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Found 38 results

  1. A vac Gee-Bee (the one posted before was an injected Amodel one) from 10 years ago, 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.
  2. 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:
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:
  7. 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!).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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) (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:
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
  16. Finally completed, here is the iconic racer in its green, incredible hulk aspect. Again congratulations to KP (Kovozávody Prostějov) for their increasing line of very appealing civil subjects, in this case a classic that deserved re-edition. As you can see, the kit can be turned into a nice replica, if with some (normal modeling) work. Without wanting to get into a lengthy exchange regarding this, I deem it a giant step upwards and forwards from the two very old Airfix and Novo-Frog ones. The price is convenient, and I believe you get a fair quality/price ratio. Still, I believe the SBS Comet to be the very best around, if in resin and with a larger tag price. It becomes a matter of personal choice. Many of you don't like to deal with resin or like to keep the modeling budget in check, so this is a good option. As usual you may visit the WIP thread here at BM: I am bit confused by threads that talk about a Micro-Mir DH88, and the shown digital renders exhibiting a highly detailed model. Not sure if this is going to be in production soon, or it's some kind of echo or variation of the KP kit due to the (for me) ever-tangling, mysterious, and shifting hobby company relations in Eastern Europe (whose intricacies and history I completely ignore).
  17. A build from 7 years ago: The issue #102 (April 2013) of Skyways has a long article on the Mystery Ship. “Scratchbilt” brand kits could be qualified as the most optimistic kits of all times (no kidding, and you will see why). Their #3 Travel-Air Mystery Ship is portrayed in one of the accompanying photos. The contents are as follows: three printed sheets with a 3 view, patterns, several drawings and depiction of the construction. Also there was a decal sheet by Microscale, two plastic rods and two vacuformed canopies. In this particular case the review should start: “You are on your own” (you were anyway, don’t worry) since the method given to build the model (keel, many half bulkheads, stringers, strip covering, puttying and sanding) could have worked on a larger scale or for a galleon, but it is hopeless in 1/72. The instructions also advise you to ruin other kits by cannibalizing spats and cowls that are an ill-fit anyway. The depicted method for building the stab and wing was used by the Spanish Inquisition. A truly remarkable kit, this “Scratchbilt”. Their logic and business model are equivalent to giving someone a box of rivets, the directions to an iron ore mine, a sketch and a piece of Camembert cheese and tell them to build the Eiffel Tower. I have to concede that they have a sense of humor, though, and that their brand name, “Scratchbilt”, does not hide their purpose. That being said, you still have those decals. Or do you? When David The Irrefutably Unbound from Glen Ellyn sent me some material related to the Mystery Ship, I exhumed the “kit” from the dungeons where it was kept under lock inside a coffer marked “evil”. As you can see in the photos I followed my own path here using wood for the fuselage and spats’ vacuforming plugs, the traditional one-two styrene punch for the rest, and white metal engine, prop and wheels from Aeroclub. The engine had to be modified to fit the plane’s one, which had a particular front case. The short wing struts and landing gear struts were made from brass “Strutz” stock, for which I am indebted to Andrew of England, The Slightly Iridescent. An interior was scratched as per photos, some was structural and some pour la galerie. The first Microscale decal I used was for the instrument panel and it was the source of momentary panic as I had to wait about twenty minutes for the decal to come loose from the backing sheet. Once all the main components were ready, the puttying/sanding/priming/repeat cycle ensued. The painting stage -which involved a good share of masking- required attention. At this point I tried to use the rest of the decals, but the first ones shattered in myriads of little pieces. The ones that remained in the backing sheet were treated with Testors decal bonder, but later on a few more shattered anyway as they were applied. The few remaining ones were given a few coats of Future, but again to no avail. Now, this is not Microscale’s fault, the decal must have been between 20 and 30 years old, and not properly stored. I printed the decals that failed and had a great time cutting the regs from white decal stock. The transparency was cut in three parts, the frames depicted with metal-painted decal strips, and arranged in its open position. The underwing oil coolers were made of thin aluminum sheet, engraved, cut and glued. The two Venturi probes were attached after the photos were taken (the photos of course made me realize that they were still unattached). Regarding real kits, I am aware of the 1/72 Dekno resin model of the Mystery Ship. Many, many pages have been written about the Travel Air Mystery Ship but I can’t tell you anything because of its inherent mystery. No ostriches or people from outer space were harmed during the construction of this model. We would like to extend our thanks to the sponsor, The Intergalactic Soenkish Empire.
  18. A second Travel Air racer, also from 5 years ago: There were five Travel Air Mystery Ships built. Many went through several paint scheme iterations and a few minor aspect modifications, giving us modelers a pretty wide field of options regarding our personal choices. I won’t abound here in their story which can be easily found in good publications, the Net, the Akasha Chronicles and your crystal ball. As I said before, Skyways # 102 April 2013 has an article on the Mystery Ship that will give you a good idea. I have built as you know a model of Hawks’ RN1313 posted here, and I went for another. Since I had the wood masters for the spats and fuselage from the first model the work was not as hard. Having also already figured out the engineering, things went relatively easy. The possibility of a new livery was a breath of fresh air (I usuallydon't like to make the same model twice) and some research and additional work was done to represent it correctly. Here is as usual the photographic record.
  19. A second Stagg conversion, from 5 years ago This second model I am presenting to you now, of the early Staggerwing machines produced by Beechcraft , denominated A17SF, was conceived to participate in the MacRobertson race as NR / NC12569. Several circumstances did not permit that to happen, and the plane was eventually sold to the Bureau of Air Commerce as NS68. But first, the differences with the model I previously made and posted –the first 17R, NC499N, that you can see here: and this version, the A17SF, whose characteristics are: -a much bigger cowl to house the Wright Cyclone -absence of ventilation gills on the fuselage front -the presence of landing flaps underneath the upper wing * * this in turn demanded a cut on the “tail” of the wing strut upper fairings. DO NOT follow Wylam plans regarding this –and other- details, they help, but get stuff wrong all the time; look at photos instead (or besides) -a non-divided rudder –a divided one was used as an airbrake in the former model- that also has a small compensator protruding ahead from the hinge line at the top -steerable tailwheel -different nav lights located on the lower wings (as in the series models) -some sort of intake tube on left wing root –but only on NS68, not on the racer- -two Venturis underneath the belly –only on racer- -carb intake on top of cowl -thin struts instead of wire rigging on tail feathers -presence of antenna wire -on NS68- -different Pitot tube -different landing wires rigging -elevators had also small compensators protruding from the hinge line -antenna loop on the cabin roof Now, to this particular model of the Stag, A17FS. This particular version had the most powerful engine and the stumpiest look of them all. The schemes differ slightly too between the two incarnations of A17FS: -of course different registrations -scalloped-painted pants in the racer -different propellers -the wing struts were red on NS68 and silver on NR/NC12569 -the regs on the tail are red on NS68 and silver on NC12569 (besides of course the obvious facts that the regs themselves were different) I will repeat here the warnings I posted on the other conversion: The two things that gave me a lot of headaches and produced a lot of frustration were the two-part windshield and the struts. The struts as molded have tiny locating protrusions which you are at risk to confuse with the leftovers of the gates, a couple millimeters apart. If you have managed to spot that with a “phew!”, you are not off the hook. The curve of the upper part of the strut will not match that of the upper wing which it supports, nor will the little pip align with the faint hole in the said wing.
  20. Another model from about a year ago, more eye candy for the select audience of British subjects Here comes the Hurricane (Or, as friend Patrice Roman said, a "Pacific Hurricane" A very nice, inexpensive, well-detailed Academy kit that assembles quite well, with decals that are already in the market, so no need to reinvent the wheel this time. An exciting departure one may say from the dull versions seen already to the point of indigestion. For you heretics of the 1/48th sect, there is a Hasegawa kit -that has a few mistakes, though, check against photos. Beware that this racer went through many changes, look at photos for details, like different exhausts, antenna, decoration, race number, mirror or not on the canopy, and so forth. I used the wonderful Lifelike Decals Hurricane Pt.1 set, but taking only what I needed to create the first appearance of the plane, without race numbers, with only one "the last of the many" legends on one side, and a slightly different position -according to photos- of the wing registrations. I added a rear-view mirror and a metal ring on the carb intake, again following photos. A truly enjoyable kit, a very nice and well-behaved set of decals, a superb-looking civilized subject: modeling paradise. What do you do to relax? I read J. L. Borges, listen to baroque and contemporary music, watch British TV shows (Masterpiece Mysteries, among many), and Fellini's DVDs...and I build models. And to relax of building models? I build more models. There is a surprising quantity of after-market sets for this kit that you can use to spice-up your build, like spinners, props, wheels, photo-etched galore, etc. I will ignore them all, since I want to keep things simple this time. Did you know that this very plane was entered by Princess Margaret for racing purposes? Or that it was the last Hurricane ever built? Or that the English term "Hurricane" derives from Spanish "Huracán", that in turn derives from Caribbean native language "Hura-Kan", which means "Heart of Heaven", and was also the name of the god of storms? Now you do.
  21. A conversion from about 5 years ago involving the Monogram F4B-4 kit and a lot of work. Mr. Hughes received a civil 2 seat Boeing 100 (NC247K) from the factory at the time nobody else -but him, of course- could. He promptly started to toy with it to convert it into a racer. In charge were Lockheed engineers and designers that largely modified the plane to Hughes’ fancy. With it, after some further mods, Howard won a closed-circuit race, once more outracing the fastest planes of the day, including needless to say the ones of the military. In its possession the plane went through a couple of major modifications, as can be seen in photos. Later on the plane was sold and had a long line of owners, most renowned Bob McManus, Art Goebel, Ben Huntley, Ben Bradley and possibly others, as X/NR/NX 247K. Colors, saved Art Goebel’s machine (brilliant green, orange, metal), are anybody’s speculation. Paul Matt, an unavoidable but not completely trustworthy source says it was blue (with yellow flying surfaces for the first Hughes’ mod). Matt bases his assumption in the belief that Hughes Tool Co. logo was blue, but the fact is that it was red and yellow at the time. Decades later -around Hughes passing- it was changed to blue. I won’t abound on the kit’s comments -other than saying that it was superb for its time (and actually this time too) and had extremely sound locating devices. Extensive chopping, scratching, adaptation, supplantation and mystification are in order, not for the faint of heart. But it is also fun and you learn a lot. Well worth the price (no, not the price of the kit, the price of daring). This kit was kindly handed over by Tin Melson, a modeling arch-villain that hides behind the identity of a very nice Tuesdays' Irregular Boingland Club member. To him my thanks. The Hughes plane as said went through a few incarnations, here I intend to model the first one, that still had the original vertical tail. Again, as said before, as it went from owner to owner, the aspect changed quite a bit. Among the things you will need to modify on this kit are: New, larger cowl; new vertical tail; adding pants; replace the wheels; cut-out a notch on the wing; re-do the ailerons -as they were very different than those in the kit-; heavily modify the fuselage; modify the cabane; modify the landing gear legs; make a new windshield; etc. That is, lots of entertainment!. That being said, if you want to have a more relaxed approach, there were many civil-registered F4B-4s that do not need any modification other than a few decals and some paint. There is a great deal of pondering regarding the colors of this racer, and no opinion has been so far verified with hard data, so here is my own theory: a) Boeing delivery colors of the time where green and orange (with light grey when applied) b) Hughes Tool Co company logo of the time was not blue, as Paul Matt assumed for his determination of the racer's colors, but Red/Yellow instead, as seen in contemporary company material. Around Hughes death, this was changed to blue (decades after the Boeing 100 was painted). c) Hughes jacket as seen in the B and W photos in front of the machine was probably dark blue with white pants as per common use of those garments. It is clear that the color of the fuselage is a much lighter hue and not therefore "dark blue" as again stated by Matt. d) One of the later incarnations of the machine (Art Goebel's "Skywriter") was undoubtedly green and orange as color photos prove. Did Art choose those colors, or where they just the colors he inherited with the plane? The B & W photos of that plane show a gray gradation very much alike the ones taken during Hughes ownership. e) Hughes’ Boeing 100 as we know was deeply altered two times, once by Douglas and then by Lockheed. The reg was X247K. That reg changed later on variously to NC, NR and N. f) Two shades are easily perceived in the photos: a darker hue for the fuselage and a lighter one for the tail feathers and wings. The engine shield in all photos appears to be an even darker shade (red? black?) g) The regs on the first Hughes mod on the tail are probably black -again as per photos-; no regs are unfortunately clearly seen on the wings. I'd like to posit to you (since the "blue" -Paul Matt’s choice- is hereby called into question) that the plane was indeed painted in a variation of the Green and Yellow colors, used at the beginning AND much later during the time when color photos of the plane were taken, with black regs. Here is Howard Hughes Boeing 100 racer -in its first incarnation- completed. Home-made decals:
  22. A triplane racer built 2 years ago. Paraphrasing the enigma that the sphinx presented to Oedipus: "What is it that roars, and first flies in one wing, then in two wings and then in three wings?" Can you give an answer before I throw you into the deep chasms of modeling ignorance? It is the Curtiss Cox / Texas Wildcat / Cactus Kitten racing plane(s). All planes have a story behind, many times a very interesting one (although perhaps that's valid for any object in the world, even the simplest, or perhaps everything in the universe) and the Cactus Kitten is no exception. The story begins with the Curtiss Cox racer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtiss_Cox_Racer As you can see, the concept started with a modern design, and after much research and trials, ended up retrograding to a much older one, outmoded and passé concept. And they call that "progress". I wonder to which other aspects of life this may apply... But I digress. Things started when I found the type and some data in the book of Michael Gough on the Pulitzer races. The prop is hand-carved wood, the metal wheels form a dwindling Aeroclub items' stock, the fuselage was vacuum-formed on a hand-carved basswood master, the rest is Good Ole' Styrene. The radiator "books" were fun to engineer and build, and the rumors of me going to modeling rehab are spurious and unfounded. Since I am portraying the racer as it won second place in the 1921 Pulitzer, before it was ultimately ceded to the Navy, there are no markings to deal with. When I first posted this model somewhere else it generated a lot of feedback, mainly about the dubious aerodynamics of this racer (triplane, huge "book" radiators). And I agree, BUT: it not only came second, as said in the post, in the 1921 Pulitzer race, it was the FASTEST plane of the race in a straight line (loosing speed at the pylons due to very cautious piloting by Coombs, who may have doubts about the structural integrity or manageability of the plane). So there This plane was completely covered in plywood, hence the absence this time of ribs and frames showing through the surfaces. The race number was 3 (thanks Mike Gough!) and I have seen it in only one low quality photo on the Net. All other images that I was able to look at had either no number or marks, or the navy marks on the tail. The original plane had a broad and massive propeller, and quite robust wing struts. This is a small model in 1/72nd scale, and things get complicated by the triplane configuration and passing-through diagonal struts, not to mention that I had to scratch every single part but the wheels. This is most definitely one of those "Phew!" models, confirmed by the big sigh of relief you proffer as you add the last part. Cute, strange-looking, with racy lines and awkward "book" radiators, this Cactus Kitten surely is a prickly (sorry, couldn't help it) build, but it compensates that with the happiness it provides when you hear it purr on the shelf.
  23. A model from 6 years ago. The Bellanca 28/92 is indeed an example of how unusual a particular product of a fairly traditional designer family can be. If you consider the other, more known Bellanca types, you would have never guessed this plane descends from the same ADN strand. The only other Bellanca type that trumps the 28/92 in rarity is the very peculiar Bellanca TES Tandem, which I really hope I’ll be able to build one day too. The 28/92 has many similarities with the preceding, more conventional 28/90 racer design. This glamorous trimotor started life as the result of a request for a long-distance flight plane. It was supposed to be flown by Alex Papana, who in 1937 clumsily managed to break it, have a tantrum, and leave the plane unpaid. The plane was entered in the 1938 Bendix piloted by Frank Cordova, but had to abandon. It then placed second in the 1939 Bendix at the hands of Art Bussy. The plane eventually found an obscure end being shipped to Latin America, where it was lost, after being bought by a military representative. What a sad end for such beautiful machine. I have seen models of this plane that have the colored areas on the nose and nacelles painted in red, black, blue and other colors. That seems not to be the case. So far I have found written evidence of it being aluminum overall with the mentioned colored areas in matt green. I would have really liked red or blue instead. The flowing lines and the three engines make this plane very appealing, with a stance similar to those racers flown by the heroes of the comics.
  24. A model from 4 years ago: I really enjoy and applaud every time a manufacturer ventures beyond the usual frontiers and presents something refreshing. In this case, Special Hobby offering started nevertheless as a war bird, as you can tell for the machine-gun holes and other clues. These exact molds were first released as such. But then, in a welcome turn of inspiration, Special Hobby went for the racers to which many of this military machines were converted after the war. The decal sheet offers no less than four choices! The complete kit package is constituted by multiple resin parts nicely and cleanly cast, a small photoetched fret, a piece of printed film for the instrument panel, extensive decals as said before, two (!) vacuformed canopies and several pages of instructions. All of the items are neatly bagged and therefore protected, only to put them in one of those self-squashing, end-opening boxes. The model is not new now (2014) but it is still available for a reasonable price. The price is reasonable, sure, because the moldings show the effects of a lesser molding technology, with no locating pins, thick gates and prominent seam lines. Very little flash is present, but to get out some of the parts is not easy, and I broke two -that I promptly repaired- even when I was extra careful and, err, have been doing this for a little while. The surface detail is very good, and dry trials showed a not too precise fit, although not bad either. The masters for these parts were superb, but the technology for the fabrication of the kit traded low cost for some loss of quality. So be it. This subject is a tad outside my usual choices' envelope and is the one portrayed in the box art, but bear in mind that the contemporary machine you see on the Net is not exactly like the original machine that participated in the races in the late 40's. You get parts for both, as well as others to cater for some little differences between the other subjects in the decal sheet. Beware that in spite the abundant decals some areas still have to be painted, in this case white at the front of the nose and the vertical stabilizer tip. Always study your photos (NOT drawings) and compare, then take notes and proceed. The kit got an incorrect 9-cyl row engine, but the kit I am building has a 7-cyl row that came with later -corrected- releases, although it still has three magnetos instead of the seven needed. And so it began: As soon as I compared the "corrected" resin engine with the real thing I noticed that if it was true that the cylinder count was now correct, the cylinders themselves were not; being the shape, pushrods, configuration, all not accurate. So I ordered and Engine & Things P&W R-4360 aftermarket engine and to hell with the kit's one. Then I turned my attention to the resin bits. There are three things I don't like about resin parts: 1) When they are bad (NOT this case) 2) When they do not have a good fit (more on this) 3) When they are ridden with flash, pinholes, bubbles, etc ( again, NOT this case) 4) When the pouring blocks are not intelligently or practically connected to the parts themselves (more on that) 5) That they are made of resin (more on that too) Sorry, did I say I didn't like three things about resin parts? I guess they were more. The resin parts as said are good, well detailed, and mine had no blemishes whatsoever. While most came out obediently from their pouring blocks, the wheel wells were cast in a way that made very difficult to remove the excess resin, and this is critical because these parts are trapped between the wing halves, and of course, like every other resin cockpit and wheel well in the universe, they do not fit, being too thick (point 2). But if you sand too much, you will come through the wheel well roof , ruining the part, so WHY was the pouring block located there (point 4)? Anyway, you will have to sand too the wing parts to allow for the part to fit. As you sand the resin parts you produce an interesting amount of harmful resin dust, a health hazard. So the more you have to sand away those pouring blocks and the parts for them to fit the more crap you generate. I use a mask and do it partially under running water, but the stuff surely gets somewhere else too (point 5). The resin exhaust stubs are correct for the original racer (the two top on the sides being larger and the two lower ones shorter). The contemporary rebuilt plane has all four side stubs of the same length. The kit manufacturer omitted the ones that run underneath the fuselage, another three pairs of them, that you will have to scratch and add. The prop is too small for this variant,. Another glitch that keeps you in "step 0" fixing things and thus unable to proceed with the building itself. It is good that the overall quality of this kit is so high, and that's a strong motivation to persist. All these minor issues are not something terrible, and are relatively easily taken care off. But I have one complaint: the fuselage is split in two halves as usual vertically, but all the way up to the front; no separate cowl, no separate lip. This for me is a mistake, because you trap the engine as you join the fuselage, therefore corrections on the joints inside the cowl's lip are very difficult. A separate front lip was all that was required, and as it is, is reminiscent of bad and old kits. I was tempted to cut the cowl off and assemble it separately, or at least cut the lips off and join them apart, but decided against it in order not to mount even more corrections and tidying ups. The model shows the beautiful lines of the original now at the service of a more peaceful purpose. I liked this one, especially for the well-cast resins, the crisp and sturdy vac canopies (2!) and the superb level of surface detail; although it is not -as any other kit- without its issues. The decals cover many subjects and the graphics and register are superb, but they are really fragile and shatter easily, and there are a few wrong calls in the numbers. The decals adapt to the surface detail superbly, but are a pain in the neck to handle. There are, as you know, other good-looking racing colors and designs for this kit. As I commented, there are some differences between the restored machines and the originals, so study your references. Although restorations and rebuilds of planes are commendable and deserve high praise, as a norm I never trust them as a source for information regarding the original machines, since invariably something is off. And it is in this case as usual. You could model, of course, the contemporary machine and be done with the issue, but I am a nostalgic and enjoy digging in the past to rescue as much as possible of the golden glory and charm of the vintage subjects. As you may know, besides this Special Hobby kit, there is an Aviation Usk / Xotic-72 kit of the same plane, but I can't comment on it since I have never seen one. This model requires care and attention, and for sure some skill, but the reward for your no little efforts is a stunning racer with lots of pizzazz.
  25. A tardy entry that may come to naught: In keeping with my current racer fetish, I've ordered one of these Hannants aren't showing any in stock yet but hopefully it should make a timely arrival and bring a bit of civilian glamour to this collection of trigger happy warbirds Cheers Anil
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