When this kit showed up I immediately went to the general Luftwaffe bible to read up on the type. Grabbing William Green's Warplanes of the Third Reich, I flipped to the Arado section and went from the Ar 76 to the Ar 80. Hmm. Nothing on the Ar 79. I thought this was a bit odd considering the coverage of more obscure types in this book (but then again, it completely avoids the Siebel Si 204, so I guess I could understand the lack of Ar 79 information). I then turned to the web and discovered that there was a single surviving example but little other information.
Here's what I managed to find out. There were at least four different versions produced, but exact production numbers are unknown. Designed in 1937, the plane set several world speed records in the light sport plane category. One even flew from Brandenburg to Sydney, covering the stretch from Benghazi, Libya to Gaya, India without landing, breaking the previous record by nearly 1400 miles.
During the Second World War some Ar 79s were used for general liaison and communications flying in the Luftwaffe, and at least 16 were used in Hungary, both during the war and afterwards, with some records showing at least one flying on through the 1950s.
Like previous AML kits, this one comes molded in a light gray plastic that is slightly soft. Detailing is fairly crisp, though, with recessed panel lines (what few there are, anyway) throughout. There is also a small fret of etched brass and two vacuformed canopies. A decal sheet with several options rounds out the kit.
Looking at the interior, most of your time will be spent here. This is a good thing, as the large canopy will show every corner. The interior is a combination of plastic and brass parts, with the instrument panel, seat belts and rear bulkhead all being provided out of brass. The only detail missing is sidewall details, but some stretched sprue for stringers is probably all that would be needed here.
The fuselage is split into right and left halves, with the vertical fin molded with one side. The engine is separate and is also split into right and left halves. A firewall is included and the propeller, while needing some cleanup, is fairly well done and molded as one piece.
The wing is molded as one piece, so there's no worries about getting the dihedral right. The landing gear is to scale, which means that it is very frail and would probably best be replaced with appropriate brass tubing and rod. The wheels, while adequate, require lots of cleanup and due to the small size a bit of digging through the spares box would probably yield up better replacements. The tailplane is also one piece and fits into a notch in the fuselage.
The decals provide choices for a total of five planes: two German and three Hungarian. One German example is listed as being finished in overall RLM 63 and the other in overall RLM 02. Other than that the markings are very similar, with black fuselage codes and standard Luftwaffe markings.
The Hungarian choices offer a bit more color, with the same pattern on all three. This has the fuselage and wing leading edges finished in one color, with a section of the rear fuselage and back part of the wings in a second color. Two of these are finished in blue for the first and aluminum for the second, while the third choice replaces the blue with red. The tailplanes have the standard Hungarian colors consisting of green, white and red stripes. Civil codes are present on the wings and fuselage.
This is a nice little kit of a very obscure subject and looks like a fun build. The classic Arado tail is present here so setting the plane down next to an Ar 196 will show its lineage. The colorful Hungarian examples will be a bit of a challenge to paint but will really be striking when finished. If you're looking for a new challenge to keep you busy for a month or two, this might be the perfect kit for you.