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Found 6 results

  1. The unusual yet captivating shape of the Seabee has attracted pilots and modelers for decades. There are many surviving examples in very good condition, and many others in different degrees of needed care. Still, no good kit of them is available, in spite of its undeniable charm. In 1/72nd scale the only option I am aware of is the Mach 2 release. I am not in the least impressed by what I have seen regarding Mach 2 kits, nevertheless they produced an almost decent Seabee. The worse part (and I can't emphasize enough the word) is that thing that attempts to pass for a transparency. Many other parts will need the modeler's attention as well. And one or two parts only deserve the trash can. For those interested, I strongly recommend the WiP, that may save many a headache and lists all the modifications done to this kit: I have chosen for this model, being the nature lover I am, a livery from the Fish and Wildlife Service, of the US Department of the Interior. My hope is that one day we can protect wildlife fully, and not just to sport-shoot and sport-fish it. More than enough we take for our alimentary needs already. The graphics were commissioned from Arctic Decals, and the quality is -as per their usual standards- superb. In case some nice manufacturer would like to take care of this void, the possible liveries are almost endless, and there a large number of countries in which this plane flew. There are some different versions with this or that specific bit (engine, prop, wing tips, and other details). Avis? Kovozávody Prostějov? any takers? Still, with inordinate amounts of time and effort, these ugly duckling kits (never better said) can be transformed into beautiful swans.
  2. Continuing with the modeling saga of less-known types, that nonetheless made significant contributions to aviation history and development, not to mention aesthetics, here is the Sopwith Bat Boat of 1913, credited as the first successful amphibian built in the UK. This is another pioneer (Like the recently-posted Lee-Richards annular wing) that should make BMs proud, being a local achievement. Thomas Sopwith came from the boating field, and used in the Bat Boat a type of construction technique called consuta: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consuta The Bat Boat design went through several incarnations. The model here represents the plane as it won the Mortimer-Singer amphibian competition of 1913, with retractable landing gear. Photos show that the plane in this configuration had an inline engine, the fore plane removed, twin rudders under the horizontal tail, and canvas fairing on the space between lower plane and fuselage. Photos show other versions with what looks like a rotary engine, different radiators, different tails and other changes. Beware that some plans out there mix features of them all, and are in general suspicious, therefore always rely on photos and compare them with the plans. There are, as far as I know, two 1/72 kits of this plane, the Joystick vacuum-formed I am using and a Luedemann resin kit, that to my eyes looks just a wee-bit chunky and an itsy-bitsy heavy-handed. I got this kit thanks to the good offices of fellow modeler L. Santos, who saw it in shop and called me to see if I wanted it (you already know the answer), thanks, L.! For those unfamiliar with this brand, you get the usual vac sheets, but also white metal parts and airfoiled struts material, both facilitating building greatly. In this case rods to build the frames that support the tail were also included. The kit came to me started. The vac sheets have been primed, the wings separated (but not cleaned or thinned), and the fuselage sides where already cut and given some reinforcement tabs typical of what we vac builders use. I do not particularly appreciate started kits, but what little it was done to this kit was ok, so I set to continue the build. The kit allows for different versions to be built. The metal parts consist of engine, fuel tank (so-so), prop (very poor) and wheels (inaccurate, solid ones). The vac floats are better replaced with a plastic rod and cones or similar, since they are not particularly good. The kit as I got it:
  3. A build from 12 years ago: Beauty is sometimes a hidden quality that only needs just the right eyes to be discovered. Motive, on the other hand, may remain forever hidden when you think about the rationales that supported the creation of certain flying things. In any case, how can anybody resist the charm and flair of winged wonders like this one. The more you enter into the strange lands of esoteric designs, the less information is likely to easily appear. In this particular case there were no plans or three views, just a very few images available upon which you should muster enough building steam to arrive to a safe landing, which, be it said, wasn’t the case with the real plane. The Arctic Tern was a special-purpose plane created in 1932 to provide a photo platform to survey Alaskan regions, intended to be used by Shell in its explorations. As far as we know, it was really used to scare the pilot, passengers and bystanders, not to mention the occasional real arctic tern. Besides the pilot, cruelly semi-exposed to the elements, two enclosed positions were provided on top of the floats, with forward-leaping windscreens a la Fokker F.10s or earlier Boeing 247s. The real plane’s original wing was donated by a Lockheed Sirius, the tail by a Vega, being the engine a Wasp of imprecise denomination. The design unavoidably evokes the Savoia Marchetti S.55 and specially the Bleriot 125, among various other beautiful flying creatures. The model at a glance: Starting from the photos a drawing was sketched as a truly optimistic base for the ensuing construction. The floats came from a Sword Beech Staggerwing, which were slightly broadened with a sandwiched styrene sheet and later re-contoured. The front of the structures on top of the floats came from modified left over pants of the Matchbox Heyford. The engine, prop, main wheels and struts are from Aeroclub. Everything else was pretty much squeezed-out from the Fifth Dimension, including the Sculpey-made “upper” fuselage. I really do enjoy making these strange creatures of wonder, it feels like touching the unknown.
  4. A build from 11 years ago: With very simple lines that somehow resemble a Renault 4 family car, the Caudron firm developed an amphibian prototype as a two-place, twin-float, all-metal touring amphibian in pusher configuration, using an inverted Renault 4 cylinder inline power plant. A few mods were made to the prototype during its life, most noticeable on the engine enclosure, according to photographic evidence. Both positions could pilot the plane, but usually one member of the crew was in charge of making the omelettes while the other took care of the croissants. The Plane was named Caudron P.V. 200, -P.V. for Pierre de Viscaya-. Remember that plans and three-views constitute, more than anything else, great decorative pieces, and when possible check them against photo documentation. To follow the model scratch-building sequence, use the provided images in order to get confused, and if any apparent mishaps are spotted, assume it is you who is mistaken. In all, more than a hundred and fifty individual parts were made for this apparently simple, boxy, floaty thing. Who knew. Modified Aeroclub generic floats, together with engine, wheels and prop from the same source were used. Considering that this was 1932, one could say that those French do know their design, don’t they? My Thanks to the late Jon Noble who provided a great deal of info that contributed to the making of this model. And now, for something completely different, another contribution to Reflections of a Troubled Modeler: Things to amuse yourself while building: - Make a puddle of super-glue to dip-in the needle used to attach a part. Immediately forget that you did that and, while holding some delicate assembly, put your hand on the puddle. - Variation of the precedent: use the top of a container to put some glue there. Forget about everything as previously described. Then place the model to rest exactly on that glue spot. Go and have a sandwich. Come back and lift the model, now with the attached container. Cry. Desperately try to figure out a way to make a diorama that will include, for some obscure reason, that container attached to the model. Cry again. - Finish the most delicate part of a model; let’s say a very tiny scratch-built engine. Contemplate it and congratulate yourself. Make a phone call, probably to a fellow modeler to brag about it; discretely, of course. When the moment arrives to install the engine, look for it in the finished parts’ container. Oh, that’s true, you left it somewhere else to make the call. Start to look in all the other containers. Then on the floor, fighting valiantly the carpet monster with your X-acto; then, cringing, look below heavy objects. In despair, go and look in the fridge, because you went there at some point too, remember? When midnight arrives and you have already dismantled your workshop looking for that tiny engine, give up and take a seat. Oops, what was that noise underneath your butt? - Build several models at the same time. Ha!, this time you finished them all. Start to take those pictures. While processing the images on your computer, suddenly notice the strange size of the wheels, propellers and the like on ALL the models. Scramble to detach the parts, swap them, and put them in their correct models; after all, you were struggling to glue them in the first place, remember? They kept falling off again and again. They may even be loose. Well, guess what, now they are firmly glued. As you pull off the prop, all the entrails of the models will come out attached to that prop. - Your building space is a mess. You decide to clean up. Ah, satisfaction; finally a clean and neat working surface. Now, where were those parts? Oh, they were there, where now there is nothing! Run desperately to rummage the trash can. AFTER you are done with your rummaging, somebody will tell you that the trash was already taken out. Run again outside your house, only to hear the sound of the garbage truck as it meanders down the street, blending with the crepuscular light that now sets on the scene.
  5. A scratch from 10 years ago. “…Privateer, lowest priced amphibian of the world!” That’s what the advertisement stated in the early 30’s. They also added that was so easy to fly that even people like me could do it. I had to try it. I took-off from the dinner table making the appropriate sound, flew around the living room and alighted in the bathtub, first tucking the wheels under the wings, of course. They were right. Even I could fly it. Wheels, engine –Warner Scarab- and prop are after market items. The engine cowl ring was made of two laminations of styrene sheet on a tube of adequate diameter, streamlined once dry. Ready for a splash?
  6. Having a break from painting (a wall not the plastic) I glanced at the stash and thought " why have I 3 biplanes and 2 Parsols when I hate rigging?"...and thus the story begins... Would it be sacrilege to wiff with a Matchbox Walrus? Probably not thanks to the Revell re-issue, albeit without the multicolored plastic we all love so dearly. ok so ideas now began to form in my crazy mind... Turn this: into this: From Turning to Burning. Or maybe this: Monoplane it (although Supermarine already beat me to this with the Seagull) Or a simpler: Just drop the rigging, and repaint in a new scheme wether alternative warbird or civi. Of course there other whacky options: 'gunship' - rockets, torpedos, turrets etc 'electric' - long before the EKA-3, predating the F3D-2Q, and making even the TBM-3Q seem positively modern. '2000' - well if Dornier can modernise their WW2 vintage boats... 'racer' - didn't a Walrus do a lap at Reno? Not looking like this... ...and I'm sure there more! Some things would be hampered by the rather bare stores box, others by the skill box - but nothing by the 'outside the box'
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