Saturday, July 7

Build Guide Pt III: Andy Finishes MiniArt's 35th Scale Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri

Today Andy Moore gives us his final part of the build, paint & weathering of Miniart's new 35th scale version of the Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri ("Hummingbird"). See how he finished off this kit with an attractive base in today's article.

Build guide Pt III: Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri
From MiniArt Models
1/35th Scale
Kit No# 41001
Injection Moulded Kit
Series: Aircraft Miniatures
Box size: 345 x 240 x 60мм
Parts QTY: 185
Product Link
Price - ¥4,800/ US$47/ £32/ €38 from Hobbylink Japan

In-Boxed: MiniArt's 35th scale Kolibri
Build guide Pt I: Andy builds MiniArt's 35th scale Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri
Build guide Pt II: Andy paints MiniArt's 35th scale Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri

Today: Build Guide Pt III: Andy Finishes MiniArt's 35th Scale Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri
Before getting to the final stages of assembly and painting, there's one very noticeable elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. That, as can be seen from the photo below, is the fact that this model is going to be a definite tail sitter. With that long tail boom, and very little structure up front, a rear-heavy model was always going to be the result. Now of course, in a normal situation you would just add some weight to the nose, but since the Kolibri's nose is completely exposed, that's not really an option. Instead, I'll be making a

For the base, I'm going to represent a small area of decking, similar to that seen on the box art. The materials are quite basic; a circular 8-inch beech blank, a 6 inch MDF blank and some lengths of 6mm x 3mm balsa strip. All of this was picked up quite cheaply from eBay.

The first step was to glue the balsa strips to the MDF blank. The joints were staggered to look more like ship decking and the ends were left slightly long so they could be sanded flush later. The strips were glued down with superglue for speed. Avoid using PVA or other water-based glues with MDF as the board will most likely warp from the moisture.

Once the decking section was finished, the balsa was coloured with a woodstain, the edges painted black and a smaller circle masked off in the centre and sprayed red. Some light chipping was added to the red circle with an acrylic paint similar in colour to the woodstain.

The decking section was then glued to the 8-inch beech blank. A short length of wire was glued into a hole drilled into the decking, corresponding to the location of the nose wheel. Another hole was drilled in the base of the wheel allowing it to be pinned directly to the base. The fit was tight enough to not need permanently gluing, allowing the model to be removed if necessary.

With the base sorted, I could finish off the final construction steps on the Kolibri. I'd left the horizontal stabilisers off until this point, mainly to make the fuselage easier to hold during the rest of the assembly. Since I'd already painted and decaled the stabilisers, they only needed gluing in place. It was only now I realised I'd made a small mistake with them. When applying the decals, I'd lined them up with the leading edge of the stabilisers, forgetting that the stabs sit at an angle to the fuselage which left the markings incorrectly aligned. Annoying, but there wasn't much I could do at this stage. In hindsight, I should have added those decals after the stabilisers were attached to the fuselage.

The last part on the fuselage to add was the instrument panel. This attaches on the ends of the two tiny struts on the base of the panel, and the resulting joint is very fragile. I managed to knock the panel off a couple of times while moving the model to take the final photos. It would have been better if the two struts had been moulded as part of the main cockpit frame, with the instrument panel then sliding on to the struts. As it is, you need to be very careful with this part, and only attach it right at the end of construction.

As mentioned previously, I didn't want to add too much in the way of weathering to the model. Without any enhancement, though it would look a little plain and toy-like, so I added some general grime and staining around the gearbox and upper fuselage. This was done with various enamel washes, applied quite sparingly.

That just left the twin rotors to construct and these, like so many areas of the kit, are rather fragile. The hubs are fairly simple parts to which the blades attach by very small connection points. In fairness, there's not much Miniart could have done to improve this without making the whole rotor assembly too bulky and over-scale. You just need to be careful when handling the rotors, as the blades are very long and the hub connection is a bit of a weak spot. One nice positive with the rotors is that Miniart has moulded the blades with a very convincing droop, which adds a lot to the look of the finished build.

Once the main painting was done on the rotors, I added some washes to the hubs, and some subtle streaking to the blades. Once finished, the rotors can be dropped into place on the gearbox assembly. They sit in place without the need to be permanently glued, allowing them to be removed if you need to store or transport the model.

And that wraps up the Kolibri build, and it's been a very interesting build too. Not without problems, although some of them were of my own making. I'll fully admit that I'm a little out of my comfort zone when building aircraft at this scale, and I've certainly learned enough on this build that I feel I could do a better job if I made another. There's no getting away from the fact that many areas of this kit are very delicate and fragile, and as the build comes together, it becomes ever more delicate due to the small connection points that attach the various sub-assemblies together. Much of that fragility is inevitable due to the open framework design of the real Kolibri, although I think that Miniart could have designed some areas of the kit to be a little stronger and more builder friendly.

Overall though, it's a very nice kit, albeit one that's probably not suited to a beginner or less experienced modeller. That being said, there's nothing here that can't be tackled with a little patience, and the end reward will be a great looking model of a very interesting subject in aviation history. As long as you've got a steady pair of hands, Miniart's Kolibri comes highly recommended.

Andy Moore

Many thanks to the guys at MiniArt in Ukraine for sending Andy the kit.