Sanger 1/72 Piaggio Avanti P.180
|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Vacuform with white metal parts.|
In civil aircraft the three surface configuration may be used to give safe stalling characteristics and short takeoff and landing (STOL) performance. It is also claimed to allow minimizing the total wing surface area, reducing the accompanying skin drag. In combat aircraft this configuration may also be used to enhance maneuverability both before and beyond the stall, often in conjunction with vectored thrust.
A 6 to 8 seat new twin-turboprop powered business aircraft design work on the Avanti begun in 1979.. It was a radical departure from anything the Piaggio Company previously produced. The major feature of the aircraft is its use of three lifting surfaces. The main wing is fitted above the mid-set position of the fuselage, with the main spar running behind the passenger cabin. Its straight leading edge is broken only by the engine nacelle inlets and the wing has a straight dihedral of 2 degrees.
The T-tail and elevator of te Avanti acts the second lifting surface, in addition to being orthodox control surface. The fore plane is not a simple canard but produces a positive lift component alongside that produced by the wing. This in turn allows the wing to reduce in size decreasing overall weight and drag. The engines are mounted on composite-material nacelles. The Avanti makes considerable use of composites.
The forward fuselage of three pre-production Avanti initially was on line at the Wichita plant was transferred to Italy. Assembly of the first P-180 began in 1986 and first flight on 23rd September 1986 and certified in Italy in March 1998. The Avanti is currently in service with the Italian air force, Italian Coast Guard and the Italian Carabinieri force.
Kit comes in a polythene bag containing white Styrene vac-form sheet with kit parts on it. The four-page instructions in black and white contains the assembly instructions, sketches giving general ideas one can refer to when assembling a vac-form kit and on a separate page there is a 1/72 scale plan with three views, where the plan view also indicated the seating arrangement, and a very basic color scheme depicting an all white Avanti carrying registration on the tail I-PLAR. The metal parts consist of three undercarriage legs, six cabin seats and two crew seats, two cabin tables and two propellers, a control column, pitot head, two nose wheels and two main wheels and four exhausts. All parts require cleaning and at times reshaping with a smooth file. No decals are included.
Parts were cut around all mouldings and snapped off the waste plastic followed by the rub down all mating surfaces on an abrasive paper attached to a flat board, checking frequently the mating parts to ensure that correct amount of material is removed. The window apertures on the fuselage halves were then marked, drilled through and shaped with a square file until the correct opening is obtained. These were at a later stage glazed with Kristal Klear.
The fuselage floor and bulkheads were trimmed to fit into the fuselage halves. Seats and tables were painted and glued in place and the complete interior formed a sub assembly, which was then fitted into a fuselage halve. And tried with other side to ensure the fuselage closes correctly. A long sprue was then fitted through to take the wing at each side. Undercarriage bays were built up forming sidewalls and wheel well roof. These were cut from scrap plastic. The well roofs were made from thicker plastic so that the metal legs fit firmly. A little weight was added to the nose compartment to ensure that in the end the model rests on its nose wheel. Tabs were added at the edge to make a stronger bond when glue is applied to close the halves together. Instrument panel, control columns, crew seats were all added to the crew compartment, painted, and the fuselage halves were then joined together.
Wing halves, engine nacelles halves were then glued. Note that there was more nacelle area above the wing than below it. This is in fact an important stage that can affect the overall look of the model. Nacelle parts were eventually glued n place on the wing. Filler added at joints and shaped by sanding. Side streaks were shaped from plastic card. These differed in shape from the ones shown in the instructions, as the production versions were larger. Top of tail fin also was modified so that the top end had a 3/16 further extension at the rear.
The acetate canopy was then cut with scissors and then trimmed little by little using a sharp pointed blade, until it appeared to conform to the cockpit opening where it had to fit. It was then fitted with a little amount of white glue and later a small amount of super glue was added at the periphery. In doing so the white glue film sealed any fumes that may come out of the super glue that would cloud the canopy from inside. Interior of bay and u/c legs painted light grey. Wheel doors were shaped from plastic card. The two metal 5-bladed spinners and props were smoothened with a fine file, painted and placed aside to go on the model in the very end.
Aircraft was sprayed in Model Master satin white overall. The fuselage and nacelle trims were Compucolor Sea Blue. The color scheme adopted sported the one adopted by the Italian Carabinieri force.
Although this is a small vac form kit it still required due attention throughout the construction and assembly, especially to correctly align the canards, wings, and tail planes. It is not recommended for a beginner but certainly within the capacity of any vac form kit builders. I am quite pleased with the final result and it looks the part when compared with the real Avanti.
2 The Encyclopaedia of World Aircraft.
Carmel J. Attard
4 November 2017
I am thankful to Uria Kohn from Israel who provided the kit and to Detlef from Berlin who printed a set of decals for the Carabinieri livery.
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