Eduard 1/48 Avia B.534 'Slovak Service'

KIT #: 1146
PRICE: $35.00 MSRP ($29.70 at GreatModels )
DECALS: Five Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Injected Multi-media kit


The B-534 was designed as a single-engine biplane fighter with a license-built Hispano-Suiza inline powerplant, and fixed landing gear. Four 7.92 mm (0.312 in) machine guns were located in the sides of the fuselage, firing through the propeller. The air forces of the 1930s were reluctant to abandon the maneuverability and climb rates of biplanes for the speed of monoplanes, even in the face of new and better technology. The success of the Soviet pilots with biplanes may have contributed to this reluctance; they were known to strip their aircraft of sliding canopies, preferring to have the wind in their faces. Aircraft with two fabric-covered wings and fixed landing gear were also less expensive to manufacture.

The first B-534 prototype flew in late May 1933. More work followed and the first order for the Czechoslovakian Air Force was placed in mid-1934. At that time, the B-534 was well ahead of its contemporaries. The United Kingdom was still dependent on Hawker Furies, with the first Gloster Gladiators being produced at this time. The Soviet Union was placing its hope on its Polikarpov aircraft designs. The United States was still using descendants of the Curtiss Hawk series, with the Seversky P-35 and Curtiss P-36 just about to fly prototypes. First deliveries of the B-534 to the Czechoslovakian air force began in late 1935, and 445 or so had been completed by 1938.

The abrupt partition of Czechoslovakia in 1939 prevented the use of the B-534 in combat by the nation that had produced it. By then, high performance monoplanes such as the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire were raising the bar of fighter/interceptor standards. Four sub-types were produced during the B-534's production run, all with mostly minor improvements.

One major variation was introduced in this production run. The B-534 was designed to carry one 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon firing through the nose and only two 7.92 mm (0.312 in) machine guns to the sides. Developmental problems prevented the cannon from ever being used and, desperate to get more aircraft in the air, Avia decided to use a third machine gun in the nose only weeks before the German annexation of Czechoslovakia. Only three machines with this configuration were completed for the Czech air force, and the remaining production block was finished for the Germans.

The aircraft was built in four different series, each slightly different from the previous. This kit is of the last series built, which is distinguished by a fully enclosed canopy.


This 2009 boxing is the most recent of the B.534 issues and is, to my knowledge, the first of the Series IV aircraft. It is a typical Eduard Limited Edition kit in that it includes color photo etch frets, canopy masks, and a very nicely done decal sheet with five options.

You get the usual green-grey plastic that is typical of Eduard. Eduard uses those nice resealable bags for its sprues. The clear sprue is well done and you get both a one-piece and multiple piece canopy, which is nice for those who like their canopies closed. Of course, this means you won't see all the photo etch you put into the cockpit so well. Eduard's color cockpit frets are superbly painted, but one must be aware that rarely do their colors precisely match the paints you'll use for the rest of the cockpit. To some, this is a concern and for others it isn't a big deal.

The molding on the parts is first rate and I found no flash or sink areas that are prevalent on some kits. There is little in the way of optional bits aside from some p.e. replacements for a few plastic bits. All I found aside from the canopy was an optional head rest section.  The kit also includes an enameled Slovak lapel pin.

The instructions are quite nicely done on slick paper with several smaller construction drawings to show parts placement and lower wing dihedral. Rigging is also shown and for a biplane is quite minimal. Color information is all Gunze. There are markings for five aircraft, four of which are shown in full color. Two are early Slovak with German crosses, while two others are later Slovak with the yellow eastern front markings on the wings, nose and fuselage. The fifth is an insurgent plane from the Tri Duby uprising with modified pre-war insignia. The large decal sheet is very nicely done and provides enough numbers to do any of the later Slovak aircraft for which you can find a photo.


In all, a very nice kit of an important aircraft and one that got the last biplane air to air victory ever. It is not a difficult build and provides everything you'd need to make an excellent model.


March 2010

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