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Aircraft I've Flown Part IV - VFR Models AA-5A Kit

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After the unmitigated disaster that was my first resin kit, I have decided to dip my toe into the water again with another one - hopefully this will go together much more nicely!


It's the 1/72 VFR models Grumman AA-5 kit, designed and produced by @Bangseat. This is an aircraft that I used to fly in the late 1990's, when I was working as a flying instructor. I will paint it as "G-OMOG", an aircraft operated by Solent Flight at Southampton airport - here's a photo of the aircraft, copyright Simon Palmer:




It also has the benefit of being a simple livery to replicate - solid colours and basic design. Many other AA-5's that I flew during this time had metallic paint and complicated designs - I'm taking the easy option here!


So what's in the kit? Let's start with the box, which is very sturdy, top opening and has some good graphics:




As you can see, four decal options are supplied, the one for G-ODAM will make a great template for my own decals, which will need producing at some stage:




The parts come in several in several bags, with multiple pieces for the different variants:




And an instruction sheet, showing the various different variants that can be built:




First impressions are very promising - I'm looking forward to this!

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I’m looking forward to watching this build, especially because it is an “aircraft I have flown” build and it’s from VFR Models. I built their Socata Tampico, and made custom decals to represent the plane I earned my pilot license in. 


Here's a link to my WIP, perhaps it will have some tips to help you along with building a 3D-printed kit:



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 26/08/2022 at 16:33, billn53 said:

I’m looking forward to watching this build, especially because it is an “aircraft I have flown” build and it’s from VFR Models. I built their Socata Tampico, and made custom decals to represent the plane I earned my pilot license in. 


Here's a link to my WIP, perhaps it will have some tips to help you along with building a 3D-printed kit:

Thanks Bill, that link is very helpful! I will have a good look at that as my build progresses, to pick up some tips.👍


On 27/08/2022 at 00:50, k5054nz said:

Excellent, I'm excited to follow along with this.

Cheers Zac, hope you enjoy it!


On 27/08/2022 at 01:58, David H said:

The Grumman Cheetah and Tiger were some of the best light planes you never heard of. I miss them.

I agree - great visibility, great handling and an excellent tourer, but not as popular as the Pipers and Cessnas which were (IMHO) inferior aircraft.. I had some happy times flying the Grummans!


Time now for a better look at the components, starting with the fuselage halves:




Nice crisp details and print quality. However, the baggage door hatch outline looks very overscale, I think I will fill that up and make a decal instead. On the real aircraft it was not very obvious - here's the picture of G-OMOG from my original post as a comparison:




There is a well produced cockpit section to slot inside the fuselage; painting this will be my initial task on the kit:




The wings:




A few printing striations, but that is expected and easily fixed. They are a bit more apparant on the tailplanes:




As you can see, two options are provided here. On the left are the 'standard' AA-5 tailplanes for the Cheetah and Tiger; on the right are the earlier and more squat tailplanes that came on the Traveller. Two fins are provided too, for the same reason:




There are also two cowling options. Here are the undersides:




And the topsides:




All the other solid pieces, including steps, propellor, spinner, wheels and tiny control yokes. There is an option to build without undercarriage spats too, but I'm including them as the real aircraft had these fitted. The two different nose wheel options are in the centre, but I omitted the un-spatted main gear to avoid cluttering the picture too much:




Finally the clear parts for the windows and canopy:




A bit of polishing will be well worth the errors here!


All in all, great first impressions and a kit I am really looking forward to building!



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On 04/09/2022 at 15:41, HOUSTON said:

Great start. 

Looking good. 


Thank you!


Time to actually do some building! The cockpit insert was removed from the support struts and painted, then the control yokes were glued into place:






This needs some weathering (and a matt coat!), then I'll add a few more details to create a bit more interest.


The interior should be quite visible once built, but that canopy definitely needs a polish first!




I also found a useful reference photo, confirming the colours of the stripes and their relative position on the fuselage. It also shows a striped interior on the fuselage sidewall - I will not be attempting to replicate that!




Great build so far, I'm enjoying this one!

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On 07/09/2022 at 01:29, k5054nz said:

This makes me glad! Great progress.

Thanks Zac!


On 07/09/2022 at 05:56, billn53 said:

Good luck with that canopy. The one on my Tampico looked much the same. Polishing, and a dip in Pledge/Future helped, but I was never able to get the level of clarity I wanted.

Funnily enough, I had a session today trying to polish the canopy. It wasn't very successful. I will try again another day - at the moment it looks more opaque than when I started...


I've spent some time detailing the cockpit, with additional seatbelts and general weathering. I also popped a checklist on the coaming:




It's not brilliant, but it's as detailed as it's going to get at this scale!

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  • 6 months later...

After neglecting this model for 6 months, it's time to get it back onto the bench...


I've invested in some Tamiya polishing compound, to try to improve the clarity of the transparencies. It has certainly helped, but there is still a slight degree of opacity that I cannot eliminate. However, I think it now looks acceptable - the text is perfectly legible under the windscreen:




Having polished the windows, it was time to install them. A tad fiddly to achieve (and the carpet monster tried to claim them several times!), but a piece of tape to help hold them in place whilst applying the glue proved to be the simplest solution:




Then the cockpit was fitted:




Before joining the fuselage halves. These sections were quite warped, so I glued them together progressively starting at the nose:




Then the middle:




And finally the tail:




I also applied some glue along the bottom of the fuselage. Plenty was used, as the seams will need filling and sanding:




Whilst working with the transparencies, I fitted the lights to the wingtips. These will need to be blended and polished:




The wings are warped, but I will use the technique described by @billn53 in his invaluable Tampico build thread mentioned above. This is how they currently look:




My final job for this session was to mark out where to cut the canopy - a razor saw will be used for this, along with a few other parts that need removing:




It's good to be back again after a busy few months, with other jobs getting in the way of my hobby!

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  • 6 months later...

In the spirit of gradually clearing models from the workbench, I have resumed work on this one too!


First task was attaching the canopy. The excess material was removed with a razor saw and then the remaining canopy was superglued into place:




The fit at the back was poor, with quite a large gap - possibly my fault and some dodgy sawing? A small sausage of milliput was pushed in to fill this area and will be sanded back once it hardens. Next was fitting the cowling, but which one? Here are the two supplied kit options:




After looking at pictures on the Internet, I decided the one on the left looked most like the cowling on G-OMOG! This was removed from its supports and offered into place. For some reason it is much wider than the fuselage:




I will place some lead in the cowling and then glue it centrally into position. A combination of filler on the fuselage and gently sanding the cowling should result in a smoother fit.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 22/03/2023 at 19:53, billn53 said:

Best of luck getting those wings straight . . . I was fortunate that mine turned out ok.

I took your advice Bill (from your Tampico build thread) and dipped the wings into a dish of very hot water:




They were then clamped onto a flat surface and allowed to cool:




They are hugely👍 improved but not quite perfect, so I will repeat this process and try to get them completely flat.

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Just catching up with this one. Good subject choice and interesting to see how you've tackled the speed bumps on the way.  Guessing you'll be printing decals for the pin striping using the VFR supplied as a template?

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