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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 Many times the suitable kit happens to be a very old and outdated one.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).
A build from 2017: The De Havilland D.H.53 Humming-bird represents the concept of light plane. It was contemporary to the Parnall Pixie and a small number of them were sold to particulars and the RAF. Power plants varied, and the first model had a Douglas of 750cc. According to information found on the Net, one plane ended up in Chile, two in Australia and one in Canada. The plane had a span of 30"1' (9.17 meters) with almost constant chord, but differential airfoil, which varied in thickness along the span. The usual scratchbuilding techniques you may have seen in my posts were employed, to ensure a satisfying measure of accuracy and a bonafide reproduction. A resin prop cast by Matías Hagen (thanks Matías!) from Argentina was used, with resin wheels from the spares bin and adapted resin cylinders again from Matías. Care must be exercised in replicating the particular change in airfoil section, thin at the root and wingtip and thick in the middle, a detail often obviated by modelers. A model of the Parnall Pixie, a plane -as said above- designed under the same concept and flown contemporarily to the D.H.53, is being built in parallel. Originally it even had the same Douglas 750cc engine. A number of different decorations can be seen in photos, many of them most likely in aluminium dope, sometimes with the fuselage in a darker color, and in some photos it's shown with what seems wings of clear doped linen, with certain translucency. I selected a subject (G-EBHZ) based on a very good photo I found on the Net, that had the same scheme as the restored machine that used to fly in England (G-EBHX), until unfortunately had a fatal crash in 2012. The machine chosen, G-EBHZ, changed schemes, and I was fortunate enough to find on the Net photos of them. One is an all-aluminium scheme with the logo of the Seven Aeroplane Club, an AC with seven feathers (thanks, Sönke). Another is blue and silver, like as said the machine restored. Be sure that you get the position of the inverted wing struts and the ailerons right. The ailerons started inside of where the struts attach (i.e. closer to the wing root). Also pay attention to the wing struts, configured as a V, and wrongly depicted in some plans as the aft member being parallel to the TE, when in reality both struts converge at an angle (look at photos on the Net, easily found). I commissioned the decals from Arctic Decals (thanks, Mika!) Bibliography: DeHavilland Aircraft since 1909 (A.J. Jackson) N.A.C.A. Technical Memorandum No. 261 The Light Plane since 1909 - J. Underwood The Light Plane Meeting at Lympne, Flight Magazine, Oct 18th 1923
This is my first acquaintance with the brand Aeropoxy of resin kits. I am building this one for a friend, since -you have probably already guessed- this is not my cuppa. What first caught my attention was that most of the model came "ready", molded as a single cast. It seemed like a time saver (in the photos my friend sent before sending the actual model). When the model arrived it looked a bit like those old Eastern European models I have been recently building, with a somewhat heavy surface detail. The usual resin webs and blocks and slabs -product of the pouring-, common to most of these resin kits, were not easy to remove, leaving prominent marks around the single cast "plane" that you later had to work quite a bit to fix. The web for the smaller parts was in part ok, and in other areas too thick, making again removal of the parts difficult. I worked on the prop about 25 minutes only to obtain a misshapen part that will have to be replaced anyway. The prop was the worst part and was surrounded by too much material that you basically had to carve away to arrive to the form, Michelangelo style. You get four pages of documentation in the form of to-scale drawings, photos, text in two different languages, (not English) and what seems to be articles from magazines or books. Color calls, fortunately, are in English. No parts map (a photo of the parts, though), no building instructions, no exploded view. My guess is that it was deemed unnecessary, given that the model comes almost "ready". Four things were noticed: the leading edges are crawling with myriads of pinholes (see images below), the transparencies (two provided) are not quite right, being the front part too flat, whilst the real thing is curved side-to side, and one wing came as a banana. A quick immersion in hot water, some pressure, and then cold water, cured the problem. The last thing is that the trailing edges are quite thick, you either leave them as they are, or you refine them loosing the surface detail. The resin is very nice to work with, a saving quality. The parts' count is of course minimal given the approach. You get vinyl framing (or is it vinyl masking material? both? your choice?) for the canopy, another interesting approach, and two small decal sheets, one in B&W, the other in color. Quality will be discussed when their time arrives. In theory, I think the engineering aims to reduce the building time. We will see. My friend got rid of the box to facilitate mailing: Parts mostly clean, now some primer is necessary to reveal the pinholes and deal with them in an effective way, since the white background is not conducive to find blemishes:
A very simple build from 9 years ago, as a reply to a question in one of the threads: Some Heller kits are a source of joy, as their molds are very good and compare more than favorable with some current “short run” offers and are most of the time better than their Airfix cousins. While old Airfix kits convey a feeling of chunkiness, old Heller kits feel more subtle and refined. The subject this time is the famous Caudron Simoun. I got this kit from fellow modeler Diego Fernetti, for which my deep thanks go to him. It is a welcome break from the scratch enterprises. The Heller kit has been reviewed already a few times, so I won’t repeat here what you can read somewhere else. No flash whatsoever was present in my kit and the parts were fine and crisp, even the transparencies. The specific plane represented here (F-ANRU) participated in the 1937 edition of the Oasis Circuit race, a remarkable endeavor that started and ended at Cairo visiting a number of other cities in Egypt. Simouns F-ANXJ and F-ANXB did also participate in that race. As said the kit parts are good, but care is needed in order not to obliterate the fine raised detail. You may protect said detail while gluing, puttying and sanding by using masking tape on the concerned areas. I don’t know who made the masters for this kit, but the parts are very clean. For example the prop assembly, which is usually a group of chunky parts in certain kits, is a fine, to-scale-thickness part. The building started by scoring the flaps and lowering them before joining the wing upper and lower halves; the same went for the elevators, all this easy because of Heller’s neat engraving. The interior followed –this area is reasonably detailed, with a good instrument panel too-. By the way, all Simoun interiors are stated as red by the sources. Wheel pants’ halves were glued removing the pins that hold the wheels, since I wanted to add them later to avoid messy masking or touch-ups. Besides, I don’t like rolling wheels since a couple of times my models rolled off the building board and had a not very successful flight that ended abruptly on the floor. The only challenging part of the build might be the windshield, provided as transparent left and right halves that represent also a section of the fuselage. The clear areas would have to be masked and the seam neatly glued, then the whole added to the fuselage trying to obtain a clean transition. Some modelers just superglue those parts and then restore clarity by sanding and polishing. I glued them carefully with the usual styrene cement and bathed them in Future. Beware that the instrument panel is glued to the base of the “windshield” –there are guides on the parts- and not in the foremost position shown on the plans. Side windows are actually left and right-handed; one clear strip has the “sliding” pane marked; that goes on the pilot’s position. I removed the molded-in Pitot tube from the wing to facilitate handling of the model and later on added one made of wire. Heller’s kit has a small cut-out where the stab tongue is inserted in the fuselage and a stub small piece of the stab molded with the fuselage; the real plane had those too because the stabilizer could be adjusted, so you may choose not to putty that area. In order to provide a bit of detail I hollowed the nose part from inside and glued there a spare engine cylinder. Beware of the tail wheel/fairing. It is a very tiny part and mine twanged into the great beyond being recovered be a miracle. Glue it at the very last, and mind that it has a fragile attachment. I inserted a wire where the locating pin was. The decals in my kit were a bit fuzzy, but nevertheless I managed to use some for the necessary bits for this version, printing the remaining ones particular to this model at home. Oh, the Heller Nostalgia!
A build from 7 years ago of another Monocoupe. this time a kit of the 90A: More and more kit manufacturers venture into the realm of civil planes, not only commercial jets, but private planes, planes from the golden age of aviation, planes from the pioneer period, racers, passenger planes form the 20’s, et cetera. Finally our longing for something different is answered. We can build a model airplane with our kids and youngsters and tell them about adventures, challenges and glamour, and leave aside for a while the seemingly unavoidable miseries of human nature and the objects that represent them. Praised be Planet Models for the launching of several of these beauties (including the Focke Wulf A-16 passenger plane, the Havilland DH85 Leopard Moth, the Bugatti 100P, the Hughes H-1 racer –the last three in 1/48-) There is another resin kit out there of the same subject, released by LF Models. Thanks, Planet Models! Now... yes, some little issues. The kit has a clean and sharp molding, almost no pinholes, easily-removable casting blocks, no warps or partially-molded parts whatsoever. Great so far. Nevertheless, you have to cut open the roof window on both fuselage sides. Well, no big deal (it seemed), although why, why, we rhetorically scream? So out with the JLC saw that Steve gifted us a few years ago. Two across-the-fuselage cuts went well, but you can’t saw the line that goes parallel to the fuselage, so I started carefully to score it with a new Xacto. Several times. And then, very, very carefully tried to pry it loose. To no avail. More scoring, no results. You can’t exert too much pressure, because the fuselage side may break at the weak window dividers, and we don’t want that, precious. More and more scoring and then the section came off cleanly. What was hindering the cut was that the fuselage sides are thick enough to get in the way of the cutting line, so later on you have to carve it from inside too. Planet, what the...?. Then it is the nose, just a solid block. Granted, with some recesses depicting the cutouts in the front, but no engine. Hum. I know some modelers would be grateful for that (one less step towards completion, pal!) but that’s not my case. I like my engines there, even if not much of them is visible. Wheel streamlined pants again are fused solid with their wheels. I know, it’s a small model, and it facilitates building, but surely not detail painting. Nothing of this is insurmountable, and I rather deal with that instead of with pinholes, resin blobs, sticky parts or dubious shapes. Be careful with the smaller parts (joysticks, Pitot, etc) as you cut them loose from the backing web. Wash all parts to eliminate mold-release residue (again, watch-out for the small bits) and sand to refine the parts using a mask. Toxic resin dust is no joke. The vacuformed transparent bits come in a small sheet. They are crisply molded, but their transparency leaves a lot to be desired. In the photo you can see how it looks, and, by the way, that’s after washing and drying it. What looks like droplets or humidity or release agent or oil, are actually blemishes, solidly transferred on the sheet. In that sheet you will find two parts not accounted for in the instructions. They are doors, I assume in case you want to file open the ones delineated in the fuselage and pose the model to show, to better effect, the excellent interior provided. The instructions are good. They depict a few parts, with their measures, that you have to get or make yourself. All easy to deal with. The decals, which I didn’t plan to use, are from Propagteam, usually of a good standard as previous experiences with them indicate. And so it began, by vacuforming a new cowl to replace the resin solid one and making a vague resemblance of an engine to put inside it. Since almost nothing can be seen through the cowl slots, no more is needed. One of the doors was removed and the fuselage sides reduced in thickness from inside. Even so, the interior assembly, as it is almost invariably the case with resin kits, had to be sanded down in order for it to fit. The instructions -again in the tradition of most resin kits- are vague, to say the least, regarding where to position certain parts, in this case the instrument panel which should be closer to the pilot and not in the area at which the instructions generally aim, therefore leaving a gap where the coaming should be. Oi, again, Planet. The fuselage was finally closed, the tail feathers added (not before drilling the holes for the ulterior rigging) and the landing gear glued at this point. Wings were given pins and matching holes drilled on the fuselage stub wings. And here another question: since the Mono has 0 dihedral and a one piece wing that seats atop the fuselage, wouldn’t have been more effective to engineer the kit likewise? This and other questions may have asked the Sphinx to Oedipus... As you can see in the accompanying images aileron horns (not provided) were installed. Home-made decals meanwhile were printed. The scratched door and minor parts were prepped too. The windshield was separated from the clear vacuformed sheet, and to my surprise it was a good fit. All the other clear bits were home-made. Masking and painting ensued, decals and details, and this little bumble-bee was ready for departure. You have to open the roof cutting through very thick resin: The nose of the model is used to vac a part, and a vague resemblance of an engine is fashioned, only to be seen (not that seen, actually) trough the slits on the front of cowl: Landing gear legs were some of the parts that had issues: Charming little thing: