Kit: AZ Model, 1/72; bought for €10 in 2009.
Aircraft: “OH-KAA” (former “OH-JÄMI 1”) when owned by the Finnish flying club Porin Lentokerho in the late 1950s. This was the only Kranich ever registered in Finland.
This is a simple but accurate injection-molded kit of the Kranich. It comes with a vacformed canopy and photo-etch for instrument panels, seat belts and the pitot tube. Notably it is missing some detail parts such as an oft-installed venturi tube and aileron actuating rods.
There are no locating pins for the fuselage halves nor any tabs for the wings. For strength (the aircraft has a 25 cm wing span so the torque at wing root can be significant) I added a “spar” from a straightened paper clip by drilling holes into the wings and through the fuselage walls; the rod is not visible, being obscured by the rear cockpit instrument panel. A fair amount of putty was needed to fill the gaps between the fuselage and the wings.
I furnished the cockpit with kit parts for seats and seat belts, control sticks and instrument panels. The kit comes with a part for the structure between the student and instructor positions, but it was the wrong size, and it turned out to be easier to simply build this from styrene sheet. Since the Kranich was often flown with the rear canopy removed (for better instructor visibility), I cut out parts of the fuselage walls to represent this.
The horizontal tail had to be modified: The original Kranichs had a balanced elevator to reduce the control forces; later, some aircraft had the counter-balances removed. Judging from photographs, OH-KAA had the balanced elevator, so I cut out the elevator from the stabilizer, then cut out the tips of the stabilizer and glued them onto the elevator; puttying and sanding was needed to finish the job.
The kit comes with two identical vacformed canopies (a spare!). Generally, I don’t like working with vacformed canopies because they are hard to attach, but the result is always better because they are thinner than injection-molded parts. I cut out the rear part of the canopy as per the typical field modification of the aircraft. After gluing the canopy in place (with CA glue), I masked the gap carefully and filled it with Vallejo acrylic resin putty and some Squadron green putty. Before applying the putty I sprayed the edge of the canopy with the cockpit interior color so the putty color would not show when finished.
I airbrushed the model first with Tamiya flat white overall, then the light blue with Vallejo sky blue. Canopy frames were painted in stages: first the transversal frames, then the longitudinal ones. This makes is much easier to mask. Again, I first sprayed white (this shows up on the interior), then the light blue. Some chipping occurred when I removed the masking tape, this was corrected by hand-painting.
I used the decals from the kit, but only the registration (“OH-KAA”). The kit also gives decals for a number “7” for the tail, a club logo, and the logo of the Finnish Aeronautical Association (Suomen Ilmailuliitto); the club logo is the wrong color, and I found no pictures of the plane with the other logo on the plane, but some pictures without any logos, so this was the configuration I chose to represent. The decals worked well with some help from Micro Sol and Future.
- Suomen Ilmailuhistoriallinen Lehti 1/2003
- Svenska militära helikoptrar, prov- och segelflygplan 1926-1991 (Karlström); Flygplansritningar 6; Allt om Hobby 1991
- Feeniks 3.2003
- Suomen Siivet Tammi-Helmikuu 1971
- photographs from the Web site of the club Porin ilmailukerho