Dujin 1/72 Caproni CH.1. Originally built for SAMI and appeared in the July 2004 issue.
The presentation of this kit is rather basic to say the least. Just a clear plastic bag containing the resin pieces (the smaller parts are cast on a thin sheet of resin), one "clear" vacform canopy moulding, 2 lengths of copper coloured strut material and a photocopied A4 sheet. At least it allows an immediate impression of the standard of moulding, which happens to be rather good in this case, the fabric effect on the wings are nicely rendered and the trailing edges show a finesse which is at odds with the minimal packaging. However, there are a few trapped air bubbles on some of the parts. The resin cast interplane struts are practically useless, hence the welcome inclusion of brass replacement material. The vacform canopy, which is in duplicate, is not terribly clear, so several dips in Future will be necessary to "clear" this problem.
There are no instructions on the A4 sheet, just a tiny bit of historical text in French. The principal feature on the sheet is a very nicely executed three-view plan which will prove to be invaluable during the construction and painting of this model.
The semi-solid cast fuselage halves can be assembled before working on the cockpit, which is rather rudimentary (just an instrument panel and seat). The rest of the model is easy to assemble, only the thickly moulded rudder needed a bit of work to blend in properly with the fuselage. Its profile was also slightly altered to match the plans. Both the upper and lower wings are glued in place. Some filler used to smooth the join to the fuselage, the worst area being the most visible, i.e: the join just in front of the cockpit. The spatted undercarriage units are also attached. Unfortunately, the wheels are integrally moulded, which means a less than convincing appearance. The engine is nicely detailed but it is here that the one of two problems with this model are to be found. There should be a circular oil-cooler that practically fills the cowling aperture, rendering the power-plant invisible. The kit does not supply this part, probably due to an oversight, so some scratch building will be necessary to correct this. The one-piece cowling is left separate, to ease the painting process, as is the propellor which needed a fair amount of flash removed, a legacy of being cast on the resin sheet. The vacform canopy is the second problem. Although it is a very good fit, it is not a close match to the canopy drawn on the plans. It is a rearward sliding canopy and the kit's canopy has a taper and moulding detail that would make this a rather difficult operation. Some of you may wish to fabricate a new former, using the plans as reference, to mould a new canopy.
No dimensions are given on the sheet, but a trawl on the Internet found the following measurements: span 8.6m, length 7.19m and a height of 2.9m. The kit measurements, respectively, are: 118mm, 98mm and 41mm. This scales out to 8.5m, 7.05m and 2.95m. The overall accuracy of this stubby biplane is very good. Only the canopy shape gives cause for concern (as does the missing cooler ring).
As a one-off prototype, there is only one scheme. This is where the plan comes into its own, as it provided the perfect reference. An overall white is allowed to dry for a day or so before masking off. The red areas are sprayed first, then the green. Care is taken to make sure there is no overspray between the red and green, or anywhere else for that matter. The propeller is silver, with anti-glare black on the rear faces. The struts are also prepared, carefullly cutting the brass stock to size and gluing in place. The lettering and Savoy Crest were found from spares.
The attractive racer-like colour scheme certainly makes this aircraft an interesting addition to the choice of Italian aircraft models. It is a fairly easy model to construct, but the canopy shape and missing engine detail will need to be corrected to get a truly accurate model. Fortunately the lack of decals is not too much of a problem, as their are so few markings to find from spares. I would give this model a guarded recommendation for Italian aircraft enthusiasts.
Many thanks to Dujin for the review sample.