Planet Models 1/72 GAF Nomad

KIT #: 227
PRICE: $57.26
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Peter Burstow
NOTES: Resin kit with metal bits and vac clear bits

The Government Aircraft Factory N.22 Nomad first flew in 1971, a twin engine STOL transport, it was developed to maintain production at GAF after the Mirage contract was completed.  It was a designed to seat 10-12 passengers or be converted for freight. It was widely demonstrated and sold around the world. 172 were built and it was operated by a variety of military and civilian users.

 It has a poor safety record, with 29 crashes and 95 fatalities. A common cause for crashes was tailplane failure. The prototype of the stretched version, the N.24, VH-DHF, crashed at Avalon in 1976.  After a crash of the ARDU operated  A18-401 in 1990, the RAAF grounded it's fleet, however it was still operated by the Australian Army when A18-303 crashed in 1991. The most recent crash was Philippines Air Force No. 18, which crashed in 2010 killing 9 people.

 A number are preserved in museums around Australia, and there are the remains of one at a scrapyard near my house.


 In a strong top opening box, about 70 resin parts are enclosed in a segmented bag. There are white metal undercarriage legs, two vacformed canopies and a piece of clear card.

 The resin parts are thin, and well moulded, with a little flash around the edges and in openings such as the cabin windows. Some parts are slightly warped. There is very fine, both engraved and raised, thin line detail on the larger parts.

 The cabin has 10 seats as the only detail, the cockpit has additionally seats, an instrument panel, control yokes and centre console. The wheel wells have some basic moulded detail. The propeller blades are separately moulded and need adding to the hubs. The cabin is moulded with 5 windows on each side, but the profiles, and some pictures I found on the net all had 4 windows. I didn't notice this until I was ready to decal, so it wasn't fixed really well. The undercarriage legs are cast, well detailed, white metal. Resin legs that thin would not support the model.

 The instructions mention that weight will need to be added to the nose, there is no mention of how much. This kit looks to be a real tail-sitter, but there is not a lot of space for weight.

 The vac-formed canopy is very thin and clear, with the panel lines well marked. A spare is provided. A clear card is provided for the ten small cabin windows, but these would be better done using white glue.

 The decals have markings for two aircraft, an all green Australian Army example, and a camouflaged plane of the Royal Thai Air Force. A full page is devoted to full colour profiles and decalling guides, with generic names for the paint colours. The kangaroo decals on the wings are shown incorrectly, and are handed wrongly on the decal sheet.

 The instructions are two sheets of A4, clearly printed in Czech and English, with a short history, pictures of the parts and decals and a brief guide to working with resin. An eleven stage photographic assembly sequence is provided, with most of the parts placement clearly shown. The instructions are adequate to construct the model. For a look at the bits, visit this preview.


Started as usual by cleaning up the pouring lugs and flash, then washed the resin parts in warm soapy water. Assembled the cockpit, a floor with centre console, instrument panel and coaming, 2 seats, and two control wheels. I painted this mostly light grey, with the instrument panel and console dark grey and then dry brushed silver to pick up the moulded instrument detail. The seats are very clearly visible so I made some seat belts from blue masking tape, and added a drop of silver paint to represent the fittings.

Built up the passenger cabin, it's not really visible through the small side windows so I didn't put a lot of effort into it. The floor was badly warped, A soak in hot water and leaving it overnight between two blocks of wood sorted that. There were 10 moulded markings for seats. References vary between 10 and 12 passengers, Planet split the difference and supplied 11 seats. I put 2 at the front of the floor in an obvious space, and left out the seat just inside the cabin door. Painted the inside of the cabin and the floor Tamiya XF-4 “yellow green” a really noxious colour and one of the worse smelling paints I have ever used. Painted the seats dark red for a bit of variety. The inside of the local scrap yard example appears to be a sort of pale apple green, but is very faded and flaking.

 I packed the nose area and the spaces around the nose undercarriage bay with lead shot and superglue, not sure how much, I just kept adding shot till it was full, probably about 20 grams. Joined up the fuselage, got a good match along the top and a small step about midway along the underside. Filled the joint with superglue and sanded clean. Added the lower stub wings, main wheel housings and rudder, nothing was a great fit, and had another fill with Mr Surfacer and a sand session.

 The wings suffered from a bad mould misalignment, with a large step on the sides of the nacelles and the wing tips, needed a lot of carving and sanding to clean up, and I lost a lot of detail in the process. I toyed with the idea of adding a spar, ended up just butt jointing them, then added the struts. The location for the tailplane was too high and too far back, so I drilled a new hole through the fin, and holes in the tailplane halves. Made a new spar from 1mm brass rod, and mounted the tailplane.

I then added some of the small detail items, first two bulges under the wings, I have only seen these in a photo of the first prototype under test, so not sure if they were present in the production models. Then eight shark fin like objects under the wings, I guess they are actuator housings, and then a scoop on top of each engine, these were not shown in the instructions, but obvious in photographs of the aircraft.


I went with the Australian Army version supplied with the kit, a easy all dark green scheme. Masked the cockpit and didn't bother with the cabin windows. First a prime with the “all surfaces” automotive primer, showed up a lot of places that needed fixing, especially the stub wing to fuselage joint, which had already had a couple of fills and sands. It also highlighted a few bubbles, the edges of the wing struts being really bad and needing a lot of work.

 Then several coats of rattle can “Brunswick green”, It's not exactly the right shade, the army aircraft were more olive green. Hand painted the nose cone Tamiya XF-69 'NATO black'. I found some photos of the Australian example, which besides showing four windows on each side of the cabin, also showed areas of what I took to be orange paint, on the fin, wing tips and inner flaps.


 Added the remaining resin parts, various antenna, including a nice boomerang shaped one. Added the prop blades to the spinners, second time this month I've done this tricky juggling act with bits too small to hold easily. I really need to build a jig to do this properly. The blades were placed in the feathered position, which seems to be usual for parked examples. Some of the blades had tiny bubbles, which I hid with paint. Finally added the engine exhausts, which I pre-painted Mr Metal Colour 'iron'

I then added the white metal undercarriage legs, all that lead worked, it's not a tail sitter, but only just. Hit another snag, the nose wheel leg is too short, or the main legs too long, as the stance is very nose down. I soldered a length of copper wire to the nose wheel fork, and adjusted the length till it sat better. Not a bright choice, the melting point of white metal is about the same as solder, and I melted part of the leg. Superglue would have done the job OK. Then added the nose undercarriage doors. There were no main wheel doors supplied, and my photos show them on some civil aircraft, but not on Australian Army planes, so I decided they weren’t needed. I didn't use the four resin oleo forks supplied, really were too small to handle, and nearly invisible between the main wheels.

A bit more detail painting in the cockpit, then added the vac-formed canopy. I hand painted the framing with decanted rattle can green, as I have had trouble trying to match these colours in the past. Painted the top of the canopy Tamiya X-25 'clear green', there is a bit of variation in this panel, some aircraft have it as solid, some clear and some tinted. I used Krystal Klear for the side windows. At this point I noticed the extra windows, so the Klear got carved out and the holes filled with two part automotive body putty. Another sanding session, and a respray of the rear section of the fuselage.

Decided to add some orange panels to give a bit of interest to the model, it looked very dull. Should have painted them first, as it needed four coats to cover properly.

Used the kit supplied decals which worked fine with a little setting agent. I rearranged the 'ARMY' wing logo and the roundels to match one of the photos. There was a lot of variation on Army Nomads, logos come and go, as do the orange panels. I found 5 pictures of A18-312 and all are different. Then an overall coat of floor wax to seal the decals.

Then added the five wheels, which had nice resin hub detail moulded on one side only. Hit another snag, the metal axles were too short on the main wheel legs, so I glued the tyres onto the legs instead. The nose wheel fork was far too large for the tyre so I had to squeeze it in, then again glued the wheel tyre rather than the hub. Had to touch up the paint on the wheels again. Last step was adding the propellers.


A fairly simple build of a high quality and expensive resin kit of a small and relatively obscure airliner. Lots of small resin detail parts. A few fixes needed, but easy to deal with. The model is let down with a few inaccuracies, especially the windows. The build was a lesson in checking references before starting a build.

It is interesting to compare to other aircraft, in the general class of Dragon Rapide / Beech 18 replacements, like the Beech King Air, DHC Twin Otter and the Britten-Norman Islander. All very similar except for the minor matter of sales figures. This plane has a local connection for me, I can see the factory it was built in from my kitchen window, and I watched them test flying in the 70's. 

Recommended for all, especially those who enjoy filling and sanding.


 Wingless carcass in local scrapyard.

Peter Burstow

December 2013

Copyright All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission from the editor.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page 2024