|PRICE:||$17.00 SRP ($14.40 at www.greatmodels.com)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Reboxed Matchbox kit|
The Noorduyn Norseman is a Canadian single-engine bush plane designed to operate from unimproved surfaces. Norseman aircraft are known to have been registered and/or operated in 68 countries throughout the world and also have been based and flown on the Arctic and Antarctic continents.
The first Norseman, powered by a Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind, was flight tested on floats 14 November 1935 and was sold and delivered to Dominion Skyways Ltd. on 18 January 1936, registered as "CF-AYO" and named “Arcturus." In summer 1941, Warner Brothers leased CF-AYO for the filming of "Captains of the Clouds" starring James Cagney. Principal aerial photography took place near North Bay, Ontario with CF-AYO carrying temporary registration "CF-HGO."
Almost immediately, the Norseman proved itself to be a rugged, reliable workhorse with steady sales. The first aircraft, CF-AYO, was designated the Norseman Mk I. The next aircraft, "CF-BAU," having some minor changes required after the certification tests, and a new Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp SC-1 engine up-rated from 420 to 450 hp, was designated Norseman Mk II while the next three aircraft were Norseman Mk IIIs: "CF-AZA" going to MacKenzie Air Service, Edmonton, Alberta, "CF-AZE" to Prospector Airways, Clarkson, Ontario and "CF-AZS" to Starrat Airways, Hudson, Ontario. "CF-BAU" would be modified on 26 June 1937 to became the prototype Norseman Mk IV, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H-1. The Mk IV became the "definitive" model but the production run may have ended at a few hundred examples if not for the advent of the Second World War.
Thanks to the needs of the war, over 900 aircraft were eventually built with many still flying today.
As many of you know, Revell AG bought Matchbox and thanks to that purchase, you can find Matchbox kits with some ease today. Of course, the unwary are often less than thrilled to find what they thought was a new mold Revell kit to be a Matchbox kit of some 30 years back.
Matchbox kits offered good general shape and often easy construction, unhindered by a load of detail and small parts. So it is with this Norseman kit. Now molded in just a standard greenish grey plastic instead of the multi-hues of years past, these molds have held up very well. I found no real problems with the molding. The fabric surfaces are a bit overstated especially on the flight surfaces. However, a light sanding and a coat or two of paint will reduce that to something more believable.
While Matchbox kits have often had a good external detail level, their interiors have often been disappointing in the lack of detail and the generic nature of the fixtures. This one is no exception with no cabin detail and a pair of bland seat shapes for the two crew members. At least there is a control column and instrument panel. To be honest, little of the inside can be seen through the fairly thick clear bits, so I guess it isn't much of a loss. All the cabin clear panes are installed from the inside. Flight surfaces all have separate control surfaces, which is a nice touch. Flaps seem to be able to be posed only in the up position. There are some optional bits. You have the choice between two and three blade props and you can have your Norseman mounted on wheels, skis or floats. Though not often the case, these planes with floats could be found with an additional keel under the tail section.
Instructions are typical Revell with Revell paint references requiring some paint mixing to get what others offer pre-mixed. Two markings options are the box art UC-64A from the 320th Transport Squadron in 1944 with its colorful yellow and black checked cowling. Even more colorful is the Canadian bush plane in Yellow and Emerald Green and registered CF-SAM with an air ambulance company in 1948. Decals are 'printed in Italy' which means Cartograf, decals that are a ton better than the original Matchbox.
Though not a huge seller, it is a kit that appeals to many, including me. I really like the movie 'Captains of the Clouds' and thanks to this kit, I've all the hardware to do Brian MacLean's dark blue and orange Norseman.
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You can find this and many other great kits and accessories at GreatModels
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page