Kopro/KP 1/72 Piper L-4H
KIT #: P72132
DECALS: Two options
NOTES: New tool kit


20,000 of these planes were made. The L-4 Grasshopper was mechanically identical to the J-3 civilian Cub, but was distinguishable by the use of a Plexiglass greenhouse skylight and rear windows for improved visibility.

According to the website of the Polish Aviation Museum at Krakow:

"By the end of the 1940's Poland had bought 141 PIPERS, registering 127 of them. They were in service with the regional aero clubs, flying as school and training aircraft, ambulances, agricultural and executive aircraft. In the late Fifties, the majority of the nicknamed "Kubuś" L-4's were concealed under the veil of standardisation of flying equipment."

One of these planes seems to have been SP-AFY, an air ambulance on floats.

I previewed this simple kit right here on Modeling Madness.

Cockpit is pretty basic. I used a leftover instrument panel decal from a long-forgotten plane and scrounged up the bench from my old Academy Dodge ambulance kit to put a stretcher in behind the pilot's seat. Yellow tape made some restraints, as well as a seatbelt for the pilot.

At that point, I glued the fuselage halves together, remembering first to install the dinky little motor inside the engine compartment. This is pretty simplistic with its four cylinders poking outside.

The first of two tricky parts came next. I build up the internal framework that forms what looks like a rollcage over the cockpit area. It's made up of four parts. I used superglue so that I wouldn't have to sit around all week holding the parts in the proper place. Starting from the rear I built up this structure.

The wings and clear cockpit ceiling went on next, and then the front windscreen. All straightforward although the side windows have a pretty decent sized gap between their bottom edge and the fuselage.

The last part of the main aircraft I attached was the windscreen, and then two small parts up near the engine. There is meant to be a flat panel above the engine cylinders, but when it came time to install them, I realised what that part that I'd used to hold up the pilot's seat had been for. Ooops.

The second tricky bit was getting the floats on in something roughly approximating the correct alignment. Again, superglue to the rescue (and a bit of patience).
This model doesn't weigh much. Mine actually blew off the table when a gust of wind came in from outside, more or less demolishing the kit. I put it back together but it looked a bit like a kit that blew off a table and got put back together.
Also, I should have put in a bit of nose weight. When not on its stand, this one is a tail sitter. Who knew a float plane would need nose weight? Either that, or I should have played round with the lengths of the stalks that hold the floats on. (As a note from your editor, I have had this happen as well and have learned that it is prudent to put some weight in the front of the floats to help prevent this from happening) The stand doesn't come with the kit.

For a while I thought this was going to be white until I read the instructions more carefully. I used brush-painted Tamiya XF-16 for the bulk of the plane and Tamiya flat red on the nose.

I see that Kopro is putting out a line of decal sheets, and so I hope they are a bit more robust than the ones that have come with every Kopro kit I've ever built. I know Kopro is under new management since a few years ago and releases better decals with their new kits. Perhaps my Cub was from the previous generation. Anyway, the decals were fragile and needed the jigsaw puzzle treatment on the large lettering, as well as on the side lettering. After Mr Mark Softer had done his work, I used flat black and a fine brush to touch up some of the areas where the decals had cracked or split.

The red crosses worked well and I like the way they look against the silver.

I liked this kit. The alternative seems to be a resin CMR kit. This Kopro alternative is cheaper, and probably easier to build if you've not used resin before. For most people the level of detail will be fine. A quick and fairly straightforward build that just requires some patience with the floats and decals.

As a final note, if you live in a windy town, keep it away from open windows!

wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_J-3_Cub

 Richard F

April 2015

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