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Moa

Beechraft Model 18 Twin Beech, 1/72nd conversions

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Twins, and especially twin-tail twins, are delightful machines that usually captivate modelers. I have built, as examples of the type, Amelia's Lockheed Electra:

The Mitsubishi L3M1:

And the Fiat BR20:

What occupies us today is a smallish, yet equally handsome Beechcraft 18, that was born in the late 30's but saw ample use, service and production for many long years, on wheels, skis and floats.

(Link to SDASM Flickr photostream):

https://live.staticflickr.com/7185/7096827309_7b1e301e70_b.jpg

7096827309_7b1e301e70_b.jpg

That I am aware of, three kits exist of it in the only sensible scale:

An old inject kit, in two versions, by Hobby Craft with a number of issues, a very nice (and venerable old) vacuform by RarePlanes; and old substandard injected kit by PM, and a more recent re-pop of the latter by Encore, with the meritory addition of resin and vacuformed parts that do their best to freshen up what looks like a potential dead parrot.

I have built in the past some of Gordon Steven's kits, and I had lots of fun doing it. The builds lead to correspondence, and that to pen friendship. I miss him, the same way I miss friend and mentor Jim Schubert (with whom I had a much longer and closer friendship), because both were not only extraordinary modelers, but also, and more importantly, because both were extraordinary gentlemen, a scarce commodity nowadays.

Examples of models I made from Gordon's kits or conversions:

And even if I build military planes no longer -but for the purpose of illustration- here are two of the models I built from Gordon's kits:

30.jpg

 

02.jpg

 

I didn't buy either of the two Hobby Craft kits, but I have all the others.

I will -hopefully- build Gordon's and Encore's kits to compare them, and in the process, as usual, surely learn a thing or two (or three, or four) about the type.

 

The first thing to be aware of with this design is, that as many others, it evolved and changed with time, and was also greatly modified by users all over the world.

The type flies even today, which says something about its merits.

 

I hardly ever go for the kit's decals, because I find boring that you have to see the model built again and again in the same way with the same finish, which to me is sad déjà vu.

Therefore upon acquiring a kit I start looking for candidates, while I submerge myself in the research stage.

RarePlane's kit is actually for the military version (which of course I will redeem into a civil one) and does not provide decals, but the strange thing is that the Encore kit provides both, military and civil, although the civil option, even if interesting and with what looks like nice decals, applies to a different model of the Beechcraft than the one provided in the kit, that has in real life longer engine nacelles on the top wing.  This precludes its use or forces you to perform kit surgery to correct this very clumsy mistake and research overlook by the manufacturer. Furthermore, the target plane had three-blade props (NOT provided) and spinners (guess what: NOT provided), and the wrong landing gear doors. Oy vei, sometimes it seems that computers would bite, such is the reluctance to perform Internet searches by manufacturers.

So I finally decanted for another plane that corresponds to the version provided with the two kits (short top engine nacelles) for which of course I will have to commission decals.

I will decide later on what civil scheme will I do with the second.

One of the Hobby Craft kits provides this longer nacelle version, so if you are willing to, you can interbreed all these to get what you want.

However, this is not just a matter of (nacelle) size, as many other changes can be seen out there, regarding power plant, cowls, wing tips, nose, props, landing gear doors, interior, vertical stabilizers, antennas and so on and so forth. Therefore, as you can see, if you want to venture beyond drab and dull, some delicious research is in order.

I used not to like research a bit in my younger years, considering it a waste of time, and (stupidly and blindly) trusting that of course manufacturers have done their homework. Ah, the naïveté of youth!

 

Here some images of the RarePlane vac kit:

IMG_7500+%25281280x820%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7501+%25281280x841%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7490+%25281280x957%2529.jpg

 

As you can see, very unusual surface detail for a vac, due to the use of female molds:

IMG_7491+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7492+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

Look at those wheels, much better than many later and even a few contemporary injected "buttons":

IMG_7493+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7494+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

You can even see the pushrods on the engine:

IMG_7495+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7496+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7497+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7498+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

The transparencies have yellowed a bit, a common occurrence that is partially remedied with some polishing:

IMG_7499+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

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Interesting. I have 2 of the Hobbycraft kits and 1 PM. 

 

 

Chris

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4 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

Interesting. I have 2 of the Hobbycraft kits and 1 PM. 

 

 

Chris

Hi Chris

same variant or different?

cheers

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10 hours ago, Moa said:

Hi Chris

same variant or different?

cheers

 

49233235183_826165e738_b.jpg

 

 

 

Chris

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And here is the Encore (boosted PM) kit.
In spite of my nitpicking I applaud the efforts behind the release of this "enhanced" kit, a way to give new life to an old kit, and, to my joy, including a civil version:
IMG_7507+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

 Newly-printed instructions in good paper, and what looks like excellent decals:

IMG_7508+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7509+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

The dreaded, unfathomable, Mariana Trenches

IMG_7510+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

A bit less daunting on the wings. Notice that the wings have LERX (leading Edge Root Extensions) altering the geometry in plan view, so, once again, be sure the plane you are modeling had those:

IMG_7511+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

The added bits, vac windshield and resin substitute parts, all look good:

IMG_7512+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

Care was obviously put into this:

IMG_7513+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

 The engine block has the location for the cylinders keyed, the problem is that somebody forgot to tell that to the person that cast the cylinders, which have no corresponding pegs. Sigh....

IMG_7514+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

 New props and exhausts, one came nicked:

IMG_7515+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

Plenty of enhancing resin parts shown in the instructions:

IMG_7516+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

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I have forgotten another twin/tail twin, the Barkley Grow (a vac by Execuform):

 

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As some of you know, vac building is better started by using a fine permanent marker to trace the outline of the parts, a good guide for cutting and sanding:

IMG_7518+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

A few careful passes with a new hobby knife blade, some cautious back and forth of the backing sheet, and the parts are free:

IMG_7519+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

I discard parts that do not lend themselves to the medium:

IMG_7520+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7521+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7522+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7523+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

 And get them somewhere else, being acquiring them or raiding the spares box. The resin props come from the Khee-Kha Art Products engine/prop sets:

IMG_7524+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

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Those resin additions to the Encore kit are a nice improvement to the original kit.

 

 

 

Chris

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Think I'd rather have raised panel lines so I could tame them rather than the troughs. The vac one looks a lot better now that I see good close ups of it.

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Oh goody a nice build of the Beech 18, I've long desired to do one of these when some friends of mine owned one, and called themselves Crocodile Airlines

Didn't know of the existence of the Encore kit, but really got my attention when I see it has the LERX moulded in, I do have the Rareplanes kit though, so :popcorn: I'm in 

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Sanding begins under the tap.
To me this counts as both, modeling gym and water sports:

IMG_4202+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

 When you see these sort of filaments, means that you are close:

IMG_7525+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7526+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

The first stage of sanding is complete. More refining will be required on trailing edges of all flying surfaces:

IMG_7542+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

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50 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

Those resin additions to the Encore kit are a nice improvement to the original kit.

 

 

 

Chris

Indeed they are, Chris.

Indispensable, one may even say, to ensure a fair result.

Cheers

4 minutes ago, Graeme H said:

Oh goody a nice build of the Beech 18, I've long desired to do one of these when some friends of mine owned one, and called themselves Crocodile Airlines

Didn't know of the existence of the Encore kit, but really got my attention when I see it has the LERX moulded in, I do have the Rareplanes kit though, so :popcorn: I'm in 

Graeme, you are most welcome.

Cheers.

 

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38 minutes ago, busnproplinerfan said:

Think I'd rather have raised panel lines so I could tame them rather than the troughs. The vac one looks a lot better now that I see good close ups of it.

I agree, but with a bit of putty, some sandpaper, a scriber, and only 100,000 hours, you are all set.

Cheers

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Yep that looks like it, I have a set of photos somewhere, must dig them out and scan them

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3 hours ago, Moa said:

 

IMG_7524+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

Those Small Stuff engines are very nice (I built three Wasp Jr’s for my Ford Tri-motor), but you’re a better man than I am if you can install the 1/72 spark plugs, not to mention the spark plug wires :lol:

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Want to see the Small stuff engines done. I forgot about that company, wanted to get some of them.

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15 hours ago, billn53 said:

Those Small Stuff engines are very nice (I built three Wasp Jr’s for my Ford Tri-motor), but you’re a better man than I am if you can install the 1/72 spark plugs, not to mention the spark plug wires :lol:

I have built three of his engines, veritable jewels. spark plug yes (losing some in process and having to use the provided spares), wires not.

I started a fourth one time ago (for another model), but had to abandon it due to my present eyesight. You get a lot of spares for the fiddly parts, but I managed to lose all of them.

At that point I realized -very reluctantly since these are fantastic objects for an incredible fair price- that I had to move back to the "normal" after-market engines.

Since I need two, of course, I just ordered them from Engines & Things, so I can concentrate more on the build, that will have its challenges itself.

No small thing being 592 years old.

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9 hours ago, busnproplinerfan said:

Want to see the Small stuff engines done. I forgot about that company, wanted to get some of them.

See above. They are incredible, but you need a good eyesight, which I have no more, even with magnifiers and such.

 

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Ah I see we will be kicking it old school so to speak excellent. 
 

One true scale hmmm. Much as I like 1/72 (although I’m trying to give it up) I have definitely warmed to 1/48 as my default, especially since my stash is now at least 80% 1/48. 
 

That said I am presently contemplating a comet in 1/32 as that’s the scale my other two racers are in. And possibly a zeppelin stalker in 1/144 (my vac form is just too big for me to be able to display it)

Edited by Marklo

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More sanding, more carefully this time and always checking that black line reference. Those filaments get thinner:

IMG_7546+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

Compare original sheet thickness with appropriate sanding:

IMG_7547+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

Sign that things are progressing correctly, the areas that would have needed carving are automatically sanded away:

IMG_7549+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

In most cases for tail parts the sanding side will eventually become flat (that is you won't see any visible molding) :

IMG_7550+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

And now time to stop, when the hinge line becomes visible on the other side:

IMG_7552+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

IMG_7551+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

If you respect your black lines and sand evenly, you get matching fuselage halves (or any halves) with no banana effect (eerie, soothing music sounds, fading to flashback to scene with soft lens involving the teachings of Master Sandpaper at the Shaolin Temple):

IMG_7553+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

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2 hours ago, Marklo said:

Ah I see we will be kicking it old school so to speak excellent. 
 

One true scale hmmm. Much as I like 1/72 (although I’m trying to give it up) I have definitely warmed to 1/48 as my default, especially since my stash is now at least 80% 1/48. 
 

That said I am presently contemplating a comet in 1/32 as that’s the scale my other two racers are in. And possibly a zeppelin stalker in 1/144 (my vac form is just too big for me to be able to display it)

Marklo, if you keep with this heretical talk, naming those accursed scales and even worse, mixing them, I will be forced to report you posts.

Don't make me call Sönke Schulz, Ebil Ruler of Volkania,  and ask him to use on you his zapping ray.

 

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PM also produced the Kansan with the bomb-aiming nose, giving another option for the aircraft.  Obviously fewer civil options...

 

For the benefit of those of us whose research has fallen down on this point, can you please say at least a little about when the LERX was introduced, and when it can be ignored?

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The nacelles resemble the real thing, unlike the original (not enhanced) PM kit:

IMG_7554+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

Horizontal and vertical tail elements are glued together, as well as wheel halves. I view of the interior parts provided in the vac kit, quite good:

IMG_7556+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

The wells are carved out. Later on a bit of the interior will be scratched to fill the void:

IMG_7557+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

It is very likely that I will cut the cowl halves off, to work on them comfortably, but bear in mind that the kit has the seam exactly where the real upper and lower cowl separation is on the real thing, so don't delete the seam. You can see the "exhaust" volume to the right, that will be excised and replaced with tubing:

IMG_7558+%25281280x960%2529.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

can you please say at least a little about when the LERX was introduced, and when it can be ignored?

I think that -in broad strokes- you could say that the LERX were introduced around war time, whilst previous civil models (and perhaps certain pre-war military models) had the straight leading edge.

Others may complement -or correct- this statement.

Since I will be concentrating for the purposes of the build on the early types, or surviving adapted early types, I discarded research on the LERX, military versions, and later models (long noses, tricycle landing gear, adapted power-plants, modified wing tips, etc.)

I am focusing for the moment on short upper engine nacelle, straight leading edge types.

In fact, I am becoming interested in the very early types, with smaller, rounder, differently-shaped vertical stabilizers and "bubbly" cowls (may be associated with the Jacobs engine).

 

The best approach (this may sound obvious) is to gather photographic reference on the planes you may like to model, and verify what type of features they have or don't, and what kit / kit-bashing best serves the purpose.

 

Not much help, but mildly entertaining.

Cheers

 

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