1/72 Farman F 190

KIT #:
PRICE: Cheap
REVIEWER: Chris Peachment
NOTES: Scratch-built using plastic card and rod.


Having built the Farman Jabiru, and the Farman Flying Fish for this website some months ago, I began to surfing for other examples of the Farman aircraft and what soon came up was the F 190, a passenger and utility aircraft built in the 20s and 30s. It was a high-wing conventional monoplane of with enclosed cabin and fixed undercarriage with tail skid. It was very popular both as an air taxi and also a private aircraft. Thirty examples were  operated by airlines in France and Europe. Fifteen of these were in the Air France fleet from 1933, and there was an air ambulance version, the F 197S (for "Sanitaire") with two litters and an attendant.

Like every other aircraft of this period, they were also used in the Spanish Civil War, so you can make a camouflaged one if you like.

My model represents the F190 in the markings of Air Union Lignes d'Orient 1930, Mission d’étude Paris-Hanoi, which flew a route from Paris to what was then Indo-China, later Vietnam. 

The 190 came with a number of engine variants. Mine has the 230 hp five cylinder Gnome Rhone. Many others used a larger Salmson or Hispano Suiza engine.

It is a handsome aircraft with clean square cut lines, which make scratch building all the easier because of few compound curves. Even the windscreen is flat, so there is no need for plunge moulding.  A term which grips my entrails with ice cold fingers of steel.


I found a card model website which happened to have free downloadable plans which can be photocopied onto card, and then folded and glued to make a nice looking card model of the Farman. Card modelling does seem to be coming on apace, and I have seen some excellent examples on various websites which could be said to rival their plastic equivalents. Never having tried it, however, I stuck with what I know.

The card cut out model provided very good templates for tacking onto plastic card with some blue-tack and then cutting out. I also used this very nice orange-red example (there are a variety of markings) to make decal markings. Simply put the plans on top of a photocopier and run a blank  sheet of decal paper through instead of ordinary paper. It won't print white of course, but that didn't matter here.

The fuselage floor, sides and top were cut out first. Note that there is a boat-like chine under the nose. A 'pie-slice” can be cut out of the floor at the nose,  pinched together and glued to form the chine. The round windows must be cut from the sides at this point, using a drill initially, and then a sharp scalpel. 

I decided to detail the interior, and so some seats were put together from card, and then an overhead luggage rack was woven from thin string, some cushions for the seats made in fabric, hand painted a tartan pattern, a magazine rack complete with some scaled down magazines, and a drinks cabinet with a full compliment of 1/72 whisky and gin bottles and glasses made from perspex. Sitting in one of the seats is a fashionable lady clad in furs, with a small lapdog which is a 1/72 Chihuahua. Foolishly I forgot to add interior lights, and so none of this can be seen. And you, dear readers, may now all cry in unison “But it is nice to know that it is there.” The same with the cockpit, although if you shine a powerful torch at the side screen, you can make out that the interior colour is grey.

The wings were made in time honoured fashion. By which I mean a thickish card underside, a rod for the spar laid across the span, abut 1/3 of the chord back from the leading edge, and then some thin card, scored underneath for ribs, with a black biro and steel rule, is first glued to the leading edge, than when set, folded over to the leading edge.

The trailing edge has very small scallops in it. These are best done now. I hadn't noticed them until I had almost finished.  As a consequence the upper wings near the tips have some interesting dents in them from being gripped while cutting off the scallops. Careful analysis of existing photos will reveal that most aircraft of this period had dents and ripples all over them, from buffeting in the air, or rough handling on the ground. Alas, mine just looked like dents in a model, so I filled them in as best I could with filler, and left a few for weathering's sake. The tail planes can be cut from solid card, scored for ribs, and elevators, and the rudder made separately

 At this point everything got several coats of Aramantha Red from the Vallejo range number 70.829. It is a lovely shade, and seems to match the plans. The upper wing tanks were put together from thin rod, with a couple of thick rod sections for the filler caps. They got a coat of oily steel,  and gun metal for a little variation here and there.

 Decals should also be applied at this point. The only swine-ish part of the build now occurred, with the decals having to be applied over the fuel tanks. This involved many dousings in Microset, though that still left a few unsettled parts. These were finally cut through with a scalpel, hammered down with more Microset, and then the gaps filled with matt black paint. When viewed obliquely, the results are hideous. Seen square on however they are perfect. Such is parallax.

 Glue the wings and tail on. Then make up some struts to length, and note that they have varying widths. Glue them all on, and add a couple of little axles for the wheels. There is even a template for the cockpit glazing on the card plans, though it is best to cut it oversize then trim to fit. Not that some Farman have a vee-shaped windscreen, and some a flat. Employing Occam's Razor, also known as choosing the path of least resistance, and also known as sheer laziness, I chose flat, and masked it off for the frames.

 Control horns were made from scrap plastic, and control wires came from Uschi's new rigging thread. It is so thin as to be near invisible. I think I prefer my old elastic mending thread. When I make stuff I want it to be seen. There is no point in hiding one's light under a bushel.

 After all that it is a final gallop down the home stretch. I had an old white metal five cylinder radial from Aeroclub which fitted the bill. The exhaust collector ring and exhaust pipe were made from solder. Everything got a coat of matt black, some gunmetal dry brushing for detail, and some rust for the exhaust. Wheels came from the Big Bag of Wheels. The tail skid was made from straight rod. And finally a propeller was carved from a bigger propeller, painted mid stone, with dark earth grain and given an etched spinner plate. And as always, the final touch is to mount it at ten to four. The next time I am feeling jaunty I might well try a daring five to five.


There you have it, a rare example of a great aircraft which was much used and liked in its day and really ought to have been kitted by a short run manufacturer by now. But for some reason, they fight shy of Farmans.  

I have not looked at Howard Hawks masterpiece, Only Angels Have Wings, for a long time now. But I have a feeling that the sequence in which a Doctor is flown in, might well have used a Farman F 190. If I am wrong, please don't write to tell me. I plan to watch the film again soon.

 The Next model on my agenda may well be a small one with the intriguing name of Farman Carte Postale, or Post Card. I feel strongly that one ought to have an aircraft called a Post Card.

 It is the sort of aircraft that might have featured in  Bruce McCall's Zany Afternoons. And if you haven't heard of that book, look up some of the entries with their cartoons on the internet. It is the funniest book about aviation ever produced. One favourite of mine is the Humbly-Pudge Gallipoli, described as a heavy-ish bomber. Unaccountably, it does not feature in the Airfix catalogue which is a disgraceful omission.








Chris Peachment

September 2014

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page