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Found 9 results

  1. The 30's. From the Golden Age of Aviation, its four engines lazily droning in the sky, comes this luxurious lumbering giant, arguably the epitome of traveling in style to mysterious and remote lands. Vast landscapes: arable land, coastlines, deserts, intricate cities of labyrinthine design, proud mountain ranges, all slowly slide by below, in changing colors and textures. By sunset the bright tints of the sky and the billowing clouds are reflected upon the surface of a sea. Passengers sedately recline on their ample seats, their legs comfortably extended, or are pensively sipping a cocktail in the plane's bar, or even enjoying a sophisticated full meal on a removable table, pampered by a staff of courteous attendants. The quality of the inlaid wood paneling, the exquisitely weaved upholstery, the tasteful curtains, the porcelain, the crystals, all glows with the aura of England at its highest. Romance, mystery, luxury, comfort, sophistication, are all just the visible flesh of a well-thought machine, that rendered an incredible number of years and miles of reliable service, with an unimpeachable safety record. The construction thread can be visited here: Not all, as we know, was rosy, since the "Empire" (and the other empires) were creating their own share of very serious issues. The pinnacle of England as a world power would be challenged, and soon, unbeknownst to most of those passengers, in a few years the country would have to face the storm that will set Europe, and the world, ablaze. Humanity has a peculiar talent for ignoring the consequences of choosing bloodshed, misery, death, hunger and suffering, over adventure, discovery, and peace. But the H.P.42 is not only a symbol of luxury, it's also a symbol of peacetime, progress, romance, and ultimately of humanity's better angels, of what we would like our world to be. My thanks again to John Eaton, who facilitated the acquisition of the kit, and to Arctic Decals for producing the set that greatly enhances the model and solved the issue of the window frames and the ruined decal sheet in the kit. Thanks also to the fellow modelers that made comments and gave "emotional support" during the long build, and last but not least to the Hidden Ones that maintain this place of encounter and sharing: BM. I hope this model operates a bit like a time machine, and takes you to an era of shimmering glamour -the Golden Age of Aviation- that has so much to offer, so much to say, so much beauty to share, so much charm to explore. Not in vain it's called "Golden".
  2. 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:
  3. A build from 9 years ago: Another carefully crafted vac kit from Khee Kha Art Products of Alaska, the WACO YKS is a welcome addition to the growing line of bush planes kitted by this talented manufacturer. This iconic biplane, of which still many cross the skies today is what we define as a classic. Many WACOs rode on floats, and many were modified to accomplish certain tasks; that aside the many models and marks that the factory itself delivered. For that reason it is a good idea before construction to select the actual plane you want to model and get some references, to be able to pint-point details, colors, markings and so forth. Research is an exciting part of the building process, and usually prevents the commission of mistakes regarding appearance, mistakes that are more difficult to correct after the model is built and somebody points them out to you. Construction started by separating the parts and sanding them according to the instructions. The molds have very good surface detail, be careful not to obliterate it. Some lines are a bit faint, so mark them to be able to score/cut/sand at the right place. By the way, those instructions are extensive, detailed and well written. Fuselage windows were open at this time too. I opted to represent a plane that had another engine (Continental), so I put aside the neat resin one that came with the kit (images depicts the well cast and detailed resin bits included in the kit (engine, two props of different style, instrument panel/dashboard, tail wheel, control column, transparent material for the side windows and the two –one spare-windshield) Advised by Khee-Kha’s owner I also modified a few details that slightly differed from the “6” variant in the landing gear area. This informs you about the adaptability of the kit, since with little tweaks you could expand the range of machines that can be represented. Being Khee-Kha’s owner a fan of bush planes, he of course offers aftermarket resin floats and decals for other versions that you can purchase separately. Wings and stab halves were joined, locking tabs glued to the fuselage halves and the interior parts cut from the backing sheet and built-up. I had a pair of suitable white metal wheels so I put aside the vac ones provided. The wheel pants were glued and refined to accept the wheels at this stage. I had to scratch the control wheel/pedestal, but that part is now included in the kit as a resin bit. Once the interior was finished and painted, I joined the fuselage halves, and had to do a little shaving on the cabin floor and instrument panel to have a comfortable fit. I was a bit enthusiastic while sanding the cowl opening, so had to glue a pre-curved flat styrene rim on the cowl mouth, to restore proper shape. Once the fuselage was set I started to locate spars for the wings and stabs, as seen on the photos. I departed a bit from the kit’s instructions since I feel comfortable with my own method, but the kit instructions give you a very good way to deal with the issue. The horizontal tail actually got the spar where it should be, and a connecting piece that united the halves at the front, lodged in the fuselage cutouts for the variable incidence as the original. Later on the elevators were separated from the stab and given a relaxing angle. The windshield transparency was carefully trimmed and set aside for the moment. The side windows were patterned as per their openings, cut and adjusted to fit; as you can see in the photos I added some thin rubber padding to a pair of tweezers after getting fed-up of marring transparencies. This allows the clear part to be held and proceed with minor sanding preserving the surface of the part. Other details as per photos were dealt with (exhaust pipes, carb intake, nav lights, rudder control horn, bottom wing linkage fairings, fuel gages under the upper wing, etc). As you make progress on the building start to think about your decals since they don’t come with the kit (as said, an option can be purchased from the manufacturer separately for one machine). In order to further expedite construction I replaced the kit landing gear and wing struts for Contrail (plastic) and Strutz (brass) material. I also added a lower fuselage fairing where some landing gear reinforcement struts go. The upper wings were glued to fuselage, via a metal tube spar previously inserted after its dihedral was given to it. The model needs a few struts, but fortunately no other rigging than tail bracings and control leads for the rudder horns. Home made decals were printed and a custom paint mix prepared for the model representing NC31663. I am truly grateful for the help received from the National WACO Club, which kindly provided information on WACO liveries.
  4. A vac built 5 years ago, before the injected kit was available. It was worth it all the way, though. Execuform kit of the Sikorsky S.43 runs along the lines of its design philosophy: simple, basic shapes provided to the modeler as a platform to build up a replica with some work, accessories and material that the builder has to provide. In my sample vacuformed wheels and engines were present but ultimately discarded in favor of more faithful items. I also discarded the molded float’s struts and tail wheel. A piece of clear styrene and a length of fishing line for rigging were tacked to the back of one of the two molded sheets. Good plans and some references, as well as building instructions complete the package. As said, it is meant as a starting point, so you will need some materials, decals and whatever you want to provide for the interior, as well as any exterior detail and surface detail. Now, all this does not discourage me, au contraire, it spurs my building interest. First of all, references. I decided to build a civil machine, so I gathered info on six candidates: -A Russian machine, CCCP H-207. -An Inter-Island Airways livery from Hawaii. -A plane privately owned by Vanderbilt and, predictably, full of luxury trims. -A restored plane, N-440. -Two machines that operated in Catalina Island, Avalon Air transport and Amphibian Air transport. Catalina Island is a beautiful place which I can see from my window at this very moment. All had some appeal for one reason or another, and since interiors varied a decision can not be postponed indefinitely. Once the parts were separated from their backing sheet the step of sanding the parts joining edges flat begun, with some moments of doubt regarding the area of the engine gondolas, for that I will refer you to the kit’s instructions. Holes were cut in the fuselage sides for the wheel wells, and the kit parts that represent the wheel wells were dry-fitted to satisfaction. The access hatch was also cut out. Unless you pose your model with the wheels retracted, you will have to scratch the landing gear mechanism. Now the moment of drilling the windows arrived, for which you have to make a choice too, since not all window arrangements were equal. Same goes for the strakes, which run mostly on the nose area of the fuselage and cabane. I decided to go for Avalon Air Transport N326, which has a white and dark blue livery. This particular machine has a slightly different window arrangement, missing also some of them at the fuselage back, and also possesses two doors there according to photos. Another access hatch to the left and behind the cockpit was cut out. Barrel-like oil radiators hang from the engine gondolas, and a red beacon was scratched as per photos that goes on top of #1 gondola. A football balloon antenna offset to the right close to #2 gondola was added too as per photos. Recesses were created for the landing lights; MV lenses were used to represent them and clear curved covers fabricated. Exhaust tubes were made and cutouts performed in the cowls, since that arrangement was particular to this plane too. Study your references! The parts for the internal structure of the fuselage (as in partitions, shelves, bulkheads) and cockpit and cabin details were made. New embossed tail surfaces were scratched, since the kit ones did not have ribbing detail. This created the need to represent said ribbing on the wing surfaces that partially had it, namely the control surfaces and the aft part of the external panels. This was done by masking and spraying with primer to create some relief. The wing was also engraved to create the control surfaces and some panel lines. The cockpit windows were opened after all the internal structure was secured (to avoid flimsiness). The interior was finished and painted, and some extra details (like vents and lights for the passengers, curtains, toilet, sink, etc) were scratched too. As usual, some tabs were glued along the fuselage halves’ joining edges to assure a good bond. Clear plastic circles were cutout using a sharpened brass tube to create the windows. Very thin wire was coiled and cut to make seats for the said windows, glued recessed into the window openings on the fuselage sides. This way the clear parts can be added later on and would rest against those rims, without falling inside the fuselage. As it happens sometimes with brilliant ideas, the liquid mask I used (Microscale’s) did not work at all, becoming a rigid dried thing without any “rubber” feeling or behavior at all and had to be removed causing damage to the paint and ruining some of the metal rings that were pulled away attempting to remove the mask. Next time, Humbrol Maskol for me, thanks very much. Jim the PugetMaster provided props and wheels from his spare parts bin. Thanks Jim! The landing gear elements were scratched, adapting Jim’s wheels and constructing the main gear mechanism with wire and styrene, at about twenty eight parts each side, including new multi-part wheel hubs. Wing and stab struts were made from assorted Contrail and Struz airfoiled material, engines were white metal items from Areoclub. Decals were created and printed at home. What defines a Classic? It is hard to tell, but not hard to acknowledge when you see one.
  5. (A build from more than 3 years ago, related to the Azur Delta build that I previously posted. Before the release of the Azur kit, the only way to get a Delta was to grab the old and venerable William Bros Gamma kit and mate it to a vacuformed after-market set that left a lot to be desired. But when there is a will, there is a kit, so we had to make with it. The results of course are cruder than the model made with the Azur kit, but who can refuse a modeling challenge?): Northrop Delta used on the Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition I have been always fond of this Humpty-Dumpty plane. The Esoteric partial conversion kit depicts a Northrop Delta 1D, that is the version with the "roundish" top and not the one that looks more like a Lockheed Orion. As it is, I could go with The Richfield Eagle, the Honeywell Delta - but I'd have to modify a bit the windshield- or the Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition (modifying it to adapt the skis). The Esoteric Models conversion is very old, and it is after all something meant to help modelers to have a replica of the Delta, conspicuously absent from the market until the Azur release, so it is kind of unfair that one would criticize it. Let me, then, be unfair, and say that it is quite bad. It is very crude, the molding is indistinct, the wing karmans have a too prominent edge, the stab fairings are overdone, the cowl stretches the styrene into a thin film at it's front, the location for the stabilizer halves is a deformed blob, the fuselage nose again has a too prominent edge, and the instructions don't instruct and do not include a 1/72 drawing of the parts. Oh, forgot to mention that the windows and door are inaccurately located, by quite a bit. Any good news? well, the outline matches quite well the plans I have. It had decals for the Coast Guard, but I trashed them. The Esoteric "Body Job" conversion is very simple: one vacuformed styrene sheet with two fuselage sides, a -marred- cowl, and the fin/rudder also -and predictably- in two halves. I have nothing against the Coast Guard, but I rather build a civil plane. There is no interior whatsoever, no engine, no clear parts, no prop, etc. Depending on what you are building you may use components from the William Bros. Gamma, but consult references, since engines and props and other bits (not to mention interiors) were very variable. And since you are at it, check the windows and accesses, that also varied greatly from plane to plane and even at different times for the same plane. Now go and get a W. Bros Northrop Gamma if you have this conversion, if that's not the case...good luck. Alternatively you may want to wait until I finish this laborious conversion at which point a kit is very likely to hit the market* *(AND IT DID, with the Azur kit).
  6. This little, simple, picturesque touring plane was just completed. The WIP post is here:
  7. This little kit from the late Canadian John Tarvin -progenitor of a number of interesting subjects some years ago- was a well-deserved incarnation of one of the most pleasant Schneider Cup designs. If you feel curious about the building process, you may go to the WIP post: Airframe kits are simple and lack accessories, but many can be built into fair replicas with some patience and skill. In general their plastic is molded rather thin and there is almost no detail, but again, they issued types shunned by the giants. Since all kits are the work of love by someone, it's hard to criticize them, but some have limitations, and needless to say time doesn't help most. Given the configuration of the plane and the limitations of this kit, you are set for a bumpy ride, as with the original plane. I have seen several of these S-4 completed with skill, so it is not an impossible model, but surely requires some modeling steam. The marks are from Arctic Decals. And since we are talking about kits, there is a lesser known kit of the S-4, but its mere name and sight produces kit-building nightmares and conjures visions of modeling horror: the Merlin Models release in 1/72. Now, I have seen my fair share of Frankenkits, and built many of them, but this Merlin one is absolutely beyond redemption, and the dust bin is too high a fate for it. I think it is high time that some manufacturer releases a modern kit of this beauty, as it has been done with other racers. So lets hope that in the future we can build an S-4 kit without having to recruit the help of Fëanor or some other highly skilled elf.
  8. By now most of you may have realized that I have a soft spot for vacuformed kits. As with any other media, there are very good ones, fair ones, sort of lacking ones, and despicable ones. This one, a very old mold from Airframe, belongs to yet another category, the "optimistic" once. The plastic is sort of thin and in some of the backing sheets uneven, with variations in thickness. There is no surface detail, no interior, no decals, no detail parts. Some of the parts (in this case the float legs) are better left in the "smirking" box. What these kits do have, is very pleasant and uncommon subjects, and a more than convenient price. So, let's see what can we do with it. What you get: Parts easily separated from backing sheet: Somewhat soft detail on the radiators: Better to use them -if at all- showing the other side: Airframe kits are engineered always with this "keel", intended to provide rigidity, and a bridging and aligning surface to easily locate the other fuselage half. On the few I built, I found them imprecise and somewhat annoying. The idea is sound, but doesn't translate to reality well: All parts sanded flat: Proper styrene sheets can replace those radiators: Nose cone given a backing plate: Had to cut a section of the "keel", otherwise, as predicted above, it wouldn't fit: Stab halves glued together. Float legs leave much to be desired: No matter what, and how much you shuffle them around, it is impossible to find real matches. To the "smirking" bin these go too. Sigh... Given the simplistic nature of this kit, an equally simplified interior is provided, barely to be seen due to the very small cockpit opening:
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