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Moa

General Aviation PJ-1, modified 1/72 Execuform vacuform

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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.

 

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Edited by Moa

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That's a lovely build.  The pre-war USCG /USN livery always gives a smart outlook for a model.

I like your WIP photos, your work always looks relatively clean, I always seem to have great wodges of squadron green in view until rubbed down in line!

Cheers

Will

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Very nice work and result!

Cheers

J-W

 

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18 minutes ago, malpaso said:

your work always looks relatively clean

Will, it depends on the build, some are cleaner than others.

I really try to do things so I don't have to do a lot of fixing later, but almost never completely works.

Cheers

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Another superb model! Very impressive when you consider the long way to go from a vacuform sheet of bumps. I love the early flying boats.

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Wonderful set of construction photographs and even better photos of the completed ,odel. Super metallic finish, I really like it.

 

P

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A great subject and probably my favourite type of all the many hundreds you have built (unusual to see you build a military aircraft....). The whole plane was a Fokker design, clearly an extrapolation of the F-11 ,completed after Tony decided to cut and run, selling out to General Motors.

 

Obtaining the necessary info to build it to the required standard is on-going and has taken years, but I will surely build a blue one if it ever happens.

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5 minutes ago, Roger Holden said:

Obtaining the necessary info to build it to the required standard is on-going and has taken years, but I will surely build a blue one if it ever happens.

It will be, as always is with what you build, exquisite and wonderful.

I will pass directly to you what I have, of which of course you may have almost everything -if not all- but just in case.

We Transfer on its way.

 

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9 minutes ago, Roger Holden said:

(unusual to see you build a military aircraft....)

Oh, I have sinned long and wide in my obscure past.

Just see today's three Uruguayan machines posted.

But the Coast Guard is not like the usual military.

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9 minutes ago, Moa said:

But the Coast Guard is not like the usual military.

True, but strictly-speaking it's the 5th branch of the US Armed Forces (4th back then).

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6 minutes ago, Roger Holden said:

True, but strictly-speaking it's the 5th branch of the US Armed Forces (4th back then).

Agreed; still, their mission includes rescue and assistance, and other non-violent roles, which is the part that I like

Tree-huger 😉

 

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Beautiful model, Moa! That is one elegant little flying boat and you have made the Execuform kit into a real  eye-catcher!

Mike

 

Do you have a separate outbuilding, like the NASM's Dulles Annex, to house all of  your completed models?

 

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40 minutes ago, 72modeler said:

Do you have a separate outbuilding, like the NASM's Dulles Annex, to house all of  your completed models?

Unfortunately not.

They all live in boxes in our walk-in closet and under my building desk. It makes find one of those if you need to take them out extremely difficult.

 

Edited by Moa

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Very nice bird, and USCG scheme fits it very well! And great construction work too!

 

I would add to your comment about adding something personal to the model - it works with mainstream kits well too. As soon as you decide to assemble a specific airplane from a photo or from the squadron history it immediately turns out you need to add/remove some bumps, you need different armament, you figure out model inaccuracies... Fixing all that transforms a standard kit into a unique personal model. Vacform, injection, resin, scratch - whatever you start with you always get something personal as soon as you make a step aside from the instruction. 

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42 minutes ago, Dennis_C said:

Very nice bird, and USCG scheme fits it very well! And great construction work too!

 

I would add to your comment about adding something personal to the model - it works with mainstream kits well too. As soon as you decide to assemble a specific airplane from a photo or from the squadron history it immediately turns out you need to add/remove some bumps, you need different armament, you figure out model inaccuracies... Fixing all that transforms a standard kit into a unique personal model. Vacform, injection, resin, scratch - whatever you start with you always get something personal as soon as you make a step aside from the instruction. 

👍

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 11:57 AM, Moa said:

Unfortunately not.

They all live in boxes in our walk-in closet and under my building desk. It makes find one of those if you need to take them out extremely difficult.

 

You master scratchbuilders must think alike!

My long-time friend, master scratchbuilder Bill Bosworth, also puts all his completed models (in 1/32 scale) into (custom made) boxes and then they go in storage in his attic.

 

Tim

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37 minutes ago, VH-USB said:

You master scratchbuilders must think alike!

My long-time friend, master scratchbuilder Bill Bosworth, also puts all his completed models (in 1/32 scale) into (custom made) boxes and then they go in storage in his attic.

 

Tim

Hi Tim

Matías Hagen and Alain Bourret (real masters, unlike me) -the second of whom I believe you know-, do exactly the same.

 

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That is a beauty. I recently dragged the Execuform Hall XPTBH out of cold storage to see if I now have the fortitude to tackle it, so I know what was entailed to make sow's ear into a silk purse. Splendid.

 

Curt

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1 hour ago, Naviator said:

That is a beauty. I recently dragged the Execuform Hall XPTBH out of cold storage to see if I now have the fortitude to tackle it, so I know what was entailed to make sow's ear into a silk purse. Splendid.

 

Curt

Thanks Curt

Execuform vacs are very simple, but fairly noble as a white canvas for starting a project. Depending on the production year of your kit, it may even have some accessories.

They have no vices and the thickness of the plastic is perfect, with accurate shapes. I have built many of Mike Herrill's kit.

Yes, they are a modelers' kit, but where would the fun be otherwise?
Good luck with your project!

 

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Beautiful, Moa. Up to your usual standard!

 

Martin

 

 

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12 minutes ago, RidgeRunner said:

Beautiful, Moa. Up to your usual standard!

 

Martin

 

 

Thanks Martin, a relatively old one that re-popped due to a comment.

Cheers

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