LET L-13 Blaník, 1:72
More than 20 years ago, as teenager, I did my first glider flying lesson. I still remember the whole flight, we did it in the early evening, maybe one hour before sunset. The air was amazingly calm and we did not even had to touch the controls, the plane was flying itself. I had to stop flying after a few years, but ever since gliders have been my favorite airplanes.
In our club we did not have a Blanik, but I have seen the type flying at nearby glider fields. The type originates from the fifties, when it did its first flight in the former Czechoslovakia. Its full metal construction made it a very rigid, but still easy to fly glider. It was used in countless flying clubs. and more interestingly, both by the Soviet and American air forces for basic pilot training.
In the former Eastern Block gliding was state-sponsored and was considered as a stepping stone to the air forces and worked as a first selection filter. For example, in the Soviet Union an organization called DOSAAF controlled the paramilitary sport activities, such as motorsports, shooting, parachuting, model building or flying. Other Eastern Block countires had similar organizations (MHSZ in Hungary or Svazarm in Czechoslovakia).
This kit comes from AZ Model, originally released in 2008. It is a beautiful, small kit, with very nice surface details. As you might imagine, construction is very simple and basically trouble free.
I decided to build the kit with the DOSAAF markings. The plane is natural metal, just as most of the Blaniks.
As I wrote the construction itself was trouble free, but I had a serious problem after removing the canopy mask. The front of the canopy was fogged in. I don´t understand why, I used Microscale´s Kristal Clear glue many times before and I have never had any problems.
So, I had no other option, but hiding it somehow. I decided to build a very simple base and showing a plane while waiting for takeoff (as you can see my diorama skills are “somewhat limited”) . Gliding is typically a summer sport, and it is very common to use canvas covers on the planes waiting on ground – otherwise the cockpit would be overheated within a few minutes under the huge canopy. I made the simple cover from aluminium foil and painted it gray.
Another typical sight on a glider field is the weight on one of the wingtips. You might see all kind of different solutions, sometimes simply the parachutes are used as weight, but since it is not the best idea to leave them on direct sunshine for too long, it is more common to use something else, for example used car tires. These weights prevents damages caused by sudden wing gusts. It is also common to go through the route on a map before cross-country flying, together with the instructor or other students. I placed a printed out map and a few Preiser figures on the base, showing this scene.
I hope you like this build. I have a few more gliders still in boxes, so I will have a chance to improve my next base.
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.