Eduard 1/144 Avia B.534 IV. serie
By Matt Bittner
In the past, Eduard has released 1/144 Avia B.534 as two Quatro Combos; first as the Early Series then as the Late Series. For this re-release as a Super44 bagged release, Eduard has chosen to release just the B.534 IV. serie.
Given that there is just one sprue in the bag, you receive just one IV. serie which can be built into four different biplanes:
- B.534.187, 40th Fighter Squadron, Air Regiment 4, Prague - Kbely, Czechoslovakia, April 1938
- 12th Squadron, Slovak Air Forces, Eastern Front, Soviet Union, 1941
- Combined Squadron of Slovak national uprising, Tri Duby airfield, Slovakia, September – October 1944
- 7./LLG 1, Eastern Front, Soviet Union, Winter 1942 – 1943
Eduard's decals are nicely printed and appear to be in register. The first three aircraft have Czech Khaki uppers with aluminum undersides, while the last, German-marked machine is white on the upper surfaces, khaki on the underside of the upper wing and aluminum on the rest of the undersurfaces.
Eduard also provides masks with this kit and it's here I really need to congratulate them. If you read my First Looks of their Quattro Combos one comment persisted: while they did provide masks for the wheels and clear pieces, they didn't provide masks for the underside flying surfaces. On the Khaki-finished aircraft the upper color wrapped around to a small part of the undersides. Eduard provided masks for this wrap-around effect in 1/72 but neglected that in 1/144, something I thought was sorely needed. Well, with this release Eduard has provided masks for that wrap-around effect. Those masks consist of complete masks for the stabilizers as well as wing-tip-only masks. In addition, they provide straight strips of tape so you can mask the leading and trailing edges of the wings' undersides, leaving you to fill it the rest on your own. Thank you, Eduard!
The kit builds as any normal aircraft model: construction starts first with the cockpit. Once you paint the cockpit pieces then apply the seat belt decals as well as the instrument panel decal. Then add the other interior pieces to one fuselage-half, paint it all, then glue the cockpit assembly - and the front of the radiator - into one fuselage-half before gluing the halves together.
Next, you glue the wings on as well as the upper, forward fuselage. On this page are also two other steps. First, Eduard shows how you apply the masks to the wheels (another awesome step in their favor is Eduard provide masks not only for the unspatted wheels but for their spatted ones as well). Finally, you need to decide which scheme you're going to finish the kit as because if you choose the first scheme you need to cut the tail wheel off the kit and glue on the tail skid.
For the next page in the instruction booklet Eduard has you glue on the upper wing along with its struts. Personally, I will leave this off until painting is finished. But you'll definitely want to add the horizontal tail pieces prior to painting. Again, I'll leave off the struts for these until the end. The last step on this page, Eduard shows you how to apply the canopy masks.
The last page of instructions have a number of things best left until the end. Adding what appears to be fuel tanks for the German machine; adding bombs for the first and third aircraft; cutting the center section off the canopy for the third aircraft; which prop to use dependent on the version; and adding the landing gear. Again, there is a choice of spatted or unspatted wheels based on the version being built.
There is no rigging diagram on the instructions but Eduard does point to an on-line document to be used instead. Remember that if you don't want to provide your own rigging, Eduard provides the "wires" on their own photoetch set.
This is a great rendition of the Avia B.534 IV. serie in 1/144. Things to keep in mind are: Eduard has their own photoetch set for it; Brengun also has a photoetch set for the model; and Brengun also has vacuum-formed canopies for the model as well. In fact, if you didn't want to cut the kit canopy for the third scheme, then you could just use the clear parts from the Brengun set.
One thing that is a shame is it's uncertain at this time if Eduard is continuing their Super44 line. It's definitely a shame because one item they announced was bringing out the Platz F-8 Crusader, which they haven't done yet. The Platz F-8 is an excellent kit, one worth re-releasing. Please continue the Super44 line, Eduard!
I definitely thank Eduard for providing the review model.