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Found 70 results

  1. Another commission for the same client who recently had me build them an A380 in Emirates colours. This is the Zvezda 777-300ER dressed up in the 26Decals Emirates 777-31H livery. My client has just flown out of Stanstead on one of these bound for Dubai and wanted another reminder of her journey in 1/144 scale as a ceiling hanging display. The Kit: WOW - this is an amazing kit and certainly far better than the Minicraft 777 which I have previously built and had to alter with numerous Braz resin front-end and engine corrective parts. Zvezda have put some incredible engineering into their moulding detail and the central one piece wing join is a great way to hold the correct profile (their 747-8 and 787-8 kist both use the same attachment method) While 26 decals have never disappointed me, either Zveda or 26 have the window spacing wrong. I've had to attach the window decals in groups of 3 to avoid spacing problems. I should have this completed within the next few days or so.
  2. A completed commission build for an Emirates passenger who travelled down to Cape Town from Dubai last year on one of the Airlines A380-800's and wanted to remember the experience in 1/144 scale. Not competition standards by far but sufficiently Airbussy to have satisfied the client. Kit cockpit piece omitted and replaced with 26 Decals set in conjunction with the detail set supplied with the A380 House Colours decal sheet. The fishing line suspension lines are quite fine and don't really show up here but this has been built as a ceiling hanging display. Mr Hobby Acrylics used throughout and glossed with Humbrol water based Clear.
  3. Well, work on the second Anson started, and this time the goal is to reproduce a machine used by the London School of Flying, G-AMDA. The previous experience with the recently posted Anson should be of help, and an opportunity to improve a thing or two that I missed on that one. G-AMDA also flew in other guises (Derby Aviation), equally attractive, but the elegant two-tone blue scheme of this one definitely appealed to me. This airframe needs a few things modified: new clear nose, cowls, landing gear, the addition of a football antenna loop fairing, and other minor details. An old release: With documentation! I acquired a set of Eduard masks and a Flightpath photoetched set. You can see that I have made already the new cowls and gotten new engines:
  4. Here I would like to show you this classic airliner before the wide bodies were available. The kit is from Nitto and has also been on the market under the Doyusha label (afaik). The kit's decals were quite ok, but I did not like the liveries (KLM and JAL). So Draw decals came to the rescue with this colourful livery. The specialists among the audience may have noticed, that Aeromexico did not use the -61, but the -63 with slightly different engines. But I hope nobody else will notice... The Cockpit glazing was not usable. So I had to use filler and had to sand it. The decals from Draw were also useful here. I hope you like this sleek airliner. Any comment is welcome. cheers, Norbert
  5. I like this old kit. I'll try to explain why. The "Nippon" (Japan) was one in a series of conversions for civil use stemming from the Mitsubishi G3M line. Several planes, not always identical, were converted or modified for a number of civil duties: passenger and cargo flying and "good will", record, or propaganda flights. The details are complex and extensive, so we'll untangle them later on. Here is a list, taken from the Golden Years registers, of all the Mitsubishi transports I could find there: J-BAAS Mitsubishi L3Y1 Asahi Shimbun J-BACI Mitsubishi G3M2 Osaka Mainichi Shimbun and Tokyo Nichinichi 00.08.39 J-BADY Mitsubishi L3Y2 J-BEOA Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Soyokaze' J-BEOC Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) Dai Nihon KKK 'Yamato' (Conversion of 96/G3M2) J-BEOD Mitsubishi twin engined transport DNKKK 00.10.39 (Conversion of 96/G3M1) J-BEOE Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) Dai Nihon KKK 'Tatsukaze' (Conversion of 96/G3M2) J-BEOF Mitsubishi twin engined transport DNKKK 00.04.40 (Conversion of 96/G3M1) J-BEOG Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) Dai Nihon KKK 'Matukaze' (Conversion of 96/G3M2) J-BFOE Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Amatsukaze' 00.03.40 J-BFOF Mitsubishi twin engined transport DNKKK 00.03.40 Forcelanded in sea and sunk off Haneda J-BJOD Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Isokaze' 00.01.41 J-BJOE Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Hamakaze' 00.11.40 J-BJOF Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Okikaze' 00.01.41 J-BJOG Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Namikaze' 00.01.41 J-BJOH Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Hokaze' 00.01.41 J-BJOI Mitsubishi G3M2 (Navy type 96) DNKKK 'Yakaze' 00.02.41 (DNKKK: Dai Nippon Kōkū Kabushiki Kaisha, Imperial Japanese Airways 大日本航空株式会社) J-BACI, one of the two subjects that can be modeled with this kit, made an around-the-world flight, http://airhistory-nippon.la.coocan.jp/nipponflight.html visiting many countries and attracting a great deal of attention (no doubt the goal of such endeavor). Among those countries was Argentina, with the plane landing in Buenos Aires. Many of the flights performed by the civil variants of the plane where as said in the category of "good will" flights. However, considering the events immediately after (like Pearl Harbor), one perhaps should be a tad skeptical assessing the real nature of them. Regarding the different registrations/machines, it's not just a matter of slapping them on, since there were many differences among machines, some quite evident. As always, base your model and detail on photographic evidence, and pay little heed to captions and written descriptions, many times inaccurate. For the moment, and regarding the kit, it must be said that this tool -with modifications and additions- was released a large number of times covering a variety of subject through many years. This last incarnation in civil guise by Arii, is still, in spite of of its vintage, a nice package at a very convenient price. So what do we get? We get a bag where everything but the instructions is packed: transparencies, decals, sprues. Not the best packaging, as we know. But there is a piece of rigid cardboard to support the load. The transparencies contain many parts not to be used, as they belong to the bang-boing-paf versions, for which I care much less than little. The decals cover two civil versions, J-BACI and J-BEOC. The parts are modified to cover this civil versions, but still some things will need to be added. The surface is interesting, consisting -again, old mold- of myriads of engraved rivets and panel lines. Of course a bit exaggerated. Nothing that an invigorating exercising sanding session -or many- won't take care of. A blast from the past: the place for the hinomarus is also engraved on the wings -now that is vintage for you-. The interior detail I strongly suspect belongs more to the other versions than to the civil ones . No cabin detail whatsoever, but some cockpit detail. The landing gear legs can rotate upwards!! -this always reminds me of the 60's and the Beatles:-) The rest has a rational break-down and again interesting surfaces and detail, we will see this as we advance on the build. I think this old kit in its new guise can be turned into a decent model -and you can see many good ones on the Net, some exceptionally built. Let's see what we got: Out of the cellophane bag: The transparencies are not bad at all: Although the surface is slightly pebbled and looks faintly milky. Future bath in its future, no doubt: The hinomaru placement mark (I know...), the hail dimples or golf ball rivets, but quite restrained panel lines. My idea is to sand the surfaces quite a bit to reduce those golf ball dimples to their minimum expressions, and refresh the panel lines if needed: A view of the second sprue: The engines are molded integrally with the cowl. If not awfully wrong or offending, I nevertheless just ordered after-market ones and will remove them, which also facilitates painting -however, the cowl was black on the original plane, so you may get away painting everything black and picking the engine up with a dry-brush of silver-: The main sprue. The Japanese figures look a bit circumspect or pensive: Some of the parts, a bit of flash, some ejector pin marks, the usual: Instrument panel, not bad if you want just a quick build: The props, not really accurate but passable, again, if you just want a quick build:
  6. I love the strange but somehow harmonious lines of the Lysander, always did and always will. But I do not build military planes anymore. Imagine my joy when I read, in a very old Fana magazine, that one was acquired to fly, under British registration, for Monaco Airways! A frantic search and extensive consultation did not render any results, whatsoever. Years passed, nothing else came up. Days ago I saw that a new kit may be in the works according to BM's rumormonger. So finally, since I only have four models in their final and most delicate stages, I decided to bring Lizzie to life, and bought the Pavla kit. And I asked for the help of my French fellow modelers and friends.
  7. Well, another wonderful little kit by Avis of an appealing subject rendered in great detail, with sound engineering and molding, which makes for a pleasurable build in all departments. The step-by-step build is here: Even as a short-run kit, these last civil releases by Avis have raised that bar in that category high up. As you can see, I built three of their recent kits in a row, something I seldom do, but I was enchanted by the subjects and the quality-price ratio. The care on the details, the good instructions, clear and at a readable size, the good decal sheet, the printed clear parts, the accessories included, what a delight! There is a minor issue with the decal placement under the wing, please refer to the WiP for correction. As I said elsewhere: It warms the cockles of my heart!
  8. Another attractive civil release by Avis, again combining nice detail, good engineering, affordable price and appealing subject in short-run form. The box has alternate parts and even offers the perks of beaching wheels, a fuselage resting scaffold and a bench, all with multiple parts. How's that for a little kit? The Short Brothers S.1 Cockle (first named Stellite) was a one-off endeavor commissioned privately. First flying in 1924 it shows another effort by Short to master the intricacies of metal airplane building (seen also in the S.4 Satellite), having an aluminium hull and frame. The very small twin engine arrangement reminded of a scratch I did time ago, the Gnosspelius Gull, and what do you know, Mr. Gnosspelius was indeed attached to this project as I found out doing some research for this build. The prototype had some difficulty trying to separate itself from the water, and being marginally powered -to put it mildly- it was no surprise, but finally achieved flight by making some changes to the airframe. The original tail was later replaced by a larger and differently shaped one, and it ended up being used for some trials and experiments (The kit has both tails for you to chose from). Instructions tell you to paint the hull bottom and wing floats black, which is not unusual, but at least one clear photo shows the plane with no color whatsoever on those areas, having the hue of the rest of the plane, aluminium. A very unreliable small card drawing with the wrong registration found on the net shows those areas on red. The choice is yours. With all the recent Avis releases I am (flying) in heaven. It is not often that I get on a roll regarding manufacturers products, but after completing the Satellite, working now on the final stages of the Bristol Racer, and getting this one, I just had to start it. It calls you. Again, even as a short run offering effort is made to keep things clean, sprue gates small, and detail satisfying: Two horizontal and two vertical tails are offered: The detail is convincing: Even the minuscule Blackburne Tomtit engines are rather convincing for this scale: Decals for the two versions and the usual Avis film windshields: I will go back to the Bristol Racer for a little while, but I'll be back, as it was once famously said.
  9. The chubby silhouette of the Bristol Racer at first sight doesn't look like a wonderful choice for a streamlined speed machine. Nevertheless it was thought that by encapsulating the whole engine some gain was to be had. Surface area vastly increased, though, and produced an aerodynamic shadow that spoiled the efficiency of wings and tail. In any case, that strange choice has given us one of the most distinct shapes of early aviation, besides being irresistibly cute, and having you wanting to pinch its cheek. So much in love I was with this thing that I ventured years ago to build a not particularly good vacuformed kit of it, posted here at BM. Some years later I even got a special set made by Arctic Decals to go with the kit (that provided no decals whatsoever, and had many other shortcomings. But hey, it was, after all a Bristol Racer, and who would kit it anyway? Well, Avis just did!!! But first, here is the old beast made with the vac kit After the nice experience with Avis' Short Satellite, I just had to retrieve the box from the vault and start it. One of these has already been built and posted here at BM by @Unkempt, who did a wonderful job. So, let's see where this goes. The box, known already by many here: Contents: Detail: The biggest parts are removed and cleaned up a bit: Some parts will need your attention. I had to remove material from the inner rim on the part on the right, to let the relief on the part of the left get inside. Also the locating key has to be sanded a bit to allow the parts to be joined: A small issue on this kit is the position of the fore legs of the L.G. I joined the parts just with a blob of Plasticine from behind to show what's going on here. As you can see there is no recess for the fore legs, as it should be, because it intersects the ventilation canals. What is wrong here is hard to tell: are those canals too long or too aft? is the LG position -or other parts- out of wack?: As you can see the master maker started to carve the recess for the legs, but encountered the issue and did not proceed further: But, if you align (fill) the two lower canals to match the external ones, you may create just enough room for the recess to be carved and so comfortably accommodate the LG legs:
  10. Congratulations to Avis for their recent releases of charming civil planes, a welcome and refreshing change from what is usually seen in the hobby scene. The model took less than a week to be built, working a bit every day. For details please refer to the building post: This is a very nice little kit that will only require a few details to be added to shine. The Short Satellite was one of the many efforts by aviation companies to obtain a reliable, affordable, safe, reasonably performing light plane for the civil market, being aimed to individuals or Aero Clubs. The graceful, well-though lines look modern compared to contemporaries, and so does its "metal can" fuselage construction, whilst the rest was the usual wood and fabric.
  11. I am elated by the release by Avis of a plethora of charming and good-looking civil planes in 1/72, a welcome break from the usual gloom and doom, with less common and sometimes colorful types, and all this at affordable prices with a reasonable level of detail. I am acquiring their releases to support their choices, eager as I am for not really common civil kits, having been many times forced to resort to conversions of existing kits, or scratch-building, to satisfy my preferences for graceful, well-meant, significant and why not many times cute and adorable little flying things. All the late Avis releases are short run, meaning that you have to put a little of yourself there, you know, that thing, modeling. The Short Satellite belongs to the Light Plane category, the same league for which I scratched the De Havilland D.H.53, Gnosspelious Gull and the Parnall Pixie posted here some time ago: A good reference for these types is The Lympne Trials, by Ord-Hume. I have had a file on Satellite for many years. In comparing the kit to my files I found it to be quite spot on, even having in the sprues the two engines (Cherub and Scorpion) that the plane had (The plane attended the Lympne light plane competition in 1924 and 1925 with a Cherub, and the 1926 one with a Scorpion). The kit provides a closing part for the aft cockpit for the version with the registration (as depicted in box art), but it also flew with that registration with the aft post uncovered. Parts are provided of course for both positions. There is a very small omission on the decal sheet: the scheme with the number 8 should have also two number 8 under each wing, with a white outline: http://www.shu-aero.com/AeroPhotos_Shu_Aero/Aircraft_N/Short/Short_Satelite_S_4_G_EBJU_01_large.jpg Besides what it is provided in the decal sheet, the plane sported an additional scheme with the number 15 -and still with the registrations-, plus the logo of the 7 feathers Aero Club on the nose. The fuselage of the Satellite was made entirely of metal, hence its aspect of cobbled-together tin cans. Contents, including a printed film for the small windshields: Nice instructions you don't have to look at with a microscope: The expected level of detail for this kind of kit:
  12. Here is finally the completed model of the Avro Anson in all its civil glory. My thanks again to the kit donor, Ebil Genius and Modeling Nemesis Sönke Schulz from Marzipanland, Volkania. The WiP article is here: This was a long and somewhat winding road, but in the process I learned a large number of things about the kit and the original planes, that I will promptly forget as I face a second Anson build, ready to recur on old mistakes and make new ones. Thanks also to Arctic Decals for the set I commissioned that allowed me to finish the model in such definitely not really subtle scheme There is a special joy in redeeming old dogs with new tricks, and you hone in the process those Shaolin skills. I think this would have made Master Sandpaper proud...
  13. Carl Jung regaled us (among many other things) with the concept of "significant coincidences", which he enveloped on the idea of "synchronicity". Little I knew, when I bought an affordable and vintage kit of the Percival Proctor to convert it -as I frequently do- into a civil machine, that the livery I would end up choosing (among a large number of candidates) will have a connection with my country or origin that I wasn't aware of. As I was building the kit and gathering data on the chosen registration, G-AHWW, I came across a website (The Aviation Forum) that provided information about its pilot, Arthur Bradshaw, and stated that he had worked, about 1947, as a pilot for the Argentinean airline FAMA (Flota Aérea Mercante Argentina, loosely translated: Argentinean Merchant Air Fleet). In 1950 Bradshaw returned to his natal New Zealand -from England- in the plane with his family. For the long flight he added an extra underbelly fuel tank. The "merchant" New Zealand flag was used on the rudder, which had a red background (Bradshaw, as I just wrote, was a merchant pilot, and was ferrying this plane to start a commercial endeavor). In the few images I could found, I can't see a reg. on the right wing (which is the case for some of those I studied, -and built), and can barely see an almost invisible trace of them under the left wing, in a non-contrasting color, so I went (just a provisional guess) for silver outlines regs. on alu paint/dope background. The building of this vintage kit was simple and straightforward, and I indulged in just a couple of additions, to keep the effort and time invested in line with the quality of the molds. My thanks once more go to Arctic Decals from whom I commissioned and purchased the decals used. At the time of this post Dora Wings issues, -among many other nice civil subjects- a Mark I and Mark III of this plane in 1/72, which of course are contemporary molds that offer a superior quality and detail. But I like the old dogs once in a while, gives you this warm feeling of having rescued a kit, as it was famously said: "Take a sad song and make it better". (The WiP is here:
  14. I am ever looking for conversion projects in order to redeem boring and drab doom machines into colorful, joyful, useful and uplifting models. Many times the suitable kit happens to be a very old and outdated one. Perfect examples of those endeavors are -among many I posted here- the two Westland Everest planes: That, coincidentally, were re-issued by the same company that boxed the Proctor: Air Lines. This for what I can tell was originally a Frog mold, and it also more recently came out as a NOVO boxing (which already gives you the clue that you are communicating with the spirits of the departed kits...). On the pro side: you can get them for an affordable price, they are abundant as most modelers moved on the better and newer releases (and for good reasons), and if you botch one you just trash it mercilessly and forget about it, no stress ruining a good kit here. So, I got this old and humble kit and started to look for nice civil liveries, of which I found a lot. But soon I discovered that many of my potential subjects actually belonged to other variants of the type, and would require some modifications. Since a reasonable improvement and detailing of the kit already would consume certain time, and not wanting to get into a building quagmire, I discarded the subjects that belonged to other marks of the Proctor and centered on a few candidates that were more or less a direct adaptation of these machines into civil use. The parts were liberated from the ever-present flash, cleaned up, and slightly refined. My boxing -bought 334,677th hand- was missing a side window, no big deal. This area needs to be opened up, so one hole and two razor cuts do the trick: Vent drilled: Another small intake drilled: All locating pins were removed since invariably they actually dis-located the parts they were supposed to seamlessly align, and stabs and wing halves were shaved a bit, since they sinned of fatulence (yes, correct word, no typo, it describes a known kit malady that makes kit parts -especially flying surfaces- look excessively fat).
  15. Nowadays it is common practice for Airlines to paint one of their Aircraft in a so called "Retro Look" to commemorate former successful times. In 1952 the Scandinavian Airlines System, short SAS, went another way. They painted one of their Aircraft, in this case a DC-3, in a future livery, . But when the new paint Job was shown to the bosses, they were not amused. They did not like it at all and ordered to repaint the Douglas immediately! As Michael J. Fox said in "Back to the Future, part 1": You guys are not ready for that, but your kids are gonna love it! So this Aircraft never flew in this beautiful livery, what a pity!
  16. And when I thought I had posted most of the models I deeemed would be useful here, I realized I left this one out. So here it is, a build from 7 years ago, with its original text. What does one do when in England? yes, one buys an old Airfix kit. How old? look at the photos, 1957 vintage! a mold 62 years old to this date. Airfix -and successive re-incarnations- squeezed the twopence out of that mold! What I want to do with it? Convert it to a civil machine, of course! likely some variation of the Bristol Tourer/Coupe. History: At some point after the war it was realized that transporting people was much, much nicer than bombing then. This very painfully-obtained knowledge was not, however, kept in mind for a long time. The Bristol Tourer/Coupe was a direct derivative of the Bristol F2B. In that regard, many countries, like Japan, France and Germany were doing the same: hastily converting war leftovers for the incipient civil market, many times with the procedure of producing a “hunch” to protect the weary passengers against the elements. I may refer you to two of my models: -Hawa F.3: -Hansa Brandenburg W.29 J-BCAL: You could model a civil machine without modifying a single part of the Bristol Airfix kit, though. There were a couple of Canadian machines (G-CYBC / DP and at least one Spanish that flew the plane as it is represented in the kit (minus armament, of course). Beware, since some of the other civil versions had different engines, cowls, radiators, rudder, passengers’ compartment covers, supplementary fuel tanks on the top wing, and minor details. Look at your photos, not at drawings: photos. I did some preliminary chopping, cleaning, filing, filling and sanding as per images. All the stitching was eliminated at this point, later to be replaced by other devices. You can see in the building photos that some areas have been removed and the section corresponding to the passenger cabin altered to represent the increase in fuselage width that was incorporated in the real plane in order to accommodate the side-by-side seating arrangement. Not all Coupes/Tourers had this increase in width; again, check your photos. Some formers were cut, and the usual interior paraphernalia prepared for the cockpit and passenger cabin. Some external elements (augment rudder, different nose, hunch, top wing tanks, etc.) had to be scratched too. As you can see in the images the major work was concentrated in two areas: the passenger cabin elements and the nose. The former is a complex area that need careful observation of the photos and accurate execution. Of special note is the transition from the former back of the pilot (which has a sort or triangular shape at the top) to the first passenger cabin former, which is quadrangular with round corners at the top, and leans forward. The second area of effort as said was the nose. A wood master was prepared in order to vacuform the cowling. Engine, radiator and ancillary parts (like the oil tank) were scratched. The engine alone insumed about fifty individual parts. Again, attention needs to be paid to the sections’ transition, from firewall to radiator. At the firewall the top is rounded and the bottom straight, and that reverses at the radiator’s cross section. Home-made decals were prepared: a bundle of “stitches’ strips” and black regs on white decal paper stock. More details related to the upper wing, control surfaces, ancillary parts, etc. were made; paint ensued with a home-made custom color of all sub-assemblies. A bit of work, complicated by the difficulty in handling the model for the final steps with all those wires and external details. The woman in the photos is my friend Soenke's sekretarien. He sent her from Germany, previously shrinking her with one of his multiple evil rays. Her name is Fraulein Preiser. She is nice, but constantly complains about having to wear the same dress over and over again.
  17. Here is the ongoing project, a Williams Bros. in National Parks Airways livery. The well-known, old, venerable kit is the base for some upgrades, further detailing the interior adding the nose hatch and mail compartment, opening the hatch for the aft cargo compartment, creating the much needed restroom for the relief of those poor 1/72 passengers -with toilet and paper roll, made of actual paper-, adding the luggage nets and so on. The kit is actually, for its age, quite workable, with refinements missing many times from much modern kits.
  18. A model built 3 years ago, to indulge in the expressed predilection of some esteemed members on the inter-wars period. The beautiful Zeppelin-Staaken E4/20 passenger four-engined monoplane was a product of the postwar (that is post-WWI war), and a very good one. Wisely or not (there were, ahem, understandable fears, surely not appeased by the camouflage covering), the Allied commission decided it should be dismantled, so it bloomed only to be scraped. The mind behind this innovative use of metal (in a way different than Hugo Junkers) was Dipl. Ing. Adolph Rohrbach, later of flying boat fame. In a way, it followed the steps of an unlikely (and unrecognized) grandfather, the Sikorsky Russky Vityaz and its successor the Illya Mourometz ( from 1913!!!!!!), very big, efficient and innovative four-engine machines used in part as commercial passenger planes. So the Zeppelin-Staaken of 1919 was not really new or revolutionary in that regard, but it was a much modern design that took advantage of the advances in technology developed during WW1, being an all-metal, almost total cantilever monoplane. For the skeptics: it did fly, and flew well enough. Many years would pass until such an achievement would be recognized or even copied, or re-invented, and DECADES would pass until a conceptually similar plane was designed, built and flown. Now, the bad news: the kit: As I opened the intact bag Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Impossible" theme started to sound in the depths of my mind. The surface is a disaster, the plastic has dirt inclusions, the edges are ill-defined, the "panel lines" have been -unevenly- traced with a banana, some of the wheels are oval...I mean, how hard is to trace a circle? But I am not being totally fair, this kit is not just bad: it is horrid. No interior and no accessories complete (or incomplete?) the package. True, where else can you get a Zeppelin Staaken E4/20? Do you think Revell is going to come to the rescue? Exactly. So we are stuck with this Frankenkit until 3D printers can be bought for twenty dollars and you can produce your own. I have seen some built on the Net, with more or less fortune, valiant endeavors that I shall not dare to criticize. These brave souls did enough, whatever the results. Classic Plane from Germany was the perpetrator of this...thing, many moons ago. You get your quasi-formed (the term vacu-formed would be too optimistic) plastic of decent gauge, some clear material for the windows, a 1/72 plan that does not coincide with some parts (i.e. fuselage length, span), a page of dubious clarity with some notes. Hope and Faith are not included, and you have to provide your own. There are redeeming qualities: the plastic has a good gauge, cuts and sands easily, glues well, and its surface admits finer sanding. There were some changes on the plane that can be seen in contemporary photos, most noticeably: the addition of a canopy above the cockpit. The presence in some images of a nose wheel -to prevent nose over-. Some probes that appear in some photos over the nose area. Changes in the fairings of the wheel struts/shock absorbers. The door opens sideways in most photos but in other photo is shown opening downwards (associated with the canopy). A couple photos show the legend "Staaken" painted and crossed over. The wheels are seen with visible spokes or fabric-covered. There were two sort of tripods on the wings towards the wingtips. So, in order to reproduce an accurate version of the plane at any stage of its life you chose to, you must study photographs. Here I give you the first 4-engine passenger-carrying monoplane built mostly of metal...in 1919.
  19. A model from 9 years ago: A simple slap-on weekend project as a relaxing distraction from more involving endeavors, using an old and affordable kit as a divertimento. The Fokker D.VII needs no introduction; after the first world war a number of these and another planes were used as civil machines. The one represented here, O-BEBE, belonged to Belgium and was used at a flying school, still wearing its camouflage but sporting prominent registrations on a white background. I got the Revell D.VII, which is an old mold and a not totally bad -but a bit crude- kit. It suited the project since I wasn’t especially looking for detail and I am used to deal with kits that have some shortcomings. It has no interior, only the dreaded styrene mummy that sits on a tab. Now, what is unforgivable regarding the Revell kit is its laughable lozenge decals. Who in heaven thought that you can provide a “paint-by-numbers” white decal with a delimitation grid in black for the modeler to fill the polygons with the different colors? It is just me, or this one qualifies for the silliest decal sheet ever? In any case, fortunately, I wasn’t going to use the decals anyway. Flash, ejector marks and dubious spots were sanded, scrapped, filed, filled and otherwise made inconspicuous before construction began. The too prominent ribs were toned down too. Revell provides one side of the wheel covers as a separate part. If this was thought to facilitate painting, you still have to deal with the tire-cover separation line on the other side anyway; and in any case, the two-part approach could have been tire and rest-of-the-wheel. The funny thing was that the covers won’t fit, due to some excess plastic in the recess. I had to use a rotary tool to remove plastic in order to be able to make room for the cover. Some genius was loose in the Revell quarters. A bit of structural detail was added to the cockpit area and the addition of a floor, seat, pedals, joystick and instrumental panel made for a suitable interior. The decals were home made. Once the fuselage halves were closed the area were the guns used to be was filled and blended and a new windscreen -as seen in photos of the original plane- made. The lower wing was glued in place –had to sand a tad here and there- and also blended-in. The other parts were being decaled separately meanwhile. Since lozenge decals cover large areas, it is not always easy to position and align a thin decal film. Once all decaling was completed and the locating holes or gluing areas of parts were cleared, the parts were given a coat of varnish in order not to mar the decals during later manipulation. Once all major components were ready, final assembly began. The struts could be replaced if so wished by more to-scale streamline stock. I only used the outer wing “N” struts for the sake of alignment. All the other struts were replaced. Some details were added like control horns and control cables, plus rigging. When I was making the decals, I spent some time reading discussions on lozenge. Boy, were these discussions long. What it seemed to be the undeniable truth at some point was just bogus at some other point. “Proofs” that demonstrated something, only demonstrated their own relativity time later. What was supported by one photograph was contradicted by the next. As in many areas of life, although some general agreement exists, there is not really ultimate word on lozenge. Add to that the variations of weathering, printing process, monitor screens, chromatic aberration, ortho and panchro nuances and quirks and you have a carnival. Where I am going with all this? Firstly, you don’t have to have the latest thing in town to make a nice or fun model. Secondly, you can choose an original livery, not necessarily the "that plane again" machine. And thirdly, all this within reasonable effort and budget. The silliest "paint-by-number" decals sheet ever, a despicable attempt to get rid of the compromise of choosing the lozenge colors. Cheeky monkeys...
  20. A build from 9 years ago: It is not a common occurrence that decal makers will release options for civil machines of kits that are sold as warplanes. When I saw the (made in Czech Republic) Rising Decals “J-Birds” sheet and a related article in the ARAWASI magazine #7 on Japanese Hansa Brandenburg W.29, I was all for it. I wish Arawasi would include more civil golden era plane content. The acquisition of a W.29 kit proved difficult, though. The MPM, TOKO, and Eastern Express kits were not as easy to obtain as I thought. The available resin kits were not an option for my modeling budget. Finally Steve K. kindly sent me the Eastern Express release from his stash and Christos Psarras from the soon-to-be Atlantis (Florida) helped me to get another for a future “limousine” version (this one not included in the decal sheet). The Eastern Express (ex TOKO) kit has a reasonable level of detail. It offers two different stabilizers and two rudders. As a bonus you get a dolly and a couple of supports to prop the model “on land”. The wing-fuselage joint needs a certain amount of shaving and sanding to get it to fit, but I won’t go on describing the kit since it was already reviewed on the Net. Its nose is not applicable to the Japanese versions (which were powered by a geared Hispano Suiza) thence some nose cosmetic surgery was in order. A new radiator, firewal, support pieces and a metal cover were made .An engine was scratchbuilt too as per images. The interior was enhanced a tad adding bulkheads and some other detail parts. The kit two-blade prop was replaced by a touched-up four-blade prop from Aeroclub. All building and accessories made, the model was painted with a whitish aluminum acrylic and Future applied in preparation for the decals. The decals are wonderful, but bear in mind that they are thin, as good decals should be. Handle them with care and patience. I used Micro Sol and Set, but my impression is that they may not need setting solution if you apply them to a gloss surface and take care of eliminating water and bubbles. Their color is dense and not translucent at all, they are sharply defined. Two decals folded on themselves as I was trying to apply them (again, they are thin) but adding water and carefully prodding them with a toothpick straighten them out. Be aware of the direction of the Japanese lettering, you may not notice if you put them upside-down if you don’t speak Japanese. In this case (one of the four machines you can dress with the decals) you have a couple of options regarding some small lettering. Study the provided leaflet beforehand. After decaling assembly of the main parts ensued and details were added. There were a number of Japanese Hansas on the civil register (J-BASL, J-BAAI, J-BAFI, etc.) and if you are interested on the type a little research will be in order. The Hansa has indeed “character”, further enhanced by a civil registration and livery it really stands out. Stay tuned for the “limousine” version. (the other HB W29 is here): Scratched engine: Modified interior: Scratched radiator:
  21. A build from 6 years ago: Did you notice that after playing a popular character or role, for some actors and actresses it becomes very difficult to be cast in another type of role? Same for the airplanes. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found a photo of the Nieuport 28 as a post-WW1 sport machine parked (and possibly repaired/reconditioned) by the Rogers Aircraft Inc. aviation company. This is a very simple, effortless conversion for a fun an quick weekender, without pretensions. The plane had a simple paint scheme which somehow delineates well the design shape. The Revell kit was used but there are others around. The kit is nice, has certain detail -a bit exaggerated-, but not a good interior, so to the lonely kit’s seat some bits were added. Some rigging –the kit’s instructions in that regard are kind of vague- is required but nothing that can not be endured with the help of a cup or glass of your beverage of choice. I cut out some openings in the front and side of the cowl as per the real machine and modified the mount of the rotary engine to allow for room for the detail inside the cockpit. The windshield was discarded and the stab struts were replaced by suitable brass Strutz. Control horns and cables were added to the rudder, all other control surfaces were torque rod-operated. The canvas-covered kit’s wheels were replaced with photoetched spoke wheels as per the real plane I was modeling, and wire snippets had to be inserted in the trimmed axle to locate them. The kit’s prop (with a sorta chunky hub) was also replaced by an Aeroclub white metal item. Home-made decals were printed. In my research I also found a number of French machines with civil registrations that looked enticing. A relatively simple kit that has potential for alternate liveries, so the research is now up to you. Hint: Compagnie Generale Transaerienne.
  22. A build from 5 years ago: The chubby but charming shape of the Boeing 281 (as the civil, unarmed version -for export- of the P-26 was called) has always pleased me. Nevertheless, there were only two 281s -of the 12 made- that I was interested in: the first, X-12771, and a second machine without visible regs. Statements about their colors differ a bit (how surprising!) giving green and yellow or black and yellow for the first, and the same options with a black/white or red/white triangular design on the fuselage and pants for the second. Look at photos to base your work upon. No antennas are visible and no armament was present in these machines. I have built time ago the venerable Revell kit with its entire rivet galore, still a nice little kit if you deal with the surface detail, but I am glad this new renditions are out. There is a quite complete interior, a piece of printed film to make the windshield, a resin engine and the usual sprues with an alternate tailwheel; the kit has recessed panel lines and overall good detail. The decal sheet seems nice, but I won’t comment on it since as usual I will have to make my own decals for the machine I want. The parts as you can see are all well defined and well detailed, but have almost no locating pins and holes. There is no flash as per se present, but some parts do show mold lines and sometimes slightly rough edges, there are also a couple of sink marks on the tailwheel arrangement. In general, I am very satisfied with the quality/price ratio. Some other kits of this plane had issues with the dihedral, not this one. As you can see, it is perfectly possible to take a "normal" manufacturers' model and make of it something different. Scores of kits can be turned -with very little effort- into civil machines, something that unfortunately not many manufacturers dare to do themselves (issuing civil decals or catering for civil versions). I wish the civil options would deserve at least equal attention than their military counterparts. Since these civil planes are not only generally very colorful (especially compared to their usually drab counterparts) but have a different conventionality.
  23. A build from 6 years ago: The Ryan M-1 and its successor the M-2 were the ground upon which more streamlined and refined later types stood. Lindbergh’s very Ryan NYP was a cousin of this sort of clumsy-looking planes. Many of them worked for incipient airlines and plied the Air Mail air trails, as it is the case with the subject modeled here. There was a version equipped with an HISSO in-line engine, which can be seen today at the Seattle museum. The radial versions had different powerplants, but the Wright J-4 seemed a common choice. The chubby, stumpy, squarish, fridge-like lines have a unique charm, punctuated by details like the ice-cream cone-like landing lights and the exposed radial engine. I just posted the build of a kit by Greenbank or Greenbank/Castle. It is a little bit heavy-handed, and scarce, but caters for both the in-line and radial versions, and has decals. The kit is dated 1971, and one may say it is not that bad for that vintage. Every build present its challenges, and scratchbuilding more so. If the model is quite simple indeed, the polished swirls on the aluminum cowl and wheels are not easy to render. The nav lights, decals and other details required some attention too. I enthusiastically made a laminated prop that took a time, only to discover that the real prop wasn’t visibly laminated, so another one was carved. An interior was also added to spice-up the little boxy winged crate. The fuselage needed to be drilled in more than 20 places to accommodate struts, landing gear, control wires, etc. The visible tubular structure above the cockpits that supports the wing must be dealt with carefully. The plane fortunately is painted aluminum overall, but many areas should be treated with the previously-described burnished aluminum; that includes fuselage nose, upper cockpit area, front of central section of the wing and small square panels that cover the exit points of the wings aileron controls. Horns, cables, handles, nav lights, wires, coaming and the like were added to the exterior to make for a more realistic model. This replica of the nice little cute lumbering fellow can now fly home.
  24. In 2012 I started on these: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234931616-a-pair-of-dc-9/ and finally I have finished them. SAS DC-9-20 I used LN-decals for it. They were hard and a bit brittle, I don't know if they are old. I have had them for some time now. Finnair DC-9-50. TwoSix decals was used on this one. They were soft and flexible but a little bit on the thick side.
  25. I have managed to finish some old kits this summer. Boeing 727-200 A rather quick build. Less than two month. Decals from 26 decals. Well not a Swedish plane but Denmark is close enough. I have wanted a Sterling 727 since the 1970's and finally I have one. The Caravelle's wasn't as fast to build. I thing that I started on them around 2006. Decals from F-DCAL But I should have bought new engines for it but I didn't want to dig in to references so I built it out of the box. Not a Swedish plane but it says SAS on the side. Good enough for me. I think these decals came from F-DCAL as well. Thai Airways International was founded in 1960 as a joint venture between Thailand's domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (TAC) and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) In 1977 the Thai Government bought out SAS and THAI became fully owned by the Thai government. I had built this Air France plane back in 2006 and after I had finished it I found decals for SAS and Thai so I had to buy more kits. Built straight out of the box with the decals supplied in the kit.
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