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  1. The golden bird is ready to take to the skies. Instead of building this model following the kit's options, I felt inclined to present one unlikely to be seen: the plane of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst (famously portrayed on Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane"), in one of his various "executive" planes, even before the word "executive" would take the more extensive connotations acquired during the sixties and seventies and beyond (this plane flew in this guise from 1935 until its accident, in 1938). The aircraft promoted on its sides two of his newspapers, the Los Angeles Examiner and the San Francisco Examiner. It crashed on the very same Hearst airfield on landing, carrying guests to the so called "castle". Hearst had two Vultee V-1, the second one (NC16099), for what I can tell, it's the one surviving now in a museum. It was also painted in gold. This clipping was passed top me long ago, I do not recall the source or who sent it: For that adaptation a decal set was commissioned from Arctic Decals, a new interior was fabricated, and quite a bit of research was necessary, not all of it fruitless. Some details were added or changed on the model to hopefully bring it to a slightly higher standard. Some educated guesses were made too. The building process can be queried here: The plane of course landed frequently at Hearst's estate, the Kitsch Galore that is his infamous Hearst "Castle", on the coast of California, the motto of which could be the often quoted "Taste, no object". A motto certain orange EX-president most justifiably deserves. Hearst, besides his megalomania and bad taste, was known by his sensationalist style of news, of populist slant (now, who that reminds us of...). The model changed, by design, a small (but ultimately not so) detail: the Los Angeles Examiner logo had a motto in it: "America First", a short-sighted, falsely patriotic, chauvinistic enough statement to start with, but that has acquired much darker undertones lately. I deleted it from the corresponding image. I think "Humanity First" is a much better motto. May be naive, but nonetheless more desirable as a goal than the infantile "me-me-me". Anyways, enough of digressions. The Special Hobby kit is a starting point, requiring some skill and patience, and it is not a beginners' kit I am afraid. Apparently doesn't abound now, but I got mine from a second hand vendor at a reasonable price. The kit's normal decal sheet has its little inaccuracies, but an excellent replacement sheet exist -for all the kit options- also from Arctic Decals. Hearst also had a Stinson U Trimotor, now that's something I would like to build. It even had that retro-looking, forward-slanted windscreen! (I am sure that kit manufacturers in reading this will get frantic producing and releasing a Stinson Trimotor...) The lines of the Vultee V-1 are a sort of aviation conundrum, because it looks, at the same time, heavy and fast, fat and elegant, stocky and agile. In any case, a pinch of Art Deco is surely infused into its soul. Enjoy.
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