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1:32 Ryan PT-22/NR-1 Recruit


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1:32 Ryan PT-22/NR-1 Recruit


Fisher Model & Pattern
Catalogue # 3211


Available from Fisher Model and Pattern for US$149.95

 

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This year is the 35th anniversary of Fisher Model and Pattern. Since 1978, Paul and Susie Fisher have been creating and manufacturing high quality resin model car and aircraft kits from their home based business in Paradise. Paradise, California, that is! And, of course, Paul is also well known for the manufacture of his bespoke guitars. However, no mention of the Fisher family would be complete without a reference to Alfred, their wonderful Great Dane – a VID (Very Important Dog) and very much a member of staff in his own right! In this day and age, a family business that has been going for 35 years must be doing something right – especially where fickle modellers are concerned. Many congratulations to Paul and Susie from us all at LSM!

 

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My first purchase of a Fisher kit was a few years ago (2009) when I became enamoured with their 1/32 Sea Fury T20 Trainer and spent the next three years finishing it in the West German target tug colours of red and yellow/orange. Why did it take three years? The romantic version of my answer would be that Paul's offerings are only to be savoured like a very expensive and smooth red wine – very slowly! Although there is much truth in that statement, the reality is much different! After the initial painting I didn't like the finish I had applied, so I left it for a few months for a long term assessment - and still didn't like it! A complete strip down and re-spray was the remedy and, at last year's Telford I was honoured to receive the 1/32 Class Bronze Medal and the IPMS Deutschland Trophy for my efforts.

 

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My other Fisher purchases have been the 'side by side' seated Hawker Hunter Trainer conversion for the 1/32 Revell kit. This conversion, in my opinion, takes an already beautiful aircraft to a much higher level. Something yet to be tackled is the recently acquired 1/24 1955 Long Nose D-Type Jaguar from Paul's race car line, and I am looking forward to tackling that when I have completed the Airfix Bentley.

So, if you get my drift, you could say I am a fan! When news began to be leaked through various modelling grapevines of a Paul Fisher 1930's American trainer in the pipe line, I immediately requested to be put on the pre-order listings. When the test shots began to appear of the 'Ryan PT-22/NR-1 Recruit', I was hooked. Paul and Susie do not rush into things. Patience is a virtue, and the Fishers have patience in abundance. They are not happy unless the best possible accessories have been tested and are readily available – stories of experiments with metal undercarriages are legend, as are the decal sheets. These are not 'shake and bake' kits – modellers have to do what it says on the tin – model! But, having said that, and continuing with the patience theme, care and perseverance will virtually ensure your investment will result in the completion of a superb model. Just look around the show tables for evidence of this.

 

So what do we know about the aircraft which is the subject of this kit? T. Claude Ryan, designer of the Ryan NYP and better known as the 'Spirit of St. Louis', designed the Ryan ST-22 as a two-seater 'tandem', open cockpit, Sport's Trainer which had its maiden flight in 1934. The fuselage design was of semi- monocoque construction with riveted aluminium cladding over an aluminium and steel framework. Wings were 'mixed media' – spruce spars, aluminium ribs, aluminium sheeting to the main spar with fabric covering to the trailing edges. Tail feathers were of a similar construction without the leading edge aluminium cladding and the wings were braced at the fuselage by flying wires with landing wires from the fixed undercarriage similarly attached to the fuselage.

 

Through various development stages, the Ryan was eventually fitted with the more powerful Kinner R-540-1 radial engine which developed 160hp, and it was this version that pleased the military. It was designated the PT-22 for the US Army Air Corps who purchased over 1000 examples with the US Navy buying 100 and designating it the NR-1. There are many examples of the type still flying – just click onto Google and you will find some very interesting paint jobs plus a wonderful piece of display flying on You Tube - but please make sure you have the sound on loud so that you can enjoy the wonderful noise of the low revving Kinner engine. Superb. In the interests of economy, the Fishers are not ones for elaborate box art, so it would probably be best to describe their boxings as 'discreet' with the only indication of the contents being a small descriptive label on the end of the carton. Everything is enclosed in a smallish top opening, white corrugated cardboard box measuring 29 x 17.5 x 7.5cms. I can remember describing my first impressions when I opened the Sea Fury box a few years back – everything being wrapped in numerous sheets of soft tissue paper like delicate jewellery from Aspreys! Nothing has changed over the years – thank goodness.

 

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The fuselage and one piece wing are also separately wrapped in copious sheets of tissue with the remaining parts divided into their various 'departments' (undercarriage, tail feathers, engine, cockpit) in self-sealing, clear plastic envelopes.

 

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The fuselage was taped together, and, as I mentioned earlier, these aren't 'shake and bake' kits. It was obvious that some fettling would have to be done before near perfect joints could be achieved. A problem with this fettling is that there is always a danger of losing some of the raised rivets in the process – a point acknowledged by Paul in his instructions. If this does happen, he recommends replacing lost rivets by using the Archer Fine Transfers (sheet #AR88016)- a system of resin rivet 'decals' and these are shown being used in one of the photographs. I know that Paul was very concerned about this for some time before releasing the kit, but the Archer system is an excellent fall back recovery if required.

 

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There are other options always open to the modeller. A more drastic method would be to remove all the rivets and replace them completely with Archer decals for exact size continuity. However, there is another even more drastic scenario. If I am able to find the correct sized resin 'proper' rivets from MasterClub UK, I would probably go the more laborious (sad?) route of also removing all of the moulded rivets, and then drilling and inserting the resin rivets. This will take some time and it is fraught with the danger of snapping many micro drills, but I have been using these on the Airfix Bentley and they look great. By painting the rivets separately and inserting them in the drilled holes after painting the fuselage will give you a free reign to sand and clean up the surfaces without too much of a worry - and also avoid the prospect of paint 'pooling' around the rivets - a tip I picked up from one of the top car modellers.

 

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The one piece wing has a span of 11 ¼ inches, is un-warped and beautifully cast. There is no need to worry about achieving the correct dihedral, it is already pre-set for you. Anyone who has built a stick and tissue/silk/nylon covered airframe for a flying model in days of yore, will instantly recognise the delicate detail showing the fabric covering with gentle 'dips ' between the ribs and where the fabric leaves the aluminium cladding at the spar towards the trailing edge. The fabric material is very sympathetically rendered and the quality of the aerofoil shaped fairings (lumps and bumps!) on the wings is excellent, especially the pre-cast holes for accepting the flying wires. As you can see, there is some very thin flash in evidence, and from my initial test fitting of the wing to the fuselage, there will need to be some fine tuning required to make a perfect fit, but then this is par for the course with resin kits and is generally not a problem. Care and patience are the key words from my experience.

 

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The flying surfaces clear plastic envelope contains the rudder, tail-plane, elevators, ailerons, mass balances and flaps. Like the wings they are beautifully cast with the fabric coverings again being particularly well rendered. Once more, some flash needs to be removed. I have mentioned the flash a few times now, but it is so minimal, so thin and so easily rectified, it is not really worth mentioning..................but I have.

 

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Now for the engine envelope: First of all the engine cylinders – these are truly magnificent, they are beautifully cast and, if you look very carefully, you will see the word 'Kinner' etched into the rocker covers – but it took my magnifying glass to spot these! Superb. The exhaust pipes are delicately hollowed out and the 'engine' mounting assembly has two locating lugs for ease of fuselage attachment and five reception holes for those beautiful engine cylinders to slot into. The nose cap fits over the cylinders and the best piece of news is that you can attach this and then fit the cylinders much later in the build after painting the fuselage. Two propellers are provided, one with a pointed spinner and one without - you can use either, some had the pointed spinner - some didn't. Again, there is evidence of flash on some of these parts, but it is so thin you could almost blow it away. By the way, please remember that these props were made of wood with aluminium leading edge inserts. The propeller manufacturer's logo decals are provided.

 

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The 'undercarriage envelope' contains the metal undercarriage legs which will require some needle file and flexi-file clean up but they are very beautifully cast with cleanly defined edges of the oleos and tubes. The builder now has a choice to make; stick with the metal legs or use the very solid looking resin spats. Most of the military aircraft dispensed with the spats because they were prone to damage, but you will see many photographs of them in use and they do add more of a 'thirties' look in my view. The ribbed main tyres are cast separately from the hubs, which, once again ensures ease of painting. The tail wheel assembly is beautifully cast and can be posed left, right or any position you want it! Why not position the rudder deflection to match the wheel position? The remaining fret in this envelope contains the various lugs and mounting tabs for the flying and landing wires. Everything is very well detailed and crisply cast.

 

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The 'cockpit' envelope contains some very interesting bits and pieces. First of all, something I particularly liked was how Paul has designed the two control levers (joy sticks) and the control lever torque tube assembly. The control levers are cast separately and slot into minutely cast sleeves on the torque tube. The builder can pose the levers to the left or right if he wishes, but please remember to deflect ailerons accordingly! The two pilot's seats will require some casting 'seam' mark removal from the seat backs and the finished seats slot into the cockpit floor via pre-cast holes. The throttle quadrants, levers and trim wheels are exquisite, as are the rudder pedals – everything is so crisp it is hard to believe it is not photo-etched material. As with all of the Fisher kits I have seen, the windshields are resin and not sparkly clear like injection moulded canopies, but with great polishing care, patience (that word again!) and a dip in Klear they will come up beautifully. Bringing up the rear in this envelope is the rear cockpit headrest fairing.

 

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The decal sheet, photo-etched fret and instrument panel sheets are together in a larger unsealed envelope. The photo-etched fret contains the seat belts, instrument panels, flying and landing wires, the pitot and various engine/airframe accessories. A nice touch on the P/E fret is an etched name plate with 'RYAN PT-22 RECRUIT' to add a touch of professionalism to your display base.

 

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The decal sheet has two options (Army and Navy) with the attractive red, white and blue rudder decals very prominent. All the colours are in perfect register and using my standard magnifying glass test, the smallest print was readable. The decals look very thin so they should apply very easily with your favourite liquid assistance....and I am not referring to alcoholic beverages here - although it can help, or so I am informed.

 

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The instruments are shown as IP shaped cut out positives – a system Paul has used before and it works very well. Just cut out the shaped panels and place clear sticky tape (Sellotape in the UK) over the paper dial panels to represent 'glass' fronted dials. Then attach this card/tape 'assembly' behind the painted etched instrument panel. Job done. Simple. Very effective.

 

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The instruction 'manual' is standard Fisher – 5 stapled mono printed doubled sided A4 sheets, lavishly illustrated with 60 self-explanatory photographs with text, plus one shot of a Navy aircraft. Having used this type of instruction sheet before, I can certainly recommend it. However, and here is a rare niggle, although there are painting instructions for the cockpit interior and the anti-glare panel and the main paint scheme is a simple yellow and aluminium for most aircraft, for comfort I would have preferred to see a three view colour profile showing the exact location of stencils and markings. To be fair, the stencil locations are shown in the numerous photographs, but in my opinion, a three view with a preferred paint reference for the yellow and propeller end colours would also have been useful. Picky? Moi?

 

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So what do we think?

We do tell it as it is on this Forum and it is something we have done since the word, 'Go'! Although I have admitted to being a devoted fan of Paul Fisher's products, I like to think I am unbiased. I particularly like this venture into braced wing aircraft of the 1930's and if this goes together like the other aircraft I have built from this stable, and I can see no reason why it shouldn't, it should be a stunning model in a very attractive colour scheme. I have heard mumblings from other modellers that they think Paul's kits are a bit on the pricey side, and at US$149.95 they could be right. But in the honest opinion of this humble modeller, the Ryan is yet another quality 1/32 resin kit from Fisher Model and Pattern, with the accent on quality. You pays yer money.............Have I mentioned those engine cylinders....................?

 

Highly recommended.

 

Our sincere thanks to Paul and Susie Fisher for the review sample, and I can't wait to get it started. Fisher Model & Pattern, 5290 Buckboard Lane, Paradise, CA 95969 USA Tel: 001 (530) 876-9900 www.fishermodels.com  e-mail: fisher@fishermodels.com

 

Peter Buckingham

 

 

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