Beechcraft G-17S Staggerwing – AMT (Round 2) 1/48
The Staggerwing is, of course, one of those aircraft that just screams "Golden Age of Aviation", especially when in the air (as I've chosen to display it). The first Staggerwing Model 17 Beech aircraft flew in 1932, and at the time it yielded performance similar to or better than most fighter aircraft! Not surprisingly, thanks in part to its P&W R-985 Wasp Jr (450hp) and its sleek aerodynamic form, the later G-17S could readily achieve 212 mph. Did I mention, it looks great too?!
This kit is a 2015 reissued version of AMT's original 1977 release. From what I understand, Round 2 made some helpful additions to the decal sheet, but other than that, the boxing is unchanged. The sprues are rather simply cast, the parts are fairly well detailed with raised rivets, and aside from some flash here and there, my only complaint is that the gates on the clear pieces are poorly placed. The plastic is fairly hard, which makes whooping the fit into shape a bit of a chore, but it does help preserve some of the finer details.
There was plenty of room for improvement, where details would be most visible. First, in the cockpit, I opted to add some detail to the IP, mainly by adding the engine controls in the center, and then adding some placards and labels. Additionally, a triangulated framing brace were added just inside of the main canopy window, a feature prominent to the real plane. On the exterior, I added some panel lines here and there, but these details primarily served to dress up the engine cowl, which was void of any detail. With panel lines added, I also decided to improve the "air scoops" at the lower cowl opening, in front of the engine. The kit's replication of this was basically a silhouette shape of the scoops, and really detracted from the decent looking 9-cyl Wasp Jr. I used some fabricated aluminum tubing, which was difficult given the lack of clearance in front of the motor, ultimately requiring me to move the motor mounting point reward.
Aside from the self-inflicted "improvements", the build was pretty fun, but not without fitment challenges. Primarily, getting the wings lined up with the fuselage (on the top and bottom), while also ensuring a good fit at the top of the windshield was certainly the biggest difficulty of the whole kit. A lot of filling and sanding was done, where-in I primarily used Perfect Plastic Putty, an "easy-clean" water based, water soluble pultty. The fitment of the windows and windscreen were pretty poor, necessitating seam gaps to be filled with Micro Kristal Klear. After painting and clear coating, I used a Faber-Castell Pitt pen around the windows (and prominent panel lines), which really helped to "frame" them hide some of the gap coverage.
For paint, I first used Tamiya rattle can pink primer on the fuselage, and White primer on the cowl. The cowl end was then masked off (for the white nose, which is not provided as a decal), and all was painted with Tamiya TS-8 Italian Red. This color is far more vibrant than the real aircraft was likely even brand new... but its what I had on-hand, and I like the way it looks. The TS-8 sprayed nice and glossy from the can, which allowed for a great surface to apply the decals. The carrier film on the decals was rather thick, but with heat, patience, pressure, and Micro-sol, they quickly adapted to the curves and rivets of the plane. Following that, I sealed the deal with a nice coating of Mr Clear mixed with leveling thinner. After that, I masked and sprayed the anti-slip on the port side wing. After that, I frustratingly struggled with Infini's 1/48 Fine Rigging line, and after giving up multiple times, I finally came back to the workbench determined... and got the wings strung up..
I hope you like this Staggerwing in flight!
19 additional images. Click to enlarge.