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  1. A vac from 7 years ago: The Pander S.4 -known also as Postjager and Panderjager- was a very stylized Dutch trimotor designed by Theo Slot that first flew in 1933. It was built by the furniture company Pander & Zonen as a high speed mail plane. Only one was produced and after some mail flights it entered in the MacRobertson air race, during which it crashed and went up in smoke. The accident had nothing to do with the plane or its pilots; it was a collision with a vehicle on the tarmac. The Pander was equipped with three Wright Whirlwinds and retractable landing gear, its construction material being mostly wood, and its lines were advanced for its time. It sported flaps and “park bench” ailerons. A good deal of research was carried on before attempting actual modeling. In some images the fuselage registrations and rudder marks are absent. In others the fuselage registrations are there but not the rudder marks. In some images the word Panderjager is on the side of the nose (in small characters) and in others Postajeger is written in a bigger font (associated with a prominent antenna, earlier in the life of the plane). Some images show no nose inscriptions. Some faired bumps that are present on the lower part of the engine gondola aligned with the LG legs are absent in later photos. Execuform molds of the Pander S.4 are in line with its philosophy, simple and robust, providing a starting point for the modeler to build upon and achieve a nice replica with some good ole modeling. The kit includes –besides the vacuformed parts- resin wheels which come in halves, material for the transparencies and printed references. As said, the modeler will have to add decals, ful interior detail, engines, propellers, tail wheel and external detail at will. Separation lines for the control surfaces are also to be engraved. All this extra work is not that difficult to accomplish and the reward will be an unusual and very sleek reproduction of a pioneering design of the Golden Age of aviation. I purchased a resin trimotor set from Khee-Kha Art Products and used a few parts from the spares’ bin, scratching most of the detail otherwise and printing my own decals. Navigation lights came from the CMR resin set. Work started by creating an energy field around the workbench, thus preventing any interference from the exterior, including rays coming from secret lairs somewhere in Europe. A carpet monster zapping device was next installed. Then enough Argentinean empanadas, yerba mate, pastries, Mark Strand poetry books and Edgar Meyer’s CDs were stored in order to endure the rigors of model building. Look at the photos and if you have doubts go to Greece and consult an oracle. Their answers could be vague –to say the least- but the food is excellent. Some engineering thought was given and applied to certain areas. Especially when dealing with vacuformed kits or scratched models thinking ahead is a must, to avoid as much as possible trouble later on. It is convenient to build the interior of the model before joining the fuselage sides, the other way around may prove difficult, but otherwise very entertaining -for your fellow modelers-. I decided to make new cowls creating a cylinder with two layers of styrene sheet and a wood part glued to it to carve the front. I did it three times until I was satisfied. The cowls on the original plane are divided in quarters, the upper one is wider than the other three. They are separated by quite visible strips of metal. There are some details on the plane that you may like to reproduce: a sort of “stacked pancakes” radiator under the nose immediately after the engine cowl. The three exhausts exit through the cowls, central downwards and a bit to the left, and side engines upwards and to the right –from the pilot’s point of view-. Look at photos. The park bench ailerons align -when viewed from the front- with the leading edge. Some photos show a Pitot on the left wing. Most photos show no manufacturer decals on the center prop. Do not forget you have to make the parkbench ailerons. I used styrene sheet and some modified contrail airfoiled material for the supports. Notice that they have mass balances in the shape of rods. Other than control surfaces’ separations I did not engrave other lines, since the machine was praised for its smooth finish. The tail of the Pander requires some elements: struts, nav lights, some sort of cable that runs from mid-fin to fuselage and a conspicuous system of connected elevator horns. These sort of long-haul projects are better combined with less demanding endeavors, like climbing the Himalayas or making a fortune in a week. But, once finished, there is that extra satisfaction knowing that you put into it a little bit of you. I would like to thank Kees Kort from Holland as well as other friends (you know who you are) for their kindness and help.
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