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1:32 PZL P.11c


James H

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1:32 PZL P.11c

Silverwings
Catalogue #
Available from Hannants for £99.99

 

 

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PZL was Poland’s primary aircraft designer and manufacturer in the interwar years, operating from Warsaw. In an age where fighter aircraft design was still very much rooted in stick and string designs of the Great War period, PZL’s designs were modern, advanced and in some cases, revolutionary. The PZL P.11 first flew in 1931, and was still in active front line service as Poland’s main fighter design, at the outbreak of WW2. Unfortunately for Poland, the Germans had embraced aviation technology after Hitler became Chancellor/Head of State, leaving the modern Polish designs sadly lacking in terms of performance and capability. The PZL P.11 was a high gull wing design that had its wing roots sat on the fuselage shoulder, and offered exceptional pilot visibility. Derived from a continual process of development that began with the P.1, the specific version depicted in this kit also had its engine position lowered, improving field of view even further.

 

 

Powered by a Bristol Mercury V.S2, the PZL P.11c also had an open cockpit and a fuel tank that could be jettisoned from the fuselage in an emergency. Armament was provided by the installation of two 7.92 machine guns, with a number of the 11c types also carrying extra guns in the wings. Maximum speed was around 240mph, and when production ceased upon German invasion, the total number of machines built was around 325. As well as Poland, Romania was also a primary user, with the type also being operated in numbers by Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Soviet Air Force that used captured Latvian machines.

 

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What a sweet little subject for Silverwings to choose. Not only a gorgeous aircraft that we’ve not yet seen in 1:32 despite how familiar it is to aviation fans, but also as a Limited Edition. Silverwings manage to cram all of their parts into a relatively small yet beautifully designed package that arrived in the post inside another box that was packed out with polystyrene foam for added protection. Other manufacturers should take note. Top marks for the atmospheric box art too. The FOUR schemes are shown on the box edge. So, what makes this a Limited Edition? Here’s a full list of contents.

 

  • 142 resin parts
  • 1 clear resin canopy
  • 4 metal gun barrels (8 parts)
  • 82 photo etched parts
  • film for instruments
  • reinforced wings and struts
  • instruction manual
  • decal sheet including 4 marking options
  • 1 CD including artistic museum photos
  • 1 DVD including museum photos and original manual
  • 1 A4 poster
  • 1 PZL logo sticker

 

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As far as proper shipping boxes goes, this was sent inside a sturdy card box, precisely lined with rigid foam sheet. You get the impression that the seasonal postal football team (who kicked the crap out of my Westland Lynx) would have struggled to dent it! Excellent packing. The kit box lid is quite difficult to lift due to the fit. An atmospheric artwork adorns the lid, also indicating that this is a Limited Edition. I’m not too sure how limited it is, but hey! The FOUR schemes are printed on the box sides. It’s the individual markings over a standard scheme that give the variation here. These birds were generally painted in a drab overall green, but Silverwings’ choice of machines are what makes the difference here. We’ll look at those later. Inside the box, there are three bubble-wrap sleeves. One of these contains the fuselage, another the wings, and the last one holds numerous zip lock wallets that has the remainder of the many kit parts. Packing is well thought out and designed to minimize risk of breakage. A rolled up tube of the box art is included, and underneath these is a beautifully printed instruction sheet, a single decal sheet, one photo etch fret and two small format discs (one CD and one DVD). You’ll also find a glossy, peelable sticker with the PZL logo on it. For now though, it’s time to look at the resin and what detail this kit offers

 

Fuselage

 

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The PZL P.11c was of conventional construction with regard to the fuselage. Here, that metal sheeted appearance is rather nicely replicated with evenly scribed panel lines, access plates, and other detail such as the spring-loaded foot-holds for accessing the canopy, and also the louvred front fuselage section that sits to the rear of the cowl. Gun channels are neatly recessed, and the access plate behind this location is nicely scribed. Using the information on the reference disc, there is nothing stopping the more adventurous modeller from opening up these panels to show the guns, which incidentally are included also. Note how the fuselage has also been supplied taped together to help keep things in alignment and to protect the fragile fin. Now, like the wing panels, the fin is cast to represent the corrugated metal sheeting that was applied to this area, and the overall finish is highly credible. There are some extremely thin strakes that cross this area, and care will be needed so as not to damage them.

 

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An open area in the fuselage belly is where the ejectable fuel tank will be situated, along with a large section of PE that will line the channel and hide any view of the cockpit from the slight gap around the tank.

 

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Please note the flat section on the upper forward fuselage. This is where the wing shoulder will sit. The slot down the middle helps with alignment. Removing that tape and splitting the fuselage reveals the internal detail, comprising of various framework structures. This is certainly more than adequate, as when the cockpit is complete, there won’t be much wiggle room inside here to see much other than the key components. Again, detail is sharp and nicely cast. Note that there is no casting block to remove. All you’ll need to do is to polish up the lower fuselage seem when it comes to assembly.

 

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Wings, rudder, and stabilisers

 

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Both wings are packed into a single zip-lock, so until you use them, I would pack them separately due to the potential damage of any of the fine strakes on the undersides. These are conventionally cast as complete port and starboard halves, and with separate ailerons. The corrugated skin representation is excellent, with the panelling being evident, and the various protrusions/fairings being sharply defined. As with all horizontal flying and control surfaces, the undersides have a delicate strake running in the direction of airflow, and you should ensure you don’t damage these delicate details with and clumsiness whilst you work on assembly, or even handling the model.

 

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Now, bring both of those wings together, and you’ll see they meet neatly along the centreline and form the shoulder that will sit atop the forward fuselage. I would strengthen the joint further though by inserting some precisely spaced stiff wire rods before you glue this up….just to be sure of the longevity of this area. I’m sure it will be fine anyway, but nonetheless. As with the fuselage, the leading edge casting block here has been carefully removed, and the forward edge shaped for you, so all you need to do is to finish this off. That’s a very nice touch that I’ve not seen on a resin kit before.

 

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The rudder is cast as a single piece, along with delicate control horn and hinge/tab detail. The horn area of the outside skin is splayed outwards to match the rear fuselage shape, and also creating the illusion of metal skin, should you decide to pose this dynamically.

A traditional tab fix approach is given to the stabilisers, and each of these and the elevators are cast as single pieces, along with strake detail for the undersides. A little clean-up is generally required, but nothing onerous. A small number of bubbles exist on my sample, but most haven’t broken the surface. If might still be an idea to drill out a few and fill them anyway. The forward edges of the ailerons need a little sanding to remove the edge where the casting block used to be.

 

Engine, propeller and cowl.

 

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Depending on the time the machine was built, and therefore your scheme option, the aircraft would’ve had either a 600HP or 630HP engine. Looking at references, there doesn’t appear to be really much different, or indeed anything, in either engine. This is built around a central crankcase with separate cylinders, plumbing, exhausts etc. A crankshaft cowl, forward main engine cowl and a separate collector ring are included. Silverwings has cast the propeller and spinner as a single part, just requiring a little clean-up before assembly. The engine area will also be the recipient of a single piece of PE for the front of the crankcase cowl. Mastering and casting is impressive with many components exhibiting some wonderful and filigree detail, such as the cylinders and crankcase. Components are separately cast, and they will all need to have their individual casting blocks removed and a little clean-up performed before you can assemble. There are roughly 50 parts for the engine and cowl etc. with a small number of spares included, just in case.

 

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Cockpit

 

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This is glorious! I’m a sucker for cockpit detail, and Silverings deliver just what I like to see. This is based around a typically traditional interwar-style box framework structure whose side panels are separate pieces that are connected by resin angled strut lengths. Frame detail is excellent with numerous strut sections that are capped with PE joint plates. You will of course need to paint many parts separately and mount them within the completed box frame.

 

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That detail includes a photo etch instrument panel with acetate instrument film to the rear, throttle quadrant, oxygen tank, map case, foot boards (reminiscent of the Hurricane style), superb pilot’s seat, control column and an antiquated looking set of rudder pedals. A machine gun installation will be added to each side of the cockpit tub. In all, the cockpit tub is a project all of its own, but you will need to study the supplied reference in detail when it comes to painting, as no indicators are supplied on the instructions.

 

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A superbly clear piece of resin is supplied for the canopy. Framing is also good, but no masks are supplied, so you’ll have to do this yourself.

 

 

Support struts

 

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All struts for wing support and undercarriage, are reinforced with rigid wire. Resin models do tend to be heavier than styrene, and the inclusion of wire is necessity rather than just a nice touch. Casting is very good, but you will note some areas where the wire is close to the resin surface, and even touching it in places. With my sample, holding this to the light showed that there was no actual breakout, and everything was just fine. Whilst we’re looking at undercarriage struts, I can tell you that the wheels are cast as single pieces, along with integral bub. There isn’t any weighting, but I’m sure this can be fixed rather quickly with a sanding stick.

 

 

Photo Etch

 

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A single sheet, but still plenty of parts. From the photo, you’ll see the crankshaft cowl front plate, fuel tank sleeve, internal frame joint plates, bomb fins, instrument panel, gun sight reticule etc. and the large number of ‘C’ shaped parts on the right hand side are for what looks like some sort of radiator/cooling fin assembly. This looks a little fiddly to assemble, but I think Silverwings approached this in the best and most realistic way. Etch quality is excellent, with small tags holding things in place. Numbering is clear and easily defined in the instruction manual, and more so because the resin parts AREN’T numbered! These are found through visual identification.

 

 

Turned Brass

 

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I’m real pleased to see that Master has supplied the barrels for this kit. You just can’t recreate this feature in resin. Both wing and fuselage guns include a barrel and slotted cooling jacket each.

 

Decals

 

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A single sheet contains markings for all machines. Colours look great, and carrier film is minimal. Register is also perfect. Thankfully, they are also thin, which is important if you figure that some of these will need to conform to the corrugated surface. I don’t know how these decals work with setting solutions, so please be careful. No stencils are supplied.

 

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The schemes supplied are:

  1. PZL P.11c, 45-N, 111 Squadron, Warsaw, October 1938
  2. PZL P.11c, 8.14, 112 Squadron, Warsaw, May 1936
  3. PZL P.11c, 8.70, 113 Squadron, Warsaw, 1939 (Hieronim Dudwał’s aircraft)
  4. PZL P.11c, 8.56, 142 Squadron, Toruń, June 1938 (Stanlisław Skalski’s aircraft)

 

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Instructions

 

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I quite like the format that Silverings has used here. Drawings are simple line format, with no shading. PE parts are clearly defined, and everything looks straightforward enough. As I have said, there are no colour notes supplied during construction, so you’ll need to reference the photos on the supplied discs. The colour profiles are very good, and more than adequate due to lack of stencil data. Strangely enough, no colour data is given for the profiles either. Please check your references.

 

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Poster

 

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Rather neat and A4 in size. This will look rather nice on the man cave wall whilst your project progresses.

 

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PZL Sticker

 

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Very attractive, and perfect for adorning a wooden plinth for your final build. The finish is gloss, and it has a backing that needs peeling before application.

 

Discs

 

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Disc 1 is a CD that contains 18 high resolution photos totalling about 175mb. These are typically external images of the surviving machine and are perfect for a model build. Disc 2 is a DVD and this contains 2 folders. The first folder is another set of modern museum images that show the PZL in more detail, including the cockpit and detail behind panels. Again, these are high resolution. The last folder holds a gigabyte of TIF images of the original PZL P.11 manual. As well as being historically interesting, these will provide some good reference in themselves for those who want to detail even further.

 

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Conclusion
For such a small box, the PZL P.11c kit is packed with detail, and the Limited Edition extras are very cool too. Casting is excellent, and looking at the reference images, Silverwings really have nailed this one. A lot of effort has gone into reproducing that corrugated surface to tightly and the model is, compared with other complete resin kits I’ve seen, a simpler affair with its pre-cleaned up main parts and shoulder-mounted rigid wing, and slot in tail surfaces. Some love and attention needs to be spent on the cockpit, simply because it deserves it! There’s plenty of reference supplied to really go to town on this area, and indeed the exterior. A great package of a subject that really deserved to be modelled in a proper scale. A beautifully put together package and Silverwings deserves to do very well with this one. Work on this starts tomorrow for an article in Military Illustrated Modeller.

 

Highly recommended!

 

My sincere thanks to Silverwings for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

 

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