Bandai 1/48 PA-18 Super Cub

Kit Number: 8521-4

Price: $5.00

Decals : Two versions:  One US and one Japanese civil aircraft

Date of Review: 10 May, 1996

Comments: Whoa.. is he going over the edge?  A Piper Super Cub??  Odd that this may sound, the Super Cub has probably served with as many if not more Air Forces than the C-130.  This light aircraft is easy to maintain and just as easy to fly.  The perfect aircraft for getting in and out of tight spots as well as for being a great glider tug.  Many countries offer gliding as an easy way to see if a candidate can qualify as a pilot.  I picked such a glider tug, but more on that later.

The Bandai kit is now being marketed by Minicraft .  I have not seen the Minicraft version, but I'm sure it is the same kit.  What's more, it is only $8.50 retail and an interesting build.  The first thing one notices is how small the kit is.  Most of it seems to be clear plastic.  Assuredly there is a lot of 'glass', but that is typical of light aircraft.  You also notice that there is a full engine, complete with engine mounts and assorted 'stuff'.  Those of you good a car engines will find the Super Cub engine to be equally as easy.  It is the flat six of the Super Cub that makes it 'super' over the four of the Cub.  It even gave the aircraft a top speed of 110 mph vice the 90mph of the original.  

The cockpit is the first that you work on.  All the goodies are there from seats, to control sticks, to instrument panels as well as the interior tubing structure.  You can do more work, of course, and it will be easily visible.  The rest of the fuselage goes together quite easily with minimal putty.  Same goes for the wing assembly.  They fit superbly and the struts fit like a glove.  Same for the landing gear.  The big problem comes with the engine.  I had tons of trouble getting the engine with all the access panels to fit properly so that I could have a viewable engine.  I finally gave up the whole thing as a bad idea, cemented the engine to the firewall, glued the cowling permanently and puttied the entire assembly smooth.  I am sure that those with more skill than I will figure this out.  There is one weak component and that is the tail gear. It is scale and very delicate (weak).  It took me nearly two weeks before I broke it off and another couple of months before I lost it.

Once compete (minus the wheels and prop), it came to be time to search for a scheme.  One of the slides I received from a friend of mine and dated at 1985 was a Super Cub of the Belgian Air Force.  It is used as a glider tug (and may still be in service for all I know) along with five other brethren.  After a few years, I had photos of three of the aircraft.  All are white with orange patches, but all are just a little different as to what patches are orange.  I picked one that looked easier to paint than the others and had at it.  I used Testors Model Master for the white and Gunze Sangyo for the orange.  The decals came from various sources in my spare decal box.  There are holes drilled in the tail for the bracing wires so I installed them using stretched clear sprue.  Final step was to overcoat the entire aircraft with Future floor wax.  I had forgotten to do the final coat after painting and removing the masking, so I applied the Future with a brush!!  Looks great and shows no brush marks!

This is the final result.  The kit is about six years old as this is written and still has a place on my shelf instead of a box. Highly recommended!

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