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Roden is to release in 2016 a 1/32nd Cessna O-2 Skymaster kit - ref.620 Source: http://www.frogmodelaircraft.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=323 V.P.
Cessna O-2A Skymaster Roden 1:32 Cessna O-2A Skymaster In the early 1960s, the Cessna aircraft company built a small commercial aircraft, the Model 337. Compared with similar aircraft of the same class, it had an unusual layout: a tractor engine in front, and a pusher in the rear. Instead of the classic fuselage layout, two booms extended backwards from the wing, which were connected by the horizontal tail assembly. The aircraft could carry two crew members, and four passengers or up to 450 kg of payload. It was quite successful commercially, but Cessna also hoped to find an outlet in a military role. In 1967 a military version of the machine appeared, the O-2A Skymaster. With the start of the Vietnam War, the US Air Force began to actively employ light aircraft as scouts, for fire direction or lightweight communications. One of the most widely used was the O-1 Bird Dog, but it was not always able to perform certain military tasks, such as controlling targeting for other planes. The O-2 was more suited to this type of task and, therefore, was soon involved in missions of this kind in the Vietnam conflict. Also, the O-2 could be used as a light strike plane, like its predecessor the O-1. For this, pods of unguided rockets and other light weapons could be hung under the wing of the aircraft. Some machines, designated O-2B, carried out 'psychological warfare missions - they were fitted with speakerphones broadcasting calls to the population to stop the war, but this exercise was not successful. Another important application for the O-2 was the rescue of pilots whose planes had been downed in an area of operations. The O-2 could take off from the shortest airstrips and land in the most unsuitable places for this purpose. Many US Air Force pilots had this machine to thank for their rescue. Series production continued until 1970, during which time at least 532 aircraft were produced. The end of their active military career in the US Air Force coincided with the end of hostilities in Vietnam, but in the US they were used long afterwards by the Air Force for patrol or liaison tasks, and were eventually decommissioned due to age and obsolescence. Despite this, this aircraft is still very popular among private owners. And many former military machines are still operated under civil registration or take part in numerous vintage airshows. The Model The kit comes in a rather large box with an artist’s impression of an armed O-2 in-flight. Opening the box reveals ten sprues of grey styrene, and one of clear, there is also quite a large decal sheet. Surprisingly for a new kit there is quite a lot of flash visible and wave fronts on some of the parts. That said the details are finely done and there is a fair amount of detail included in the kit. While it looks great on the sprues, I’ve read that while the accuracy is fairly close, there are problems encountered during the build, particularly with warped fuselage halves and an awkward roof fitting. So while I will go through the build process, be aware that there will be a fair bit of work required to get everything to fit correctly. You should also note that there are no spinners included, so some of the aftermarket deals may not be suitable for aircraft that were fitted with spinners. The build begins with the assembly of the two, six piece propellers, horizontal tail unit with separate elevator, four piece pylons which includes the nicely produced crutch pads, and two, four piece rocket launchers and two seven piece gun pods. The tail booms are assembled next, each from two halves and with separate rudders and anti collision light on the port fin. The engine exhausts are also assembled at this point and put to one side. The engines themselves are complex little models in their own right, each engine consisting of no less than 50 parts. The rear engine frame and nose engine compartment/nose gear bay are also assembled, as is the seven piece nose landing gear. The seven piece front engine bay is fitted with the nose wheel assembly, followed by the engine assembly and the pair of exhaust pipe assemblies. The rear engine frame is then fitted with its engine and the simpler exhaust parts. The completed front engine assembly is then the attached to the firewall and under pan. Work then begins with the the forward avionics bay that sits between the engine bay and the cockpit, this consists of four shelves on which the various radios and other avionic boxes are fitted. The instrument panel is then assembled, consisting of the panel, coaming, four rudder pedals, centre pedestal and control yolks with separate shafts. The four seats are then built up, two from five parts and two from four parts, before being glued into position on the cabin floor. The three piece doors are then assembled and the windows and viewing ports added to the fuselage sides. Now while the interior is quite nicely done, there is plenty of scope for the modeller to add further detail, including the quilted sound proofing, circuit breaker panel on the captain’s side of the cockpit, and seat belts. Check you r references when using aftermarket deals as some O-2’s had the rear seats removed and the co-pilots seat moved aft so that a litter could be fitted for medevac purposes. If building out of the box the cabin floor is glued to one half of the fuselage, along with the engine assemblies and instrument panels and the three piece aft engine intake glued into position. The wing comes as three main parts with the upper section being a single piece moulding, not forgetting to open up the holes required for the pylons should you be using them as not all O-2’s were armed. The separate flaps can be posed in either extended or stowed positions and there is a skylight fitted above the cockpit area. The wingtips are also separate allowing of later versions to be released. The main landing gear comprises of a single piece strut and a pair of three piece wheels. With the fuselage all assembled, which will require a significant amount of weight in the forward area, wherever you can squeeze it in, the wing is glued into place along with the two booms and horizontal stabiliser. Then the main undercarriage assembly is add as are the pylons, weapons pods, nose bay doors, Rad Alt panel, and main gear doors. Finally the upper wing is festooned with a multitude of aerials and the two propellers attached. Decals The decals are really rather a disappointment, while they are correct colour and style, they are not in register and there are numerous spelling mistakes. Also the aircraft using the serial number is number 67-00109 is an imposter as that number was assigned to an F-111A. There are markings for three aircraft on the sheet, these being:- Cessna O-2A Skymaster “Don’t’ Shoot”, Vietnam, 1967 (No unit or squadron information provided). Scheme composed of overall Aircraft Gray with Snoopy nose art on cowl and White upper wing panels carrying “Don’t Shoot” in large letters. Cessna O-2A Skymaster, Unknown Unit, Vietnam, 1971. Scheme composed of overall Black with Ghost nose art on cowl and “THE FAC” in large white letters on upper wing. Cessna O-2A Skymaster, Unknown Unit, Vietnam, 1970. Scheme composed of interlocking swirls of Tan, Dark Green, and Medium Green with Light Gray undersides. Conclusion Over all it’s great to see this aircraft being released in 1/32, yes it is more of a short run release that will require a little more work than say something from Tamiya, but it will look great once built. I have heard reports that some fuselages are warped so please check before starting the build. I am disappointed with the amount of flash as there is no way a newly released kit should suffer from this, and the wave fronts can be overcome by heating the moulds better. Review sample courtesy of
LiftHere! is to release 1/72nd Reims-Cessna FBT 337G Skymaster resin kits - ref. LHM038 - Reims Cessna FBT337G Minirole (Portugese Air Force) Source: https://www.aviationmegastore.com/reims-cessna-fbt337g-minirole-portugese-air-force-expected-end-of-2017-lhm038-lift-here-decals-lhm038-aircraft-scale-modelling/product/?action=prodinfo&art=147788 - ref. LHM041- Reims Cessna FBT337G Rhodesian Lynx Source: https://www.aviationmegastore.com/rhodesian-lynx-expected-end-of-2017-lhm041-lift-here-decals-lhm041-aircraft-scale-modelling/product/?action=prodinfo&art=147789 V.P.
C-54D Skymaster Revell 1:72 The Skymaster from Douglas was a four engine transport aircraft developed for the USAAF during WWII. Like its predecessor the C-47 its was also developed from an a civilian airliner; in this case the DC-4. The DC-4 started life back in 1935 from a requirement of United Air Lines for a larger and more sophisticated replacement for the DC-3. The DC-4 had a planned capacity of 42 passengers and would be the first large aircraft to feature a nosewheel. Other new features would be boosted flight controls, and air-conditioning. The prototype would fly in 1938 with airline certification following in 1939. The prototype aircraft was changed significantly to what would become the DC-4 with a lot of complex systems being removed to make the aircraft less complex. Before the DC-4 could really be put into production for the airlines all of the US production capacity would switch to war production. The DC-4 was taken on by the then USAAF and USN. The USAAF would designate the DC-4 the C-54, and the USN the R5D. The C-54 would go through a few design changes, the D model would feature an increased fuel capacity in the wings along with R-2000-11 Engines. A total of 380 would be built. The aircraft would carry out long range transport in WWII seating upto 50 troops. They would go onto feature heavily in the post war Berlin Airlift, and constitute a major contribution to the Korean Airlift. The aircraft began to be phased out of the new USAF in 1948 by the arrival of the C-124 Globemaster. The last C-54 in US service would be used until 1974 by the US Navy test pilots school. As well as the US many overseas military Air Forces would use the aircraft including the UK, France, Portugal, and Canada. The civilian DC-4 would also be built in large numbers following WWII and serve with a vast array of airlines around the world. Several are still flying today, most with the now famous Buffalo Airway in Canada. Though it should be noted that many more DC-3's still fly than the aircraft which was designed to replace it! The Kit The announcement of this kit by Revell was welcome news to both modellers of large military transports and airliner modellers. The kit is upto the standard we now expect from Revell. Like other large aircraft they have brought us such as the Transall the C-54D features a full interior which builds up and goes into the main fuselage. The kit arrives on 13 suitably large sprues of grey plastic and one clear sprue. The parts are well moulded with engraved panel lines. It is noted that provision has been made for the large rear bubble windows which featured on some aircraft for these to be installed. Construction starts in the conventional way with the cockpit section. The front wheel well is built up on the underside of the cockpit floor. This is followed above by the forward cockpit bulkhead which is backed up with the instrument panel. The coaming for this is fitted along with the centre console. Control yokes are added (rudder pedals are moulded into the floor) along with multi part seats for the pilots. The engineers/radio ops station behind the cockpit is then added to the main long floor along with equipment racks. Following behind this a crew rest area with two bunks if fitted. The bulkhead to the rear compartment is then added and a roof panel inserted. The seats for the load area are added along both sides. When this is done the interior sides are then added. The last stage to construct the interior is to add the cockpit section to the front of the main cabin section. The complex front landing gear can then be assembled. This contains seven parts to assemble and add to the front wheel well. All of the cabin glazing is now added to the outer fuselage halves. There are some different options for this so care is needed to select the right ones. The next major step is to add the completed interior into the main fuselage. Revel recommend adding 50 grams of weight to the front of the aircraft to avoid a tail sitter. The cargo door needs adding to the left half of the fuselage before closing them up. Underneath two spacers have to be added also at this time. Once these are done the main fuselage can be closed up around the interior. Construction now moves to the aircraft's wings. For the lower wing various parts are added into each engine nacelle along with an engine front and fire wall (for the two inboard engines). The rear of the firewall becomes the inside front of the main gear well. Rear bulkheads for the gears wells are also added. There is the option for raised or lower flaps in the kit and these need to be selected at this stage as some of the parts need to be fitted into the wing before it is closed up. It looks like some cutting of parts is required for the flaps up option. Once the flaps are out of the way the upper wings can be fitted. The tops of the nacelles and intakes are also added here. The wing is now joined to the fuselage. Outer parts of the engine cowlings are now added. It is also at this stage that more parts for the lowered flaps are added (skip this if going for flaps up). Following this the next major stage in construction is to make up and add the rudder, tailpanes and their control surfaces. These are all two half conventional parts. Attention is now drawn to the engines on the wings. The engines feature two banks of cylinders with exhausts and intakes on either side. All of these parts are separate and with careful assembly and painting should turn out to be good looking examples of the real thing. The completed engines are fitted into their cowlings and these then attached to the wings. The exhausts can then be added. The correct nose (a choice of two) is then added to the front of the fuselage. Again it is recommended 10 grams of weight be added in here. Construction then moves to the landing gear. The front wheel is constructed and added to the gear leg. The front gear doors are supplied as one part and will need to be cut if displaying the model with the gear down. The main gear legs and their retraction struts are added at this time. The inner hubs, scissors and brake lines are also added to the legs, along with main wheels. These are followed by the outer hubs. Retraction struts are added for the complex main gear doors. Again these will need to be split down if doing a gear down model. Following the earlier decision as to the flap state the relevant parts are now added at this stage. Separate ailerons are also added to the outer wings. The canopy is then fitted. The large clear part fits back to become part of the fuselage and the windows masked on it. The overhead instrument panel must be fitted before this part is installed.To finish of the rear cargo door is added. This is one part but can be cut if the modeller wishes it open (it would be a shame to waste that interior?). The propellers are added, along with landing lights, aerials, some antenna cable (not included) needs to be added to the top and undersides. Finally if you have miscalculated the weight a tail stand is provided, however like other aircraft of this period the Skymaster is often seen on the ground with this fitted. Decals The decal sheet provides two marking options for the USAF. The decal sheet is fairly small in the box and features the blue band around the windows for option 1, and the orange flash for option 2. All walkway markings for the wings are included. The decal sheet is fairly matt in finish, well printed and colour dense. There is minimal carrier film present around the decals, but it is present in the USAF markings and other titles. C-54 Skymaster 0-17218 - 1949. C-54 Skymaster 317227 - Berlin Airlift 1948-49. Conclusion This is an impressive kit from Revell and follows on from their other 1:72 scale transports by giving the modeller a full interior. Very Highly Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit
Cessna Skymaster. This is a Reims Cessna FTB337G Milirole; military F337G with Sierra Industries Robertson STOL modifications and under-wing hard-points, 61 were built. This aircraft was operated by The Portuguese Air Force, pic thanks to Vitor Sousa.