The first design of the brand new Beech Aircraft Company, the Model 17 was, to say the least, ambitious. Developed as a high-speed luxury aircraft at the height of the depression, it was to many completely unattainable given the economic conditions of the time. Yet sufficient numbers sold for Beech to become a name to be reckoned with. The Lear Jet of its day, the Staggerwing was extremely advanced when it was first rolled out of the factory. Faster than contemproary fighter aircraft, its unorthodox reverse stagger gave its pilots remarkable visibility. The Staggerwing was voted “most beautiful aircraft of all time” in a recent AOPA poll.
The plastic in this kit is identical to Roden's two previous Staggerwing issues. Since there's no point in re-inventing the wheel, I'll simply refer the curious reader to reviews previously published
Having built this kit, I offer the following tips:
Trim down the door, and all side windows. As moulded they're too large for the openings.
The instrument panel really cries out for detailing. The generic decal is really not sufficient to do justice to it, especally since it sits under that large windscreen.
The landing gear is a little fiddly to fit into place. Ensure that the main legs are securely glued into place so they don't come adrift. You may need to adjust the gear well openings at the attachment points to allow for proper clearance.
The elevator mass balances are too long. They should be trimmed by about a third.
The spinner does not fit the propeller very well. Care must be taken to ensure the fit and eliminate the seam.
VH-FNS is fitted with non-standard gear doors. The kit doors and wells will have to be modified to match the photograph below.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like a Staggerwing.
Decals and Markings
This kit's difference from preceeding issues is in the decal schemes, so this is where this review will concentrate. The kit offers three different civillian Staggerwings, all of which are currently active.
On the box top is N214K, in overall yellow with pale blue trim and leading edges;
Next is N52962 in overall black with white trim, leading edges and interplane struts;
Finally is VH-FNS in overall red with black and gold trim. The registrations and trim are printed in yellow instead of gold, which makes this option less than completely accurate.
The leading edges of the wings, empennage and cowling must be painted to match the decals of the American-registered aircraft. N52962 needs some white pinstripe trim to compliment the leading edges which is not on the decal sheet. It would be little trouble to use white pinstripe decals, but it would have been nice to see them on the decal sheet. The white looks strong enough that it should be able to go over the black paint without being washed out.
The side profiles printed on the box top are somewhat inaccurate; N241K does not have blue struts, and VH-FNS is red, not orange.
The decals appear to have been printed using Roden's new process, which will mean they're far superior to Roden's decals of years past. They'll be strong, flexible and easy to position. On the sheet, they're nicely glossy, fairly crisp and in good registration, something that is a bit of a challenge when printing the extremely fine pinstripes that make up the Beech factory trim.
I could have wished for the leading edge trim to have been included on the decal sheet. It would not have been too dificult to do, especially for the artists who did Der Bunte Fredi's
very comprehensive sheet.
the real thing
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