• Yoav Efrati

IAF Piper - Cub & Super Cub 1956-2006 - KP 1/72

Updated: Jul 28

KP's new tooled Piper Super Cub L-18C kit contains two part trees with 36 medium gray plastic parts, one clear canopy provided in a separate plastic bag. The kit contains optional wing sets, engine cowlings and props which for the PA-11 and PA-18 versions of the Piper Cub.

1948 War Piper Cub PA-11 identification features include: rounded aft cockpit windows, straight horizontal stabilizer hinge line, single upper left wing fuel tank, wooden propeller.

1950-1960 Piper Super Cub PA-18-95 interim identification features include: rounded aft cockpit windows, straight horizontal stabilizer hinge line, upper left and right wing fuel tanks, aluminum propeller, twin landing light at left wing tip leading edge. 1970-2006 Piper Super Cub PA-18-150 late identification features include squared off extended aft cockpit windows, extended outboard tip horizontal stabilizer hinge line, upper left and right wing fuel tanks, aluminum propeller with spinner, engine cowling with a third vent opening and lower air filter, twin landing light at left wing tip leading edge.

Please note that the kit's instructions erroneously shows use of a single fuel tank wing for use on the interim and late PA-18 Piper Super Cub. The kit's three color instructions sheet crosses out wing option parts 3 and 6 which are each molded with over wing fuel tank detail, applicable to the PA-18 Super Cub. Only in steps 8 and 9 of the instructions, is the correct over wing fuel tank configuration shown.

The canopy has four indentations, which are to be drilled out to accept the plastic through rods which connect the left and right wings with the canopy. For greater strength and flexibility, the plastic rods were replaced with .015 inch steel piano wire inserted through holes drilled in the wing roots and clear canopy.

Fuselage assembly consisted of attaching aft bulkhead 15, rear shelf 35 and cockpit floor 14, to the right fuselage half part 1. Once in place and affixed with super glue, part 9 left fuselage half was joined using welding cement. Fuselage halves 1 and 9 had mold ridges along the canopy sill, which was scrapped off with a sharp blade. After several days drying time, the joint lines were, smoothed out using a coarse sanding stick and 500 grit wet sand paper.

The rudder was joined next, two .5mm diameter holes were drilled into the vertical fin leading edge and two corresponding holes into the rudder leading edge using a smaller #76 gauge drill bit. Brass wire was inserted through both the rudder and vertical fin for a strong joint.

Horizontal stabilizer parts 2 and 10 have short attachment pins, with corresponding shallow fuselage locating holes. The pins and locating holes were drilled through using a #80 gauge drill bit, and .015 inch steel piano wire was inserted through the fuselage and stabilizers.

The appropriate nose cowling for the PA-18 is part 7, the cowlings provided have no attachment or locating pins to the fuselage. This was made by inserting four wires into holes made at the corners of the forward fuselage assembly. The metal stubs thus aided in cowling alignment as well as served as attachment supports. Please note that the kit provided a forward engine cylinder face, part 19, but is not shown in the instructions and it should be installed in step 11. An engine exhaust stub is not provided in the kit, this was furnished from a hollow metal rod and affixed to the lower left side of the cowling.

Main landing gear supports, parts 4 and 5, were inserted into holes drilled to the fuselage. Sheet plastic strips were used to support the struts as they were angled evenly from the fuselage and affixed with super glue. In place of the kit's plastic cross brace part 23, K&S .015 inch (.38mm) music wire support rods were extended between the fuselage and wheel supports 4 & 5. Aerodynamic shock absorbers were made from 7mm long strips of Contrail Wing Struts airfoil section 3mm wide. A slot was sawn along the length of the stripes in order to affix them atop the metal wires. Once in place, the slot was filled with super glue gel and sanded smooth.

The main wheel hubs have sink holes which make the rims undefined. The existing shallow rim was deepened with a needle scriber, which made it easier to paint.


The wheels were attached to the metal wire strut supports at this time in order to adjust their angle and height. The tail wheel attachment flange and axle were trimmed and replaced with an angled brass rod embedded into the wheel for strength and accuracy. Prior to attaching the canopy and wing assembly, the cockpit assembly was painted using Humbrol colors: flat black 33 cockpit, 72 seat cushions. Joy sticks were furnished from brass rod which were also painted black, along with strips of Tamiya Tape lap belts.

Once cockpit painting was completed, the clear canopy, with wings attached to the metal through rods, was attached using clear 5-minute two part epoxy glue to the cockpit sill. The clear epoxy provides a strong joint, does not fog the clear plastic and, also seals gaps. After a five minute curing time, the epoxy hardened and enabled the addition of the fuselage to mid wing support parts 11 and 32. Dry fit of the supports revealed that they are too long and require trimming their outboard edges by 2.5mm. Vertical support parts no.17 were replaced with 1mm wide and 7mm long airfoil sections, which were more accurate than the kit's thin round supports. Piano wire rod .015 in diameter and 7mm long was used between the vertical supports. Once the lower wing supports were affixed in place, the gaps between the wing roots and clear canopy were sealed with two part clear epoxy, for added strength.

Through holes were drilled through the vertical fin trailing edge, horizontal stabilizer trailing edges and lower fuselage using a #76 drill. With one end of a 15mm nylon fishing wire anchored to the lower fuselage hole using super glue, the wire was run through the horizontal stabilizers and fin to be attached to the opposite side of the lower fuselage. While pulling the fishing wire taught, the free end was cemented to the fuselage with super glue, speed dried with accelerator. Further tightening was achieved using smoke from a blown out match flame.


Painting:

All inner frames were painted flat black from the outside, after Tamiya Tape mask application.

The 1950 Yellow Super Cub was painted overall flat Testors Model Masters flat white, followed by Testors Model Masters Insignia Yellow. To ensure fuselage insignia blue decal stripe proper positioning, the fuselage roundel and identification were applied first. A hardened Future Klear coat, enabled me to scrape off unwanted sections of the decal stripe with an X-Acto blade.



The 1956 Suez stripped Super Cub clear canopy was masked and sprayed flat black, to represent the black inner frame color. Fuselage and wing areas to be identified with the Suez Campaign stripes were first sprayed flat white, as a base coat for the Humbrol yellow 24 which followed. Five Tamiya tape stripes, cut 1.5mm wide, were placed next to each other at the fuselage and wing identification band locations. The two alternate center stripes, were removed and the band locations revealed were sprayed flat black. The yellow and black bands were masked and the entire model was sprayed Xtracolor F.S.34086 Dark Olive Drab.

Four 9mm diameter roundels found in IsraDecal "IAF roundels" sheet IAF-5 were applied to the top of the right wing, to the bottom of the left and to the fuselage sides. Note that the forward sides of the fuselage roundels were trimmed at the apex of the six pointed stars in order to touch the Suez identification bands as seen on the actual aircraft. Identification number 53 was applied to the fuselage sides and bottom of the left wing. U.S. Navy style 4.5mm high and 4.0 mm wide white numbers were found in Super Scale decal sheet 72-26.


1960's Brown and Blue over Gray scheme – The brown was mixed using Humbrol 3 parts 110 Wood Brown to 1 part 119 IAF Tan. For the Blue I used Xtracolor X254 and for the undersurface gray, Testors Model Master FS36622 USAF Vietnam Gray. The model was first sprayed brown with "snakes" of Blue Tac used to separate between the camouflage colors. Liquid mask was applied to cover the areas which were to remain brown. The light gray was applied to the lower fuselage and wings after the upper surface camouflage was applied. Day Glow orange stripes, roundels and identification number were taken from IsraDecal Fouga Magister decal sheet.

Yom Kippur War 1973 vintage Khaki Piper was sprayed Testors Model Masters FS30277 Armor Sand with the lower surface FS35622 Duck Egg Blue. The upper wind rib detail was enhanced by dry brushing with lightened Armor Sand. The vertical fin Flying Camel insignia was taken from IsraDecal sheet.

The "turn of the century" Piper was painted overall Testors Model Masters Flat White with TMM International Orange, with kit markings were applied.


Finishing:

All decals were sealed with a bottom and top layer of Future acrylic based Klear cote. The model was dusted for desert weathering using Goash powders, which were sealed with Testors Acrylic Flat coat. Big mistake! The Goash powders soaked into the clear flat coat and became indistinguishable. So, back to the basic modelling. The model was dry brushed with Humbrol 72 Khaki to enhance raised detail and edges of the model contours. To minimize the excessive dust look, a cotton swab moistened with mineral spirits was used to remove dry brush paint from between the wing and stabilizer ribs as well as the fuselage.

The left wing tip leading edge twin landing lights were furnished from reflective lens disks attached to a black painted recess using clear two part epoxy, which was also used to form their rounded leading edge clear cover. Last to be applied were the gloss red port and gloss green starboard wing tip position lights, using a tooth pick tip.

Piper Cub and Super Cub 1950 - 2000 photo gallery:

Suez War 1956 Piper comparison photos:


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