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  1. The Bristol M.1 monoplane was an advanced concept for its time, perhaps not appreciated as it should have been (suffering the curse of the monoplane fear of early times). Once its bang-bing-poom-paff role was over, Bristol sought to re-introduce it as a sports machine. Part of their strategy was having it compete as a racer, a role in which it was quite successful. Very happy to see that Avis released this spunky racer as an alternate boxing to their Bristol M.1 monoplane variants. Another civil, privately owned machine (Spanish M-AFAA) is also an alternative scheme in their boxing of Red Devil (but the Spanish version needs a couple of small tweaks to be accurate). Adventurous modelers and after-market decal-makers may like to have a look at other civil possibilities for this nice little kit: G-EASR (A company demonstrator that can be seen in photos with two schemes, a light and a dark one) G-EAVO (That used both engines, the Lucifer and a rotary Le Rhone-, no wing cut-outs) G-EAER (#12 racer on the 1919 Aerial Derby, piloted by Smith, with wing cut-outs, small faired headrest) VH-UQI (De Havilland Gipsy four-inline engine conversion, fuselage re-worked) This kit of G-EAVP can be finished with and without the race number 2 or a G (as per decals supplied by the kit), but also as number 4 (if you scrounge those decals from somewhere), of which I found only a few images. If you are building this kit you will find a number of comments and what I hope are useful tips in the step-by-step construction article: Things you may like to adjust if building G-EAVP (the kit's provided version): 1) There were no carb air intake holes on the fuselage sides, nor its associated part inside the cockpit (those are for the rotary engine version). 2) The tail feathers need rigging, missing in the instructions, look at photos of the plane. 3) The long exhausts that go under the nose meet at a heat-exchanging sleeve that surround the new carburetor air intake (that comes downwards from the nose) and continue as a single pipe for a little while. Again, find photos on the Net that show that. 4) The fuel cap behind the pilot is somewhat present in the mold, but better make a good one, and since you are at it, also add the oil cap, ahead of the pilot 5) Add the Pitot to the left wing leading edge 6) Add the wind-driven fuel pump to the right landing gear strut as per photos on the Net 7) Make the windscreen smaller and the correct shape Be sure to install the double flying wires, as correctly depicted and even marked on the undersurfaces of the wings. Of these last new four Avis civil delightful little kits, this is the only one that gave me some little trouble. The plastic was a tad different and harder, the fit wasn't comfortable in some instances, and, in spite of having been carefully washed, dried, primed and handled properly, when I masked the red to paint the tail, as I removed the masks, huge chunks of paint and primer were lifted leaving the bare plastic. This has not happen to me in a long, long time, being always very careful about cleaning and avoiding contaminants. I can assure you that my day was utterly ruined. So you are warned: really, really wash the plastic. I am not sure why this last Avis kit was different, may be it was just my sample. But if something got changed, please change it back. I am looking forward to -and indeed I pre-ordered - their soon to be released -as I write this- Lee-Richards Annular Wing. I have scratched the monster long ago when my skills were far from good, and this time I may end up with a better replica. And, since we are at it, what were, you may have thought, the chances that ANY manufacturer would release that?
  2. The civil derivatives of the Bristol M.1 monoplane are attractive little planes, perhaps not as well known as they deserve or as much as their military counterpart. Avis is doing a wonderful deed releasing a series of civil machines that are elegant, fairly priced, well detailed and produced to a nice standard. I have recently built and present here the Bristol Racer, the Short Cockle, and the Short Satellite. All very pleasant to build kits that produced satisfying renditions. This is the last of the series -that I am aware of- for now, and since I saw the beautiful model posted by @Unkempt I decided to post a WiP, for those of you who have the kit or are thinking of acquiring it. Avis released many variants of the M.1, but I was drawn to the civil "D" racer kit. The parts have some flash that requires some careful clean-up (the previously-mentioned kits had very clean molds), and be sure you check the fit, since this particular kit, unlike all the others, may need some extra attention. After the sprues were washed with mild detergent on lukewarm water and dried, most parts were released and, as said above, carefully cleaned up. The plastic seemed to me a bit harder than all their other kits, more in line with their former releases (Crusader AG-4, Mig Utka, that I also built and posted here and were just a teeny tiny coarse). A very complete interior -for the scale- is provided, as well as the Lucifer engine. There was a very beautiful inline engine version that perhaps may tempt Avis for a follow-up kit (VH-UQI) and other civil registrations that differ a bit on details (G-EAVO, G-EASR, M-AFAA). May be the aftermarket industry will come up with some nice decals. For a change, there is plenty on the Net to see and learn from, especially photos. I recommend you do it, especially to fix a couple minor things on the interior. Oh, my!! An evil kit? (curiosly, Luficer is literally "light-bringing"): Some plastic gasping seems to indicate so!:
  3. My ancient pet cat Pip ( my avatar) destroyer of Pups( sopwith) , breaker of gamecocks and bulldogs, shuffled of this mortal coil on Friday and so to cheer myself up ( a little) I decided to build this little gem. It’s black and gold and I reckon he would have enjoyed swatting all the little bits off my desk it’s also a bit of a mojo restorer as a number if fairly long term builds are finished or almost done. But mostly it’s dedicated to my little friend Pip. I might add the kit was a gift from an ipms friend and the resin engine a gift from a fellow britmodeller. https://www.flickr.com/gp/152784191@N02/DK1SvV cut our the crude engine abd sand off the markings and as luck would have it replaced with resin wasp from a well wisher. https://www.flickr.com/gp/152784191@N02/97F85M wings preprinted with rattle can silver. My fold paint is naff so I wanted. https://www.flickr.com/gp/152784191@N02/CEb2zm carefully brush painted gold. Plus some scratch built interior ( not even a seat in the kit???)
  4. A vac Gee-Bee from 10 years ago (the one posted before was an injected Amodel one): Original text: It is as if my friends were trying to prove that there is no kit impossible to build...as long as it is other modeler who builds them. The Gee Bee needs no introduction; it is just a manned, slightly winged, aerial engine cowl. This vac, together with a few others, was given to me by fellow modeler Keith Hudson. I am grateful of course but now I may have to build them. Humbug. In any case, the Airframe vacuformed kit is old but generally nice if your standards are flexible like mine, but the styrene in this one is definitely on the thin side (I have seen other offers from this manufacturer with a pleasant thickness) to the point of both flimsiness and cause glue terror -a syndrome you develop after you melted a kit trying to glue it-. The iconic wheel pants were so thin that I decided just to hold the halves together with my fingers and wick down a bit of superglue. I had, nevertheless, to explain friends and neighbors why I was holding a minute white part on my hand for the next two days. Kidding. The decals, by Microscale, were detailed; nevertheless the shape of the larger ones (on the wings, fus, and pants) is not really well designed to wrap around the areas they are supposed to cover. I am not talking here about not being able to stretch and adapt to the model curves (which is understandable to a certain extent) but of shapes that tend not to coincide, being in general a bit large. I wonder if the decal designer ever applied them on a model. If that would have been the case it should have been realized that some adjustments (drastic in a few cases) were in order. My decal sheet was incomplete and badly crackled (nothing to blame the manufacturer for here), a fact that I caught just in time not to use them before spraying on them a few protecting coats to build up a carrier. The plan worked only for the smaller decals, but the condition and age of the larger ones was so bad originally that they shattered anyway. I had to print a set from a scan I took before doing anything with the decals, which proved wise. I also made some louvers that go on the front fuselage. At the end, a total decal nightmare. The Amodel Gee Bee (which I built long time ago) decals were less attractive and a tad pink, but the bits conformed much better to the contours, if the area they covered was smaller (more painted areas to match for the modeler). As usual, you have to ride your spares’ box (or supplier) to get engine, wheels and prop and scratch any other things you wish to add. It is worth of note though that a transparent vac canopy was provided. The model compares well to a portrait of a remote auntie I had that was a little on the chubby side. Since this was supposed to be a quickie for an informal build, a succinct interior was added and things were kept as simple as possible, which is never really simple with vacs and small models. Images depict how the parts left on the building board in the vacuum chamber magically attach to each other to eventually form a model, by gravity mainly. Anyway, did I enjoy it? you betcha. I only wish I had had a decent, new, decal sheet, because do you know what happens when you match your cowl and spats to a certain hue of a decal set, and then you have to change decals? Yes, that. The rest was pretty fun.
  5. Consider the aspect of this chubby little fella. And consider that this was 1922, four years after WW1, and that for many, many years, biplane and even sporadic triplanes would populate the sky. Progress always finds reluctance. Another civil jewel from Avis. Good detail, very smart engineering, care taken on achieving small and less intrusive sprue gates -unlike some short-run kits that have thick gates-, thought put into the breakdown to avoid sinkholes, nice interior detail, attractive an unusual type, reasonably priced, surely a superb subject choice. These last releases by Avis are indeed remarkable upgrades on the short-run theme, and if it's true that they are not snap-together, the level of detail and care in the engineering and molding makes them the best so far I have build in that category. Needless to say the subjects are wonderful which for me makes for a complete modeling happiness package. The step-by-step build is here: And so here it is, a racing oddity that promised much but did live up to the expectations. Enclosed engine, retractable landing gear, monoplane, monocoque fuselage, all very advanced choices for 1922 no doubt, that unfortunately due to other problems was not to be the winner the designers and builders thought would be. In any case, who can resist the plumped charm of this eccentric aviation one-off? The kit needs some touches here and there, but it is a noble kit, and I had fun building it, not to mention looking at it! Well done Avis, for more! I would say: take it a bit further and please give us a piggy-like Vickers Vulcan*, or a De Havilland DH18 or 34**, or a Westland Limousine***. But if you want to stay in line with the current trend, I would take a Helmy Aerogypt**** any day! (I wouldn't mind a Gloster Mars racer, but my suspicions are that you may come up with a Short Mussel in land and water guises) *https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/type-16-vickers-vulcan-a-british-singleengine-biplane-airliner-built-picture-id805113970?s=2048x2048 **https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/sir-samuel-instone-and-codirectors-pilots-and-mechanics-of-the-air-picture-id2666638?s=2048x2048 ***https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/circa-1920-a-wedding-party-bid-farewell-to-the-bride-and-groom-at-an-picture-id3336034?s=2048x2048 ****http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/helmy_aerogypt.php
  6. The chubby silhouette of the Bristol Racer at first sight doesn't look like a wonderful choice for a streamlined speed machine. Nevertheless it was thought that by encapsulating the whole engine some gain was to be had. Surface area vastly increased, though, and produced an aerodynamic shadow that spoiled the efficiency of wings and tail. In any case, that strange choice has given us one of the most distinct shapes of early aviation, besides being irresistibly cute, and having you wanting to pinch its cheek. So much in love I was with this thing that I ventured years ago to build a not particularly good vacuformed kit of it, posted here at BM. Some years later I even got a special set made by Arctic Decals to go with the kit (that provided no decals whatsoever, and had many other shortcomings. But hey, it was, after all a Bristol Racer, and who would kit it anyway? Well, Avis just did!!! But first, here is the old beast made with the vac kit After the nice experience with Avis' Short Satellite, I just had to retrieve the box from the vault and start it. One of these has already been built and posted here at BM by @Unkempt, who did a wonderful job. So, let's see where this goes. The box, known already by many here: Contents: Detail: The biggest parts are removed and cleaned up a bit: Some parts will need your attention. I had to remove material from the inner rim on the part on the right, to let the relief on the part of the left get inside. Also the locating key has to be sanded a bit to allow the parts to be joined: A small issue on this kit is the position of the fore legs of the L.G. I joined the parts just with a blob of Plasticine from behind to show what's going on here. As you can see there is no recess for the fore legs, as it should be, because it intersects the ventilation canals. What is wrong here is hard to tell: are those canals too long or too aft? is the LG position -or other parts- out of wack?: As you can see the master maker started to carve the recess for the legs, but encountered the issue and did not proceed further: But, if you align (fill) the two lower canals to match the external ones, you may create just enough room for the recess to be carved and so comfortably accommodate the LG legs:
  7. A build from 9 years ago: (Note: a 1/72 kit seems -according to rumor- to be in the works by Avis, but I would advise you take a chair meanwhile) (Note added on June 2019: Avis already released the kit, an image is a the bottom of the thread) (Another NOTE: I made my own decals for this one, but only through the dubious expedient of printing red on white decals paper, so I had to match the decals color. Not a wonderful way to do things, but now Arctic Decals has released a set with the corresponding white marks, so you are in luck, you youngsters that don't appreciate the efforts and hardships that your elders had to endure in order to make models! and get off my lawn!) What happens when a plane gets engine indigestion? Yes, a 1922 Bristol 72. And if -as in this case- the plane is a racer, it is all too bad. Nevertheless in the process a cartoon character may have been created. Or perhaps a flying keg that would have been the delights of the prohibition smugglers. Or simply a cute, puny-winged, chubby racer. Ok, ok, may be “racer” is an overstatement. But it wanted to! In any case, let’s not be so judgmental. It had a monocoque fuselage and retractable landing gear, it had a Jupiter radial that was advanced and powerful and was supposed to be efficiently cowled. It was also painted red, which is always a bonus in the case of racers. The Classic Plane 1/72 vac kit seems to be still obtainable, although their distributors in Germany (Modellbaustudio Rhein Ruhr) may take some time to deliver it to you (as per their own warning in their site). And when I say “some time” I mean years. Kidding. Not really. Well, just exaggerating a bit. It is a sorta so-so kit, with overstated ribbing, generous thickness styrene, two halves to make one whole wheel (see image of the sheet), no interior drawings (or parts), no engine. a thing resembling vaguely a half propeller and in the instructions a naive method to represent the bicycle wheel-like spinner structure (photoetched parts here would have been ideal). It is not big deal though to go and get a decent prop, engine, some wire for the landing gear legs and pair of wheels, so not really anything serious to cry about. And again, do you think the manufacturers of Messerschmidts by the truckload will ever kit something like this? Exactly my point, so if this is what we have, then welcome. My sample (a hand-me-down kit by generous Keith, my thanks to him) didn’t have decals, so I ignore if they are provided with the kit. And the marks are white, so watch out. The parts’ count is not high and the interior can be a simple matter. Regarding construction methods you could start by crying and shouting, so you don’t have to deal with that later on. Then separate the parts front the backing sheet, since it is not easy to build the model if you don’t. Then sand. And then proceed to sand a bit more. And perhaps later on you can do some sanding. And last but not least let’s not forget about sanding. Be careful not to oversand. The fuselage front as molded has a resemblance of the buffers that were installed between the engine cylinders. You could leave some of that detail or just bore the thing and do the detail by yourself, which I did. The spinner was allocated two spoke rims as per original and was painted wood color, since some of the flights were made with it unpainted. A wood prop was carved at this point and an engine scrambled from the spares’ bin. Some internal fuselage structure was added and a cockpit devised. Beware that the kit's marks on the fuselage to cut out the lodging positions for the retractable landing gear leg components are wrongly depicted. As they are (besides being a bit wobbly) they curve in a concave way, while they should be straight (looking perpendicular to the fuselage axis) thus producing -since they are traced over a circular volume- seemingly slightly convex legs (see image). I made the legs with “Strutz” brass airfoiled material and the oleos with some wire. Once the main parts were put together a strange whale started to emerge. It had all the appearance of a chubby antique tin toy, and the appeal started to be obvious. Priming and touch-ups ensued and acrylic paint was applied. Decals, rigging and a few external details finished the job, or so I thought. After I photographed the model for this article I realized that the Pitot and headrest were not in place, so one last photo was taken showing those. Moral: if you are racing, do not forget your Pitot. The manufacturer had a geometry conceptualizing problem as you can see:
  8. I was presented with a wonderful opportunity to observe fellow modeler Allan Buttrick (Allan31) work on his latest project which he claimed was responsible for his absence from these hallowed halls of miniature craftsmanship. As Allan indeed had not posted for a while, I thought it a good opportunity to not only meet a fellow modeler but also find out what he was wasting his time on rather than model building. So, with an exchange of emails arrangements were made with Allan insisting on meeting at the Summit Point (WV.) racetrack. Despite thinking this was indeed an unusual place to talk modeling, I readily agreed as Summit Point is less than a 30-minute drive from my home and it is after all…a racetrack!!!. My son Curtiss and I set out at the appointed time, as we ventured onto the bridge over the track in to the infield, a trio of vintage sports racers swept into turn 10, exhaust popping and crackling under lifted throttle. In addition to getting our blood pumping, (aerobatic airplane guys and racecar guys are cast from the same mold) I was thrilled to jump to the conclusion that Allan was going to demonstrate a new method of weathering and use real racecars as reference! Now that is attention to detail, no wonder his builds are so realistic! We rounded the corner into the paddock area and as advertised the trailer was in place just as Allan had promised. But what caught my eye was that sitting in front was the largest scale Formula Ford racer I had ever seen, gleaming in a pristine British Racing Green finish and seemingly perfect in every detail. We were warmly greeted by Allan and Su, and immediately felt at ease. Allan said he would provide a detailed description as soon as he came in from the morning practice section. This was about the moment that I began to suspect we were not going to talk too much about models this weekend. Our first view of Allan and the Lola on the track. Since this is a modeling site after all, it is necessary to discuss a few modelling points: After the session, Allan graciously removed the cowl to allow close inspection of the engine installation and the rear suspension. Front and rear suspensions are multi-link with full adjustment for caster, camber and toe. The anti-roll (commonly called “sway bars”) are also adjustable. This set up allows the car to be tuned for ideal handling characteristics. Note how authentic the weathering is on the nose. This was achieved by Allan placing the nose of the Lola in position to capture scrubbed off tire rubber during cornering More scrubbed off tire-rubber marks on the coil-over springs and dampers. Note the built up ‘kingpost’ or ‘upright’ and the stones and grass stuck to the sticky racing tires. The adjustable anti-roll bars can be seen to good advantage here. Exhaust manifold received a subtle heat discoloration by running between 5000 and 7000 rpms for about 20 minutes. Allan and Curtiss discussing the design of the Lola. Warming up in the paddock, water temp coming up, oil still cold. (note the high oil pressure) Su is definitely a jack-at-all-trades! After assisting Allan strapping in, waiting time to head to the staging grid... The Scuderia Buttrick crew chief (Su) minute instructions on race strategy to the team’s premier driverproviding same last- The hallowed Scuderia Buttrick Crest. More information is available on the website https://scuderiabuttrick.com/ An attempt at recreating an artistic shot of the starting grid worthy of the 1966 movie ”Grand Prix” If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it. Traffic is heavy early in the heat before the field stretches out. Race 31 is closest to the camera on the outside setting up to pass on the outside of the turn leading into The Carousel. Despite a very strong emphasis on safety, this is a serious racing series and incidents do happen. Fortunately, all drivers are unharmed. A couple of glamour shots showing off the classic lines of the LolaT202 Green Flag racing Recovering after one of the heat races. Ambient temperatures were pretty high for May high humidity Race 31 is a 1971 Lola T202 Formula Ford that is raced in the Historic Ford class. Powered by a 1.6 liter inline 4-cylinder engine (similar to that in the Pinto!) the Lola’s light weight of just over 900 lbs provides exhilarating performance. Transitioning between the classic "cigar" styling of open wheel racers in the sixties and the "chisel" styling of the early seventies, and is in my opinion one of the best-looking Formula Fords. Allan’s beautifully maintained example raced flawlessly all weekend requiring nothing more between sessions than fueling, a check of tire pressures and wheel bolt torque. Curtiss trying on the Lola for size to Allan and Su’s amusement. Neither of us fit, our shoulders being much too broad although we did find we fit into a Crowsley…barely Thank you to Allan and Su for your hospitality, Curtiss and I cannot thank you enough for a great experience! You may very well have recruited two new novice vintage racers, now I just have to find a buyer for the Acrosport… Eric aka The Yankymodeler
  9. This is a build from 2005, 14 years ago, and like the just posted Nucoa Nieuport, nothing special, just fun: If this shows anything at all of interest, is that we all can improve, especially on placing the model on a quarry: I made a second one form the Airframe vac kit:
  10. Here another build from 2010, nine years ago, with the same basic but not unfair take: Since I was at it with the Macchi M.C.72, I decided to also go for the M.67, which was a slightly earlier -1929- machine equipped with an Isotta Fraschini ASSO 18cyl in “W” of 1,800 hp. The particular configuration of the engine determined the shape of the front fuselage. Three machines were made and experienced the multiple problems associated which such complex pieces of engineering. Like the M.C.72, the M.67 was a pure bred racer seaplane, conceived to compete for the Schneider trophy. The lines and general arrangement are similar to those of the MC72, also having radiators on the wings, floats and struts, besides the fuselage sides and the oil cooler under the chin. It had a three-blade propeller that of course created some torque, so one float carried more fuel than the other and the wing was very slightly asymmetrical to try to compensate. The design was not fortunate due to technical problems, but one machine survives at the Vigna Di Valle museum. How to paint an Italian racer: You must know that the secret is in the tomatoes. The right ones will give the finished model that characteristic bright red racy hue. But seriously: The model followed the same methods as the similar MC72 posted here, one difference being the shapes created for the engine cylinder bank fairings. As it is sometimes the case, the carving and sanding of these particular parts and their fit over a compound-curve surface required some attention and time. Aeroclub vac floats were adapted removing a section and re-joining their front and back halves which matched the plans very well. A cockpit interior was created of which little could be seen once the fuselage halves were closed. The fuselage needed several sessions of puttying, sanding and priming. The fuselage side radiators were engraved on thin alu foil that was painted brass later on and added to the finished fuselage. Struts for the floats were adapted from Contrail streamlined stock. A leftover bomb from a kit was put to better use creating the conical spinner, and blades were re-shaped from a white metal prop. Spars were located on the fuselage to align and secure tail and wing halves. Decals, 77 of them, were home made The fantastic lines of this racer look like a sculpture influenced by artist Carra, Balla and Boccioni of Italian Futurism fame.
  11. A model from 2014, five years ago: I extricated from the closet this one made from a kit that a fellow modeler sent me time ago (Thanks, Keith!) It is an Airframe kit I believe made in Canada, date unknown, but long time ago. The plastic is very thin and flimsy. For what I can tell, the kit came with decals (now absent) but no wheels, prop, or spinner. Of course not even a trace of cockpit detail, or even an interior drawing. The engineering is indifferent, especially regarding how to match the wings and fuselage. The instructions are quite general, and a "note" advising to cut the carrier film off the wing decals with an Xacto after applying them to the model -painted aluminum/silver, mind you- left me in a state of wonder. The kit does come with a 4-view, that appeared on -and is credited to- Aeroplane Monthly. When the kit got in my hands, there was no clear canopy, but I assume one was there before. This fellow modeler had already started to cut out the parts, and was perhaps a bit enthusiastic sanding the fuselage halves, so I had to devise some remediation. There are limits to the improvements you can perform on a kit, especially one of this nature, but I aimed to obtain the most decent possible model with what I had. Prop and wheels were quickly found among the spares and aftermarket parts, but the spinner that the manufacturer -oh, so very optimistically- tells you to get somewhere, was a different story.
  12. Another model of the MC72, this time from the horrid Delta 2 kit. A build from 2016, after I had made the scratchbuild model of it, and before I built the SBS wonderful kit: It was 1973. Delta 2, the Italian kit manufacturer was perpetrating the kit of the Macchi M.C. 72. How that atrocity escaped the full force of the law, it's a mystery in the history of kit manufacturing. In my long modeling life I came across some pretty nasty kits, but this one is up there at the top. Or at the bottom, depending how do you look at it. What I mean, this is a disgrace of a kit. Not even "la mamma" will love it. So much so that I scratchbuilt one some time ago- But no good deed goes unpunished, so how did I come across this nasty little kit? You guessed! It was sent by Zonke, the Evil Genius from Volkania (actually Sönke Schulz, from Marzipanland). He did it again, trying to torture me with horrible kits, many times half-built...sigh. Below is how this kit arrived from him: he had joined several parts, the fuselage for example, with no interior (making it for me even more complicated to install one), he assembled the floats and covered them with putty (the least those despicable parts deserved, by the way), and half-sanded these things. Well, thanks again, Z, once more you had made it more difficult. And I love to sand what you have left un-sanded! did I tell you? The prop axle was missing. There is a decal sheet that (surprisingly) seems usable, and a piece of clear plastic sheet stapled to the instructions to fashion the windscreen, I am told by Mr. Psarras, the kit expert in residence. This abomination of kit was concocted AT THE SAME TIME, THE SAME YEAR, that the Airfix Sopwith Pup I built in parallel; please compare: The engineering of this Delta 2 awful kit is incomprehensible. Once more we have to persuade a wildly crooked thing into a fair model, kissing the sleeping beauty back to life (sleeping beauty is having a really bad nightmare in this case).
  13. A build from 2010, nine years ago, when the only option was the extremely poor Delta 2 kit, and way before the exquisite kit from SBS was released. See, kids, we had to make our own models if we wanted something! ask the Yorkshiremen! The Macchi Castoldi M.C.72 is so famous that I won’t bother with extensive introductions or descriptions. With an aura between the paintings of Giorgio De Chirico and the sculptures of Marino Marini, the pure lines of the MC72 speak for themselves. Suffice to say that the speed record it set in 1934 for seaplanes still stands today, 76 years later! It was powered by a FIAT AS.6, which was actually two AS.5 in tandem. It used surface radiators on the wings, floats and, if needed, in the lower back fuselage. Two sets of contra-rotating props were used to cancel torque. Once more the scratchbuilding approach was needed in order to have one. A little relief came from the generic Aeroclub pontoon vacuformed sheet that is available from some vendors. This has floats that were a good general fit to the ones needed here. The fuselage was carved from basswood but since my Mattel Psychedelic Machine has a small plate it couldn’t be used to vacuform parts and the original was used instead. Flying surfaces were made of styrene sheet and for the pontoon struts Contrail airfoiled stock was used. The struts were given the correct silhouette and pins were inserted at the ends in order to facilitate assembly later on. An interior was built with some structural detail, seat, joystick, rudder pedals and instrument panel, but -as it is some times the case with these types- very little can be appreciated due to the small cockpit opening. A spinner that needed a bit of adjustment to match the plan was found in the spare box. Prop blades were carved using as a base a discarded four-blade prop. The vac floats were glued, re-contoured and prepared for receiving the struts. Once those bits came together and after priming and painting decal time was up. I decided to work the radiators as a two-decal endeavor. A metallic brass coat was sprayed on decal paper and the radiator pattern was printed on another. Masks were cut and then the decals applied. For the statistic-inclined here are all the decals used: 2 black strips to cover the exhaust areas 2 aluminum strips for the stripe underneath the precedent 2 registration numbers in white at the base of the tail 2 Italian flags on the rudder 2 crests on the mentioned flags 4 brass decals for the wing radiators 4 brass decals for the struts 4 radiator patterns for the wing 6 radiator patterns for the struts (the front pair, as it is angled, required both sides covered separately 2 tiny aluminum covers on the nose on top of the upper oil radiator 6 louvers on the front fuselage 4 louver pairs on the belly 2 red strips that cut the lower wing radiators in half 1 black strip on top of air intake 6 little decal strips for the canopy frame 6 hinges (they are only little red squares to represent the fin hinges protruding into the rudder) 12 for the radiators on the floats (again, these are two-stage decals) Total: 67 To that 16 streamlined struts were added and a trolley was build to support the model. It is a joy when design encompasses beauty and efficiency, isn’t it?
  14. These are all old builds, and in retrospect should have been posted at the beginning of these series. They often represent the first, hesitant steps on scratchbuilding. Here is another from 2010, 9 years ago (original text as posted then): The Hosler Fury is a plane that stands out immediately because of its remarkable aesthetics. Its modern, stylized lines were the result of Russell Hosler's inspiration. It is not beautiful on account of the usual curvy lines associated with racers, but more in the way of a geometric, clean and angular Art Deco style. It had a Curtiss D-12 engine, a non-protruding canopy, an exiguous cantilever wing of very thin airfoil and retractable landing gear. This pre-war design (reportedly aimed to participate in the 1938 Thompson air race) had a series of tests with a bit of flying really involved when the war prevented further development. Sadly enough, it slowly degraded until reaching an unrecoverable state. The model: a fuselage was made of wood and then vacuformed parts were created from it with the Mattel Psychedelic Machine; this allowed the wheel wells and the recess for the retracting landing to be created easily. The double-surfaced flying surfaces were made of styrene sheet. The radiator was fashioned with wood, brass mesh (thanks Keith) and styrene. Aeroclub prop and wheels were added and decals were of course home-made. The photos describe the building process. Skyways magazine (a very good publication, by the way) has an article on the Hosler design in the April 1997 issue. They sell back issues. For what can be inferred from the not many photos available, there were a few changes during is life. The wing can be seen with and without stiffeners and with two distinct registration arrangements; an air scoop was at some point above the front fuselage, there are minor variations in the cockpit glazing (round corners and square corners of the canopy), radiator and so forth. I was impressed by the graceful and racy lines and had to make a model to vindicate such outstanding design, hopefully helping to make it better known and preserving its gleaming beauty a bit more.
  15. Found a few more that I have forgotten to post, from long ago, when the hand was even less able than today. (Model built in -and text from- 2007, that is 12 years ago, when I was starting to dabble on scratchs): Retro-futurism at its best. Credited as the first delta wing plane and the first delta canard, this extremely streamlined racing machine was created by French designer Roland Nicolas Payen. It was supposed to receive an inline engine to fit the carefully polished lines of the plane, but what it got was a radial that had to be adapted to the existing fuselage, creating a sight that we only thought could come out of a comic magazine of the era. Before you ask, yes, it did fly. It never made it to the races or speed record flights, but for sure all involved had a lot of fun. The first –very cautious- flight was made by Louis Massotte, chief pilot for Bleriot, on October 1934. In April 1935 is flown by Jean Meunier. After several flights that demonstrate the critics the viability of the design, it had a bad landing and although not very badly damaged it is decided to proceed instead with other designs. Prop and wheels came from Aeroclub.
  16. Finally the model is completed. For the step-by-step building process please go here: As said before this kit is an effort of a group of friends to continue to make Dujin kits available to the modelers. It includes a very good set of photoetched parts and a nice decal sheet, all that highly commendable especially because Monsieur Dujin offered a vast line of very interesting types not found anywhere else, at a fair price. That been said, the resin parts leave much to be desired and are plagued with pinholes and blemishes, and sometimes are slightly deformed (easily corrected carefully and gradually under hot water) that make for a not at all easy build. Some kits are better than others in that regard, since this is a cottage product, and occasionally you will get a nice one, or a dog, as I got here. As said, photoetched parts and decals were splendid, but transparencies (you get a spare) were deficient and neither of my two samples matched well the fuselage contour (the canopy slid forward as one piece to allow access). This is definitely for the modeler that is after a certain type (and the line has plenty of beauties) and does not mind to work quite extensively and lengthily to obtain a good replica from those resin parts.
  17. How unwise would be of me to pretend even the most superficial knowledge on this machine, given the fact that this report is presented in the land where it was born. What else could be added to what have been said about the excels beauty and the graceful lines of this design, or the feats accomplished by it. I will just add that because of my unquenchable love for this plane I have built a number of DH88s, from Airfix ancestry and from the beautiful and exquisite resin cast offered also in 1/72 by the Hungarian firm S.B.S. Model: SBS Model models: Airfix model: And my oldest DH88, also from Airfix, eons ago: Still undeterred, I bought the recently released boxing from KP, a manufacturer that has been lately releasing some beautiful kits, the civil Avia BH11 among them: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235045353-kp-172nd-avia-bh-11-boska-1923/ Encouraged by those releases I embrace now the build of this DH88, an injected rendition of the iconic machine. I have to say, before starting, that the SBS kit is a formidable one, and I don't believe that any injected kit could beat it, but the idea is perhaps to have an affordable, easier to build endeavor for those that still tremble and shake at the mere sight of a resin kit. Fear not, this KP rendition is in some ways well above the old and venerable Airfix kit, being a much modern kit, but I am sure connoisseurs will soon find areas that may leave a bit to be desired, as is seemingly the fate of all things produced by humans, including little humans themselves. Here are some shots of the contents, for your perusing and amusement:
  18. A build from 2 years ago. Where to begin... I am not easily scared by a kit. Any kit. That's not the same as to say that I like a bad kit. I don't. I never had a tête-à-tête encounter with a Dujin kit before. I knew about them, I knew that Monsieur Dujin passed away some time ago, and I have seen some built models of the kits on the Net. Nothing that I saw enticed me, in the least, to go and get one. And now I know, by own experience, why. A dear friend and fellow modeler and artist from Yorkshire, Fogland, Andrew Nickeas, had a very kind gesture and bestowed upon me a number of kits, that happened to arrive for my birthday. Very nice kits, mind you, but (hidden) among them was a Dujin Breda 33. Oh, the horror , even if you are French...there are limits! This is one kit that would definitely not be a pleasure to build. And most emphatically one of the least good looking castings I had the (dis)pleasure of seeing first hand. Now, is it just this kit? a failed copy that somehow made it to the market? But I got ahead of myself...what is this plane? Prima facie an elegant Italian design from the 30s, that belonged to an interesting line of planes like the Breda 39 and 42. Look them up: machines with graceful lines that participated in a great number of sports events and had attractive color schemes. This specific design, the 33, had numerous changes throughout its life, so beware when you look at photos because they had different engines, wings, canopies and other features. There is 1/72 Choroszy Breda 39 in a couple versions, a different model of course (although similar), so -heavens be praised- if you like to build a machine of the sports Breda family you won't have to deal with a Dujin kit. And so we arrive to the completion of the Dujin Breda 33, not after having to follow some meandering paths due the not particularly gracious nature of this kit. My thanks to Andrew Nickeas for the birthday gift of the kit, to Arctic Decals for the extensive decal sheet, and to Fabrizio D'Isanto for his helpful comments. None of them is to blame for any faults in this model As it is the case with a number of Dujin kits, the provided decals are of low quality and incorrect. If you have this kit, Arctic Decals set will save the day. The results you may obtain with these Dujin kits (with some effort) are failry good. Monsieur Dujin released a great number of kits of a variety of subjects. Whilst the quality of the masters seems very fair, the kit production aspect (resin casting) is not that good. But if you are tenacious and want that baby, it is doable. We owe a lot to M. Dujin in any case, since many of these subjects may have been never kitted (and probably will never be again). His enthusiasm and love for the hobby were surely great, but the kits are perhaps not for the average modeler. I am glad I built this one, and now we can look at a nice lines of a fine Italian sports machine, thanks to Monsieur Dujin (and lots of work and persistence!).
  19. When you buy a Dujin kit you are actually buying a kit, to produce a kit, to make a model; that is: you have to create kit parts from the some times undefined resin ectoplasm. Dujin is known for having created an extraordinary diverse line of very interesting planes, unfortunately in the form of extremely rudimentary resin kits. If I understand correctly, after the passing of M. Dujin a group of well-meant and dedicated friends is re-floating the line, with the addition of much welcome supplementary parts as photo-etched sets and what seems to be much better decals that any Dujin kit I have seen before. This has a lot of merit, and -if you have seen my builds- you know that I heartily support cottage industry, but there are limits. When I see a Dujin kit I unavoidably cringe, because I know that a lot of work is ahead even before you start. Yes, the subjects as I said above are attractive, and mostly kitted by no one else in the wide world of the kit industry, but the price to pay (not literally, they are not expensive) in work and frustration is very high, and the results are variable (from just ok to despicable). This kit is no exception, as you may see: Nice P.E. fret, apparently some sort of one-size-fits-all for a number of the Caudron racers produced by them: You will have to cut your own screens to size using the patterns provided: TWO transparencies, bless them: Looks like a decent decal sheet, we will see: A few pinholes here and there, of course: A casting web that goes from adequately thin to hard cake: The famous (probably patented) Dujin Banana Fuselage Halves: After some struggle, the parts are out of their resin traps: Again a few pinholes: After the spa hot jacuzzi treatment the fuselage sides relax and find a more straight position: Hindering the necessary sanding of the despicable inner surfaces of the fuselage halves for them to sort of mate, is the vertical tail, added to one side, who knows why (to bother us, most likely): Stats: Once you are done with a Dujin kit the substance of what it is made comprises 50% of the original resin and 50% of putty, fillers, epoxy and cyano.
  20. A build from 9 years ago Racers are usually thought to be sleek and slim. But that’s not always the case. Suffice to remember the Bristol Type 72 Bullet, the Arnoux “flying wing” racer, both posted here, and the subject of this article, the portly Nieuport-Delage 37. They are all examples of what a fast-food diet can do to you. Conceived to race on the Coupe Deutsch, a technical problem (overheating of course, the thing was huffing and puffing) prevented its participation and the machine was put on a strict diet. No more Croque-Monsieur and French toast for you, mon ami. Nevertheless, the NiD 37 exhibited interesting technical features: a cantilever wing of advanced airfoil with no struts or wires, a completely enclosed engine, a clear vision field for the pilot atop the fuselage, hidden surface control mechanisms, carefully-studied contours and streamlining of the landing gear. A “lobster pot” Lamblin radiator was installed to avoid cumbersome, large frontal area ones. Not much, as sometimes happens, is around regarding this remarkable racer; a few photos on the Net, a side view in the Speed Seekers, and a couple mentions on a Flight Magazine of the time. Based on that material a 3view was devised and a wood master was created to vac the parts, which barely fitted into the Mattel plate, producing two very thin (the Mattel can’t handle heavy-gauge plastic) fuselage sides. The rest was also scratchbuilt with the usual techniques you are familiar with: the ever-trusty alchemy set. A couple of Lamblin radiators were created and the better one was used. Exhaust stubs were made stretching a styrene tube, painting it and then cutting the necessary sections. A wood prop was carved and a tail skid was made of tiny laminated aluminum soda can strips to replicate the “springs” on the original. Decals were home made. Racers have an enormous appeal. Their lines, their stance, are always evocative and inspiring. A very small model in 1/72, but with a lot of pizazz.
  21. A build from 4 years ago of the classic Airfix Brick: Spurred by the magnificent job being done by Martian Hale on his S.79, I felt prompted to provide another view of this strangely beautiful tri-motor, in its civil guise. I have built three conversions of the S.79, so let's start with this one which is, as was the original, just an out of the factory line machine, demilitarized, re-equipped and repainted. Here is the conversion of the venerable Airfix S.79 to the I-ROTR racer that participated in the Istres-Damascus-Paris competition. This "adaptation" (since it does not really qualify as conversion) is meant to be a much simpler build to see if more modelers can be encouraged to venture beyond the traditional constraining borders. My main reference is Paolo Miana's "Lost Archives - Pictorial history of SIAI - Chapter I - the Sorci Verdi". I may say that although the book covers magnificently the greatly modified Corsa version, not much material was found by Mr. Miana in the archives he researched about this specific "gobbo" machine which was merely a production line unit, gobba and all, hastily adapted to fill a gap. Therefore we can only see the exterior, and from there deduct a few things. This machine was pressured into the race as other Italian entries were not ready in time. The "conversion" then did not actually modify the plane as deeply as it was the case with the Corsa version (that I built from the Italeri kit), and consisted only of the removal of armament (or was it secretly kept to shut-down competitors?), deletion of the ventral position and addition of extra fuel tanks. Therefore this is an easy one that most modelers can accomplish with minimum effort and just a few modifications, since the hunch (gobba) of the fuselage does not have to be removed. Why am I using the Airfix kit instead of the immensely superior Italeri one? Well, my good friend and Evil Genius Sönke Schulz sent this model to me as a gift. Why, you may ask, again, yourself? well, since he is marzipanly malign (he lives in Lübeck), he carefully glues some parts that shouldn't be glued until a later stage. In this case the wing halves, that failed to trap the ailerons and the parts for the landing gear. He also glued the stabilizer halves, again failing to trap the elevators. On top of that he also lost many transparencies, but fortunately not the windshield. He therefore sent the kit and now seats down whilst petting Helga (don't ask) and laughs (you know the drill "mwehehehe, mwahahahahah..") whilst I struggle to deal with those issues. In a more serious note, I repeat that you can do this with the Italeri kit too, but if you happen to have an Arfix S.79, this may be your chance to play a little without the pressure of marring a good kit, and in the process learn a couple things and achieve a colorful model that will be attractive, in civil use, and unusual. Start by throwing away anything military in the kit. Then discard the "open" dorsal position that is an alternate part. Later on you will have to fill the hole underneath the fuselage by the absence of the ventral position, by the simple expedient of tracing a shape in plasticard, cut the part, glue it in place, apply putty and sand a bit. Easy enough. Finally here is one of the several Savoia Marchetti S.79 Corsa that participated in the Istres-Damascus-Paris race, I-ROTR, the only one with the hunchback, since it was mainly a production machine pressed into the race with some adaptations, whilst the other S.79 entries were purposely-modified machines. Decals and masks are home-made, and no little amount of time and effort has been spent on this one. If you have the old Airfix brick, you may like to have a go, if not, just get the Italeri kit, that even with its terrible starving appearance is far better than this oldie. My thanks to Soenke Schulz, who generously sent the kit and the Sorci Verdi (green mice) decals.
  22. A build from 4 years ago: The S.79 Corsa I-13 (radio call I-FILU) was flown by the team Fiori-Lucchini in the Istres-Damascus-Paris race to a second place. You may acquire Paolo Maina's book, "Lost Archives: A Pictorial History of SIAI - Chapter 1: Sorci Verdi", if you are interested in an accurate conversion and a juicy history and technical aspects, coupled with great illustrations and photos. -The Italeri kit is a pleasure to work with, the type of plastic used is among the best I ever dealt with, but the kit suffers of starvation, and the effect of the stringers and tail ribs is out of proportion. Putty and sanding will help, something you have to do anyway to hide the windows and door. Re-skinning is what I would do if I build another, much simpler and time effective. -Neither the Italian Wings nor the Pavla sets are totally accurate. They help, but unfortunately contain errors that you will have to correct (and redundancies in the case of the Pavla parts). - I chose the front/aft fuselage sub-assemblies approach to re-join the separated parts, because the more traditional approach of re-joining a whole left and right sides to be later glued together may have introduced minute differences in length that would have translated in a fore or aft mismatch, or even a banana fuselage. Aligning is critical, and much measuring and dry-fitting should be done to ensure a true fuselage. Having used the wing itself to "true" the fuselage front long "tails" (karmans) I was sure that I had a good chance of getting it right. The aft fuselage left and right halves lock themselves properly by kit's engineering default. -Whatever machine you are planning to model, study photos. Drawings, profiles, "artistic" renditions are all ok, but only an interpretation of reality. Photos instead depict a reality (although beware of wrong captions on the Internet, so abundant unfortunately). -Work carefully, patiently, joyfully. -And lastly...if you do not feel up to the challenge this time or you perceive it as too daunting...good news: you can still have your racer. There was another racer (S.79K) that participated in the Istres-Damascus-Paris raid that was a slightly modified production machine, with hunch and all (armament deleted). It requires minimum modifications, although of course still needs the proper livery. This machine was I-ROTR, flown by Rovis and Trimboli, race number I-12.
  23. A build from 9 years ago: Choroszy has been releasing a number of good kits on civil subjects, a trend deserving applause and worth continuing. Among those kits is the Church Midwing, a small plane with charming and graceful lines. It was composed by a Heath fuselage and different sets of wings, depending on the use and user (it was sold as a DIY plan or kit). Some ended up as racers, which is the case of Choroszy’s chosen subject. I was building this kit for a friend, so I was glad to be dealing with an excellent quality resin kit with very good detail and engineering. Resin is a media that doesn’t require magic powers or supernatural skill, just care, the use of adequate-for-the-task tools and appropriate adhesives (in this case cyanoacrylate and epoxy glues) . A mask must be used while sanding the parts to avoid inhaling the resin dust. The price of resin kits tends to be a tad high, just be sure that you are paying for something of reasonable quality, not for the fact that a few so-so kits were made and the costs had to be spread out on those few kits. The parts in Chroszy’s box came in three different bags, insulating the smaller from the bigger ones, therefore preventing any breakage. The parts in my kit were absolutely bubble/pinhole-free, presented no warping whatsoever and were complete casts (no short/incomplete parts); however, the engine had a blob of resin in the intake/exhaust side fused with the cylinders. Choroszy’s Church Midwing comes with only the race number (40) and tail regs as decals. The font used for the “40” seems to be incorrect. The scalloping that is the key of the aesthetics of the plane is conspicuously absent, which is a shame. The model is so tiny that masks are difficult to cut, so the builder may be forced to produce his/her own decals for the scalloping present in the leading and trailing edges of the upper wings and stab. I was not at all positively impressed by this omission. A museum subject at Oshkosh shows wing registrations, again absent on Choroszy’s rendition, but it still to be determined if the original plane wore them. Why this manufacturer choose to make a beautiful model kit of such lovely plane and leave the modeler alone with a problem, escapes my understanding. It was a black decal, after all, could have been printed with the other images, and any savvy computer-able designer would have done them without complications. The two-sheet instructions, of passable printing quality, have two 3-views, one showing the decoration scheme. Rigging is depicted there, but in 1/72 and not clear enough. And since we are at it, why many manufacturers insist on representing in their instructions very minute parts with very minute drawings? It doesn’t help much the modeler, does it?. Do you know guys, there is a thing called blow-up, where enlarged diagrams represent small or difficult areas so the modeler won’t have to pull his/her hair off trying to figure out what’s going on there at that minuscule ink blob. In this case for example the drawing showing the location of the engine components is confusing, fuzzy and small. And so you suffered modelers know, there are two rows of holes on the engine side, the intake goes above and the four exhaust pipes go bellow. So, again, the instructions are unremarkable, to say the least. The English used in the historical note is...puzzling; now, Choroszy has a number of English-speaking customers, wouldn’t it have been much wiser to just pass around a draft on the intended text in English and have it checked? Summarizing, you get excellent parts...and that is mostly it regarding satisfaction. And yet again, one could complain, but who else will be kitting these wonders? So I guess is welcome anyway as it is. I have seen online reviews of other Choroszy offers, and they had the needed decals, besides again praising the quality of the moldings. Before doing anything it is a good idea to carefully wash the parts, still attached to their casting blocks. Some painting may be done at this stage too, when it is still easy to get a hold of those tiny parts. Separating the parts from their casting webs was a painless operation, helped by careful planning on part of the manufacturer in regard of how the resin is cast. Wings and fuselage halves even have pins and corresponding locating holes, as in injected kits. The fuselage sides have not only interior structure detail, but excellent stringer exterior detail too; besides, tiny marks for the landing gear and wing strut locations and furthermore the exit holes for the tail surfaces’ control cables are already there. The headrest is part of one of the fuselage sides. What a level of detail. Nevertheless, care must be exercised in handling resin parts, especially the small/thin ones. In this kit, you get a number of teeny-tiny parts, and when you use your tweezers and magnifier be cautious; if these parts go into the Twing and Twang dimensions, with their translucent creamy color and small size the chances of getting them back are very slim. The control horns come in cast rows and have to be carefully separated and glued in position. Now for resin mostly superglue is used, so be sure of where do you want that part to go. You may substitute with photoetched ones, or cut from a soda can, or even thin styrene sheet. There were two leftover minute parts that weren’t in the instructions, and I have no idea what they are. Also with the kit came a piece of clear plastic, but this plane had no windshield, so again I have no idea what it was for. The resin tailskid is bound to break off at the least provocation, so it may be replaced with steel wire of adequate diameter. The engine is supposed to be trapped by the fuselage halves, but I shaved it a bit so it could be slid in at a later stage and therefore avoiding complicated masking. I decided to replace the resin wheels for photoetched spokes and solder tire to match photos. White primer was necessary to provide a better background for the yellow tone. A combination of decals, masking and hand touch-ups was used for the black decoration. Enter the Spider (oh, boy, here comes the rigging...) All control cables are mostly external -especially on the wing- and so is some bracing in the tail, undercarriage and wing struts; therefore there is a lot of monofilament to be threaded about. Compared to a complex biplane this is not big deal, but better muster some patience because of the small size of the model. One missing detail is the pulleys for the aileron cables, present on the upper side of the wing but absent underneath. Very good moldings, sober classy lines, and an (up to you to deal with) attractive decoration, Not bad at all.
  24. A build from 11 years ago, text as originally posted: First a few words regarding this article: The objective of this series was to spark awareness and interest regarding wonderful but lesser known designs, especially from the Pioneer and Golden Era periods of aviation. Their creativity, significance, and unparalleled charm are for me (and perhaps for many of you) a very important but often overlooked part of aviation history. I would also like to express my thanks to the ones that with their supportive, affectionate, informative and sometimes witty correspondence established a wonderful feedback that allowed me to improve my articles and models. Thanks also for the invaluable help received from fellow modelers, aviation enthusiasts and friends. Was Mr. Arnoux a minimalist? Were his creations early expressions of Minimal Art? The concept of Minimalism, applied now to creations in diverse media that characterize for being stripped to their essential components or elements, both structurally and expression-wise, surely can be applied to Arnoux’s aeronautic creations. His work in the field was precursory in many ways, and the rationale behind his research can perhaps be summarized as: -Which are the essential components of a plane?: a lifting surface, a power plant, and the space necessary for the pilot. I have previously dealt with one of Arnoux’s earlier creations, the Stablavion of 1912 And this is the fully evolved concept, of 1922. Built to compete in the Coupe Deutsch, a control problem and the subsequent rough landing prevented this incredible design to enter the event. It was powered by a Hispano-Suiza engine and the control surfaces at the wing’s trailing edge acted as what we would now call elevons. Vision for the pilot was masterfully impaired by having his head protruding on top of the trailing edge and behind the cumbersome Lamblin “lobster-pot” radiator. As usual with these odd-balls, references are not abundant. Fellow modeler and friend (the late) James Schubert helped a lot with this one. The plans that are around are good, but as usual the few available photos quickly showed some minor inaccuracies, mainly in the landing gear, lower tail and a few details in the radiator area. Once the model engineering was solved (at least in paper) it was out with the Mattel to vac the fuselage sides and just a bit of careful work on the Lamblin radiator and the wood prop. The remaining parts, including some interior and exterior details, were straightforward although the fuselage nose took some fiddling because of the number of details grouped there. No decals for this one, which alleviates the task, and just some airbrushing for the two-tone livery that was the product of educated guessing. Minute, cute, plumped-looking “tailless” racer to celebrate aviation history!
  25. A build from 9 years ago: At the start of the 20’s it was realized in Japan that racing planes could be of great interest, therefore the first plane in the country designed for that purpose was built by Kawanishi and designated K-2. It was to be powered by a six-inline Hall Scott rescued from another plane. By 1921 the result of the endeavor was a very pleasing, modern –for the time- little plane of refined lines that showed promise. It was made mainly of wood and had a low cantilever wing of constant chord. The little fin/rudder area apparently gave a bit of trouble under some circumstances and minor problems precluded the building of more machines. The only K-2 built didn’t enjoy much development, but the plane flew with wire-rigged wings and later received airfoiled wing struts. Wheels had their spokes exposed or covered, depending on the photos. At least two different props can be seen on photos. The little plane eventually reached an unofficial speed of about 250 kph, not bad for the about 220 hp of the engine and for 1921. The boxy radiator, right on the face of the pilot, puts a sort of funny note to the design. Minute in 1/72 but with a definite racy appearance, the sort of art deco lines of the K-2 seem to make by themselves a statement about speed.
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