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Rotachute Mk.I: Raoul Hafner's aircraft

James H

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Rotachute Mk.I: Raoul Hafner's aircraft
Fly Model
Catalogue # 32004
Available from Hannants for £19.30






Raoul Hafner was an Austrian engineer who left his home country in 1933, and continued his developmental works on rotary winged aircraft in Britain. Raoul's work included a system to deliver a combat-ready soldier, accurately to the battlefield. This became known as the Rotachute, and at a time when parachute silk was in short supply, the British establishment took the Rotachute project seriously, and ordered trials of this rather unique rotary kite. Hafner, despite being Austrian and an ex-internee, was allowed to continue this work during wartime, with trials of the Rotachute being undertaken at RAF Ringway (now Manchester International Airport).


The Rotorchute Mk.I comprised a tubular steel framework, control frame, skid undercarriage, self-inflating rear fairing, and a mount for a machine gun. Unfortunately, the type never saw any service, and never left the trial stages. Whilst the type was never deployed, this seemingly insignificant aircraft did help to further our knowledge of rotor-driven aircraft, and Raoul Hafner's contribution to this area of aviation research, should never be understated.


The most obvious thing I see with this kit is that the box is seriously too big for this diminutive model. A nicely illustrated box artwork depicts the Rotachute flying alongside a Miles Magister aircraft, having been presumably towed by it. This side-opening box has further images of Fly releases on its side (including 2 further Rotachute kits), and the rear of the box serves as your painting guide. Here you can see that the Mk.I P1, and Mk.I P2 can be chosen from for your finish.


Inside the box, a single tan/fawn coloured sprue contains THIRTEEN parts, and also a small fret of photo etch, with a further SEVEN parts. Yes, that is it. No decals, but of course, you also get the simple instructions sheet. This is probably the simplest 1:32 kit I've ever had the privilege to see.





It really is important with this model , that you begin your paint job almost as soon as you start to build. The nature of the plastic shell fuselage really does dictate this. Externally, the fabric covered framework looks very authentic, and will look excellent with some modulation painting. Internally, there is no detail, but you may wish to add a little of your own, as I'm pretty sure you can peek inside there. A couple of ejector pin marks will need to be removed first. Moulded separately are the stabilising fins, but a delicate engraving on the exterior shows where these must fit. Being a short run kit, it's common to find no locating pins, and that is the case here.










All other parts on the sprue are also very nicely moulded, including the forward pilot framework, seat cushion, paddle rotor, skid and supports. In fact, that is it! Flash is very minimal and ejector pin marks don't trouble any of the parts. With the frames, you will need to thin these a little and make them a little less clunky, but that is it.





To stop the pilot falling backwards into the shell, he has a fabric strap backrest. You will find that here, on this fret, along with a set of shoulder and lap belts. Detail on these is perfectly adequate for what they represent. Two parts on here are not to be used, and are not shown in the instructions. Looking at the images of the two versions on the rear of the box, there appears to be a part protruding from the upper forward frame, and both machines definitely will use another unidentified part which I think may be something to do with the mount of the machine gun (Barrel?). Etch quality is very good, with small connecting gates that will make it easy to remove the parts.






Only one part is supplied here, and this is the machine gun. Cast in yellow resin, detail is sharp throughout, and contains an amazingly tiny trigger and an open muzzle end. The part is connected to its block via a thin, perforated resin wall, and you'll have no difficulty in removing this. Use of the gun is also optional.








Generally, these are easy to follow, and colours are referenced, although not actual codes. Diagrams are in line drawing format. It's a little disappointing that the location for the last two PE parts is not mentioned, nor is the MG installation image very adequate, but I imagine that a quick trawl of Google will yield the images you need.





A very simple, neat and attractive kit which could well be one of those 'mojo restoring' projects that we all sometimes yearn for. Construction is simple, and this version doesn't even contain decals, unlike the other releases which we hope to review here in the next month or two. The only tidying up you'll need to do is on the frameworks, and I also suggest you look at the angle of the rotors when stationary. They may actually droop a little, so you would need to factor this into your build.


Highly recommended


My sincere thanks to Fly Model for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.


James H




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