Azur 1/72 GAL ST-25 Monospar
The GAL ST-25 ‘Jubilee’ marked a peak in the development of aircraft with the Monospar wing. The wing was designed by H. J. Stieger and was used in several aircraft, starting with the ST-4 in 1931. The first ST-25 rolled out on June 19, 1935 and soon found its way into both private and corporate usage. Several versions were made, including the Jubilee, the DeLuxe, and the Universal, all of which were distinguished by different tailplane shapes. A total of 61 aircraft were made, and while they mainly flew in England, several made it to spots all around the world, including Kenya, Canada, and New Zealand. The ST-25 also saw service in the Spanish Civil War on both sides, mainly as a light transport or air ambulance. One ST-25 survived in New Zealand until 1986 when it was destroyed in a hangar fire, and now the only surviving ST-25 is the one on display at Egeskov Castle in Denmark. A picture of this plane can be seen at airliners.net.
It’s small, and it’s odd, so of course I’m interested! This kit has all the look of a quick build, as there really is not much to it. You get thirty plastic parts on two sprues, fourteen cast resin pieces, and a single vacuformed canopy. The only real challenge I can see will be getting the vacuformed canopy to fit right in the opening. The rest of the assembly is very straightforward, and as there isn’t much surface detail to worry about (the majority of the real plane was fabric covered), there’s little worry about losing panel lines through sanding and filling.
A glance at the interior reveals that it is made up entirely from resin. There are a total of five seats to place on the one-piece cockpit floor, all of which look very nice. The instrument panel is also in resin, as is the two-piece control wheel. All of this is sandwiched between the fuselage halves. I would probably test fit this several times and check the visibility from the outside to see if some interior structure will be needed on the fuselage sidewalls, as none is in the kit.
Moving to the outside, the wings are in right and left halves, split into upper and lower pieces. These fit flush to the fuselage, with no locating devices to aid in assembly, so some care will be needed here to make sure both wings are at the proper angle. The engine nacelles are cast resin and do an excellent job of capturing the look of the real thing. The kit includes all three different tailplanes, including two styles of single fins and the two-fin option. Choose accordingly. The landing gear is solid and should pose no problems.
The decal sheet provides options for three aircraft, all of which are interesting in their markings. The first one is an ST-25 “Universal”, with the twin fins, flown by the Spanish Republican Air Force in 1937. This plane is aluminum overall and carries what is probably a fictitious French registration code. The second example is a French ST-25 “Universal”, also finished in overall aluminum, with black and white stripes around the wings and fuselage. This plane carries the French registration of F-AQOL. The third example is an ST-25 “Jubilee” with a single vertical fin, flown in Spain in 1937 as a courier aircraft. This plane has a green fuselage and silver wings, making it a very attractive aircraft. The decals are well printed and should pose no problems.
This is definitely an odd little plane, and the folks at Azur seem to prefer these oddities. The fairly simple construction gives this kit the potential of being a nice breather between those other large projects that we all have going. If you want something a little different, take a look at this one next time you’re in your hobby shop.