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VLE vacform kit with 1935 Air France livery
Author: Alex Bigey
Submitted by:   Date: 06-22-2004
Comments: (1)  
[center][img src="/model_articles/wibault-penhoet/289-SSCN2088.jpg" width="500" height="375"] [/center]

The Wibault 283T is to France, what the Ford Trimotor is to USA, or what the Savoia Marchetti SM.73 is to Italy. In another way, just like the Airbus A320 is today for Air France, it was their standard medium capacity / medium range airliner for European destinations from 1933 up to the start of WWII, with an accomodation of 10 passengers plus 3 crew including a flight attendant, and powered by 340 hp Gnome & Rhone "Titan Major" supercharged radial engines for a fantastic average cruise speed of 230 km/h ( 143 mph).

VLE models by Bob Wheeler from USA, produces a limited range of 1/144 and 1/72 scale vacformed kits of quite esoteric similar subjects, and I decided to purchase one for my Airfix Handley Page HP.42 not to feel too lonely in my showcase. The Wibault 283T is also produced in 1/72 scale and the kits include resin engines, metal props, and good decals for two liveries, of which the Air Union red and gold early variant ( without engine cowling and without wheel pants).

Although this tiny little model is not much bigger than my 1/72 Caudron C.635 Simoun, the kit is not an easy one as for many vac kits. Lots of plastic bits, supergluing and filling were necessary to get a model that looks like the real airplane, and most details were scratchbuilt. The engines were especially tricky to install as of smaller diameter than the inner cowling. The decals are excellent, except for the Pegasus logo which was way too large, so I cut plain yellow decal discs with a punch & die set, then added the "shrimp" cut tight from a Lockheed L.049/749/1049/1649 Welsh Models sheet.

I painted the model with Tamiya spraycans (TS-15 / Blue and AS-12 / Bare Metal Silver) and sealed the decals with Future floor polish. The "bronze" exhaust collectors and pipes are a handpainted mix of Humbrol no9 (tan), matt aluminium, and matt black. The cockpit and side windows are made of Micro Kristal klear and the top hatches are of clear plastic sheet. Finally, my girlfriend kindly provided the hairs I used for the radio mast and the tail control cables, which are amazingly mounted externally on the left side of the fuselage.

More pics and other models can be seen at my website.</p>

by Alex Bigey

Member Comments :

 comment by: skippiebg posted on 03-19-2007, comment #3337

Amazing I have managed to refrain from commenting so far. The little plane is soooo cute! It looks like a 1930s charabanc bus, or a happy doggie keen to yelp! Amazing detail and a wonderful capture of the zeitgeist.