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Showing results for tags 'Piper L-4'.
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Good morning (or whatever) and happy new year all, here I am with another attempt at a Work in Progress... emphasis on progress. No, emphasis on "attempt"! It is, in case you haven't already figured it out, the Bronco 1/35 Piper L-4 Cub (aka Grasshopper). A friend of mine recently purchased an actual (1:1 scale) Piper Cub, and enlisted me to help him truck it to its new home in Maine. You see, in a former life, I went to school to get my aircraft mechanic's license, and had some involvement in "real" airplanes. (He went to school to become a professional pilot, which he is. So my job is to protect the airplane from him !) Should I proceed, I might include "work in progress" on that one, too- it is a lovely airframe that has been sitting in a hangar for a while, and we (or rather he) got it sans engine and prop. Now, to introduce a bit of schizophrenia, this Cub was built in February 1945 as an L-4J (45-4635), promptly moved to New York, boarded a freighter, and sailed off to adventure in Europe. I'm in the process of decoding the individual aircraft record card, but according to Joe Baugher's website, she was assigned to 9th Air Force, and was damaged in a taxiing accident in Germany in late May. She was sold surplus while still in Germany, then came back to the states and was "civilianized" in 1946. I believe that she's looked like a perfectly typical* civilian J-3 Cub ever since. (We're keeping her that way at present, but if/when the time comes to re-cover, I'm sure we'll be tempted to go back to L-4 configuration.) * One exception to "typical Cub"- the L-4J differed from the H in being equipped with a Beech-Roby variable pitch propeller. Supposedly, these were quickly switched to the usual fixed-pitch wood prop in service, but this one had one fitted in early civilian life, so perhaps retained it in the Army. I have found some photos of L-4Js postwar still wearing the Beech-Roby, so this is something I'm rather curious about. "It's only a model." (Shh!) [Pull the wings, put it in a truck, bring it home. It sounded pretty simple at the time...] So, that's the backstory. What about the model? Well, 2019 was a VERY dry year for me, even by my own standards. I bought some pretty nifty kits, but did hardly anything in terms of actually messing with plastic bits. As for this one, I'd been in a "trainer" group build sometime in the last few years, and was planning to build a 1/48 (or 1/50) L-4 that I'd logged some flight instruction hours in. The Cub is spectacularly ill-served when it comes to plastic models. Heller's L-4 isn't really 1/48, and is a pretty lousy kit. Hobbycraft's J-3 is more 48th-ish, and is perhaps a somewhat better kit, but has its own peculiarities, such as all-clear fuselage. It also doesn't lend itself to being an L-4. So I bought the Bronco kit from a local modelling buddy, eagerly took a look, and was underwhelmed. First of all, I'm REALLY not into 1/35 and the non-flying stuff that it implies (though I admit I have one or two trucks and such just because they're kinda nifty). A quick comparison to Revell's 1/32 Super Cub (now THAT'S a pretty good kit) shows that, yes, size DOES matter- and if you think about it, there's about a 10% difference between the two scales. So, the L-4 languished on the stacks, and I even put a price tag on it at a couple of contests where we had a sell-table. Having gotten sucked into the real Cub project, I took another look at the Bronco kit- and again was, if not frightened off, at least discouraged. But I decided that it was now or never, and with the start of a new year, what better time to make a go of it. So when I got up ridiculously early this morning, I resolved to start off right, by actually doing some work on a model. Having looked at the instructions, I thought I'd start with the cylinders. They're each split into two, with a separate rocker-box cover. And what do I find when I look at the cylinders on the sprue? (sorry about the fuzzy image: ) Yep, a molding ejector pin (?) right on EVERY face that is supposed to mate to its 'better half'. Oh bother. Too early to fire up the Dremel to obliterate those, though I did snip off what the cutters could reach, as a start. Resisting the impulse to once again set the kit aside, I thought, "Right then, I can glue the two crankcase halves together." Reaching for the Tamiya Extra-Thin, I... Hmm, where the heck is it? Not on the bench where it usually is. Not in the traveling tool kit I use for build-nights with the local club. Not on the stairs coming up to "my" upstairs headquarters. Where else could I have left it? Not over there in the "catchall corner"... After going back and forth searching the suspect areas repeatedly, feeling ever more futile and still thinking what else I might have done with it, I finally found it hiding on the steps amongst the (small) clutter. I have now glued the crankcase together! So, does this mean that it is going to be that kind of year? Or does the fact that I kept going and finally achieved ONE immediate objective, despite the obstacles, imply that there's hope? I guess we'll have to wait and see... By the way, what I'm thinking with this build is to show what our Cub might have looked like in Spring 1945, but also (approximately) reflecting the details that she now has or soon will (seats, instrument panel, etc). In other words, kind of a teaser for how this airframe would look as a (future) current Warbird, rather than trying to precisely replicate its 1945 appearance. Both of us being modellers, we'd try to be faithful (no "gloss olive drab"!), but since the intent of this venture is to have a Cub to enjoy, we also wouldn't get so fussy that it got in the way of utility. Wishing all of us, and especially the world at large, a far better new year, bob
Hello, here's my rendition of Kovozávody Prostejov's Piper L-4, dressed as General Patton's personal aircraft in France, 1944. Having recently built their new Mustang and Lavochkin La-5, I was suprised by the rough nature of this kit. It's a typical short-run affair with heavy sprue gates that extend onto the kit's parts, some oversized parts and poor fit, especially around the glasshouse and nose section. The wheels are a joke. They should be round - well, you know what wheels should look like. The items in the KoPro kit suffer from offset moulding and look horrible. Because of their relatively small size no replacements were found in my wheel spares, so I took the task of sanding them to shape as good as I could. The decals aren't the best either, they are relatively thick and have a strong carrier film that remained visible even after I've coated with Alclad Gloss. Plus, the Blue of the US Stars is too bright. Because of the small size on the fuselage, no replacements could be sourced from the decal spares box. To bring this kit up to modern standards you will need to invest a lot of time, effort and patience. I added the boarding steps from scratch. The model was painted with Mr.Hobby acrylics. I'm not very happy how this little model turned out, but on the other hand I'm grateful to KoPro for releasing a kit of this important military and civilian airplane. With best wishes from Vienna, have a good day! All pictures taken by Mr. Wolfgang Rabel of IGM Cars & Bikes.