ZTS/Mikro72 1/72 RWD-5
KIT #: S-05
PRICE: $3.00 or so when new
DECALS: Two registration numbers
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The RWD 5 was constructed by the RWD team of Stanisław Rogalski, Stanisław Wigura and Jerzy Drzewiecki (their designs were named RWD after their initial letters). It was a further development of earlier RWD aircraft series (RWD 1, RWD 2, RWD 3 and RWD 7), especially of its direct predecessor, the RWD 4. It shared the same wing shape and construction, while the fuselage was totally new, constructed of steel frame, unlike its wooden predecessors. The fuselage had a modern shape and a closed canopy with panoramic windows (earlier models had atypical fish-shaped fuselages with no direct forward view from the pilot's seat).

The first prototype (registration SP-AGJ) was flown on 7 August 1931 by its designer Jerzy Drzewiecki. It was built in new workshops of Warsaw University of Technology near Okęcie airport, from 1933 converted to Doświadczalne Warsztaty Lotnicze (DWL) company.

After successes of the prototype in air competitions, a small-scale series production was set up, mostly for the Polish Aero Club. Series aircraft had improved landing gear. Two were built in 1932 (registration SP-AJA and AJB), five in 1933 (including the single-seater RWD 5bis), eleven in 1934 (including one in Aero Club workshops in Lublin) and one more in 1937 (SP-BGX), for a total of 20 aircraft. In 1932, the RWD 5 was shown at the International Air Show in Paris. The RWD-5bis gained fame for flying the South Atlantic from Senegal to Brazil non-stop and setting a distance record for small light aircraft.


This is a kit I've had in the collection for so long that I don't recall where I got it. The kit is definitely from the Cold War era as the box and instructions are in a pretty cheap paper/cardboard, the decals have so much carrier that they are basically on a solid sheet and the plastic is in a rather bright turquoise color. The two colored and one clear sprue are pretty nicely molded with the fabric parts of the airframe having a rather rough texture. While the clear bits are not all that transparent, for something like this, they are good enough. The only real flash is on the long exhaust and there are some ejector and sink marks, but nothing really horrible.

One is able to build either the RWD-5 or RWD-5bis. The latter is the single seat version and that is how the fuselage is molded. To do the more common standard plane, one has to remove sections of plastic from the sides. This area is clearly marked and one has separate side windows for each version. The interior consists of a floor with room for a control stick and two seats. If doing the bis version, there is an additional fuel tank that goes in place of the rear seat.

The upper wing is two pieces with the lower section being an insert that covers about half the lower wing. This means that the upper and lower outer wing pieces are a single molding. Same with the fin/rudder and horizontal stabs. Remarkably, there are no wing struts. The landing gear is probably the most complex part of the kit. This consists of the main inner struts which are a single mold along with the lower fuselage in that area. Two outer struts then attach to the wheel pants. These items are in left and right halves with the wheels molded in place. Not all these planes had the pants so you'll have to dig through your spares box for wheels. A tail skid is on the rear with the three transparency pieces fitting in after most of themodel is built and before the wing is installed.

Instructions are a single folded sheet with history and painting on one side and construction on the other. There are three options available. One is SP-AJU as either a single or two seat plane in overall silver. The other is a two seat plane, SP-ARP with a lot of red trim on the fuselage. I'm not sure how viable the decals are after what has to be 25-30 years, but unless you want to copy them and make new ones, you'll have to test some you won't use. No interior color info is provided so you are on your own in this regard.


My first step was to clean up as many of the parts as I could while they were on the sprue. I had decided to do the two seat version of the box art plane so I had to cut out the fuselage where the longer windows would be attached. I used cutters to rough out the area after scribing the plastic. Then files were used to get things smoothed out. I test fit the windows a lot during this process.

The interior bits were glued onto the floor (as in two seats and a control stick). This and the inside of the fuselage were then painted silver. The faces of the seats were painted a reddish brown. Then the interior was installed in the fuselage halves and the halves cemented together. I guess I missed something as I found it impossible to get the interior square. I also ended up sanding all the detail from the upper fuselage taking care of the seam.

Then came the rather fussy job of installing the clear bits. It took a while to get the fit to where it looked good. Once all three clear bits were glued in and solid, they were masked. In the meantime, I had glued the wings together as well as the wheel pants. With the windows installed and masked, the wing was then attached. One thing I like about this kit and is rather unusual for a light plane like this is that it has no struts for the wing or tailplanes.

Since the standard RWD-5 option uses an exhaust shroud, I sanded away the protruding exhaust stacks prior to gluing the shroud in place. The tailplane was next and it proved to be a bit short for the opening into which it fit so the section in front of it was filled and sanded. The fin was then added and also sanded. I noticed that the rudder did not reach all the way down to the bottom of the airframe in the back as shown on the drawings, so more diligent modelers than I may well want to deal with that in some manner.

With all the flight surfaces in place, I added the landing gear. This is a bit fiddly. There is an opening in the lower fuselage that is too narrow for the gear. I widened it and used glue to help melt the surrounding plastic as I pressed the major strut piece into place. This still required some filler and sanding when done. The wheelpants fit onto an axle stub, which needs to be thinned down to fit into a hole on the pants. The section with the shock absorber is a bit too short to fit down onto the axle itself so I attached these to the inside of the wheel pants. The whole thing is very wiggly so I resorted to super glue to hold all the bits in place. During this time, I filled the seam in the lower wings as well. With that done, the venturi tube and pitot tube were attached and it was time for paint.


The version I am modeling is overall aluminum dope. For the silver, I used Tamiya AS-12, but it came out way too shiny so it was oversprayed with TS-17 and that looked a lot nicer. The wheels were painted with Tamiya XF-69 NATO black and the back of the prop was painted matte black. I gave the exhaust a coat of Vallejo's tinny tin and glued it in place.

When it comes to decals one is pretty well limited to what comes in the kit. I tried one that I wouldn't be using and found that they were still viable. I wasn't all that thrilled with how it turned out after setting solution, so decided to use a method I've not tried before, and that was placing the markings in Future. This seemed to work fairly well, but it isn't as good as if the decals were of a modern printing. One can see the edges of the decal clear parts and on one side, I had difficulty getting the decal to settle down, requiring several applications.

With the decals in place, I attached the last pieces, which were the exhaust and the prop. I then removed the masking and that was it. As a note, the windscreen shows frame lines near the middle, yet when I looked at period photos, it showed no frame lines at all, the windscreen being a single piece. Not willing to sand them out, I just left them as they are.


Overall I was pleased with the results. The kit is not a slap together type and needs to be treated as a short run, though a good short run, kit. Some trimming and careful thought will be needed with some parts, but the end result is a pretty neat little civil type that we would never see done in an injected kit today.



5 August 2016

Copyright ModelingMadness.com

Thanks to me for hanging on to this one for so long. 

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