Glencoe 1/35 Piasecki VZ-8P “Airgeep”
This is my Glencoe 1/35 Piasecki VZ-8P “Airgeep” that I built about 15 years ago.
The Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep (company designation PA-59) was a prototype vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft developed by Piasecki Aircraft. Developed to fulfill a U.S. Army Transportation Research Command contract for a flying jeep in 1957, it was envisioned to be smaller and easier to fly than a helicopter.
To meet the US Army’s requirement, Piasecki’s design featured two tandem, three-blade ducted rotors, with the crew of two seated between the two rotors. Power was by two 180 hp (134.2 kW) Lycoming O-360-A2A piston engines, driving the rotors by a central gearbox.
The first of two aircraft ordered by the Army, initially designated the Model 59K Skycar (and later renamed Airgeep) by Piasecki and designated VZ-8P by the Army, flew on 22 September 1958.
It was re-engined with a single 425 hp (317 kW) Turbomeca Artouste IIB turboshaft replacing the two piston engines, flying in this form in June 1959.
After being loaned to the U.S. Navy for evaluation as the Model 59N where it was fitted with floats, it was returned to the Army and its engine replaced by a lighter and more powerful 550 hp (410.1 kW) Garrett AiResearch TPE331-6 engine.
The second prototype was completed to a modified design, designated Model 59H AirGeep II by Piasecki and VZ-8P (B) by the Army.
It was powered by two Artouste engines, with ejection seats for the pilot and co-pilot/gunner and a further three seats for passengers. It was also fitted with a powered tricycle undercarriage to increase mobility on land.
The AirGeep IIs first flight occurred on 15 February 1962, piloted by “Tommy” Atkins.
While the Airgeep would normally operate close to the ground, it was capable of flying to several thousand feet, proving to be stable in flight. Flying low allowed it to evade detection by radar.
Despite these qualities, and its superiority over the other two types evaluated by the US Army to meet the same requirement (the Chrysler VZ-6 and the Curtiss-Wright VZ-7), the Army decided that the “Flying Jeep concept [was] unsuitable for the modern battlefield”, and concentrated on the development of conventional helicopters instead.
The kit is the 2006 reissue of the…1958 ITC MODELCRAFT original. It is fairly simple and falls easily together!
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The “cockpit is spartan, as would the real one be anyway (ok, sort of…)
Three nice figures are provided and I used them to beef up the simple looks.
Speaking of the boots, their looks are not like the ones seen in pics, but they may very easilly be a prototype mod. I won’t declare them “wrong”, for sure!
A rather nice soil-looking base is provided, together with a transparent rod, should you wish to pose your Airgeep in flying phase.
Anyway, I decided to present it to you, as it is a subject not often seen modeled.
2 additional images. Click to enlarge.