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  1. Hi All. After a recent acquisition from Evilbay for £10.50, this little racer has got me all pepped up, so what do we have? As the title says, the subject of interest is the Model 100 Bugatti racer in 1/72 by an unknown to me, Projekts Model Co. The Bugatti racer was designed in the early 1930's with the view of racing it in the 1939 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race but wasn't completed before the outbreak of WW2 and like the Caudron C.714R racer, was hidden away until after the war. As you will see, the Bugatti racer was a very futuristic design to achieve the highest possible speeds. Two 450hp Bugatti type 50B racing engines were mounted behind the cockpit, each driving a shaft either side of the pilot to drive two, two-bladed contra-rotating propellers. Cooling intakes were located on the leading edges of the tri-tail assembly. It wasn't until 1970 that the decaying aircraft was bought by an American, restored and on static display at the EAA Aviation Museum. A nice pic from the Speedbirds book. The kit. The plastic, obviously limited run. The pictures. Their is also a correction sheet... After getting the kit, it was @Moa who helped with reference, thanks. Not to sure when this will kick into action as I've got to 'clear the decks' of other stuff first, hopefully soon. Stuart
  2. Racers in general are well-liked by the modeling and aviation community and Schneider participants constitute a chapter of special interest for many. I am very glad that some manufacturers (KP, Karaya, Avis, SBS, among others) started to pay attention to this not really well covered area of the hobby, releasing very interesting types with greater level of detail and better accuracy than earlier industry attempts of times past. Karaya must be thanked for bringing these charming and significant types to light. Some of you may know that I recently built the manufacturer's Savoia S.65, a very nice kit, but unfortunately riddled with inaccuracies and impaired by some questionable engineering. This offer by Karaya is much, much better, and certainly deserves praise, if requiring some little revisions and the addition of missing decals. To be fair, not much is around regarding this specific machine, so sources are limited. Still, some little inaccuracies, and photos showing additional marks were easily found on the Net after a brief search. I enjoyed building this kit, and the couple of challenges it presented were overcome with just a bit of effort and the experience of many years, something we older modelers are blessed with (together with failing eyesight and shakier hands). The build of this kit erased the bad taste left by the previous S.65 (even if the results after much time and energy spent were worth it) and I would gladly build another Karaya kit - but doing some research on the type to complement the build. Karaya offers a nice array of civil types and many racers among them, some are superbly attractive. You can tell that the kit displays a high degree of finesse in details and surfaces, care has been poured into the making of the masters, yet I still have my nitpickings with certain aspects of the engineering, an area where Karaya could certainly improve and that has been pointed out in builds by other modelers of their Schneider types. My deepest thanks to Arctic Decals from whom I commissioned and acquired the corrective set. For some additional notes and a step-by-step account of the building process, please check here:
  3. Well, after the not very nice experience with the noticeably inaccurate and problem-riddled Savoia S.65 by the same manufacturer, and because fellow modelers stated that their other kits were good, I decided to purchase another Karaya kit and give it a go. Today it arrived. All in all, this seems indeed a much better kit than the S.65, but we are still in the early stages of the build. These are the things that I like very much: -Subject, very appealing. -Price, fair. -Well detailed kit, convincing surface details, a number of detail parts that enhance the build. -Reasonable casting pouring blocks, making the parts not really difficult to remove and clean (one exception to be discussed later). -Reasonable engineering. -An exquisitely detailed engine. -The cockpit area has fine side wall detail (besides the natural components, included too) -Parts in general well cast (with exceptions, again to be discussed later). -A commendable non self-flattening box, if not a paradigm of rigidity either. -Thin trailing edges and flying surfaces, well represented, with nice detail, and in general highly commendable. -So far (we'll see as we go) an appearance of fidelity (not like the Savoia S.65, the misses of which could be spotted from miles away). -The wings have the panel separations, but are in one piece, making it very easy to produce the dihedral with little effort by just pushing carefully the outer panels up. That is a clever solution that deserves praise. -The location of struts, control cables, etc. is well marked and already prepared for insertion. -The struts are stamped on their pouring blocks with Roman numerals, making IDing them easier
  4. The completed Scooter. KP again must be thanked for the release of yet another beautiful civil plane. In this case the box offers the chance to build either a Scooter or its descendant the Swallow. Some parts have been provided to cater for each of them, but the wing and a couple more things need a little work to obtain a more accurate Scooter. These mods are well within the skills of an average modeler. It is indeed a colorful, jumpy little fella, much more gracious than its parent the Sopwith Camel. I went for a simple build -only correcting what I mentioned during the building post- but this can be the canvas for a lot of fun, if you decide to go that way. If you are interested and/or already have the kit, I recommend you visit the step-by-step building article to avoid a few pitfalls: Other than that, I am so very happy with this quick and rewarding build of a peppy mount that, besides being the personal plane of Harry Hawker, participated with some success in a number of aviation events later on.
  5. Here I present my recently completed Mustang that was built as part of the P-51 Mustang STGB but first a little detail. 'Thunderbird' was purchased from James M. Stewart for "$1 with other considerations" by Jackie Cochran. This aircraft was made from salvaged parts from other aircraft of the same type and was given a civil registration of NX5528N. Between 1949 and 1953, two more speed records were made and in 1953, 'Thunderbird' was sold back to Jimmy Stewart...for "$1 with other considerations". The build uses the second Mustang from Hasegawa's 'dual' kit and was built primarily OOB. Images showed that this racer had its propeller blades replaced with HS uncuffed 'paddle' blades and these were not included in the kit, so a resin replacement from Quickboost was obtained although the blade tips needed 'rounding off'. The instructions detail what needs to be deleted/ filled for a racer but like most/ all Mustang kits, they omit the requirement to fill the wing panel lines to 40% chord due the laminar wing, so this was also done. After being primed with Halfords Primer, the model was painted using Vallejo and Tamiya Acrylics and finished off with the kit decals. Build log here: Thanks for looking Stay safe. Stuart
  6. In general I wait until I have some visual material to show before I open a new thread, but in this case the beginning is more like a statement of purpose for the new year and the layout of the type background. The Italian Macchi M.39 was a racing seaplane designed specifically to compete on the Schneider Trophy of 1926, which it won, piloted by Mario de Bernardi. Five similar machines were built, three for racing purposes with a Fiat AS.2 engine (the other two flown by Ferrarin and Bacula), and two for training purposes which had a similar but less powerful Fiat engine. They followed the design lines that were found by almost all competitors to work better, namely twin-float braced monoplanes, of extremely refined streamlining that used surface radiators. As I mentioned in previous threads, before even thinking of building, I dedicate time and effort to research, which invariably pays off big time. And this is no exception. To start with, many photos captioned as a Macchi M.39 are actually of the very similar (but not identical) Macchi M.52 and 52R. Therefore the first task is to sort out the photos, helped by three clues: -The M.52s had a much pronounced arrow angle for the wings -The M.52s had slightly larger wing radiators -The M.52s had different motifs on the fuselage and tail. -The M.52 had a slightly different windshield. (Four, four clues -Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition) After studying from photos you promptly realize: -that representations of the M.39 in drawings and 3views are often inaccurate, since they include the graphic motifs that the M.52 had. As the winner of the Schneider, the M.39 had only the number 5 on the sides, no Italian tricolore on the rudder, and no fascia roundel on the fuselage. -that the machine at the Vigna di Vale museum has a different, much later scheme than that wore at the race, and a wooden prop, used only on the practice machines, and not the Reed metal prop used on the race. -That the windshield of the museum machine is again slightly different than the one seen in photos of the winning machine. As an additional achievement, the Macchi M.39 established soon after the Schneider win a new speed record.
  7. Here I present my recently completed Mustang that was built as part of the P-51 Mustang STGB but first a little detail. This particular 'Pony' was owned by Jackie Cochran and was originally built as a P-51B-15-NA, serial 43-24760 and given a civil registration of NX28388. Between 1946 and 1948, Jackie raced NX28388 in the Bendix Race three times and used the aircraft to set four world speed records. The build uses the Hasegawa kit and was built primarily OOB. Images showed that this racer had its propellers replaced and these were not included in the kit, so Martin ( @RidgeRunner ) kindly donated his spare prop from an F-51 kit. The instructions detail what needs to be deleted/ filled for a racer but like most/ all Mustang kits, they omit the requirement to fill the wing panel lines to 40% chord due the laminar wing, so this was also done. After being primed with Halfords Primer, the model was painted using Vallejo and Tamiya Acrylics and finished off with the kit decals. Build log here: Stuart
  8. The exceptional lines of the Savoia S.65 are a sheer delight, and although it never delivered what it promised, and did not actually compete in the Schneider Cup, the mere act of contemplating it is a source of aviation bliss. Karaya is a firmly established model manufacturer with a wide catalog that includes, to my delight, many Schneider planes. Karaya's reputation is good, but apparently my first encounter with their products was unfortunate, as I purchased a sadly inaccurate S.65. To start to make this flawed kit look like the real thing, the following was done: -Correct the spurious cut out on the fuselage top and sides, restoring the correct, continuous shape -Install the side windows, deleting the spurious extra radiators (located above the correct fuselage radiators) -Correct the shape of the elevator horn balances -Add the headrest -Correct the wrong position of the insertion of the float struts into the fuselage bottom -Substitute the ridiculous resin butt-joined booms for metal inserted ones -Correct the mistakes on the rigging -Revise position of "V" struts at the end of the floats, moving them back as per photos -Add boom fairings that continue on top and bottom of the elevator I am sure there were others, but that should be entertainment enough. A seemingly nice kit, certainly nicely molded and with good detail, completely let down by its many very visible inaccuracies. And not just minutia: blatant mistakes made absolutely obvious just by looking at photos of the original plane. The list is too long, but you may like to have a look at my many encounters during the build with frustrating errors, and to add insult to injury an engineering that left a lot to be desired, and not particularly accurate decals: Still, propelled by the sheer beauty of the type, some modifications were made, parts replaced with better ones, engineering revised, and many details corrected to obtain a model that if still not totally accurate, at least resembles much closely the original. This is a missed opportunity: such fantastic plane, and a kit that came too short, not sure why, as the general quality of the parts (accuracy and engineering apart) is good. The modifications to obtain a more credible model are too involving, and I wouldn't have done it if I knew from the start the challenges, but I started blinded by the good reputation of the manufacturer (whose other kits reputedly are accurate and nice to build). So I went on, feeling bad about trashing a kit of such beautiful plane that besides cost a pretty penny. So here are the results of much huffing and puffing, and having to continually look at references in order no to fall into accuracy traps. A paradigm of Italian design that produced a very stylized racer, and, if nothing else, a wonderful "oggetto d'arte".
  9. Well, I just got this one from Santa, and since I am away from the building board and surrounded by unruly British inlaws, I thought I should take my mind off things and psychologically shorten the time to get back home by doing these opening posts for this build. There is a long cue of WiPs that I started, and am waiting for the decals to complete a few others, so this will not be Speedy Gonzalez style at any rate, just an opening gambit. I got no magnifier nor tools with me at the moment, but I do have with me my portable hard drive with some references and the laptop. This is not a new kit on the market, so I won't be doing a full review, just stating some impressions and making some comments. Firsts impressions are cautiously optimistic. This is my first Karaya kit, a brand I stayed away so far due to their prices, however justified they may be because of to the medium and the quality. The molding looks good, no pinholes, bubbles or blobs, parts being crisp and with reasonable pouring blocks that seem easy to detach and clean. You get a dolly and trestles, a succinct interior -with some wall detail also- (yet not much will be visible anyway) and a relatively small part count. The windshield is cast as a sort of cage, not as a clear part. You may clean it (there is a bit of thin flash in many parts), paint it, and fill the voids with window-maker (clear glue), or just replace it with folded thin clear sheet. The decals seem well printed and sharp. The float halves (total bananas in my sample) have locating devices, but show no location marks for the struts that I can see, which shall make things interesting. The molding as said is quite good, yet not in the same league of -for example- SBS's offerings. I got what it looks like a short pour on one of the trolley wheels, nothing terrible tough. I see so far three noticeable issues: 1) The radiators on the wing have an exaggerated thickness, they would benefit from some toning down. 2) The kit has depicted an area immediately above the fuselage oil coolers as extra radiator surfaces (or something like that), but these areas (both sides) were actually windows, included to help the very restricted visibility the pilot had. 3) There is an abrupt transition (more like a cut-off section) of the fairings of the cylinder banks (fore and aft) mid-fuselage (cockpit area), which I don't think is correct. The windows -described above- located in panels seem in photos to make a less abrupt transition between the said volumes. .
  10. It seems that I have forgotten to post this one, from more than 2 years ago, so here it goes: (the WiP is here: Here is this sleek and long neglected by the industry Italian speed record breaker that still holds its title for the category many decades later: The model was photographed without beaching trolley, since there is none available at this point. When the aftermarket industry comes up with one, I'll re-photograph the model. For other seaplanes I built I made the trolleys, but I am sure someone will come up with one sooner rather than later: Beware that the box represents the plane without the aft fuselage belly surface radiator, but it is engraved on the kit. The plane flew with and without it, depending on the ambient temperature (season). What I did like about this kit: -The very appealing subject, until now ill-represented by the industry. -The sturdy box. -Not a single part arrived broken, unlike other resin kits, thanks to the good thinking on part of SBS adding features on the casting blocks to protect the parts and bagging them properly. -The casting is flawless, spectacular. -The detail is truly amazing. -The engineering is good...mostly. -The decals are good and gave no problems. -The instructions are good, but with a couple minor tiny glitches -The aftermarket P.E. steel set* has the right rigidity; you may like to enlarge those locating holes just a bit on the model, as primer and paint build up. What could be improved: -The potentially problematic super-fine texture of the wing radiators, that has to be dealt with using the right approach, otherwise problems may ensue. -The lack of a guide to get the floats parallel and at the correct distance of one another. This could have been obtained either with an aftermarket beaching trolley or a very simple four-part resin jig, or even a pattern for the modeler to make his own jig, or just a 1/72 scale top view. SBS missed the ball here. -The not so good way the back legs attach to the fuselage (they attach very well to the floats, though) -*It would have cost nothing to include one spare P.E. rigging wire length. If you lose one, or mess-up one, you are in trouble. I understand that SBS released another version of this plane (there were three of them built, two were destroyed) and some were modified during their lives). Beware that the subject represented here is not in the same finish of the one currently at the Vigna Di Valle museum in Italy -with black exhausts, a long metal plate on the sides and intake duct in black-, but the plane at a different stage of its life.
  11. I have forgotten to post this one, from more than two years ago, the completed model was just posted: So here is the WiP that goes with it in case it is of interest for future builders of the kit: The etched steel wires for the rigging are as said a separate (aftermarket) product -from the same vendor-; this is the instruction sheet: Clear parts...really clear, not just in name: Read bellow BEFORE excising the signaled parts. Those collars make the parts fit properly one inside the other and with the fuselage, they are necessary!: There is a joystick floating in the vacuum of the instructions sheet, whereas it should be included in the sub-assembly of the controls pan bellow. It reminds me of Rabelais' "Whether a Chimera, bombinating in the void, can devour second intentions". The pan's ultimate position is not clearly shown in the instructions, but it's easy to deduce where it goes :
  12. Caudron C.450 1:72 SBS Model The C.450 was a racing aircraft designed and built to take part in the 1934 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe race. It was developed from the C.362 flown in the race the year before. 1 C.450 with spatted undercarriage and 3 C.460s with retractable undercarriage were built for this race. The aircraft were mainly spruce and birch plywood with metal engine bearers, cowling and fuel tanks. The aircraft would be further developed into the C.461 for the following years race. As a racer the C.450 set a world speed record of 268.21 mph and did win the 1934 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe race. The Kit The kit from SBS is a full resin kit, with resin clear parts, photo-etch, pre-cut masks (not shown) and decals. The resin parts are exceptionally well cast and look to be easy to remove from their pour blocks. The reviewer is building the SBS Caudron C.600 and the parts in that kit came away easily and cleanly. Construction starts with the cockpit and placing in the front and rear bulkheads along with the floor, seat, controls, and instrument panel. A tip is to put the internal in and check the fuselage alignments before doing any sanding of the fuselage halves. Next up the wings can be added to the fuselage. A tip from SBS here is to join the wings and then add them to the fuselage as there are slots for them. Once the wings are on the spats and wheels can be added. At the rear of the plane the fin, rudder and tail surfaces are added, along with the tail wheel. At the front the engine is added, along with the front, props & spinner and the exhausts. Decals Only one scheme is included which is the winner from the 1934 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe race. Conclusion This is a fairly simple little kit, much like the real aircraft. If should pose no problems to a competent modeller and maybe a good starter into resin models. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Insert other media
  13. The Bristol M.1 monoplane was an advanced concept for its time, perhaps not appreciated as it should have been (suffering the curse of the monoplane fear of early times). Once its bang-bing-poom-paff role was over, Bristol sought to re-introduce it as a sports machine. Part of their strategy was having it compete as a racer, a role in which it was quite successful. Very happy to see that Avis released this spunky racer as an alternate boxing to their Bristol M.1 monoplane variants. Another civil, privately owned machine (Spanish M-AFAA) is also an alternative scheme in their boxing of Red Devil (but the Spanish version needs a couple of small tweaks to be accurate). Adventurous modelers and after-market decal-makers may like to have a look at other civil possibilities for this nice little kit: G-EASR (A company demonstrator that can be seen in photos with two schemes, a light and a dark one) G-EAVO (That used both engines, the Lucifer and a rotary Le Rhone-, no wing cut-outs) G-EAER (#12 racer on the 1919 Aerial Derby, piloted by Smith, with wing cut-outs, small faired headrest) VH-UQI (De Havilland Gipsy four-inline engine conversion, fuselage re-worked) This kit of G-EAVP can be finished with and without the race number 2 or a G (as per decals supplied by the kit), but also as number 4 (if you scrounge those decals from somewhere), of which I found only a few images. If you are building this kit you will find a number of comments and what I hope are useful tips in the step-by-step construction article: Things you may like to adjust if building G-EAVP (the kit's provided version): 1) There were no carb air intake holes on the fuselage sides, nor its associated part inside the cockpit (those are for the rotary engine version). 2) The tail feathers need rigging, missing in the instructions, look at photos of the plane. 3) The long exhausts that go under the nose meet at a heat-exchanging sleeve that surround the new carburetor air intake (that comes downwards from the nose) and continue as a single pipe for a little while. Again, find photos on the Net that show that. 4) The fuel cap behind the pilot is somewhat present in the mold, but better make a good one, and since you are at it, also add the oil cap, ahead of the pilot 5) Add the Pitot to the left wing leading edge 6) Add the wind-driven fuel pump to the right landing gear strut as per photos on the Net 7) Make the windscreen smaller and the correct shape Be sure to install the double flying wires, as correctly depicted and even marked on the undersurfaces of the wings. Of these last new four Avis civil delightful little kits, this is the only one that gave me some little trouble. The plastic was a tad different and harder, the fit wasn't comfortable in some instances, and, in spite of having been carefully washed, dried, primed and handled properly, when I masked the red to paint the tail, as I removed the masks, huge chunks of paint and primer were lifted leaving the bare plastic. This has not happen to me in a long, long time, being always very careful about cleaning and avoiding contaminants. I can assure you that my day was utterly ruined. So you are warned: really, really wash the plastic. I am not sure why this last Avis kit was different, may be it was just my sample. But if something got changed, please change it back. I am looking forward to -and indeed I pre-ordered - their soon to be released -as I write this- Lee-Richards Annular Wing. I have scratched the monster long ago when my skills were far from good, and this time I may end up with a better replica. And, since we are at it, what were, you may have thought, the chances that ANY manufacturer would release that?
  14. The civil derivatives of the Bristol M.1 monoplane are attractive little planes, perhaps not as well known as they deserve or as much as their military counterpart. Avis is doing a wonderful deed releasing a series of civil machines that are elegant, fairly priced, well detailed and produced to a nice standard. I have recently built and present here the Bristol Racer, the Short Cockle, and the Short Satellite. All very pleasant to build kits that produced satisfying renditions. This is the last of the series -that I am aware of- for now, and since I saw the beautiful model posted by @Unkempt I decided to post a WiP, for those of you who have the kit or are thinking of acquiring it. Avis released many variants of the M.1, but I was drawn to the civil "D" racer kit. The parts have some flash that requires some careful clean-up (the previously-mentioned kits had very clean molds), and be sure you check the fit, since this particular kit, unlike all the others, may need some extra attention. After the sprues were washed with mild detergent on lukewarm water and dried, most parts were released and, as said above, carefully cleaned up. The plastic seemed to me a bit harder than all their other kits, more in line with their former releases (Crusader AG-4, Mig Utka, that I also built and posted here and were just a teeny tiny coarse). A very complete interior -for the scale- is provided, as well as the Lucifer engine. There was a very beautiful inline engine version that perhaps may tempt Avis for a follow-up kit (VH-UQI) and other civil registrations that differ a bit on details (G-EAVO, G-EASR, M-AFAA). May be the aftermarket industry will come up with some nice decals. For a change, there is plenty on the Net to see and learn from, especially photos. I recommend you do it, especially to fix a couple minor things on the interior. Oh, my!! An evil kit? (curiosly, Luficer is literally "light-bringing"): Some plastic gasping seems to indicate so!:
  15. My ancient pet cat Pip ( my avatar) destroyer of Pups( sopwith) , breaker of gamecocks and bulldogs, shuffled of this mortal coil on Friday and so to cheer myself up ( a little) I decided to build this little gem. It’s black and gold and I reckon he would have enjoyed swatting all the little bits off my desk it’s also a bit of a mojo restorer as a number if fairly long term builds are finished or almost done. But mostly it’s dedicated to my little friend Pip. I might add the kit was a gift from an ipms friend and the resin engine a gift from a fellow britmodeller. https://www.flickr.com/gp/152784191@N02/DK1SvV cut our the crude engine abd sand off the markings and as luck would have it replaced with resin wasp from a well wisher. https://www.flickr.com/gp/152784191@N02/97F85M wings preprinted with rattle can silver. My fold paint is naff so I wanted. https://www.flickr.com/gp/152784191@N02/CEb2zm carefully brush painted gold. Plus some scratch built interior ( not even a seat in the kit???)
  16. A vac Gee-Bee from 10 years ago (the one posted before was an injected Amodel one): Original text: It is as if my friends were trying to prove that there is no kit impossible to build...as long as it is other modeler who builds them. The Gee Bee needs no introduction; it is just a manned, slightly winged, aerial engine cowl. This vac, together with a few others, was given to me by fellow modeler Keith Hudson. I am grateful of course but now I may have to build them. Humbug. In any case, the Airframe vacuformed kit is old but generally nice if your standards are flexible like mine, but the styrene in this one is definitely on the thin side (I have seen other offers from this manufacturer with a pleasant thickness) to the point of both flimsiness and cause glue terror -a syndrome you develop after you melted a kit trying to glue it-. The iconic wheel pants were so thin that I decided just to hold the halves together with my fingers and wick down a bit of superglue. I had, nevertheless, to explain friends and neighbors why I was holding a minute white part on my hand for the next two days. Kidding. The decals, by Microscale, were detailed; nevertheless the shape of the larger ones (on the wings, fus, and pants) is not really well designed to wrap around the areas they are supposed to cover. I am not talking here about not being able to stretch and adapt to the model curves (which is understandable to a certain extent) but of shapes that tend not to coincide, being in general a bit large. I wonder if the decal designer ever applied them on a model. If that would have been the case it should have been realized that some adjustments (drastic in a few cases) were in order. My decal sheet was incomplete and badly crackled (nothing to blame the manufacturer for here), a fact that I caught just in time not to use them before spraying on them a few protecting coats to build up a carrier. The plan worked only for the smaller decals, but the condition and age of the larger ones was so bad originally that they shattered anyway. I had to print a set from a scan I took before doing anything with the decals, which proved wise. I also made some louvers that go on the front fuselage. At the end, a total decal nightmare. The Amodel Gee Bee (which I built long time ago) decals were less attractive and a tad pink, but the bits conformed much better to the contours, if the area they covered was smaller (more painted areas to match for the modeler). As usual, you have to ride your spares’ box (or supplier) to get engine, wheels and prop and scratch any other things you wish to add. It is worth of note though that a transparent vac canopy was provided. The model compares well to a portrait of a remote auntie I had that was a little on the chubby side. Since this was supposed to be a quickie for an informal build, a succinct interior was added and things were kept as simple as possible, which is never really simple with vacs and small models. Images depict how the parts left on the building board in the vacuum chamber magically attach to each other to eventually form a model, by gravity mainly. Anyway, did I enjoy it? you betcha. I only wish I had had a decent, new, decal sheet, because do you know what happens when you match your cowl and spats to a certain hue of a decal set, and then you have to change decals? Yes, that. The rest was pretty fun.
  17. Consider the aspect of this chubby little fella. And consider that this was 1922, four years after WW1, and that for many, many years, biplane and even sporadic triplanes would populate the sky. Progress always finds reluctance. Another civil jewel from Avis. Good detail, very smart engineering, care taken on achieving small and less intrusive sprue gates -unlike some short-run kits that have thick gates-, thought put into the breakdown to avoid sinkholes, nice interior detail, attractive an unusual type, reasonably priced, surely a superb subject choice. These last releases by Avis are indeed remarkable upgrades on the short-run theme, and if it's true that they are not snap-together, the level of detail and care in the engineering and molding makes them the best so far I have build in that category. Needless to say the subjects are wonderful which for me makes for a complete modeling happiness package. The step-by-step build is here: And so here it is, a racing oddity that promised much but did live up to the expectations. Enclosed engine, retractable landing gear, monoplane, monocoque fuselage, all very advanced choices for 1922 no doubt, that unfortunately due to other problems was not to be the winner the designers and builders thought would be. In any case, who can resist the plumped charm of this eccentric aviation one-off? The kit needs some touches here and there, but it is a noble kit, and I had fun building it, not to mention looking at it! Well done Avis, for more! I would say: take it a bit further and please give us a piggy-like Vickers Vulcan*, or a De Havilland DH18 or 34**, or a Westland Limousine***. But if you want to stay in line with the current trend, I would take a Helmy Aerogypt**** any day! (I wouldn't mind a Gloster Mars racer, but my suspicions are that you may come up with a Short Mussel in land and water guises) *https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/type-16-vickers-vulcan-a-british-singleengine-biplane-airliner-built-picture-id805113970?s=2048x2048 **https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/sir-samuel-instone-and-codirectors-pilots-and-mechanics-of-the-air-picture-id2666638?s=2048x2048 ***https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/circa-1920-a-wedding-party-bid-farewell-to-the-bride-and-groom-at-an-picture-id3336034?s=2048x2048 ****http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/helmy_aerogypt.php
  18. 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:
  19. A build from 9 years ago: (Note: a 1/72 kit seems -according to rumor- to be in the works by Avis, but I would advise you take a chair meanwhile) (Note added on June 2019: Avis already released the kit, an image is a the bottom of the thread) (Another NOTE: I made my own decals for this one, but only through the dubious expedient of printing red on white decals paper, so I had to match the decals color. Not a wonderful way to do things, but now Arctic Decals has released a set with the corresponding white marks, so you are in luck, you youngsters that don't appreciate the efforts and hardships that your elders had to endure in order to make models! and get off my lawn!) What happens when a plane gets engine indigestion? Yes, a 1922 Bristol 72. And if -as in this case- the plane is a racer, it is all too bad. Nevertheless in the process a cartoon character may have been created. Or perhaps a flying keg that would have been the delights of the prohibition smugglers. Or simply a cute, puny-winged, chubby racer. Ok, ok, may be “racer” is an overstatement. But it wanted to! In any case, let’s not be so judgmental. It had a monocoque fuselage and retractable landing gear, it had a Jupiter radial that was advanced and powerful and was supposed to be efficiently cowled. It was also painted red, which is always a bonus in the case of racers. The Classic Plane 1/72 vac kit seems to be still obtainable, although their distributors in Germany (Modellbaustudio Rhein Ruhr) may take some time to deliver it to you (as per their own warning in their site). And when I say “some time” I mean years. Kidding. Not really. Well, just exaggerating a bit. It is a sorta so-so kit, with overstated ribbing, generous thickness styrene, two halves to make one whole wheel (see image of the sheet), no interior drawings (or parts), no engine. a thing resembling vaguely a half propeller and in the instructions a naive method to represent the bicycle wheel-like spinner structure (photoetched parts here would have been ideal). It is not big deal though to go and get a decent prop, engine, some wire for the landing gear legs and pair of wheels, so not really anything serious to cry about. And again, do you think the manufacturers of Messerschmidts by the truckload will ever kit something like this? Exactly my point, so if this is what we have, then welcome. My sample (a hand-me-down kit by generous Keith, my thanks to him) didn’t have decals, so I ignore if they are provided with the kit. And the marks are white, so watch out. The parts’ count is not high and the interior can be a simple matter. Regarding construction methods you could start by crying and shouting, so you don’t have to deal with that later on. Then separate the parts front the backing sheet, since it is not easy to build the model if you don’t. Then sand. And then proceed to sand a bit more. And perhaps later on you can do some sanding. And last but not least let’s not forget about sanding. Be careful not to oversand. The fuselage front as molded has a resemblance of the buffers that were installed between the engine cylinders. You could leave some of that detail or just bore the thing and do the detail by yourself, which I did. The spinner was allocated two spoke rims as per original and was painted wood color, since some of the flights were made with it unpainted. A wood prop was carved at this point and an engine scrambled from the spares’ bin. Some internal fuselage structure was added and a cockpit devised. Beware that the kit's marks on the fuselage to cut out the lodging positions for the retractable landing gear leg components are wrongly depicted. As they are (besides being a bit wobbly) they curve in a concave way, while they should be straight (looking perpendicular to the fuselage axis) thus producing -since they are traced over a circular volume- seemingly slightly convex legs (see image). I made the legs with “Strutz” brass airfoiled material and the oleos with some wire. Once the main parts were put together a strange whale started to emerge. It had all the appearance of a chubby antique tin toy, and the appeal started to be obvious. Priming and touch-ups ensued and acrylic paint was applied. Decals, rigging and a few external details finished the job, or so I thought. After I photographed the model for this article I realized that the Pitot and headrest were not in place, so one last photo was taken showing those. Moral: if you are racing, do not forget your Pitot. The manufacturer had a geometry conceptualizing problem as you can see:
  20. I was presented with a wonderful opportunity to observe fellow modeler Allan Buttrick (Allan31) work on his latest project which he claimed was responsible for his absence from these hallowed halls of miniature craftsmanship. As Allan indeed had not posted for a while, I thought it a good opportunity to not only meet a fellow modeler but also find out what he was wasting his time on rather than model building. So, with an exchange of emails arrangements were made with Allan insisting on meeting at the Summit Point (WV.) racetrack. Despite thinking this was indeed an unusual place to talk modeling, I readily agreed as Summit Point is less than a 30-minute drive from my home and it is after all…a racetrack!!!. My son Curtiss and I set out at the appointed time, as we ventured onto the bridge over the track in to the infield, a trio of vintage sports racers swept into turn 10, exhaust popping and crackling under lifted throttle. In addition to getting our blood pumping, (aerobatic airplane guys and racecar guys are cast from the same mold) I was thrilled to jump to the conclusion that Allan was going to demonstrate a new method of weathering and use real racecars as reference! Now that is attention to detail, no wonder his builds are so realistic! We rounded the corner into the paddock area and as advertised the trailer was in place just as Allan had promised. But what caught my eye was that sitting in front was the largest scale Formula Ford racer I had ever seen, gleaming in a pristine British Racing Green finish and seemingly perfect in every detail. We were warmly greeted by Allan and Su, and immediately felt at ease. Allan said he would provide a detailed description as soon as he came in from the morning practice section. This was about the moment that I began to suspect we were not going to talk too much about models this weekend. Our first view of Allan and the Lola on the track. Since this is a modeling site after all, it is necessary to discuss a few modelling points: After the session, Allan graciously removed the cowl to allow close inspection of the engine installation and the rear suspension. Front and rear suspensions are multi-link with full adjustment for caster, camber and toe. The anti-roll (commonly called “sway bars”) are also adjustable. This set up allows the car to be tuned for ideal handling characteristics. Note how authentic the weathering is on the nose. This was achieved by Allan placing the nose of the Lola in position to capture scrubbed off tire rubber during cornering More scrubbed off tire-rubber marks on the coil-over springs and dampers. Note the built up ‘kingpost’ or ‘upright’ and the stones and grass stuck to the sticky racing tires. The adjustable anti-roll bars can be seen to good advantage here. Exhaust manifold received a subtle heat discoloration by running between 5000 and 7000 rpms for about 20 minutes. Allan and Curtiss discussing the design of the Lola. Warming up in the paddock, water temp coming up, oil still cold. (note the high oil pressure) Su is definitely a jack-at-all-trades! After assisting Allan strapping in, waiting time to head to the staging grid... The Scuderia Buttrick crew chief (Su) minute instructions on race strategy to the team’s premier driverproviding same last- The hallowed Scuderia Buttrick Crest. More information is available on the website https://scuderiabuttrick.com/ An attempt at recreating an artistic shot of the starting grid worthy of the 1966 movie ”Grand Prix” If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it. Traffic is heavy early in the heat before the field stretches out. Race 31 is closest to the camera on the outside setting up to pass on the outside of the turn leading into The Carousel. Despite a very strong emphasis on safety, this is a serious racing series and incidents do happen. Fortunately, all drivers are unharmed. A couple of glamour shots showing off the classic lines of the LolaT202 Green Flag racing Recovering after one of the heat races. Ambient temperatures were pretty high for May high humidity Race 31 is a 1971 Lola T202 Formula Ford that is raced in the Historic Ford class. Powered by a 1.6 liter inline 4-cylinder engine (similar to that in the Pinto!) the Lola’s light weight of just over 900 lbs provides exhilarating performance. Transitioning between the classic "cigar" styling of open wheel racers in the sixties and the "chisel" styling of the early seventies, and is in my opinion one of the best-looking Formula Fords. Allan’s beautifully maintained example raced flawlessly all weekend requiring nothing more between sessions than fueling, a check of tire pressures and wheel bolt torque. Curtiss trying on the Lola for size to Allan and Su’s amusement. Neither of us fit, our shoulders being much too broad although we did find we fit into a Crowsley…barely Thank you to Allan and Su for your hospitality, Curtiss and I cannot thank you enough for a great experience! You may very well have recruited two new novice vintage racers, now I just have to find a buyer for the Acrosport… Eric aka The Yankymodeler
  21. This is a build from 2005, 14 years ago, and like the just posted Nucoa Nieuport, nothing special, just fun: If this shows anything at all of interest, is that we all can improve, especially on placing the model on a quarry: I made a second one form the Airframe vac kit:
  22. Here another build from 2010, nine years ago, with the same basic but not unfair take: Since I was at it with the Macchi M.C.72, I decided to also go for the M.67, which was a slightly earlier -1929- machine equipped with an Isotta Fraschini ASSO 18cyl in “W” of 1,800 hp. The particular configuration of the engine determined the shape of the front fuselage. Three machines were made and experienced the multiple problems associated which such complex pieces of engineering. Like the M.C.72, the M.67 was a pure bred racer seaplane, conceived to compete for the Schneider trophy. The lines and general arrangement are similar to those of the MC72, also having radiators on the wings, floats and struts, besides the fuselage sides and the oil cooler under the chin. It had a three-blade propeller that of course created some torque, so one float carried more fuel than the other and the wing was very slightly asymmetrical to try to compensate. The design was not fortunate due to technical problems, but one machine survives at the Vigna Di Valle museum. How to paint an Italian racer: You must know that the secret is in the tomatoes. The right ones will give the finished model that characteristic bright red racy hue. But seriously: The model followed the same methods as the similar MC72 posted here, one difference being the shapes created for the engine cylinder bank fairings. As it is sometimes the case, the carving and sanding of these particular parts and their fit over a compound-curve surface required some attention and time. Aeroclub vac floats were adapted removing a section and re-joining their front and back halves which matched the plans very well. A cockpit interior was created of which little could be seen once the fuselage halves were closed. The fuselage needed several sessions of puttying, sanding and priming. The fuselage side radiators were engraved on thin alu foil that was painted brass later on and added to the finished fuselage. Struts for the floats were adapted from Contrail streamlined stock. A leftover bomb from a kit was put to better use creating the conical spinner, and blades were re-shaped from a white metal prop. Spars were located on the fuselage to align and secure tail and wing halves. Decals, 77 of them, were home made The fantastic lines of this racer look like a sculpture influenced by artist Carra, Balla and Boccioni of Italian Futurism fame.
  23. A model from 2014, five years ago: I extricated from the closet this one made from a kit that a fellow modeler sent me time ago (Thanks, Keith!) It is an Airframe kit I believe made in Canada, date unknown, but long time ago. The plastic is very thin and flimsy. For what I can tell, the kit came with decals (now absent) but no wheels, prop, or spinner. Of course not even a trace of cockpit detail, or even an interior drawing. The engineering is indifferent, especially regarding how to match the wings and fuselage. The instructions are quite general, and a "note" advising to cut the carrier film off the wing decals with an Xacto after applying them to the model -painted aluminum/silver, mind you- left me in a state of wonder. The kit does come with a 4-view, that appeared on -and is credited to- Aeroplane Monthly. When the kit got in my hands, there was no clear canopy, but I assume one was there before. This fellow modeler had already started to cut out the parts, and was perhaps a bit enthusiastic sanding the fuselage halves, so I had to devise some remediation. There are limits to the improvements you can perform on a kit, especially one of this nature, but I aimed to obtain the most decent possible model with what I had. Prop and wheels were quickly found among the spares and aftermarket parts, but the spinner that the manufacturer -oh, so very optimistically- tells you to get somewhere, was a different story.
  24. Another model of the MC72, this time from the horrid Delta 2 kit. A build from 2016, after I had made the scratchbuild model of it, and before I built the SBS wonderful kit: It was 1973. Delta 2, the Italian kit manufacturer was perpetrating the kit of the Macchi M.C. 72. How that atrocity escaped the full force of the law, it's a mystery in the history of kit manufacturing. In my long modeling life I came across some pretty nasty kits, but this one is up there at the top. Or at the bottom, depending how do you look at it. What I mean, this is a disgrace of a kit. Not even "la mamma" will love it. So much so that I scratchbuilt one some time ago- But no good deed goes unpunished, so how did I come across this nasty little kit? You guessed! It was sent by Zonke, the Evil Genius from Volkania (actually Sönke Schulz, from Marzipanland). He did it again, trying to torture me with horrible kits, many times half-built...sigh. Below is how this kit arrived from him: he had joined several parts, the fuselage for example, with no interior (making it for me even more complicated to install one), he assembled the floats and covered them with putty (the least those despicable parts deserved, by the way), and half-sanded these things. Well, thanks again, Z, once more you had made it more difficult. And I love to sand what you have left un-sanded! did I tell you? The prop axle was missing. There is a decal sheet that (surprisingly) seems usable, and a piece of clear plastic sheet stapled to the instructions to fashion the windscreen, I am told by Mr. Psarras, the kit expert in residence. This abomination of kit was concocted AT THE SAME TIME, THE SAME YEAR, that the Airfix Sopwith Pup I built in parallel; please compare: The engineering of this Delta 2 awful kit is incomprehensible. Once more we have to persuade a wildly crooked thing into a fair model, kissing the sleeping beauty back to life (sleeping beauty is having a really bad nightmare in this case).
  25. A build from 2010, nine years ago, when the only option was the extremely poor Delta 2 kit, and way before the exquisite kit from SBS was released. See, kids, we had to make our own models if we wanted something! ask the Yorkshiremen! The Macchi Castoldi M.C.72 is so famous that I won’t bother with extensive introductions or descriptions. With an aura between the paintings of Giorgio De Chirico and the sculptures of Marino Marini, the pure lines of the MC72 speak for themselves. Suffice to say that the speed record it set in 1934 for seaplanes still stands today, 76 years later! It was powered by a FIAT AS.6, which was actually two AS.5 in tandem. It used surface radiators on the wings, floats and, if needed, in the lower back fuselage. Two sets of contra-rotating props were used to cancel torque. Once more the scratchbuilding approach was needed in order to have one. A little relief came from the generic Aeroclub pontoon vacuformed sheet that is available from some vendors. This has floats that were a good general fit to the ones needed here. The fuselage was carved from basswood but since my Mattel Psychedelic Machine has a small plate it couldn’t be used to vacuform parts and the original was used instead. Flying surfaces were made of styrene sheet and for the pontoon struts Contrail airfoiled stock was used. The struts were given the correct silhouette and pins were inserted at the ends in order to facilitate assembly later on. An interior was built with some structural detail, seat, joystick, rudder pedals and instrument panel, but -as it is some times the case with these types- very little can be appreciated due to the small cockpit opening. A spinner that needed a bit of adjustment to match the plan was found in the spare box. Prop blades were carved using as a base a discarded four-blade prop. The vac floats were glued, re-contoured and prepared for receiving the struts. Once those bits came together and after priming and painting decal time was up. I decided to work the radiators as a two-decal endeavor. A metallic brass coat was sprayed on decal paper and the radiator pattern was printed on another. Masks were cut and then the decals applied. For the statistic-inclined here are all the decals used: 2 black strips to cover the exhaust areas 2 aluminum strips for the stripe underneath the precedent 2 registration numbers in white at the base of the tail 2 Italian flags on the rudder 2 crests on the mentioned flags 4 brass decals for the wing radiators 4 brass decals for the struts 4 radiator patterns for the wing 6 radiator patterns for the struts (the front pair, as it is angled, required both sides covered separately 2 tiny aluminum covers on the nose on top of the upper oil radiator 6 louvers on the front fuselage 4 louver pairs on the belly 2 red strips that cut the lower wing radiators in half 1 black strip on top of air intake 6 little decal strips for the canopy frame 6 hinges (they are only little red squares to represent the fin hinges protruding into the rudder) 12 for the radiators on the floats (again, these are two-stage decals) Total: 67 To that 16 streamlined struts were added and a trolley was build to support the model. It is a joy when design encompasses beauty and efficiency, isn’t it?
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