The Chance Vought V-173 Flying Flapjack (or Flying Pancake) was one of the most radical US designs of WW2. This near-circular flying-wing was a low powered research aircraft, designed to gather data for a planned fighter - the F5U-1.
The fabric-covered V-173 demonstrated exceptional STOL performance, with a reasonable top speed, considering its low power - two 80 hp engines, but interest waned with the end advent of jet fighters and the F5U-1 was cancelled.
In kit form...
Sword's Flying Flapjack is moulded in dark blue-grey plastic and, for a short-run kit, there is very little flash. Scribing is neatly done and the fabric effect on the body is very subtle.
There are one or two blemishes to clean up but, importantly, the upper and lower body-halves fit well. When building this kit, it will be be good idea to clamp the body while it dries and to ensure the cross-section of the propeller shaft extensions stays circular.
The tail-plane attachment points are molded flat, but in a reference photo of the original aircraft, they seem to follow the curvature of the body in three angled segments.
Detail on the smaller plastic parts is a bit crude, and the air intakes will need blanking off to avoid a see-though effect.
Two clear pieces are provided; the canopy and nose windows. These are well moulded and free of distortion.
A very neat resin cockpit is included. Detail is much better than on the plastic cockpit parts, so it's a shame it's not all resin.
Instructions & Decals
The instructions are clearly drawn, but differ from the actual parts in a couple of places. The drawings are copyright 2001, so presumably the kit has been redesigned since they were drawn.
A simple set of decals is supplied for the single prototype. These are clearly printed, in perfect register.
Despite it's short-run nature and one of two problems, with a little care, anyone should be able to build Sword's kit into a fine model to add to their collection.
Highs:Lows:Verdict: A simple but effective model that should appeal to experienced modellers looking to add this extraordinary craft to their WW2 collection.
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...