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Monster Triplane Wit a bit of Tinkering

July 17, 2017 in Aviation

As threatened previously, here are some pics and the background to what started out as one of those Hachette (very expensive) part works that claimed to give you a 1/8th scale model of the Red Baron’s Fokker Triplane.
An old chap who died a couple of years ago became a mate after I discovered that, as a 10 year-old in 1940, he and a friend beat the village copper to the site where a famous Messerschmitt (the Duxford one) came down on 30/9/40, in the hope of liberating some interesting bits. He also made the occasional model but got into the habit of buying these part works, rarely seeing them through to completion. He was not without talent, just had a relatively short attention span.
After I showed him my 1/28 Triplane, he persuaded me to take over the Hachette model after he’d made various elements OOB, but become seduced by their Bismarck and then their U-boat kits. I reluctantly agreed, myself seduced by the thought of how much detail this kit would have. Rarely have I allowed myself to be led astray to the extent I was on discovering how comparatively superficial the detail was on this model that screamed out for tinkering with.
If anyone’s lost the will to live, I’ll be happy to detail the shortcomings I discovered, but the attached sequence of pics shows the end result. My advice to anyone who wants a model this big, buy the Hasegawa kit if you can get one.
The span of the top wing is 820 cm (just over 2ft 8ins) so after completion it ended up (because of the size) wrapped in plastic on a high shelf in my garage, which was a bit sad. My chum was very chuffed with the result and insisted that it was mine since I’d put in so much work.
After he died, I gave the model to his son who also cherished one of the few models his Dad had completed – the Hachette Spitfire Mk V. Both models now adorn his custom-built room somewhere in Paignton in Devon.

11 additional images. Click to enlarge

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26 responses to Monster Triplane Wit a bit of Tinkering

  1. Looking very nice. Love the colours and the contrasting wooden bits. Been lusting for a large scale Fokker for long time but never had enough money to get it.

  2. I suspect I’m related to the Hachettes, distantly. Might explain some things, hein? There is a publishing company, also. I perked right up when I saw that.

    • I suspect I’m related to the Hachettes, distantly. Might explain some things, hein? There is a publishing company, also. I perked right up when I saw that.
      Paul, lovely build! Looks like the real thing, builds like it, looks like. Next best thing to having a full size one.

      • The name derivation sortof escaped me till I connected the grey cells. Some of their part works look really nice and detailed but I’m afraid this wasn’t one of them. Great commercial concept though, many people not realising till later that the whole thing costs something humungous. A good thing to look back on but boy(!), the frustrations along the way. Fortunately I didn’t buy the kit, just being the oily rag along the way.

  3. Great model and a great story.

  4. Wow – lots of work on display there! Nicely done!

  5. Beautiful craftsmanship, Paul….a project I wouldn’t dare undertake! 🙁

  6. Beautiful work Paul. I have always enjoyed these types of builds. Two thumbs up Sir !!! I really like this one……………

  7. A real lovely work of art, Paul. I commend you on the endeavor.

  8. Real! It looks beautiful and REAL.

  9. Excellent, Paul. As you say, very expensive – even the Hasagawa 1:8 kits are about £800 (when they can be found) so you are fortunate in your ‘bequest’.

    • I just found a Hasegawa build on the Britmodeller site. Fantastic as the finished model is with even more careful detail than the one I built, I would guess the Jap one and the Hachette one OOB are similarly poor on accuracy and detail. The trouble with a lot of us mature modellers is that we never know when to stop trying to emulate the real thing only “smaller”.

  10. Thanks to everyone for their encouraging comments. It’s amazing how working on such a big scale gets you doing things that get hidden or overlooked when the job is done. I haven’t seen what my friend’s son has done with it but he was threatening to display both the Spitfire Mk V and the Triplane at some local gatherings. Maybe someone else down that way in the West Country may have seen them.

  11. I would place it as it is on my desk straight away !

    • There’s a man with a big desk! I think it’d take up almost 1sq m of desk space. My desk is never tidy enough to find 1 sq ft of bare desk. Thanks for the comment – much appreciated.

  12. Paul, this is a wonderful build and great story to top it off, well done !

  13. Miles away from my preferred subject choice but I just had to say well done with that one! That’s a tremendous piece of modelling!

  14. So enjoyable to see such wonderful work Paul. I’m envious of your skill & your patience!

  15. I bought a Hachette part works a few years ago for a Flying Scotsman steam locomotive, I started it but sold it on to someone else in the end. Terrific on work on this triplane, you must be very proud.

    • The Hachette kits are seductively promoted to appeal to the enthusiast in us all. My late friend left a 75% complete Bismarck and a 40% complete U Boat which I sold on evilbay for his son, so a couple of people probably got a real bargain. The trouble with the Triplane was that the Hachette design merely skirted the outline of the a/c. Also, much of the detail that was supplied was made of a very fragile alloy (Zamaq I think) which I guess may be a zinc+? mix. Lost count of the bits fumble fingers here broke and then had to scratch build from plastic+ally. Stopped me from being a nuisance on the streets though.

  16. What a fabulous build & a great story! Awesome, Paul!

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