Reviewed by Dale Smith
First flown in April, 1935 the prototype was fitted with retracting undercarriage and strut mounted outboard floats.(The retractable outboard floats were deleted on the production model). Six initial airframes were ordered by Pan American, however the order was cancelled after only 2 airframes had been delivered. These two aircraft , nicknamed "Jungle Clipper" performed sterling service in the Amazon basin with Panair do Brasil until 1945, when they were stripped of useful equipment and scrapped.
Of the four remaining airframes under construction, one was completed as a A-942-A model, the last three being completed as A-942-B aircraft, that differed in being powered by the Wright Cyclone GR-1820-F52 9 cylinder radial engine that developed 875 hp. Of these four aircraft, two were sold to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force, the other two aircraft being sold to private interests.
One aircraft led a very clandestine existence in that it was purchased by Spanish Republican interests to be used in the war in Spain against the Nationalists. It was however intercepted by the Nationalists during delivery and pressed into service with their Air Force against the Republicans. One aircraft found its way into RAF service during WWII as serial HK832 but was lost in mid 1943 in Egypt after hitting a submerged object.
Molded in the Czech Republic, the kit consists of 2 sprues of 'limited run' light grey plastic.
There are no location holes for any of the parts except the horizontal tailplanes and the wing float struts, and small amounts of flash that require cleaning up are present on nearly all the parts. Not much, but it is there.
Surface detail is engraved and is very fine. The molding gates on the sprues are quite large, so careful removal of all parts from the sprue is essential.
I did locate some molding imperfections on some parts such as the mainwheels. There are also some quite large ejection pin marks on some parts that will need removing. There are some small bracing struts that will need to be supplied by the modeller that are located from the upper rear horizontal tailplanes to the vertical tailplane, and from the single overhead engine cowling to the mainplane. Nothing major, but they should be there. They are clearly visible on the box artwork and should not represent a challenge for most modellers.
No location holes or marks are provided for placement of the main undercarriage so take care in that area.
The small clear sprue supplies the fuselage windows and both wing navigation lights.10 small resin pieces are provided that supply the pilot and navigator seats as well as eight passenger seats. All were nicely cast with no air bubbles or imperfections. A single small vacform sheet is provided that includes 2 canopies, back to back. A good idea and nice to have a spare if there is a problem with the first - you know what I mean!
Decals supplied are printed by 'Techmod' and are very thin, have good colour density and should go on nicely.
Markings are provided for two aircraft.
With the last option , no engine cowling marking as per the box art is provided, so this will need to be applied/painted by the modeller. Painting instructions are called out during construction, but no reference to any FS matches or manufacturers paints are supplied.
Overall this is not too bad a kit, and should with some care, build up into a nice replica.
Many thanks to 'Squadron Mail Order' for supplying the review kit.
Review Copyright © 2001 by Dale