel is well engraved, and there are decals for it. Bulkheads separate the cockpit, passenger compartment, and lavatory. Painting instructions are fairly clear (though photos show wood grain on side panels).

The upper fuselage has an odd parting line on top that almost looks like it belongs. Faint sink marks can be sanded out without filler. I painted the lower fuselage halves before joining them, but filling and sanding required rescribing and repainting. I also filled a small seam on top between the vertical stabilizer and the antenna behind the upper fuselage piece. The extra upper fuselage piece helped mask the finished cabin.

The cockpit’s clear panes didn’t want to fit flush. Separating the side windows allowed all four pieces to mount properly inside the fuselage.

Wings and stabilizers went together without any drama; I did have to fill some long, thin sink marks on the wings’ underside. Static dischargers on the trailing edges were so fragile most of them broke off as I was painting; I replaced them by drilling small holes and installing fine, black bristles from an old paintbrush. (Fine wire would work as well.)

There are chrome pieces on the leading edges of the wings, horizontal stabilizers, and engine intakes. In Step 5, a chrome wing edge (C5) is incorrectly called out as C3. The two long chrome pieces for each wing were bowed out slightly on both ends; I carefully bent them back and taped them after gluing. Chrome quality is good, not great, with a couple of minor sink marks on the two large pieces.

Most of the decals were excellent, with a glossy, smooth surface. On the markings guide, the door decal (33, EXIT) is incorrectly listed as 32; the door handle/latch decal above it is 32. Decal 59 has a translation error, “CUT HEAR IN EMERGENCY.” I had trouble with the exit stripe around the main door; I should have trimmed it into four pieces rather than leaving it as a big, fragile rectangle.

The red and white fuselage sections are painted, clear-coated, and buffed; the silver stripe decals were not clear-coated, yet they look almost as glossy.

Final assembly was mostly trouble-free. The main landing gear had one fit issue, as the gear doors are too thick at the hinges; shaving with a hobby knife and a 320-grit sanding stick easily corrected the interference with the landing gear.

Wings and horizontal stabilizers attach neatly to the fuselage and vertical stabilizers with interlocking tabs on the ends of the wings/stabilizers — you could even skip the glue. The upper fuselage fits the lower fuselage with no notable gaps. The side door is a bit thick for its opening, but if you leave the door open it isn’t an issue.

Overall, I’m impressed by Ebbro’s HondaJet. Despite a few minor glitches, it’s a high-quality kit of a unique and modern subject. I recommend it to anyone who wants to build a bizjet, and especially to car modelers who want to leave their comfort zone but like a glossy finish. I plan to build a yellow or silver plane when the new kits become available.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2018 issue.


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