carefully crafted vac kit from Khee-Kha Art Products of Alaska, the WACO YKS is
a welcome addition to the growing line of bush planes kitted by this talented
This iconic biplane, of
which still many cross the skies today, has the same mythical power of the Beech
Many WACOs rode on
floats, and many were modified to accomplish certain tasks; that aside the many
models and marks that the factory itself delivered.
For that reason it is a
good idea before construction to select the actual plane you want to model and
get some references, to be able to pint-point details, colors, markings and so
forth. Research is an exciting part of the building process, and usually
prevents the commission of mistakes regarding appearance, mistakes that are more
difficult to correct after the model is built and somebody points them out to
images below to see larger images
started by separating the parts and sanding them according to the
instructions. The molds have very good surface detail, be careful not to
obliterate it. Some lines are a bit faint, so mark them to be able to
score/cut/sand at the right place. By the way, those instructions are
extensive, detailed and well written –image also included in this
windows were open at this time too.
Construction followed by scratch
building some accessories for the cabin: a tool box in 1/72, a 143 pages
hand-written pilot’s journal in 1/72, a soda bottle –half full- and a
ham sandwich with lettuce, tomato, egg, mustard and mayonnaise (in 1/72
too of course). Unfortunately all these will be hidden once the fuselage
is closed. The 1/72 bread baked to make the sandwich can be seen in one of
the accompanying photos.
I opted to
represent a plane that had another engine (Continental), so I put aside
the neat resin one that came with the kit (another images depict the well
cast and detailed resin bits included in the kit (engine, two props of
different style, instrument panel/dashboard, tail wheel, control column,
transparent material for the side windows and the two –one
Khee-Kha’s owner I also modified a few details that slightly differed
from the “6” variant in the landing gear area. This informs you about
the adaptability of the kit, since with little tweaks you could expand the
range of machines that can be represented. Being Khee-Kha’s owner a fan
of bush planes, he of course offers aftermarket resin floats and decals
for other versions that you can purchase separately.
stab halves were joined, locking tabs glued to the fuselage halves and the
interior parts cut from the backing sheet and built-up. I had a pair of
suitable white metal wheels so I put aside the vac ones provided. The
wheel pants were glued and refined to accept the wheels at this stage.
I had to
scratch the control wheel/pedestal, but that part is now included in the
kit as a resin bit.
Once the interior was finished
and painted, I joined the fuselage halves, and had to do a little shaving
on the cabin floor and instrument panel to have a comfortable fit.
I was a bit enthusiastic while
sanding the cowl opening, so had to glue a pre-curved flat styrene rim on
the cowl mouth, to restore proper shape.
fuselage was set I started to locate spars for the wings and stabs, as
seen on the photos. I departed a bit from the kit’s instructions since I
feel comfortable with my own method, but the kit instructions give you a
very good way to deal with the issue.
The horizontal tail actually got
the spar where it should be, and a connecting piece that united the halves
at the front, lodged in the fuselage cutouts for the variable incidence as
the original. Later on the elevators were separated from the stab and
given a relaxing angle.
windshield transparency was carefully trimmed and set aside for the
The side windows were patterned
as per their openings, cut and adjusted to fit; as you can see in the
photos I added some thin rubber padding to a pair of tweezers after
getting fed-up of marring transparencies. This allows the clear part to be
held and proceed with minor sanding preserving the surface of the part.
as per photos were dealt with (exhaust pipes, carb intake, nav lights,
rudder control horn, bottom wing linkage fairings, fuel gages under the
upper wing, etc).
As you make progress on the
building start to think about your decals since they don’t come with the
kit (as said, an option can be purchased from the manufacturer separately
for one machine).
In order to further expedite
construction I replaced the kit landing gear and wing struts for Contrail
(plastic) and Strutz (brass) material. I also added a lower fuselage
fairing where some landing gear reinforcement struts go.
wings were glued to fuselage, via a metal tube spar previously inserted
after its dihedral was given to it.
needs a few struts, but fortunately no other rigging than tail bracings
and control leads for the rudder horns.
decals were printed and a custom paint mix prepared for the model
remember the part where I said you have to check your photos? Well, I missed
until the almost very end that the windshield on my selected WACO was of a
slightly different type. I received help from the National WACO Club, which
kindly provided information on an alternate livery. Nevertheless, given the fact
that it was quite complex and would have needed the dreaded ALPS-printed decals,
I was reluctant to say the least to embark on a poll for a decal provider among
those suffering ALPS printer owners whom many times before came to the rescue
That left us with the following
options: rip off the carefully glued and faired windshield (yeah, right) and
create a master to vac a new one; rip off other offending parts (such landing
gear) and re-do them to accommodate a suitable candidate (sure); fly the model
and kamikaze it into the trash bin (pfff)...or live with it. Guess what...
You Only Model
Again, my thanks to the National WACO Club
Khee-Kha’s website is here:
images below to see larger images