S u m m a r y
|Contents and Media:
||115 grey styrene parts; 23 parts
in clear styrene, 25 parts in grey resin; markings for two aircraft.
||USD$44.97 from Squadron.com
||Excellent instructions, finely
detailed panel lines.
||Lack of locator pins, clear
parts slightly cloudy.
Reviewed by Matt Swan
I have always had a kind of romantic fascination with flying boats,
especially the Sikorsky line of flying boats. The thought of flying to an
exotic, remote area and being able to land in a bay or river delta, go
explore and then fly home or even camp in the area like a giant flying
mobile home always gave me plenty of day-dream ammunition. Czech Master
came out with their S-38 and S-39 resin flying boats earlier this year and
now Sword from the Czech Republic has just released the S-43, the last of
a fabulous series of flying boats from Sikorsky.
The S-43 was launched on June 5, 1935. Equipped with two 750hp engines,
a top speed of 190mph, and a range of 775 miles, the S-43 reclaimed some
of the commercial interest that the original S-38 had brought Sikorsky
from his buyers.
The civilian S-43 amphibian was smaller version of the 4-engine S-42
flying boat used by Pan American to make survey flights across the
Pacific. These were often referred to as “Baby Clippers”. Seventeen of the
fifty-three S-43s manufactured were purchased by the US Navy; fourteen
went to Pan Am Airlines, and four flew West African routes for the French
airline Aéromaritime, as well as airlines in Russia, Norway, China, and
the Philippines. Four of the S-43s were also put to use in shuttling
passengers of Inter Island Airways from Honolulu to the major islands of
Hawaii. Inter Island Airways became Hawaiian Airlines in October of 1941
at which time they retired the Sikorsky aircraft in favor of DC-3s.
Howard Hughes purchased one for a proposed around the world flight.
Although Hughes switched to a Lodestar landplane for his journey, he kept
the luxurious S-43 with its modified flush-riveted skin, 1,100hp Cyclone
engines, and increased fuel capacity for personal flights. That plane
crashed at Lake Meade, Nevada in 1943. It was repaired and stored at the
Hughes Tool Company in Houston, Texas until 1977. It was then sold to Van
Kregten Enterprise of San Jose, California for a planned museum display.
While a generally highly-regarded model, an unplanned demonstration of
the S-43's power occurred on April 14, 1936 when, Boris Sergievsky, the
chief test pilot for Sikorsky, made the world's first single-engine
takeoff in a multi-engine plane after losing fuel pressure to the plane's
right engine. That same day Boris Sergievsky piloted the S-43 to an
altitude record for Class C3 amphibians of 27,950 feet.
The Navy used 15 military versions, JRS-1’s, primarily as utility
transports; some were also assigned to the Army (OA-8 and OA-11) and the
Marines. The thirteenth production model of the S-43 has resided at the
National Air and Space Museum since 1960. This aircraft is one of ten,
which survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Armed
with bombs and depth charges fitted to the wings, it was one the first
aircraft to be launched after the attack to hunt for the Japanese fleet.
Sword is not a main-line producer and its products are the result of
limited/short-run technology and I had this in mind as I opened the box.
Immediately I noticed something different. The Sword kits usually come
in an end-opening box where you have to slid the bag of parts out. I
have the N9 Jeep kit and it’s like this. The S-43 is in a heavy
cardboard box with a conventional lift off top. The differences did not
stop there, on the Jeep kit the instructions were a single fold over
page with a basic exploded view. The S-43 instruction book, and I mean
book, is the first thing I saw. I have in my hands a twenty-page
instruction book reminiscent of something from a Pro-Modeler kit. It
includes a nice little history of the S-43, parts breakdown and color
chart. It does not refer to any ANA or FS numbers, simply color names.
The last few pages cover decal placement for two different military
aircraft, landing gear details and rigging layouts for the stabilizers
and outboard floats.
Next out of the box comes a single plastic bag containing 4 trees of
parts molded in light gray plastic. There are 115 pieces here that display
finely engraved panel lines, relatively little flash and sprue gates that
are anything but limited run quality. The sprue gates are of a size
similar to any standard run injection molded plastic model from steel
molds. There are a few injector pins on interior areas that will need to
be removed but all exterior areas are well molded. There is one
injection-molded tree of clear parts (23) that do not appear to be
excessively thick, as they tend to be in most limited run kits. The
clarity of the parts is good to fair; a treatment of Future floor coating
should fix them right up.
Also we have a bag of resin pieces. There are 25
pieces caste in light gray resin that are of outstanding quality – no air
bubbles, no molding defects, no excess flash and great level of detail,
especially for 1/72 scale. The resin pieces cover the interior seats for
the crew and passengers, the engines and exhaust manifolds. Overall there
are 163 individual pieces for this aircraft.
And finally we come to the decals. They are not as exciting as the rest
of the kit. There are no stencils, only the basic markings for the two
aircraft. Registry and color density appear to be good and from looking at
the sheet they do not appear to be excessively thick.
I removed the main fuselage and wing pieces from the trees and checked
the fit. Panel lines matched up well and the wing tips meet evenly at both
ends. There are no locator pins anywhere on the kit, which is normal for a
Sword product. The surface of the parts is smooth and free of any Orange
This is an unusual and historically significant aircraft.
The quality of
the kit was far above what I was expecting. I have watched the price of
Sword kits climb recently and this kit demonstrates where that money is
going. I had to pull an older Sword kit from the stash to compare the
manufacture address to be certain that it was the same company. Not only
am I looking forward to building this kit but can highly recommended it
for modelers of moderate to high experience.
Review kit compliments of my pocket.
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This Page Created on 22 June, 2003
09 November, 2003
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