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1/48 Classic Airframes Supermarine Walrus

Article by John Ratzenberger
 

Kit Review:
Subject: 1/48 Classic Airframes Supermarine Walrus
Price: around $50.

I originally did this build-review for the IPMS Review website in 4 parts. I have reformatted, re-arranged, and edited it into a single build-review for this site. I would like to thank Classic Airframes and IPMS for providing the kit, and allowing me the opportunity to review it.

Background:
The Walrus came from the line of Supermarine Seagull flying boats developed for the Royal Australian Air Force to be used in exploration and mapping. The last of that line, the Seagull V, had a metal hull and a requirement to be catapult-launched. At this point, the Royal Navy picked up on the design to use as ship-borne reconnaissance and spotting aircraft on all ships with catapults, changing its' name to Walrus in the process.

285 were built as the Mark.I by Supermarine. An additional 271 Mark.I and 190 Mark.II were built by Sanders-Roe. The principle differences between the Mark.I and Mark.II were the engine, the hull, and a couple inches of dimension. The Mark.I had a metal hull and the 625hp Pegasus IIM2, while the Mark.II had a wooden hull and the 775hp Pegasus VI. The visible physical differences are in the shape of the bow and upper rear fuselage.

The Royal Navy used the Walrus for a variety of roles -- reconnaissance, spotting, anti-submarine, convoy patrols, communications, etc. The Walrus, primarily the Mark II version, gained fame in service with the RAF in the air-sea rescue role. It was reported to be pleasant to fly, even if it's performance wasn't very far removed from WW1.

Classic Airframes first released this kit in 2002. I did not build the original release but did spend a great deal of time searching for it in the vendor room at the '05 Nationals, to no avail. As best I can tell, the re-release is basically the same as the original, but with the following improvements:
 · The clear parts are injection-molded not vac-u-formed.
 · The decal sheet offers nine options rather than four.
 · The wing-walk markings are included with the decals.

Although the kit does not say which version it represents, the bow and rear deck shape are clearly that of the Mark.I. Unfortunately the specifications given on the instruction sheet are for the Mark.II.

Good pictures of the Walrus are difficult to locate, in particular those in camouflage. I found the following references, but I believe more can be found in general FAA & RAF histories, which I do not have:
 · Aspects of the Walrus, Model Airplane Monthly, Vol. 1 Nr 5., May 2002
 · Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume 5, Flying Boats, by William Green.
 · Supermarine Walrus & Stranraer, Kightly & Wallsgrove, Mushroom #6113.
 · Fleet Air Arm Archives
 · IPMS Stockholm
 · Seawings

Opening the Box:
If I counted right, there are 65 styrene parts, 60 resin parts, and four clear parts, an instruction booklet, a painting and marking guide, and two sheets of decals. The clear parts are packaged in a little plastic bag, the resin parts are packed in two little plastic bags, and all those are packed inside a big plastic bag with the styrene parts. No parts were able to escape and there was no sign of damage by contents rattling around. [article pix] I particularly liked that the big resin parts were separate from the little ones, further protecting from damage.

The parts are not numbered on the sprue and must be matched to a diagram in the instruction booklet that mirrors the sprue layout. There are parts diagrams for the clear and resin parts also, although there are errors in the clear parts -- the two side windows are not shown, nor are the three navigation lights (more on these later).
[article pix]
The styrene parts are nicely molded, with very fine engraved panel lines. I found very little flash except around the lower hull and rudder post on the right fuselage half. The sprue attachments are rather thick on the fuselage, wing, and a few other pieces and care must be taken when removing them to not damage the edges.
[article pix]
I found no sink marks or injector pin marks on the exterior. There are some "massive" injector pins on the interior surfaces and these must be taken down completely such that the resin parts will fit against the fuselage walls and such that the wings and tail-planes will mate properly. The instructions point this out several times, but it is worth repeating. Fortunately, because they are hidden you don't have to be neat, just thorough.

[article pix] There are no locator pins or holes anywhere. This is most relevant to the assembly of the struts to the engine and wings. There are only little dimples on the wings and nacelle to indicate where struts might go. Given the complexity of handling two wings and the nacelle, plus struts, I believe I will drill out the dimples and the struts to accept brass rod. Another area of concern is that there are no tabs on the wing sections to mount them to the fuselage and center section. I believe I will cobble together some kind of "spar" to help hold things together.

If you recall, the kit is for a Mark.I and a Mark.I had a metal hull -- well, there are no rivets at all on the kit. In any close-up of the Walrus, rivets are prominent, but in my opinion as one moves back they become less noticeable, particularly on camouflaged aircraft. I don't find the lack of rivets to be a major bone of contention -- if one desires they can be added fairly easily given the fairly angular fuselage shape.

The rudder is separate, but the elevator and ailerons are not. There are no bombs or bomb racks included. There is no provision for wing folding, but if you wanted to do it, the wing parts are on the natural break lines. These are not complaints (well, maybe a little whine about the under wing stores), just observations. There is a large circle scribed on the underside of each fuselage half -- I believe there should be one on the starboard side only to represent the camera aperture and that it should be a smaller diameter.

I blew up the 1/72 drawings from the Mushroom book and compared the kit to them and to the dimensions in a general arrangement drawing from Seawings. The wingspan matches up, although the kit wingtips curve back toward the trailing edge a bit too sharply and there might not be sufficient sweep-back. I have concluded the kit fuselage is of the correct length and the Mushroom plans are about 5/32" (15" scale) too short -- most of that in the cockpit area. The chord on the kit tail plane is about 3/32" (9" scale) shorter than the Mushroom plans, mostly in the elevator, but the GA drawings don't give me a real world measurement to compare against.
[article pix]
The resin parts provide all the interior detail and some of the exterior detail -- they are very well done. Be careful playing with them as there are 16 very tiny fairings for the rigging on a very flimsy pour runner. You need all 16 and they will be hard to find if any get away. The rest of the resin looks to trim up very easily.

Included with the resin are three very tiny clear pieces on a runner - again something that can easily get lost. These are the navigation/formation lights but are not referenced in the instructions at all. You can see where one should mount on each lower wing in sections 7 and 8 of the instructions, but there is no reference for the one that should be on the trailing edge of the rudder.

[article pix] The instrument panel matches most references as does the general layout of the interior pieces. On a first look, the only obvious thing I see missing from the interior are the seat belts -- a strange error of omission given the overall level of detail. Anyone wishing to enhance the interior would do well to look at the Seawings website and/or the Mushroom book.

The clear parts are excellent -- very thin, very sharp, and very clear.

The instructions are excellent with only a couple minor errors -- mislabeling the compass part number, not showing the navigation lights, showing an optional canopy, etc -- I believe these occur because they are the original kit instructions. They are nicely laid out in a logical sequence with plenty of room to make them readable and lots of notes and call-outs to guide you along. The interior and detail painting instructions are included in the assembly diagrams. I particularly like the full size (1/48) views to ensure proper placement of resin parts and the alignment of flying surfaces, floats, struts, and most importantly the offset engine nacelle. There is a full rigging diagram, although I wish they had given suggested wire diameters.
[article pix] [article pix] [article pix]

The two decal sheets are done by MicroScale and look just great. I cannot see a single registration flaw. As I mentioned earlier, the wing walk decals for the aluminum finished aircraft are included. It is really not known if these were present on camouflaged aircraft so let your reference photos be your guide.

[article pix] There is a color and markings guide of six pages -- four pages from the original kit, and two pages for the new markings -- that cover each of the nine aircraft markings. The original markings are war-time, while all the new markings are pre-war. I found one minor error - the top view page for P9561 says it is non-shadow-shaded when in fact it is shadow-shaded. The guide says it can be viewed in color on the CA website, but I was not able to find it the catalog section as with other kits.

[article pix] There are two issues with the markings guide and decal sheets. The first is that the original markings guide pages identify decals by both letter and number but the decal sheets now have only numbers. The other is three of the aircraft serial numbers -- K5762, P9275, and P9561 -- did not fall in the Walrus serial ranges I could find. All three of these aircraft are camouflaged and perhaps a lack of clarity on the photo contributed to the discrepancy. Of the six serial numbers I could verify, all were for Mark.I aircraft -- that matches the kit version.

I will also note at this time that I have found a supplementary decal sheet, #48006, issued by CA, with markings for four more aircraft -- one Argentinean, one D-Day participant, and two apparently in the Pacific in 1945.

Transition:
And that's it for the in-box review, now to start the build. This is supposed to be a difficult kit, but certainly not because of the quality of the parts or the instructions.

A Few Cautions:
As I worked through this, I soon determined that the "full scale" views in the instructions were not always correct (floats) or did not provide a reliable template for location of parts (interior, nacelle). In the latter case, I found that I could however use them as a guide. Also I found conflicts between the exploded views and the scale views and between them and the parts -- so you have to study each & reconcile these differences - fortunately there aren't many.

Inspect the top of the two fuselage halves and the top of the four float halves for two tiny hash marks on each -- you can see where the fuselage marks are in the Step 11 exploded view. Mark them with a fine marker so you do not inadvertently sand them down. The fuselage ones are critical to correct placement of the nacelle struts. While you are at it, go over the wing, tail plane, float, and nacelle pieces to highlight mark each "dimple" where struts and the like will go -- it helps as a visual reference later (prevented me from gluing top-top & bottom-bottom on the tail planes).

[article pix] Unfortunately, the float marks are not correct. The marks match the scale view in Step 7-8, however the exploded views, the dimples on the underside of the lower wings, as well as every reference I have, clearly show the float struts should align with the wing struts. That is, the rear float strut must be further back than indicated by the hash mark and the scale view. You can see the discrepancy in this picture -- the first two lines front-to-back on the float are the original hashes -- the longer 3rd line is where the rear strut should go to match the wing struts.

The Infamous Resin Parts 26:
In Part 1, I mentioned 16 tiny resin teardrops that you didn't want to loose. Well, it gets better than that. [article pix] Close inspection of the parts shows there are really two sets of eight tiny resin parts -- one side is flatter than the other. The instructions make no mention of this, but I finally decided the rigging went into the flatter side. Then I realized these little parts were attached to the pour block by a "shelf" under the front end of each part and that had to come off.

The first one I tried to clean up launched itself across the room and in the hour or so I spent looking for it, I had plenty of time to think of the following method. Turn the part bottom up, slide a razor blade into the joint of the shelf and the part, then gently push forward standing the part up on its nose while pressing it against the side of the blade. When upright, gently slice downward, being careful not to take your finger off the part. After that a brief but careful swirl around some sandpaper and it is good to go.

Working on the Big Pieces:
I started by just cleaning up the mating surfaces of the wings, fuselage, floats, and tail surfaces. Because the tail surfaces are flat, they must be true or they will not mate well so run them around on sandpaper to get rid of high spots. Having done that and tested the fit, I decided to drill all rigging holes and open up all "dimples" for struts -- I had made up my mind to reinforce each strut with .020" brass wire -- before I glued any parts together. This also meant prepping and mounting the Infamous Resin Parts 26 as described above. CA does give you little marks on the wings to aid in their placement.

Having done the prep work, I decided to put the wings together and work on how to improve the join between the three upper wing sections and between the lower wings and the fuselage. Remember there are no locating holes, so you must be precise when joining wing halves. I did the three top wing components and while I thought I was really, really careful, either I wasn't or the parts aren't quite right because when I finished the left section fit nicely against the center section with about the right dihedral but the right wing had some anhedral. I lightly sanded the wing & center sections to fix it up. Then I played around in my scrap pile and decided some 5/32(.156)" Evergreen fit nicely inside the wing and center sections and would make a great mini-spar to reinforce the joint.

[article pix] To do the lower wing, you must first install the wheel wells. Note in the instructions, there is a specific way they are to be located. These are dainty resin parts with a very thick pour piece attached to the very thin and delicate top of the wheel well. I held the part gently, taking a couple slow swipes with the saw, then rotated the part, continuing this until I had neatly cut through -- it took a while. I found that if I held the pour block away from me then I would tend to saw outward, away from the detail, so if I erred it would be in leaving too much pour block. You must remove the pour block completely because there is no spare room inside the wing. With that out of the way, a test fit indicated the flat wheel wells did not mate against the curved wing, so I lightly sanded the front 1/3 to get them to fit. However I also I found the diameter of the wheel wells to be either 1/32" too big or 1/32" too small, meaning they didn't neatly slide into the holes in the wing or sit neatly above them -- instead there is a slight mismatch in the join. Reference pictures show a flat wall -- rather than mess with it, I ran a CA bead around. However, I never could get the wheel wells to clean up right and finally and carefully lined them with a piece of .010x.188 Evergreen.

[article pix] With that done, I glued the wing halves together and test fit them against the fuselage -- guess what? Again the left wing was fine and the right wing drooped slightly!! I gingerly sanded that out and then addressed how to strengthen the wing-fuselage joint. I decided the simplest method was, again, some 5/32" Evergreen glued against the fuselage & strengthened with .032" brass rebar. This provides a "spar" and some extra mating surface -- also note I have left some brass sticking out in case I add another piece of Evergreen to lengthen the "spar".

Next the fuselage, which consists primarily of the two halves, one resin and two plastic floor pieces, two resin bulkheads, and four resin side wall pieces. The instructions tell you to remove excess pour from the back of part R31, the right cockpit wall -- this because of the window. Be careful here -- I took down about half of it then called it quits -- the goal is not to remove all the "wall" on these pieces leaving nothing but the detail! Although not mentioned in the instructions I did the same for the other 3 wall pieces (R32, R33, R34).

With that done, I started fitting parts. [article pix] Here again, the scale views made good references but not templates. Starting in the rear fuselage and using the scale view as a guide, I lined up the 3rd former from the front of each wall (R33, R34) with the front of the gun ring opening. I taped those two parts in, and then fiddled with the two floor pieces -- the right side floor R25 is to be glued flat against the hull, and then the left side plastic part 46 sticks out perpendicular to the wall, laying atop R25.

The front cockpit was a bit tougher, and again the scale view made a good reference, but not template. I fiddled with the parts for a while and came up with a decent scheme to make it all fit nice and neat. [article pix] First, fit the right side wall (R31) against the hull such that the rectangular window holes align perfectly as does the horizontal sill in the cockpit. You may find that the vertical piece of R31 overlaps the fuselage side a bit and will need trimming down (later when you actually glue it, not now). Next, take a small corner out of the bottom rear corner of the left side wall (R32) such that it fits over the "beam" in the cockpit floor (39). Now you can fit the right-side wall R32 into the fuselage, aligning the horizontal sill, but shifting the rear of R32 about 1/64 back of the cockpit frame (not aligned as shown in the scale view). With those two parts fixed, then you can put in the floor (39) and everything aligns fine. Also note the bulkhead (R30) is slightly behind the canopy opening and does not touch the right wall R32. Your test fitting may vary, but it worked for me. And note, no glue yet!

[article pix] Lastly, I decided to attack the nacelle because of the odd fit and its key role in erecting the upper wing. The first thing to note is that struts 3 and 17 are reversed in step 11 of the instructions. Also, I found my first sink marks in many of the struts, but they clean up easy when filled as there is no detail to be lost. I worked on the nacelle to fuselage area only and started by drilling the struts to take .020" brass wire. Then I used the four hash marks to locate the struts and drilled matching holes in the fuselage. The scale view again cannot be used as a template as I found the strut positions to be about 1/8" wider than actual. I did try it first with a balsa jig but that did not give me the proper slope to see if things were aligning right.
[article pix]
When I put it all together, the brass rods made managing all six pieces so much easier! I did not (yet) pre-drill any rigging holes in the nacelles/strut assembly as I think I can just lay them into corners & joints -- we shall see.

There goes the Out-of-Box Award:
I already mentioned there are no seat belts with the kit. That wouldn't be so bad within OOB rules, but I found three other things I just couldn't leave alone -- the control column/yoke is hideous, the engine has no intake manifold, and there are no fuel lines coming out of the top wing tanks into the nacelle. While the kit could have been enhanced with more details, I chose not to, but I couldn't leave these four things alone -- they are, to me, much too obvious.

[article pix] Fuselage:
The resin sidewalls tacked down just right. With a second test fit, I found the cockpit floorboard just a bit too wide and I sanded a bit off. I also found things fit & aligned better if I ran a couple strips of Evergreen under the floor - made it sit on the hull shape better. The resin rear floor (R25) extends across the hull side when glued in and needs to be sanded flush to ensure the rear hull fits together. All this wasn't obvious until I had the main resin pieces glued in.

[article pix] Cockpit Floor:
Don't remove the resin plug from one of the seats -- the W/T Operator's seat has to be about the same height as the pilot's seat. A stand/support of some type is shown in Step 3 of the instructions, but isn't specifically called out. Step 3 shows the bulkhead (R30) sitting in front of the beam on the compartment floor (39), when in should be in back of it -- see the assembled view in Step 4, pictures of the actual aircraft, and also how the part itself is constructed.  Mount the bulkhead before the seat structure (R13). The instructions show the seat structure aligned against the right side of the compartment floor but of course the seat structure should align with the headrest on the bulkhead. Also the instructions are a bit weak on how the seat structure aligns front-back and I finally chose to butt it against the beam behind rather than the step in front.

Control Yoke:
I mentioned this earlier -- even if it looked like the actual control yoke, it would be ugly. It comes in two parts, the yoke and the column, for what reason I cannot fathom. The yoke is two-dimensional and the column is nothing like the actual. I fiddled with it and finally decided to clean up the yoke part as best I could and reach into the Evergreen stash to make a correct replacement for the column. (Also note in Step 3 the column is incorrectly labeled "R5", it is part "6".)

[article pix] Interior Paint:
The instructions give the basic interior color and simple detail colors. The instrument and radio panels do not have much fine detail to highlight, so you have to pick it in yourself. The instrument panel is an early version, without the standard blind flying panel section, and simply has recesses for instruments and some raised pieces to represent switches, etc.

[article pix] Side Windows:
The instructions tell you to cut them from clear sheet but in fact they are clear plastic. Close inspection shows they have a very slight edge bevel and will only go in from the inside. The fuselage opening needs a little work to bevel it to match so the windows will be flush with the outer edge. Whatever your window method is, be sure it is strong -- these windows are easy to put a finger on & push in -- I did it when putting the fuselage together & had to yank everything apart quickly to repair the window. I'm still nervous.

[article pix] Putting it together:
I glued the floor assembly to the fuselage left side and temporarily held the right side on with rubber bands until the floor was dry. Then I went back and glued the fuselage halves together. The alignment is pretty good, although I did have to do a bit of filling/sanding to get a smooth join. Notice the mismatch at the nose section. I also determined the main canopy didn't fit tightly and added some .015" strips to the 3 rear edges of the opening to fill the gap.

With that done, I focused on the small detail pieces on the fuselage -- turret rings, bollards, wind screens, canopy rails, etc. Resin R6 & R7 are the main canopy rails and are twice as long as they need be. Removing the pour blocks from the two turret rings is more harrowing than the wheel wells were.

Landing Gear:
I started on the landing gear while working the above. There are sink marks on all four struts, which is really critical on the two rear struts (parts 10). I decided that brass/steel rod reinforcement would be needed where they joined the fuselage and each other. The brass rods are meant not just to strengthen the gear but to replicate the actual attachment. While doing this work, both of the rear struts snapped in half at the sink marks and I had to rebuild them.

[article pix] The instructions do not note that the main gear struts lean backwards slightly. There are no marks to show where the rear struts should attach to the main struts -- should be at a point on the main strut right above the hull chine. While researching this, I found the actual Walrus also had a small arm on the inside of the main struts that linked into the hull -- the kit does not have this. The good news is this little addition will enhance the strength of the gear although I still am not confident about the gear holding -- unless the completed model is moved very carefully -- a placard to the Judges may be in order.

One problem is fitting the carburetor assembly (R17 & R18) under the nacelle and ensuring the engine will sit flush on the nacelle -- I didn't check this carefully beforehand & had to trim a bit. The instructions show mounting R15 to the engine, but in fact it is already molded into the engine. I guess this is another holdover from the original release.

[article pix] I stared at the engine for the longest time before it hit me that there was no intake manifold to the cylinders -- something fairly visible on the actual aircraft. So, I dove into the parts box and came out with the intake manifold for a Tamiya Swordfish that, after trimming out the center section, fit like a glove. Having done this, I now had to go back and restore what I trimmed from R17 -- sigh ... The two props also had sink marks. To strengthen this assembly, I made a shaft of plastic & brass tube and drilled out the crankcase. I like props to spin or fall off just in case someone wants to test 'em ... There are no painting instructions for the engine at all. I decided on aluminum base with steel details and a black wash. The crankcase and other items are in semi-gloss black.

Nacelle:
I decided at this point that the struts going from the nacelle to the upper wing may not need brass rods -- I'll make a final decision later. I did note that the two upper front struts both have part #14, but are in fact of different lengths. So, part 14-short goes on the left front and 14-long on the right front.

Wing Struts:
[article pix] The four main wing struts have a small pin on the end, to match the dimple locations on the wings. One of these pins was missing -- a mold flaw. It didn't matter as I cut them all off and replaced them with brass rod. Some struts had sink marks that ran into the training edge of the strut & necessitated clean-up to restore a smooth edge. While doing all this, I figured out the part numbers on the four main struts are reversed -- obvious because the bevel on the lower edge is opposite the wing camber. So, in Step 15, swap 23 & 27 and 25 & 28 -- i.e., 23 & 25 should be in back and 27 & 28 should be in front.

There are two other struts (part 18) but I don't think they will be essential to the strength so I have not drilled them for brass rod. I may change my mind in the final test fit.

Upper Wing:
Unlike the instructions, which want you to erect the nacelle and center section, I am more comfortable with a whole wing, so I glued the three parts together. I sort of out smarted myself by gluing on the rigging fairings (R26) earlier because they prevented the pieces from sitting level on my jig. Fortunately I use balsa wood & I just gouged out holes in the jig. Once really dry, I had just a small bit of cleanup at the joints.

Step 14 has one fuel feed (R11) attached under the right wing (there is a little tub mark to show where), but there are two feeds in the kit and the other should go under the left wing.

Getting the nacelle ready:
I also got nervous about my plan to build, rig, and assemble the nacelle, struts, and wings -- if you remember I was going to build the nacelle with struts then rig it and then mount that completed sub-assembly. Well, as I test-fit pieces, I got nervous that I'd some glitch would cause rigging to start separating, so I modified my plan to what follows. I started by mounting the lower wings to the fuselage and was very pleased with the stubs I had built onto the fuselage to provide strength to the joint. I should note the wing to fuselage joint was very clean and required only minor filler. One has to remember the Walrus wings would fold along that joint, so you do not want it too tight anyway.

Then I carefully laid out some guide marks on the fuselage to give me the right angle on the nacelle. Using copious amounts of Tamiya Tape, I then glued the four lower struts to the nacelle only, not the fuselage -- I did this one at a time with plenty of drying time between. The brass rod I put in each end really helped this process, as I was able to make minor adjustments afterwards.

[review image] [review image]

Satisfied that the lower struts were firmly attached and that the nacelle assembly would drop right into the holes on the fuselage, I mounted the upper wing and struts, using Blu-Tack to hold them in place. With the upper wing aligned and locked in place, I then carefully fit and glued the four upper struts to the nacelle only -- again, waiting between struts for each to dry.

[review image] [review image]

The key on the nacelle struts is that they do not (cannot) align front to back, but do align from the side.

Paint and Decal:
At this point, I figured it was time to paint everything. I decided, even though I'm not good with shiny finishes, to select one of the pre-war schemes, just to be different -- and to avoid the temptation to get further bogged down in the four-color counter-shading schemes I love so much. Note, we have the fuselage and lower wing, the upper wing, the nacelle module, the floats, and lots of struts and things to paint separately. And lots of drying time, an issue in a humid climate as ours. My spray booth fan ran for days while parts sat and dried.

[review image] Decals went on just fine and really look nice. The only issue is the lower wing walk decals do not match the color diagram (see picture here). I found some thin lines in the pieces box and moved on. The "feet walks" are tricky to keep aligned and you need to pre-fit to see where to cut to get over/around the rigging fairings. The only problem I had was the big wing walk on the lower wings -- I must not have had a good finish underneath because I got a very slight silvering in the open areas -- I'd recommend trimming it closer to the lines, just in case.

Finally, several coats of gloss over everything and much more drying time. Last thing I needed was a big fingerprint in the finish.

Assembly and Rigging:
The first thing to do was permanently mount the nacelle to the fuselage, and again, I erected the upper wing, with struts to ensure the alignment was correct. Once the glue dried, the upper wing came off and I rigged the nacelle with .012 steel wire. There are 16 wires in there so it takes a while and a lot of patience to avoid either dropping one with glue on the finish or knocking an already installed one loose. I do not remember the sequence I followed, but you have to test fit the front-to-back wires to avoid conflicts arising from the odd angles of the struts. Note that I did not discover until the end that the carburetor and housing are really too big and thus I could not properly install the two lower rear wires -- I chose to attach them part way down the strut rather than leave them off. I think if I had looked at this sooner, I could have trimmed the housing, or made a new one, to avoid the problem.

[review image] [review image]

With the nacelle done, it was just a matter of putting up the upper wing and struts as I had before, this time with glue. Then I added the tailplane struts, the various control arms, etc -- in short, the bits and pieces. The main wing was rigged, the struts were added then rigged with .006 steel wire, the canopy put on, a towrope fabricated, etc, etc. If I didn't mention it before, the towing-eyes and cleats on the fuselage and floats came from Grandt-Line railroad fittings. The landing gear was about last -- I had trouble with the struts and my brass wire pins -- but finding the real Walrus had a locking pin that held the gear to the fuselage allowed me to add a small pin that really strengthened things. The four tailplane struts are too short, about 3/32" (I lost my notes) -- I extended them but that just made already weak struts weaker and I was nervous that I'd break them. It goes easier if you mount the tailplane struts before the control linkage (R12).

Ready, Drum Roll ...

[review image] [review image] [review image]

[review image] [review image] [review image]
The center fuselage and nacelle.

[review image] [review image] [review image]

Summary:
What can I say ? You have to build the kit. You have to read the instructions, think about them, and look at other references -- it is a Classic Airframes kit, and that isn't a negative, just a fact. This is a re-release and they corrected problems in the initial release -- too many companies just release the same old thing with no improvement. It is a multi-media kit and some of that resin takes very careful preparation and fitting. The issue anyone has to overcome building this kit is the usual "dress-right-dress" alignment of struts, wires, etc -- the canted nacelle throws that off and it is distracting. Regardless of being a tough build, it yields a terrific looking model -- it is a great kit in that respect.

If your interests are similar to mine -- British, bi-planes, flying boats, quirky aircraft, etc -- and you are an experienced builder -- then I highly recommend the kit. I recommend the Mushroom book at a minimum. If you want to kick it up a notch, I recommend replacing the kit engine with the Vector #48-008 Bristol Pegasus. If you want under-wing stores, try the Eduard #48-367 Detail Set for the Gavia Lysander. I didn't find either of these until too late.

I didn't do as good a job as I wanted to (it will never see a contest table) but I'm still happy with it. I should never do a glossy finish, too difficult to hide my errors. I had some rigging break free while photo-ing the finished product, I'll have to go back and fix it.

But, to paraphrase Yoda "there is another" Walrus kit in the stash, with the Vector engine, and soon to be joined by the Eduard set above. When the dust settles, I'm going to give this another try. I do love the airplane and I do think this is a great kit.

Again, I would like to thank Classic Airframes and IPMS for the opportunity to review this kit.

And Classic Airframes ... now that the Walrus has been done, how about a nice Stranraer to keep it company?

 
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