I was asked to write this article about two months after I completed the model, and as I tend to build four or five kits at a time things are a little hazy now. Now that I've made my excuses here's what I remember about the kit.
The parts trees come in a medium gray medium hard plastic, except for the clear parts of course. The part fit for the most part is very good. You are given eight seats for the interior and two for the cockpit, along with an instrument panel and control columns. None of which can be seen when the model is complete. However it gives you something to work on while glue is drying somewhere else.
Building the Fairchild
Construction is typical but with a five-part wing, complete top with a two parts per side lower panel. The engine nacelle is mounted on top of the wing after the wing has been mounted to the body. Care needs to be taken due to the fact that there are no locating pins anywhere on the model. Don't you just hate that? With the nacelle pylon glued in place it was time to get the horizontals stuck on. Each one needed to be fit to the vertical to get a good mating surface. To get a repeat fit I drilled two holes on each side of the vertical and matching ones in the horizontals to match a small chunk of brass rod that was then glued into the verticals to keep the horizontals in place during fitting.
Somewhere in this period I painted the engine and fit into the cowling. Care had to be taken to get the engine straight and forward enough so the prop was in the proper position. Speaking of the prop, the photos show the bolts that hold the hub together so being an adventurous type I cut itty-bitty pieces of itty-bitty rod and glued them to the hub. Nobody else will notice them but I know they are there.
Undercarriage and Fiddly Bits
With all the main parts stuck together the smaller pieces were ready to be installed. The landing gear struts were mounted into a couple of hunks of .060" thou. strip thatI forgot to mention earlier when the wing was still in many pieces. As stated before, there are no locating pins or holes so I needed some good references to figure where every-thing went. Fortunately I just happened to have a couple of very good reference books in my collection. These are Fairchild Aircraft 1926-1987 by Kent A. Mitchell and Aviones Mundial en Espana (Guerra civil) 1936~1939 Aviones Americanos Y Rusos. Which is a mouth full for saying American and Russian in the Spanish civil war. Anyway, the Fairchild book has a four page spread a short history and photos of a couple of civil birds but no color. In contrast, the Spanish book has a complete set of 1/72nd drawings with scrap views, and color schemes for the kit provided decals. All of the info above is just to letyou know how I got the landing gear located.
After locating the landing gear I found the l/g pivot arms didn't fit. A word or a few dozen here about the l/g retraction workings. The strut is pulled inboard in the wing and is pivoted up into the wing by two struts that are mounted fore-and-aft on each side of the l/g strut and are hinged to push the gear into the wing. Anyway, it was no problem to make new ones. After all this was complete, the strut covers were glued to the struts. There are no wheel covers and the pivot struts are out in the air stream. A strange arrangement but it worked. Next came the wing floats. They were no problem and went on without a hitch.
Final Prep and Painting
With all that done, the engine and cowling were glued on. Also about this time all the other small gizmos were stuck on, scoops, D.F.loop, vertical braces, exhaust stacks, antenna mast, pitot and one brace on each side from the nacelle pylon to the wing. These braces were not shown on the kit plans but show up well in the photos. Along those same lines, the book drawings and photos don't quite jibe with some of the kit small parts. This could be optional equipment or field mod's or could it be that (gasp, shudder) the kit is wrong?
Well anyway, with all the parts stuck on it was time to attempt to paint. I didn't mention before that I had been primering the model as parts were added to checkseams and joints. Before that, Metal Foil was used to mask the windows. OK now that all the background has been covered, I sprayed a couple of light coats of acrylic primer over the model to check for flaws in my work (there isn't that much primer on the market). As soon as the paint had dried, a few days, I sprayed on a few light coats of Alclad Duraluminum. Next came a coat of White Aluminum for the fabric areas. Now all I've heard, you can mask over Alcoa without a problem. Maybe you can, but if there is any way to have trouble I'll find it. As I pulled off the masking tape small areas of the paint came up too. Luckily I was able to respray without trouble. Next came the red on the engine cowl and strut, same thing happened again. So, I masked off the red and resprayed the aluminum again, off came the tape and the red too. Ever have one of those days? I got smart and touched up the red with a brush . Strange thing was that the paint didn't come up when I masked for the hull and antiglare panel.
Decaling and Finishing
After setting the model aside for a few days to regain my composure, it was time to put the decals on. The decals are produced by Propagteam and are very thin and go down quite well if you are careful. However, if you let one fold over on you it is a major undertaking to get it straightened out. Almost all the decals went on without a hitch.. Only the white crosses did not fit the wing, but a little white paint and it's fine.
Last of all came the rigging. I drilled a small hole in the top of the vertical and another in the nacelle; an even smaller one was drilled into the body on the left side by the pylon. Masts were made from brass wire and bonded into the wing and nacelle. I like to use invisible thread for rigging where I can, so I glued a piece from one mast to the other. Then glued another thread to the first one about a quarter inch from the aft mast, then in the small hole in the body. Last of all was a little white glue for insulators paint them white and the model is ready for the display case.