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Robert Knaack
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Museum Piece

July 15, 2020 · in Aviation · · 17 Comments

This is my fourth and final(!) project. It was love at first sight when I discovered the internet photos of Jenny 4983 at the Air and Space Museum - the paint scheme, the unique markings, and the weathering all appealed to me and I decided I just had to try to replicate it. So after ordering another Jenny off of eBay, I began by copying the squadron logo off of one of the photographs and printing it to scale (the unique little critter is referred to as a "b***h kitty!"). After that I got a resin engine from Engines and Things (the company is for sale if anyone is interested), more photo-etched wire wheels from Don's Model Works, exhaust from the spares box and the wooden propeller from the Revell Stearman kit.

Since the museum aircraft had the cockpits covered, I was happy to replicate that feature and ignore the sparse and inadequate cockpits on the kit, instead gluing thin sheet styrene inside. I did the usual filling of sink holes in the wings, and cut up the struts to fill in the attachment holes in the top wing. I also sanded off the molded hood straps, to be replaced with EZline. I hollowed out the kit plastic wheel hubs and inserted clear plastic disks, to which was glued the photo-etch wire wheels. Bits of wire were used as axles.

For painting I used Vellejo yellow ochre for the wings and tail, Vellejo intermediate blue and off-white for the rear fuselage, and Model Master olive drab for the cowling. The dirt on the wings was done by mixing black acrylic poster paint with water and brushing it on, after masking off all the ribs with masking tape. The little brass compressor pump was made using aluminum tubing plus the ends of a similar pump from the Roden DH-9 kit.

The colors aren't exactly right, and the roundels on the lower wing need more work (I ran out of decal sheet), but I really like how it turned out.

The aircraft itself is from the 46th Aero Squadron located at Roosevelt Field, Long Island from July 1918-January 1919 . The Smithsonian acquired this Jenny in 1918 directly from the U.S. War Department. You can see all the photos of it here:

Hope you like my Museum Piece!

18 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. This is great, Robert (@robgenev665). I have built this kit, and it didn't come out anywhere this nice. Aging and weathering looks very realistic.

  2. Beautifully built & finished, Robert!

  3. Now that's special! Man, great job!

  4. This is one excellent bird.

  5. That's very cool, a lot of good work here with a great result.

    Jenny is such a strange lady (or at least she is if you're a modern pilot) as I learned back in 1979, when I got 45 minutes' stick time in Jim Nissen's JN-4D. The airplane has non-sensitive ailerons, an over-sensitive rudder, with non-trimmable elevators. You lead in the turn with the rudder. And if you give it more than a "standard rate turn," any increase in bank will put you into a "high speed stall/spin." And it takes 3,500 feet to come out of a spin. Which is where the "coffin corner" came from - the turn from downwind to crosswind in landing. If a pilot overshot and banked tight, there was the high-speed stall/spin - at an altitude of around 500-600 feet AGL. A "coffin" indeed. And the equal-deflection ailerons give a whole new meaning to "adverse aileron yaw." With a top speed of 50 mph, I finally understood what my father meant (he ran away from home for the summer at age 15 with a flying circus) about wing-walking a Jenny being "no more difficult than standing up in a pickup - once you got over your fear of heights."

    Thanks for the nice memory your model brings up.

  6. Very well built indeed

  7. That's a Lindberg kit? Wowzers Robert - I was having a hard time figuring out exactly which photos were of the completed model and which ones were of the actual plane.
    Very nice build and great photos.

  8. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Just by the look of it, it screams out CLASSIC . This work really set's the LINDBERG moniker apart, more so when one sees the actual plane and this model. Very nice and clean work Robert, a model set for a display case.

    • @de4ever thanks, here's a photo of the aircraft in the display case 😀

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  9. Fantastic build, Robert.
    What a lot of great looking rigging on this biplane.

  10. Need to say no more, as the above gents covered the subject completely, Robert!
    This is a wonderful build, maximizing the result out of the Linberg Kit.

  11. Robert you have an exceptional talent for creating great looking models from basic Lindberg kits. And those wires! There everywhere, enough to make me cringe about the thought of even trying to replicate them. Well done man, I really like it.

  12. One of a kind model. Had no idea an Aurora kit could be made into an excepcional replica

  13. That really is a beautiful build - love the weathering. Some of the most satisfying builds come from attempting to replicate something that has captured your attention, and I imagine this was one of those "most satisfying" builds!

  14. Beautiful! Just in case you wanted to build another Jenny, We have Charles Lindberg's Jenny at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island NY., just in case.

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