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Scratchbuilt 1/48 Scale
Pilatus PC-9A “Roulettes”

by Ryan Hamilton


Pilatus PC-9/A “Roulettes”


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Like a lot of modellers, a large number of my models are built based upon a theme or era, with my interests with the aircraft of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF). The only problem with building aircraft from the ADF (and main other air forces) is that there are only a certain number you can buy in kit form. After that you have to wait for it to be released or scratch build.

Several years ago I was truly lucky to have had received some tutoring in scratch building by Ian Wrenford from the APMA model club (check out Ian’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mawson’s Air Sled at www.apma.org .au). This included lamination of wings, vac forming both clear and non-clear parts and the use of resin and fibreglass. With this knowledge I have scratch build about a dozen 1/48 ADF aircraft, none of which are available in kit form.


The choice to build a PC-9 was easy as it has being the major training aircraft for the ADF for the past 15 years, both new pilots (2FTS) and new instructors (CFS). Other roles the PC-9 fulfils include Forward Air Control (76/77 SQN), Airborne Photo platform (ARDU), and even the personal aircraft of the Chief of Air Staff (for a short period only).





I started with a good set of drawings. Five sets in total of the PC-9 in 1/48 (Pilatus, Hawker de Havilland, Janes, RAAF, and one other). Incidentally no two sets of plans were the same. I was then forced to compare my reference photos to the drawings to decide which were best. Lucky the RAAF aerobatic team “Roulette’s”, perform with the PC-9 and are a regular to many air shows and obtaining reference photo’s is easy if you can get along to these events. Comparing the drawings to the photo’s I had, I decide to go with the Pilatus drawings, as they seemed to represent the correct nose profile.

I then started to write a set of plans on how to build the PC-9, which included drawings, photo’s, descriptions of techniques to be used, and a step by set process. I find that if I do not do this step, my projects can take up to twice as long to complete. I had also decided to build several PC-9 due to the number of different colour scheme’s associated with some many roles. This would involve building masters, moulding them, and producing resin copies.

I started construction with the wings, laminating 30thou plastic card into an aerofoil roughly the same shape as the wing. Before I glue this together I added the main wheel well with most of the detail already in it. Once the wing was dry (48 hrs), I sanded the wing into its correct shape, and add the dihedral to the outer wings. I was amazed at this point how much dihedral the PC-9 wing has. The tail plane was also built at this time using the same technique, but I deleting the tail fillets, which would be added later.


The fuselage was built in three pieces, the nose, cockpit, and tail, instead of the traditional left and right halves. This was built this way to assist with moulding the parts and it would allow the nose to be solid and the tail hollow to ensue that the PC-9 was not a tail sitter (I made it by about 5g). The front nose section had the spinner and nose wheel well added, and the cockpit section was built around the cockpit. The whole airframe was scribed with detail and prepared for moulding.

All major parts were then moulded, including the cockpit detail and undercarriage, which would be added latter. The first set of parts were then produced, clean up with sand paper and glued together. The cockpit was painted, and the tail fillets, undercarriage fairings, aerials, and lights added. The airframe was then primed for painting. Painting was fairly simple, red white, and blue. The blue cheat line and Southern Cross were painted, but if I were to do this again I would probably use decals.

Other items that were added:

  • Propellers – reshaped from Falcon’s white metal Me-109C/D propellers

  • Exhausts – Shaped from a solid piece of plastic, them hollowed out. I was not happy with the thickness of the end result, but due to the complex curves, it had to do.

  • Canopy – Vac formed using resin master.

  • Cockpit - Aeroclub seats were added, along with control columns.

  • The tail markings were hand painted, and the rest of the decals were from the 1/48 Roodecal standard sheet.




Scratch building is not difficult; it just takes a little more time and patience.

Building the PC-9 was much easier then I had initially thought. It’s basic construction and simple lines make it a good subject to introduce people into scratch building. The colour scheme of the Roulette’s is very attractive and stands out in the collection.

I have a second PC-9 near completion (77 Sqn FAC) and a third together (2FTS - Fanta Can) and later this year I will probably build the Texan II/Harvard II and the Irish Air Corp PC-9M - but more on that at a later date!


Model by Ryan Hamilton
Images Copyright 2004 by Allen Yee and Pieter Stroethoff
Page Created 22 March, 2004
Last Updated 22 March, 2004

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