Luedemann 1/72 resin Sikorsky S 38 flying boat

By Grzegorz Mazurowski


The Plane

Yes, this plane was designed by the same Igor Sikorsky who did the Il'ya Muromets, the world's first multi-engined bomber during WWI, and later all those famous helicopters. But in the middle of his career, after leaving Russia and starting his aviation business in USA in the twenties, he did this strange flying boat: S 38. This plane, called 'Ugly Duckling' or 'Flying Tadpole' was a great commercial success,. At first mostly due to Pan American Airways orders. Pan-Am used Sikorskys on the Caribbean and South American routes. Sikorsky wrote in his memories: "It was this modest airplane which actually completed the peaceful conquest of nearly all South America". Later versions of this plane were not only airliners, but also cargo planes and fashionable luxury 'air-yachts'. 115 S 38s were built, and one of them even participated in Spanish Civil War.

The Kit

My first thought was: what a big one! Indeed, it has the greatest span of all the resin kits I've yet seen. Moulded in the usual Luedemanns light cream resin, the kit is fairly complicated, due to the two factors. The first is that the original airplane was an unorthodox design - a biplane with very a short hull and two tail booms connecting the wings with the tailplane and twin rudders. The second factor is the design of the kit - it reminds me of vacuforms, as almost all bigger parts are moulded as a halves to be glued together. External surfaces are very, very good, but the mating surfaces of both wings, tail booms and tailplane will have to be sanded carefully to correctly fit.

The moulding quality is very good (definitely at the higher end of the usual Luedemann's high standard), without those nasty airbubbles (except one in one of the rudders and other in the cockpit floor, nothing difficult to fill and sand). All the external surfaces are very nice, with finely and realistically depicted details, like imitations of the ribs and fabric effect on the wings, or panel lines and inspection panels on the hull. Medium sized parts like engines, side floats, propellers, wheels and thicker struts are very good too. I don't trust most thin struts, which are moulded as long 'spaghetti' and maybe it will be wiser to replace them with something stronger, especially considering the size of the airplane, but who knows - maybe they will be OK? Small parts, like control wheels, tailskid and rudder pedals are Luedemann's 'generic' ones, but very well moulded. No decals are included.


A very interesting and well produced kit. Not the easiest one, because it's a resin kit and a tricky design, so not the best choice for beginners. Advanced modellers will have a lot of fun building it, and a lot of satisfaction from finishing and placing it in his/her collection - it will definitely be a first class eye-catcher: big and strange, and I bet that every person looking at it will ask "what's this???".

Thanks to Mr. Thomas Luedemann for the review kit!

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