New and in View
KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV. (CZECHOSLOVAKIA): 1/72 scale L-29 Delfin (Dolphin)
(Sample provided by Dr. Ivan Klusal, Spojovaci 2605, Praha 3, Czechoslovakia.) Price (value in England/U.S.A.) approx.8/-d. or $1.00.
This is the first of a planned series of kits to 1/72 scale of aircraft of the Eastern Bloc countries of types which the kit manufacturers in the West are unlikely to produce. The Delfin is, of course, the delightful jet trainer which could 'double' as a strike aircraft that is used by the Czech and many foreign air forces and makes a most attractive subject for the collector.
Moulded in silvery grey plastic the kit is certainly of a far higher quality than any yet seen from behind the 'Iron Curtain' area; the surface detail is perhaps slightly coarse but equally no worse than on many Airfix and Revell 1/72 scale kits. The fit of parts is generally acceptable though some filling and filing may be necessary depending upon one's own standards of modelling. A very comprehensive and well drawn instruction sheet is included with all the parts numbered on the sprue to match the instructions. The cockpit canopy is also better than one would have expected, and with slight trimming round the front lower edge of the windscreen — to round out the windscreen to ensure a snug fit with the fuselage contours — it looks remarkably good when assembled. Members who visited our London meetings will have seen the made up model as produced by Dick (Modeldecals) Ward and it certainly is a most pleasing little aeroplane.
Decals are remarkably good; in fact better than many we see in American and European kits, with alternative national insignia for both Czech Air Force and Ugandan Air Force, including full national markings and also serials, codes and jet warning lining and cockpit entry guide lines.
As members are probably aware, it is not possible to exchange money between East and West. However Dr. Ivan Klusal is most anxious to make this kit available to members of IPMS. He suggests, therefore, that in the first instance you write direct to him and then he will be prepared to supply the kits in direct 'trade' for British or American kits or decals to the value of about 1 dollar (8/-d.) We would suggest that at any branch or chapter meetings, the Secretary of the meeting draws the attention of members to this kit and finds out how many of his local members require one. Then he could write with a 'block' enquiry thus saving probably on postage etc. and in effect trading 'in bulk'. Of course members may write individually but remember that Dr. Klusal will probably receive many enquiries and thus it may take a little time for him to reply but do please write first to obtain details of packaging, customs arrangements etc. We know that this kit can only be obtained by this 'trading' method and being (1) a subject that would make an ideal companion for the Gnator T-33, etc. and (2) a vast improvement in quality over previous kits from the Eastern Bloc, demand will be high and provided sufficient kits are 'sold' then the manufacturers will definitely proceed with many more. Any enthusiast will tell you that the Czech Air Force have had some superb aeroplanes in service at various times!
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.7, no.4, April 1970
New and in View
KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV. (CZECHOSLOVAKIA)
The APRIL issue contained a review of the L-29 DELFIN made in Czechoslovakia. As mentioned in that review it is possible to obtain the kit direct from Dr. Ivan Klusal in Prague. However, we have just received a letter from Ian Cameron, 5 Perth Road, Stanley, Perthshire, Scotland who is able to supply these kits at 6/6d. post free (in U.K.) Overseas members should write to Ian for details of their postal cost.
We are also advised that B.M.W. Models, 329 Haydons Road, Wimbledon, S.W.19. have a limited stock of these kits available at 4/6d. each plus postage.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.7, no.4, June 1970
NEW to YOU?
New kits and accessories rewied by BOB JONES and Associates of I.P.M.S.
A plastic kit of CZECH origin to 1/72 scale of the L-29 DELPHIN JET TRAINER, under the KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV label is news indeed.
The kit contains over forty parts, which fit together well, there being no flash whatever, a small amount of filling may be required around the wing to wing joints but this is no great fault.
The cockpit transparency is crystal clear as is the tiny nose wheel light provided. Drop tanks are included and optional undercarriage positions are provided. A good gloss decal sheet is supplied giving a choice of either CZECH or UGANDAN AIR FORCE markings.
Fully detailed instructions and colour schemes are given in Czech text, but English-speaking modellers will have no difficulties, due to the excellent self-explanatory diagrams provided.
All things considered a very commendable kit from behind the 'Iron Curtain' and we look forward to further releases from this firm in the future.
Scale Models, Vol.1, no.13, October 1970
New and in View
KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV., Czechoslovakia. Avia B-534. Scale 1/72.
This new kit is of the AVIA B-534 Biplane fighter of the late 30's and what a remarkable improvement over the DELFIN kit it is. In fact the surface detailing would do credit to any top class Western manufacturer and although the kit is delightfully frail looking—almost essential in a kit of this type of aircraft—it assembles remarkably easily with little recourse to any filling with body putty. Care must as always, be taken to ensure that the interplane wing struts, together with the undercarriage legs, are correctly aligned.
The only part of the kit which did need some slight attention was the glazed cockpit canopy. This is sharply moulded and of good clarity but it did require some slight trimming at the lower front edge where it faired into the fuselage.
The decals are also of a good quality, consisting of national insignia and unit markings and the instruction sheet, albeit in Czech language, is well illustrated with step by step assembly, together with painting instructions. For members who obtain this kit the colours are as follows:— SVETLE MODRA (LIGHT BLUE), CERVENA (RED), ZLUTA (YELLOW), STRIBRNA (SILVER), MODRA (BLUE), TMAVE SEDA (DARK GREY) and KHAKI is Dark Olive-Green.
The kit of the AVIA B-534 is in a very strong box which stood up to the handling of the Post Office remarkably well!
Jacob Stoppel of STOPPEL HOBBY SHOP, GL Kongevej 154, 1850 Kopenhavn V, Denmark can supply this kit at 6.75 D.Kr. plus postage and we earnestly suggest that you apply for your kit now as demand will be high and the kit will surely become a real collector's item at ANY time. We do not know what the next kit by this Czech manufacturer will be but undoubtedly the quality will again be extremely competitive and we are delighted at the obvious and rapid improvement in these newcomers to the field of serious scale plastic kits.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.8, no.4, April 1971
NEW to YOU?
The second l/72nd scale aircraft kit to come from the recently formed Czechoslovakian firm of KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV takes the AVIA B.534 as its subject. The kit is really good, having fine detail, a good clear cockpit transparency and an excellent (though highly glossy) decal sheet, which gives a choice of two different colour schemes: a prewar version and a 1944 Slovak Upheaval version. Optional spatted or unspatted wheels are also provided.
Regrettably, the construction is not trouble-free, the interplane 'N' struts had to be replaced with similar items from a Revell Fokker DV11 kit. Tail bracing struts were replaced with stretched sprue items, and the cockpit surround needed extensive trimming before the canopy could be made to fit properly. However, with these difficulties overcome, the model, when complete, looks very attractive and is a worthwhile addition to any collection. For the benefit of non-Czech speaking readers, the colours are translated thus: Stribrna - silver, Zluta - yellow, Svetle Modra - light blue, Cervana - red, Modra - blue, and Tmave Seda - dark grey (Khaki is self-explanatory). The model is distributed by some specialists and is a most worthwhile swap item.
Scale Models, Vol.2, no.7, July 1971
Any more comments before I make up my mind on this one ?—Editor.
re AVIA B.534 kit
"I received from my Czech friend issue No.1 1971 of the magazine LETECTUI A KOSMONAUTIKA and included was a translation of the colour schemes protrayed in this issue of the AVIA B-534 plus colour mixes for same.
Svetle Modra (Light Blue) is given as Humbrol Helblau 65 with a touch of Matt Blue 25.
Khaki (Olive Green) is given as 1 part Humbrol Japanese Brown N.17 to 1 part Humbrol Japanese Green A.3 and the upper surface green of the Czech Air Police aircraft as shown in PROFILE No. 152 is given as Blue-Green—Humbrol French Vert Green HF.2 with a touch of Matt Blue 25."
A. A. FITCH
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.8, no.8, August 1971
A Czechoslovak biplane
The fighter biplanes of the 'thirties exercise a considerable fascination for many modellers, and there can be few more attractive little aeroplanes of this category and period than the Czechoslovak Avia В 534, a contemporary of the Hawker Fury. No model kits of Czechoslovak aircraft appear in the lists of western manufacturers, and we therefore particularly welcome the efforts of the Czechoslovak company, Kovozavody Prostejov, to bring the best of these to the attention of modellers, these efforts being doubly welcome in view of the quality of the kits. This manufacturer's first kit, the L 29 Delfin, was considered almost universally as an astonishingly good effort, and the second offering from the Czechoslovak company, the Avia В 534 to l/72nd scale, almost reaches the standards attained by western manufacturers of long experience.
From most aspects the В 534 does attain the highest western standards, but it suffers a good deal of quite thick flash and the fit of the component parts leaves much to be desired. The correction of these faults has to be undertaken with a great deal of care as the plastic used for the kit is very soft, and it is all too easy when preparing for assembly to cut away too much material and ruin the model. However, if the necessary care is taken, the result is an accurate model with first class surface detail. The decal sheet, which provides markings for a pre-15 March 1939 Czechoslovak Air Force fighter and for a wartime Slovak Air Force machine, is excellent, and the cockpit transparency is notably thin and clear. In short, the application of a little expertise will result in a first class model of an extremely interesting aeroplane, and it is well worth going to the trouble of arranging an exchange with a Czechoslovak modeller in order to obtain an example of this kit.
AIR ENTHUSIAST SEPTEMBER 1971
Literally to hand as the writer was about to take this to the printers is the latest kit release from the CZECH company who produced that delightful kit of the AVIA B.534 bi-plane. Their new kit subject is the ILUSHIN (ILJUSIN) IL-10/Avia В 33 close support/attack aircraft. The famous Stormov needs little introduction to WWII enthusiasts and although there is one other kit of this aircraft to 1/72 scale this latest release from our CZECH friends is far superior in every respect. Moulded in silvery grey polystyrene the surface and panel detailing is comparable to the best that can be found on American or British kits and the cockpit canopy is an example of how a canopy SHOULD be moulded this being beautifully thin with cleanly defined 'framework' detail and it is a reallv excellent fit.
The mouldings are comparable to those of the Avia B.534 kit, i.e. , some flash on some of the smaller parts BUT it must be remembered that this is only the third kit that this company have produced and to reach this standard of accuracy and detail in so short a space of time is no mean achievement, as we have said before, the present day plastic model maker is almost spoiled when one thinks back to, say, only five or ten years ago, those who complain or criticise the smallest detail on todays kits should have seen some of those which the older members will recall from our early days! in fact kit releases were few and far between and the quality both in regards to accuracy and contents of the kits left much to be desired. Admittedly todays kits SHOULD be superior and most of them are - we seem to have more complaints (justifiable most of them) in regards to lack of accuracy than of poor quality of moulding or too few parts etc, but in the case of these kits produced in Chechoslovakia one must appreciate that they are working more or less on their own with little experience in kit design and pattern marking etc and thus we feel that all due praise should be their reward for their endeavours - and who really objects to a little flash which, after all, is very easy to remove and of course with these kits we are now able to add models of aircraft subjects to the popular 1/72 scale to our collections which, frankly, few of the Western or even Japanese kit manufacturers would consider doing!
The decals in this kit are gloss BUT contrary to popular opinion many of the wartime and most post-war Russian aircraft did have a gloss or semi-gloss rather than Matt finish. Markings are included for Russian, North Korean, Polish and Czech aircraft plus i/d markings etc.
The instruction sheet is very comprehensive and although in Czech language the exploded view drawings show each assembly quite clearly and the side views showing the disposition of the various insignia etc.are excellently drawn. Incidentally the B.33 is a licence built IL-10.
Undoubtedly we will receive articles from our readers on this aircraft and perhaps IF we can obtain sufficient data we may at some future date produce a COVER COMMENT feature on the type BUT THIS DEPENDS ON WHETHER ANY MEMBERS CAN OFFER ANY PHOTOGRAPHS AND/OR DATA from which our artists could work to produce the usual drawing pages. So, as a kit this is even better than that for the earlier DELFIN and AVIA B.534 and we eagerly await news of what will be next from this company.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.8, no.8, January 1972
The last of the shturmoviki
Having previously commented on the fact that western manufacturers seem united in their belief that kits of Soviet aircraft lack sales potential, it is refreshing to receive from Czechoslovakia a very good kit of a Soviet aircraft that was extremely important in the immediate postwar years, the Ilyushin Il-10. Last of the piston-engined shturmoviki, the Il-10 was far less of a rudimentary, rough-and-ready aircraft than its better known predecessor, the Il-2, and it was built in extremely large numbers — nearly 2,000 examples were built in Czechoslovakia alone between 1950 and 1954—and supplied to most of the Soviet Union's allies.
Kovozavody Projestov has made an excellent job of its l/72nd scale kit of the Il-10, and this effort is particularly commendable in view of the fact that this is only the third kit to be produced by this concern; a standard of accuracy no doubt resulting from the close association that exists between K-P and the Czechoslovak branch of the International Plastic Modellers' Society. Beautifully detailed and completely accurate in outline, this kit offers very good cockpit detail, including a superb instrument panel, and the cockpit canopy is one of the thinnest and clearest that we have yet seen. The component parts are neatly moulded in silver plastic with little flash, but the gates are decidedly thick, and care must be exercised in detaching the parts from the sprues or damage may result. The parts fit together reasonably well, although a good deal of filling is necessary round the wing and tailplane root joints.
The decal sheet provides markings for Czechoslovak, Soviet and North Korean aircraft, and is well printed but, unfortunately, gloss finished. The instructions are, as may be expected, printed in Czech, but this does not present any serious difficulty as excellent exploded drawings render assembly abundantly clear, and general arrangement drawings provide the necessary information needed for the correct application of the finish. No price can be quoted for this kit at present, but we hope that it will be distributed in Western Europe and the USA before too long. In the meantime, it is well worth endeavouring to obtain this kit by barter with a-Czecho-slovakian member of the modelling fraternity.
On the stocks
Time was when a dozen or two new aircraft model kits would arrive on our work bench each month, but of late the trade recession coupled with some retrenchment on the part of surviving kit manufacturers has resulted in a marked paucity of new kits at the time of closing this column for press, and there would seem little likelihood that this relatively new year will see any substantial numbers of new kits appearing on the stockists' shelves. On the immediate horizon is a l/72nd scale kit of the Britten-Norman Islander which will be issued in the UK, and in Italy we understand that the issue of a kit of the CANT Z.1007 to the same scale by Italaerei is imminent, while in France Heller is to issue its 1/125th scale Boeing 747. Kovozavody Projestov in Czechoslovakia will soon be issuing its l/72nd scale kit of the MiG-19, to which we referred in this column in January, but on the whole, this year of 1972 would seem to stand little chance of becoming, to borrow from vintners' parlance, "the year in the twenty" in so far as the aircraft modeller is concerned.
AIR ENTHUSIAST, MARCH 1972
New and in View
KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV KIT (CZECH) sample from MAYBUX PRODUCTS LTD. , 29 Westwood Gardens, Hadleigh , Benfleet. ESSEX SS7 2SH. MIG-19 60p plus 5p post/packing. 1/72 scale imported kit, available by post ONLY.
Just to hand as we go to press is this, the latest kit from the Czech company who have already delighted modellers with their earlier kits of the AVI A B534, AVIA B33/IL. 10 and DELPHIN will please even more with their new kit of the MIG 19.
This is NOT a kit for the beginner as it is quite complex in that many of the smaller parts - such as the various intake fairings etc. on the fuselage - are all moulded individually and have to be located and cemented in place piece by piece, the locating areas being very very lightly marked into the plastic of the kit care MUST be taken to ensure a smooth and correctly located fit. The kit represents the MIG 19 FARMER 'C ' variant with nose cannon and the outline accuracy appears to be very good however on our example there was some sinkage in the mouldings particularly across the fin and rudder and also at the wing root of wing parts 11 and 13— but these can be filled with body putty... the tailplanes locate rather insecurely and the complex curvatures at the root creates a rather uneven join line which, again, may be smoothed out by using filler— however do not let these remarks put you off trying this kit as the completed model looks excellent.
The pilot figure is rather 'heavy' but the seat (with correct edges a la the real thing) is neat and the instrument panel was welcome - transparencies are good and include the one piece canopy plus reflector gunsight. The jet egress is a separate component as are the small outlet rims making up into a neat representation of the rear fuselage as on the MIG 19 's. Decals are national markings for Russian, Czech and Pakistan Air Forces but these are a trifle crude and on our model the Czech roundels appear translucent however one very welcome touch is an 'instrument panel' decal to fit over the moulding supplied with the kit. .. a simple but very logical item which we feel could be copied by other kit manufacturers— the quality of transparencies being so improved of late that this type of interior detail for the cockpit is going to become essential to any good quality kit.
In our opinion this kit IS basically VERY good BUT care is needed to ensure correct fit and alignment of parts and also recourse to use of body putty is essential in many areas - but for all that we do congratulate this Czech company for their endeavour and look forward to the future kits in this series as undoubtedly they are now becoming more familiar with the processes of kit research/design/tooling and manufacture and it will surely be only a matter of time before their kits are comparable in ALL respects to those already available from established manufacturers.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.9, no.11, November 1972
THE LETOV S-328 by Harry Woodman Cover Photo: S-328 early production machine
Members who have a leaning towards biplanes will be pleased to know that the Czechoslovakian firm of Kovozavody Prostejov are producing a 1/72 scale kit of the Letov S-328. Information from Prague indicates that it will not be generally available until February/March 1973 and at the time of writing the author has yet to see this model.
Nonetheless, those who have sampled the products of this firm which operates in a very limited way compared with Western manufacturers, will know how the quality has steadily improved since their first offering of the L29 "Delfin" some two years ago.
These kits can easily be acquired from modellers in Czechoslovakia who are very eager to contact I.P.M.S. members in this and other countries. SCALE MODELS and AIRFIX magazines have published requests from readers in Czechoslovakia and addresses have been published from time to time. Apart from that, there are several Czech members of I.P.M.S.—see this month's "Small Advertisements".
The Letov S-328 was designed by Alois Smolik as a reconnaissance machine for the Czech Air Force in the early 1930's. First ordered into production at Letov's Prague factory in 1934 the 328 remained in production until 1940. A total of 450 machines had beer> completed when production stopped, the last group of 30 were for the Bulgarian Air Force.
After the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by the Germans, S-328's were used as trainers by the Luftwaffe at their A/B—Schulen whilst others were taken over by the newly created Slovak Air Force. These Slovakian S-328's carried out reconnaissance missions and some bombing sorties in support of the German invasion of Poland and eventually they equipped Nos. 1 and 3 reconnaissance squadrons and No. 2 liaison squadron. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941 the S-328's saw some active service although the three units operating this machine were largely confined to the location of partisan groups in the western Ukraine. At the beginning of the winter of 1941/2 they were withdrawn to their home bases at Zvolen and Spisska Nova Ves but returned to the front in the spring. During the operations in 1942 several of the crews of these aircraft defected to the Russians.
When the Germans formed the Storkampfstaffeln during the winter of 1942/3, the S-328 was put into operational service again to counter the nocturnal harrassing by Russian Pe-2's. By the spring of 1943 most of the Letovs had been replaced by newer types on the Eastern front.
When the Slovak National Uprising came on 29th August 1944 an insurgent air arm was raised and established on the Tri Duby airfield near Zvolen and a collection of machines available were joined together in a group called the "combined squadron". This included three S-328's which operated as reconnaissance machines for the Slovak forces until they were overrun by the Wehrmacht in October.
In Bulgarian service the S-328 was christened" Vrana" and when the Soviet Union was invaded in 1941 it was decided to create a Bulgarian S-328 unit under German command. This unit, the 161st Maritime Squadron consisting of five S-328's had the task of patrolling Bulgaria's Black Sea coastline but with little success as the Bulgarians did not co-operate with the Rumanians under the same command. In mid-1942 the 161st Squadron's S-328's had been replaced by Arado Ar 196's and the old biplanes were used for army co-operation work.
The Author would like to express his appreciation to Ing. Rene Greger of Prague for his valued assistance with this feature.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.10, no.1, January 1973
New and in View
KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV KIT (Czechoslovakia) LETOV S.328 1/72 scale.
The Letov S.328 is a single bay equal span biplane reminiscent in appearance to the ubiquitous Swordfish. As with previous kits from this Company, this kit is cleanly moulded free of flash and appears to be accurate when compared with available drawings. Panel detail is depicted by very fine raised lines and minute rivets which are countersunk. The kit has alternate wheeled or float landing gear but lacks location points for the float version, so great care must be exercised if the floats are to be aligned correctly. It is best to make up the floats as a sub assembly which is left to harden off for as long as possible before attaching this to the model. As with all kits it is advisable to make a dry run without any cement, and on this kit, this will allow you to correct a minor error in the wing fuselage join before assembly. A very good drawing of this aircraft appeared in the January magazine and I also worked from drawings in the aviation book "Ceskoslovenska Letlada". These drawings show glazed sections to the observer's cockpit which are omitted from the IPMS drawing. Interior detail consists of a floor, seat control column and separate rudder pedals plus finely detailed instrument panels for the pilot and observer's stations. The observer's station still looks rather bare and a few detail drawings would be most welcome for this particular section. Underwing stores are included in the shape of six small bombs, but on my sample these were little more than blobs of plastic so I discarded them. Suitable alternatives will no doubt be found in the 'spares box', or you could fabricate bomb racks from heat stretched sprue and leave the bombs off. A nice finishing touch is the inclusion of miniscule parts on the clear sprue for the navigation lights and when painted and mounted look very effective indeed. * Decals in the kit were disappointing as these broke up into small pieces as soon as I floated them on the water to release them from the backing paper, and my model was completed using some old Yeoman decals. It would not be too difficult to hand paint the national markings, but remember that these are handed, i.e; the blue segment faces forward and the white segments face the extremities in all aspects. All in all this is a very commendable kit which should appeal to biplane buffs. Review sample gift from personal contact in C.S.S.R.
* Note - if the decal sheet is sprayed with 2 or 3 thin coats of Testors Dullcote the problem is solved - Ed.
The IPMS Magazine, Vol.10, no.7, July 1973
NEW to YOU?
This new kit from KOVOZAVODY PROSTEJOV is a first-rate production. Moulded in light grey plastic and accompanied by a leaflet setting out the numbered parts of the kit as they are attached to the runners, the kit allows three versions of the machine to be made. Russian, Czechoslovakian and Pakistani.
Our model went together well and the only part which required modification was part 10 - the jet orifices. The canopy was extremely well done, being moulded in very thin, clear polystyrene. Considerable amounts of lead weights are necessary in the nose of the model to ensure that the model is not tail-heavy. However, the kit could be faulted on two scores. Firstly, after the model had been assembled, even light rubbing with 'Duraglit' or 'Brasso' prior to painting tended to remove some of the finely-moulded panel lines, and secondly, the decals are definitely not up to the standard expected in Western or Japanese 1/72nd scale kits. They are extremely thin and break up, even if great care is used during their application.
If I was to give this kit a rating, I would give it '4-star'. It was a pleasure to build and the final result is a model which is a faithful reproduction of the full-size machine.
This kit is distributed in the U.K. by MAYBUX LTD., at Benfleet, Essex, along with others in the range, and retails at 60p.
Scale Models, Vol.5, no.1, January 1974
NEW to YOU?
The latest Kovozavody Prostejov release sent to us by distributors Maybux is a fine model to 1/72 scale of the Lavochkin La 7 which makes a fine companion to Italaerei's La 5 reviewed in February's edition.
The new style box art and packaging is the first thing we noticed and the contents are as fine as ever.
A fine quality decal sheet albeit still glossy, gives markings for a Czech machine and two Russian, one being extremely colourful with red nose and yellow tail band. Assembly is fairly straightforward, although use of a craft knife to snip off flash from components is advised. Wings also fit better if their inside faces are 'flattened' by sanding on a block with wet and dry paper attached, use of filler may still be required however.
KP have got over moulding an engine by moulding a 'solid' cowl with just the prominept fan in view, which is just as effective as a 'full' engine. Cockpit detail is spartan compared to KP's earlier releases, just a seat and a rather crude pilot. Two small bombs are supplied and a choice of tailwheel positions for in-flight or ground models.
Undercarriage doors are nicely thin and the canopy likewise.
Our sample had a Czech instruction sheet but the box art gave ample scope for reference. Interior of wheel wells, cockpit, etc., is light grey. The La 7 costs 61 p plus 8p post and packing from Maybux Products of Essex. Russian WWII subjects are scarce these days, so this La 7 is most welcome.
Scale Models, Vol.5, no.55, April 1974
NEW to YOU?
An AVIA B35 from Kovozavody Prostejov
CONSIDERING that Czechoslovakia is a relatively small country there has been a very active aircraft industry producing mainly home designed aircraft with some licence built designs. Occasionally the shortcomings were the result of not having a wealthy engine industry capable of developing advanced high performance engines and using the motive power supplied from other countries often meant second best.
The Avia B35/B135 series illustrates this factor. Designed by Ing. Novotny, the B35 first flew in September 1938, at the time of the Munich crisis. The B35.1 was a very clean monoplane design with an all steel fuselage frame with part metal fabric covering and an elliptical wing very like the Spitfire but of wooden construction faced with plywood and skinned with aluminium. The undercarriage was fixed and spatted, and the slim fighter was designed round the Avia 12Y-1000cc engine and an armament of 2 x Mk. 30 m.g. with later versions carrying an additional Oerlikon FFS-20mm cannon. The design engine was not available so the prototype flew with the 760 h.p. HS 12 YCRS engine. Even with this low power the B35 attained 307.5 m.p.h., and the third prototype with the design engine and a retractable radiator attained 332.4 m.p.h.
KP's latest kit is a neat and, according to the rather scant data we have, an accurate duplicate in miniature of the original. Moulded in silver grey plastic of the now familiar rather soft type used in these kits, the mouldings are up to the high standard of K-P Kits. Our model was a pre-production version without decals, and there were one or two minor snags which will obviously be ironed out in production kits. Surface detail was somewhat heavy, again probably to be corrected in productions but nevertheless our sample enabled us to see what an interesting model can be made up. Both two blade and three blade props are provided, and from our information it seems that both were used on the prototypes.
One of the fixed u/c aircraft was test flown by the German occupation forces and carried Black crosses on whatappears to be an overall aluminium finish. This aircraft was damaged on landing, and the 35.2 was shadow shaded in what appears to be green and brown with light under-surfaces and the national marking only on the rudder. The B35.3 prototype had a straight leading edge to the wing for ease of production and an Olaer retractable undercarriage. 12 were ordered by the Bulgarian Air Force and used in operations against USAAF bombers attacking the Oilfields.
For the collector of WW2 types and those who like the unusual this will be welcome, and it is nice to know that some 'off beat" types are becoming available in styrene moulded kits. The kit should soon become available through the specialist mail order houses and we note, at some IPMS branch meetings.
Scale Models, Vol.6, no.69, June 1975
NEW to YOU?
1/72nd scale. Kovozavody Prostejov (KP) Czechoslovakia. UK price and availability not yet known.
IF the average enthusiast was asked what aircraft had the longest ever production/ service time his answer would likely be the DC3 or perhaps the Me109 or Tiger Moth. A Russian design dating to 1927 beats these by years ... it was still in production under licence in 1954 and is still extensively used. It fought as a BOMBER in at least two Wars, WW2 and Korea and though designed as a primary trainer has been adapted as transport, ambulance and for agricultural and forestry work. In WW2, drifting almost silently over the German forces it caused havoc with up to 550 lbs. of bombs and a ShKAS machine gun. Dozens of night bomber regiments equipped with the U-2VS version were formed and hundreds harried the Germans night after night at Stalingrad.
The Americans in Korea knew it as 'Bed Check Charlie' and also suffered from its nocturnal attentions. Easy to fly, maintain and repair the little Po-2 has been one of the world's great aircraft, and for an aircraft of its size and power with versatility second to none.
It was probably inevitable that the Czech enthusiast firm of K. P. should produce a kit of the little biplane, particularly as they have shown none of the reluctance most Western makers have for the biplane configuration in a kit. To be fair to our own kit makers K.P. do not have to look for the very large sales market Western makers need to recover costs.
The kit, of which our sample was an unboxed but finalised version, is typical of the marque. Moulded in the familiar sottish pale grey plastic the 58 parts are finely moulded with excellent detail. Even with these 'test shots' flash was minimal and though one ortwb very small parts are a shadeclumsyitwould be almost impossible to mould them other than a shade oversize. From our available information the kit is accurate though very slightly undersize in span, our sources quoting 37.4J and the model scaling at 36.9. I would not argue on 1/12th inch! Cockpit detail comprises seats, floor, instrument panels, two control sticks and two pairs rudder pedals... could one ask more? The little 5 cyl. radial engine is neatly moulded, and if you want a conversion saving the motor (for a Lynx Avro?) a version was fitted with a GAZ car engine in a nose shaped like the DH4. Possibly more details can be located by a reader. The parts fitted very well and only required a little 'green putty' beneath the underwing/fuselage joint.
Rigging is prominent and a must as are the external control wires and horns. My example was rigged by the continuous rigging cord method used in Inpact kits and the cord was 1 Ib nylon fishing line of/the twisted type. Control horns are short lengths cut from hypodermic needles with the control wires threaded through.
The decals were missing from the kit so it was finished with dark green Humbrol topsides and underside blue, the upper surface being given a soft overspray of white for Russian Winter finish. If you are not the fortunate possessor of a Badger, the same effect can be simulated with a dry brush application of white, Decals were from a Letraset sheet. A.M.L.K.
Illustration: Review model of the ubiquitous Po-2 in 'winter' camouflage. Modellers of this kit will doubtless want to /superdetail their model and scale drawings of the aircraft which appeared in the November 1969 issue of Scale Models, will be of great use. If you have no access to a copy the drawings are sold with 1/24th dyelines as Plan Pack SH 2893 price 55p from MAP Plans service.
The drawings provide much detail for conversionists, and include the ambulance version, the licence built S-13 with cockpit and ski arrangement drawings. This latest kit from the Czech firm deserves careful attention by the biplane enthusiast.
Scale Models, Vol.7, no.76, January 1976