AVIA B-35.2
1/48th by Legato/ AZ-Models



By Jaroslaw Kierat

Background

Having built my first Avia B-35 model at the tender age of around 11, I was quite excited heaving heard that Legato (www.legatokits.cz) has issues a 1/48th scale model of this fighter. As a fan of exotic airplanes, I urged my dealer to provide a kit as fast as possible. After a few weeks I found a box in the mail containing the kit. Legato issued a whole line of B-35 models, comprising those at different stages of development, as well, as the derivatives. I opted for an early version with Czech markings.

A few words about the plane itself: the Avia B-35 was a designed in 1935 by Frantisek Novotny, as a response to specifications issued be the Czechoslovakian Airforce to replace their aged B-534 fighter. True to the spirit of the thirties, the plane featured a sleek, long nose, and elegant elliptical wings. The aircraft was designed with a metal tubing fuselage, and aluminum planking around the engine and in the cockpit area. The wooden wing had an aluminum skin. The power plant was a Hispano-Suiza, fitted in later models with a version providing for an auto-cannon located between the banks of the engine.

The first prototype flew in September 1938, with reportedly excellent results, but crashed in November 1938 killing the test-pilot. With minor modifications the second prototype, the B-35/2, was put into further testing, which was interrupted during the German invasion, and continued under German markings, ending with an accident in May 1940. Both prototypes featured fixed landing gear, which was changed to a retrievable one, in the last, third prototype. The B-35 did not make it into mass production but the experience gained was transferred into the design of the Avia B-135, which was sold in small numbers to the Bulgarian airforce. The combat record is not well known, though there are reports of a B-135 downing a B-24 Liberator during the air-raid on Ploesti.

Background

The model features the second prototype of the B-35, as it appeared in 1939 with German or Czechoslovakian versions. The kit contains a zip-bag with two sprues in brownish plastic, a small bag of resin parts, a nice fret of photo-etched pieces (by Eduard), some decals (by TALLY HO!), two vacu-formed canopies, and a letter-sized instruction sheet in two colors.

As regards the injected parts; the casting looks somewhat rough, and thick-walled - the short run, low-pressure cast may scare modelers used to Tamigawa quality, and even some Czech manufacturers provide much better nowadays. However, the surface detail is excellent, with fine riveting and recessed panel lines.

During assembly, there will be the same problems with fitting the fuselage parts, as I found on Legato's Breda 27: the halves are somewhat warped, and stand apart though with force, the fuselage can be joined, (I'll try some warm water). I'm not sure if this is a systematic issue related to the tooling, or just my bad luck. The wings fit together well, and leave hardly a gap at the fuselage. The overall interior detail is not overly generous, but I think it's enough for what can be seen through the narrow canopy. The vacu-canopy is thick, and unfortunately blurred. If "Future"-coating does not help, I'll have to mold a new one. On the positive side, there are two of them. A nice gesture would be also a separate bag for the canopy, to prevent additional scratches.

The printed PE-fret is of typical excellent Eduard quality, and includes cockpit parts, belt and some exhaust bits and pieces. The decals are also very good, with no register issues, and - judging by formerly applied TALLO HO! decals - excellent in terms of low thickness, elasticity and setting.

AZ-Models did a good job. If one were to be really decadent, one could wish for a set of masks, which ideally would be provided by Eduard. In spite of some minor issues with the kit, I congratulate Legato for their courage in continuing to issue some beautiful relics of aviation history. I highly recommend the kit to all experienced modelers who - like me - have a liking for the extraordinary. Also, be prepared to take some time and the kit will produce a wonderful model, but as a reference - my last AZ-kit took me about half a year to build - being initially scheduled as a weekend project. The kit cost 29 Euros from PreModels of Germany.

Enjoy - Jack. (See my website here )

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