1/48 AMT/Round2 Staggerwing G17S
The Beechcraft model G17S was the last of the Staggerwing series and approximately 20 of these were built between 1946 -1948. Staggerwings are considered one of the world's most beautiful vintage planes. A grand total of 781 of various models were produced from 1934-1948.
This is the 2015 Round2 boxing of the 1977 AMT 1/48 tooling from the days when that company made a valiant stab at producing decent airplane kits. I picked this up several years ago at a hobby shop out of pure guilt and had no intention of ever building it. One day I made a visit to one of the last remaining LHS in the SF Bay area and closest to me – a good 48-mile drive one way. I must have spent an hour wandering around ogling but not buying a thing. Feeling remorseful and a bit sorry for the owner, I grabbed this Staggerwing because I couldn't walk out empty handed in good conscious. It was also the cheapest kit in the place.
Not a Bad Kit!
Surprisingly this AMT kit is not a bad build at all. There are a few inaccuracies and minor old school molding issues. Mine had a slightly warped top main wing and tail wing fit problems. Yet overall, the fit was decent and when finished, this Staggerwing does look passable. Turned out to be an unexpected fun win-win after all.
Assembly went easily even though the top wing was slightly warped downwards at the ends. The engine doesn't quite line up centered to the cowl opening, which I discovered a bit too late. The fit of the windshield flush to the fuselage on both sides is terrible without risking cracking to fix it. I painted this Stag to resemble the same burgundy color used on an award wining 2012 restoration of a 1947 G17S by H.O. Aircraft (https://www.hoaircraft.com/1936-stinson-6000a-tri-motor-copy-c-1). I also mimicked some of the updated modern avionics gear that was used on that plane. One glitch: I had no spare correct white serial numbers or extended pin stripes in my decal dungeon, so I just used the very good and quite opaque white Round2 sheet numbers to make life easy.
Wrong Choice of Paint Product
For the burgundy color, I experimented using Montana Gold NC-acrylic spray paint for the very first time. Big mistake. This paint is a bit thick and doesn't decant easily or thin well and tends to orange peel but does respond to light sanding in between coats. The problem is you can't sand the fabric areas without losing detail. The company recommends acetone for thinning, and you know how that stuff evaporates almost instantly! Despite the prep, this paint gave me gobs of obvious orange peel and ruined the finish, so now it looks good from two feet away. The stinky fumes from this paint completely fogged the already glued in place windshield. I had to detach it and polish the heck out of it but I still couldn't fully restore it. I can see how Montana rattle cans work well for murals or large projects, but this paint is just not designed for plastic models, it seems to me. Never again!
I scratched the topside avionics gear and added the two cabin roof support rods that form a triangle up front in the cockpit. Eduard lap belts for the two front seats and detailed the cabin. You still need a pen light to see what's in there even with the door open. In addition to the Montana burgundy spray paint, paint wise I used Vallejo and Tamyia acrylics. Molotow chrome pen decanted and sprayed on spinner and prop. Rigid wire for the antennas, EZ Line painted aluminum for the rigging, and finishing with the Novis 1-2-3 polishing “system” applied over a gloss coat of AK's Gauzy clear.
All in All, a Fun Build!
I am sure the 1/48 Roden Staggerwing new tooling of several years ago is much more up to date detail wise compared to this old AMT bird, but I don't find Roden kits particularly user friendly. Despite some old school tooling issues and the paint, this AMT little plane was a fun and simple build. Now I have a reasonably good looking but dainty Staggerwing to keep my recently completed yellow Stearman
The really good news is the hobby shop where I bought this kit about five years ago is still in business!
Thanks for looking.