|PRICE:||$15.00 when new|
|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Airmodel kit #43 is £3.36|
Supply and logistic aircraft have always played a vital role during war
crisis, drought situation, casualty evacuation etc. In a post mortem discussion
following the Yom Kippur war in early 70s between Israel and the Arab states, it
was stated that it was not the extra fighters which won the war for Israel but
the transport and supply of fresh arms from superpower backers. Both the
was the scale and vital part played by transport aircraft and this applies
particularly to any war zone at any spot on earth. Model enthusiasts of military
aircraft types can only make justice to the military transport by adding the
types and show the true diversity of model warplanes. There are many transport
aircraft models on the market and carry a wide diversity of color schemes naming
in particular the C-130, C-119, C-118 and C-47 just to mention a few. Perhaps
not quite an attraction is the
The type also played an important role in service with the Royal
Two color schemes that attracted my attention were a Freighter in the
early white silver and gray scheme in RCAF service and another on in 3-tone
The Airfix kit may be hard to find but is accurate in spite that it is a mid 60 release. The Airmodel kit has nose and tail replacement plus radar for the CAF version.
is a re-release of the old Airfix kit of the
In both examples built I have used the Airmodel Vac-form conversion set. This set consists of a tail fin, new redesigned short nose, a radome item and lower nose transparency. One could also use the Magna Models conversion kit but this was a totally different approach as it was a resin set. Studying various photos one will discern that not all Mk 31 carried the clear front glazing and the two versions I selected had an extended cockpit canopy, which I think should have been an added item with the Airmodel set. I had to mold my own two canopies and this had the advantage of being much more clear to show detail inside as these were formed from clear acetate.
After all the injected kit parts are cut, trimmed, any presence of fins
removed, and rivet detail reduced by sanding, the areas needing to cut are
carefully marked. The first step in making the model is to blank or add various
windows to conform with the particular Freighter being made, referring
particularly to a Canadian Mk31 and a R New Zealand AF Mk 31 which differed in
various minor details. One can opt to use kit transparencies for the fuselage
windows or use Kristal Kleer, which proved very convenient for the size of
aperture. One can also make clear square windows from acetate. Wherever windows
needed blanking this was done by sticking the kit transparency in place and then
level with filler followed by sanding to equalize with fuselage level. This will
make the original windows outline undistinguishable from the rest of fuselage.
To cut out new windows the position of each window is
marked with a pencil. Small holes are drilled at corners and in between then
remove the unwanted part and using a modeling pointed knife cut out the square
and completing the square sides with a smooth flat file. In the case of the
To make new cockpit canopies I used the kit one as male and an extension was added to the sides. I made three attempts to get the best two using the smaller burner of a gas cooker as a heating source. At this stage cockpit office was fixed in place adding two crew figures and painted in appropriate Air Force costume for the respective machines. Interior was also panted light gray with cockpit coaming and instruments in black etc. Fuselage halves were then joined. The wings were assembled but not glued to the fuselage at this stage.
The modification into Mk31 consisted mainly in cutting the fuselage nose vertically on a line 3/16” forward of cockpit coaming. Small intermittent stabs made from plastic card were then glued to provide better “key” for the rest of the new vac-form nose. The new short nose is now prepared, the two halves are glued together using Humbrol liquid cement and allowed to dry. The lower front aperture was then carefully cut and the nose transparency provided is trimmed with scissors to match. Nose was glued to fuselage and any filler added and allowed to set and smoothened. The new tail fin is now assembled. The height of kit rudder part is increased by 1/16” with a piece of plastic card made to shape. Thickness of rudder was also reduced by scraping. Trim tab was refreshed with scribing tool. The new tail fin replaces the kit pointed one and was fixed in place. There are horizontal air intakes at the leading edges of wings close to roots. These are shaped using round needle files. A dividing bracket was added at center of these intakes.
In the case of the Canadian machine the number of windows conformed to side views as shown on the Airmodel Kit No 83 instructions. A radar thimble nose was also added. The new cockpit canopy were trimmed to conform to fuselage and fitted to each machine, sticking each in place with Klear liquid. It is surprising how strong a bond this makes without spoiling the clarity of the clear canopies. After setting these were masked in preparation for the eventual paintwork. A clear astrodome was also molded and was fixed to rear upper fuselage, offset to starboard. The rest of kit was then put together, adding wings, undercarriage, detailed engine cowlings which had a number of small exhaust outlets at rear and lower end. Details as aerials, DF loop, radome of bullet shape, wireless were all added at this stage to fuselage top. Aerials were added under wing tips. Nose hinges were replaced with neat ones made from rectangular pieces of plastic card, four to each model.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The RCAF machine was in silver and white standard scheme and red/orange arctic markings to wing tips and tail plane. Underside of fuselage was light gray. Decals came from a sheet ‘CAN FORCE Decal’ CF-1 and CF-3. These contained the red white CAF trim of the correct size and CAF roundels. Other small lettering and legends came from Model Decal sheets.
Bristol Freighter Mk 31M NZ5911 (ZK-
My thanks go to Robert Schoop of Colorado Springs who provided detail drawings to RCAF machine and also to Mark Davies and Peter Mossong and Tony Carr of New Zealand for sending detail drawings and photos of the RNZAF Mk 31M. All this information proved very helpful.
Carmel J. Attard
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