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Found 39 results

  1. Who says Dragons don't do well in water? Well, The Hobbit says it. But -whatever destiny befell to Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities- the ancient Chinese, according to Jorge Luis Borges' "The Book of Imaginary Beings", had sky dragons and water dragons, and even amphibian dragons. The Dragon is among the planes that captivate me so much that I have built them more than once. Four D.H.88 Comet racers and three D.H.89 Dragon Rapides, all of which are here somewhere. These are the more recently converted Rapides: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235039785-de-havilland-dh89a-taasa-argentina/ https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235039442-de-havilland-dh89-tainui-macrobertson-racer/ This time -in an effort to further extricate modeling potential from the kit- it'll be a seaplane. The conversion of the old and venerable Heller kit into a floatplane involves of course some changes: 1) Getting or fabricating the floats, either EDO or Fairchild, depending on what subject is being modeled. But there are no accurate options for those in the market, so you have to adapt/modify what there is available. 2) Modification of the bottom of the engine nacelles, fairing the location of the landing gear according to photos. 3) Reshaping the vertical stabilizer extending the root of the leading edge as per photos. 4) Researching and fabricating all the connecting float struts. The first Rapide here then will be CX-ABI, an Expreso del Plata machine, that operated in 1938 plying the Río de la Plata waters, uniting Uruguay and Argentina (my country of birth), shuttling back and forth from Colonia to Buenos Aires. I was fortunate enough to find some photos and a description of the colors. I had in my stash already two other Rapide kits, one being the Tasman limited edition upgraded kit. To that box I further added all I could find: an Arctic Decals masks and "metal" frames set, a very nice P.E. Kuivalainen set, and some other bits, just in case. The subject for the second seaplane on Fairchild floats is still undecided, although I already have a folder with candidates. The second kit is an old release, but I added a set of vacuum-formed floats from the Execuform kit of the Fairchild Super 71, which I built long ago on skis (saving the floats), these are the correct ones to cover other versions of the Aquatic Rapide.
  2. Racers in general are well-liked by the modeling and aviation community and Schneider participants constitute a chapter of special interest for many. I am very glad that some manufacturers (KP, Karaya, Avis, SBS, among others) started to pay attention to this not really well covered area of the hobby, releasing very interesting types with greater level of detail and better accuracy than earlier industry attempts of times past. Karaya must be thanked for bringing these charming and significant types to light. Some of you may know that I recently built the manufacturer's Savoia S.65, a very nice kit, but unfortunately riddled with inaccuracies and impaired by some questionable engineering. This offer by Karaya is much, much better, and certainly deserves praise, if requiring some little revisions and the addition of missing decals. To be fair, not much is around regarding this specific machine, so sources are limited. Still, some little inaccuracies, and photos showing additional marks were easily found on the Net after a brief search. I enjoyed building this kit, and the couple of challenges it presented were overcome with just a bit of effort and the experience of many years, something we older modelers are blessed with (together with failing eyesight and shakier hands). The build of this kit erased the bad taste left by the previous S.65 (even if the results after much time and energy spent were worth it) and I would gladly build another Karaya kit - but doing some research on the type to complement the build. Karaya offers a nice array of civil types and many racers among them, some are superbly attractive. You can tell that the kit displays a high degree of finesse in details and surfaces, care has been poured into the making of the masters, yet I still have my nitpickings with certain aspects of the engineering, an area where Karaya could certainly improve and that has been pointed out in builds by other modelers of their Schneider types. My deepest thanks to Arctic Decals from whom I commissioned and acquired the corrective set. For some additional notes and a step-by-step account of the building process, please check here:
  3. Well, after the not very nice experience with the noticeably inaccurate and problem-riddled Savoia S.65 by the same manufacturer, and because fellow modelers stated that their other kits were good, I decided to purchase another Karaya kit and give it a go. Today it arrived. All in all, this seems indeed a much better kit than the S.65, but we are still in the early stages of the build. These are the things that I like very much: -Subject, very appealing. -Price, fair. -Well detailed kit, convincing surface details, a number of detail parts that enhance the build. -Reasonable casting pouring blocks, making the parts not really difficult to remove and clean (one exception to be discussed later). -Reasonable engineering. -An exquisitely detailed engine. -The cockpit area has fine side wall detail (besides the natural components, included too) -Parts in general well cast (with exceptions, again to be discussed later). -A commendable non self-flattening box, if not a paradigm of rigidity either. -Thin trailing edges and flying surfaces, well represented, with nice detail, and in general highly commendable. -So far (we'll see as we go) an appearance of fidelity (not like the Savoia S.65, the misses of which could be spotted from miles away). -The wings have the panel separations, but are in one piece, making it very easy to produce the dihedral with little effort by just pushing carefully the outer panels up. That is a clever solution that deserves praise. -The location of struts, control cables, etc. is well marked and already prepared for insertion. -The struts are stamped on their pouring blocks with Roman numerals, making IDing them easier
  4. As we all know, there is a dark side to model-making. I am talking about the modeling horror stories that adult modelers tell their kids or small relatives in those dark and stormy nights in front of the fireplace, about kits that are evil, produced by manufacturers in damp and cold dungeons or scary-looking towers with bats whirling around. We know the dreaded names, and I would add just one: Mach 2. I am still traumatized by the vision of the pair of their kits that I had the misfortune to look at close by. I can't describe the moment but as a crime scene, with the opened boxes and the parts lying around, like misshapen model guts surrounded by flash. But, in spite of that somewhere else in BM I promised to myself no more Merlin or old Dujin kits, it seems that Mordor is attempting to cast a shadow on my modeling again, in the form of what is reputedly one of Mach 2's better kits, the Republic Seabee. I saw it on a dusty pile in a hobby store in the Palm Springs desert; apparently harmless, lying still, quiet. I cautiously approached, which was a mistake. It bit me and will not let go. I had to carry it home. Mind you, I even had to pay for it! Yes, I wasn't bribed or paid a big sum to take it -as it should be with this kind of kits-, I paid! Anyway. Gathering all the courage I had laying around -in the form of a pithy liquid made in Isla contained in a bottle-, I muttered the Expecto Patronum spell and opened the box. To my surprise, no dark cloud of evil came forth. Just a couple of sprues, that, if not obviously cursed or badly mutated, still had some flash, no locating devices, and what looked like not perfectly molded parts. But nothing, so far, that screamed hasty retreat, or calling for the help of @Martian Hale. Accompanying the sprues was a dubious transparency, like the fogged eye of a monster, thick, milky, hissing. A one-side instruction sheet (that to my surprise was not scrawled on parchment) containing some (never better said) guidance and a small decal sheet. I believe the caldron and iron tongs have to be purchased separately. In any case, who else would make a Seabee, you may rhetorically ask yourself. Well, there is a Glencoe 1/48 (excuse my language) kit of it, and what seems even more ancient versions of it. I have spotted what looks like a resin CMR kit box (72-183 and CMR1083), but no more info on that anywhere I looked. So I guess we should thank Mach 2? We will see. The plastic has fair engraved panel lines and some detail, the flying surfaces have nice corrugations, but the plastic is a bit grainy. Some of the relief is overstated (especially the stiffeners on the hull). The detail is what you would expect from a kit of this nature. An interior is provided with cockpit pan and bulkhead, seats, a separate instrument panel, console, control wheel and a little stick. The only part that so far calls for an exorcist is the propeller, that deserves its own paragraph. It's poorly defined, which is something you expect, but both blades are pitching more or less toward the same side, one more than the other. To be clear: if you look at a prop from blade tip to blade tip, you should see an X. Here you see (exaggerating) just /. Of course the blades can be cut off and re-positioned, no big deal...but: The pitch has to be reversed, as it is wrong as molded on the prop. Looking from behind, the prop should turn clockwise (actually anti-clockwise, thanks Wlad for the correction). I guess the prop is better replaced. So far no terrible things, just a very poor transparency (vacuum-form a replacement may be?) and a discardable prop.
  5. The exceptional lines of the Savoia S.65 are a sheer delight, and although it never delivered what it promised, and did not actually compete in the Schneider Cup, the mere act of contemplating it is a source of aviation bliss. Karaya is a firmly established model manufacturer with a wide catalog that includes, to my delight, many Schneider planes. Karaya's reputation is good, but apparently my first encounter with their products was unfortunate, as I purchased a sadly inaccurate S.65. To start to make this flawed kit look like the real thing, the following was done: -Correct the spurious cut out on the fuselage top and sides, restoring the correct, continuous shape -Install the side windows, deleting the spurious extra radiators (located above the correct fuselage radiators) -Correct the shape of the elevator horn balances -Add the headrest -Correct the wrong position of the insertion of the float struts into the fuselage bottom -Substitute the ridiculous resin butt-joined booms for metal inserted ones -Correct the mistakes on the rigging -Revise position of "V" struts at the end of the floats, moving them back as per photos -Add boom fairings that continue on top and bottom of the elevator I am sure there were others, but that should be entertainment enough. A seemingly nice kit, certainly nicely molded and with good detail, completely let down by its many very visible inaccuracies. And not just minutia: blatant mistakes made absolutely obvious just by looking at photos of the original plane. The list is too long, but you may like to have a look at my many encounters during the build with frustrating errors, and to add insult to injury an engineering that left a lot to be desired, and not particularly accurate decals: Still, propelled by the sheer beauty of the type, some modifications were made, parts replaced with better ones, engineering revised, and many details corrected to obtain a model that if still not totally accurate, at least resembles much closely the original. This is a missed opportunity: such fantastic plane, and a kit that came too short, not sure why, as the general quality of the parts (accuracy and engineering apart) is good. The modifications to obtain a more credible model are too involving, and I wouldn't have done it if I knew from the start the challenges, but I started blinded by the good reputation of the manufacturer (whose other kits reputedly are accurate and nice to build). So I went on, feeling bad about trashing a kit of such beautiful plane that besides cost a pretty penny. So here are the results of much huffing and puffing, and having to continually look at references in order no to fall into accuracy traps. A paradigm of Italian design that produced a very stylized racer, and, if nothing else, a wonderful "oggetto d'arte".
  6. Well, I just got this one from Santa, and since I am away from the building board and surrounded by unruly British inlaws, I thought I should take my mind off things and psychologically shorten the time to get back home by doing these opening posts for this build. There is a long cue of WiPs that I started, and am waiting for the decals to complete a few others, so this will not be Speedy Gonzalez style at any rate, just an opening gambit. I got no magnifier nor tools with me at the moment, but I do have with me my portable hard drive with some references and the laptop. This is not a new kit on the market, so I won't be doing a full review, just stating some impressions and making some comments. Firsts impressions are cautiously optimistic. This is my first Karaya kit, a brand I stayed away so far due to their prices, however justified they may be because of to the medium and the quality. The molding looks good, no pinholes, bubbles or blobs, parts being crisp and with reasonable pouring blocks that seem easy to detach and clean. You get a dolly and trestles, a succinct interior -with some wall detail also- (yet not much will be visible anyway) and a relatively small part count. The windshield is cast as a sort of cage, not as a clear part. You may clean it (there is a bit of thin flash in many parts), paint it, and fill the voids with window-maker (clear glue), or just replace it with folded thin clear sheet. The decals seem well printed and sharp. The float halves (total bananas in my sample) have locating devices, but show no location marks for the struts that I can see, which shall make things interesting. The molding as said is quite good, yet not in the same league of -for example- SBS's offerings. I got what it looks like a short pour on one of the trolley wheels, nothing terrible tough. I see so far three noticeable issues: 1) The radiators on the wing have an exaggerated thickness, they would benefit from some toning down. 2) The kit has depicted an area immediately above the fuselage oil coolers as extra radiator surfaces (or something like that), but these areas (both sides) were actually windows, included to help the very restricted visibility the pilot had. 3) There is an abrupt transition (more like a cut-off section) of the fairings of the cylinder banks (fore and aft) mid-fuselage (cockpit area), which I don't think is correct. The windows -described above- located in panels seem in photos to make a less abrupt transition between the said volumes. .
  7. It seems that I have forgotten to post this one, from more than 2 years ago, so here it goes: (the WiP is here: Here is this sleek and long neglected by the industry Italian speed record breaker that still holds its title for the category many decades later: The model was photographed without beaching trolley, since there is none available at this point. When the aftermarket industry comes up with one, I'll re-photograph the model. For other seaplanes I built I made the trolleys, but I am sure someone will come up with one sooner rather than later: Beware that the box represents the plane without the aft fuselage belly surface radiator, but it is engraved on the kit. The plane flew with and without it, depending on the ambient temperature (season). What I did like about this kit: -The very appealing subject, until now ill-represented by the industry. -The sturdy box. -Not a single part arrived broken, unlike other resin kits, thanks to the good thinking on part of SBS adding features on the casting blocks to protect the parts and bagging them properly. -The casting is flawless, spectacular. -The detail is truly amazing. -The engineering is good...mostly. -The decals are good and gave no problems. -The instructions are good, but with a couple minor tiny glitches -The aftermarket P.E. steel set* has the right rigidity; you may like to enlarge those locating holes just a bit on the model, as primer and paint build up. What could be improved: -The potentially problematic super-fine texture of the wing radiators, that has to be dealt with using the right approach, otherwise problems may ensue. -The lack of a guide to get the floats parallel and at the correct distance of one another. This could have been obtained either with an aftermarket beaching trolley or a very simple four-part resin jig, or even a pattern for the modeler to make his own jig, or just a 1/72 scale top view. SBS missed the ball here. -The not so good way the back legs attach to the fuselage (they attach very well to the floats, though) -*It would have cost nothing to include one spare P.E. rigging wire length. If you lose one, or mess-up one, you are in trouble. I understand that SBS released another version of this plane (there were three of them built, two were destroyed) and some were modified during their lives). Beware that the subject represented here is not in the same finish of the one currently at the Vigna Di Valle museum in Italy -with black exhausts, a long metal plate on the sides and intake duct in black-, but the plane at a different stage of its life.
  8. Having throughly enjoyed the recent "Flying Boats & Floatplanes GB" I though I would book a page in peoples diary to say, let's do it again. So if you enjoyed the last one even half as much i I did, or you missed the chance last time, let's start gathering names ready for the next chance to get this one in for 2019. I will update this page as hopefully people add their names to the list. Also let everyone know what you fancy building. If we learnt anything last time, there's no shortage of choice ! Participants 1. @JOCKNEY 2. @nimrod54 3. @John D.C. Masters 4. @Sabre_days 5. @jrlx 6. @Dazey 7. @LDSModeller 8. @Romeo Alpha Yankee 9. @zebra 10. @Ray S 11. @Rick Brown 12. @Col. 13. @Paul J 14. @JWM 15. @Knight_Flyer 16. @SleeperService 17. @CliffB 18. @Dermo245 19. @MarkSH 20. @S48 21. @zegeye 22. @Erwin 23. @Ted 24. @greggles.w 25. @SeaPlane 26. @bigbadbadge 27. @phoenix 28. @Grandboof 29. @Arniec 30. @Avereda 31. @Blitz23 32. @TonyTiger66 33. @Thom216 34. @Muddyf 35. @PeterB 36. @philp 37. 38. Update We now have our dates for the 2019 Group Build Saturday 31st August 2019 To Sunday 22nd December 2019 Cheers Pat
  9. A build of yet another vac from 5 years ago: The General Aviation PJ-1 (AF-15) twin pusher flying boat design combines the uncommon with the visually pleasant. Five planes of this type were built and all went into service with the Coast Guard starting in 1932 as FLB (Flying Life Boats). All had names of stars starting with the letter “A” (Antares, Acrux, Acamar, Arcturus, Altair). So you have some variations on schemes and details to pick from. One was converted to a tractor version and re-designated PJ-2. It had P&Ws of slightly more power, a different canopy and of course a different engine pylon and gondola arrangement. Some of these planes had “finlets” on the stab. One machine at certain point had three-blade props, and another had the annular Townend rings way ahead of the engine. Another had a sort of small wing in a low position after the engines. Still another (or perhaps the same) had a small wing above the leading edge. No doubt there was some experimentation going on there. The General Aviation PJ-1 was specifically designed and made for the US Coast Guard. The very tangled corporate web that gave birth to this plane includes General Motors, Fokker (the wing was of Fokker design and there is more than a passing resemblance with the Fokker F-11), North American and Douglas. Another child born of this multiple parents is the Clark -General Aviation- GA-43. The JP-1 had a retractable beaching gear, but it couldn’t be used as a landing gear. The pusher configuration was of course chosen to keep the props and carbs out of the spray. They were successful in their mission and saved many lives. The Execuform vacuformed kit of the PJ-1 is made of sturdy plastic. The parts were removed from their backing sheet and as in any other vacuformed kit you have to refine those parts later on, to make for a good fit and proper thinness on trailing edges. So some careful sanding is involved, whilst frequently testing the parts to be sure you are on track. This is a relatively big kit and it will require that you scratchbuild the interior, engrave some panel lines and the separation lines of the control surfaces. Some clear plastic is provided for you to make the windows, which are all flat. Engines, propellers, wheels, struts and some minor external details (like the loop antenna or the landing lights) are all to be supplied by the modeler. Same for the decals. The kit provides good documentation and annotated 1/72 plans to accomplish all that. I would like to remind again fellow modelers that the existence of this type of kits it’s a bliss, even if they are basic, since no mainstream manufacturers is likely to produce kits of esoteric planes. Yes, you have to get some extra parts and work a little, all the better, that’s what it makes a model “yours”; you put something of you in it, and you learn and hone those skills. These types of kits are just a starting point and they are not meant to compete with mainstream ones, they just pick-up the trail where the big guys left it, so we can have interesting models of less-known types. For me and many others that’s great and worth the extra effort. US Coast Guard V113 livery was chosen, mainly because of the difficulty of printing white decals for the other (blue background) livery options (I do not have an ALPS nor I want to buy one); besides I found on the Net several pics of this particular machine. It has a less showy color scheme but overall presents a cleaner visual effect. Different wing float strut arrangements can be seen in photos during its life. Study your chosen subject and compare any plans or drawings you may have with actual photos. I decided to replace some flying surfaces and other details. Since the tail group was made of metal tube and fabric-covered, I scratched it from sheet styrene. The ailerons were corrugated metal (while the whole wing was wood) so I cut them out and replaced them with parts made from corrugated styrene sheet. Have in hand some Evergreen or Plastruct rod sections, since you will have to add the strakes that are visible on the fuselage sides and bottom and the area surrounding the engine pylons. No cockpit or interior data is provided with the kit nor could any specific info on the matter be found elsewhere, so a generic cockpit was depicted. The windows were made with the clear plastic provided with the kit, which resulted to be excellent, whatever material that is. It cut cleanly and sanded well. The step on the hull was refined and strakes (26 of them) were measured, cut, touched-up and glued to the bottom and sides. I encountered a not good merging of the wing “back” with the fuselage and found that the wing fillets needed to be corrected –I had to remove the originals-, so the area was reinforced with more styrene from inside and re-contoured. Brass “Strutz” were used for the necessary parts. MV lenses were utilized for the landing lights, and navigation lights came from the generic CMR set. Additional details –to name just a few- were loop antenna, Pitot tube, beaching gear cables and pulley anchor, rigging, wire antenna, rudder “paddles”, control horns and cables and mooring bits, the latter were part of a resin set sold by Khee-Kha Art Products for one of its bush panes. I diverged from Execuform’s recommendations regarding the type of yellow color on the plane’s scheme and some of the lettering fonts. You may see an upper wing walkway among the decals on the “in progress” images. That didn’t work. I had to mask that area and paint it almost at the very end. Retrospectively it would have been better to prepare the area where the pylons are glued and leave them out until after completion of painting. I could have done that because I worked out a good wing/pylon joint, but got carried away and glued them without a second thought. Do not forget those servo tabs on the rudder. The captioned photos will give you an idea of the steps, procedures and materials. If they don’t, you could always take up teratology or quilting. There is always hope where there is a will.
  10. A build from 2008, 11 years ago: I bet you never heard of this one. 1919…a seaplane-glider...now, that’s a concept. Whatever the logics behind it, the result was as cute as cumbersome. A not well known Fokker apparatus that was also tried on wheels, apparently didn’t produce any remarkable results to assure a place in posterity…other than this one. Towed by a motor boat with and without a pilot, the flight performance was strangely about the same. It was reported that among fish and cattle some stress cases were developed but fortunately without major consequences. Same goes for the pilot. It is a small model in 1/72, with simple lines that render design and construction easy enough to be dealt with over a weekend.
  11. 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.
  12. A build from 2010, nine years ago. It is fortunate be able to find a good livery for a plane that you like but don’t want to model as it is conventionally represented. The Cant Z.501 is one of such planes, in the form of the record-braking prototype, I-AGIL. Cant stands fro Cantieri Rinuiti dell’ Adriatico, Z stands for Zappata, its designer, “500 series” because it was a seaplane, opposite to the “1000 series” which were land planes. With help from Fabrizio D’Isanto (a very knowledgeable fellow enthusiast) I was able to round-up some missing data and could proceed with the project.. Paolo Miana, the aviation writer that published a book on the Savoia S.64 also helped. To get the Italeri Cant Z.501 old kit wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be; the few I found were running for pretty stiff prices. Finally fellow modeler Christos Psarras from Florida helped me to get a kit at a fair price. My thanks go to all these friends. I-AGIL was powered by an Isotta Fraschini ASSO 750 with an almost circular radiator front. It established two straight distance non-stop records, once flying from Monfalcone to Massawa and later from Monfalcone to Berbera. Some differences in appearance can be spotted along its life in the available photos. The Italeri kit would need some adaptations; the most conspicuous differences being the canopy and front engine areas. The fore and aft openings on the hull and engine gondola were apparently faired over for the first record flight but the aft fuselage position can be seen open and with a windscreen for the second flight. Italeri’s model has fine raised panel lines, few of them because the plane was made of wood. They were sanded and replaced by engraved lines. The “fabric” detail in the control surfaces definitely needs to be toned down. The general feeling, being this a very old mold, is on the slightly chunky side, but is a nice base upon which the modeler can exercise some...well....modeling. Some struts were supplemented or replaced by Contrail and Strutz streamlined stock. The front of the engine gondola was replaced by scratched parts. The record version had a different instrument panel and control wheel arrangement which I made and substituted for the kit parts. Regarding the canopy, Italeri offers a transparency that bridges a large gap of the fuselage and gives support to some of the wing struts. I-AGIL had two side-by-side independent canopies. That area therefore was re-constructed with styrene sheet and a master was created to vacuform the separate canopies. The interior was kept simple since almost nothing can be seen –as it is often the case- through the exiguous canopy openings. Parts 50/51 are depicted in the instructions without a pair of knobs that are supposedly used to hold parts 52/53. The latter will only mess the assembly, since they are bigger than they should and will open the struts’ angle too much, preventing them to rest in their marked position on the fuselage. Radio masts should go, not needed for I-AGIL. The hatches are not a good fit, so be warned. Struts 38 and 39 need their “handles” removed, but there was a probe on the original on the left side strut (as the pilot seats). There was a navigation light at the tip of the fin. The ailerons in the kit have a line that divides them in two surfaces. Those dividing lines were filled and control horns were glued there and to the rudder. A wind-driven generator was fashioned and glued to the fuselage spine. Painting ensued and the sub-assemblies were kept separate to facilitate this stage and later decaling. Once the main components were ready the wing struts were glued to the fuselage. Beware that those struts are sided, and that there is one (slightly shorter) that goes forward. Floats were then added to provide rigidity and the right geometry. After decaling the vertical stabilizer the horizontal stabilizer halves were glued, and then their supports. I opted to glue real short tubes to the upper exhaust rows and to drill the ones one the sides of the engine gondola. Parts (2) 32 are diagonal strut cross members -kind of hidden in the instructions- and they are absent in most of the models I have seen. The wing was then glued to the fuselage and struts, and I have to say that it was a good fit. Minor details, about thirty lengths of rigging wire and decals were added and the record-braking plane was ready to cruise on the skies. With a little work you can convert your “all-look-the-same-to-me” model into something different and more stimulating meaning-wise. Give it a try.
  13. A build from 2010, nine years ago: Looking apparently for a niche in the market for economical and affordable single seaters, Mr. Pierre Maubossin designed a plane that was built by Louis Peyret (of Peyret Tandem fame) The Peyret-Mauboussin PM.X all-wood, ABC Scorpion-powered cute machine was ready in 1929 and had a wingspan of 10 meters. A floatplane version, the PMH.X bis (H for Hydro) was later developed. A two-seat, beefed-up, slightly bigger machine -the Peyret-Mauboussin PM XI- made a remarkable flight from Paris to Madagascar! The cantilever long aspect ratio flying surfaces and the short tail moment made the plane look definitely elegant, with slightly awkward although ultimately charming proportions. The main components were basically built over a rainy weekend, quite small in 1/72 and simple enough to make the building process run smooth. The all-wood construction of the original and the absence of markings (using as reference one photo that so portrayed the plane) accounted for a relatively easy finishing. For that wood finish color information I am in debt with master scratchbuilder and famous Canadian Cycling Gremlin Alain Bourret. Mr. Mauboussin went one to produce a notable family of designs, but that’s another story. Au revoir, mes amis! (and don't start with "you have to make a beaching trolley for it")
  14. From 2014, 5 years ago, comes this strange creature: Back to weird, as it should be. After some wandering around toying with more plane-like subjects, the usual stints and dabbling into related fields (the cars and buses), is back to the roots time. For years all those who know me had to endure the shower of esoteric stuff upon their modeling heads. I am sure they miss it, so here it is some more of that. There is beauty and beauty. There is the predictable, boring, repetitive beauty of the known types that have been modeling far beyond saturation, and there is the gourmet, secret pleasure of the beauty hidden in more selective subject choices. I'll just say to you, as an example of what I mean: Farman Jabiru. A subject one day I hope to honor. Meanwhile today we gather to celebrate an even more arcane type: a winged creature born in darkness and shrouded in secrecy, but coming now to light in all its splendor, the Nungesser Hydravion. How strange in so many ways is this apparatus, regarding not only its appearance but also its provenance. Reportedly it was created by or (more likely) made for Nungesser, the famous French pilot -although no other sources than the Gallica archives state so-. Design-wise, is of the canard type; they probably thought that if a duck floats, then a "canard" -duck, in French- configuration would be optimal (or at least safer) for a flying boat. Interestingly enough, is a tractor canard, that is, the engine "pulls" from the front of the "fuselage" and therefore does not push from behind as in other canard designs. No details other than the ones that can be surmised from the very few photos are found or provided. Nevertheless, this extremely attractive weird ugly duckling surely deserves to come to life in model form. As usual, I started by having to draw the plans for it, very carefully studying the photos, comparing, and tracing, and erasing, and re-tracing, etc. This bird was all wood-covered, save a panel in the upper front of the "fuselage" that looks like formed metal sheet. Window-doors with three hinges each are seen in both sides, along with profuse windowing ahead and after them. The radial engine is fixed, as one can safely assume from the exhausts connected to the cylinders and gracefully curving out and back on both sides. I had the file on this subject for years now, waiting for the odd chance that more material will be eventually revealed, and although that was the case for many of my files that sat quietly in the dark, in this case the mystery remains. From the Gallica archives:
  15. 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?
  16. Hi everyone, This is my 1/72 H8K2 Emily, unfortunately the right tail stabilizer isn't perfectly at 90° with the vertical tail plain I hope that you guys will like this massive seaplane as much as i do
  17. AFAIK between 1937 and 1943 HMS Nelson was equipped with a single seaplane that was lowered on the sea (and then picked-up from the water) by the ship crane when the sea was calm. Were the aircraft carried on the Nelson deck only Walruses or was there any Seafox/Shark/Swordfish operating from HMS Nelson during the war? Cheers Michael
  18. I will post today, with your indulgence, Three Old Builds from my times as a sinner. Their only purpose for me is to illustrate examples of scratchbuilding. Here is the first one. In my defense I would say that these machines never fired a shot, being Uruguay the peaceful, welcoming and charming little country it is. These models were made as a commission, long ago, for a local collector. The Cant.18 was a member of a successful and large family of Italian flying boats. The graceful lines of the type are complemented by the presence of the Issotta Fraschini V6 engine, actually a six cyl inline engine in spite of the “V”, and the Warren truss bracing. The type flew for the first time in 1926.
  19. I will post today, with your indulgence, Three Old Builds from my times as a sinner. Their only purpose for me is to illustrate examples of scratchbuilding. Here is the second one. In my defense I would say that these machines never fired a shot, being Uruguay the peaceful, welcoming and charming little country it is. These models were made as a commission, long ago, for a local collector. This Cant.21 began life registered as I-AAPW in service with S.I.S.A. in Italy. It was later acquired by the Uruguayan government and put to service but not as a civilian plane as we see it here. It looks a bit like a grown-up version of the Cant.18 I posted here before, and required a slightly different approach, since the fuselage was carved from wood and later hollowed. When I create a wood master I try to make a vac copy, but in this case the size was far bigger than what my Mattel could handle. The process of finishing the surface of the wood fuselage proved lengthy and laborious, necessitating a number of layers of fillers and primers in preparation for the final painting. If you are familiar with scratchbuilding you may have noticed that one tends to create first a “kit” and then proceed with the assembly. In this case the engine, gondola (another wood master for those parts), prop, supports and associated bits took more than forty individual parts to be made; the trolley ten and the interior only twenty one. The other parts went as usual as you can see in the accompanying images, passing the hundred and twenty parts not counting rigging wires and decals. Something you don’t want to think much about when you are building the model. Decals were of course home made, printed on white decal paper which fortunately was required by the images’ background anyway. It is interesting to note that in spite of being morphologically similar to the above-mentioned Cant.18, this model took double the time and more complex techniques to be finished. In the accompanying photos some diagonal wires are missing, those were added later, but I didn’t want to re-do the photo session. The Italians produced a plethora of flying boats and seaplanes designs, all with appealing lines and good performances, in a time when this branch of aviation made sense. One can’t avoid feeling a bit nostalgic contemplating them.
  20. A build from 9 years ago: After the Japanese Hansa with Rising Decals J-BIRDs decoration posted here: The limousine conversion (also inspired by the Arawasi magazine) was typical of the time when passenger carrying was starting to be taken more seriously. The pilot was exposed to the elements and the passengers usually sat face to face inside the enclosure, being an inheritance from the horse-driven road coach configuration. This arrangement pioneered the passenger transport before the now standard cabin started to dominate the field. The conversion was applied to pre-existing types that for one reason or another seemed suitable for the adaptation, being mostly military surplus or old types that were given a stretch on their life-span. There were many of such conversions, but I found only one photo on the Net depicting the plane with the registration J-BCAL. This time though the decals had to be home-made. The profile published in the same Arawasi magazine that featured the subject of the previous article is a good general guide, but compared to the photo shows a couple minor inaccuracies, like the exhaust arrangement and a slight difference in the windows of the passenger cabin. Again the Eastern Express re-issue of the Toko kit was used with the transformations already depicted in the previous article, plus the “limo” canopy. The kit prop was used this time, since J-BCAL had a two-blade prop. Different exhausts were fabricated too and of course besides removing the front fuselage, the aft position area had to be removed too. A wood plug was carved and used to vacuform the passengers’ canopy. Similar and yet different to the other Hansa, with the extra appeal of the lumpy proto-cabin
  21. A build from 9 years ago: It is not a common occurrence that decal makers will release options for civil machines of kits that are sold as warplanes. When I saw the (made in Czech Republic) Rising Decals “J-Birds” sheet and a related article in the ARAWASI magazine #7 on Japanese Hansa Brandenburg W.29, I was all for it. I wish Arawasi would include more civil golden era plane content. The acquisition of a W.29 kit proved difficult, though. The MPM, TOKO, and Eastern Express kits were not as easy to obtain as I thought. The available resin kits were not an option for my modeling budget. Finally Steve K. kindly sent me the Eastern Express release from his stash and Christos Psarras from the soon-to-be Atlantis (Florida) helped me to get another for a future “limousine” version (this one not included in the decal sheet). The Eastern Express (ex TOKO) kit has a reasonable level of detail. It offers two different stabilizers and two rudders. As a bonus you get a dolly and a couple of supports to prop the model “on land”. The wing-fuselage joint needs a certain amount of shaving and sanding to get it to fit, but I won’t go on describing the kit since it was already reviewed on the Net. Its nose is not applicable to the Japanese versions (which were powered by a geared Hispano Suiza) thence some nose cosmetic surgery was in order. A new radiator, firewal, support pieces and a metal cover were made .An engine was scratchbuilt too as per images. The interior was enhanced a tad adding bulkheads and some other detail parts. The kit two-blade prop was replaced by a touched-up four-blade prop from Aeroclub. All building and accessories made, the model was painted with a whitish aluminum acrylic and Future applied in preparation for the decals. The decals are wonderful, but bear in mind that they are thin, as good decals should be. Handle them with care and patience. I used Micro Sol and Set, but my impression is that they may not need setting solution if you apply them to a gloss surface and take care of eliminating water and bubbles. Their color is dense and not translucent at all, they are sharply defined. Two decals folded on themselves as I was trying to apply them (again, they are thin) but adding water and carefully prodding them with a toothpick straighten them out. Be aware of the direction of the Japanese lettering, you may not notice if you put them upside-down if you don’t speak Japanese. In this case (one of the four machines you can dress with the decals) you have a couple of options regarding some small lettering. Study the provided leaflet beforehand. After decaling assembly of the main parts ensued and details were added. There were a number of Japanese Hansas on the civil register (J-BASL, J-BAAI, J-BAFI, etc.) and if you are interested on the type a little research will be in order. The Hansa has indeed “character”, further enhanced by a civil registration and livery it really stands out. Stay tuned for the “limousine” version. (the other HB W29 is here): Scratched engine: Modified interior: Scratched radiator:
  22. A build from 9 years ago: The year is 1935. Wiley Post, renowned pilot, is putting together a hybrid plane made of a Lockheed Orion fuselage and the wing of a lesser known Lockheed type, the Explorer. The wing of the Explorer is about six feet longer in span than the original wing, and to add to that Wiley wants his plane to be able to land on water, so he attaches two EDO floats. To compensate for the increase in weight, a beefed-up power plant replaces the original one. People at Lockheed apparently weren’t exactly thrilled about those modifications at the time. Companion in his adventure is the no less renowned Will Rogers, comedian, humorist, writer and actor. The flight, thought as a way to explore possible routes to Russia and to provide writing material for Rogers, unfortunately ends in disaster in Alaska with the loss of the two lives. The graceful lines of the Orion are indeed pleasant enough, but with the longer wing and the floats, the total becomes more than the sum of its parts, if you allow me this Gestaltean digression. I got the Special Hobby Orion release as a starting point. I am glad manufacturers are venturing with iconic civilian releases, and I hope it is a trend that will continue. This kit has been in the market for a while and has been reviewed plentifully, so I won’t abound in details. Suffice to say that it is a short-run release with a large number of resin bits and vac canopy included, good cockpit detail, no cabin detail, butt joints and exuberant panel lines. A nice set of decals (that went unused for this model) completes the package. For a moment I considered using the kit’s wing, splicing it and adding a center section, but the work surely would have been long and tiring, and the wheel area had to be deleted anyway, so I opted instead for scratching a new wing. The floats were no problem, since Khee-Kha Art Products from Alaska -besides its range of bushplane vacuformed kits- has a wonderful, well made and well detailed range of resin EDO floats. I ordered the J-5300 (based on masters produced originally by Jim Schubert) from them. They came with the water rudders, control arms and cleats, all well detailed and flawlessly cast. I have used Khee-Kha’s products before and was extremely pleased with them and their customer service. So I had the Orion’s kit fuselage, Khee-Kha’s floats and the scratch-built wing. Some reports state the interior of the plane lodged quite a bit of cargo; in order to do that it is probable that some seats were removed, but lacking references on the matter I opted to paint the cabin matt black. The resin engine that comes with the kit is very nice, and given the fact that in this particular machine the engine is covered by a frontal plate used to reduce airflow in winter or cold climates, I decided to save the resin engine and swap it for a good white metal one that had a little less detail. You get a spare cylinder for the resin engine, but you get exactly the number of injected clear windows you need for the cabin, in spite of the fact that they were molded longer than necessary and that you have to tailor them to fit –as indicated in the instructions-. Guess who lost a window to the “twing” dimension and ended up making one from a cd cover? It would be nice if the manufacturers would add a spare part when you have multiples, like in struts, seats, etc. I am sure the cost should not be impacted too much, and will give the modeler a second chance when minute parts jump into the “twing” and “twang” dimensions. As it is almost invariably the case with resin interiors you have to spend a couple hours trying to make two objects occupy the same space at the same time, which, as anybody knows, is a physics’ impossibility (although apparently not for some manufacturers). Once the fuselage was closed a missing luggage hatch was added, and an air intake was glued to the right-hand side of the cowl. The fit of the scratch wing was adjusted and before gluing it the wing was given sparse surface detail. The locations for the float struts, Pitot, landing lights and nav lights were prepared. Some hoisting lugs and bumps underneath were added at this point too. Floats were given the right track (as per Khee-Kha instructions), bridged with two brass airfoiled struts (from “Strutz”), and the inverted “V” upright struts were also fixed to facilitate ulterior joining with the wing (after painting, since they were different colors). Once the main parts were put together the puttying and sanding cycle ensued, the task I unfortunately enjoy the least. Well, it is not that “I enjoy it the least”, actually I really don’t like it. More so, I blatantly hate it. Once the primer stage arrived I coated lightly some areas of the model and heavily some others (on the fuselage) in an attempt to subdue the too prominent panel lines. Now, I must warn you here about a little known law of physics, the infamous Pugetian Principle. It states that when you don’t want to cover your beautiful panel lines, they will be utterly obliterated at the slightest pass of the primer, but when you want them to be less obvious or at least fade a bit they will resist any kind of overcoat you can throw at them, no matter how thick. The Orion/Explorer hybrid was overall red with silver/aluminum floats, registrations, trim and tail marks. I painted the silver/aluminum color with a lacquer and coated it with Future in preparation for the subsequent actions. My plan was to cut masks for the registrations, and they came up so so. Then again to the rescue came Christos Psarras and his doggy-dogs of Florida with the silver decals. He saved my two last projects with his kind generosity. Again, as with the Clark GA-43, I used some CMK navigation lights. They are good, although a tad expensive for my pocket. Some of them, usually the bigger ones, for some obscure reason, are mounted in flat, rectangular-section stalks, instead of the round thin stalks used for the smaller lights. This makes mounting them a pain in the neck. Why they are not all of them mounted in round-section stalks has no logic to me, since it would make installing them in a previously-drilled hole a breeze. Cutting them out of the useless stalks and then trying to glue them I lost four to the Twang dimension. Once the main sub-assemblies were ready they were put together with a sigh of relief. I added the home-made Venturis and then started to peel-off the window masks. Or try too. You see, I decided to use again the Mr. Masking Sol Neo, in spite of a not pleasant experience with the Vultee V-1. What I can say now is that my very short acquaintance –to call it friendship would be indeed excessive- with this product is hereby terminated. The mask became –because may be for the use of primers- a sort of gooey ectoplasmatic blob that resisted removal and could make the delights of a science fiction B movie producer. I was not completely successful in the removal what didn’t want to ruin the surroundings using a harsh product. The canopy was added and its frames were represented by painted decals. Then the Pitot and the walkway were positioned and it was time to seat back after the intensive ride. All in all not a pharaonic enterprise thanks to the readily available Khee-Kha floats and Orion kit. You only need to add that wing. And a few hours work. I hope Wiley is smiling somewhere. I would like to thank (the late) Jim Schubert, Lars Opland and Christos Psarras for their generous help.
  23. A build from 11 years ago: What would have been of us without the 60’s… The Beatles, the Mattel Vac-U-Form, so much good stuff. But before the 60’s there were the 50’s. And before the 50’s, in case you didn’t notice, were the 40’s. And the Eldred Flyer’s Dream was born exactly then. In 1946. Many would argue that Eldred’s creation is not a Flyer’s Dream, but a Flyer’s Nightmare. There will always be those who are impervious to beauty. The Eldred was apparently impervious too, to criticism and also to water. If, as many of you apparently do, you think I am a shameless generator of apocryphal stories and planes, just have a look at this one, thanks to Youtube (and to the gentleman that posted it): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvVS97dmVYQ As you probably guessed, there are no three-views for this clunky baby; so I had to make mines. They self-destructed after the well-known five seconds period. The model was made utilizing the best cutting edge technology available, namely the Mattel Vacuform Psychedelic contraption. I used it already in previous projects, as many of you know, but this is the first time I made a whole fuselage shell out of it, not left side and right side, but bottom and top. As you will discern from the accompanying images, the lower part was made of white styrene, while the top was made of clear styrene for reasons that will also become clear -no pun intended- later. The technique was inspired by the contemplation (and avid ingestion) of Argentinean empanadas. And as convenient filling some interior was fabricated. The floats came –as well again as for previous projects- from the Aeroclub Models generic vac float sheet. Some little tweaking was necessary to get it right for the project. Given the unusual “W” dihedral arrangement –no, it is not for “Weird”- and the car-like fuselage pod, this creature was referred to as a “StukaBaker” by enthusiast Richard Weber. Now, tell me, isn’t it the Mattel Vac-U-Forming a psychedelic experience? Escape to paradise in your Eldred Flyer’s Dream. I did!
  24. A build from 8 years ago, related to the thread of my model of the Tupolev ANT-25. Classic planes from the Golden Age of aviation have a charm that increases with time, as it should be with classics. After finishing the Clark GA-43, it seemed natural that the Vultee V-1 would follow, as they share some characteristics, not being the least important their remarkable aesthetics. They had the same weight, were single-engine cantilever low wing monoplanes and featured modern metal monocoque fuselages. The Clark could carry ten passengers and the Vultee 8. Although aware of the Special Hobby release, I choose to exhume from my stash the Execuform vac. As described in the Clark GA-43 article, these are simple molds that should be regarded as a white canvas to express yourself. Once the research stage started, one machine immediately caught my attention: the V-1AS variant that Russian pilot Levanevsky and navigator Levchenko flew to Moscow from California -where I live- via Alaska and Siberia in 1939 (CCCP-H208 in Cyrillic). For this version a new vertical stabilizer, front cowl and floats were needed. Fortunately adequate vac floats were found in the spare parts’ bank from the same manufacturer’s Clark GA-43. The kit I had was purchased some time ago from an online vendor specialized in rare kits, since at the time I wasn’t aware that Execuform kits are now available from the manufacturer. Nevertheless, mine included an epoxy engine and prop that used to come with the kit before. Since the plane I was modeling had a “winter” front cowl, which almost completely blocked the view of the engine, I included the one that came with the kit. The prop after some refinement was deemed usable, but I replaced it anyway for a metal one. In some photos the plane sports a chubby spinner. Plenty of images of the V-1AS can be found on the Net, and some color clues that in some cases are not entirely accurate. After some study the choice was a blue general color with red flying surfaces and trim, plus black rubber boots on all leading edges. Many attractive liveries can be chosen for the Vultee V-1, I counted at least twelve when browsing the Net. The American Airlines and the iconic Lady Peace come to mind. All these versions require some tweaking because they diverged in minor details. Strangely enough, the markings used for the plane modeled here are the western version of the original Russian Cyrillic CCCP (actually SSSR in western language); but the code H208 wasn’t translated as N208 as it should have been, being “H” Cyrillic for “N”. Construction started by marking, scoring and separating the parts from the backing sheet, then sanding and adjusting carefully. Locating and opening windows followed, and then the interior structure was scratched from leftovers of the same kit, all of that depicted on the customary in-process photos. It is worth of note that in the Russian Vultee, although it flew 10,000 miles, the supplementary fuel tanks were in the wings, not in the fuselage as in Lady Peace. N-208 had the full eight cabin seats compliment. The bathroom was also scratched and even provided with a toilet roll for the long trip. All the cockpit and cabin detail, as it happens frequently, would be almost hidden once the fuselage halves are glued together. A vertical stabilizer was as said fabricated, considering that modifying the kit’s one would have taken more time than making a new one. Departing from the Execuform arrangement I separated the stab parts in order to be able to deal first with the aft cone of the fuselage and then add the stab halves via a spar inserted through the fuselage. The wing halves were glued, and here Execuform devised a way to “embrace” the fuselage by gluing the wing halves and later cut the upper central section in order to lodge the fuselage. The joint will need attention. Styrene “Contrail” and brass “Struz” airfoiled struts were used to prepare the attaching structure for the floats; the later were trued and detailed as per photos. Bear in mind that although wearing floats this machine had the landing gear retracted, not deleted, since after reaching Russia it left the floats and reverted to wheels. After arriving to Moscow (where Nikita Khrushchev was present!) the plane was carefully examined by the Russian aviation industry, finding it remarkably modern and intelligently built and suggested that many of its features should be incorporated in Russian design and production. Once the interior was finished windows were inserted before closing the fuselage as described in the accompanying images. One by one they were cut and adjusted, because unlike men they were not created equal. You could super-glue very thin rubber pads to your broad tweezers in order to hold the window panes as you sand their edges to make them fit. I didn’t, and scratches were the result. Sometimes in these articles what it looks like a straight line from zero to model is actually a winding, meandering, puzzling scribble that involves a good number of boo-boos and their correction (or not). I had to do a few parts more than twice, blotched, marred, patched and so forth a number of times, so if it happens to you too, don’t feel alone. While the fuselage was drying, it was time for engraving the flying surfaces’ panel lines. I had a lot of fun filling and sanding the results of the over-exuberance of my scriber. A few exterior details were fabricated like the DF loop, carb air intake, “winter” front panel for the cowl, hatches, Pitot, Venturis, exhausts, nav lights and so forth. Especially tricky were the cockpit transparencies, due to the strange angles of the panes at the front and the lack of positive locking points. Four individual panes and some tweaking did the trick. The floats were primed with their struts and inspection covers already in place; the rudders, rudder posts, horns and “pulleys” were glued and then the floats were set aside. Same for the engine, cowl, prop and associated bits. The wing was fitted to the fuselage, then the stab halves, and then the vertical surfaces were removed and replaced by the scratched, bigger ones. Then it was the somewhat dull job of puttying, sanding, re-scribing, but all in good mood listening to the music of Fito Paez, Charlie Garcia and Spinetta. After a rather complicated masking/painting session to do the stripes and separate the colors the horizon looked better. A few minor decals were applied at this time on the prop and the vertical stabilizer. All the bits started to come together and flat black-sprayed decals were used for the de-icing boots. The floats’ rigging was done and tiny cleats that came with one of Khee-Kha’s sets of EDO floats were added (I ordered those detailed and impeccably cast floats for the next model, the Wiley Post’s Orion/Explorer hybrid –more on that matter later, stay tuned). A well-hearted fellow modeler and friend, Christos Psarras, sent me the white registrations decals. Thanks to him the model could be finally finished. Now the Vultee with its conspicuous shape is part of the ever-growing collection of hidden beauties of the Golden Age. (The model as said is 8 years old, the photos are not the best, I see that I dodged building a beaching trolley as I do now for such models, and I photographed the model on grass. Hope all these sins are forgiven)
  25. A model from 5 years ago that I had the chance to recently photograph again. When Supermodel released the 1/72 CRDA Cant. Z506B Airone in 1986 little perhaps they knew that in 2012 (36 years after) it will still be around thanks to the re-release by Italeri. I bought the model during a modeling outing with one of my sons with the intention, as usual, of giving it a life in a more pleasant role, as a civil record aircraft. I was hesitant to convert the kit to the “C” (civil) series, which involved a number of challenges, a new fuselage to start with. So I was very happy to say the least when I found among my references that a “B” series machine (same as the kit) was taken off the production line at an early stage and converted to a long distance record machine with the I-LAMA registration. It flew from Cadiz, Spain to Caravelas, Brazil, establishing a record, but unfortunately when attempting to reach Africa in the return flight it crashed and only one crew member, Stoppani, survived and was eventually rescued. Some modifications are necessary in order to represent such machine. The most obvious being the elimination of all military parts, the removal of windows on the fuselage sides and the deletion of the glazing on the front and back of the gondola under the fuselage, plus new decals of course. Given the time the molds were created the Supermodel kit is not bad, but it surely benefits from some attention. Some surface details can be erased and redone, the interior improved and there is even an aftermarket photoetched set by RCR Models available if you wish to use it. The photoetched parts are good and extensive, although not all of them can be used for this specific modification. Its instructions are comprehensive and have a detailed parts’ map, but leave a lot of areas totally unclear. Folding diagrams are present, and detailed list of names and –in the real plane- uses for the parts, but not group assemblies; the photos are of bad quality. Although one complete seat supporting structure assembly is present, the other one is missing the pedals and its associated supports. No instrument panel photofilm is included, so I scanned the etched parts, pasted some instrument images on the corresponding places, made decals of them and placed the etched parts on top of the decals. Strange mix of good parts and disappointing instructions. Nevertheless, the set is useful and will do well in an otherwise crude kit interior. Just be prepared for a lot of head-scratching. I think that with the re-release of this kit by Italeri, RCR could at least include in future sets the missing parts and better images. I found only one color profile on the Net, with a few discrepancies with the few photos I got. Bear in mind that at least three liveries can be seen in photos, one has the tricolore on the rudder and not fuselage lines, other has no tricolore and has the fuselage lines, and the third has no tricolore and no lines, but only the registrations and the “I” on the rudder. None have the aft fuselage little round windows present in the kit. At the time the Z506 was built (as a civil plane prototype originally) it was a remarkable aircraft that conquered a notorious number of records. Its lines are not what you will call racy, but its clunkiness is of course what made me chose it. For those with a steady hand and strong heart, there is always the possibility of making a new fuselage and model the plethora of machines of the “C” series or the only land version which used the landing gear of the SIAI S81. They wore splendorous liveries. Fellow modeler Alex Bigey created a beauty (using partially a Broplan kit of the Z506C). You can not simply practice “surgery” on the kit’s fuselage to obtain the “C” version, since in the “C” the fuselage was wider –not to mention different viewed from the side too-. As soon as work started on the kit its understandable lack of detail became apparent, and a few refinements were practiced. There are ejector pin marks, some blobs here and there, ragged edges, not happily located sprue attachments and so forth. In my cleaning zealous I mistakenly erased some excrescences from the engine gondolas thinking that they were excess plastic when in fact they resulted to be locators for the engines and cowls; nothing terrible, though. The fuselage shells, following references, were given internal structure in the form of stringers, formers, seats, shelves and the like. The above-mentioned photoetched set completed the interior, although part of it is hardly visible once the model is finished. The kit compasses were replaced by scratch-made ones from clear rod. The glazing on the lower front fuselage has two options in the kit, for this plane you must use the “curved” one, which has to be smoothed out and painted with rest of the fuselage. The aft lower transparency comes faceted, so you have to scratch there a curved part as replacement or glue to the existing transparency some styrene or apply putty and round it out since in the 1/1 plane again this was curved metal fairing. I grouped the sub-assemblies as follows: the fuselage with wings and tail, the floats and associated struts and the cowls and associated parts. This facilitates the messy procedures of filing, puttying, sanding, scribing, priming, etc. and leads to a better handling during painting and decaling. The struts that connect the floats to the wing were adjusted and given metal pins. Gloss black enamel was airbrushed on everything and then different types of metal paint. A die was created to punch out inspection hatches from metal-sprayed decal stock. Application of Future followed to protect the metal finish and to provide a gloss surface for the home-made decals. The diagonal struts braces that connect the floats to the fuselage did not quite match the actual length of the gap, so new ones were measured and cut from Contrail styrene airfoiled stock. The clear display stand that comes with the kit was used to help position the parts and check their alignment, a clever addition to the kit. Miscellaneous detail was added (control cables, antenna loop, etc) and the model was finished. Many kits that sit around or are easily found can be converted to represent these remarkable civil planes without too much effort, giving the shelves and club/contest tables a necessary breath of fresh air. Thanks go to Fabrizio D’Isanto for his always enlightening help. Bibliography: AeroFan 1978-02 Ali d'Italia 5 - C.R.D.A. Cant Z506 Dimensione Cielo 5 - Bombardieri 2 The Pasta Should be Al Dente, by Giovanni Schubertini, Pugettoni Editore, 2011
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