The Beechcraft Staggerwing is always a popular subject, rated among the most beautiful aircraft ever by Aviation History magazine in 2012. I know I'll upset some Staggerwing fans, but I have to admit it appeals to me for precisely the opposite reason; the negative wing stagger that inspired its name makes it something of an ugly duckling in my eyes (just like the Airco DH.5 in WWI) - precisely the sort of aircraft I have a soft spot for!
But, as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and whatever your reason for liking the Beechcraft Model 17, Iliad Design should inspire more builds of Roden's Staggerwing (or equally the old AMT kit) with their release of 1:48 decals for a selection of six aircraft wearing varied colour schemes:
1. Beechcraft D17S flown by Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands during WW2 in RAF camouflage and markings.
2. Beechcraft UC-43 “895” is Olive Drab and Neutral Gray with a white tail.
3. Beechcraft UC-43 s/n 310826, again in Olive Drab and Neutral Gray, this time with Medium Green edges to the flying surfaces.
4. Beechcraft D17A of the Antarctic Service Expedition in “Stearman Vermillion” with “Galatea Orange” wings and tailplanes.
5. Beechcraft D17R used as an air ambulance by the Nationalist Government of China, painted white overall with red crosses.
6. Beechcraft D17A of the Chinese Nationalist Air Force - again an ambulance aircraft, but this time camouflaged with less prominent red crosses.
The decals are glossy and beautifully thin with minimal carrier film. The colours look very accurate, and a nice touch is the inclusion of an alternative extra-faded US insignia for the top wing of one of the schemes.
The instruction sheet is nicely produced, with large colour profiles on the front and smaller plan views on the reverse. A point to watch out for is that early examples of the set came with a typo on the sheet; Option 3 - s/n 310826 is depicted as "3108282" in the profile and "210828" for the plan view. The all-important thing is that the decals are correct - the aicraft is s/n 310826, so you don't have to worry. Bob Migliardi of Iliad Decals already corrected the instructions artwork for future dispatches.
It's great to see some fresh schemes for the Staggerwing, and any excuse to get the aircraft back into the limelight is welcome in my book.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A really interesting selection of colour schemes to replace the rather dismal decals in the Roden kit.Lows: A minor slip-up in the instructions (since corrected) that doesn't effect the accuracy of the decals themselves.Verdict: This is just the kind of decal set that gets me wondering "Where did I put that kit?"! It's seriously bumped the Staggerwing up my to-build list.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...