SMER 1/48 Avia BH-11
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Avia BH-11 was a two-seat sport aircraft built in Czechoslovakia in 1923, a further development of the Avia BH-9. The main changes in this version involved a redesign of the forward fuselage. 15 examples were ordered by the Czechoslovakian Army as trainers and general liaison aircraft and operated under the military designation B.11.
Six years after the BH-11 first flew, a new version was produced for the civil market as the BH-11B Antelope. This replaced the original Walter NZ 60 45 kW (60 hp) engine with a Walter Vega of 63 kW (85 hp) and was built in small numbers.
A further development, the BH-11C retained the original engine but increased the wingspan by 1.4 m (4 ft 6 in).
A BH-11A and a BH-11C are preserved at the Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely. This kit is the BH.11A version as used by the Czech Air Force.
SMER has been around for over 60 years and produces a variety of items, including model kits. Many are Heller reboxings and some others, but they also have their own line of kits in 1/48 scale, though I think some are actually 1/50. Some of their 1/48 kits are not done by anyone else in this scale and that includes this kit of the BH-11. Now I do not know how old this boxing might be, but it is marked Czech Republic and the decals are by Propagteam so it isn't ancient, though I'm betting the molding is.
Speaking of which, the molding is actually quite clean with only a tiny bit of flash. The detail is raised, but there isn't all that much of it. You get two sprues of light grey plastic and two small clear ones with the windscreens. There are no optional parts. Wings are upper and lower quarters that fit into slots in the lower fuselage. There is no fuselage interior detail, just a a couple of seats, instrument panels and sticks. Not even a floor. A pilot figure is provided for the rear seat. This will provide the scratchbuilder an excellent canvas if he wishes to do a bunch of work in there.
A nicely molded 5 cylinder engine is provided in two halves. There are five separate exhaust stubs. Landing gear is sturdy with a spreader bar and v brace. Wheels are supposed to be canvas covered wires and are OK for this scale. The tail planes and rudder are single pieces. Windscreen pieces are clear but very thick, not like you'll have to look through them or anything.
Instructions are well done with a nice history of the time and several well drawn construction steps. All colors are generic with there being a number of options. You can paint the plane overall green with an aluminum underside as shown on the box art. This has the more modern insignia with the blue always forward and the white always up or out. The upper side insignia are outlined in blue while the underside is outlined in red. There are three unit badges for the side. The other set of options has the early flag insignia with the plane painted in a disruptive camo scheme of chocolate brown, sand and green with an aluminum underside. There is a full color placement diagram on the back of the box for this option. Decals look to be very nicely done and are by Propagteam. I'm not sure how old they are, so will be testing what I won't be using to see if a clear coat is needed.
I had not realized this kit was done in this scale and when I saw it at the LHS, my desire for the unusual took over and I brought it home. I would imagine that it will not be too bad a build and while not all that detailed, will make for an interesting looking model when done.
Thanks to me for picking this one up.
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