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  1. A build from 5 years ago, posted as always with its original text. (At that time I didn't know a couple tricks to photograph the models in a convincing snowy environment, so these images will have to do for now): The somewhat strange lines of the Fairchild Super 71 bushplane seem to suggest an exercise on making a fuselage out of beer cans. The whole appearance is further enhanced by the shinny finish and the presence of a pair of floats/skis that any bush plane deserving its worth should be able to wear. The Execuform vacuformed kit is a simple approach to the matter, providing the basic shapes, a plan, resin parts that make for the stub wings where struts attach and a vacuformed clear canopy. As usual you will have to get the engine, prop, decals and detail bits by yourself. In the photos you can see the Aeroclub engine, the scratched interior and home-made decals. The Super 71 that has been restored and is exhibited at a museum shows servo tabs on the rudder. I wasn’t able to find anything like that on the photos I have of the original machine; but again, I was able to find about a dozen images, all not great in quality. In the museum the external sections of the wing are separated by a gap, in the original a metal strip fairing covered that gap. There was a time when the Super 71 was on skis. Since I have been posting here numerous articles dealing with the building of vacuformed models, all there is to be said has been already said, so I’ll keep this one short, but there are a few points to be considered nevertheless. The wings are molded as entire sections, upper and lower. The wing has an inverted gull dihedral which is portrayed in the kit parts. The wing halves, in order to have that dihedral, have been located in the backing sheet on a pedestal. It is advisable to mark and cut the wings from the “inside”, the other side of the backing sheet, not the side where you usually cut –see images- since the dividing line is more visible on that side. Be very careful with the slips of the cutter, since there is almost no guide line. Do not hurt yourself. Cut a tad further out from the actual dividing line; that will give you some slack to refine and sand later on. There are two front cowl parts, one depicts the more usual “cover-all” cowl, and the other represents one that looks more like a NACA cowl and accompanied in the original an engine shield. Study your reference material. The original stub wings were partially corrugated, so I decided to scratch them instead of using the resin ones provided. For that I made a pattern and joined part plain styrene sheet and part “corrugated” styrene sheet. The teardrop tips were made from long forgotten kit bombs, I am always happy finding other uses for them. The polished metal surfaces (fuselage) and the silver doped, fabric-covered flying surfaces should be painted accordingly to differentiate them. I went for the ski version (although it is not depicted or catered-for in the kit) for several reasons: a) Because I have a tendency to depart from the standards b) It requires a bit less struts (so they are limited to only 28 c) It adds a color note (wood) to the otherwise overall metal finish d) It makes the display of the model easier (no water, no dolly) e) When I am pretending to fly the model in the house I no longer have to take off and land in the sink or bathtub, but can use the freezer instead. I would like to thank another vacuformed kit maker, Lars Opland of Khee-Kha Art Products, for his help with data about the original plane. While waiting for some parts to dry I worked on the decals and got them ready to be home-printed. A new stabilizer was made from scratch in order to be able to show the ribbing of the original. Same for the rudder. For the abundant struts on this model brass “Strutz” were used, and a very big “thank you” goes to Andrew Nickeas. of the lands of Nottingham, since -due to the shutdown of the Aeroclub Internet store- without his help no “Strutz” would be now among my scratchbuilding supplies. The Super 71 was used mostly as a cargo plane, so I depicted the interior with bulkheads, cockpit and floor. A few battens –gas tank area reinforcements- were added to the lower wing, as well as gas caps on the upper wing. Aileron cable leads and balances were fabricated too. There were two ducts that run parallel on the upper fuselage from behind the engine to the canopy; those were also represented on the model. Exhausts were made from styrene tube and solder. A little bit laborious but worth every hour of dedication. As the song goes, it never rains in Southern California -and much less snows- but we live in hope.
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