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Kit Review: Kiwi Resin 1/48th Avia S-199 Conversion

By Floyd S. Werner Jr.

The History

The Avia S-199, is it a Messerschmitt or a mess of s--t? Well when you are a fledgling air force such as the Israeli Air Force was in 1949 you take whatever there is available. The Czech air industry after World War II still had many of the facilities that they used to license build Luftwaffe aircraft. So they did what any country would do, continue to build aircraft. For a while they were able to continue to build Bf-109G-14s, renamed S-99, but after a fire at the factory that built the engines they had some hard decisions to make. They had plenty of airframes but no engines to go with them. They still had plenty of Jumo engines that were used for the He-111s, so the decision was made to mate the two German products and produce the S-199. What could go wrong? Well for one the Jumo was heavier, it rotated in the other direction and had a lot of low end torque, especially after it was attached to the big paddle blade props.

The resulting aircraft was a beast to fly. The fragile landing gear of the 109 and the torque of the engine created an aircraft that was very difficult to fly and even more difficult to land. The Czechs were more than happy to sell the aircraft to the Israelis. If they are desperate enough to want it, why not gouge them on the price too? Israel was using clandestine methods to acquire the aircraft because of an arms embargo.

The first flight of an S-199 in Israel ended in a ground loop and it didn't get much better after that. Despite the terrible handling characteristics the Israelis did use the S-199 to great advantage until better aircraft such as the Spitfire and Mustang could arrive.

Click here to see more photos of this model.

The Conversion

The Kiwi Resin conversion allows you to build one of the two types of S-199, (there were actually three versions), from the Hasegawa G-10 or K-4 kits. You can build either a mid production, Type 2, or a late production Type 3. You get two fuselage halves, rudder, both types of spinners, back plate for the spinner, Jumo exhaust, cockpit tub and sidewalls, various other small resin parts and two types of canopies. The resin is molded in a light cream color. My example's fuselage halves were severely warped and the molds had shifted noticeably on the bottom. Some of the small parts did have some bubbles, but nothing too bad. It sounds bad but it really wasn't.

The instructions consist of two A4 sheets of type written inventory and hints. Decals are provided for one Israeli aircraft.

Cockpit

Before I could deal with the cockpit I had to fix the fuselage halves or it would all be for naught. I taped the fuselage to a piece of cardboard and then used my wife's embossing gun from Stampin Up. I lightly heated the fuselage and let them dry. The heat allowed the resin to reset itself so that it was straight. Thank goodness it worked and the fuselage was straight. Now I removed the canopy slide rails as no Israeli machine carried them. I'll do that version later.

Now to see if I could fix the misaligned mold - luckily it was on the bottom of the fuselage. Because of this it was just a matter of sanding and a little bit of filler. Some primer and I was ready to start building.

The cockpit consists of a tub and sidewalls. The details are unique for an S-199 and are nicely represented. I painted the cockpit Model Master RLM 66, then added a lamp black artist oil wash, followed up by dry brushing it with RLM 02. Some chips with a silver pencil were added to the floor and seat back plate.

I did use some parts from the Eduard set designed for the Hobbycraft kit. This added some nice detail where it would benefit the model.

Construction was pretty straight forward from here on out. Utilizing some parts from the Hasegawa kit, mostly the wings, tails, and landing gear the construction was rapid.

Wings

The wings were easy enough to build but I wanted to add some detail from the Eduard set. The photo etch roof for the wheel wells fit really well. One feature that I wanted to add that I never had was the zipper lining. Eduard also offers the liner made of some material that is more pliable than their normal stuff. They fit absolutely perfectly and bent easily.

The underwing gondolas are different from the German ones, so I used the Verlinden ones and flattened out the bottom and carved the different ejector ports. Since the Israeli aircraft were a single color I decided to have one gondola opened for some visual interest. The underwing gondolas fit perfectly. I opened up the end and added two pieces of tubing to represent the guns.

To mount the horizontal stabilizers I had to create some mounting holes in the fuselage and they were mounted with superglue like most of the kit was.

Paint

Washing the model in Dawn dish detergent prepares the resin and plastic for paint. I also wipe the model with Resin Prep and Plastic Prep to remove any remaining oils. A coat of Alclad Grey Primer to check for errors and then the subsequent touch up. Once I was happy I with the way the whole thing looked it was time to decide the proper color to use. The latest research shows that the color is slightly lighter than RLM 02 with a slight green tint to it, (RAL 6013) Reed Green. I couldn't find the exact color so I made up my own starting with Model Master Enamel RLM 02, with some Model Master Field Green and white added to the mixture. This gave a decidedly green flavor to the RLM 02, very much like the weathered paint would look after some time in the desert. Well, at least that is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Now that I had a color that I liked I painted the whole model Tamiya Flat Black. What? Yes the whole model Tamiya Flat Black. Then I painted the white fuselage band and rudder. I masked off the white areas and then sprayed the select areas Tamiya Flat Blue for the band and Tamiya Flat Red for the tail. While I had the Flat Red out I painted the spinner. Again I masked off the rudder and bands and it was time to paint the fuselage color.

Utilizing a tight squiggle random pattern the modified 02 was laid down in such a way as to allow some of the black to show through. Once I was happy with the results I added some flat white to the color and thinned it more and reapplied. This layer develops a depth to the single color finish. While leaving the paint in the paint cup I added some additional white and masked off the ailerons and elevators. This thinned color was first sprayed on the raised portion of the control surface and then a light misting to the whole aileron and elevators. This blends them all in and gives you an additional lightened shade to the control surfaces. Once this was done a coat of RLM 02 with a few drops of flat black was airbrushed on freehand to the area where the old markings, fuselage number and an old fuselage band, had been painted out. A coat of Alclad Gloss Base was applied prior to applying the decals.

While I had a gloss coat on I thought I would try an additional layer of weathering: filters. I used a Dark Green Sin Filter for the aircraft and an ochre filter to the prop blades. It was amazing to me the difference that these filters added to the finish. I was really happy now. The Dark Green brought out even more of the Reed Green color.

Decals

Tally-Ho decals (sheet 48029) were used to make the Israeli aircraft I selected, D-123. I also used the Avia stencils (sheet S4818) for this aircraft. The Tally-Ho decals performed well. I did not lay down a good coat of gloss but they still performed well with multiple coats of Solvaset. The decals that did silver were allowed to dry and then they were sliced with a new #11 Xacto blade and Solvaset reapplied as necessary.

Another coat of Gloss was added and a coat of Testor's Dullcoat prepared the model for further weathering.

Weathering

To start the weathering I looked over the photos of the real thing which was well used. The panel lines were given a wash of Burnt Umber artist oils. This alone made the model look like the real thing.

I then added some dots of the burnt umber to the control surfaces and aft of the engine cowling and used a clean brush I "pulled" the dots with the airflow and with the direction of gravity.

Now it was time to add the prominent paint chips to the forward cowlings and the walk way. This was done with silver paint and a silver Prismacolor pencil.

The next step in weathering was the application of some very thin Tamiya Dark Earth and Flat Black, first to the exhausts and the gun ports.

A similar step was used to add some depth by using Tamiya Red Brown and Flat Black. This was concentrated in the shadows and along the areas prone to dirt and grime. You would think I would be done by now, but there is another step to be added.

I used a very thinned Burnt Umber artist oils and dabbed some dots along the uppersurface for oil stains.

Still not happy with the results I thinned out some Tamiya Buff and streaked this color from front to back on the wings and top to bottom on the wings. This does a couple of things. It adds another layer of weathering but more importantly it tones down the decals. I add more of this color on the top of the wings and the top of the fuselage spine to represent sun bleaching.

I've also fallen in love with the MiG powders. I used some dust for the wheels and for the wing root area. Finally the weathering was done and I was quite happy with the results. I did not see a monochromatic model in front of me but a well weathered aircraft.

Final Touches

Adding the canopy with armor plate, antenna mast, various antennas and the small parts brought everything together. Even though Kiwi Resin provides exhausts I elected to use Quickboost exhausts (QB 48 151), which are designed for the Hobbycraft kit. I just cut them to fit to the opening. I also used True Details wheels (stock# 46023) as they were better than the kit's. The final step was to add the prop to the front and the model was done.

Conclusions

Compared to the Hobbycraft offering this conversion is leaps and bounds above that. Sure, the warped fuselage and the small bubbles were a distraction but they were nothing too serious and were easy enough to deal with. I've since bought a CS-199 which is the trainer version from Kiwi Resin and there is no issue with the fuselage or bubbles. I will buy another Kiwi Resin S-199 to do a late Czech version so it couldn't have been that bad.

I think this is a very good limited run kit and looks every bit the Mule. Highly recommended.

Thanks to my wallet for the review copy. You can get your copy at http://www.cambridgeairforce.org.nz/Kiwi_Resins.htm or by emailing David Lochead directly at skygodnz@clear.net.nz. Let him know you heard about it from me and here.

References

  • Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service by Alex Yofe and Lawrence Nyveen, White Crow Publications (2007), ISBN 0-9774627-1-4
     
  • Avia S-199 and CS-199 in Detail by Franti Koran and Michal Ovcacik, WWP Publications, ISBN 80-802677-2-6

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