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Zlin 181/C6 1:48 Special Hobby The Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann is a conventional single engine low wing monoplane training aircraft with side by side seating and twin controls. Construction is wood on the rear fuselage and wings with a tubular steel frame for the main cabin area. The aircraft would be powered by a 105 hp Hirth HM 500 engine. The aircraft was designed in the late 1930’s with the maiden flight taking place in 1939. The aircraft was selected by the Reichsluftfahtministerium (RLM) to be the standard primary trainer for the Luftwaffe with production beginning in 1940. Despite being built as a trainer the aircraft was used in the light transport and liaison roles. Late in the war due to desperation some aircraft were converted to carry four Panzerfaust launchers, and others to carry three 50kg bombs. The aircraft saw limited service in these roles with a little success but resulting in heavy losses. Bücker built most of the aircraft for the Luftwaffe but due to the high demand production was also subcontracted to Fokker in Amsterdam & Zliner in Zlin. Hägglund & Sőner in Sweden would build 120 under license, the aircraft being designated Sk 25 in Swedish Service. Post war in 1950 Heliopolis of Egypt gained a license from Zlin to produce the aircraft for the Egyptian Military and other Air Forces of the region, these were called the Gomhouria (Republic). Over 300 being built. In total over 3400 Bestmanns were built. None of the German aircraft survive but a fair few licence built Swedish & Egyptian ones do. The Kit This is a new tool kit from Special Hobby featuring three sprues of light grey plastic, a canopy sprue, a small sheet of photo-etch and a couple of resin parts. Where needed the panel lines are fine & recessed, the fabric detail is also restrained. Construction starts where else but in the cockpit. The PE seatbelts are added to the two seats and these are then added onto the cockpit floor which incorporates the rear bulkhead. The rudder pedals and control columns are added along with the cockpit sides. lastly to complete the cockpit section the instrument panel is added. Decals are provided for the instruments. Once the cockpit section is complete it is added into the fuselage section along with the rear cockpit decking. Next up the wings are constructed, these are of conventional upper/lower, left & right construction. Once together they can be added to the main fuselage along with the tail planes. Next up then engine front part (in resin) and the cover are added to the front. On the underside of the engine the exhausts are added. These are provided in resin and are very thin so take care removing them from the casting block. Once the man airframe is together the canopy can be added along with the fairing behind it. The fixed landing gear is added, along with the propeller and a pair of prominent grab handles. To finish off the trim tabs are added to the rudder and tail planes. Decals Decals are from Aviprint and should pose no problems. Markings are provided for 2 examples; OK-ZZE Civilian version flown by Mrs Bozena Krajcova. She defected to the US Zone in Germany in 1949 in this aircraft (Green uppers / White undersides). UA-46 C-6 (military designation) Used by the Czechoslovakian Aviation School 1946 (Overall silver). Conclusion This is a great new tooling of an important WWII training aircraft which was used by many operator post war. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of