Administrators James H Posted May 8, 2014 Administrators Share Posted May 8, 2014 1:32 Letov LF-107 LuňákHPHCatalogue # HPH32031RAvailable from HPH for €60.00 The Luňák first took to the air in 1948, designed by a number of key, prolific Czech aircraft designers. It has the title of being the first ever glider to utilise laminar wing technology, put to great use in WW2 by the North American P-51D Mustang. Construction was generally of metal, with a later version being constructed of wood. Aerobatic performance was exceptional, and the type notably caught the eye of many aviation enthusiasts of the time. The late 1940's were a tense time in Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union was increasing its grip over a number of countries. The facilities where the Luňák was being produced was taken over for military aircraft production, notably MiG fighter planes. A total of 75 of the Luňák were produced, with only 9 surviving to this day. Perhaps if you are a builder of military model aircraft, as I am, your eyes will also be opened by this cute release. Normally, I model WW1 or WW2 Luftwaffe subjects, so when HPH sent this to us, along with their Me 410 kit, it was an opportunity to take a look at something I would possibly never have looked twice at. That would have been a crying shame. We know HPH are more commonly known for military aircraft themselves, but they do produce a range of civilian/quasi-civilian types, and today, I'm pleased to be able to bring you our review of the LF-107 Luňák. This release is packaged into a relatively small, but deep and sturdy cardboard box, with a forward flap which releases the lid. Inside the box, all smaller resin parts are sealed into zip-lock bags, and overlaid with plenty of bubble-wrap. The fuselage halves are simply wrapped in bubble-wrap. HPH have compartmentalised the interior of the box so nothing rolls around. One of these compartments runs diagonally, from corner to corner, and contains the wing parts. These aren't wrapped, but are still well-protected. As well as the resin, there is a wallet containing a TWO photo etch frets, canopy masks, a decal sheet and a set of printed instructions. This is the first HPH release I've seen without a CD, but as the instructions pages are low in number, I presume it was a better solution to just include the paper version. Last but not least, there is the now standard inclusion of a Belgian chocolate. Mine lasted just long enough to get the package photos. You can ask my wife what happened to it after that! There are around 30 parts of pale, olive green resin which comprise the Luňák, plus a single vac-form part for the canopy. The parts which intrigue me first are the wings. This aircraft had quite a reasonable wingspan, hence the need to pack the wings diagonally so they fit into the box. Overall, the model will have a wingspan of around 45.6cm. These wings are quite narrow and thin, so in order to strengthen them, they have been cast with a full length stainless steel rod within them. This protrudes at the root, to provide you with a locating pin for fixing to the fuselage. A casting block exists along the leading edge of each wing. This slightly encapsulates the extreme forward leading edge point, so please remember this when removing it, and profile the leading edge accordingly. I absolutely love how HPH cast parts such as the fuselage. This is a beautifully thin casting, with a block which needs to removed from the lower joint. External detail is almost non-existent due to the filled and sanded structure of the real thing. A fine wing root fairing can be seen though. Internally, the cockpit walls are a little thicker, with some constructional elements reproduced. A structure exists for you to fasten the instrument panel to. Along the joint between the fuse halves, exist a series of point where you can insert pins to help align the parts together. The vertical fin is a separate part to the fuse, as is the rudder to the fin. All fixed structures are smooth externally. Construction is unusual with this in that the fuselage should be completed and painted, fit together, and then the wings added BEFORE you install the cockpit module. A large casting block contains all of the wing aileron sections (3 per wing), and elevators. Detail is fine, with neat rib and fabric being subtly reproduced. Again, the casting block is joined to the parts via their leading edge, but by a thin wall of resin which will be easy to remove and clean-up. As an aside note, the wing control surfaces don't connect directly to the wing, so no need to pin them. They are instead connected via the photo etch linkages supplied. A drawing in the instructions clearly show the angles at which these surfaces need to be posed. Another casting block contains the horizontal stabiliser, fin, and rudder. Despite the relative simplicity of a glider to a military aircraft, the interior of the Luňák still contains a very respectable amount of detail. A profiled cockpit floor, with separate resin/fabric overlay is connected to a detailed back wall. There isn't a seat in this bird, as the floor is shaped to fit to the pilot. It must've been a pretty uncomfortable ride. Rudder pedals, control yoke and instrument panel are supplied as resin parts, but if you want to use a PE instrument panel, then a two part, colour—printed one is included. A number of other photo etch parts are included for the cockpit, and these include levers, instruments, map case and placards. A full set of colour seatbelts is included too, but these look to be exactly the same as Luftwaffe types. Perhaps the Czechs were using these in the late 1940's. I would perhaps choose to use a replacement laser cut seat belt set from HGW. All resin parts are beautifully produced with no visible flaw. Clean up is an minimal as HPH could get it. Some resin parts are supplied as separate parts in a zip lock wallet, but some others are connected to a thin resin sheet. Other resin parts include the landing wheel. The colour fret is produced by Eduard and is superbly printed. As well as the cockpit parts just mentioned, other parts include those control surface linkages, wing access plates etc. There is a small, bare brass fret which contains wing root reinforcement strips and also a riveted strip that I can't identify on the plan. That cockpit is a vac-form part, but is almost exactly trimmed to size, except for a small section at the front and rear. This makes using a vac-canopy quite easy, and not something to be feared. There is no framing on the canopy, but this is supplied as vinyl parts on the 'mask' sheet. You will of course have to fathom how you will paint this. I think application of the vinyl, and then further masking of the open canopy areas. Clarity is excellent, and what's more, you get TWO canopies, just in case you do screw up! A wooden veneer is supplied for you to laminate the forward landing skid, as per the real plane. That's a nice touch. Just try to induce a subtle curve into it before use, possibly by soaking it in boiling water for a short while. A single decal sheet is included, catering to TWO schemes which HPH have supplied for this model. These are: LF-107, Prague Aero Club, Letňany, 1970-1971 LF-107, Airborne Troops CSLA (Czechoslovak Army), 1950's The decals appear to be an Eduard-produced item, or at least they seem very familiar to me in terms of style of layout and printing etc. Printing is superbly thin and in perfect register. Carrier film is minimal and colour authentic and solid. A small number of airframe stencils are also included. Both schemes are printed in colour on an A4 sheet, with decal placement being easy to follow. Predominantly, the schemes are yellow, but both very attractive. Another sheet contains the instructions for this kit, in line drawn format, with easy to identify parts ID. The sequences only take up less than 2 sides of one A4 sheet, and look very easy to follow, with both resin and PE parts clearly identifiable. ConclusionThis really is a simple model to build, as the instructions clearly show. Nothing here should be taxing to the modeller, and I may even venture as far as to say that this would be a perfect introduction for a modeller who wanted to try their hand at a full resin model. Please don't think that that means that there is compromise here. There isn't. This is a beautiful and detailed model kit with superbly refined detail. The price isn't a killer either. If you're thinking of dipping your toe into the resin model world, look no further! Very highly recommended James H My sincere thanks to HPH Models for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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