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Piper L-21B Super Cub - KP 1:72


Mig88

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Hello everyone!

Here is my latest kit. It's KP's 1:72 Piper L-21B Super Cub

 

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In 1952, the Exército Português (Portuguese Army) received 22 L-21Bs through MDAP. The Força Aérea Portuguesa was formed that year and received five civilian PA-18-125s in 1954. The Army's L-21Bs were finally taken over by the FAP in 1955 although they remained in the army co-operation role with the Esquadrilha de Ligação e Observação at BA3 Tancos, Portugal. When this role was taken over by helicopters, they were used for liaison and training until they were withdrawn from service in 1976. The kit represents 3218 (cn 18-2555) one of the original Army batch and is one of three owned by the Museu do Ar and was on display at the museum in Sintra in 2019 where I took the photo below.
 

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This was the first light aviation aircraft I have built and the first time I have built a kit of a plane I have actually seen. When I saw KP was going to release this with the Portuguese option, I bought it as soon as it became available and when it arrived I decided to make it my next project as I was about to finish my previous kit (the Fw 200).

I started this kit in early July with the hopes of finishing it before going on holidays at the end of the month. As soon as I started it I realised it was not going to be. The parts need cleaning up and fit isn't great. The instructions are very vague and give no indication as to what optional parts go with which option other than marking the wings that are not to be used. Location of the parts is vague too. In other words, references are a must. I used the photos I took of this plane at Sintra and of 3212 which I had seen on display at the museum's section at Alverca the previous year plus a few more I found on internet as a guide.

 

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I made the following additions and modifications:
- The rear V frame inside the canopy is shown the wrong way round in the instructions. It had to be shortened too. The forward one needed some filing to fit on the coaming.
- I added the missing diagonal frames in the rear cockpit from stretched sprue.
- I added belts from masking tape.
- The tail wheel is completely wrong. I only used the fork and wheel itself and scratchbuilt the leg from stretched sprue.
- I added the intakes and vents to the engine cover that I could discern from my photos. I used and modified some kit parts and scratchbuilt others. Once I glued the exhaust pipe, I cut it to the appropriate length and sanded the end to the right angle. The two on display had the same configuration of the engine cover but I noticed another machine now in civilian hands had a slightly different one so beware.
- The engine didn't fit inside and I had to cut the cylinders shorter to get it in place.
- I cut off the blobs representing the wingtip lights and replaced then with parts made from stretched sprue.
- I added the radio antenna and the tailwing support cables from stretched sprue.

 

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The kit is designed to glue the wings to the canopy by slotting some rods attached to one wing half through it and then somehow glue this to the fuselage assembly. I didn't like this idea as I felt it was too complicated and indeed the fit of the canopy with the fuselage needed work. Therefore, I removed the rods from the wing and made new ones and slid them through holes I made in the canopy. I then opened holes in the wings to slide them into the rods later on. The main wing struts benefit from shortening 0.5 to 1mm (I found out too late).

 

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The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. The decals were thin and settled well but were delicate and fragile. The printing resolution was a little low and the screen dots can be seen in some colours with the naked eye on close inspection. The tail decals were unfortunately oversized and I realised this when putting the first one. I managed to remove it and cut it in two (resulting in damage to the flag) to place the items a little better. I then used the scheme paint to make the flags a little smaller. Due to the damage, I had to paint over the flags.

 

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This kit was a struggle most of the way and I may have missed some details I could have added but I am very happy with the end result and glad I built it.

Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome.
Miguel

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