RS Models 1/72 Zlin Z-XII Closed Canopy

By Bill Powers

Introduction

The plane in this kit is of Czech origin in 1934, the first of a series of light “private planes”. The company has been in business ever since and in the 60 and 70’s produced a successful international aerobatic plane. Unfortunately, with the collapse of the communist empire, the company fell on hard times and is now on its second owner, still making small planes for the private market.

The plane in this kit was Zlin’s first venture and proved very successful, finding markets all over Europe and beyond. It was a simple plane in two versions, with and without enclosed canopy and with different engines and cowlings.

The Kit

First...there is a very sturdy and colorful box, opening at the end. On the back of the box are color profiles for three planes but like the ad says on TV...”wait there’s more”...inside the box is a glossy page with color plates on each side for five more. The decal sheet has markings for all EIGHT planes. Who wants to do a drab Luftwaffe one when there are sooo many colorful ones!

The parts are in ziplock bags, a nice touch. There’s only one sprue, not many pieces but very nicely molded with only a little bit of clean up required. The wings and stabs are modeled as one piece but no sinkmarks. Sprue attachments are very well engineered. The instructions are simple but the arrows make it very clear what is to go where! In a separate ziplock is a photoetch fret ...from EDUARD, for dash, seat belts and rudder pedals.

The sprue provides a fuselage for both versions but this kit is only for the four cylinder, horizontally opposed engine and enclosed canopy. To make the kit version there is a beautifully molded resin nose cowling piece and the exposed engine cylinders (no crankcase). The cylinders are exquisite, absolutely a jewel in molding! Note: the cylinder heads are staggered like a Piper J-3. There are two different horizontal stabs so look at the color plate carefully to determine which to use.

Molded into the fuselage is the interior framework...very nice. On the color plate page are photos showing one side of the aft cockpit and the uncowled engine with its mounting to the firewall. Great for additional detailing.

The canopy in the kit is injection molded as one piece. It is very clear and nicely done but too thick to really show off this detail...especially any added detail. This model begs for a super detailer. Vacuum forming a replacement would not be hard. When would we ever wish for a vacuum formed canopy?

Conclusion

If your love is civilian aircraft or between the war, this kit is for you. For the super detailers, this kit is a great start. For someone who wants to build a simple kit with a little PE, this kit is for you. To add some color to your camouflaged collection, this kit is for you. Now which one to build, the red one or green, maybe purple, or silver with all that yellow!

Thanks to RS Models for this kit.

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