|Flashbacks 1/72 Voisin 3
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Voisin LA was a steel framed pusher biplane designed by Gabriel Voisin. Powered by a 120hp Salmson engine the LA (or Voisin III), was used by France, Russia, Britain (RNAS), Italy and Romania from 1914. The LA is justly famous as the victor in the world's first aerial combat when Sgt Josef Frantz and his observer Louis Quenalt of Escadrille V.24 claimed an Aviatik of Fl.Abt 18 on 5 October 1914 . Although most Voisins had been withdrawn from frontline use by the end of 1916, there were still reported to be 81 Voisins of various types in Soviet service as late as 1920.
The most immediate impression one gets from Flashbacks kit of the Voisin 3 is that it isnt for the novice. Resin, brass, and plastic are all present, and when you couple that with the complex rigging, youve got a lot of work set out for you.
The plastic parts are very well molded, with no over-scale fabric texture and subtle rib detail. A coat of paint over this will really look good. This is one kit that you can try out all of those rib tape ideas on. One VERY nice feature of the kit is a pair of plastic wing jigs to aid in aligning the upper and lower wings. This is a simple addition, but it makes things so much easier when it comes time to put everything together.
The resin parts make up the engine and other details that are hard to capture in injection plastic. The engine is made up of a central crankcase and individual cylinders, so cleaning up the minor flash around the cylinders will be easy. The separate cylinders add some difficulty to assembly, though, and care will be needed to ensure proper alignment.
The real treat of this kit is the brass set. The kit comes with two etched brass frets. At first, I thought that all it had was the usual interior and wire wheels. Then I turned the card over and saw the second fretthe entire rear fuselage is composed out of brass. Did I mention that this kit isnt for beginners? To make the rear fuselage, you have to fold one brass piece into a box, then attach a second piece to make up the top bracing. This delicate structure is all that holds the tail to the wings, but it looks to be fairly strong once done. Its going to take some careful bending, though. The rest of the brass details will go a long way to turning this kit into a showstopper, with a cockpit floor, instrument panel, wire wheels, engine ignition harness, gun belt, and more.
With this complicated construction, it would be quite easy to get lost in building this kit, but the kit instructions are very clear, and if you follow them there shouldnt be any problem. Everything is detailed in clear drawings and includes complete rigging information. The rigging of this plane is the final step, and a good rigging job will really make this kit stand out. Flashback should be commended for providing the comprehensive rigging instructions, one area that is often confusing.
The decals are very thin and provide two choices. The first one is for a French Voisin 3, finished in white overall, with the usual roundels and rudder colors. The second Voisin is an Italian one, also in white overall, but with red and green outer lower wing undersides. To finish this one properly you will have to match the red and green from the decals, but once done it will be quite colorful.
This kit has great potential, but it is definitely not something that can be built in a weekend. Its not a kit for a beginner (where have I heard that before?), but with patience and diligence, it can be turned into a stunning representation of the Voisin 3.
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