Our Muse, that will guide us through these times of political darkness

Thursday, March 26, 2015

1/72nd scratchbuilt Elytroplan (From the archives, 2007)

(From the archives, 2007)
Entomology for some reason seems an appropriate tool in dealing with this plane.
The join-venture that gave birth to the Elytroplan took place in France in 1937, between Charles de Rouge, Jacques de Chabrillan and Victor Bouffort. The curious may visit:
for further info.
So, what is an “elytron”? A pair of hardened front wings on some insects. I guess the French designers were referring to a pair of small vanes that in this case were located at the tip of a super-sized rudder. They were used to further improve control. Or so the legend goes.
In any case the design trend originated a small number of planes, unfortunately all of them destroyed later during war time. There is a plane from another designer preserved at the Musee de L’Air but, although using a similar concept, doesn’t bear a close resemblance to the first Elytroplan, having a horizontal “elytron” instead of vertical ones.

The model:
A tiny strange thing at 1/72 scale, basically simple to build if you are willing to deal with small details. For the record, I spent more time looking for minuscule parts that jumped on the floor than with the building process itself.
The only “foreign” part is a photo-etched propeller boss. Most of the other elements were made of styrene sheet and rod, even the wheels. The wing-tip skids and main mono-wheel undercarriage were made of bent staples. A simple interior was guess-built, the whole thing airbrushed with acrylics, et voila!
Daring job, being a test pilot, uh?

Thanks to modeler Michel Barriere for spurring the creation of the model.

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