1/72 scale Heller
by Mark Davies
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I have a fondness for 1930ís aircraft, and especially some of the
French aircraft are particularly interesting (albeit many people find
them quite ugly). Hellerís old 1/72 scale Potez 540 falls perfectly into
The kit itself goes together quite well, but a number of areas required
refinement. The biggest challenge was reducing the sack-cloth fabric
effect on the flying surfaces, and trying to make reduce the troughs
between the wing ribs. This was mainly achieved with auto primer and
lots of sanding.
I had very few references when I built the kit a few years ago, so
seat belts and gun mounts were the only interior additions. I then
painted most of the interior matt black to disguise this lack of detail.
New guns were made, along with a replacement front turret canopy to
replace the broken on in my old 2nd hand boxing of this kit.
I replaced the radiator slats, made new exhausts, and opened various air
intakes. I scribed the engine panels and added small hinges and braces
for the undercarriage mud guards. The propellers were refined, and
generally cleaned up. I replaced the small upright wing struts and the
tail-plane struts as well. Finally I displaced the control surfaces.
The modelís fabric surfaces were painted with 25+ year old Humbrol
paint left over from when I gave up modeling at 13 to pursue girls
(didnít we all?), and the engines with ModelMaster Metalizer.
bit of weathering and staining was added with a wash and pastels.
The kit decals were beyond redemption, being too yellow to bleach in
the window, and also cracked. So I replaced the roundels with some
Carpena items and painted the rudder.
My friend, Craig Sargent, made the rudder and manufacturer code
decals on his ALPs printer. I then soaked the kit decals off and placed
them onto Tamiya tape fixed to the glass sheet I build on. Once dry I
cut around the under-wing Roman numeral codes and produced a template to
spray through. The swan on the fuselage had hand-pained details added.
Finally a bit of simple rigging and the job was done.
My P540 is one of my first finished models after getting back into
modelling at middle age, but itís still one of my favourites because I
find its lines to be interesting and quaint. If you like French planes
then rip into some of the old Heller stuff, or wait for Azur to work its
way through updating these subjects to 21st Century quality.
the thumbnails below to view larger images:
Images and Text Copyright ©
2004 by Mark Davies
Page Created 24 September, 2004
24 September, 2004
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