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Avia B.534 serie III

Eduard Weekend Edition, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Eduard Kit No.7429 – Avia B.534 III.serie (Weekend Edition)
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 39 grey & one clear styrene parts, plus decal for two subjects.
Price:

Available online from:

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Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Superb quality, great value, and apparently builds very well.
Disadvantages: None noted.
Conclusion:

The quality of the contents is superb. In my view the plastic is as good as a Tamiya kit’s is, whilst the decals are somewhat better than those offered by this leading Japanese brand, plus of course you get Super Fabric seatbelts as well.

Eduard’s are clearly the best B.534 serie III & IV kits in “The One True Scale”, although I see no compelling need to discard your HR Model and RS Models kits if you own them already; and of course these two brands continue to offer the only B.534 serie I & II kits.

I happily recommend this Weekend Edition, and any other single kit boxings of the B.534 Eduard should release in future.


Reviewed by Mark Davies


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

 

Background

 

The Avia Company was a leading supplier of military aircraft to the Czechoslovak Air Force as well as various export customers. It had designed a long line of fighter types, and the B.34 that was to lead to the 534 series, first flew in 1932 using a licence-built Hispano-Suiza V-12 of 650hp. Its designer was Ing Novotny who had spent time in Britain with Hawker. This experience was put to use with construction methods that followed Hawker practice, although the chin radiator installation was somewhat ungainly compared to the sleek lines of the Hawker Fury it otherwise resembled.

 

 

The B.34 was a bit of a stopgap design, and developments with other engines, including a radial, were tested (B.134 & B.234) without being adopted for production. Meanwhile, the licence-production of the latest and more powerful Hispano Suiza 12-Ydr of 860hp meant that Avia could adopt this engine and produce a state of the art biplane fighter. It was known as the B.534 and first flew in September 1933.

Various changes were made over the life of the design, with four main variants, serie I to IV.

The B.534 did not to see combat service with the Czechoslovak Air Force, but a few would serve with the First Slovak Republic that had become a puppet state of Nazi Germany following the Nazi invasion and division of Czechoslovakia. (Having already occupied the Sudetenland in 1938, Germany renamed the remaining Czech lands as the Protectorate of Bohemia & Moravia.) In fact, Germany and Bulgaria were to be the largest operators of the B.534, although a few aircraft were also acquired by a number of other countries including Greece (two bought privately and gifted to the Greek government), Croatia, Romania, Hungary and apparently the Soviet Union.


 

Previous 1/72 B.534 Kits

The Avia B.534 is a subject which seems to challenge Czech companies to raise their own standards, regardless of how good they may already be.  This applied to all three brands I am aware of having previously released B.534 kits in “The One True Scale”.

There is the old but still credible Kovozávody Prostejov* kit from 1971 (also re-boxed under KP, Kopro, Aeroteam and Flugzeug Publikations brands), and much more recent releases from two Czech companies, HR Models and RS Models. HR Models offer several boxings of a very nice modern limited run kit with extensive PE details and vac-from clear parts. Of similar high quality, but with an injected canopy although no PE parts, is the series of kits form RS Models. Both companies covered the four main production variants and numerous markings options, and were just that bit better than their regular products in my opinion.

Frankly, I can think of only two brands that would be likely to better either of these Czech limited-run releases; these being either Tamiya or Eduard. Obviously Tamiya is an unlikely contender, whereas Eudard is an obvious choice; especially as they have already released a superb B.534 in 1/48 scale.

* The original Czechoslovakian communist-era brand which has also been branded as KP and Kopro, and re-boxed by Mastercraft. Not to be confused with the same name recently registered as a trademark by Petr Muzikant, owner of AZ Models, Admiral and Legato brands. I understand that “Kovozávody Prostejov” had never been registered, and so was “up for grabs” so to speak. Kovozávody Prostejov as owned by Petr Muzikant has begun releasing a number of good quality modern new-tool kits, and has nothing to with the original Kovozávody Prostejov toolings. 

 

 

FirstLook

 

Contents

The contents come in a top-opening with the sprues and decals enclosed in resealable cellophane bags The instructions consist of twelve glossy colour printed A5 pages, which include a two-page colours & markings guide, plus one page covering a modest number of stencil locations.

The instructions are nicely printed and clear and easy to follow. They use English and Czech text, with colour call-outs cross-referenced to the Gunze Aqueous (acrylic) and Mr. Color (lacquer) paint ranges. They can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF here).


 

The Kit

The moulding of the airframe parts is simply superb; very clean, crisp, with commendably narrow sprue gates and thoughtfully placed ejector pins. Transparencies are thin and clear. The detail in some areas is exquisite, and the surface detail most realistic when compared to the original aircraft. There are some very fine details moulded, as evidenced by the tyre logos and the machinegun barrel jacket perforations. Images of the plastic parts may be seen in my recent review of the Avia B.534 Quattro Combo release.

Cockpit detail is very good, and Eduard gives two choices of instrument panel finish; raised detail for painting, or a smooth panel that can be decaled. The cockpit also includes Eduard's excellent SUPERFABRIC seatbelts this time around.

 

 

Of course the cockpit can be greatly enhanced by using Eduard’s aftermarket detail and accessory sets that are listed later on below.

The remaining main airframe parts are conventional for a biplane kit, and include separate elevators and rudder. Eduard use decals to represent the matrix of the oil-cooler and engine radiator (PE is provided for these in the separate detail set). I think that this approach should be effective enough given the oil-cooler’s small size and the fact that the radiator is located behind shutters.

The fabric surface detail captures the original’s very prominent rib tapes, and includes little bumps presumably representing where the fabric is knot-stitched to the metal wing-ribs (or fixed by some other method). These almost seem to me to be the fabric-covered equivalent of rivet representation on all-metal surfaces that seems increasing fashionable with models these days. The tiny bumps may be a fraction over-scale, but I do not feel that they detract from the surface finish at all, and will be barely detectable under paint.

Whist the quality of the parts suggests that the kit will build very well, I can add an endorsement after reading a build article by Tim Upson-Smith in the April 2015 issue of SAMI. He wrote that Eduard’s B.534 was “the best fitting and engineered 1/72 scale kit it has ever been my pleasure to assemble”. High praise indeed, especially when you consider that the subject is a biplane!

Also available separately for this kit are the following accessories and aids:

(1) Previously reviewed here on HyperScale in September this year.

(2) Previously reviewed here on HyperScale in November this year.


 

Markings

The colours and markings guide is nicely done in full colour and covers two markings options:

  • 169, 40. letka, Ceskoslovenske letectvo, Hradec Kralove, srpen 1937.

  • FFS A/B 24, Olomouc, Protektorat Cechy a Morava, zari 1941.

 

 

The decals are printed by Eduard and appear to be of excellent quality.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The quality of the contents is superb. In my view the plastic is as good as a Tamiya kit’s is, whilst the decals are somewhat better than those offered by this leading Japanese brand, plus of course you get Super Fabric seatbelts as well.

Eduard’s are clearly the best B.534 serie III & IV kits in “The One True Scale”, although I see no compelling need to discard your HR Model and RS Models kits if you own them already; and of course these two brands continue to offer the only B.534 serie I & II kits.

I happily recommend this Weekend Edition of the B.34 serie III.

Thanks to Eduard for the sample


Review Text Copyright 2015 by Mark Davies
Page Created 16 December, 2015
Last updated 16 December, 2015

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