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Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance

Brengun, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

Brengun Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media

114 tan styrene parts, a PE fret of 20 parts, an acetate film, and decals covering four subjects.  

Price:

Available on-line from these stockists:

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Review Type:

First Look.

Advantages:

Good quality components, nice detail, and best injected S-16 kit in this scale.

Disadvantages:

None noted. 

Conclusions:

This is a welcome kit of an important Czechoslovak type.

It is very well executed, with excellent quality parts for a limited run kit. So much so that I feel the term “limited-run” has little meaning here. It has without doubt bettered the old and faithful offering by  Kovozávody Prostejov (and KP Models/Mastercraft). As such, it is the best injected kit of the Letov S-16 in The One True Scale.

I definitely recommend this kit, and hope for future issues covering Latvian and Turkish machines.


Reviewed by Mark Davies


Eduard's 1/72 Avia B.534 IV serie Weekend Edition is available online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

I found it difficult to dig up much information on the Letov S-16, in English at least. The following is my interpretation of a less than satisfactory translation of a Czech web-based account.

The design of a long-range light-bomber and reconnaissance type that led to the S-16 originated in 1924. (A heavy escort-fighter role may have been considered too, but I am unsure on my interpretation of source material here.)
The first prototype, a private venture, first flew in November 1926 and was exhibited at the Paris Salon de l’Aeronautique in December of the same year. The Czechoslovak Ministry of Defence (Ministerstvo národní obrany or MNO) subsequently ordered three prototypes for testing. Meanwhile, Latvia placed an order for twenty-one S-16L aircraft, with deliveries commencing in 1927. Turkey ordered twelve S-16T machines during 1930-31.

Letov staged a demonstration flight of the S-16 over 23,000 km from Prague to Tokyo during August and September of 1927. The trip was truly groundbreaking and involved all manner of trials and tribulations as the plane transited various countries. However, the return trip did not finish because of radiator issues, and the plane returned to Prague by train! Meanwhile the MNO continued testing prototypes until generally satisfied with the outcome in May 1928. It ordered six more aircraft for further competitive testing against the Aero A-30, which was also being evaluated.

 



Finally, the S-16 was accepted for service with the Czechoslovak Air Force. Production of the main series occurred over three years, with fifteen airframes being produced in 1929, fifty-two in 1930, and twenty-two in 1932. The type was used by all the six founding aviation regiments, and served reliably in the second half of the 1930’s when it was declared obsolete and replaced by the Aero 100. However, thirty-one S-16’s were still in service during the 1938 mobilization in response to the German-sponsored Sudenten crisis. 

Several other variants were derived from the basic S-16. These included the S-16J developed for Yugoslavia, a floatplane using Dornier floats. However, it seems there were problems with the floats corroding and Yugoslavia lost interest, having purchased only one machine.


 

Previous 1/72 Letov S-16 Kits

The only injected 1/72 scale S-16 kit I am aware of dates from 1982 by Kovozávody Prostejov*, a communist Czechoslovak entity. The same kit has since been re-boxed by KP Models (a private Czech company) and Mastercraft of Poland. This is by a far the most common S-16 kit, and is generally quite a good one, although it is now beginning to show its age.

On checking my records I also see that AB Models have issued several resin kits, an S-16 prototype, Turkish S-16T, and several S-16 derivatives (S-416, S-516 & S-816). Omega Models have also done some versions, including the S-16J floatplane and S-316 derivative, again in resin. Finally, Blackbird models have issued an S-16T, which I presume was resin also. I am unfamiliar with any of these resin kits, so I cannot comment further.

Brengun first issued essentially same the kit reviewed here as the S.16.1 Prague to Tokyo record-special, which featured a few different parts and markings to service machines, plus 37 parts for the spares box (reviewed here on HyperScale in February this year).

* Petr Muzikant of AZ Models has since registered the Kovozávody Prostejov brand name for the first time, so the name is now in private hands. It is being used to brand a new range, and has nothing to do with the communist-era kits, the tooling for which is under different ownership.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Contents

The kit comes in a rather large box for a single-engine plane in this scale, with artwork featuring an S.16 in flight.
Two sprues of light-brown plastic in a re-sealable cellophane plastic bag, along with a further small cellophane bag enclosing a clear acetate film, decals, and a small PE fret. The parts more long-run than limited-run in quality, being very clean and crisply moulded with no noticeable flash; although they lack locating pins.

 

  • Brengun Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Brengub Kit No. BRP72017 - Letov S-16 Bomber/Reconnaissance Plane Review by Mark Davies: Image
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The PE fret is of good quality, and the decals are well printed with good registration and seemingly good colour density.

 

 

The acetate film has windscreen outlines printed to guide cutting out these parts.

 

 

The instructions are in Czech and English, but unlike Prague-Tokyo-Prague flight boxing, no aircraft history is provided. There is a parts map, clear and well-drawn assembly diagrams with some colour printing. The painting and markings guide is on the rear of the box in colour, providing generic colour call-outs.


 

The Kit

As review tradition almost demands, I shall begin with the cockpit. This is well catered for in terms of detail levels, with airframe structure moulded integrally with the fuselage sidewalls, individual cockpit floors, a pilot’s bucket seat, instrument panels, rudder pedals and control column, a mechanic’s bench-seat and its supporting frame in PE.

here are also PE seat harnesses for both crew positions. This is plenty given the small size of the cockpit openings.

These cockpits are enclosed within fuselage halves that have delicate engine cowl louvers and nicely done fabric effect with prominent longerons, as per the original. It is necessary to remove the ventral cowl panel and replace it with an alternate kit part featuring more louvers. It is also necessary to ensure you select the correct radiator front for the cowl as a choice of two styles is provided.

The fuselage features a separate rudder and tailplane with elevators fixed in the neutral position. This is supported by bracing struts either side between the fuselage and its underside.

There are a few items left to add to the fuselage, including a tail-skid, an oil-cooler under the cowl, and propeller.  Of course there is also the undercarriage to mention whose legs have small locating lugs to match corresponding holes in the fuselage. Two styles of radiators are provided, but the instructions clearly identify the one to be used for all four options covered. The rear gunner’s gun-ring with paired machineguns applies to three of the four schemes offered. All of the options with rear guns have a small headrest fairing to fit behind the front cockpit.

The option without rear guns has instead a strange contraption that requires a piece of scrap plastic rod 1.8mm in diameter and 1.6mm long, to which are added four small PE parts (see image below).

 

 

This device then fits underneath the fuselage just in line with the division between the two cockpits. I am speculating, but could this be a camera applicable to the reconnaissance variant? If so it could its position is dictated by the need for the rear crew member to operate it, and that the effect of its weight on the plane’s centre of gravity require the twin rear guns to be deleted?

There are some small PE items for the fuselage, and like the gun-ring (if applicable) are probably best left until late in the build process. They include windscreen frames to which the clear acetate screens must be cut out and carefully glued in place, and a small hooped boarding step. One of the options has two circular PE plates with a protruding peg-step to replace the moulded half-circle inset boarding steps on the port side beneath each cockpit. All of the options with rear guns have a small headrest fairing to fit behind the front cockpit.

As with the fuselage, the fabric effect on the wings is nicely done. Unlike most other parts, the kit does feature small mounting tabs for the lower wings to slot into the fuselage, which should ensure adequate strength to the join. Both lower and upper wings have small locating holes for the struts with their fine pins to locate within.

The instructions direct the removal of part of the lower wing trailing edge at the roots to form a cutout that is applicable to all options. There is a 1:1 drawing with dimensions to aid this simple surgery. I can only think that it made sense to tool for the Prague-Tokyo special that does not feature these cutouts.

 

 

As with all biplanes, care will be needed when fitting the upper wing, but this job is made a little easier by the S-16’s absence of wing stagger and lack of dihedral. The ailerons on the upper wing feature small secondary airfoils mounted above; I doubt that these served any servo-type purpose, but I really have no idea. Anyway, they are made from folded PE parts. There are also tie-rods between the upper and lower ailerons to fit.

A PE pitot is provided to mount the starboard interplane struts in the case of the production version. However, this is rather flat and unconvincing, and may serve better as a pattern for a three-dimensional scratch-built item. The instructions seem a little vague on positioning this pitot to me. Having checked photos, I see it should mount horizontally about a 30% of the way down the interplane struts, with its rear end against the rear strut, and fixes to the inner side nearest the fuselage (unlike the images of the assembled model from Brengun’s website that show it fixed on the outside of the struts).

 

 

The kit provides a swag-load of bombs and their racks to mount on the lower wings and fuselage.

Building this kit looks to be quite simple as biplane kits go, with the lack of wing stagger and dihedral. Of course, the PE items may add some fiddley moments, with the windscreens needing particular care; but in general, I would anticipate that this kit should build well.

The instructions mention a PE detail set that can be purchased separately.

 


 

Markings

The four machines covered are very similar as the colours and markings illustration from the box illustrates.

 

 

With luck, perhaps Brengun will release a boxing with Latvian and Turkish insignia too.

The decals provided appear to be good quality like the rest of the kit’s components.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a welcome kit of an important Czechoslovak type; it is very well executed, with excellent quality parts for a limited run kit. So much so that I feel the term “limited-run” has little meaning here. It has without doubt bettered the old and faithful offering by  Kovozávody Prostejov (and KP Models/Mastercraft). As such, it is the best injected kit of the Letov S-16 in The One True Scale.

I definitely recommend this kit, and hope for future issues covering Latvian and Turkish machines.

Thanks to Brengun for the review sample.


Review Text Copyright 2015 by Mark Davies
Page Created 18 December, 2015
Last updated 18 December, 2015

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