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  1. A build form 10 years ago: How could anyone resist the temptation of modeling a 1928 small blue and orange cabin biplane that has three doors and Felix the Cat painted on it? When I found the Knoll biplane on Aerofiles, I immediately fell in love with it. Later on I found more information on the Net at http://www.pknoll.net/knoll_aircraft/knoll_kn1.htm Where there was –a rare case with these odd balls- enough documentation to build a model. You will find that there were three versions: Knoll KN-1: three doors on the left hand-side, matching painted surfaces on the right hand-side. Knoll KN-1 modified with only two doors and inline power plant (Hispano-Suiza) (Reg. 8861) Knoll KN-3 with open cockpit on the upper aft fuselage and two doors. Louvers on the engine cowling. And I don’t need to repeat here what you can read there if you like to explore further. The Mattel vacuforming device provided the fuselage shells made upon a Sculpey master previously fabricated. A reasonable interior was also scratched and the flying surfaces were built using the time-honored method of suffering. Some wire and metal “Strutz” were also used, wheels came from Aeroclub. I started to chop down the nose of the model to create the space for the engine, making and correcting many boo-boos in the process. I temporarily sandwiched the engine between two thin layers of Milliput and pressed all the involved parts together to represent the neatly faired cylinder openings of the original. Any squeezed-out material was then removed and the parts later smoothed out. What can I say…: “-Kids, don’t try this at home”. A note for the younger among us: Felix the Cat, the cartoon character represented on the plane and model, is not the brother of “Hello Kitty”, nor is he Barbie’s pet. And since you are so savvy with the computer you can google him to learn who he was. I made the drawing of Felix myself, which was a pleasure and an honor given the immense amount of joy I had as a kid watching his cartoons. Accompanying images will give an idea of the building process as usual, although bloody pictures and violent scenes that portrayed what occurred during the building process have been removed for the benefit of the impressionable audience. After all photos were taken fellow modeler Alain Bourret made me notice that the wheels seemed aluminum color, which were therefore painted over with that color. Tail regs were also added, because they were not any good still on the decal sheet, were they? I made those of a goldenish color, and you can see those additions in the very last photo. And which do you think was Mr. Knoll’s first name? See you in the sky.
  2. A model from 4 years ago, in a sort of wintery environment, suitable for the season on the Northern Hemisphere. Alexandrov-Kalinin AK-1 of 1924: Please notice that this Kalinin and the K-1 Kalinin are not the same, and should not be confused, being these Kalinins two different comrades. In any case, the AK-1 was a boxy and irresistibly cute nice little Russian passenger plane. One was built and it can be seen in photos at different times in its short life with different schemes and some mods. One photo shows the Lamblin radiators hanging underneath the fuselage, other shows the plane on skis with no visible markings, yet some others show a sort of complicated scheme with abundant lettering and symbols. Monsiuer Alain Bourret from Canada has already scratchbuilt a nice 1/48 scale rendition of the latter, so I thought I would go for a different version. By the way, you can see on the Net interpretations of its colors as being green, blue, red, metallic and grey. It is up to you, dear comrade, to pick one. The AK-1 was powered (the term may be excessive) by a water-cooled Salmson 9cyl. radial engine. It could carry four including the pilot, who weathered the elements in an open cockpit as Russians do to enjoy the breeze and temper their characters. Of these four people, a couple of fortunate ones rode inside in a well-appointed cabin that most likely included a samovar and had enough leg room to perform that strange dance that we see in movies in which they extend their legs in the air while crouching with their arms crossed on their chest. In any case, just bear in mind that the wings had a design that gives the deceiving impression of a gull wing, illusion produced by the thickness of the airfoil being constant from the root up to the point where the struts attach.
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