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  1. And when I thought I had posted most of the models I deeemed would be useful here, I realized I left this one out. So here it is, a build from 7 years ago, with its original text. What does one do when in England? yes, one buys an old Airfix kit. How old? look at the photos, 1957 vintage! a mold 62 years old to this date. Airfix -and successive re-incarnations- squeezed the twopence out of that mold! What I want to do with it? Convert it to a civil machine, of course! likely some variation of the Bristol Tourer/Coupe. History: At some point after the war it was realized that transporting people was much, much nicer than bombing then. This very painfully-obtained knowledge was not, however, kept in mind for a long time. The Bristol Tourer/Coupe was a direct derivative of the Bristol F2B. In that regard, many countries, like Japan, France and Germany were doing the same: hastily converting war leftovers for the incipient civil market, many times with the procedure of producing a “hunch” to protect the weary passengers against the elements. I may refer you to two of my models: -Hawa F.3: -Hansa Brandenburg W.29 J-BCAL: You could model a civil machine without modifying a single part of the Bristol Airfix kit, though. There were a couple of Canadian machines (G-CYBC / DP and at least one Spanish that flew the plane as it is represented in the kit (minus armament, of course). Beware, since some of the other civil versions had different engines, cowls, radiators, rudder, passengers’ compartment covers, supplementary fuel tanks on the top wing, and minor details. Look at your photos, not at drawings: photos. I did some preliminary chopping, cleaning, filing, filling and sanding as per images. All the stitching was eliminated at this point, later to be replaced by other devices. You can see in the building photos that some areas have been removed and the section corresponding to the passenger cabin altered to represent the increase in fuselage width that was incorporated in the real plane in order to accommodate the side-by-side seating arrangement. Not all Coupes/Tourers had this increase in width; again, check your photos. Some formers were cut, and the usual interior paraphernalia prepared for the cockpit and passenger cabin. Some external elements (augment rudder, different nose, hunch, top wing tanks, etc.) had to be scratched too. As you can see in the images the major work was concentrated in two areas: the passenger cabin elements and the nose. The former is a complex area that need careful observation of the photos and accurate execution. Of special note is the transition from the former back of the pilot (which has a sort or triangular shape at the top) to the first passenger cabin former, which is quadrangular with round corners at the top, and leans forward. The second area of effort as said was the nose. A wood master was prepared in order to vacuform the cowling. Engine, radiator and ancillary parts (like the oil tank) were scratched. The engine alone insumed about fifty individual parts. Again, attention needs to be paid to the sections’ transition, from firewall to radiator. At the firewall the top is rounded and the bottom straight, and that reverses at the radiator’s cross section. Home-made decals were prepared: a bundle of “stitches’ strips” and black regs on white decal paper stock. More details related to the upper wing, control surfaces, ancillary parts, etc. were made; paint ensued with a home-made custom color of all sub-assemblies. A bit of work, complicated by the difficulty in handling the model for the final steps with all those wires and external details. The woman in the photos is my friend Soenke's sekretarien. He sent her from Germany, previously shrinking her with one of his multiple evil rays. Her name is Fraulein Preiser. She is nice, but constantly complains about having to wear the same dress over and over again.
  2. 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.
  3. I am ever looking for conversion projects in order to redeem boring and drab doom machines into colorful, joyful, useful and uplifting models. Many times the suitable kit happens to be a very old and outdated one. Perfect examples of those endeavors are -among many I posted here- the two Westland Everest planes: That, coincidentally, were re-issued by the same company that boxed the Proctor: Air Lines. This for what I can tell was originally a Frog mold, and it also more recently came out as a NOVO boxing (which already gives you the clue that you are communicating with the spirits of the departed kits...). On the pro side: you can get them for an affordable price, they are abundant as most modelers moved on the better and newer releases (and for good reasons), and if you botch one you just trash it mercilessly and forget about it, no stress ruining a good kit here. So, I got this old and humble kit and started to look for nice civil liveries, of which I found a lot. But soon I discovered that many of my potential subjects actually belonged to other variants of the type, and would require some modifications. Since a reasonable improvement and detailing of the kit already would consume certain time, and not wanting to get into a building quagmire, I discarded the subjects that belonged to other marks of the Proctor and centered on a few candidates that were more or less a direct adaptation of these machines into civil use. The parts were liberated from the ever-present flash, cleaned up, and slightly refined. My boxing -bought 334,677th hand- was missing a side window, no big deal. This area needs to be opened up, so one hole and two razor cuts do the trick: Vent drilled: Another small intake drilled: All locating pins were removed since invariably they actually dis-located the parts they were supposed to seamlessly align, and stabs and wing halves were shaved a bit, since they sinned of fatulence (yes, correct word, no typo, it describes a known kit malady that makes kit parts -especially flying surfaces- look excessively fat).
  4. A model built 3 years ago, to indulge in the expressed predilection of some esteemed members on the inter-wars period. The beautiful Zeppelin-Staaken E4/20 passenger four-engined monoplane was a product of the postwar (that is post-WWI war), and a very good one. Wisely or not (there were, ahem, understandable fears, surely not appeased by the camouflage covering), the Allied commission decided it should be dismantled, so it bloomed only to be scraped. The mind behind this innovative use of metal (in a way different than Hugo Junkers) was Dipl. Ing. Adolph Rohrbach, later of flying boat fame. In a way, it followed the steps of an unlikely (and unrecognized) grandfather, the Sikorsky Russky Vityaz and its successor the Illya Mourometz ( from 1913!!!!!!), very big, efficient and innovative four-engine machines used in part as commercial passenger planes. So the Zeppelin-Staaken of 1919 was not really new or revolutionary in that regard, but it was a much modern design that took advantage of the advances in technology developed during WW1, being an all-metal, almost total cantilever monoplane. For the skeptics: it did fly, and flew well enough. Many years would pass until such an achievement would be recognized or even copied, or re-invented, and DECADES would pass until a conceptually similar plane was designed, built and flown. Now, the bad news: the kit: As I opened the intact bag Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Impossible" theme started to sound in the depths of my mind. The surface is a disaster, the plastic has dirt inclusions, the edges are ill-defined, the "panel lines" have been -unevenly- traced with a banana, some of the wheels are oval...I mean, how hard is to trace a circle? But I am not being totally fair, this kit is not just bad: it is horrid. No interior and no accessories complete (or incomplete?) the package. True, where else can you get a Zeppelin Staaken E4/20? Do you think Revell is going to come to the rescue? Exactly. So we are stuck with this Frankenkit until 3D printers can be bought for twenty dollars and you can produce your own. I have seen some built on the Net, with more or less fortune, valiant endeavors that I shall not dare to criticize. These brave souls did enough, whatever the results. Classic Plane from Germany was the perpetrator of this...thing, many moons ago. You get your quasi-formed (the term vacu-formed would be too optimistic) plastic of decent gauge, some clear material for the windows, a 1/72 plan that does not coincide with some parts (i.e. fuselage length, span), a page of dubious clarity with some notes. Hope and Faith are not included, and you have to provide your own. There are redeeming qualities: the plastic has a good gauge, cuts and sands easily, glues well, and its surface admits finer sanding. There were some changes on the plane that can be seen in contemporary photos, most noticeably: the addition of a canopy above the cockpit. The presence in some images of a nose wheel -to prevent nose over-. Some probes that appear in some photos over the nose area. Changes in the fairings of the wheel struts/shock absorbers. The door opens sideways in most photos but in other photo is shown opening downwards (associated with the canopy). A couple photos show the legend "Staaken" painted and crossed over. The wheels are seen with visible spokes or fabric-covered. There were two sort of tripods on the wings towards the wingtips. So, in order to reproduce an accurate version of the plane at any stage of its life you chose to, you must study photographs. Here I give you the first 4-engine passenger-carrying monoplane built mostly of metal...in 1919.
  5. A model from 9 years ago: A simple slap-on weekend project as a relaxing distraction from more involving endeavors, using an old and affordable kit as a divertimento. The Fokker D.VII needs no introduction; after the first world war a number of these and another planes were used as civil machines. The one represented here, O-BEBE, belonged to Belgium and was used at a flying school, still wearing its camouflage but sporting prominent registrations on a white background. I got the Revell D.VII, which is an old mold and a not totally bad -but a bit crude- kit. It suited the project since I wasn’t especially looking for detail and I am used to deal with kits that have some shortcomings. It has no interior, only the dreaded styrene mummy that sits on a tab. Now, what is unforgivable regarding the Revell kit is its laughable lozenge decals. Who in heaven thought that you can provide a “paint-by-numbers” white decal with a delimitation grid in black for the modeler to fill the polygons with the different colors? It is just me, or this one qualifies for the silliest decal sheet ever? In any case, fortunately, I wasn’t going to use the decals anyway. Flash, ejector marks and dubious spots were sanded, scrapped, filed, filled and otherwise made inconspicuous before construction began. The too prominent ribs were toned down too. Revell provides one side of the wheel covers as a separate part. If this was thought to facilitate painting, you still have to deal with the tire-cover separation line on the other side anyway; and in any case, the two-part approach could have been tire and rest-of-the-wheel. The funny thing was that the covers won’t fit, due to some excess plastic in the recess. I had to use a rotary tool to remove plastic in order to be able to make room for the cover. Some genius was loose in the Revell quarters. A bit of structural detail was added to the cockpit area and the addition of a floor, seat, pedals, joystick and instrumental panel made for a suitable interior. The decals were home made. Once the fuselage halves were closed the area were the guns used to be was filled and blended and a new windscreen -as seen in photos of the original plane- made. The lower wing was glued in place –had to sand a tad here and there- and also blended-in. The other parts were being decaled separately meanwhile. Since lozenge decals cover large areas, it is not always easy to position and align a thin decal film. Once all decaling was completed and the locating holes or gluing areas of parts were cleared, the parts were given a coat of varnish in order not to mar the decals during later manipulation. Once all major components were ready, final assembly began. The struts could be replaced if so wished by more to-scale streamline stock. I only used the outer wing “N” struts for the sake of alignment. All the other struts were replaced. Some details were added like control horns and control cables, plus rigging. When I was making the decals, I spent some time reading discussions on lozenge. Boy, were these discussions long. What it seemed to be the undeniable truth at some point was just bogus at some other point. “Proofs” that demonstrated something, only demonstrated their own relativity time later. What was supported by one photograph was contradicted by the next. As in many areas of life, although some general agreement exists, there is not really ultimate word on lozenge. Add to that the variations of weathering, printing process, monitor screens, chromatic aberration, ortho and panchro nuances and quirks and you have a carnival. Where I am going with all this? Firstly, you don’t have to have the latest thing in town to make a nice or fun model. Secondly, you can choose an original livery, not necessarily the "that plane again" machine. And thirdly, all this within reasonable effort and budget. The silliest "paint-by-number" decals sheet ever, a despicable attempt to get rid of the compromise of choosing the lozenge colors. Cheeky monkeys...
  6. A build from 9 years ago: It is not a common occurrence that decal makers will release options for civil machines of kits that are sold as warplanes. When I saw the (made in Czech Republic) Rising Decals “J-Birds” sheet and a related article in the ARAWASI magazine #7 on Japanese Hansa Brandenburg W.29, I was all for it. I wish Arawasi would include more civil golden era plane content. The acquisition of a W.29 kit proved difficult, though. The MPM, TOKO, and Eastern Express kits were not as easy to obtain as I thought. The available resin kits were not an option for my modeling budget. Finally Steve K. kindly sent me the Eastern Express release from his stash and Christos Psarras from the soon-to-be Atlantis (Florida) helped me to get another for a future “limousine” version (this one not included in the decal sheet). The Eastern Express (ex TOKO) kit has a reasonable level of detail. It offers two different stabilizers and two rudders. As a bonus you get a dolly and a couple of supports to prop the model “on land”. The wing-fuselage joint needs a certain amount of shaving and sanding to get it to fit, but I won’t go on describing the kit since it was already reviewed on the Net. Its nose is not applicable to the Japanese versions (which were powered by a geared Hispano Suiza) thence some nose cosmetic surgery was in order. A new radiator, firewal, support pieces and a metal cover were made .An engine was scratchbuilt too as per images. The interior was enhanced a tad adding bulkheads and some other detail parts. The kit two-blade prop was replaced by a touched-up four-blade prop from Aeroclub. All building and accessories made, the model was painted with a whitish aluminum acrylic and Future applied in preparation for the decals. The decals are wonderful, but bear in mind that they are thin, as good decals should be. Handle them with care and patience. I used Micro Sol and Set, but my impression is that they may not need setting solution if you apply them to a gloss surface and take care of eliminating water and bubbles. Their color is dense and not translucent at all, they are sharply defined. Two decals folded on themselves as I was trying to apply them (again, they are thin) but adding water and carefully prodding them with a toothpick straighten them out. Be aware of the direction of the Japanese lettering, you may not notice if you put them upside-down if you don’t speak Japanese. In this case (one of the four machines you can dress with the decals) you have a couple of options regarding some small lettering. Study the provided leaflet beforehand. After decaling assembly of the main parts ensued and details were added. There were a number of Japanese Hansas on the civil register (J-BASL, J-BAAI, J-BAFI, etc.) and if you are interested on the type a little research will be in order. The Hansa has indeed “character”, further enhanced by a civil registration and livery it really stands out. Stay tuned for the “limousine” version. (the other HB W29 is here): Scratched engine: Modified interior: Scratched radiator:
  7. A build from 6 years ago: Did you notice that after playing a popular character or role, for some actors and actresses it becomes very difficult to be cast in another type of role? Same for the airplanes. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found a photo of the Nieuport 28 as a post-WW1 sport machine parked (and possibly repaired/reconditioned) by the Rogers Aircraft Inc. aviation company. This is a very simple, effortless conversion for a fun an quick weekender, without pretensions. The plane had a simple paint scheme which somehow delineates well the design shape. The Revell kit was used but there are others around. The kit is nice, has certain detail -a bit exaggerated-, but not a good interior, so to the lonely kit’s seat some bits were added. Some rigging –the kit’s instructions in that regard are kind of vague- is required but nothing that can not be endured with the help of a cup or glass of your beverage of choice. I cut out some openings in the front and side of the cowl as per the real machine and modified the mount of the rotary engine to allow for room for the detail inside the cockpit. The windshield was discarded and the stab struts were replaced by suitable brass Strutz. Control horns and cables were added to the rudder, all other control surfaces were torque rod-operated. The canvas-covered kit’s wheels were replaced with photoetched spoke wheels as per the real plane I was modeling, and wire snippets had to be inserted in the trimmed axle to locate them. The kit’s prop (with a sorta chunky hub) was also replaced by an Aeroclub white metal item. Home-made decals were printed. In my research I also found a number of French machines with civil registrations that looked enticing. A relatively simple kit that has potential for alternate liveries, so the research is now up to you. Hint: Compagnie Generale Transaerienne.
  8. A build from 5 years ago: The chubby but charming shape of the Boeing 281 (as the civil, unarmed version -for export- of the P-26 was called) has always pleased me. Nevertheless, there were only two 281s -of the 12 made- that I was interested in: the first, X-12771, and a second machine without visible regs. Statements about their colors differ a bit (how surprising!) giving green and yellow or black and yellow for the first, and the same options with a black/white or red/white triangular design on the fuselage and pants for the second. Look at photos to base your work upon. No antennas are visible and no armament was present in these machines. I have built time ago the venerable Revell kit with its entire rivet galore, still a nice little kit if you deal with the surface detail, but I am glad this new renditions are out. There is a quite complete interior, a piece of printed film to make the windshield, a resin engine and the usual sprues with an alternate tailwheel; the kit has recessed panel lines and overall good detail. The decal sheet seems nice, but I won’t comment on it since as usual I will have to make my own decals for the machine I want. The parts as you can see are all well defined and well detailed, but have almost no locating pins and holes. There is no flash as per se present, but some parts do show mold lines and sometimes slightly rough edges, there are also a couple of sink marks on the tailwheel arrangement. In general, I am very satisfied with the quality/price ratio. Some other kits of this plane had issues with the dihedral, not this one. As you can see, it is perfectly possible to take a "normal" manufacturers' model and make of it something different. Scores of kits can be turned -with very little effort- into civil machines, something that unfortunately not many manufacturers dare to do themselves (issuing civil decals or catering for civil versions). I wish the civil options would deserve at least equal attention than their military counterparts. Since these civil planes are not only generally very colorful (especially compared to their usually drab counterparts) but have a different conventionality.
  9. A build from 6 years ago: The Ryan M-1 and its successor the M-2 were the ground upon which more streamlined and refined later types stood. Lindbergh’s very Ryan NYP was a cousin of this sort of clumsy-looking planes. Many of them worked for incipient airlines and plied the Air Mail air trails, as it is the case with the subject modeled here. There was a version equipped with an HISSO in-line engine, which can be seen today at the Seattle museum. The radial versions had different powerplants, but the Wright J-4 seemed a common choice. The chubby, stumpy, squarish, fridge-like lines have a unique charm, punctuated by details like the ice-cream cone-like landing lights and the exposed radial engine. I just posted the build of a kit by Greenbank or Greenbank/Castle. It is a little bit heavy-handed, and scarce, but caters for both the in-line and radial versions, and has decals. The kit is dated 1971, and one may say it is not that bad for that vintage. Every build present its challenges, and scratchbuilding more so. If the model is quite simple indeed, the polished swirls on the aluminum cowl and wheels are not easy to render. The nav lights, decals and other details required some attention too. I enthusiastically made a laminated prop that took a time, only to discover that the real prop wasn’t visibly laminated, so another one was carved. An interior was also added to spice-up the little boxy winged crate. The fuselage needed to be drilled in more than 20 places to accommodate struts, landing gear, control wires, etc. The visible tubular structure above the cockpits that supports the wing must be dealt with carefully. The plane fortunately is painted aluminum overall, but many areas should be treated with the previously-described burnished aluminum; that includes fuselage nose, upper cockpit area, front of central section of the wing and small square panels that cover the exit points of the wings aileron controls. Horns, cables, handles, nav lights, wires, coaming and the like were added to the exterior to make for a more realistic model. This replica of the nice little cute lumbering fellow can now fly home.
  10. In 2012 I started on these: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234931616-a-pair-of-dc-9/ and finally I have finished them. SAS DC-9-20 I used LN-decals for it. They were hard and a bit brittle, I don't know if they are old. I have had them for some time now. Finnair DC-9-50. TwoSix decals was used on this one. They were soft and flexible but a little bit on the thick side.
  11. I have managed to finish some old kits this summer. Boeing 727-200 A rather quick build. Less than two month. Decals from 26 decals. Well not a Swedish plane but Denmark is close enough. I have wanted a Sterling 727 since the 1970's and finally I have one. The Caravelle's wasn't as fast to build. I thing that I started on them around 2006. Decals from F-DCAL But I should have bought new engines for it but I didn't want to dig in to references so I built it out of the box. Not a Swedish plane but it says SAS on the side. Good enough for me. I think these decals came from F-DCAL as well. Thai Airways International was founded in 1960 as a joint venture between Thailand's domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (TAC) and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) In 1977 the Thai Government bought out SAS and THAI became fully owned by the Thai government. I had built this Air France plane back in 2006 and after I had finished it I found decals for SAS and Thai so I had to buy more kits. Built straight out of the box with the decals supplied in the kit.
  12. This little, simple, picturesque touring plane was just completed. The WIP post is here:
  13. A simple vacuum-formed model from Execuform. This is again for a friend, since my interest on the type is less than nihil. It is posted so it can hopefully encourage those having vac kits and not quite gathering momentum to start one. It's easy, as you will see. I agreed to build it under the condition that it will be completed on a civil paint scheme. Not like this one below, but in a simpler scheme (it gives an idea of the type, though): From Wikipedia: This was surely a vintage edition, since it has white metal parts: Contents of the kit's bag: The white metal accessories: The very simple parts, an Execuform trade mark: And what pilots and modelers like: redundancy! Several canopies vacuformed in thin very clear plastic: In this mold, parts are marked and cut from the back of the sheet, where the parting line is clear: Parts off the backing sheet with no effort: The nice (for the time) white metal parts: The engine even has the cylinder exhaust stacks: All parts free en ready for some little surface detail (there is a plan with the kit, and you have to engrave everything regarding surface detail, even ailerons, flaps, rudder and elevator lines:
  14. The colorful Tiedemann flying advertisement plane for is now completed. The step-by-step building thread can be visited here: The modifications involved manly a different nose and a new two-passenger accommodation aft position. Some parts of the Broplan kit were discarded, like the engine and some struts, a tad crude for the purpose. A whole new decal set was commissioned from Arctic Decals. It is a rewarding experience to make those drab and gloomy WWI birds into more joyful machines with appealing color schemes and much more positive lives. Flying advertisement went along with aviation development from its very beginnings, and since the purpose is of course to grab attention, the resulting models of them are per norm visually striking. Many kits can be converted with little or no modifications into out-of-the-ordinary models that present another side, more luminous, of those magnificent flying machines.
  15. The cumbersome and ungainly Hansa seaplanes family has nonetheless some charm and appeal, and I had build so far two on Japanese civil registrations some time ago, if of another Hansa denomination (W.29): Browsing the Net I found some images of a civil machine that flew for the Tiedemann tobacco company. Tiedemann had a very smart marketing department then, and the company owned a number of vehicles that wore the company's colors and symbols in very striking, well-produced and elegant schemes. Here the plane on Flickr: At some point they used for publicity purposes this Hansa W.33 seaplane that they named "Tiger" -that was by the way the company's mascot- that had on the tail the Norwegian colors, and on the fuselage the stripes of the tiger, that cunningly matched the colors of the company land vehicles, painted as "wrapped" on a number of carefully reproduced tobacco leaves of different hues. Looking for a suitable kit candidate I found the Broplan vacuum-formed offer. Broplan kits are not what you call affordable, and their accessories in injected plastic can only be described as crude. No decals either. The struts come molded, but four of the smaller struts are undefined. Broplan doesn't include a diagram with the correct lengths of those parts, vital for alignment. The plan included in the instructions is, for some unfathomable reason, not in 1/72 scale, so no measures or references can be taken from it. Many of those injected parts will be replaced with better parts anyway. On the other hand, the vacuum-formed parts are correctly molded, the plastic has a reasonable and even thickness, and reasonable surface detail is there. But hey, this is no mainstream kit of powerful manufacturer, so you have to make certain allowances, although let it be said: there are very good vacuformed kits, so the media is not an excuse. But enough: res, non verba; let's get at it. Two modifications are needed to convert this kit to the Tiedemann machine: 1) The nose has to be modified as the intended plane had an underslung radiator, a blanked front, another engine, and an open nose top. 2) The aft position was of course "civilianized" and had no scarf ring, therefore it's cleaner on the top following the natural shape of the fuselage, and having a half-round access door on the left side that was hinged at the bottom for the access of the passenger. Other minor changes in detail will apply, like prop and such. The package: Contents of the bag: Instructions: Surface detail on parts: The injected bits: Permanent marked used to trace parts contour. If you think that you may get confused, especially with the smaller parts, you can use the permanent marker to put their numbers (from the instructions sheet) or name on their internal surfaces: Some will need additional cuts from inside: Parts separated from backing sheet: The injected bits plus clear material for windshields: Parts separated: Cleaned up: Although I will not use this engine I will assemble it for the sake of review: Kind of rough: Here is why you need that permanent marker line, to know where to stop sanding: Vacs require careful, measured and extensive sanding to look right: Thin trailing edges are the goal: Sanding of parts up to the marker line completed: The parts: Changes needed here for this version: Some gluing begins:
  16. Congratulations to Avis for releasing this fantastic, futuristic plane of the Golden Age of aviation. Not only a civil subject to break the routine of drab military machines, but a plane with a revolutionary design and a very appealing shape. The kit itself requires thorough cleaning and some prodding here and there, nothing extraordinary, though, and something we modelers are used to with these kits from smaller manufacturers. I replaced the kit's nose decals, with Arctic Decals items. Otherwise the kit's decals and masks behaved very well. I cut and lowered the flaps, added a couple of missing mass balances and elevator control horns with their cables, besides a Pitot probe and navigation lights. I also discarded the kit's exhausts parts and made new ones from metal tube. The engine nacelle fronts that came plugged in the kit were hollowed and mock engines were added inside. I am pleased beyond words (although I had nothing to do with it) that a subject that I scratched many years ago for sheer love of the machine, is now available to the modelers in the form of a fairly detailed, affordable kit. So here it is a plane that may have looked like a space ship in its time, when biplanes were aplenty on the skies. Shelton, the designer, was no doubt a refined visionary, unfortunately hindered by the financial doldrums of his time. He created a memorable plane that whispered "streamline" to the ears of the incredulous bystanders.
  17. It's difficult to recognize the future when it is in the present. As with other many cases in aviation history (and History at large), the American (Shelton) AG-4 Gyro Crusader arrived too soon. Eight years ago, attracted by its aspect, between futuristic and comic book, I made a scratch-built model of the AG-4 Gyro, thinking that there was no chance that any manufacturer would ever issue a kit of it. I am glad I was proven wrong, so others can enjoy the incredibly modern looks of this remarkable plane, created in 1933 and flown in 1935. My scratch of 10 years ago: Here a clip of its test flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1xifECLKFc I will quote myself from that build of long ago -since this house policies preclude me from posting a link to my scratch-build, located somewhere else-: "The retro-futuristic look and curvaceous, graceful lines of the Shelton American Gyro Crusader whisper in your ear “streamlining” and “teardrop”. To anyone familiar with the Bauhaus school of design it wouldn’t be a surprise if this one would have come up from their workshops, but it didn’t. It is actually an American design –many of you already knew it, since the answer is in the question- that had the misfortune of seeing the light of day in the hard post-depression years. Nevertheless the one and only machine built attracted a lot of publicity, the attention of the general public and some remarkable personalities, Amelia Earhart among them. During its life the Crusader had some changes in its landing gear and props and also in the variety of images applied mainly to its nose. In some images its surfaces seem to appear without any inscriptions or images, though. A good reference is: "Crusader: The Story of the Shelton Flying Wing" by Alexander Roca." So we have now the Avis kit in what it came to be known as short run technology. It has, as we all know, its pros and cons. We get those models unlikely to be cater for by the industry giants at an -in general- reasonable price, and we have to deal with something that occupies our modeling skills in a perhaps more demanding and certainly less complacent manner, cleaning flash, refining parts, dealing with the lack of locating devices and some vague fit. So be it. Resealable bag, I like that: Parts' array: Masks included: Decals (will talk about them later): Transparencies. Fair, if not precisely crystalline: The limitations of the media, but nothing a modeller can't deal with...with some skill and patience: Some cleanup is ahead... Instructions, well printed, in good paper, with a few vague points: Transparencies cleaned, washed, given some floor polish: The coffee mesh in which all those parts, especially the very small ones, are washed after the cleanup. Do not lose them!: Parts cleaned up. And man do they need cleanup: Not the sharpest of molds: Again, the fixes seem easy enough: The engine fronts also need a serious cleanup. Not sure if they attempted here to represent the things behind the openings, or these are just plastic blobs. In any case I will open those up and simulate the engine inside:
  18. I recently finished this off in the B-25 STGB and thought I'd share the results here. It's the new Airfix B-25C/D converted to a J and then converted again to a firebomber that crash-landed in Alaska, and is now being restored to flight. It was a lot of work to do the conversion (there's more differences between the D and the J than I thought!) but I thoroughly enjoyed it You can find the build here: Anyway, on with the pictures!! Some details: And finally, some more artistic shots with the piece of the real aircraft, and on a VFR sectional chart of Alaska: For reference, here's what the real thing looked like: Thanks for looking! Beggsy
  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. Not long ago I saw this on Getty Images while looking for something else: https://www.gettyimages.ae/license/3430428 It was love at first sight. The search begun, and I learned that there was a resin kit from Aeropoxy and an out of production vac from Aeroclub. The Aeroclub kit can be seen popping sometimes on online auctions, but is not easy to get, plus it's a bit dated. The few images I saw online of the Aeropoxy kit didn't tempt me, but in all fairness I did not have the kit on my hands, so this is subjective. I think that Contour Creative Studio produced at some point a paper kit of the DH83, but I have no direct knowledge of it, besides is not the media I build on. Since there are in the market now two relatively new kits of civil De Havillands in 1/72nd scale, the 60 and 82, it could be perhaps possible to borrow some parts and achieve a credible representation of such beautiful airplane. Very fortunately, I was directed by Ebil Genius and friend Sönke Schulz to a thread on the topic right here at Britmodeller, where a great deal of information was provided by John Adams, to whom I am grateful. I am using a combination of plans that are available on the Net, although none seems to be completely accurate. So here it starts this attempt to a half-scratched 1/72nd scale Fox Moth, this time the one with the aft rectangular window. All this is a bit tentative, and although hopes are high I really don't know how far this will go or how successful this may ultimately be. So let's start the road, but bear in mind that I am very practical modeler. The flat sides and formers are cut: Windows and doors are cut. Usually I am unable to extricate the door cleanly from a fuselage side, and have to carve out first the opening and then produce a separate door, but this time somehow it worked: Both doors will be posed open: Gluing begins: It is very small, smaller than I though it will be, how they managed to cram up to four people there I don't know: The window that communicated cabin and cockpit is carved, seat and controls prepared, and the oil reservoir made too:
  21. The long road to convert this kit into a somewhat decent model was nevertheless fun to walk. The step-by-step build is here in Britmodeller: In the world of vacuum-formed kits -as in any other-, there are good things and no so good things. This kit tends to belong to the latter category. But hey, it is a kit of a civil plane! not much of those abound! However, I appreciated the opportunity to flex the modeling muscle provided by the gift of fellow modeler Luis Santos, to whom I once again express my gratitude. You can see all about the making of model using the link provided above. Arctic Decals made the necessary items to finish this model (this kit has no decals). This was a plane that was adapted as an experimental machine, carrying instruments and external probes; and it can be seen in photos with two or four main wheels, and slight variations of the rigs it wore about it. Thanks to Peter in the Netherlands from Britmodeller who provided the color clue as dark blue. I am really surprised that no good kits of the Fokker F.II and F.III do exist, while there are hundreds of arch-known iterations of the same-old-same-old. F.II and F.III were very significant transports used by many countries and airlines, and could be released in almost infinite variations changing just noses and window arrangements. They are simple enough and just by doing an Internet search you could fill volumes. The liveries are invariably attractive, from elegant to showy. What else could you ask for? Any adventurous manufacturer out there?
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. For those interested in such matters, following the Gee Bee and Kingcobra, Dora Wings seem set to release a Persival (sic) Vega Gull and a Proctor in both 1/48 and 1/72 scales. This could be great news for fans of air racing and record breaking flights as such famous fliers as Beryl Markham, Alex Henshaw, the Mollisons and many others owned Vega Gulls and there are a vast number of civil schemes for both types. Dora promise some interesting types for the future, including a Bellanca and in 1/72 a new Fairey Delta FD.2. (now wouldn't that be something in 1/48!). Visit their F/Book page for details. Apparently there's no UK agent as yet, but I saw them at Telford and the Gee Bee looked pretty decent, although not to my taste. Nice to see some neglected types being done for a change. Dave
  25. Here is the civil Caproni of the London-Cape Town attempt in all its Italian redness. For the step-by-step building article please go here in Britmodeller. (I made a mistake on the WiP and many photos are now missing, but I re-uploaded many of them at the end of that post): http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235027739-caproni-ca310-civil/ My thanks to Fabrizio D'Isanto who provided useful input. He is not responsible for any mistake I may have committed. As I mentioned before, there were several Caproni Ca.310 civil machines that participated in raids, record attempts and long distance flights: I-BFBA, I-BFBB, I-BFBC, I-LIRA, I-MANU, I-ORSA, I-LUAL, I-META, I-MOTO, I-ORSA, I-LUPA, I-ABMI, I-GARA, I-SVSB, for some of which you may find photos online. Details vary between them. There is a clip showing the machines at the Saharian Raid here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWIBtENfu7c All these other machines wore an ivory/metal scheme with most likely black regs. I used a custom decal set by Mika Jernfors of Arctic Decals. Many drab military models offered in the market can be easily converted into their civil counterparts (and again, in this case the manufacturer fortunately did include at least one "civil" option, although not really civil) for a more appealing result. This kit has very good detail and external parts' surface. The resin and P.E. accessories in the box are also nice. It is good that with some modifications this well done kit can be converted into many options for the civil versions of it. Old Airfix converted to one of the Corsa (I-12), rather poor Dujin Breda 33 kit righted, and the nice Azur kit of the Caproni, to establish a size comparison:
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