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KP's 1/72 scale
Letov S.231

by Robert Rensch

Letov S.231


KP's Letov S.231 is available online from Squadron for less than USD$5.00!



Here is my KP 1/72 scale Letov S231 model.

Being an absent-minded fan of Spanish Civil War era aircraft, (I can never remember who the "bad guys" were... maybe ALL of them?), I made up the model in markings changed slightly from the ones featured in the box. Photos of "CL-006" are available in Ries and Ring's fabulous book, "The Legion Condor", as well as a more comprehensive selection in an old "AVIONS" magazine . The kit offers markings for "CL-009"... Pretty easy change! Note that the underside blue does not extend under the nose on my model. A photo of several S231s in flight in the AVIONS publication "L'Avion de Chasse De La Republique Espagnole 1936/1939" shows the belly was green from the wing forward. Also note the tri-color painted on the rudder does not feature parallel bands as implied by the kit's box illustration. A photo of "006" in the "AVIONS" title shows the lines as I have painted them.



The Letovs did not have a lot of luck in the Spanish conflict. They were shipped in dis-assembled, and several were lost when, after assembly with no guide-books, they refused to fly and raced along until they hit something on the ground! Some few survivors were sent to Gerona, Spain for coastal defense in 1938. They made up the second squadron of Group 71, under Jose Bastida Porras. It is one of these planes I have attempted to depict. Just a little greasy, kinda beat, and some panels missing, notably the fairings for the machine gun gas vents in the fuselage.

The Letovs were apparently abandoned to the Nationalists after they proved less than stellar in their capabilities.





The worst-depicted parts of this kit/model are the propeller hub/shaft and the exhaust manifold. If built without modification, things will be a little screwy in the nose area. The prop shaft needs to have the larger diameter section reduced for a bit of its length to allow the propeller to slide back closer to the cowl. I left the prop hub the way it was, even though it should be flat. It took the Tamiya Smoke wash better when shaped like a bowl. Then mucho (Spanish, man!) filing and shaping must be done to the manifold. As depicted in the kit, it is too blocky and mounts way too far forward.

The exhausts pass through the cowling. Just file things until the manifold lines up with the exhaust ends and that's good!



The rest of the kit isn't bad... Sanding down the rib detail on the wings helps.

I went a little nuts and drilled the wheel hubs, adding the little valve stems. A leftover from car models, to be sure. (Hey, all things in moderation! You learn things from all kinds of modeling...)

Rigging was the picture of simplicity with the old "drill part way through the bottom of the top wing, and all the way through the bottom stuff with a #80 drill bit method". Invisible thread super-glued to the top stuff, passed through the bottom stuff, weighted with binder clips, and superglued in the bottom holes... Trim, touch-up with paint... Voila!... Reasonable!

The strips of "metal" which fasten the cowling sections together are merely strips of black decal sheet sprayed with Alclad Aluminum, and cut to fit. I love "easy"!





Yellowed decals, glass-like plastic, and a staple (BIG staple!) through the top wing during packing did not deter me from making up this little critter. It looks like a single-hole Stearman with the gout, don't it?

The final reward was a big yawn and no placing at the Indianapolis IPMS show this Spring. But that's okay, I still wuv my widdle Wetov...



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images: 

Italian Aces of World War 2
Aircraft of the Aces 34
Author: Giorgio Apostolo
Illustrator: Richard Caruana
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: 12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 November 25, 2000
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841760781
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2005 by Robert Rensch
Page Created 18 February, 2005
Last Updated 18 August, 2005

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