Broplan 1/72 PWS-10
|NOTES:||Vacuform kit with decals|
The PWS-10 was designed by Aleksander Grzędzielski and Augustyn Zdaniewski (which I can spell for you, but cannot pronounce), and constructed by the Podlaska Wytwórnia Samolotów - Podlasie Aircraft Factory. It has its place in history as the very first all-Polish fighter to enter serial production.
It replaced the French SPAD 61s in their Air Force and design began in in 1927. It first flew in March 1930, at the same time as the PZL P1, a more modern fighter, was developed. That was a more capable machine, but the War Ministry decided that it needed further work, and so 80 PWS-10s was ordered as a temporary measure.
They were built 1931-2. A biplane version, the PWS-15, was tried, but while it was more manoeuvrable, it had a lower top speed and so nothing came of it.
Mixed construction of canvas and plywood was employed. The fuselage had a metal frame, covered with duralamin at the front and canvas at the rear. The engine was a water cooled W-12 layout by Lorraine-Dietrich, built under licence by Skoda.
Twenty PWS-10s were sold the Spanish Nationalist forces in the Civil War, though they were not used as fighters, only for pilot training. On one of the websites below you can find them in their mottled camouflage, and that might make a nice option, especially as Spanish Civil War markings are easy to paint on, if you do not have any decals.
During the German invasion 1939 they were too obsolete for combat, but were used for reconnaissance flights in the first days. And in the usual spirit of Polish insane courage, I expect a few grenades were thrown at the advancing Wehrmacht.
I found this kit by chance at an IPMS meeting where it was lurking under the table of one of the clubs. “Yours for a fiver,” said the sharp salesman sitting behind the table, noticing the furrows in my brow and acquisitive gleam around the eyes. At that price I could hardly refuse, most especially because I had never heard of the aircraft before.
I had never made anything by Broplan before either, but this is surprisingly good for a vacform kit. The details on all the parts are fairly well moulded, without too much irregularity, and the plastic is of a good thickness to allow sanding. The only problems I encountered were around the three cylinder banks on the nose, which had been stretched thin by the moulding process, and didn't allow very much sanding before vanishing into thin air.
Each marking on the decal sheet has to be cut around as the whole sheet is varnished. But with square markings that is not difficult. I find a pair of sharp scissors better than a scalpel, as even a new blade on a scalpel tends to lift the edge which you are cutting and damage the marking.
One good tip, if this is your first vacform, is to cut strips off the dead sheets of plastic and make you own locating tabs. Simply glue a strip at intervals along the edge of one fuselage half, with an overhang, and then the other half will marry up very well. And don't worry about poor alignments or glue marks. It all comes off in the sanding. As it happened, very little problem was encountered with the wings or tail, since they were a good fit. The trick is to sand the training edges to within an inch of their life, and then you will have nice clean lines.
As with all vacforms, the struts and the prop are only one sided, and so they can be used as templates for strut lengths.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Once wing and fuselage were complete, they were painted separately. The instructions suggest a scheme of Khaki Drab, but I have one too may Polish aircraft in this dull colour and so I chose to do a silver one, with bright red markings. Paint came from a Humbrol rattle can, Silver number 11. I tried a darker silver for the canvas parts, but the difference can't be seen in the pictures, and only by humans if they have cat's eyes, and are hunting at dusk. The red bits are easily masked off and done with Tamiya Red X-7, which is one of the very few Tamiya paints which can be brushed, although you have to move quickly, or the usual clumping occurs.
After that, cut some cabane struts, and let the parasol wing rest on them until set. Then come the mainplane struts, measured from the vacform ones. At this point a pair of X-plan rigging wires each side should be added. Then the support struts, using pictures from below to see where they go.
The undercarriage struts have to be cut from lengths of strut material, and once in place, I addressed the nose mounted radiator, which is hopelessly blobby in the vacform part. I used that as a template and added extra thickness of plastic card, sanded it all to the correct shape, and then detailed the front with plastic rods for the vents. Narrow rod was used for the mountings.
Each cylinder banks had four very short exhausts and these were cut from rod, painted dark rust with black exhaust holes, and cemented in place. How easy it is to write that last phrase. For “cemented in place”, read “reduced a grown man to sobs of frustration and rage as he put three pairs of reading glasses in his nose and pushed around tiny lengths of glue-encrusted plastic, with a dental pick, until they all lined up, and then showed that several were of the wrong length”.
I sometimes wonder if all modellers are not masochists. We are certainly afflicted with something, and medical science might not yet have a name for it. Plasto-psychotic perhaps? Polystyrosis? Whatever the name, there is no known cure. The condition can only be alleviated by more plastic, arranged in piles in the loft.
I noticed in some of the photos that there seems to be a rear-view mirror mounted on the port rear cabane, and so one was rustled up from scrap plastic and rod. Same regarding a tail skid and two struts for the tailplane.
Finally, I used the spinner from the kit, with gaps for the blades carefully cut away, and two prop blades from the Big Bag of Propellers in my spares box. And the same applies to the wheels. Use the vacform ones to find a pair of the same diameter in your Big Bag of Wheels.
A very purposeful looking fighter and one which points the way toward the more famous PZL 11. I have always been fond of parasol winged fighters, most especially all those French ones of the interwar years. No vacform I ever make is going to win prizes, because I don't have the time or desire for super-detailing. But if you want to add to your knowledge of rare and interesting aircraft this is the only game in town. Although I believe there is a 1/48 one made by a Polish company called X Resin. There are even some card models available to be downloaded from various websites, but they won't interest anyone afflicted with Polystyrosis.
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