Photos by Andy Irving
During Grumman's production run for the HU-16B Albatross, 18 received the Wright
R1820-82 engine, replacing the more common Wright R1820-76A or -76B engines.
Of this 18, 10 went to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the remaining 8, to the
Japanese Self Defense Force. Visually, the cowlings appeared to be of a slightly
larger diameter; there was a large external airscoop atop each cowling; a
bulge in the side contour of the nacelle, appeared on each side of the nacelle
and the number of exhaust stacks was reduced from 6 per side to a single stack
In a nutshell, I tried to bring this 30yr.old kit up to something approaching
today's standards, beginning with the removal of the rivets, scribing a few
panel lines according to references, filling of the trenches that indicate where
masking should take place, replacing the molded crew seat/figure combo with a
cockpit interior (kind of grew in scope to a full cockpit interior), replacement
of the toy-like/overscale retractable landing gear (as much as possible), adding
nose wheel well interior and other misc. exterior details.
Decals hail from the old Leading Edge sheet on the CSR-110 Albatross. It also supplied the tri-phibian resin in the form of the outrigger and central skis. According to a recent conversation with Dave Koss, he intends to re-print this sheet, within the year. The only exception to the Leading Edge sheet, is the earlier Red Ensign on the fin. This originated from Arrow Graphics. The day-glo in the SAR band came from Testor's Model Master's series II, FS28913, Fluorescent Red-Orange. It's almost a perfect match for the inks used in the decal's 'RESCUE' and it's not translucent, thus greatly easing the spraying. Of note for those not acquainted with RCAF finishes of the period: the Albatross was not natural metal, but rather sprayed aluminum. I found that Polly Scale's Flat Aluminum replicates this, in appearance.
Photos and text © by Scott Hemsley