AZ Models 1/48 Avia B35.2
or: Building the Czechoslovakian Spitfire…

By Jaroslaw Kierat

Introduction

The kit was described in detail in the 12/2007 issue of IM so I will not go into that direction again.

One thing I have found out in the meanwhile are some plans on the internet, and as it seems, the model is actually quite closely resembling the drawing.

Construction

As mentioned the kit is a short run technology offering, which unfortunately shows a lot in the assembly process.

I started with painting the fuselage inside, using a neutral gray. Some PE-gauges were then fitted onto the cockpit walls. The instrument panel comes as a printed PE-part, with a transparent foil for instrument glasses. The seat got a frame made from a wire paper clip, and the nice PE safety belts. These parts were also sprayed gray, as well as the cockpit floor. The rudder pedals were fixed from PE bits.

Since the cockpit can be completely fitted into the fuselage through the bottom, I started with the tedious task of merging the twisted fuselage halves. Initially I considered re-shaping the parts, but then I just decided to go for rough force. I started gluing the fuselage from the center, using capillary glue bit by bit. With a lot of squeezing, gluing, taping, and fixing I managed to merge the halves in many small steps. While the tail was fitting OK, the nose section has an offset of about a millimeter. Unfortunately, also the seam on the top and bottom was not clean, so it was putty-time.

The first rough sanding removed the previously acclaimed fine details from around the seam. But not only recessed details went, which are easily restored - also the elevated ribs in the canvass-covered rear area of the fuselage were now flat. I restored them by gluing thin threads of stretched sprue, and wetting them with plenty of styrene solvent. This way the stringer patters in the rear fuselage got back on the model.

The cockpit was inserted through the bottom, first the panel, then the seat, and finally the floor.

To prevent any crevices on the side of the cockpit floor, I filled the gap between it and the fuselage wall with thick Surfacer 500.

The top engine compartment cover is done separately, which actually makes the shaping of the fuselage even more difficult, but on the other hand probably allows for easy replacement for the later prototype version of the bird, which features openings for the guns in the concerned spot. The fuselage got a “firewall” inside, just behind the cover. This separation will prevent dust from entering the cockpit, during the heavy sanding ahead.

The quality of the canopy is not the best, but it’s possible to re-furbish it. Using sanding and polishing sticks, as well as Tamiya polishing agent, I managed to bring the clear part into a useful condition.

The cage behind the pilot’s head should actually be reaching to the top of the canopy from below. I didn’t notice that in the first step, and positioned it too deep and too far back. I realized the mislocation first after the canopy was glued. In the end I had to rip the canopy off, and re-do these parts. Attaching the vacu canopy is tricky - in particular sanding the putty at the base after filling up the gaps.

The top and bottom half of the wing was merged, after removing as much material from the inside of the trailing edge as I just dared. The wing is extremely thick, so I also removed some from the top of the trailing edge, since there’s practically no structure. The fit of the wing to the fuselage was quite good, with hardly a gap, so happily I glued it with the usual capillary glue.

The elevators got metal pins to stay in place, same as the landing gear legs. Wheels would be fitted in later since they have no axle, and just sit in the flared “trouser-legs”.

Next step was to add a shaft to the prop, which was prepared using a thick precision syringe. The counter bearing was made out of drilled pieces of sprue. Then the shaft was fixed in place with a small piece of plastic at the free end of the shaft. In order to be able to insert it into the fuselage later, I attached a sleeve below the motor compartment cover, which snugly accommodated the shaft bearing.

That way I could close the fuselage without bothering too much about how to apply the prop later, or about dust or spray in the cockpit.

After applying Tamiya tape masking to the canopy windows, it was time for all-over coat of primer - as usual, Mr. Surfacer 1000.

Quite happy about the result, I got a shock, when looking at the big picture: the wing was quite severely misaligned against the fuselage! Relying on the nice fit of the parts, I forgot to check for the overall geometry of the model!

At this point I was seriously tossing the project into the garbage. I‘m usually not giving up easily, but that got me to a point, where I started considering, if I should keep on wasting my time with this cripple.

Finally, I decided for one drastic measure: I ripped the wing off the fuselage, by sheer force, and cut out all connecting edges between the fuselage and the wing about 1mm deep. Now there was no thinking about a nice fit, but a 3D-alignment was now possible. Using modeling clay, I lined up the wing against the fuselage, and fixed everything with a LOT of putty. After another sanding orgy, I managed to get the overall shape back in order. But of course, after that maneuver, plenty of the acclaimed details on the fuselage sides and wings was gone too…

After another priming, I re-scribed the lost panel lines and these many rivets, and drilled out the exhaust ports. That steps done, the PE parts were applied, and the model looked good again.

Since the wings were wood and the fuselage back stretched canvas, I just decided for painting them Tamiya silver. The metal planking on the wings and the front part of fuselage for an Alclad 2 treatment.

The prop was painted with half-translucent artist oils, wet in wet, using some 4 different hues of brown. The effect is as usual rather nice. I wanted the greenish prop tips to look worn, so I tried the salt technique. Unfortunately, the salt was too rough, and I didn‘t run it through a sock, so the effect were round marks in the green. I fixed that with fine sanding paper, and some touching-up with a delicate brush.

The decals were applied just straight onto the Tamiya paint, and were definitely a highlight of this kit. Perfect register, excellent to apply, no silvering and very thin after drying. After that, only minor details had to be added like position lights, the wheels, antenna and the tail wheel.

Since I didn‘t want to seal off the shiny Alclad, I decided to use water based aquarelle paints as a wash for the panel lines. When this paint dries, it leaves only a faint color - just what I wanted. Some metal panels got a final accent with a differently shaded Alclad, and some panel lines were just accentuated by changing the surface texture by spraying some Future here and there. The smoke trails were added with Tamiya smoke, and then Xtracolor flat varnish.

Conclusion

Overall, the kit allows to make the model of a beautiful airplane, but definitely at a price in nerves and gray hair. While looking great in the box, most of the miniature and delicate detail is gone by the time the parts are put together. This piece of work truly demands a masochistic trait - or maybe a better modeler than me….

Roll Models

Sandle Hobbies

Profile Art EN Banyai-Riepl Illustrations