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1/72 Elf DFW T.28 Floh (flea)

-The Halloween Plane-

by Gabriel Stern

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Halloween 2005

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I couldn't resist sending these images to ARC, given the look of the "face" of this little "monster".
I acquired this one from my usual kit provider, the trusty NKR models from Down Under.
This is an incredibly well produced and detailed model from a (at least for me) new manufacturer. Given that the kit number is 001, we could safely assume that this is their first in this field. But boy, what a model! Extremely crisp moldings, good level of detail, good fit. What a treat.

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The T 28 was a fighter prototype produced around 1915 with the main purpose of obtaining more speed, apparently by means of reducing everything around the engine. Due to a series of considerations, and in spite of being successful in achieving its goal, it was never launched into production. I could not find but a few references, and just one photo on the internet. The plane had a wingspan of 6,5 meters and a fuselage length of 4,5 meters (sorry non-metric guys, but it’s time for you to join the rest of the world!) so imagine how little the model is in 1/72.

With the injected plastic parts comes along a very good photo etched fret that includes, among other items, seat belts, instrument panel (with the photo film backing), fuel pump, ruder bar and throttle lever. A good set of decals is there too, as well as detailed, nicely printed instructions.
They are generally clear, but the fit of just a couple of pieces inside the fuselage was for me a little vague. You get a separate set of (four) ailerons, elevators (two styles) and ruder (separate from the fuselage). Panel lines are recessed, as well as a few screws. Some raised detail is there in the form of ventilation gills, steps, fuel tanks and radiator (on the wing surfaces). The fit was very good in all the pieces but the cockpit floor, which needed a vigorous session with the Dremmel tool to comply. The two-piece (metal-film) instrument panel also needed a tad of trim to get there.

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Being e limited edition/short run kit I would say this is, by far, the best one I got regarding that method of production. I just opened up the front ventilation holes that are located on the “face” of the plane and added a bush/shaft arrangement to allow the propeller to turn (the kit option is just to stick the propeller to the nose). The (four) wings have pins to help with their location on the fuselage; where correspondent recesses are present (I also opened them up, to have a more comfortable fit). Same for the landing gear legs. Recessed lines are also provided as a guide for the horizontal tail, and tiny holes are also there on the wings to help with strut placement. The rigging of this one is not a big problem, as it is fairly simple. During building, the model fell twice to the floor (arghh, no carpet!); but “landed” very well sustaining only some minor damages, probably due to its small mass (or sheer luck).
I made a couple of boo-boos, mainly gluing parts -it is so tiny!-; and one of the struts jumped from the tweezers –yet another time!-, to be found, believe it or not, one floor bellow (from a mezzanine where I work to the first floor). But once finished, this minute cute weird thing looks really good.

Gabriel

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Photos and text © by Gabriel Stern

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