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  1. Long ago, my older son, also a modeler (and a very good one, not that I am his father) built an Aeroposta Argentina civil passenger plane based on the Italeri kit and dedicated the build to me when he posted it on a known modeling site. Now it's time for me to build another and dedicate it to him! I have been always fascinated by the role of Aeropostale and Aeroposta in Argentinean aviation, where the names of Saint-Exupery, Guillaumet, and Mermoz , together with local heroes, stand prominently. One of the machines used by Aeroposta, most noticeably in the southern routes to and from frigid Patagonia, is the civil version of the Junkers Ju/52m (mainly "ge" machines). I always steer clear of the nauseating nazi symbols, so this is a good opportunity to redeem this machine with a much better meaning and story. Some photographic references exist covering 5 machines: Tierra del Fuego Ibaté Pampa Quichua Patagonia. I base my conversion on the Italeri civil issue of this kit. Whilst others exist (Heller, Airfix, Revell re-issue) all have their particular quirks. The Italeri civil version kit, if lacking in some areas, at least had the aft fuselage gun position deleted and the pants, plus a full civil interior. Looking at photos it's evident that the different machines listed above changed a bit during their lives, and differed among themselves in some details. I did not want to have to deal with too many changes, so I leaned towards the machines that do not need new cowls, props, or engines (some received at some point P&W or Wright engines, three-blade props, and different cowls). Other details to consider are: -number of oil cooler "tubes", grouped under each engine either in twos or threes, and some times mixed installations. -wheel pant decoration, which varied (and pants sometimes were removed). -Presence of a door on the nose, right fuselage side, immediately after the cockpit, absent in the kit. -deletion of big cargo door on the right fuselage side, present in the kit. -possible addition of two barely visible hatches after the cabin, both sides (one is marked on the kit from inside, the right hand-side one. At some point, to my immense joy, I realized something very interesting that I have never seen in any artwork, or plans: since these planes operated in bad weather and an awful number of times in snow or snowed territory, some paint schemes include a high-vis color on top of wings and stabs. I deem that color orange, as per well known practices. Only few photos show this scheme, but they do it very clearly. All planes had the rudder painted with the Argentinean flag colors, but many times the rest was left on bare metal (besides company marks and registration). Some photos show a machine with the typical "curvy and pointy" ex-Lufthansa black nose and engines. I was elated as said with that discovery, and as photographic evidence started to confirm it, I ordered as said the Italeri kit. Upon getting the kit It was immediately obvious that, if some efforts were done to produce this "civil" version, said efforts were a bit lazy, half-hearted and ill-informed. The list is long, so do your own research looking at photos (NOT only at drawings, side views and the like, many times inaccurate) and compare your kit with the desired machine, as I did. Italeri provides in the sprues two alternate parts for the cargo area, one of which would be pertinent (the two-window one) IF the corrugations would match those of the fuselage. What a blunder, so much for a seamless transition. Now, as we all know, replicating corrugations is not easy but certainly can be done, but I don't want to spend the time, so I just ordered another kit to cut a piece of the fuselage and splice it to the first one, plus need more cannibalized surface to make the front door to the right, shamelessly absent form the kit and present in all civil versions I have photos of. Failed on homework, Italeri! But both kits were inexpensive, being old issues an second hand. There is small hatch (molded from inside in the kit) that you could cut open. In one photo that hatch can be seen removed (which I may replicate). Photos show a second hatch to the left, absent from the kit, but present in company's drawings. So, changes needed for ALL five AEROPOSTA machines: -Delete large cargo door on right fus. fixing the inaccurate corrugations on kit part. -Need to add the front fuselage door on the right side, right behind the cockpit. The passenger door is as per the kit, no problem here. Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia and Pampa had the Argentinean flag along fin and rudder Quichua and Ibaté only on the rudder And individually Tierra del Fuego: Scheme a) Engines and cowls as per kit, 3-3-3 oil coolers, plain aluminium. Scheme b) Painted on high-vis: 2-3-2 oil coolers, new PW engines and cowls, no wheel spats, new Hamilton Std. three-blade prop with spinner, Quichua: High-vis, 2-2-2, double line pants, need to change the 3 cowls to Townend rings. Patagonia: 1) cowls/props as per kit, 3-3-3, inverted light color single triangle on spats, curvy and pointy black (Lufthansa style) decoration on nose and engines, 2) No colors on fuselage, double line spat. Pampa: 1) cowls/props as per kit , 3-3-3 oil coolers, no decoration (plain aluminium). 2) high-vis decor, double line spats. Ibaté: 1) High-vis, 2-2-2 oil coolers, double-line spats, same scheme with and without engine shields. Of these the one that I may be modeling is Ibaté, which had a crippling emergency landing on very bad weather and snow. The passengers, fortunately only a bit shaken (but including women and children) had to wait four days to be rescued by a walking party, and walk many kilometers on thick snow to get horses, and then ride some more, while another plane (Quichua) dropped some supplies. The story is long and fascinating. May be I will translate it if I have the time. Do not blindly trust the side views or 3 views you may see of the planes cited above. If no doubt well-meant and the work of love of someone that cared, most contain inaccuracies. Look at photos, as much as you can find, of the machine you intend to replicate, and start to take notes. Argentina had of course other Junkers Ju-52 used by LADE (Líneas Aéreas del Estado) and for other purposes, among them cropdusting by the Ministry of Agriculture (and Silly Walks). Many other Latin American countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, etc.) had a number too. The kit's fuselage sides, with the problems explained above: Different corrugation pattern, inaccurate for these Junkers: Front door inexplicably absent from kit: This hatch may me opened: Look, mom, no gun position!: But instead a sink mark!: Caused by Italeri leaving the gun position paraphernalia inside: Parts for the seats provided: And other nice details (aft bulkhead with folded seat, a bit different on the planes listed above). I will open that door that leads...yes! to the restroom. Toilet, here we come!: Two cabin floors, in this case of course the one with the seat recesses is the one to use. Now, some civil Junkers had the seats pointing slightly inwards, so which is the case with Aeroposta? Don't miss the next episode!:
  2. I owe the pleasure of this kit to fellow modeler John Eaton, that very kindly let it go so I could have a go at this extremely exciting build. As we corresponded, John commented on what must have been to travel to exotic places on this gentle beast, in absolute luxury that only the well-heeled could afford. As many of you know, there were in fact two of these Handley Page types, the HP42 and HP45, four machines each. One covered the Eastern routes while the other covered the Western ones. They differed on the powerplants, propellers, and seat number and arrangement. Many other external details varied from plane to plane too, so as usual photo references are a must. I have wanted to build this vacuformed kit for a long time. And to think that I believed that I was handling a "big kit" and model when I built this same manufacturer's Blackburn Kangaroo, but this behemoth is far, far bigger, almost 55 ctms. in span (that is for you still leaving in the dark ages about 21 1/2 inches). This design epitomizes "The Beauty in the Beast" character that I so much love about vintage, Golden Age planes: ungainly, preposterous, but ultimately irresistibly charming. Through the years I gathered so much references on this type, that only to go trough the graphic material takes me hours (I just did it, again), not to mention the written portion of it that I leave for a rainy day (or days). The Contrail kit is not state of the art as we all know, but I believe it will provide a decent base for a good model. The kit , reputedly released in 1982 (37 years ago!!!) comes with some goodies in the form of Aeroclub's white metal engines and four-blade props, some airfoiled material, a metal rod for the landing gear, a few molded parts (wheels and such) a cut of clear (now yellowed) plastic and some extra styrene sheet. Accompanying the package are printed instructions, quite clear for what I can tell at a glance, and clearly printed reference photographs, not the fuzzy blackened photos much newer manufacturers some times provide. A big decal sheet is also provided to cater for (I think) every HP42/45. Not sure about how it survived the passage of time, we'll see. This kit also provides a full interior, cockpit and cabin. There is a particular piece of engineering in this kit, as the cabin interior is eventually wrapped within a shell, which sides have the curtains already molded in, and you have to cut off the "window" area. That sub-assembly is later enclosed by the fuselage sides. The monster kit: Some details included, among them Aeroclub white metal engines and props. Notice that the Eastern route machines had different, stacked two-blade props, easier to carry on as replacements: Contents of the box: Interior provided: The cabin "shells": A Parnall Pixie (same scale) could take off... ...and land on this plane's wing: Now, because I am building at the same time seven models (six of which are posted here as ongoing WiPs), this one may have to wait a little.
  3. We have here a situation that often repeats in this hobby: a superbly attractive plane that hardly any mainstream manufacturer would touch, produced by a smaller outfit with less resources and the unavoidable higher price tag that always accompanies the need to spread higher costs on a smaller number of produced items. For us modelers that translates into the above-mentioned higher tag price, with a technology that no matter how much love, time and energy invested, may fall sometimes a tad short of modeling comfort. I have to credit to this manufacturer first and foremost the will and valor to produce a wonderful civil type that is not universally known, and the inclusion of items such as highly detailed decals, photo-etched parts, white metal parts, documentation, detailed plans, and such. The bulk of the kit is constituted by resin parts, the casting is fair enough, and better than other offers like the old Dujin issues, but not on par with more refined kits in the market of equal price. The engineering is a bit unusual, but this plane is not easy to translate in kit form, so I guess they shall be given a pass on that. But the aggregate of several resin and white metal parts that makes for the outrigger engines, associated struts and landing gear does not fit exactly well and produced many a headache. This is far from being an easy kit to build, as you can see in the work-in-progress post: The decision lies on the modeler: spend the higher sum and have a laborious build to enjoy the rewards of a lesser known type of great appeal...or not. I guess that as usual it boils down to how much you want a Westland Wessex, and how a reasonably experienced modeler you are. A great deal of thought and resources has been poured into this kit, still you need to work with skill, patience and care (and no little love), sometimes solving manufacturing issues, to get a nice replica. But then you will have your beautiful Wessex.
  4. The Westland Wessex trimotor passenger carrier of 1930 is such an attractive machine that caught my attention very early on my modeling endeavors. I started to gather material to do the usual scratchbuild and had managed to fill a pretty portly folder, when I saw that Rugrats released it as a resin kit with accessories. I understand that Rugrats released several batches, and this to me seems to be an early one, since the decal sheet carrier had aged possibly beyond redemption, as you can see in the accompanying images (no, I don't like to put the decal sheet against the window to fix it, it doesn't, really and after you apply it eventually yellows again). The kit portrays one of the variants the Wessex transport spawned, so bear that in mind when you look at your references. It is a great joy that a manufacturer will release these wonderful jewels of the Golden Age, and the effort should be saluted and applauded. They also offer a DH 66 Hercules, a DH 83 Fox Moth, a DH 84 Dragon, DH 90 Dragonfly, DH 86 Express and a DH 91 Albatross. I am familiar with all these planes, but with none of these kits, nevertheless I am happy that someone will make them available to us. Congratulations on that. The contents of the box, with reference material: Many parts are provided, but among the most practical for me: the spare for the transparencies and the inclusion of the resin master to vac more if anything bad happens: White metal parts, decent, but of slightly less quality than Aeroclub items: More white metal parts, some of them with a not so smooth surface: The engine pods and wheels, subtle wing detail: The ill decals. Wonder if the manufacturer may provide good ones: Of great printing quality, though, but as an all-encompassing carrier you have to individually trim. This may not be ideal for the window frames, for example: The fuselage is free of those silly resin bricks that some manufacturers attach to them, necessitating a jackhammer to separate the part from them: The seemingly unavoidable pinholes (very little of them, fortunately) -some of these are not pinholes, but the strut locations: One exhaust survived the de-molding, the other did not: More pinholes:
  5. Some times the modeling stars align and you get a very nice kit that you can convert into one of your dream projects without struggling, and, furthermore, completely enjoying the build. I added as you know a Matías Hagen resin engine and commissioned decals, masks and "metal" window frames from Arctic Decals. The WiP is here: The output of attractive, significant, colorful and uplifting civil kits from many manufacturers has fortunately increased lately, however I am always searching for potential conversions of military kits into much more civilized, smart and appealing civil counterparts. That's how I discovered the KP LVG C.VI kit, acquired for a very reasonable price (two more since then, by the way, I liked it so much). The quality of this little kit is superb in any regard and again, how pleasurable to build, a welcome change of scenery from my usual Frankenkit endeavors. Still, there is the matter of the kit's Achilles' heel: the cabanne struts have no locating devices or marks where they meet the fuselage, making gluing and aligning (in the 3 axis) at the same time the upper wing an event to remember, and you will, believe me. You can easily convert one of these kits to a civil post-war variant without even the need of adding a canopy or modifying the rudder as I did, by only removing the armament, filling the machine gun depression (pun intended) on the fuselage right side with Milliput or similar, and getting new decals. Many C.VIs flew carrying mail and/or passenger in the aft position with only the addition of a proper seat: "Express II", "Meteor I" (D-181), D-473 (for Baumer Aero), the ones that flew for DLR, (D-70, D-76), etc., are just some examples of C.VI in civilized use. But if you like "limousine" canopies, as I do, you have at least three more planes that had them, all with different canopies and finishes (one was D-1216, the drawing at the beginning of the construction post). The machine presented here had at some point the outline edges of the wings painted, as well as "L.V.G." under each lower wing, a scheme I may build in the future since I now have the decals too, plus the master to mold the canopy, problem is: (And I will repost here what I post on the WIP): I RUN OUT OF CLEAR MATERIAL TO VACFORM CANOPIES!! I have plenty of colored sheets for the Mattel vacuform machine, but no clear plastic sheets. I already tried those two or three types offered on the Net, with unpleasant results, and nothing compares to the original ones that came long ago with the Mattel machine, and I just run out of my supply from Mike Damen, who used to produce good substitutes (he does not fabricate them anymore). Sigh...
  6. A build from 5 years ago: The KHAI-1 was the first Russian passenger plane to operate with a retractable landing gear. It was fast for the time and had some degree of comfort, including a restroom. Its design premises were advanced, although did not include extensive metal construction for the airframe. They aimed to streamlining and to an easy and affordable construction, a must at that time for Russian aeronautic endeavors. The plane was mostly made of wood and covered in plywood and received treated fabric on top of the wood skin, creating a smooth surface. The KHAI-1 was designed as a supervised student project at the Kharkov Aviation Institute. After approval one prototype was built and was found to meet and exceed expectations. 43 of these 6-seat wooden wonders were built in total with some modifications and used in regular passenger services. Later modifications of the type included –among others- a change in engine (M-22 for the production versions), repositioning of the access door, different location and number of windows, revision of the rudder/fin shape, addition of one more piece to the wheel covers in order to completely hide the gear in the retracted position, moving forward the tail skid, extension of the cockpit turtledeck and the deletion of one seat to make up for the increase in weight due to structure strengthening. I am pretty sure these other versions could be done with some mods. The first two configurations of the plane are what can be built with the kit. The initial one had no Townend ring and a wood prop; the second is depicted on the box with Townend ring and variable-pitch prop TEMA’s 1/72 rendition of the Neman KHAI-1 contributed to reveal to the modeling world the beauty of a Russian plane which not many modelers were aware of. If you never heard before of TEMA, do not panic. Now we have also in the market AModel’s release (marketed as HAI-1, not quite the Russian pronunciation), which seems to have used basically the same mold and add an extra, much more complete sprue for the engine. The parts look cleaner in this Amodel release too. Construction started by cleaning up some rough spots and flash present in some of the parts, as per photos, but that was accomplished without trouble. Otherwise the molds have a reasonable quality and even some subtle details on the parts, like the ribbing on the control surfaces. Unlike other short-run kits, most of parts are keyed and not just butt-joined. The fit wasn’t perfect, and needed some work. Areas to be careful (meaning you will have to sand and check for the fit a few times) are the cabin floor (as it is, it doesn’t fit inside the fuselage comfortably –surprise!) and the dreaded wing to fuselage joint. The latter being the worst on my kit. I found some references on the Net, among them a detailed plan, but photos were not of a good quality in general. Nevertheless enough was gathered to proceed. Part #16 on the sprues –the instrument panel- is not present in the building sequence instructions. The kit could be assembled “as is” after some minor refinement but also more could be done if so you wish. An aft bulkhead could be added, perhaps a few details in the cockpit like rudder pedals, may be the landing gear doors could be refined a tad. Perhaps the decals’ carrier could be trimmed closer to the images. The real plane had a simple toilet located opposite the access door, on the right hand side of the fuselage. Transparencies are good enough and have a reasonable fit. Beware that the fuselage door is included in the transparencies’ sprue, so you have to mask the door window and paint the part with the rest of the fuselage. White styrene sometimes fools you because it makes it difficult to catch mistakes and gaps. So, in spite of the above-mentioned reasonable fit of the transparencies, I managed to glue them too far “inland”, and not flush with the fuselage exterior. By the time I realized it, they were fantastically glued. That no doubt should be attributed to the fact that they were in the wrong position. Then I put too much Future in a hopeless intent to gain some thickness but instead I achieved a sticky cake of dubious transparency. That, also, should be attributed to the fact that I spent a lot of time detailing the interior, now barely visible. Some small additions were made on the engine area to make it a bit more detailed, like pushrods, modification of the front “shield” and exhaust pipes (18!) that had very personal ideas regarding which way they should go. Cockpit and cabin received uplifting home-made addenda –toilet included- as per images in this article. A toilet paper roll –made of real tissue paper- was also added. A detail I am always particularly fond of including, especially for long flights. I like my models clean. The vertical stabilizer is molded complete on one fuselage side, not exactly in the middle -which is correct- as the real plane had it so to compensate for engine torque. What is not correct is the building sequence diagram (by the way, not the most brilliant I have seen) which shows the fork of the landing gear going along the short leg of the cover. It goes along the long leg of the cover. If this is true for the real plane too, I can’t tell from the photos I have, but if assembled as per instructions, you will be in trouble. Parts that were metal in the original were given a gloss black base and painted with Alclad II. The rest was model railroad acrylic alu paint over a white primer. Color trim was also acrylic. The kit box shows the painting scheme on the back.. The decals’ carrier was trimmed a bit closer to the images, but in applying them (fortunately under the wing) I discovered that the carrier was way too much evident. The usual tricks didn’t render an acceptable result, so I scanned the decal sheet and printed it on a laser printer on a decent decal paper. I have no idea how good the decals are on the Amodel release, but I hope they are better. Now, we have here a situation that is common in the hobby: I very nice subject that the mainstream manufacturers are very unlikely to touch and the limitations of a given media (whatever that happen to be, short run, vac, etc). So yes, you have to exercise those modeling skills and learn new ones. Hey, isn’t that remarkable similar to life itself?
  7. A build from 5 years ago: This is the 3rd conversion posted of the S.79 (and the three postings today are entirely Martian Hale's fault!), and actually this is the first one that I did, before doing the other two racers already posted today. It has some issues, but I like it anyway, in spite that surely I would do a couple things differently today. Civilian aircraft are not particularly well catered for by mainstream manufacturers. Once in a while we see some refried beans that have re-incarnated several times and that used to be mostly it, but lately a few companies are stepping in and offering an alternative for modelers looking for a fresh approach to the world of aviation. Although conversions are sometimes available and cottage industry does produce some nice examples on the field, there are times when you have to fabricate your own bits. And that’s not that difficult after all. Here the 1/72 Italeri S.M. 79 Sparviero minus some bits plus some other bits. Retrospectively, the method I used to produce the canopy –a vacuformed “roof” and front flat panels- is something that could be better done as one whole vacuformed piece in order to facilitate matters. As references were being consulted (thanks Fabrizio D’Isanto and Fabio Beato) it was evident that a number of details had to be erased from the original kit, most noticeably the “hunch”, the lower fuselage gondola and some of the windows. Props had to be re-worked, a suitable interior scratch-built, and a few details added. The main concern were actually the decals, but, after an attempt on my part that rendered so-so results, fellow modeler Mika Jernfors came to the rescue with superb graphics. By that time I had already placed some of the so-so decals that refused to be removed, so I could use only partially his excellent images, so any less than nice things are my fault entirely. If you feel curious about the history of this S.M.79 version and the airline that operated it, you could Google their names and surely something will come up. For the base color I used Humbrol 41 Ivory, which seems a good match for the color used originally. The blue is a custom mix. It is so secret that I hid the recipe even from myself and now and can’t remember the ingredients, but it involved mixing potions under the full moon and being helped by Smurfs. Hey, why not drop for a while the camouflaged jacket and wear a nice, cool, smart suit? This plane realized transatlantic flights to Brazil, and had fuel tanks between the cockpit and the four-seat cabin. See you on the sky.
  8. My third full airliner build so far, and probably the first one that I'd be able to say went together as planned (more or less). The subject depicted is one of Cathay Pacific's B777-300ERs, registration B-KQY, an aircraft which I was on last July, which I snapped a few photos of and later used as references for this build. Anyways, on to the build itself - It was painted with just Tamiya acrylics and Mr. Base White. I used a ratio of 1 part XF-23 to 10 parts X-2 for the underside and engines, 1 part XF-23 to 8 parts X-2 for the stripe (though this turned out to be too dark so I overcoated it with X-2 later on) and 1 part XF-19 to 4 parts X-2 for the wings and engine pylons. For the decals, I printed my own and they were relatively easy to make as I had made them before for a 1/144 build and just had to resize them, change the registration and fix some of the previous issues of the decals (from experience), with some of the decals being used from the Hasegawa kit's ANA decals (which were plentiful and useful). The kit itself is very easy to build and simple as with all Hasegawa airliners; I find that the fit is better than on their B767 and the build went relatively well assembly-wise. Watch out for the fuselage seam and the connection from the wings to the fuselage though - The fuselage seam is difficult to deal with especially because it extends for the length of the entire fuselage, and the plastic slab on the wing that connects with the fuselage isn't enough to guarantee a good dihedral angle and is also weak as a connection point. Take your time to test fit that area, and use strong adhesives so that you can minimize the gap, or fit the wings on early into the build so you can fill in the seams left behind. It's a very easy build, though; I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a quick build or those who want to get into airliners and practice first before moving on to the bigger 1/144 kits. I'd also advise getting some aftermarket decals for the cockpit window or printing your own; The geometry on the Hasegawa clear part is off and so is the window decal provided with the kit. I decided to print my own and size it similarly to the Hasegawa decal which I think looks somewhat better than the kit decal. Now for the image spam: (My lightbox is pretty small, so a lot of the shots had to be highly cropped or have borders visible. Sorry about that) And as a bonus, a few pics I took of the real thing back in June: I definitely don't consider the build perfect (If anything, really, a close look at it reveals a plethora of flaws) - The nose decals distorted weirdly on me and some of the thick decal borders are visible, some of the X-22 used as a gloss coat left an orange peel finish and some of the door decals are off (To recreate the white door borders on Cathay Pacific's planes I adapted the decals that came with the Hasegawa ANA B777-300ER kit I was using and trimmed some of the door decals with white to fit; On others I had to make do with cutting tiny strips of white decals and lining them up on the door). This build was more of a test to see how well I can build a relatively simple airliners and test my abilities before moving on to bigger projects. It's also something nice to look at in the display case of die-casts and snap-fit models. Despite the flaws, I think it worked pretty well somehow..
  9. This plane doesn't really need an introduction.. But I'll make one anyway. For those of you who don't know what it is; Have you been living under a rock? The Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde was one of the first and only supersonic passenger airliners to enter service. Its design was unique, graceful and miles ahead of any of its contemporaries and up until now, no airliner has been able to surpass it. The aircraft's economic future was short-lived, though; In the end, only Air France and British Airways ordered it, paid almost entirely for by their respective governments due to low demand, rising fuel costs and high fuel and maintenance expenses. It was retired in 2003 after its only crash in Paris as well as the commercial aviation industry plummeting after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The kit is Revell's 2005 tooling of the Concorde with BA's Chatham livery, depicting G-BOAG in the 5-degree nose-down takeoff position. So, before anything else, here are the pics! The model was painted with Base White 1000 for the white basecoat and the gloss coat was Tamiya X-22 with Mr. Levelling Thinner. The metallic parts of the engines were painted with Alclad II Airframe Aluminum under XF-1 + X-22. The rest of the aircraft and the smaller components were either painted with Tamiya acrylics or Alclad II White Aluminum. Now, about the kit.. Hoooo boy, where to start? I'll probably end up writing this like it was it's own review. The first thing you notice about the kit is that it has very few parts - Only around 60 if I remember right - but for such a simple kit, it's also a major pain in the behind to assemble overall. Because of the age of the mold, expect to be trimming off sheets of flash as well. The fit of the fuselage components is fine, but the wing components are especially difficult. The way it's engineered, the entire underside of the wings + undercarriage and bottom half of the fuselage are to be fitted in one piece, but the assembly's so flimsy that it's difficult to keep all of it glued to whatever fuselage supports there are without buckets of cement or CA. This also affects the way that the upper half of the wings fits together. The whole assembly is so flimsy that it bends too easily. In the end, the seam that connects the bottom half and upper half of the wing were impossible for me to eliminate as they just kept cracking and reopening every time I put putty over it and sanded. It would be advisable to stuff some plastic card or CA and talcum powder in there so that it has some structural support. The engines were also tedious to fit together but it was possible to get a flush fit if you test fitted and sanded ad nauseam. Some of the components fit well and others simply didn't. Be careful to test fit everything and you should be able to proceed with the rest of the build somewhat more smoothly. The decals are printed by Cartograf and as a result are quite nice to work with. The adhesive isn't too strong, which on one hand means that they're easy to work with and don't get stuck the moment they're applied. On the other it also means that they're somewhat more prone to being shuffled around when you don't want them to and peeling off. For an airliner kit a lot of stencils are provided which is nice although they might seem too many for some. Check reference photos of the particular aircraft you're modelling. Some of the stencils seemed to be in wrong places in the instructions or not existent at all, especially in the engines. As mentioned in other reviews, the nose gear is too long and should be trimmed a few mm. I did this on my build but found it wasn't enough as the model still had an excessive nose-up position. The nose visor and windscreen is also wrong - The model depicts it as flat but it should be angled. I scratchbuilt this by bending a piece of plasticard and with a bunch of epoxy putty, and printed my own decals for the cockpit windscreens. Worked out pretty well, I think. The main gears need careful alignment because otherwise it doesn't fit on all fours. It doesn't show all that much on the photos, though. Closing in on a long wall of text, I certainly made more than a few mistakes during the build, but despite the difficulty I'm rather content with how it turned out. Thanks for somehow reading until this point, and any feedback would be appreciated!
  10. This build is so old that I actually don't recall when I assembled this kit. Re-photographing and re-posting now for the sake of nostalgia. The text is from the time when I posted it somewhere, but that post is not dated. Another spawn from the Dungeons of Matchbox, with the usual colorful Ectoplastic treatment. After opening the box I realized I have seen a decal review of a civilian version, and following a fast search I order the set from Whiskey Jack Decals. I will elaborate on this matter later*. So there I was, battling valiantly again against the multi-colored Ectoplastic, but always with a smile on my face. This Stranraer model is really beautiful -the 30's definitely have some special charm- and builds easily. The only parts of the kit that made me frown were the struts. The central ones are way too long, and some of the exterior ones are too short. I found them difficult to position and the whole process of attaching the upper wing found me making good use of words that will make a seasoned rap singer turn pale. Rigging info is not provided, but there is a fair amount of images on the Internet, which helped me with it and some other details. Since I didn't have the lemon yellow suggested by Whiskey Jack Decals available, I used Utrecht artist acrylic, which of course unfortunately is meant not to flow, and diluted it with Model Master acrylic thinner. Several coats were laid down to build up a solid color that matched to my satisfaction the yellow on the fuselage side decals. The conversion to the civilian version, a Canadian machine of Queen Charlotte Airlines Ltd., requires some changes: the gun positions have of course to be deleted and blanked off and there are also changes in the engine/propeller area and other minor details. I have a single word for the after market decals: excellent. You have to be aware, though, that they have a continuous carrier, so you will have to carefully cut all the subjects and trim them. The decals must be handled carefully, and before cutting them a clear coat is suggested (I used Future, three coats, airbrushed). I tried them with and without decal setting agents, and I think you are safer without them, but you have to be patient. The colors are good as is the definition, but I encountered minor misalignments in the fuselage side decals (if you make on part of the image align with certain surface features, other parts are not aligned and vice versa, but I repeat: minor issues. The decals conformed well to all the surfaces and even endured some repositioning with remarkable stoicism. Another old Matchbox kit that provides a satisfying build, provided you are not obsessive-compulsive. *These decals -as far as I know- have been discontinued for ages now. (Note: there was a dolly, now missing, that supported the aft fuselage of this kit)
  11. A convoluted build from 4 years ago of a very philosophical plane. Long ago I saw a scratchbuilt model of the Capelis built by Jim Lund that sparked my interest and led me to contact Mike Herrill of Execuform to see if he was willing to pull vac copies from the wood masters I carved, in order to create a sort of kit for me to work from. He pulled the copies and so this project could see the light of day. The main reference was the Skyways magazine article on the Capelis found on the October 1995 issue (#36) But first, what was the Capelis? Some scholars state that occidental culture as we know it was born in Greece, a well of knowledge that still today feeds psychology, philosophy, mythology and modeling (just remember the great Greek philosopher, modeler and olive pitter Styrenides (V century B.S.). The Capelis started as a transport project of the Capelis Corporation, whose president, of course, was no other than Socrates Capelis. The Greek community backed the project and by 1933 the plane was ready. Modern for the time (all metal construction) sported nevertheless a forward leaning canopy and a biplane tail, which some say was an outdated feature, but nobody will dare to deny that confers the plane its remarkable aesthetics (aesthetics as a science, by the way, is another Greek legacy). Things weren’t peachy, though, an after some inauspicious beginnings the whole thing was prematurely and unfortunately dropped. But the Capelis kept going, this time re-incarnated as a movie prop. It endured some modifications and went on for many movies bathing on the golden glory of Hollywood, featuring in many films, the most famous, arguably, being “Five Came Back”, with –among many other movie stars- Lucille Ball, and “Flying Tigers” with John Wayne. The above-mentioned masters were very simple, on the vein of those vacuformed kits that provide the general shapes. Details, accessories, decals and the like are provided by the modeler, as well as surface detail. Once I got my vacuformed parts from Mike, I started building the model. There were some minor and major modifications done to the Capelis over time. This model represents the plane as it flew, with its forward-raking canopy. Another nose was later mastered to allow the building of the movie versions, which has a more conventional canopy arrangement. Another copy -from my masters- by Execuform was built and presented at Telford by another modeller, where you may have seen it, this and the past year. As a mythological metallic bird coming from Mount Olympus, the Capelis extends its wings over the modeling world. See you soon.
  12. A nice, chubby little fella built from a resin kit about 5 years ago. If you look carefully at it, you may notice that regarding its configuration, the FW A.16 has similarities with the bird-like -and much earlier- Etrich/Rumpler Taubes. The “V” planform tail and especially the “feathered” wings –in the “zanonia” seed style- were common to many designs of the time. That planes attempt to resemble birds should not surprise anybody. The A.16 is a chubby, stubby, stumpy particular kind of bird though. It could carry three passengers and provided a reliable service during its career. Planet Models used to be mostly known for its Luftwaffe 46 models, but lately, in a very fortunate and welcome change of direction, has been releasing interesting kits of civil German subjects of the Golden Age of Aviation. I congratulate Planet models on these recent subject choices (that include the Focke Wulf Fw19 Ente, Lockheed Air Express, Messerschmitt M.20, and many other beautiful planes). This particular kit has been already reviewed and built many times and you can easily find articles posted on the Net, so I won't be too exhaustive here regarding its presentation. I owe the pleasure of having and building this kit to the generosity and kindness of Jim Schubert, an Irregular Pugetian on the shores of the Sound, near Boingland. The kit came without transparencies or decals (which were donated to another modeler) but Jim kindly added a better, more accurate pair of white metal wheels from Aeroclub, plus a more accurate prop plus weight placard decals. For all that I thank Jim, forgive him, and grant him indulgence for all his modeling sins. At it: It took some time to remove the pouring blocks from the wing halves, and especially from the fuselage sides, where the lugs were strangely located and did not facilitate their removal at all. Planet kits are generally good, and this was also the case. Another reviewer mentioned that he got a wing root thicker than the other, and some misalignment in the fuselage. Not the case for my own sample, fortunately. As you know resin kits are produced in a sort of artisan way, so samples tend to vary. My kit could not escape, though, the occasional bubble and pinhole. Some of those were located in my sample in the rudder bar and pedals (which crumbled-down on me) and beneath a control horn that popped off too. Beware that some tiny holes on the wings close to the ailerons and not pinholes, but the exit points for the control cables. The casting web that holds the smaller parts was thick and not very easy to remove, but some areas of it were thinner and the parts separated more easily. As you can see in the photos I did not bother with the seats’ legs for which I can use styrene or metal rod instead of struggling to clean up those minute items. Beware that there are very tiny parts on that casting web, look for them and be careful separating them, especially some minute steps that are very easily overlooked. There were thick mold lines underneath the fuselage halves and a couple other parts that had to be removed and smoothed out. As it is always the case with resin kits, you should use a dust mask to avoid -while sanding and cleaning- the resin particles which are harmful. The instructions are indifferent and have the usual couple of dark/confusing spots; nothing you could not overcome paying a little attention, though. The decals –again, I did not get those since there were given to other modeler- cover one subject, a Lufthansa machine. If you feel tempted, like me, to branch out and do something different, beware that there were 4 subsequent variants of the A.16, and the kit caters for only one (“a”). The variants (a, b , c and d) had different noses, engines, lengths, fin/rudder and even different span in one case (the first machine). So be careful and check you references. I used home-made decals and did some research regarding the colors. I ended up using my own recipe for “Silbergrau”, in two tones: one for the general plane and a slightly darker hue –as per photos- for the cabin exterior, which in the original had wood panels; I employed black for the wing stripes and aluminum for the nose and wing tanks. I added a flowers vase and curtains to cheer-up the cabin. My main reference is the Jet&Prop publication on the type. You may also read John Stroud's more generic article in Aeroplane Monthly of Jan 1987. Much help was provided by the above-mentioned Jim Schubert, the Volkano Evil Genius Soenke Schulz and other equally-kind colleagues and fellow modelers. Heavy and not always practically-located pouring blocks Made my own transparencies: The flower vase (as usual, two made, one selected): Home-made decals: Also for the prop:
  13. 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.
  14. Another model from 8 years ago, to further illustrate vac construction. I never built a model with so many names and such complicated history. Suffice to say that it is known as Faichild 150, General Aviation GA-43, Clark GA-43, and North American GA-43. The “Clark” there is the same one as in the Clark “Y” airfoil fame, for you aerodynamicists. The plane also has some Fokker strings attached. To explain here all the mergers, acquisitions, take-overs and other financial mysteries would take too much space, so let just say that it was an all-metal ten-passenger plane with –after the prototype was converted- retractable landing gear. It was used by Swissair (two machines), SCADTA in Colombia, Western Air Express in the USA, one ended up in Japan as J-BAEP and yet another somehow managed to fly in Spain on the (fortunately) anti-Franco side. A pretty good story for only five machines built in total. There is a very good article on the subject on Skyways magazine issue of January 1998. I opted to represent the prototype, since its spats and short one-seat canopy had a chubbier look that was very appealing to me. Parts were separated from the backing sheet using the well-known tachyon pulse method, and flat-sanded cautiously while testing. References were consulted in order to establish which parts were needed so they could be made with the replicator. Some goodies were beamed-up from an obscure British manufacturer with Klingon ties. Do not get rid of the leftovers of the backing sheet, many extra parts (like bulkheads, spars, seats) can be cut from them. The next thing to do was to establish the position of the windows, door and luggage hatch on the fuselage and cut them open. Five bulkheads and the cabin floor were cut from the leftovers (see, I told you!). At this point I decided, after much pondering, to diverge from the Execuform path and separate the stabilizer halves, work out the tail cone integrity, and add the stab halves later. Execuform planned the parts to provide some sort of easy keying for alignment, but I rather sand the fuselage smooth and add the stab than meander between the parts later with the sanding stick and the putty. The ten passengers chairs came next, each one made of six parts (back, seat, head cushion, two armrests and magazine pouch in the back). As per photos a few metal parts were found in my spares box too. The cavity showing the wing root from inside was closed using sheet styrene. The wing roots in the model are slightly asymmetrical, being one a bit higher than the other. Be careful to compensate for that. The wing halves were glued and their panel lines engraved. Beware that the prototype had longer span ailerons and no flaps. Also some anti-stall small sections were located at the leading edge. Those were replicated carving the styrene and adding a few small ribs. No landing lights were present at the leading edge at the time that this first machine was flown. No nav lights can be seen on the wingtips either, but two were present on the fin and on the tip of the tail cone. The whole interior, as a single unit –see images- was detailed and prepped for its later insertion between the fuselage halves. A roof was glued to one side and some detail added on those halves too. All these may sound boring or difficult, but it wasn’t at all. Is like solving a puzzle for which you create the pieces as you go. Very Zen. Once the fuselage was closed the stab halves were refined and a few parts created to better engineer its addition to the fuselage. To the wheel pants a strip was added and blended to represent the shock absorbing mechanism arrangement. Once all the painting was done and set, home-made decals and a few external details were added, and the gleaming retro beauty of the GA-43 shone away in all its glamor. And as Master Po used to say, a Shaolin monk is not ready until he builds his scratchbuilt, resin and vacuformed models.
  15. Built 4 years ago. The WIP is here: Here is the completed Potez 62.1 in Argentinean livery, with full interior (unfortunately, if you need to go the restroom, you will need to click on the building article link, though). A very long-haul project. Again my thanks to Sönke Schulz (the original Heller kit's donor!), Alain Bourret, Christos Psarras, Matias Hagen, Martin Blanco from Uruguay*, Armando Gil, the Pavlovcic article in LV magazine -that although not totally accurate helped spur my interest-, and the others that helped me with this project. *Amigos de Uruguay, ¿para cuándo un CX-ADH? The step-by-step building article is here: Just to be clear regarding this conversion: 1) You can not use the Heller's kit fuselage unless you completely modify it and make it wider. Better make a new one. 2) You can not use the kit's engine gondolas and props without modifications, not a single one Potez 62.1 had those seen in the kit. 3) Get good references, the Dumollard book to start with. 4) Be prepared to do some serious work. 5) Whenever possible, do not only look at drawings, but also at photos of the machine you wish to replicate. They tend to differ...quite a bit. 6) Cross-check your references, as you may see in the building article some can be misleading. 7) The lighter color of the airliners is NOT white, neither pure aluminum, but a grayish version of it. Many photos show how dark and somewhat dull this tome could be under certain light conditions, and on the other hand under different lighting it could look white. Especially useful is the photo published in the Pavlovcic article mentioned in the building posting, where the white of the Argentinean flag on the rudder clearly contrasts with the fuselage upper color. It is truly a touch of irony that LV-"SEC" (dry in French) ended up soaked as shown on that photo sticking ignominiously its tail out of the water in Brazil. Or may be the plane just wanted to have a splash in the waves of Rio. In order to achieve a good result it is indispensable that during the construction of this model you listen to György Ligeti -or at the very least Eric Satie- and read "Monty Python's Big Red Book".
  16. From 4 years ago, another vacuformed model for your entertainment: The best reference I have found for this Stinson A endeavor (and many other modeling adventures) is Skyways Magazine. You will find a four-part Stinson A article on these Skyways issues: #75, Jul 2005 #76, Oct 2005 #77, Jan 2006 and #78, Apr 2006 The Formaplane Stinson A vacuformed kit: To accuse a dinosaur of lack of elegance and subtlety is not really fair. Dinosaurs were The machines of their time, and you could say that they fitted their niche properly. In the same way, it is not really fair to criticize -based on today's standards- a kit made many decades ago. Or is it? well, the fact is that while some stand up pretty darn well, like a Rareplane vacuform from Gordon Stevens, others do not fair as well. Anyway, I am sure their makers spent a lot of time, money and love making them, and I am still to hear that any of those dedicated people became rich in the process. So, when I poke a little fun at this sort of less fortunate ugly ducklings, it its good-hearted. That said, I think that vacs come mainly in three categories: A) "Different than the usual injected kit, but Very Interesting, and a subject that nobody else will likely tackle, nice accessories, let's build this one" (The mentioned Rareplane, now O.O.P. and contemporary Khee Kha Art Products offers) B ) "Oh, I see, a little bit* of work will be needed here, but again a plane I want to build and no mainstream company is willing to kit" (Execuform, some similar offers with plain but basically correct shapes and not much in the accessories department) * well, may be more than a little bit C) "Oh dear" And the winner for the third category is today's build: Formaplane/ MHW Stinson "A". You will see further down why so deservedly so. (Actually, to tell the truth, there is a forth category: "Oh C­­--p!", but we won't deal with it today) So, why vacs? You may have seen some of the many I have built. There are a number of reasons. I enjoy them a lot, it is a different approach, more involving, more creative. You learn a lot, and your modeling frontiers expand. They cover subjects that the mainstream manufacturers tend to ignore or dismiss. Many of the old and contemporary vacuformed kits are very well made, and not more difficult to build than a normal kit once you get used to their specific ways. After a lengthy but mostly enjoyable process the model was finally completed. It depicts the prototype (of which they were three configurations by the way) while still having round lower gondolas with landing gear doors. The full interior detail of course added some extra work, plus the many modifications, additions and adjustments the original kit had to go through in order to achieve a reasonably good model. Was all that work worth it? There is no right answer for that. I enjoyed -most of the time anyway- the challenge, and the model produced is far away from what a straightforward build would have rendered, I would say yes, it was worth it. Disclaimer: no carpet monsters were killed, harmed, maimed, minced, decapitated, hanged, painted in ridiculous colors, eaten, exported to Argentina, blasted to outer space, upset in any way or otherwise disturbed during the building of this model.
  17. A build from 4 years ago: The conversion of the veteran Heller Potez 54 into a Potez 62 airliner is not unknown to the modeling universe. It is not an easy conversion, and implies serious modifications of the fuselage and, depending on the specific machine chosen, new engines and engine nacelles and other details. The airliner will of course necessitate its new cockpit and a cabin interior, with its many seats and other details, a new set of decals will have to be produced and some extensive research would be in order if you wish to obtain a reasonably accurate reproduction. Some modelers have chosen to modify the Heller fuselage, while others took advantage of the Dujin resin conversion fuselage. This item is not easy to get, but I believe is not impossible to grab one if you persist. I passed on it for several reasons: price, material (resin) and the fact that not having the opportunity of handling one directly I could not evaluate its accuracy and level of detail. This conversion has been tempting me for a while, but my interest picked up in discovering that Argentina, the country where I was born, had two Air France machines operating under French registration on the Buenos Aires / Santiago de Chile route, one of which was later acquired by the Argentinean government and re-registered LV-SEC (F-ANQQ). F-ANQQ was a converted 62.0, therefore had no sweptback as the ulterior 62.1 series machines. At around the same time two Dewoitine 333 and two 338s were also acquired, but very unfortunately they were passed to the military and did not go into civil operation, pity, because I would have loved to build models of them too. The Potez 62 LV-SEC operated only once, in half a flight. That's correct. According to the Pavlovcic article it flew on an official mission to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with some politicians and predictable entourage, only to crash on take-off on the attempted flight back, fortunately with non-fatal injuries but leaving the machine converted in a pile of trash. A not uncommon occurrence regarding many politicians: going half the way, leaving everything trashed, and escape unscathed. The same article features a photo (apparently the only known) of LV-SEC's tail sticking out of the water, not a pretty -or memorable- sight. As I started to gather, read, and compare sources, references and photos, it became obvious, as always, that you can not really take all you read as uncontroverted truth. The Pavlovcic article, otherwise a good effort that deserves praise and has many merits, seems to contain nevertheless a few inaccuracies, the most potentially misleading stating that the engine on the French machine that will become the Argentinean machine has its engines changed from inline (Hispano Suiza 12 Xrs) to radial (Gnome Rhone 14 Kirs Mistral Major) , which I believe is not correct. It seems it is all the way around: having started as a Potez 62.0 it had the radials, but when upgraded to 62.1 received the inlines. Surprisingly enough, in the very same article there are two photos of both Air France Potez with inline engines. Furthermore, he mentions about the Argentinean machine that had a "big radiator in the lower-front part of the nacelles", an undeniable feature of the inline Hispano Suiza, and photos of the Andes crossing taken from the Potez and partially showing the engine show an Hispano Suiza inline front, so I am not sure where this confusion roots. This is important, because being an inline engine, you could use the kit's nacelles, although not without some modifications, as photos show. This mods will be dealt with later on. If you are "un hermano de la Banda Oriental" (that is Uruguayan), being your Potez CX-ADH a 62.1 (ex- F-ANQN), it should include the modification of a 2 degrees sweptback as this one was a 62.1 from factory, therefore it did have the 2 degrees sweptback of the 62.1 series machines. An article by John Stroud on Aeroplane Monthly of May 1986 in his "Wings of Peace" series states that the specific machines that operated in Argentina had five seats. This is understandable if you contemplate that they had to cross the Andes to Chile, reaching an altitude of 5.500 meters (source: article on the Potez crossing the Andes on Revue Hispano Suiza). The same source also states that the two machines had Hispano Suiza X engines, and gives the second machine as F-ANQQ, instead of QO as the Pavlovcic article. In that regard the Pavlovcic article in Lima Victor is not correct. Unfortunately for Pavlovcic (and this mean absolutely no disrespect and does not detract from the merit of the overall effort) all references state F-ANQQ, including the Dumollard book and the registers: http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/f-aaaa.pdf Those original five seats were nevertheless surely increased in number as the machine passed to Argentinean hands, as the count for the infamous flight to Brazil shows: pilot, co-pilot, mechanic, radioman, mechanic assistant (five crew members) and eight passengers (13 total). I started by making the fuselage sides. One quick look at the kit ones made me realize that I would save a lot of time if I just scratched the fuselage instead of trying to cut, splice, patch, fill, putty, sand, smooth out, etc. the kit parts. My wife suggested I could save even more time by not building the plane, but, although her logic is undeniable, I suspect a catch there (as in everything she says in that particularly sweet tone of voice) so I did not follow her advise.
  18. (A model from more than a year ago, its posting prompted by a fellow modeler that requested some information) It is always a great joy to see a civil kit released. It is even better when it's good. Until now, the only option you had if you wanted a Delta (not this one, which is 1A/B/C, but the dual cockpit version, 1D), was to combine the Williams Bros. Northrop Gamma kit with a Body Job (Esoteric Models very old conversion) vacuum-formed fuselage that was not precisely a paradigm of perfection. I know, because I have built it (perhaps I should post it too as comparison, but it's not nearly a nice model as this is). The molds are crisp, the detail is good, the transparencies are clear, and the parts are sound. There are some extra parts that correspond to other versions, either released before or perhaps to be released. This boxing has decals for Sweden, US (TWA) and Mexico. Los Hermanos Mexicanos will surely be very pleased to see one of their machines built. And surely planes can fly above stupid walls. The kit comes in a normal, sturdy box that prevents the now customary pre-crushing, and the decals and transparencies are bagged separately, as well as the rest of the sprues. There are even masks to deal with a variation on the door area. Venturous modelers may adapt (through extensive surgery, though) this kit to portray other machines, since there were many civil users, but I would probably wait to see if Azur/FRROM/Special Hobby releases the 1D version, before nipping and cutting to heavily modify this kit for that purpose). The chubby, stubby, stocky, unmistakable and cute appearance of the Delta, together with several livery options should make of this a sought-after release. Meanwhile, I can recommend the reading of the very good and well-illustrated article on AIR MAGAZINE #24 (French publication). Many modifications and refinements were applied to this kit to improve what came in the box, which is good but missed some details. One of the iconic airliners of the 30's finally gets the place in the modeling universe it deserves.
  19. What is a thing that looks like a Lockheed Model 12 Electra and a Beech 18, but is neither? A 1937-born Barkley-Grow T8P-1, of course! Continuing with the vacuum-formed building trend, here is a product from Execuform, that gives you the basic shapes as a sort of base onto which you have to add the detail you want. Only the main shapes come in the kit with some leaflets containing a plan, images and information. The decals and accessories (engine, wheels, cockpit and cabin detail) are to be provided by the modeler. I have built products from this brand before and they should be considered a white canvas onto which you can express your modeling artistry, on subjects most of the time nowhere to be found as injected or resin kits. If do some scratch-building, Execuform saves you a lot of time by producing the masters and pulling the styrene shells, but they are not meant as complete kits. The Barkley-Grow was not a particularly successful design, although it managed to operate with a number of airlines and private owners. Three airframes seem to be still today being exhibited at museums. The Barkley-Grow was operated on wheels, skis and floats, making it especially useful as a bush plane in Canada, where it saw a bit of recognition, negated to it in the US. The seaplane version had an additional, smaller, central vertical stabilizer. The land version had a fixed landing gear with characteristic pants. Of pleasant lines and uncomplicated design, especially on wheels, it makes a good candidate to try your skills at this somewhat neglected media. It teaches you in the process quite a bit. Notable operators were Canadian Pacific, the US Antarctic Service, Yukon Southern Air Transport, Pacific Western, Northland, Prairie Airways, Associated Airlines, a private individual: Alexander Papana (YR-AHA, Trăiască Regele "Long Live the King", same exact registration by the way wore by Papana's Bellanca 28-92 trimotor), and the Peruvian government (OB-GGK, Cruz de Chalpón). This is what you get in the Execuform package. The basic shapes and reference material: Outlines with a permanent marker to easily located the edge of the parts: Parts off the backing sheet (keep the scraps. they will be used later): Parts sanded up to the line previously traced: Excursion to the spares bin and aftermarket parts drawers to find engines, props, wheels, etc.: Separating the future cowls: Gluing the cowl and float halves (not sure yet if I will present the model on floats are panted wheels): Floats and cowls with a cursory tide-up (notice the roundish stern on the floor, that has to be sawed off: Stern sawed off to real shape (the floats are a few millimeters longer to allow you to do this): Float noses also come with the kit, in case you feel you need them to achieve a better shape -or mess-up): The kit provides cowl fronts: Carburetor intakes from unknown donor. As they are hollowed and firm in the drill bit, the mold edges are cleaned up: Just in case the struttery for the floats is being prepared (I WANT MORE CONTRAIL AEROFOIL MATERIAL!!!!): Inner "N" float struts assembled. Passenger seats scratched, pilot-copilot seats and control wheel from spares box: Remember I said do not discard the scraps? here a cockpit/cabin floor is made of from a piece: Dry run of the setup: To deal with the roundish (inaccurate) finish of the float step, a cut is made: A styrene sheet piece is inserted in the cut with glue: So the blobby area can be later on removed: After the glue has set, then you can cap the stern: The float bottom flutes will have to be "sharpened" a bit using sandpaper wrapped on a dowel of appropriate diameter.
  20. I hesitate to post this work in progress endeavor. Would I be given the plastic ostrakon and exiled from Britmodeller? The case is that (and again, I hesitate to make this confession) as much as I have a soft spot for old Airfix, my nostalgic heart goes to old Heller. Would it be a platitude, a common place, to state that Heller kits have a je ne sais quoi? I know, how do I dare to say these things here at Britmodeller, Airfix's vacations' home. But it is true, dearest subjects and unsubjected: Heller had a lighter, more delicate, more refined (French, after all) hand. Paradoxically, it's one of Heller's British subjects what today congregates us here: the ubiquitous De Havilland D.H.89a. Of the hundreds of models I have built, only two subjects were ever repeated: the D.H. 88 Comet (five times, three Airfix and two SBS), and the D.H. 89a (two times before, not counting this one). The first two times I built Heller's D.H.89a. the molds had plenty of flash and horrible sinkholes, and the decals left much to be desired. This box I got now, a relatively old Heller release, has fortunately no sinkholes and little flash, and the decals are, besides being a sadly bland an unappetizing choice, again not really of quality. I wanted to tackle this third build to use the newly-produced set from Arctic Decals, which includes the "metal" frames and masks for the transparencies. And also to see if many moons later I could produce a better model than the previous ones. I am not yet completely decided, but I would like to build any of the several machines that operated in Argentina under an array of successive civil transport companies. We'll see, because there also versions on wheels, floats and skis with outstanding colors and schemes. Heller's D.H.89a is one of those models that offers almost infinite possibilities regarding decoration/liveries. Provided that you do some research and can either find (aftermarket), produce or commission the decals you want. There is also plenty of free-access material on the Net about the subject and it's details, and plenty of "living" airframes, so no issues there. Anyways, here are the contents of the box. I am sure you heard the expression "shake and bake" in reference to certain kits. Well, this one certainly was pretty well shaken during the years it took to reach my building board, and half the parts were rattling around loose, facilitating the initial job of detaching the parts from the sprues: The parts. There is a full interior, cabin and cockpit: Surface detail is mainly raised: Transparencies that fortunately deserve to be called that: Some of the detail may need help: those exhausts and prop/spinners are outdated: Nice cantilever lower wing. It is a solid one-piece affair though, which precludes you from cutting and lowering those nice split flaps, unless you somehow carve them out preserving the upper surface and add ad-hoc parts: Arctic Decals set, a great help. Read the instructions as these accessories need proper handling:
  21. The transformation, including modified Khee-Kha Art Product resin floats and an Arctic Decals set is completed. This plane operated on both, wheels and floats for the Tokyo Koku KK, transporting passengers. The WiP post is here: This seaplane civil version implies a number of modifications described in the construction article, that include -but are not limited to- reshaping and reposition of windows, deletion of military features, correction of kit's defects, addition of floats and involved struts, new home-modified engine and propeller, slight correction of elevators and ailerons, new interior, new set of civil marks and many small additional details (radiator, louvers, Pitots, etc.) As explained in the construction posting, the final inspiration came from the Arawasi blog which had an interesting post on the type (link in that WiP). My thanks to George Eleftheriou and his contacts for providing needed material to build a more accurate model.
  22. Continuing with the saga of civil Japanese planes from the Golden Age, here is a rather stocky plane that briefly flew for a Japanese airline (Tokyo Koku K.K.) As J-BABG (not the kit's version). I immediately liked the ungainly stance and the sumo wrestler proportions. I have seen this kit time ago, at a somewhat stiff price, so I waited a bit until it became (just) more reasonable. Still, being this a short run technology kit, and for what it is, it is not a bargain. The box announces resin parts (actually one part inside) and super decals. We'll see about the decals. Contents. Short run, so thick gates, some thick parts, not a lot of refinement: An itsy-bitsy of flash: Tail feathers a bit thick: Exterior detail: A view of some of the parts: Thick exhausts. This was true for the collector, but not for the connecting bits to the cylinders, which are represented too thick: Restrained wing surface: Film for the windows and windshield, resin engine that is rather simple: The "super-decals" (did Superman make them?): Some psychedelic perspectives in the instructions: Color and decal instructions on the box back: Interior detail (remove the ejector marks): Off the sprues: For being a resin engine, and considering the products that are out there as aftermarket options, I am not particularly thrilled by this one, which by the way doesn't quite match the photos I can see on the Net -that show a lot of pushrods at the front: The window areas are recessed, quite a bit inside and a little outside. The instructions tell you to fix the film from inside, I guess to render a thinner wall appearance: The kit, although sold as the civil version, has the military parts still in it, and there is no provision to close the round opening for the top fuselage machine gun. I seriously doubt the passengers of the civil version flew with a hole on the fuselage top, as depicted in the kit instructions and color views. In any case, there was J-BABG that flew on floats, and requires other engine (Jupiter with front "Y" exhaust), had no Townend ring and needs different windows, plus didn't have the hinomaru. I will go for that one. Here it is in the Arawasi blog: http://arawasi-wildeagles.blogspot.com/2014/10/mitsubishi-ms-1.html You better sand those wing halves before gluing them together, or you will end up with blunt leading edges and thick trailing edges: Floats are cut from a very old Aeroclub generic floats vacuformed sheet: Fit tested: New windows for the airliner marked, floats need center section removed to get proper length: Kit's windows blanked: The styrene sheet needs to be thicker inside: Once the glue is dry, the new windows will be carved.
  23. The mysterious but fascinating realm of vacuum-formed kits (abbreviatedly called "vacuformed" or "vacs") provides us, off the beaten path modelers, with subjects that tend not to be favored by their injected or resin geographical neighbors. I am fond of them, and through the years I have built a somewhat large number. As with other media, quality varies, and you have samples of all levels in the trade. The subject that today occupies our attention is from Classic Plane, somewhat down in the quality spectrum (examples of good quality are, to mention just two, the late Gordon Stevens' Rare Planes range and Khee-Kha Art Products from Alaska). Here are some of the vacs I have built: This kit is a rendition of a much beloved plane that had a very important role in aviation history, providing early passenger transport and starting a family of well-known designs, the Fokker F.II. To call this kit simple would be an understatement. There are no resin or metal parts that many times accompany the molded styrene sheet, nor decals and somewhat succinct instructions. The detail parts, provided in the sheet, are better discarded, since their worth is highly questionable to say the least. This nice Fokker was gifted to me by fellow modeler Luis Santos, the friend that long ago also gifted his vac kit rendition of an Argentinian plane, the Bombi (that in spite its name ended up as a cropduster). Thanks to Luis for his kindness. Work begins patching things up a bit, since this kit has seen some years of handling, and some areas were a bit squashed and had cracked. Nothing that a piece of styrene won't cure. Next, replacement accessories need to be found, not a problem for a scratchbuilder or a modeller of some vintage: props, wheels, cockpit items, engine and struts are needed. I have gathered -and many friends contributed to (thanks Armando Gil and Jim Schubert) a now sadly diminishing stock of aftermarket items, mainly from the -now apparently in stasis- Aercoclub range. I can -and I many times do- carve my own laminated wood props, though. The cabin interior (not provided with this kit) is easy to scratch, and the decals...well, depending on the complexity of your chosen marks, you may somehow scrounge them or cobble together from defunct kits, print them yourself, or commission them. The struts will be coming from Strutz airfolied brass stock (thanks, Andrew Nickeas!). Why, ask somke of my friends, I launch myself into fixing a somewhat not very enticing kit prospect instead of scratchbuilding the desired subject? well, firstly, to honor the gift, and secondly to redeem an object that otherwise will slowly drift into oblivion. And thirdly, needless to say, because of the challenge. You get two half wheels. With like you could glue them together and get one whole wheel: Small bits better left for the erosion of eons.... The detail is there...somewhat: Kit had surely went thorough some stressful situations: Parts come easily off (not a science): Cracked areas are reinforced internally: All major parts out, the rest better leave it where it is:
  24. Here is the model completed in its National Parks Airways livery, not at all a casual choice. National Parks are not real estate for sale. The model was modified as you can see in the building post here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235026972-modified-boeing-247-williams-bros-172nd/& by the addition of a restroom, cargo area and door, more bulkheads, nose cargo area and hatch, pilots hatch, some cabin detail, and other details, plus of course commissioning a special set of marks from Arctic Decals. I am really fond of the 30´s appearance that the forward-raked windshield provides, so I went for that variant. Many hours were spent searching the Net, reading references, sorting out details and looking at photographs. Modelers should be a bit more skeptic and proactive if they want a more accurate model. The venerable Williams Bros issue is still a workable platform -if of course showing its age-, and again I thank good friend, fellow modeler and ebil genius Sönke Schulz from Volkania* for gifting the kit. *His address: Ze Lair Volcanic Region German Transsylvania Since Sönke gifted the kit, he insisted in having an official "model completed" ceremony with the attendance of the Volkania Sturm und Drang band:
  25. Here is the ongoing project, a Williams Bros. in National Parks Airways livery. The well-known, old, venerable kit is the base for some upgrades, further detailing the interior adding the nose hatch and mail compartment, opening the hatch for the aft cargo compartment, creating the much needed restroom for the relief of those poor 1/72 passengers -with toilet and paper roll, made of actual paper-, adding the luggage nets and so on. The kit is actually, for its age, quite workable, with refinements missing many times from much modern kits.