Airmodel 1/72 Granau Baby

KIT: Airmodel 1/72 Granau Baby
KIT #: AM 335
PRICE: € 4.50
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: an early release vac form kit, no decals or interior details.


Gliders have not always given the due importance when it comes to kit issues considering the roles they have played for introducing aviation enthusiasts to induction flying and the role it played during the war. There are several series of sporting gliders. Some of the early ones were relatively crude type on which pilots could learn their skill, others were intermediary trainers and there are also advanced high performance types. In the interests of both of lightness and cheapness, single seaters were initially used for training. Just before the war, car-towing and winches were beginning to be standard practice for launching gliders. For training a two-seater is normally used which has a single plywood fuselage of streamlined shape, with flat sides, and strut-braced wings of moderate aspect ratio. In addition to two seaters there are similar single seater types, relatively cheap with a fair performance called intermediaries. The beautifully streamlined advanced sailplanes used for soaring are works of art. Although winch launching is still used with these high performance sailplanes, it is more usual to use a powered aircraft to tow them off to a good starting height and to cut them adrift in the neighbourhood of a thermal.

 Since 1932 more than 6,000 Grunau Baby of all models have been built in 20 countries. The Grunau Baby was a typical early type of glider that gained popularity before the war. It was developed in Germany and continued to be used for many more years after the war. 4104 Grunau Baby gliders rolled from workshops in Germany and the occupied countries alone. It became the most popular glider of all time. Besides Germany after the war thousands were built in Czechoslovakia, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain and Australia. The Baby II was nearly a perfect club sail plane, relatively easy to build from plans, flew well and strong enough to handle mild aerobatics and the occasional hard landing. It is made of wood, a high wing braced monoplane with a fuselage of hexagonal cross section. The structural design being developed from the wooden light aircraft. It has no concentrated load, no engine vibration or torque and relatively low landing and flight speeds. The stresses in a glider being much lower than in a powered aircraft.

The Grunau Baby has a thick wing section employing a single spar with thin plywood leading edge. It has struts that support a wing of simple construction. The high shoulder-wing layout of the Grunau is almost universal and it keeps the wings clear of the ground when landing, so minimising the chances of damage from hitting ground obstacles.  It has the essential instruments as air-speed indicator, sensitive altimeter, compass, venture operated instruments such as directional gyro, turn and bank indicator and possibly artificial horizon. The Granau Baby was employed by a number of air forces principally for induction training of cadets. One such air force is that of Sweden where the glider was used to introduce new personnel for flight training before they move to basic powered training aircraft. The Baby II has a length of 20’, Span of 44’6”, a rate of climb of 180’ per minute and a maximum speed of 93 mph. 


The kit comes packed in a polythene bag containing the sheet of vacform white plastic that carried the kit parts, and this was complete with an A4 size instruction sheet which on one side is depicted 4-view scale plans and suggesting pre war German markings that carried civil registration with a red bend on tail fin and rudder having a swastika on a white disc. On the other side of the instruction sheet there is an exploded assembly drawing of the kit and the carrier trolley. Small items not included with the kit are also depicted in order to give indication of what small items would be needed for scratch building. The vacform sheet contains wing and fuselage halves. No decals are supplied and a simple arch windscreen has to be provided by one's good self. 


Construction starts with the cockpit area. This is mainly scratch built from the backing plastic sheet. The cockpit is of simple construction and consists of a floor which is cut to fit the inside width, a seat complete with a headrest, control column, rudder pedals, and a seat harness to go with the crew seat. The next main task was to score the edge of the vacform parts and bend them till they snap from the backing sheet. Sanding of the parts follows starting with the two tail plane parts. These happened to be slightly blistered on the outer face and therefore needed to bring down by sanding or scraping using a modelling knife. The two piece to and bottom main planes also needed similar treatment and fashioned to conform to the scale plans. This also required re-engraving the ailerons and other surface detail that had to be removed to bring down the thickness of the wing sections. The engraving was done using a blunt blade scored against a 6 inch steel rule.

The fuselage was then cut, sanded and the floor fitted after making adjustment to the width in order to fit in place. Whole assembly painted khaki as for fabric. The seat was brown and having green canvas head rest. Seat straps in light Khaki were added. Instrument panel was also added but interior detail won’t destruct modellers as this is sparse and very little can be seen from the tiny open cockpit. A landing skid is cut and fitted to lower fuselage. Joint lines required a little filler followed by sanding.  The main planes were carefully glued to the upper fuselage in accordance to the scale plans.

The wing to fuselage area also required some filler and reshaping. Wing struts were cut from surplus plastic and fitted in place. The tail planes were also fixed in place and tail plane struts made from stretch sprue added. Tail skid was also made from a piece of shaped sprue. A trolley was built from a piece of metal paper clip with side brackets added to using super glue. Two inverted ‘U’ metal bits were also glued to the flat top of the trolley so that the fuselage skid can slide and hold the glider on the trolley. A pair of wheels from spares box was added to complete the carrier trolley. 


The glider kit was completed in color markings picked from a photo that someone took in Sweden. This depicted a white and red Granau Baby and carried markings of the Swedish Air Force. The kit was first given an overall coat of gloss white, which upon drying revealed a few blemishes and light surface scratches. These were attended to using smooth wet and dry sanding. Another coat was then airbrushed using Revell   gloss enamel white. This was allowed to dry for 6 hours. No tricky masking is involved as it consisted of straight demarcation lines using Tamiya masking tape covering the white areas and the kit was then airbrushed in Model Master Acrylic ‘Blood Red’. This was again allowed to dry and the kit was hand brushed with a coat of floor polish liquid.

 For Swedish AF Flygvapnet insignia of the correct size I have picked from Swedish decal sheet Speciaaltryck Decals sheet 0011, Wing F9. The serial ref No 3, of the correct size, was picked from spare decal box. Finally the kit was given an overall airbrush coat of 50:50 thinner and clear varnish.


 Building the Granau Baby by Airmodel can be an opportunity for anyone to make a start on vacform modeling, as it is one of the simplest kits that one can find in this form. It can also be added to anyone’s kit collection irrespective if one builds military or civil aircraft models. Liveries are available for both. The end result was quite pleasing and certainly not beyond the capacity of most modelers with that little extra effort. This was my second build of the Granau Baby. The kit can be acquired from

 NOTA BENE The kit is supplied also in resin -Kit No 2083.  

Carmel J. Attard

April 2008

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