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Third-Annual 1/72 Scale Tribute

by Charles P. Kalina

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  Czech National Day 2004 

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This is my third-annual 1/72 scale tribute to the Czech Republic, Czech independence day (28 October) and the Czech armed forces, somewhat fewer than usual since I was in Iraq for part of the year.  All four are from kits by the Czech company Kovozávody Prostějov. 

These models (except the MiG-15UTI) were built from kits donated to the Baghdad Hobby Club.  Thanks to Colpar Hobbies and IMPS Denver for the Spitfire, and IMPS Pittsburgh for the BH-3 and MiG-15.  

(There was supposed to be a Yak-23 in this lineup as well, but after weeks of work I’ve managed to botch two of them in succession.  I’m convinced the kit is cursed.  It has become my White Whale.  Insh’allah, I shall finish it soon…) 

Na shledanou,

-c pk 

BH-3:  The BH-3 was the Avia’s company’s first fighter.  The Defense Ministry bought ten in 1923;  they were assigned to the 1st Air Regiment in Prague.  It was a pioneering design, but proved difficult to handle.  The BH-3s were soon relegated to the military flying school at Cheb, and withdrawn from regular service in 1926 after two fatal crashes.  The aircraft shown here is a prototype from 1921.  (Model notes:  KP’s earlier kits tended to have poor-quality decal sheets;  for the BH-3 I scanned the decals, cleaned them up on the computer and reprinted them on blank decal paper..) 

Click on images below to see larger images

S.89 (Spitfire LF Mk.IX-E):  The Royal Air Force during the Second World War included three Czechoslovak fighter squadrons (No.310, 312 and 313).  After the war, their Spitfires were incorporated into the restored Czechoslovak Air Force under the designation S.89 (s=stíhací, fighter).  The Spitfire shown here was assigned to the Military Air Academy at Hradec Králové in 1947;  the squadron badge beneath the cockpit indicates its prior service with RAF No.312 squadron.   (Pilot figure from spares.  Again, the kit decals were poor;  I substituted national insignia by Extratech and some homemade stencils.) 

S.102 (MiG-15 Fagot-A):  Czechoslovakia was the first country outside the Soviet Union to produce the famous MiG-15.  Letov and Aero Vodochody built about 820 starting in 1951 (plus several hundred of the improved MiG-15bis).   Lt. Jaroslav Novak, flying a MiG-15, qualified as the country’s first jet ace by shooting down five unmanned NATO reconnaissance balloons.  The military display team used the “red arrow” paint scheme shown here; this was later reduced to bare metal with a red arrow painted on the nose.  (Neomega resin ejection seat.  Unfortunately the 500-watt floodlights I used during photography had a decidedly adverse effect on this model.)

Click on images below to see larger images

CS.102 (MiG-15UTI Midget):  Aero Vodochody built over two thousand two-seat MiG-15 trainers starting in 1954, most of them for export to the Soviet Union and client states.  It remained in Czech service until 1984 as the CS.102 (c=cvincna, training).  The aircraft shown here supported the 30th Fighter-Bomber Regiment “Ostravsky”.  (The regiment was originally formed under Soviet command in 1944 and fought in the liberation of Ostrava the following year.)   (Neomega ejection seats, pilots from spares.  The kit included only a blank white shield for the Ostrava crest; fortunately I found it online and printed it on decal paper.  This was my first project using Alclad and I accidentally obliterated some detail around the tail; the outlines of the airbrakes are actually homemade decals.)

Charles’ Complete 1/72 Czech Forces, 2002-2004

Additional References:

  • Belyakov & Marmain, MiG: Fifty Years of Secret Aircraft Design (1994)

  • Yefim Gordon, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 (2001) and Early Soviet Jet Fighters (2002)

  • Zdenek Titz and Richard Ward, Czechoslovakian Air Force 1918-1970  (1971)

  • Army of the Czech Republic, Air Museum, Kbely, Prague

  • Model and decal brochures

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Photos and text © by Charles P. Kalina

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