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Found 8 results

  1. Here is finally the completed model of the Avro Anson in all its civil glory. My thanks again to the kit donor, Ebil Genius and Modeling Nemesis Sönke Schulz from Marzipanland, Volkania. The WiP article is here: This was a long and somewhat winding road, but in the process I learned a large number of things about the kit and the original planes, that I will promptly forget as I face a second Anson build, ready to recur on old mistakes and make new ones. Thanks also to Arctic Decals for the set I commissioned that allowed me to finish the model in such definitely not really subtle scheme There is a special joy in redeeming old dogs with new tricks, and you hone in the process those Shaolin skills. I think this would have made Master Sandpaper proud...
  2. You may all know what a Zen koan is: a seemingly irresolvable, seemingly illogical proposition. One of the most known is "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Well, my dear friend and modeling arch-enemy Sönke Schulz from Volkania, has regaled me in the past many times with such propositions, but in modeling form, in the guise of semi-built, chopped up, miscellaneous remains of kits (BOXES of them, actually). Many of these modeling koans have been, as you know, solved (that is: built), the last one being a kit he sent of the RWD-8 that I just posted. The koan that occupies us (or at least me) today is Airfix's Avro Anson, which Sönke kindly half-built already, leaving to me tasks such as inserting a part of the landing gear after the wing halves have been firmly glued together, and not, as the plan wisely advises since it is the only way to do it, before. But yet again, I have solved more arcane modelling riddles in the past. Sönke again very kindly started a merciless chopping of the roof, since my cuppa -and his'- are peaceful, lovely, charming, uplifting, colorful civil machines, and the aft position has to be deleted. He also chopped the area immediately in front of the windshield, since his intentions apparently were to depict the slightly different windshield arrangement that the civil, passenger carrying, Avro 652 had (two prototypical machines: Avalon and Avatar). But hear hear, that involves quite a number of changes, while just modeling an after the war civil conversion is -in a few cases- a very straightforward matter of just adding civil regs, slight changes on the nacelles, and of course the already mentioned deletion of the aft position. Hum...what to do, what to do.... I know, I am not particularly fond of adopting "rescued mistreated models with behavioral issues", but this poor kit had such a hard start of life in Volkania...I mean, it breaks your heart. I have gathered quite a number of images of candidates, again, pretty straightforward, even the same clunky landing gear and window arrangement, and in a couple cases no need to touch the nacelles. I'll see where the vapors of modeling liquid cement take me to.... Here are the images of what I got already done in the package, praise Styrene, muse of the scratchbuilders: To be continued?....
  3. Carl Jung regaled us (among many other things) with the concept of "significant coincidences", which he enveloped on the idea of "synchronicity". Little I knew, when I bought an affordable and vintage kit of the Percival Proctor to convert it -as I frequently do- into a civil machine, that the livery I would end up choosing (among a large number of candidates) will have a connection with my country or origin that I wasn't aware of. As I was building the kit and gathering data on the chosen registration, G-AHWW, I came across a website (The Aviation Forum) that provided information about its pilot, Arthur Bradshaw, and stated that he had worked, about 1947, as a pilot for the Argentinean airline FAMA (Flota Aérea Mercante Argentina, loosely translated: Argentinean Merchant Air Fleet). In 1950 Bradshaw returned to his natal New Zealand -from England- in the plane with his family. For the long flight he added an extra underbelly fuel tank. The "merchant" New Zealand flag was used on the rudder, which had a red background (Bradshaw, as I just wrote, was a merchant pilot, and was ferrying this plane to start a commercial endeavor). In the few images I could found, I can't see a reg. on the right wing (which is the case for some of those I studied, -and built), and can barely see an almost invisible trace of them under the left wing, in a non-contrasting color, so I went (just a provisional guess) for silver outlines regs. on alu paint/dope background. The building of this vintage kit was simple and straightforward, and I indulged in just a couple of additions, to keep the effort and time invested in line with the quality of the molds. My thanks once more go to Arctic Decals from whom I commissioned and purchased the decals used. At the time of this post Dora Wings issues, -among many other nice civil subjects- a Mark I and Mark III of this plane in 1/72, which of course are contemporary molds that offer a superior quality and detail. But I like the old dogs once in a while, gives you this warm feeling of having rescued a kit, as it was famously said: "Take a sad song and make it better". (The WiP is here:
  4. Another "cabin" conversion of a WWI plane, from 2011, 8 years ago. You may have seen before articles I posted depicting conversions that were made after 1918 to civil use of pre-existing models. It is nice to be able to have civil options for kits that are around and mostly easy to get. Dropping passengers instead of bombs fortunately became the thing to do for a number of planes that became the precursors of the airlines and airliners. The first ones were –as it is the case here- direct adaptations of pre-existing material to which a registration and -if you were lucky- an enclosed cabin were quickly slapped on. If you are interested in the prolific and romantic period known as the Golden Age of Aviation... I suggest you go the library. The venerable 1/72 Airfix Hannover CL.III kit was used as a base for the conversion. I left the kit in a drawer for some time and...there! when I opened it again the model was ready. This proves that the best way of building models is to let them build themselves. I was told about this method (unmodeling) by Christos Psarras from Florida, so all credit goes to him. If in spite of my selfless advise you still need to build the kit yourself, then you may start by toning down the ribbing mainly in the wings, and also a bit on the biplane stabs. Since you are at it, you may like to eliminate ribbing altogether in the center section of the upper wing, since it was plywood-covered, and on the fixed part of the lower stab. Both wings have ejector pin marks that you may like to fill and sand. The outer struts are joined by a “bridge” that has a carved counterpart on the underside of the upper wing. That is supposed to help with alignment, but I filled it in, since it detracts from the aspect of the finished surface and in my case only helped to annoy me anyway. Other parts like the landing gear legs were refined a tad, since they sport that kinda clunky look of the kits of another time. I cut out a section on the fuselage where the passenger cabin was supposed to be and carved a plug from basswood upon which the Psychedelic Mattelation process was bestowed. Playing music from the sixties will help giving the Mattel vacuforming psychedelic machine operation some appropriate context. The vacuformed part was made of clear plastic; the windows were masked later on before painting. The very Spartan kit interior (flat slab seat and Airfix mummies) was replaced with adequate bits: a Victrola, bar, cigar lounge, chaise longue, draperies, decorated vases, post-classical statues, Wedgwood ware, the works (not really). The HaWa F.3 had room for two passengers, seating facing each other in true early aviation limo style (that is, imitating a coach) so they could discuss Kant and Schopenhauer comfortably. The Hannover CL.III used an Opel Argus of 180hp, but the conversion HaWa F.3 used a Mercedes D.III of 160 hp. The Airfix kit comes of course with an Argus (or some of it, anyway) but fortunately I had a full Mercedes in the spares’ bin. A suitable exhaust was scratched for it. The stabs (upper and lower) are not connected in the HaWa F.3 by the bars that come with kit, so those were omitted. The kit, on the other hand, does not have the struts that connect the upper wing with the landing gear foremost strut. As modelers know, to determine the exact colors of these machines is a challenging enterprise, so informed/educated guesses have some times to be made. So far I saw images of two machines, one with the number 81 on it and one with only the manufacturer’s designation on the fuselage side. I went for the latter which also had a two-tone passengers’ cabin door. In the original some areas of the wings and tail were plywood-covered, and the lozenge was painted on instead of the pre-printed fabric used for the rest. Accordingly, those areas were painted wood color too and later lozenge decals were applied on, showing the effect of the darker areas visible in the original. There are number of converted limousines of this type that can be modeled using existing kits with little modifications. I hope this article inspires you to attempt this line of research and building. I would like to thank Soenke S., master of the Evil Galactic Empire. From his secret volcano lair he sent useful suggestions and data that were instrumental in the making of the model. Same thanks also go to Tracy Hancock. If you are a learned WWI lozenge expert, prone to lengthy discussions and much pondering about the hues and shapes an number of lozenges, as we endlessly see in the pertinent forums and websites, I invite you to remain silent, which is always healthy (especially for me in this case). Without much further ado, here is the cabined HaWa:
  5. An old scratched model from 2007, 12 years ago (as you can tell I had forgotten to add the control cables, and my wood propeller carving abilities have improved since): The Tupolev Ant-2, the first all-metal passenger plane made in Russia, shares its looks and technology with some cousins from other nations. Considering that this was 1924, you can tell how advanced the design was by simply comparing it with its wood and linen biplane (and even triplane) contemporaries. The “limousine” configuration was also used -as recently posted here- by other manufacturers and confers attractive lines that blend beautifully. A relatively simple project of a nice little plane that has its not unimportant place in aviation history.
  6. A build from 5 years ago: НИАИ-1 Фанера 2 (NIAI-1 Fanera 2 -plywood-) Another civil kit! Well done Mikro Mir* (Mikr Mir is roughly micro-world or microcosm? This plane was designed and engineered by the Lisichkin-Rentel team around a Shvetsov M-11 of 100hp capable of lifting 4 passengers in an aerodynamically-polished airframe that was a little bit like a motorglider or embryonic flying wing. The plane had very appealing lines and included very smart features to save weight and avoid drag. There was a prototype (Fanera-1) very similar to this later model, but the production model of which 20 were made (and that this kit represents) had many refinements. It operated in the state airline successfully, carrying in ideal conditions up to five people including the pilot. Here a YouTube clip showing the thing in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyhAAX3DjWE This plane is sometimes referred to as ЛК-1 Ленинградский комбинат (LK-1, Leningradskii Kombinat). There are some images of one of these planes on floats. The kit depicts the specific plane modeled as white, but if you are doing other airframe than that, beware that photos (and the movie clip) show in other planes paint that is anything like white, most likely aluminum. Photos also show the Townend ring removed, no spats, different props, and so forth. At least one photo shows a fin/rudder with a particular decoration. Once more: study your photos and references. I have wanted to build this one for many years. I thought nobody would ever release this design as a model kit, so of course as I usually do I decided to scratch-build it. I collected references and even printed out scaled plans but did not actually cut any building material. And I am so glad I didn't!, because now a relatively new company, Mikr Mir, made it available as a short-run injected kit. This little kit looks quite good, it includes masks for the extensive window areas, some photoetched parts, decals, and of course the injected sprues and instructions. The parts have good detail, and will need just a bit of cleaning-up, and enough of them are present to cover a reasonable level of detail. The instructions are not bad, but not the best I have seen at any rate. The surface detail is convincing and the assembly looks practical enough. Care should be taken in dealing with the extensive transparencies in order to keep them clean. Those parts in the kit are good but most likely will need bathing them on acrylic floor polish to improve their clarity. It is no doubt an attractive plane of unusual configuration. The kit is affordable and has some think-out-of-the-box engineering, but it is a mixed bag: The good: a) reasonable number of parts, good surface detail, well appointed for 1/72 (engine, interior) b) photoetched bits c) window masks! The bad: a) confusing instructions that lack clarity, have too small detail drawings and contain mistakes b) a few ill-designed parts (wheels bigger than pants' internal space) c) horrible, unusable, total failure decals (at least in my kit). Scan them in high-res and print your own. It is a drag, but better than deal with decal confetti. If you are interested in this plane, there is enough on the Net to satisfy your curiosity if you have a modicum of dexterity handling Net searches. The instruction sheet: the usual small, vague, fuzzy business. There is something awkward with part 7 (front/instrument console) there seem to be a mistake either on the part or the plan, we'll found out...or will be? (NOTE: I did found out, is completely in the wrong position, see further below): Part 7, the instruments console that has a particular shape had a very suspicious position indicated in the less than poor instructions, well, that is because part 7 goes in a very different place, as shown here in these photos, and NOT where is shown in the instructions. Now, when a manufacturer has no clue as to where the parts he made should go, you are in trouble. Other aspects of this kit are OK, though, more info as we go: A problem with the wheel pants: they are narrower than the wheel they are supposed to lodge. A few solutions (I have done this before with other models): glue one side to a piece of styrene sheet to add width, re-contour, glue the other half; or: sand the wheel flatter; or get a narrower wheel; or (as I will do here) sand a wheel, cut in half, partially insert the half wheels into the pants once all is painted separately. Use the axle as a stopper for how far inside the half-wheels will go. These pants, as some of the other parts, are wafer thin, so watch out: The peculiar shape of the plane calls for innovative break-down engineering. Thus the top-cum-sides of the fuselage is provided as two clear parts (since the windows are there) that must be joined, and then a stub tail added to it. Be sure to align the clear part properly as the glue sets, don't ruin the windows area with glue smudges or sanding scratches. I most likely will glue a thin styrene sheet as a reinforcement underneath the narrow middle, which is the cabin ceiling: The kit has very nice masks and photoetched parts, even a photo-film for the instrument panel to be combined with the metal part. The photoetched parts are covered with a protective film. All this and the decals come in a resealable plastic pouch. Well done, Mikr Mir! As you can see I painted the film white on its back for contrast: The interior is in place with the small addition of joystick and rudder pedals. Notice the pilot's seat has a small plinth molded in it which makes it slightly different than the others: Clear parts were masked and putty applied, and once dry it was sanded away to improve the surfaces, and then the temporary masks removed: There are a couple of things that the instructions ask you to do but I wasn't able to corroborate in photos: the kit has two anti-slid/walkway sections as PE parts that are supposed to be glued at the wing roots, but photos only show one, on the left-hand side, and not going all the way up to the front of the wing as the kit parts. The kit also has two Venturi probes, but all photos show only one. The origin of the mistake seems to be the plan on which the kit perhaps was based. Again, all photos show one entrance through a sliding window on the left, therefore one walkway and one handle on top of that sliding window. The photoetched parts for the aileron linkages are glued. The wingtip skids although provided as plastic parts, were discarded in favor of ones made with wire. Also added are the control horns for the rudder and their control cables exits on the fuselage side. Holes are drilled for the stab rigging. None of the latter are provided/described in the kit. As explained before only a partial walkway is glued as per photos (not kit instructions). The kit provides two and they are seemingly too long, reaching the leading edges: Proceeding to the decaling stage, I found out that the decal manufacturer has invented the un-decal. Let me explain: a decal that shatters in contact with water, and when for some miracle remains in one piece, will have almost no adhesion to the surface (will unstuck when dry), will not conform to curved surfaces, and will be mostly impervious to setting solutions: How a decal manufacturer can do such poor job is on itself a high achievement of failure. But, who knows, may be it was just my decal batch. My advise: scan the kit decal to a high resolution, print your own decals and rather deal with cutting out the very many individual subjects than scatter decal dust all over the model and the building board. A very POOR JOB, these decals: With some huffing and puffing the decals are now in place. Yet another mistake in the instructions: decal number 7 (as marked in the DECAL SHEET) should be the one going on the vertical stabilizer. The smaller one, number 8 as marked in the decal sheet should be on the wing. To make it clear: they are wrongly numbered in the instructions: decals on the wing should be # 5, 6 and 8, not 7 as indicated there. Sigh. As said, I had to print a set to replace some of the shattered decals:
  7. A build from 4 years ago: (the WiP is here: This is a good kit of a nice, classic passenger plane, and a relevant one as aviation history goes. I am really glad that some manufacturers are venturing now into the realm of civil planes. They have a particular charm and usually interesting careers, and in more than one occasion their contribution to aviation and history was truly remarkable. This particular machine was an "agitation" plane, that is a propaganda plane and without doubt it may have provided with rides to people that usually may have never been able to have access to such an experience as flight. It was an elegant plane of sound construction that deserved to be kitted. Looking forward to other Amodel releases of civilian planes, a line they have contributed to with several kits already. For many more!
  8. A build from 4 years ago as a reference for the already posted completed model: The completed model is here: We are not really familiar with Russian aviation, therefore few of us may have heard about the Kalinin K-5. If you thought that I'll tell you its story, achievements, performance, etc., you are sorely mistaken. Do an Internet search, go to your local library, and find out for yourself, watch less TV. Amodel is by now a well-known kit manufacturer. I have built quite a number of their kits and I am fairly satisfied with them. They are accessible and they are mostly OK, if not really refined, with somewhat thick sprues and parts' attachments. Their transparencies are not pristine, their decals are quite so-so, their instructions are not thrilling. And that goes as well for about 80% of the manufacturers, so it is not a big deal for me. Thus I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box of this Kalinin K-5, which I got thanks to the good offices of Mr. Malabamba (he wishes to remain anonymous, hoping not to be associated by anyone with me). This is clearly a much better kit than the previous (years ago) Amodel releases that I have built so far. The part count is high, the molds are more refined (not totally sharp as in much expensive brands), the transparencies a vast improvement on what I have seen before, and no doubt better decals, although my sample had a bad area (shown in the photos bellows). But, before nitpicking: CONGRATULATIONS AMODEL FOR RELEASING A NICE CIVILIAN PLANE KIT!!!!! Oopsie-poopsie: I replaced the prop with a home-made laminated wood one: The plastic is soft and there are some mold lines around the parts, so they have to be cleaned-up. Here we see a few of the parts that had sink holes and needed putty and sanding: As you can see the engine cylinders are provided with some detail; unfortunately these parts are mostly "tubes" as you can see in the sprue. The problem is that if you want to use them, you will have to clean them, due to the mold seam lines. And they are tiny. AND they are many. I am thinking of replacing all of them with soldering wire: The passenger cabin door is cut out and a new one made to pose it open:
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