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Julien

Avia B.534 IV Série - Weekend Edition

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Avia B.534 IV Série - Weekend Edition

1:72 Eduard


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Avia first flew a prototype single engine fighter biplane designated the B-34 in 1932. The first prototype was powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12N V12 engine. A second prototype the B-34/2 was flown with an Avia Rr29 radial engine, however this had overheating and vibration problems. This aircraft was then re-engine with a Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs V12 engine. This second prototype was re-designated the B-534/1 in Spetember of 1933. In April 1934 this aircraft gained the Czechoslovak national speed record of 227.2mph.

An order for 34 aircraft followed, which was increased to 147. At this time the aircraft was ahead of other countries with contemporary's such as the Gloster Gladiator and Curtis P-36 only being flown as prototypes or just entering production. The later IV series would feature an all metal propeller, a tail wheel, and enclosed cockpit. The aircraft was developed this far as the Air Force was reluctant to abandon the climb rate and manoeuvrability of bi-planes over the new monoplanes.

The partition of Czechoslovakia meant that the B.534 never actually saw combat in the defence of the country. Slovakia was declared independent and their Air Force reformed using the B.534 but weakened as there were no Czech pilots. When Hungary invaded in 1939 two aircraft were lost to AAA fire and four more to fighters. Slovakian B.534s were further used during the invasion of Poland escorting German Ju 87 bombers. These same aircraft later served with the Germans in the Ukraine in summer 1941, and returned in 1943 for anti-partisan duties. The last recorded use of the B.534 would be Slovak National uprising in 1944. One aircraft downed a Hungarian Ju 52, this being the last recorded victory for a biplane.

In addition to the Czech/Slovak use Bulgaria purchased 78 aircraft in 1939. These were used in a variety of combat roles including intercepting USAAF B-24 aircraft on the Ploiesti raid. No B-24 losses were attributed to B.534s but some of these aircraft did receive damage from the B-24s. After Bulgaria switched sides in 1944 B.534s were used to attack German troops. Some aircraft even engaged in combat with German 109s but due to the low altitude and the B.534s manoeuvrability combat was broken off, though one B.534 was shot down.

The Kit
The kit arrives on three sprues of grey plastic and one of clear plastic. The parts are well made with fine panel lines were needed, and realistic fabric effects. Unusually for Eduard a few parts are off the sprue (perhaps the kit had a rough journey from The Czech Republic!). Construction starts shockingly not in the cockpit but the lower radiator. The front and back parts are built up, with a decal provided for the rear face. Once the front and rear faces of the radiator are in construction can then move to the cockpit area.

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Internal framework parts are placed in both fuselage halves, along with other detail parts. The instrument panel is added (A decal provides the instruments). The pilots seat is made up, and along with the control column these are added to the cockpit floor. The floor has rudder pedals moulded in. Once complete the floor and instrument panel are added into the fuselage, and along with a rear deck parts these are sandwiched inside the two fuselage halves.

sp2.JPG


Once the main fuselage is complete the top engine cover is then added. Next to go on are the tail parts. Each tail plane is a two part affair (front & rear) so they are fully positionable. The vertical tail is added along with a separate positional rudder.

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Once the tail is complete the construction moves onto the wings. A one part upper wing is supplied along with left & right lowers. The lower wings are added first and the kit gives a diagram to ensure the correct dihedral is obtained. The upper wing is attached by 2 sets of interplane struts joining the lower wing, and two sets of struts joining the fuselage.

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The finishing touched are to add the landing gear, propeller, underwing bombs (if needed) and the canopy. Rigging diagrams are provided if the modeller wishes to rig the finished model.

Canopy
The clear parts arrive on a circular clear sprue those familiar to Eduard kits will recognise. There is a one part canopy and three part canopy, this gives the modeller a choice to use an open or closed canopy. Other canopies not for use with this model are also included. The canopies are clear and free from distortion.

sp5.JPG


Decals
A smallish main decal sheet is supplied, along with a correction sheet. The decals appear in register, and are colour dense. Two options are supplied;
  • Air Regiments No.4, 40th Flight, Prague (Kbley) April 1938
  • Dogan No.31, 2/2 Orlyak, Vrazhdebna airfield, Bulgaria, November 1944

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Conclusion
This is an excellent kit of an important Czechoslovak aircraft. Credit to Eduard for the one. In its weekend edition with two decal options this kit is great value for money.Highly recommended.


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Review samples courtesy of logo.gif

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