KIT:

Hobbycraft 1/48 Piper L-4 Grasshopper

KIT #

1580

PRICE:

CDN$ 8.99

DECALS:

Five aircraft

REVIEWER:

Olivier Lacombe

NOTES:

 

HISTORY

 One the first really successful light aircraft in the USA is without any doubt the Piper J-3 Cub.  Production started under the Taylor Aircraft Co. in 1936 and continued when the company was reorganized into the Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1937.  Originally powered by a Continental A-40-4 developing 40 HP, the Cub was the most sold aircraft in the United States with roughly one-third of the market shares.  Its rugged construction comprised a metal tube fuselage, which was covered in fabric like the wings, which were made out of wood.  Subsequent sub-versions used a wider array of engine, from the 50 HP Continental A-50-5 to a 65 HP Continental.  The choices for its motorization included the Lycoming O-145, the Franklin AC-150, Menasco M-50 and the Lenape Papoose (!).  Under the arms, it served as the Continental O-170-3 of 65 HP powered L-4 and the L-14 (three-seat) with a Lycoming O-290-3 with the Army as a liaison and a scout (some even had bazookas fitted to the wings!) and the Navy received a hundred HE ambulance aircrafts.  Total production was 14 125 along with 5 687 going for the Army.

THE KIT

 

In a single bag, 34 grey styrene parts and 4 transparent ones await you.  The two fuselage halves are moulded clear, so you will not have any windows to worry about during construction.  However, good masking is required.  The kit is very simple, with a Spartan interior (like the real one) and one-piece wings.  The biggest challenge will be not to destroy the fuselage in the building process and to align the struts and the landing gear. 

 Markings are provided for 5 aircrafts: 2 civilians, one 1941 US Army ambulance, one 1948 Israeli version and one for Syria also in 1948.  They appear to be quite usable and in register. 

 

CONCLUSIONS

 This kit will allow your creativity to flow since you are not limited to military markings.  A lot of J-3 are still flying today, along with a variety of schemes.  Hobbycraft also makes a civilian boxing of the kit for those with more affinities with bush flying.  In short, the L-4 appears like a simple build that will not use a lot of room in the display case and itíll sure make a change from high-powered WW2 machines! 

 

REFERENCES

 --------, Janeís Encyclopedia of Aviation, New York, Crescent Books, 1996.

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