Author Topic: Edgely Optica in 1/72 from Sharkit  (Read 5434 times)

Offline upnorth

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Edgely Optica in 1/72 from Sharkit
« on: June 03, 2012, 09:08:29 PM »
I bought this kit straight from Sharkit a while back as an Optica had been on my want list for ages. I bought it with the intent of building a real world version, but "What if" has commandeered it recently.

Anyway, the kit comes in a nicely sturdy box and is well protected from clumsy postal handling. Inside the box, we have this array of resin parts and a small but nice decal sheet (the left wing was separate when it arrived, but I think it was intentional for packaging purposes.):


Also included is this rather indistinct "heat and smash" formed canopy:



The resin parts all seem to be basically well formed with no evidence of warpage and generally scale out well to references I had to hand. However, finer details are rather an issue. As the kit represents the first prototype machine, G-BGMW, I'll approach it from that context as I accumulated a fair number of pictures of that specific machine while I stil had it in mind to built the kit real world.

All photos I could find of G-BGMW, or any other Optica, showed very prominent ribbing on the rudders, elevator and ailerons. This detail is, however, completely absent from the kit:



The cockpit of the prototype was spartan, but the kit's is a bit too spartan. You get a rudimentary instrument console, that looks a bit under scale, three seats that don't look that much like the ones fitted to the prototype and also look somewhat under scale to my eye when looking at pictures of people sitting in the real plane and trying to place a 1/72 pilot figure on the kit seats for comparison. Missing are control sticks and foot pedals. For what can be seen though that huge canopy, a bit more attention could have been paid to the front office.

Staying with the cockpit area, the kit also provides an internal supporting structure for that big canopy. A few dry fits indicated that it might be a bit of a bear to fit to the fuselage and then try to navigate the marking and the cutting out of the canopy over it. The canopy itself provides no positive references of where to cut it free of it's surrounding plastic.

Aft of the cockpit, we find six support pylons moulded to the fuselage to secure it to the duct ring. These supports could be thinned down a bit going by pictures I've seen. Further back, at the actual engine nacelle, four supporting struts to secure that part to the duct ring on the real aircraft are not represented in the kit. The five blade propeller is also not represented, but it would not be so visible on the finished kit.

The main landing gear legs are moulded as single pieces with the wheels and rather indistinct in detail as well as not looking up to the job of supporting the finished model. I'd be inclined to scratchbuild new legs from metal tubing and find wheels in my spares box.

My biggest bug is that this kit has pour stubs in some of the most inconvenient places and is pretty much setting you up to damage parts in the removal process. the stub on the fuselage is directly between the forward supports and an engine intake and gives you next to no room to maneuver a saw in to remove it. Worse are these five beasts in the rear end of the duct ring:



You can see where one broke away in shipping and left me with a heck of a clean up and filling job. I got a saw in there and got the rest out recently, but that was a really delicate job.

I know all of this sounds very negative, but I do appreciate that someone has put an Optica kit on the market.

I also know that Sharkit is closer to the garage kit end of things than big resin players like CMR and so forth and so it would be terribly unfair to expect the slick fit and finish of a CMR kit from Sharkit.

I will say that this kit looks to offer a good base to get the stated subject from, just not without a fair bit of commitment, research and skills on the modeler's part

It's good if you don't mind the garage kit feel, not so good if you're a resin or scratchbuild novice.
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Re: Edgely Optica in 1/72 from Sharkit
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 09:47:49 PM »
Good review.  This is one of my favourite aircraft...I just wished someone would do one in 1/48.

What are you going to do with yours?
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Edgely Optica in 1/72 from Sharkit
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 10:17:56 PM »
Good review.  This is one of my favourite aircraft...I just wished someone would do one in 1/48.

What are you going to do with yours?

I'm trying to envision a road the aircraft could have taken had it not been so beset with difficulties and setbacks in it's early years.

I'm grafting the nose end of an EC-135 helicopter onto the Optica fuselage, there wasn't much size differential and it will give a more streamlined look to the Optica while still keeping the observation role intact.

I'm planning to beef up the tail booms a bit and give it retractable landing gear.

Turboprop, swept wing leading edges and tip tanks are also in the cards.

Basically, it's going to be a bit of EC-135, MB-326 and scratchbuild wrapped around the Optica.

I was looking for more reference for the cockpit and details in the duct ring when I noticed the EC-135 front end might fit it, a bit of dry fitting confirmed it and the "What if" gears started spinning.
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Offline JP Vieira

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Re: Edgely Optica in 1/72 from Sharkit
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 04:42:53 PM »
Very interesting build.
I have done a what-if profile of this aircraft some time ago (althought mine had a stretched frontal fuselage)

http://beyondthesprues.com/Forum/index.php?topic=15.300



At the time I was also thinking of doing a Police one, but turn my attention to other things.
Keep it up; canīt wait to see your build on this one