Ryan L-17B Navion / USS CV-32 Leyte – 1/72

September 28, 2021 · in Aviation · · 26 · 2.1K

The Navion was originally designed at the end of World War II by North American Aviation. Aeronautical Company acquired the design in the summer of 1947, launching production at its San Diego factory in 1948. Ryan built 1,240 Navions (powered by 205 hp Continental O-470 engines or 250 hp Lycoming O-435 engines), including 163 aircraft for the US armed forces, before production ended in 1951. USAAF bought 83 L-17As from North American in 1946, as a liaison and staff transport aircraft. These were supplemented by 163 L-17Bs from 1948, which were ordered by the USAF on behalf of the Army and National Guard, with 129 going to the Army and the rest of the National Guard. During the Korean War, the US Army's Navions added casualty evacuation and forward air controller to the aircraft's liaison and light transport duties. Alongside its standard uses, the L-17 Navion was used in the Korean War as the personal aircraft of General McArthur, General Walker, commander of the 8th Army in Korea, and his successor General Rigway and by General Moore. The aircraft also served the US Navy and the National Guard and was even used on the USS CV-32 aircraft carrier.

One of the two options of the scale Valom kit, represents the Navion aboard aircraft carrier CV-32 Leyte in 1950, which was my choice, due to its uncommon facts. The kit has good shapes and fits well, with two clear parts options (closed or opened cockpit), and a lot of small (really small !) PE parts. Building was OOB in my current painting standard: Tamiya White Putty, all paints and clear varnish in polyester based products from Dryco. As I forgot to put weight on the nose, I had to adapt an "almost invisible" thin wire on the base, to hold the nose wheel on the ground. The wood base has a printed deck paper, which is originally blue painted as I got in some modelling sites, but there is a question about that.

As I do build models for my own pleasure and not for contests, this was another model in my collection full of fun, in bright colors.


Reader reactions:
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9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

26 responses

  1. This is a great model, Roberto! You did an amazing job on this small scale. Nice historical details, as well!

  2. Interesting and neat looking plane. I like its lines, looks like you would have all the comfort of a contemporary car of the times riding in that plane. Good job on your build.

  3. Roberto, I have to admit I've never seen this type of airplane being used on a carrier before, great little bit of history. Your model looks great too !

  4. I've really come to like Navions, especially the one still running around in GA today. But a carrier born Navion is pretty slick, as is your neat little build. 🙂 thanks for building and sharing something so seldom seen.

  5. great little model and informative post - well done!

  6. Nicely done, Valom puts out some interesting subjects, I always wondered how they were to build.

  7. Nice work.

    I've always wondered how it was, since Navions had those big (for GA airplanes) engines, that they were so slow, relatively. (My old 1947 Bonanza, with an original 160 hp Franklin, did a nice 150 cruise)

    "It was thought that wartime pilots would come home and continue flying with their families and friends under more peaceful conditions, but the postwar boom in civilian aviation did not materialize to the extent the manufacturers envisioned."

    That was because the average WW2 pilot came home, and in the words of my old high school physics teacher, Mr. Kusel, 35-mission B-17 pilot, "I crawled out of that airplane, got down on my knees and kissed the ground, and swore I would never be found in an airplane cockpit again." And over all the years I interviewed WW2 pilots who didn't stay in the air force and didn't become airline pilots, that was the majority opinion.

  8. Nice job on this build, interesting subject and I like how it all looks. This is one kit that is not built too often.

  9. Very nice build, Roberto @boblucio
    Great picture of all those crew men gatthering around that plane.

  10. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    That is one small and yet a very fine piece of aviation history
    Roberto. For sure it is a well looking showstopper.
    Nice clean work, thanks for sharing these pictures.

  11. Maybe you should consider entering contests, Roberto, this one would be sure to do well. Neatly built and an interesting write-up, definitely liked.

  12. I've never heard of the airplane before; thanks for the history lesson! And good job on the kit; there's a lot of P-51 influence on the fuselage aft of the cockpit.

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