Formaplane 1/72 IAR-80

Kit Number: ??

Price: approx $7.00

Media: Vacuformed plastic

Decals : none

Date of Review: 30 April, 1996

Comments: The IAR-80 series is Romania's main indigenous fighter of World War II. It is basically a PZL 11c fuselage and empennage with a French Gnome-Rhone two-row radial engine attached to IAR developed wings. It is actually a very nice looking aircraft that gave good service both during the war, and after when it was used as a fighter trainer. Until recently, there was little information on the IAR fighter, but with articles appearing in many enthusiast magazines as well as a nice 'in-action' style booklet published in central Europe, more is known about this fine little aircraft. Back in 1989 when I built this kit, all I had was an article with cutaway in Air Enthusiast magazine, but it was enough to give me a good idea what the finished kit would look like. Now there is a fine 1/48 kit offered by LTD in injected plastic that sits on my 'awaiting work' pile.

The Formaplane kit of the IAR-80 is one of Formaplane's earliest offerings, but it is still a very nicely done kit. First of all, it came in a nice sturdy box that prevented the kit from being smushed during shipping. When it is opened, one sees a sheet of 30 thousands plastic with all the parts on it. Included was a well formed and thick canopy as well as a superb set of plans. No decals, plastic or metal parts were included. Hey, this kit was made in the early 1980's before all these goodies were standard fare. First step is to cut out all the pieces, by first tracing around them with a pencil and then scribing them at a 45 degree angle with a new #11 Xacto blade.

Once the pieces are cut and carefully sanded, it builds just like a normal kit. Initial build is the interior which is complete with floor, front and rear bulkheads, seat, and instrument panel. The control stick was made from stretched sprue. The interior was placed in one fuselage side and sprayed RLM 02 grey (a best guess for the time). Next, all the intake and exhaust holes were cut and smoothed with files and sandpaper. The fuselage was reinforced with small bits of plastic card around the edges the engine painted and installed and the halves glued together. Once dry it was sanded and puttied and set aside to dry. Next the wings and stabilizers were sanded to airfoil section, glued together, and set aside to dry. While these parts were drying, it was time to build the undercarriage. I used Contrail telescoping tubing as well as some bits of 40 thousandth card to scratch build the undercarriage legs following the drawings in Air Enthusiast. It was actually easy , taking only about a half hour for two, and I inserted a piece of wire cut from a paper clip to use to install the gear to the wings. I also had to build the tail skid, using stretched sprue.

The wings and stabilizers were then butt fitted to the fuselage. When these had dried, the airframe was primered and any glitches puttied and taken care of. The kit was then sprayed white on the cowling, wing tips, aft fuselage, prop spinner, and rudder. When dry, these parts were painted RLM 04 yellow and masked. The underside was painted RLM 65 light blue. The canopy was then cut out and after several trial fits, glued on using epoxy. It was then masked and the upper colors of RAF green and brown were added in an appropriate disruptive pattern. Then the landing gear and doors were added as were the vacuformed wheels that were earlier built up. I robbed an appropriate three-bladed prop from an old He-219 kit and after a little surgery, stuck that on the IAR. One of the blades has since gone AWOL. Final step was the addition of gun barrels to the wing leading edges.

The results look pretty good, helped along by the excellent Formaplane vacuform kit. If you are contemplating a nice vacuformed kit, you cannot go wrong by choosing a Formaplane kit, assuming you can find one. Recommended for an initial introduction to the wonderful world of vacs.

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