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Eduard's 1/48 scale
Avia B.534 III serie.

by Roger Fabrocini

 

Avia B.534 III serie.

 


Eduard's 1/48 scale Avia B.534 III serie. is available online from Squadron


 

Introduction

 

I have finished my trio of Czechoslovak builds with the Eduard 1:48 Avia B-534 series III, kit #8191, thus satisfying my need to model subjects related to my motherís heritage. I can now guiltlessly model subjects not adorned with the blue, white and red roundel of the Czech Republic.

I found it fitting that Eduard would produce a model of the most famous and successful Czechoslovak developed fighter plane of the 1930s, though I must confess to being ignorant of the B-534ís existence till it was announced. The Czech Republic is home to many ďshort runĒ kit manufacturers. Eduard started as one, but has since evolved into a modern, mainstream manufacturer some say rivaling the ďbig gunsĒ of Japan for accuracy, detail and engineering of their kits. Thus at first I was surprised during the build by some detail and engineering issues I encountered, but having time to reflect I feel it may come down to a difference of modeling philosophies between the companies.

 

 

A fine, accurate and detailed model can be built from the Eduard kits. They are beautifully packaged, most now containing a P.E. fret, Kabuki (I.E. Tamiya) tape masks, excellent performing decals, and thorough, color printed instructions. It seems though as if they want you to be more involved creatively in the process, to enjoy the journey, so to speak.

 

 

Construction


Details

Though I did enhance some details and add a few bits here and there this kit was built mostly out of the box.

There were many things to address before joining the fuselage halves. Eduard does a good job in the radiator area supplying P.E. screens for the radiator and oil cooler and internal bracing. I did extend the cockpit flooring forward to cover the top of the radiator gondola completely.

Next was dealing with my first bit of detail disappointment. The engine exhaust stubs are molded shallow and closed in the fuselage. I at first was going to drill them out and replace them with formed aluminum tubing, but instead settled on just drilling out the openings.

 

 

My references showed another exhaust pipe (for what, I donít know) on the lower, forward fuselage, which Eduard missed, that I did replicate with a piece of aluminum tubing. First I drilled the tube out to get the desired thinness, then formed the tube into an oval using piers. Some refining of the shape was done with sanding sticks on the outside of the tube. The corresponding hole was drilled into the fuselage and the tube inserted at the end of the build. There are four other areas that received stainless steel tubes replicating drains and or breather pipes.

The interior is comprised of plastic and kit supplied photo etched parts. I added bits of wire and solder to the cockpit framing, detailed the seat with strips of Eduard P.E. rivet detail, replaced the rudder pedal straps with strips of lead foil and replaced the machine gun breeches with resin ones from a CMK Spitfire armament set. (A completely superfluous addition, they canít be seen with the naked eye.) I also added a framing cross brace under the instrument panel. Lap belts are from the kit supplied P.E. set, shoulder harness was fabricated from lead foil and old Model Technologies P.E. buckles.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


I enhanced the detail at the place where the bracing wires enter the fuselage by drilling out the holes, inserting Eduard turnbuckles and gluing P.E. grommets around the holes.

 

 

Eduardís P.E. pitot tube looks nothing like the original so I built my own out of brass wire and a P.E. mounting plate.

I found the molding of the many louvers on the fuselage to be soft so I enhanced them by deepening them with a #15 scalpel blade. I also enhanced the fuselage rivets by embossing a circle around them with a beading tool.

The last bit of detail enhancement involved the cockpit leather combing. I formed foil around the cockpit opening and trimmed it to shape, glued it in place then embossed fastener detail with my beading tool.



Sub-Assembly Construction

I built the model in three sub assemblies, fuselage/tail surfaces/lower wings, landing gear and upper wing/cabane struts, painted and finished them, then joined them together, my normal practice for bi-planes. Eduard encloses a diagram in the instructions showing the proper amount of dihedral for the lower wing. Ignore this information at your own peril. I thought all was well having placed the fuselage assembly in my alignment jig and checking itís relationship with the upper wing/cabane strut assembly. Come time for final assembly I found my inter plane struts to be almost a 1/8Ē short. My solution was to add strut stock to the bottom of the struts then test fit them until I obtained the proper alignment. It was touch and go there for awhile (I would touch the model and think of making it GO into the wall.), but finally it worked out ok. One of the small engineering grips I have with Eduard is their shallow attachment nubs on the ends of their struts. Come on guys, give us something a little more substantial next time. Though the struts are very thin I was able to insert .012Ē brass wire barbs into their ends, helping with alignment and attachment.

The assembly of the landing gear itself is sturdy, but itís attachment to the fuselage is not. Again wire inserts will help.



Rigging

I actually enjoy the challenge of rigging biplanes, but Eduard is trying their best to make it less of a challenge with their P.E. Turnbuckles.

I use .002Ē Dia-Riki monofilament. Itís clear, but I pull it through the felt tip of an enamel paint marker. I use Floquilís weathered black. I first attached all the rigging to the kit supplied upper wing turnbuckles before attaching the wing to the fuselage assembly. Eduard offers little help in locating the holes in the fuselage for the aileron cables and cabane strutís rigging. I really had to search through my references to get them right, which in the end I donít feel I accomplished anyway.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


After all the rigging was glued to their lower attachment points I use a heated brass rod to tighten them. I heat the rod with a butane soldering torch. Check that the rod is not too hot before bringing it close to your model. You donít want to burn through the rigging or damage your model. The rod does make it easier to get into tight spots, like for the cabane struts.

 

 

Painting and Markiugs

 

Of the four kit marking choices I choose B-534.165 of the No.4 Air Regiment, 34th Fighter Flight, from August, 1937. As Iíve stated the decals performed flawlessly.

B-534-165 was finished in Khaki Green upper surfaces with Silver Doped lower surfaces. I found the Czechoslovak Khaki to be as enigmatic a color as itís Polish Air Force counter part. Reference #1 has a photo of an original piece of B-534-225 showing a very light olive green color. Reference #2 states the Czechoslovak Khaki as being more Green the Brown. Eduardís instructions suggests Gunze Aqueous H80 Khaki.

 

 

 

I used it as a starting point, though at this point I canít tell you what I added to obtain the final shade. Sorry. I used Alclad Semi-Gloss Aluminum for the lower surfaces. The Khaki wraps around the leading edges of the wings and completely around the horizontal stabilizers. The Eduard supplied Kabuki tape masks make the job utterly painless.

I did not over coat the lower surfaces, leaving them in Semi-Gloss, but I did lightly over spray the lower wing Roundels with Testorís Semi-Gloss Clear Lacquer.

For the upper surfaces I masked and sprayed the fabric covered areas of the airframe in Mr. Color clear flat. the metal covered areas also received a coat of Testorís Semi-Gloss Clear Lacquer.



Painting the Prop

A visual focal point of this B-534 is the propeller so I worked hard to get it right. It has a very distinct laminated wood pattern, Khaki colored cloth coverings and brass tip guards.

 



I started by Priming the prop then spraying it with Floquil Foundation. To achieve the lamented wood effect I masked the areas to remain light wood colored and sprayed on a very thin coat of Floquil Roof Brown. When dry I removed the masks and brushed on a thinned coat of Burnt Umber artist oils. I let this dry for about an hour or so then taking a DRY, stiff, flat brush I start to remove some of the oil paint with brush strokes going from spinner to propeller tip. The masks created the laminate demarcations, the artist oils create the wood grain. When dry I seal it with a mix of Tamiya clear Orange and clear Yellow.

When this dries I masked and sprayed the Khaki areas. The Brass tip guards are hand painted with Vallejo acrylics. The final touch was to post shade with some heavily thinned Tamiya Red-Brown/Black mix.

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Weathering and Pilot

I tried to keep the weathering light. To enhance the rib detail I masked all the ribs using cut strips of Scotch 3M masking tape then sprayed my Post shade mix in random patterns.

 



Though the pilot figure is from a Jaguar set of German fighter pilots, beautifully sculptured by Mike Good, he seems to wear the same kit worn by Czechoslovak pilots from the Ď30s, so I used him.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I hope that all my comments have not given you the wrong impression. I think the Eduard Avia B-534 kit, and all of Eduardís latest releases, can be finished to the same high standards as anything produced by any other model company and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I may have to prove it by starting their series IV kit.

 



As always, thanks for the indulgence.

 

 

References

 

  1. Photo Hobby Manual, Avia B-534, Czechoslovakian fighter 1933-45
    Published by CMK ISBN 80-903-778-0-7

  2. Avia B-534, by Ing. Jiri Vrany
    MBI Publishing ISBN 80-901263-6-7

  3. HT Model Special, AVIA B-34, B-534 a Bk-534, Slovak Pilots, 1939-1944
    HT Model magazine ISSN 1335-3667
     

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images & Text Copyright © 2007 by Roger Fabrocini
Page Created 17 September, 2007
Last Updated 31 December, 2007

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