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A deep conversion from 5 years ago, backdating the kit to the first machine. A Staggering Endeavor The Prolific and unusual family of Beech Staggerwing aircraft evolved through several incarnations. Its elegant and unorthodox lines have the unmistakable appeal of the Golden Age of aviation. Less known, though, are the first pre-production machines, which differed from the production design and ulterior developments quite a lot. The Kit: Good news: we have a kit of the Staggerwing released in two boxings by two manufacturers, even with a floaty version. Not so good news: it is not the version I want to model. Even less good news: being a fairly decent kit with many pros, it is not the best technology around (short run, meaning some butt-joins, somewhat thick parts, you know already, you have built some of those). The two things that gave me a lot of headaches and produced a lot of frustration were the two-part windshield and the struts. The struts as molded have tiny locating protrusions which you are at risk to confuse with the leftovers of the gates, a couple millimeters apart. If you have managed to spot that with a “phew!”, you are not yet off the hook. The curve of the upper part of the strut will not match that of the upper wing which it supports, nor will the little pip align with the faint hole in the said wing. Good luck with that. I did not have any. The early Staggs –just to start with- had more span and less length, so you will have to slice and splice one set of wings. The upper –longer- wing panels in your kit number one will do now as lower wing panels for your prototype model. The lower wing panels of both kits will have to be hacked and re-hashed as the upper wings. Afraid of loosing detail? Don’t be, for two reasons: the upper wing in the early machines had no ailerons (fill the engraved aileron line and the seam where you attached the extension since you are at it) and the prototype used a slimmer airfoil, so some little sanding-down won’t hurt. Now your “new” lower wing (former upper wing of your kit) will need its aileron line continued to the edge (root) fill and scribe accordingly. Confused? And we are just getting started. Get the right engine from another kit or as an after market item; you need a Wright Whirlwind instead of the P&W R985 in your kits. To help you sorting out, here some pointers about the prototype 17R compared to your kit (which is a D-17): Had larger span Had two doors Bump underneath aileron hinge No upper wing ailerons Different engine The rudder split open and acted as an airbrake Had fixed LG (will have to glue all retractable gear parts closed, smooth out the area, scratchbuild the wheel pants) The fuselage was shorter and the aft shape concurrently varied The tail feathers were different (larger horizontal stab and differently-contoured vertical stab) The baggage door was on the other side (right) It had landing lights Tail wheel wasn’t retractable Had slightly more dihedral –even more on lower panel- Different nose and surface details AND of course some other details. Elated already? So am I. With another stagg in pants, soon to be posted as a separate RFI: