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1:72 Avia B.534 ‘Royal Class’


James H
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1:72 Avia B.534 ‘Royal Class’

Eduard
Catalogue # R0010
Available from Eduard for €82.45
Bunny Fighter Club price: €70.08

 

 

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The first thing you really do need to know is that Eduard’s new Avia B.534 kit is entirely new. It takes zero lineage from the kit they released many years ago. It is entirely new-tool. Ok, that’s that sorted! To celebrate the release of this kit, Eduard have gone the Royal Class route again, and provided the modeller with a very attractive package containing multiple kits, some photo etch and masks, as well as a book too, albeit in Czech.

 

 

We’ll look at this later. As with some other Royal Class releases, the box is essentially printed in a single colour. This time it’s a sort of red, rusty russet brown, with ‘Royal Class’ being printed all over it in an attractive high gloss. A vector drawing of a B.534 is the centrepiece, printed in gold. More glossy panels are shown on the box sides with numerous photos and the colour schemes. What makes this kit a little different than previous releases is that it contains FOUR complete model kits which utilise the four different fuselage sprues contained therein, and a total of THIRTY-ONE colour schemes! The variety is very varied, and typically ‘Eduard’ in approach. Again, we’ll look at this later.

 

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This is quite a heavy little box, primarily due to the thick book within, an assembly guide, and a separate colour scheme booklet too. Unlike my grey and orange test shot, all parts in this release are moulded in the much more sensible grey styrene, and all sprues are not individually bagged. There are two re-sealable sleeves of grey styrene, containing four sprues each. In fact, one of these sleeves has both the fuselage and wing sprue, co-joined, so in effect, there are eight sprues in there. Two zip-lock wallets are also included, each one containing one of the circular, clear sprues. These are identical.

 

SPRUE A (x4)

 

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First up is the wing and flying surface sprue, and four of these are supplied. All of these are also identical. The upper wing is full span, with port/starboard panels for the lower, and ailerons are moulded integrally. Surface detail is actually very good, with perhaps it being a little exaggerated. Either way, the finish is very good, with the sort of definition that shows that this is a modern tooling. Aileron hinge detail is fine, as are the wing strut reinforcement plate details.

 

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For both the fin and stabiliser, separate control surfaces are supplied, so you may droop the elevators and offset the rudder if you wish. Surface detail is very much the same as the wing. If you plug these parts onto the fuselage, they will sit in situ without glue, showing the tolerances Eduard are now using. Very impressive.

 

 

SPRUES B, C, D & G (Fuselage)

 

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It seems strange to lump four sprues together here, and it’s definitely the first release where I’ve seen four very different fuselages included. Firstly, if you’ve seen or built Eduard’s 1:48 Spitfire release, you will immediately see a comparison here in terms of overall detail finesse and style, but of course, in a smaller scale. Eduard provide fuselage parts here which include those for a raised spine machine, with enclosed forward cockpit, as well as a semi open cockpit version, and one which a low back and bubble canopy. Also included are parts for an unarmed machine, without the gun channels and side blister.

 

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Each fuselage is moulded with an integral under-belly radiator, and the fabric/stringer rear fuselage is very subtle in execution. As the lower wing is supplied as port/starboard panels, a tab is moulded on the fuse, into which the wings plug. Having built that test shot, I can tell you that there is no sloppiness whatsoever when these are inserted. The correct wing dihedral was immediately achieved. The forward fuselage has extremely fine panel line engraving with the exhaust stubs just protruding to the exterior. Eduard have also designed the upper, forward cowl to be a separate part, and again, when this is installed, its joint is nigh on invisible.

 

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Small dimples on the fuse sides indicate the position of the cabane struts. At first glance, these appear to be insufficient, but again, my experience of this kit proves that to be wrong. In fact, I built the test shot, without paint, in only 90 minutes, inclusive of cleaning up the parts and installing the upper wing and struts. There really isn’t too much to see internally, except for some detail around the cupper cockpit edge. However, lack of detail here is due to the fact that a detailed series of parts actually fit into here, including frames etc.

Other parts on these sprues actually vary slightly due to the type of fuselage you will use. For example, whilst one sprue may contain the forward, upper engine cowl, another will include this with an extension to cover the cockpit area. Each also contains two instrument panel options. One of these has moulded instrument detail, and the other is blank, allowing for the installation of the photo-etch parts which are also included. Here, you will also find a variety of parts including a drop tank (for one option only), and a small number of cockpit parts.

 

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SPRUE E (x4)

 

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As this is the last grey sprue, it contains the remainder of the parts for this kit, including two propeller options, radiator parts, detailed cockpit, spatted and un-spatted wheels (spats are integral to wheel), undercarriage struts, inter-plane and tail-plane struts, tail skid and tail wheel options etc. Check out the main wheels, complete with manufacturer writing!

 

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Now, just because this is 1:72 doesn’t mean that interior detail is skimped on. Just the opposite. Two detailed internal sidewall frames are included, and onto the cockpit floor fits the pilot seat and control stick. Even if you are adverse to photo-etch, you will still need to use it if you wish to install the rudder pedals. As I’ve already mentioned, there are PE options for the instrument panel, but also parts for seatbelts, and some side wall detail.

 

Options are provided for a machine with under-wing bombs.

 

 

SPRUE F (x2)

 

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Options are provided for posing your canopy in both open and closed positions (where an enclosed cockpit is being modelled). All parts are crystal clear, with neatly defined framing, and small sprue gate connection points. Certainly no concerns in this area.

 

 

PLASTIC SUMMARY
Being a new-tool kit, you don’t expect any defects or flash, and there certainly is nothing like that. No sink marks or horrible seams to eradicate. Just snip the parts and trim the gate excess away, and you’re good to go. A real joy for the modeller.

 

PHOTO ETCH

 

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There are FIVE photo-etch frets included here. The first is a colour-printed one, and is for use across all four models. It contains a number of options for a layered instrument panel as well as seatbelts and other cockpit details. Printing is excellent, especially when you bear in mind the small scale of this kit.

 

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The other four PE frets are identical, with one being assigned to each of the four aircraft in this release. These frets contain stirrups, straps, port detail and even a pitot. Also included is a fuselage-mounted gun sight, alternative bomb fins, plus wing bracing wires and buckles!

 

MASKS

 

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One sheet of masks is included for all four models, containing all the various parts for the different canopies supplied in this kit. Wingtip and stabiliser masks are also included for a small number of scheme options. Cutting appears to be sharp, and the instructions clearly show where each part is to be placed.

 

INSTRUCTIONS & COLOUR SCHEME BOOKLET

 

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Instructions are printed as a glossy, 12 page A4 publication, Eduard supply a brief history of the Avia B.534, and a useful parts map and colour code list for Mr Hobby/Gunze paints. Assembly illustration is by means of clear line drawings, and is simple to follow. Notation is given throughout for PE and mask use, and full rigging drawings are included, spreading over 2 pages of clear illustration.

 

The colour scheme book is a thicker publication than the instructions, with a page being given over to a single scheme. Eduard’s knack of choosing varied subjects is evident here, as we see everything from racing machines, through to the more unusual Luftwaffe types, with the rarer fuselage format. Simple colour notation is included, and decal placement is easy to follow. Now, just take a look at the schemes on offer here:

 

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DECALS

 

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With so many scheme options, it won’t surprise you to know that there is more than one sheet of decals provided in this Royal Class release. There are actually THREE sheets included, with what also looks to be either a correction or omission sheet containing two small decals. All schemes on the main sheet are divided into sections, meaning it is easy to locate the markings you require for a specific aircraft. Eduard have thoughtfully printed some of the national insignias and codes as one decal instead of multiples, meaning you won’t have an issue with spacing etc. On this main sheet are a number of stencil decals, and also a number for decorating the wingtips and rudders of a number of options. There are also a large number of national markings included here, which are common to several schemes.

The second largest sheet contains a number of Czech and German national markings as well as more swastikas that you can shake an entire Staffel at! These are provided as halves, and presumably as I’m not unlucky enough to be a German modeller, a full set of 16 complete swastikas of various styles and dimensions.

 

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Unlike the first two Cartograf-printed decals sheets, the third is printed by Eduard, and to be honest, I find Eduard’s own decals just as good, as they are printed with equal finesse. This sheet contains more national markings, plus some codes and emblems.

Printing is excellent throughout, with all decals containing minimal carrier film, and being respectably thin. Printing is also in perfect register.

 

BOOK

 

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The accompanying Eduard publication is a 66 page, softback book which looks at many of the schemes supplied in this release, along with accompanying reference photos which the modeller will find invaluable for finishing their work. This very attractive book contains what I imagine to be a good number of rare images of the B.534, including some with internal detail shots. Photo quality is generally very, very good. A number of colour reference photos are also included. As previously mentioned, all text is in Czech, but as an aside, if you have a smartphone with the correct Google app, you can hover this over the text for an instant, live translation!

 

Conclusion
As a large scale guy, I normally don’t take too much of an interest in small scale models, but this release from Eduard is one that certainly has a draw. Having built that test shot, I know this model builds beautifully, plus the schemes in this release certainly want you to start snipping styrene straight away. The kits themselves are about as state of the art as we are currently seeing, pretty much rendering your filler redundant, whilst containing detailed photo-etch parts. I also think the price of this is pitched pretty well when you consider the contents, and that reference book. If you’re a member of the BFC, then you have an added discount too.

 

Need something to reignite your mojo? If so, then please treat yourself to this small yet heavy little package.

 

VERY highly recommended

 

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

 

James H

 

 

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