In-Box Review
Martin MS-1
Naval Scout Airplane Martin MS-1.
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by: Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]


During and soon after WWI, several countries including the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands looked into the possibility of submarine aircraft carriers. The US Navy commissioned Glenn L. Martin to design and construct a naval scout airplane designed to fold and be carried inside sealed tanks on the decks of submarines. Glenn L. Martin design, the MS-1, first flew from Lake Eyrie early in 1923 and later the same year conducted trials on board the USS S-1 from Hampton Roads, Virginia. As it turned out the USS S-1 was the only submarine converted with an aircraft hangar, built aft of her conning tower. Fully loaded the MS-1 weighed only 1000 pounds. It carried no armament as it was designed purely as a spotter aircraft. The MS-1 had to be reconstructed on the deck of the submarine before every flight and dismantled when placed into storage. The procedure for launching and recovering the MS-1 involved the partial submerging of the submarine. Six MS-1's were built in total before the programme was canceled. I don't normally include aircraft dimensions with my reviews, but in this case it is interesting to realise just how small this aircraft was:
Length: 5.08m [16ft 91/2 in].
Wingspan: 5.49m [18ft].
Height: 2.44m [8ft]

The kit.

The top opening box is 210 x 130 x 035 mm in size. The tray is very sturdy, made up of two ply card offering a good level of protection for the contents if you are having it delivered via the post. All the resin components are contained in a resealable plastic bag. The instructions and decals were not in the bag.
The fuselage has some very fine engraved panel lines, rivets and fasteners where the metal or wooden parts of the fuselage are located. On the canvas side the representation of the stretched fabric over the frame is very subtle. There are three holes in the forward fuselage, where the three engine cylinders are placed. The starboard fuselage has a couple of 'V' frames represented as raised details. On my sample there was a small scratch in the resin running through the forward 'V' frames that will need some attention, nothing serious. Inside the cockpit, the sidewalls have slightly raised rib detail. The great thing about the way Olimp have cast some of their components, is that they don't have blocks to remove and this is the case with the fuselage. There are a few tiny air bubbles in the lower fuselage. All it would take to fill them is a few dabs of correction fluid. A little cleaning up of the mating surfaces will be required to ensure a good fit.
The cockpit is made up of a pilots seat, with lap straps cast onto it. Great care will be needed to remove the seat from it's block as the seat is beautifully thin. I like the way the straps are casually draped on the seat. The cockpit floor has some raised detail, including the rudder pedals. The control stick is glued directly into the floor. Unfortunately mine was broken, but the separated piece was safely contained in the plastic bag that the components were contained. Olimp provide two ways of creating the instrument panel. The first is to paint the dials that are represented by recessed holes. Or you can reverse the instrument panel and apply the instruments supplied as decals to the smooth surface. The decal instrument do have some very fine instrument faces printed on it. According to the instructions the cockpit is mostly light grey in colour and the floor is black.
the three cylinder Wright Lawrance radial engine is cast as three separate engine blocks and are mounted in a inverted 'Y' position poking out of the nose. Olimp kindly supply four cylinders and they are very nicely cast. There are three separate and very delicate exhaust pipes to be inserted into a small recess at the head of the cylinder. The exhaust are slightly drilled at the tips to give the impression that they are hollow.
The wings are superbly cast and like the fuselage are supplied without any blocks. The two separate lower wings and the one piece upper wing are cast with upper and lower surfaces. The curve of the chord is beautifully captured and the wing trailing edges are very thin. The representation of the stretched fabric over the frame is nicely done. The leading edge of the wings show sign of a little roughness, this was presumably where the block was attached. So a little clean up of the leading edges is in order. There are small depressions in the wings, which indicate where the struts fit. To help with the attachment of the lower wings to the fuselage, there are two small bumps on the wing side and two very small depressions on the fuselage side. There is apparently no rigging to apply to the wings.
The struts include two 'N' type inter plane struts on the outer wing, two struts that link the upper and lower ailerons. There are three 'V' cabane struts forward of the cockpit. The floats have a one piece 'Warren' strut, with six additional struts to support it. The multiple struts, in particular the 'Warren' struts will need to be removed from their casting blocks very carefully. Olimp have tried to make the process of removing the struts from the blocks easier by placing a recessed line dividing the two so that a scalpel can be run along it. Also there is some very fine flash to be removed from the multiple struts. The struts are not reinforced, but because of the size and weight of the model, I don't think it is necessary.
The tail fin and the rudder are not separate as illustrated in the instructions. The horizontal tailplane comes as one piece. Again the representation of the stretched fabric is nicely done. There are six control surface horns for the elevators [x4] and the rudder [x2]. Each one has a tiny hole so that you can thread the control cable through. The instructions have two views on where to attach the horns, the control cable and the four rigging cables that stretch between the upper tail to the horizontal tailplane. There are no guidance marks on the fuselage where the control cables should emerge.
The floats are beautifully cast with a mixture of recessed panel and rivet detail and some raised detail as well. There are some small but positive locating points for the struts. The line that marks the lowest point of the keel is a little rough again this is presumably the area where the casting block was removed. It should not require to much effort to clean it up. There are also some air bubbles in the lower surface of the float.
The propeller is nicely done, beautifully shaped and thin. It has very fine attachment points to the casting block, which should make it's removal much easier. There is a hint of a prop shaft to aid it's positioning.


Just the one set of markings A6525, and not A6251 as featured on the box illustration. Colours are light grey floats and the metal part of the forward fuselage. The rest of the fuselage, wings and tail surfaces are silver. The top of the upper wing and the top of the tailplanes are yellow. The yellow is a presumption on my part as the instructions state the colour, keyed 'H', does not exist in the colour guidance notes. Looking at the box cover illustration the top wing is unmistakably yellow.
Decals are printed by Begemot and are well printed with good colour depth and with only a minimum amount of carrier film visible. The red centre of the insignia are separate. The insignia are placed in two positions on the outer most part of the upper and lower wings.


Folded over A4 sheet with excellent exploded black line drawings. There is a parts map providing numbers to identify the components, but there are no numbers on the casting blocks. There is also an explanation of the meaning of the symbols. All text is in English.


This is a lovely release from Olimp Models of the diminutive MS-1. This promises to be an interesting build straight out of the box. Obviously a little more care will be needed removing and cleaning up of some of the struts. Due to the clever design from Olimp the kit should go together quickly and without any difficulty. Surprisingly there are a few very interesting photos out there on the Internet to reference. One idea would be to build the MS-1 around the rear portion of the USS S-1.

Many thanks to Oleg from Olimp Models for this review sample.
Highs: A lovely scale replica of this very tiny, but very interesting aircraft. The careful planning that has gone into the castings is evident from the parts. Many of the larger parts have no blocks to remove.
Lows: A bit of flash to clean up.
Verdict: I like this release a lot. Olimp have produced an aircraft type that will probably never see the light of day in plastic. Nice one Olimp.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: R72-047
  Suggested Retail: TBA
  PUBLISHED: Mar 28, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Olimp Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Tim Hatton (litespeed)

Aircraft are my primary interest from WWll to present day.

Copyright 2021 text by Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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