In-Box Review
Piper PA-18
Piper PA-18 with Bush wheels
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]

The following introduction is from the instruction booklet provided by Revell of Germany;
The Piper PA-18 Super Cub light aircraft was further development of the Piper J-2 Cub and was delivered in a variety of designs to civil and military customers between 1949 and 1983. Between 1956 and 1980 forty L-18c’s – the military versions were used by the German Armed Forces as trainers and from 1963 onwards in sport aviation groups of the German Air Force. After mass production at Piper in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania ended, WTA in Lubbock, Texas and Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach, Florida continued production of this light aircraft until 1994 – albeit in small numbers only. A total of around 15,000 Super Cubs have been built. Along with the J-2, more than 40,000 aircraft were sold. The aircraft is still available today in the form of prefabricated parts.

The fuselage and tail unit consists of a welded steel tube construction with fabric covering. Spars and ribs in the wing and are made of aluminium and also covered in fabric. The two seat high wing version of the aircraft has a fixed undercarriage and tail wheel. The metal propeller has a fixed pitch. The first generation Piper was powered by a four cylinder Continental C90-8F engine with manual starter. It produced 70.8 kW take off power. Thanks to advancements made on the engine and electrical equipment it is now possible to get a PA-18 with Lycoming O-360 engine delivering 134 kW take off power, an electric starter and a modern instrument pack for only a slightly higher empty mass.

This light but sturdy aircraft has excellent short take off and landing performance, and is therefore very popular with sport flying clubs and for private use in areas that are difficult to reach. The U.S. State Troopers in Alaska use some Super Cubs mainly for monitoring and protecting wildlife. Various modifications and additional equipment are available for the PA-18. There is for example a variable pitch propeller, a luggage container mounted under the fuselage, a jump seat for a second passenger, larger wing tanks, external auxiliary fuel tanks, ski wheel combination of the very popular low pressure balloon tyres. Equipped with 31 inch Alaskan Bush Tundra Wheel Tyres a Super Cub can land on snow, gravel and even on areas of water near top the shore or river bank.

The model is packed in the usual end opening card box from Revell of Germany, with the contents breaking down as follows;
  • 8 white sprues
  • 1 clear sprue (really 3 but they are all held together)
  • 1 loose leafed instruction booklet
  • 1 decal sheet
  • An advisory leaflet
  • A small catalogue

First Impressions
A check of the kit contents reveals a very nicely thought out product. There is only one obvious moulding fault I found, which is a sink mark on both of the horizontal stabilisers. I will admit that the white plastic does not make it easy to find faults with the mouldings. My best efforts otherwise only revealed some flow lines in the plastic, however these do not appear to have created any issues that will need attention. The parts layout on the sprue looks good in terms of access to remove the parts from the sprues, the gates between the sprues and the parts are also a reasonable size which should also make part removal easier. During my inspection I did find a date stamp on the inner face of the left lower wing section, the year stamped is ‘2007’ which would indicate this is a re-release of the product, if that is the case the moulds are holding up very well.

The cockpit of this model looks very good in my opinion, with inner side walls and support struts providing an accurate frame and nice detail. For an aircraft that is fairly common, I found it difficult to find reference pictures of the interior, I did find some via a Google search and those pictures would indicate that the interior detail is accurate overall. The seats have moulded harness detail, which while it could be better replicated with photo etched parts it is an acceptable compromise. The instrument panel looks fair with the dial detail supplied in the form of decals.

There is quite a nice engine supplied with this kit of the Continental C90-8F engine. The engine could do with some wiring detail added by the modeller, but otherwise should be a pleasing addition to the model if left on display. The cylinder head detail should look particularly good when painted and weathered. The fixed pitch propeller in the model is simple in design but has nice hub detail. Revell of Germany has done a good job here.

The cloth portion of the fuselage has nice gentle curves replicated, with the front metal portion having nice subtle raised rivet detail. The fire wall has some nice detail present, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy. The interior faces of the engine cowlings are featureless however I do not know if this is accurate or not. The rudder is not workable but is a separate moulding and so can be set at the preferred angle. The clear portions of the model are a nice thickness, which I believe will allow a good view of the interior.

Wings and Horizontal Stabilisers
The wings have cloth detail stretched over spars which is very well replicated, but there is no texture present. The lower halves of the wings have less pronounced detail, which I believe is accurate. The flaps on the wings are moulded as a part of the lower wings and as separate pieces for the upper wing. It would take very minor surgery on the plastic to make the flaps separate from the wings and so display them in a position other than level flight. The horizontal tail and control surfaces are moulded as single parts, but again minor surgery will make them poseable. The wing support braces look right to me, with a very nice profile.

The support braces for the undercarriage are again nicely replicated. The mould seams on the braces will need to be tackled gently but once cleaned up should look good. The wheels specific to the release are the ‘Bush Wheels’ which are completely smooth, the seam around the tyres where the two halves join will need to be cleaned carefully to hide them. Also included in the kit but not intended for use are the standard wheels for this aircraft, so if you prefer the standard look they are there.

Instructions and Decals
The instruction booklet is the usual Revell of Germany loose leafed offering. The booklet uses black and white line drawings to guide you through construction, and the stages are not overly busy which will help newer modellers find their way. The decals have very little carrier except around the lettering and are reasonably thin.

Revell of Germany has some very nice large scale aircraft and this one joins them. I like the fact that Revell of Germany keep the parts count down while still providing a fair level of detail. The model will make for a good sized finished build that will attract new modellers, and in the hands of the more experienced could make for a great model.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit, @RevellGermany or

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A good level of detail wrapped up in an easy build.
Lows: The sink marks on the horizontal stabilisers are disappointing.
Verdict: Well worth the low investment cost of the model.
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: 04890
  PUBLISHED: Aug 12, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Revell of Germany!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


This is a re-issue of a kit from 2007 of the Piper Super Cub. The addition of big wheels and associated paraphernalia with new decals is the only change.
AUG 13, 2014 - 05:16 AM

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