R S Models 1/72 Zlin Z-XII/XIII

KIT #: 92043
PRICE: $25.15 from www.greatmodels.com  
DECALS: options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run - Two kits


The Zlín Z-XII was a Czechoslovak twin-seat sports aircraft and the first major design success by the Zlínská Letecká Akciová Spolecnost (Zlín) aircraft manufacturing company after its founding in Otrokovice after the takeover by the Bata Group.

The low-wing all-wooden aircraft was designed by Jaroslav Lonek. Two prototypes, with different engines, were presented in April 1935. These were subjected to an extensive test program.

The Z-XII, equipped with the Persy II engine emerged as the winner from the tests. The Z-212 was an improved version, equipped with a Walter Mikron engine. The aircraft could also come with an open cockpit or with a cockpit hood. It was a very popular aircraft and it was exported to many countries.

Production of the Z-212 ran under German supervision after the occupation of Czechoslovakia. The German Luftwaffe operated Z-XIIs and Z-212s until 1943, and about 20 Z-XIIs went to Slovakia. One Z-212 was captured by the Americans at the end of World War II. It was later used for sightseeing flights. Another Z-XII survived the war, being disassembled into parts in Otrokovi

ce. It was later rebuilt and flew with the registration OK-ZJD.

A total of 201 Z-XII and 58 (other sources mention 51) Z-212 were built, as well as a few modern replicas.

The Zlin Z-XIII was a purpose built racing and high speed courier aircraft. It was built in 1937 using a 130 hp Wlater Major 4 in line four cylinder engine. It had a maximum speed of 350 kph, but also, a very high landing speed of 140 kph. This required a very experienced pilot to fly it, unlike the Z-XII which was a docile and fun to fly plane that sold very well.


RS provides two complete kits in this boxing, probably figuring you'd feel cheated if it only included the racer as it is a rather small model. So on the large sprue (of which you'll use about half), you get the Z-XII and this includes the resin prop and nose section so be sure to get your razor saw ready. It has your basics like floor, seats, sticks rudder pedals and photo etch belts. But so does the Z-XIII.

There is a dividing section for the interior that according to the instructions "goes somewhere between the front and rear seats". Well, not precisely, but you'll have to "guesstimate" where it fits using the canopy as a guide. The main landing gear are built up of three struts which should be quite rigid when done. The wings and the tail plane pieces are all butt join, however a diagram is provided for alignment.

Moving on to the Z-XIII, this is on two small sprue sections. Again, it is butt join stuff, but you can build this one as either a single or twin seat aircraft. A cover for the front cockpit is provided and there are two canopies. By the way, all the canopies on this are injected plastic so no worries with vacuformed stuff. This kit has very short wings and the landing gear are resin. I should mention that the detail on both kits is fairly well done with some internal structure provided.

Instructions for each aircraft are four construction steps plus a parts layout. No interior color information is supplied so you are on your own in the 'wtf' department. In fact, there is only generic info for the outside color scheme. The Z-XII is yellow overall, though with the hundreds of these sold, if you can find a photo, you have another option. The racer is in silver, and this may well be silver dope instead of aluminum. The details on both planes are in red, which almost seems to be a standard of sorts for Czech aircraft of the time. The decal sheet is well printed and probably very thin. The color painting guide is on the back of the box.


Another very interesting pre-WWII subject and even more so since it is a civil aviation type, something we don't see kitted very often. I'm sure that this will appeal to some of you as it does to me. Should make for a more interesting pair of models.


Wikipedia and kit instructions

September 2010

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