Maquette 1/500 R-100 Airship




@ $40.00


one airship


Scott Van Aken


Old Frog mold


Built in 1929 during the 'golden age' of airships, the R-100 was used for passenger service between the UK and other places in the British Commonwealth/Empire, specifically Canada, Egypt and India. As with other European dirigibles, it was an aluminum framework covered with fabric. Lifting was provided by hydrogen and motive power by six 660 hp Rolls Royce Condor engines, giving it a top speed of 132 kph and a range of 6,000 km when the winds were right!

As with all airships of the day, it was luxurious, comprising of 32 staterooms in which 100 passengers could be carried. Since these craft were supposed to be aerial ocean liners, they had the usual large dining room, bar and 'promenade' where passengers could watch the world go by. The R-100 ended its days as a test and research platform. However, it was pulled from service after the crash and destruction of the R-101, which, typical of dirigibles of its time, was destroyed with a rather high loss of life.



Maquette is one of the many companies that makes its name by reboxing old Frog kits. It is no secret amongst those of us who have been in this hobby a long time, that when Frog went into receivership in the mid 1970s, most of the molds were bought by the Russians (all except the German planes, which were bought by Revell AG). Over the years these kits have been showing up under a plethora of different names.

The kit itself is really rather large. As you can see from the image above, it suffers a lot from flash, a real problem with these old Frog molds. However, Maquette has done a smaller mold of the really bad parts (the props, for instance) so that you don't have to carve these bits from the surrounding flash. The airship itself is really quite simple with most of the bits being in the engines and support struts.

The rest of the kit is made up of the mooring tower that was in Montreal. Now attaching this rather large and heavy airship to the mast is just asking for it to fall, so Maquette has included a thick plastic 'base'. Actually it is just a sheet of 40 thousands plastic, but if you mount the tower assembly well enough, it should keep things from falling over. Also included is a metal rod which you bend and install in the airship and in the tower. Maquette should be commended on these additions as well as the modification of a few other kit parts. No way would the original Frog plastic rod be able to hold this beastie up!

The instructions are two sheets of photocopied instructions that have seen better days and are a bit difficult to read. However, the kit itself is pretty basic so the instructions are more than sufficient to enable one to build the kit. There is a decal sheet in greyshade for the cabin windows and for the registration. This beastie was painted in overall aluminum dope so you can use your favorite metallizer and just give it a bit of a dulling down after the decals are put in place. Not too sure how well the decals will work, so I'd try a small one first in case they disintegrate.



If nothing else, this is a most unusual kit. The scale is odd and the subject is something one rarely sees. Sure, it is an old kit and the parts are probably a bit warped and full of flash, but nothing that an intermediate modeler couldn't wade through. If nothing else, it will probably be unique amongst the other models on your shelf!

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