Pavla 1/72 Siebel Fh-104 'Hallore'

KIT #: 72-062
PRICE: £15.50
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Short run with resin, vacuformed and etched brass parts

HISTORY

Developed in the early thirties, the Siebel Fh 104 evolved from a project of a twin engine, low wing aircraft with retractable undercarriage as a fast transport for five persons plus mail. It has rapidly turned into a popular general purpose, courier and liaison aircraft and as a squadron hack. The plant in Saxon Halle was taken over by Fritz W. Siebel, the sport pilot. In this plant various German licensed types were produced. The maiden flight of the Fh 104 took place in February 1937 and subsequent types achieved successes in speed races and becoming famous in long distance, cross-country flight to Cape Town. 46 aircraft were produced until 1942 and were in service with the Luftwaffe to be flown by personalities as Adolf Galland and Ernst Udet.

 The Fh 104 had a wing span of 12.6m, length of 9.5m, and a height of 2.64m. It achieved a maximum speed of 350 Km/hour and had a range of 920 Km.

THE KIT

The kit is contained in a standard Pavla style of box with a pair of colour side views depicted on each of the box covers. These are only four of the five colour scheme options that come with the kit. A comprehensive instruction booklet in form of an 8 page of A5 size containing 24 stages of construction. The kit is moulded n grey plastic with all the main parts on one sprue tree. The kit also includes a vac form canopy which also includes a spare one; there is a brass fret with good detail parts for cockpit office and undercarriage; and a nice selection of resin detail parts comprising seats for cockpit and for main passenger cabin area; undercarriage leg detail or a nice set of skis for building the snow version. There is also a resin insert for the engine front while the exhausts ports at the sides of engines are finely produced in photo etch.

CONSTRUCTION

 The first stages of construction deal with the assembly of the cockpit and cabin interior followed by the detailing of the undercarriage. The engine and nacelle is a sub assembly on its own and when it comes to the propellers one has to ensure that the blades are set properly when glued in place since they come as separate blade items so that the side alignment and the pitch of propeller are checked before these were allowed to set.

 When it comes to assembling the undercarriage in lowered position the first requirement is to clean parts from excess flush around the wheel items using a smooth flat file. A 1mm diameter hole is then drilled at centre of each wheel so that the oleo shaft will slide in it. The brass supports are cut from fret using a pair of scissors. The mudguards needed some cleaning up from flash. In assembling the undercarriage I suggest that the mud guards are the last thing to go on the supports after the wheels and supports are first inserted into the shaft. This will ensure a safe and easy alignment of parts rather than fixing the mud guards to supports as suggested in instructions. When it came to fit the two undercarriage assemblies to the wing a 1.5mm diameter hole is drilled on the wings as per instructions and the undercarriage leg is only inserted after the nacelles are in place and each correctly centred. The oleo brass scissors are the last thing to go on the oleo.

 The assembly of the rest of the kit went smooth with the fitting of the seating arrangement, cockpit instruments, rudder pedal, control stick etc which are all fitted to the cockpit floor. A bulkhead fitted at the back of the cabin complete and the assembly is glued to one half or the fuselage. All the resin and brass etch items as well as seats and interior are painted during the assembly as per instructions. Following this the vac form canopy is cut to size using scissors until the best fit to the fuselage was attained. This was then masked at the windows area and gently fitted onto the fuselage using white glue. Once set a tiny drop of super glue was applied to a couple of vintage points to further secure the canopy in place as white glue alone may not be strong enough to stand further handling during blending with filler at the joining line. The mainplanes and tailplanes are butt joining to the fuselage sides, these also required minimal filling. It is suggested to drill tiny locating holes where the under fuselage antenna is fixed, this will make the task of centralising the horizontal antennae much easier. It was not quite clear which was the correct way to fix these as the instructions side views shows them fixed one way and the colour art work shows them different and to me the latter seemed to be the ideal way to fix these for safety reason for the ground crew. I also found that it was best to replace the mast antenna fitted over the cockpit area with a steel pin of same thickness and length to the brass etch one. This I found to be sturdier when the wireless, made of 0.25mm hi-tech quality ‘Camor’ fishing line, is joined from tail fin to the mast upper.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I have followed the instruction colour code so that the wheel hubs are Schwartzgrau 66 and the interior of cabin, wheel oleo, nacelle interior, frame of resin seats, floor, rudder pedals are Grey RLM2. Cabin instruments are Schwartz grey 66 and black. Seats are leather colour. The exterior of the aircraft are first painted in an overall undercoat of white satin and after light wet and dry sanding the kit was given two coats of blood red using Model Master 4352 which is a water wash up allowing an hour in between coats. This produced very smooth finish in air brush but it produced equally good finish during paint brush touch up. The kit was then given a coat of Glanzer floor polish liquid prior to applying decals. Cockpit and window masking was then removed.

 The decals are neatly printed and of very good quality allowing application with ease. The only touching up that was needed was to the ‘racer number’ 27 which covers up the nacelle exhaust holes that were re touched in black. This aircraft represented the one flown by Ernst Udet which carries German registration D-ILFR that he flew in air race in 1938. As there is a rudder balance weight applied to the Swastika decal area it is suggested to fix the decal first and in the end place the rudder brass etch balance. This will avoid touching up as my experience have showed me since I placed the balance brass etch before the decal. This decal option was in fact only one of five others, all German. These include Galland’s famous DT+CL that is finished in RLM 70-71-65 and it has a Mickey Mouse on the engine nacelles and a full set of squadron badges on both sides of the nose. Another offer is of the type based in Greece circa 1942 which is finished in standard three tones as the previous one with a difference that in addition there are desert camouflage areas. Another one is in overall RLM 63 coded white 39. This was based in Norway and has skis on the gear. Finally there is an overall RLM 63 which has also a black lightning bolt running down the fuselage sides. So one cannot do without a Siebel Fh-104 as a hack or transport aircraft when you have a squadron of built 109s at this scale!

CONCLUSIONS

 This kit has turned into an overall nice build with no unusual hitches whatsoever. It goes together very well and displayed next to other brightly coloured civil registered pre war era aircraft still makes it to stand out. It is definitely recommended to Luftwaffe aircraft enthusiasts in particular. Those who never tried Pavla models before should have a go at this one and it is one of several twin engine type offered in the Pavla range.

 Carmel J. Attard

August 2007

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