This is the latest release by HpH Models. It is the magnificent Macchi M.5 which in my opinion is one of the best looking aircraft to come out of WW1. The kit is mainly resin but there is a comprehensive PE sheet plus a small sheet of laser cut wood parts for the beaching trolley. I have never made a HpH model but all reports point to them being a very good company, time will tell.
I have started this build with the engine. The crank case is cast very well with extra fine detail on the nuts and bolts, apart from removing the casting block no clean up was required. The cylinders (in banks of two) are also quite good, a small amount of sanding was needed, the valve springs are very well defined and don’t need replacing.
My first issue was the rocker box assembly which was cast in one piece. When place in position on top of the cylinders the box sections did not align correctly with the valve springs, so I cut off each of the box sections and drilled a 2.0mm hole through the centre. I then inserted a length of 2.0mm brass rod into each of the box sections then placed the assembly on top of the cylinders again, I aligned each box section then added a drop of CA to secure them in place, the assembly now aligns correctly with the valve springs. The rocker units which are from the PE sheet are not bad but are far from being correct as per photos I have of the original engine. I will be modifying the rocker assembly to make it look more like the original
I have painted the crankcase Humbrol No. 56 aluminium, the cylinders have been given
a coat of a mixture of Gunze brass and stainless while the cylinder bases and tops
are done with Gunze dark iron. Some of the photos I have show the cooling jackets
to be a brass colour so I have replicated that effect. The water cooling jackets
are held in place with a multitude of rivets, these are replicated quite well on
one side of the cylinders but the other side has a series of small holes instead
of rivet heads, I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. The valve springs have
been painted with Mr Metal Stainless then polished. I don’t know the dimensions of
the real engine but this model engine when compared to my other in-
I have modified the rocker assemblies to make them look more like the original engine,
the kit supplied items were very basic and did not look anything like the photos
I have of the original engine. I used part of the PE set and added lengths of brass
tubes with 0.5mm bolts inserted to act as the adjusting bolts for the rockers. I
have painted the whole rocker assembly with Mr Metal Color Stainless and once dry
I lightly buffed the whole assembly. The exhaust pipes are the kit supplied resin
parts fixed in position with super glue. Going by my photos the spark plugs were
fitted below the exhaust pipes but before the brass water cooling jacket but there
is very little room on the kit engine, I will re-
I made and fitted the water pipes, they are made from 1.0mm and 1.2mm brass tube, I drilled three 1.2mm holes into the cylinders to mount the pipe assembly, a hose will connect to the end of the pipe and connect to the radiator. I also made and fitted the two ignition lead tubes, one each side of the engine, these are made from 1.0mm x 1.5mm styrene strips, I hollowed each end and drilled holes along the top to accommodate the ignition leads. The spark plugs are made from 0.5mm brass tube and fitted to the top of the cylinders in what I feel is an appropriate place. The ignition leads are wires from the inside of an IT cable. I still need to add more details to the engine, it is a shame that HPH did not include all the accessories for the engine as the engine is fully exposed and in full view.
I assembled the engine support frame and loosely fitted it to the airframe. I needed to file a significant amount off the bottom of the crank case to allow the engine to sit low enough to rest on the bearers. The supports are reinforced with stainless steel wire which is an excellent idea but is extremely hard to cut. I still need to add a lot more detail to the engine such as plumbing and the magnetos. Even at this early stage of construction the very elegant lines of this aeroplane are quite visible. Looking at photos of the original aircraft the engine support frame seems to be a little oversize, but it will serve the purpose.
I used the kit supplied radiator cores (PE) and the resin radiator surround, they all fitted very well and will paint up okay. The tail has also been assembled and fitted. The tail plane sits on top of the bottom part of the tail assembly, the fuselage section needed to be filed to a curve to suit the tail plane. The fin also needed to be filed to shape so it would sit neatly on the curved tail plane, a little filler was needed to complete the job. The elevators and rudder have been attached using 0.5mm copper wire, these were inserted into holes drilled in the components then held in place with CA. I will remove the rudder so it can bee painted before final assembly. The soft copper wire allows movement of the elevators and rudder if a different position is so desired.
I have added more detail to the kit engine, OOB the engine is very basic and looks out of place. I downloaded as many photos of the original engine as I could find and tried to copy the details, mainly plumbing plus the ignition leads. I am still awaiting the arrival of two magnetos from the states, then will come the task of trying to fit them to the engine.
The magneto locating positions are covered by the radiator cowling, if I move the engine further rearward it will put the propeller outside the fuselage hollow to allow for the propeller arc. Once the magnetos arrive I will try to modify the engine to allow fitment of same.
The cockpit components have all been painted and fixed in position as per the instructions, but, and it is a big BUT, the cockpit is way too small or the components are too big. Once all assembled the cockpit is very cramped, the seat is hard up against the control column, the control column is hard up against the instrument panel, there is no way a pilot would fit inside the cramped confines. As per original photos the machine gun butts and handles should protrude into the cockpit, these are not visible. My seat was broken and needed repairs, the broken piece was missing so I manufactured a replacement section. The black cable running forward from the control column is actually connected to the trigger levers. I have also added the rudder cables but these are hardly visible. Original photos show the cables running from behind the instrument panel and running along the right side of the cockpit wall. All in all I am very disappointed with the quality of this kit.
I added the ‘propeller’ to the front of the radiator, I am presuming that this is the fuel pressuring pump or it could be a generator, either way it was an easy frame to make from the PE set, the propeller is also PE, it was fixed to the radiator with CA then painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless, once dry it was lightly buffed with a soft brush.
I have temporarily fitted the bottom wings. There were small indentations in the wing roots and on the fuselage sides where the pin had to be fitted. I drill a 1.0mm hole into the wings and the fuselage and fitted a 1.0mm length of copper wire, being copper will allow me to adjust the dihedral which will be set at 3º. There is quite a bit of back sweep on the wings which gives the aeroplane a very attractive look. I have also filled and sanded the fuselage floor which was fitted when the cockpit was fixed in position, I used 5 minute epoxy to fix the floor as it was quite a large piece of resin. I will now remove the wings and paint the fuselage, the fuselage will be painted to simulate wood and will be gloss varnished.
I added the wood colour to the appropriate section of the fuselage. I base coated it with Gunze H85 Sail colour first, when dry I coated it with Burnt Sienna oil paint with a little Liquin added. I then place the model in my heat box and left it there for two days so it would dry thoroughly, then I sprayed it with a few light coats of clear yellow.
I purchased four magnetos from Shapeways, they are 3D printed and are excellent, they assemble very easily and once painted really look the part. I had to modify the back of the engine to fit the magnetos but I feel they needed to be shown. I have now added the ignition leads to the magnetos and the spark plugs.
This picture shows the completed engine sitting on the engine support frame. I also added the two extra braces for the support frame, these are made from lengths of 0.8mm brass tube, I will repair the holes in the struts and repaint the them when the job is completed.
I added the white to the top forward part of the fuselage. I used Gunze H1 full gloss white for this, it sprays beautifully and dries with a very nice gloss. The white and the timber colour are an excellent contrast, this is why I wanted a dark wood colour.
The bottom of the hull has now been painted using the same Gunze paint as I used on the top. After a lot of searching I finally found two photos of the fuel cap location, I replicated this by using a brass instrument bezel and a punched brass disc for the centre, a small breather tube will also be added. I applied the decals to the front of the fuselage but they revealed themselves as being very translucent, there is a very distinct difference between the wood and the white showing through the roundels. I cut two discs the correct size from white decal paper and applied them over the white section of the roundels, but there is still a slight translucence showing, I applied another red centre over the new white decal. If I had known this was going to happen I would have applied a solid with circle before I applied the roundel, we live and learn.
The engine support frame and the engine are now fixed in position and the rigging has been completed for the support frame. The rigging is done using 0.13mm elastic rigging line. I finished applying the decals to the front of the hull, the repairs I did on the roundel turned out okay even though the roundel is still slightly translucent. I added the small breather tube to the fuel filler cap, I also added the little thingy sitting on top of the front fuselage, I don’t really know what it is but it appears on a few photos of the original aircraft plus a colour profile (check the colour profile at the top of this build log) it could be a gun sight which to me is the most obvious reason to have it where it is. Because it is prone to be knocked around I made it from 0.4mm spring steel wire.
The tail has been painted with Hobby Colour H313 Yellow FS33531, once dry it was coated with Humbrol satin clear. I make my own satin clear by mixing equal parts matt and satin, this gives a lovely low sheen. I painted the rudder with Gunze full gloss white then applied the red using Humbrol No. 60, once the red was dry I masked the rudder again and painted the green using Humbrol No.2 Emerald with just a tad of black added. I also added a fuel line running up the forward left side engine support leg, this is a length of 0.4mm black electrical wire, the straps holding it in position are made from narrow strips of Tamiya tape which have been coloured with a black marker. The wings have also been painted with Hobby Color H313 Yellow FS33531 then given a coat of my own low sheen mix clear once the paint was dry.
I have decided to use the suspended wing floats which to my look a lot better than the kit supplied items. The floats are made from styrene sheet cut to shape then glued together. The support brackets are made from 0.5mm copper wire bent to shape and glued to the floats with CA. The floats will be painted a wood colour the same as the hull while the brackets will be black.
I assembled the beaching trolley and the two stands, the kit supplied laser cut ply is very good and it goes together well, I used PVA wood glue to hold it all together. I decided to paint everything using Gunze H66 Sandy Brown, this is a lot quicker than using oil paints. The only criticism I have is that the metal bands that wraps around the wheels are not long enough to completely cover the wheel, the gap has to be positioned at the bottom of the wheel.
The beaching trolley fits the hull beautifully with the two wheels not touching the sides of the hull. The two stands can be positioned any way that suits the scene, the front stand is not really necessary as the model is tail heavy, this may change once the top wing is fitted.
The top wing was first painted with Gunze H313 Yellow, once dry it was given a coat of full gloss clear, this was allowed to dry overnight then the decals were applied, I used Mr Mark Softer under the decals and also used a hair dryer to make the decals adhere really well. I left the decals to dry thoroughly for four hours then I sprayed the wing with my mix of Humbrol Satin and Matt, this gives a very nice low sheen finish. All I need to do now is paint the red and green under the top wing then give it a coat of low sheen clear.
The wing floats have now been fitted. I painted them the same as the hull and gave them a coat of gloss clear. The float brackets are made from 0.5mm copper wire painted black. I believe that the suspended floats look a lot better than the floats mounted directly to the wing, the kit should have both types of floats included in the kit to give the builder the option. The propeller has also been painted and is now fitted to the engine.
The top wing has now been fitted and all the wing rigging completed. The top wing was very easy to fix, I sat the inverted top wing on my work bench then inverted the model and sat it on the top wing, I had the wing struts already fitted into neat fitting holes in the bottom wing but not glued at this stage. Once I lined up the pins in the struts with the holes in the bottom of the top wing I added drops of CA around each hole, I made sure that the struts were at 90ºto the top wing. After the CA had dried I carefully flipped the model over and again making sure that the struts were at 90º I added drops of CA to the struts where they were sitting in the holes in the bottom wing. I let the glue dry for a few hours then inverted the model again and letting it sit on the dead flat top wing again, I now fitted the cabane struts by aligning the pins in the holes in the bottom of the top wing, drops of CA were again used. Again, carefully flip the model over then align the cabane struts onto the engine bearers and apply CA, you will find that the whole wing assembly is now quite strong. To maintain the 3º dihedral I fitted the landing rigging first by using 0.13mm monofilament, I applied tension to these lines to hold the bottom wing at the correct angle. I then applied the remainder of the rigging including the two drag wires.
This kit has quite a few shortcomings but it did build up to be a very nice looking
model. The engine was my main concern and the lack of detail supplied in the kit.
The cramped cockpit is also a bit of an issue but once the model was completed the
cockpit looks okay. The remainder of the kit went together quite easily, the rigging
is very straight forward. I added the aileron control cables which run from behind
the cockpit up to the top wing, this is not shown on the instructions. The decals
are a pretty good colour but they are very transparent, they seem to adhere quite
well. There is no reason why HpH could not supply the outer wing support bracing,
it was not a hard job measuring and making the parts but they should have been included
in the kit. My biggest complaint about this kit is the lack of the two types of wing
floats, the builder should be given the option of the two types, another thing that
could have easily been added by HpH. I still enjoyed building this kit and would
give it a rating of 7.5/10, this is pretty good for a limited run resin kit. I would
not recommend this kit to an inexperienced modeler, some modeling experience would
be advantageous. Here are the photos of the completed model, I have included a few