At the end of my previous post, I had reached the stage of being ready to apply decals to LN-ABH. But with the decals still in Brexit/Covid postal limbo between Finland and Scotland, I turned my attention to the earlier version of this aircraft, registered as D 260, when it was part of the Junkers Spitsbergen Expedition in 1923.
This was when the aircraft was fresh out of the factory, and so it was largely in the original configuration of the Junkers F13W, with the exception of the odd object behind the head of the man in the centre of the trio standing on the float. I’ve no idea what it is, although a poster on Britmodeller has hazarded a guess that it might be a filler cap for an extra fuel tank behind the passenger compartment. The aircraft was also fitted with extended ailerons, so (as with LN-ABH), I’ll scribe off the moulded ailerons provided with the kit, and add Master-X resin replacements.
For this aircraft I’m using a more recent issue of the Revell kit:
Despite the box art, instructions and decals, it also includes all the necessary parts to build the float-plane version. And, importantly for my purposes, it includes a better version of the rudder, the lower extension of which was noticeably undersized in the older kits. For comparison, here’s the rudder/tail-fin assembly from the old kit I used for LN-ABH, compared to the rudder (detached from its tail-fin) from the newer kit.
This is still undersized, but in a different way. The photograph above was taken maybe 30 degrees of the vertical; the photograph of the real aircraft below is maybe 30 degrees away from the transverse position.
By correcting for the angles in each, drawing around the kit rudder and superimposing on the corrected photograph, I get this:
So the kit part is not quite deep enough, front to back. Perhaps something nearer to correct could be fashioned from a combination of the old and new rudder parts, but the fine corrugations on the parts would make seams difficult to hide. So I’m leaving it as it is.
Also visible in the photograph above is something I’m going to have to scratch-build—the near-vertical bar protruding from the underside of the tail just in front of the rudder. This seems to have been a fairly standard part of the float-plane version, though I’m not entirely sure what it was for.
That’ll be a late addition to the assembled kit. In the meantime, I put together a simulation of the “mystery object” on the starboard side of the aircraft, which I alluded to earlier. Some styrene sheet, a fragment of 0.5mm brass rod, and some aluminium paint produced the object below, superimposed on a British penny for scale:
The main modification I planned for this kit is to open one of the doors to display the interior a little better. So I used a razor saw to chop the door section out of its frame, dividing the kit fuselage half into three parts:
On the opposite side of the fuselage, I scribed in the interior door-frame, and filled the gaps around the kit’s truly horrible windows. I also needed to slightly shorten the rear bench seat of the passenger compartment, which in the kit version protrudes quite a long way into the doorway—this was easily done by carving about a millimetre-and-a-half out of the rear part of the seat before attaching it to the backrest.
I added some lap-belts to the seats, using parts from an Airwaves 1/72 photoetch RAF harness set. The belts used to be stowed in a loop around the back of the front seats in the passenger compartment, so I reproduced that appearance, and left the other belts lying loose on the seats.
Perhaps because it was a newer kit, the interior and fuselage hadn’t bowed out of true, and were easier to fit together. Here’s the improved alignment between the bench seat and the door (which has acquired a little chrome door-handle fashioned out of brass rod).
The fuselage halves closed easily, and as before I left the tail ajar, by a fraction of a millimetre, to prevent the “roof” section overhanging in that area. This one has an engine, and the original “rhino horn” exhaust.
The divided starboard side of the fuselage was easy enough to position—the rear entirely straightforward, because it locates with the port side, the forward part requiring a little alignment using the dry-fitted “roof”.
Once everything was together, I brought the lower part of the door-frame up to floor level with a sliver of styrene sheet, and also added an upper rail at the top of the door-frame. (And, of course, trimmed the excised door section accordingly.)
As you’ve seen, I had scribed off the kit rudder, so I could pose it with a slight deflection. I also did the same with the ailerons, so that I could depict the aircraft with the characteristic “aileron droop” it had when parked. (You can see that in my second reference photograph above.) Here they are in place.
The “mystery object” on the side of the fuselage is also attached. I’ve masked the cockpit openings and the exhaust, and temporarily blocked off the doorway with a little bit of styrene, cut to shape using a masking tape template and held in place with clear glue. The whole thing has now been coated with gloss enamel varnish, ready for decals. (The kit’s “Junkers” logo is already in place.)
The wings, likewise, are painted and glossed, ready for decals. I’ve left the upper and lower halves of the wings separate, because for this aircraft I want to apply decals for the underwing registration codes, and that will be easier before the floats are attached, and the floats will be easier to attach if I glue them from inside the wing, as I did with LN-ABH.
You can see I’ve applied brown kit decals to the upper wing roots, which in the real aircraft appear to have had strips of wood attached to make a non-slip area for boarding. The decals are hard work to position, since they have to be applied to the raised moulded strips in the kit plastic, which inevitably traps air in the grooves between the strips. So having got them provisionally adherent to the raised strips using Micro Sol, I then slit each decal lengthways along each groove, and then smoothed the edges into the grooves with more Micro Sol.
Finally, while I was waiting for my replacement decals to arrive, I was able to use the rather lovely propeller decal that came with the original sheet. This wraps neatly around the kit propeller to produce the laminated wood appearance of the original Heine propeller.
Here it is next to the rotating propeller disc I made for the LN-ABH “in-flight” version:
Next time—decals and final detailing.