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Piper L-4 Grasshopper
“From Africa to Central Europe”

Special Hobby, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

Special Hobby Kit No.SH48218 - Piper L-4 Grasshopper “From Africa to Central Europe”.

Contents and Media:

70 parts in grey styrene, six clear parts, ~16 in Photo-etch, one 3-D printed part, and one decal sheet with markings for four airframes.


GBP£17.83 EU Price plus shipping at Hannants



Review Type:

First Look


This is a new mold kit of an underserved but historically significant aircraft that provides ample, scale-appropriate detail, photo-etch, and quality decals. What’s not to like?


None that we can see…:)).


Overall, a nice kit of a type that is often overlooked.  Thank you Special Hobby, but come on guys give us a J-3 and a Flitfire! Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by Jim Bates

Photography by John Miller




I’ve been lucky to fly a few different aircraft over the years. Even though that list includes classics as the Harvard, Navion, Lancair, Cessnas, and an Aeronca Champ, it was the Piper Cub I enjoyed the most.



Just something about puttering around slowly with the big door open that was the closest to grass roots flying I’ve experienced.  A few instruments, no radio, and a tailwheel; true freedom in the air. Okay, sure, it was a J-3 Cub and not an L-4, but...



The L-4 Cub was a derivative of the civilian Piper J-3 Cub family. Originally off-the-shelf civil Cubs were purchased by the U.S. Army as the O-59.



The Army found the type usefully, but the civil canopy didn’t allow for a great view of the outside. The Army ordered a modified version of the Cub with a large greenhouse canopy and the Piper L-4 Grasshopper was born.



Almost 6,000 Cubs were purchased but the U.S. military during World War Two, including the TG-8, a glider variant. The L-4 might be a “warbug”, but it also garnered one of the final kills in World War Two. On April 11, 1945, not far from Berlin, an L-4 shot down a Fieseler Storch with a Colt .45.

Cubs in Plastic

Over the years there have been a few L-4 available for the scale modeler. Heller was first with a 1/50 L-4 in 1979 and I remember lusting after one in a hobby shop near the Montreal Forum. Sadly, I was a poor child, and it was years before I could afford the French import.  (And when I did get my hands on the kit, I was shocked by the fabric weave that Heller depicted all over the aircraft.) Next up was KP with a 1/72 L-4 that was a product of its time, but quite buildable. Hobbycraft issued a 1/48 civil J-3 Cub in an L-4 box, but it was always a J-3 and did not feature the large greenhouse. The new KP has issued a new tool L-4 and J-3 in 1/72, but there was no true 1/48 L-4 until recently.





The Kit

Comprising two runners of grey plastic, one of clear, a small color photo etch sheet, one piece of film, and a single 3d printed part; 1/48 scale modelers finally have a good kit to build the diminutive Piper liaison aircraft. 



The plastic parts are well molded, and the detail is quite nice, but I think the rib tapes stand a little proud; nothing some micromesh can’t fix. 



The model is rather simple, but then so is the airplane.



As usual, construction starts with the cockpit and engine.



Detail here is quite good and Special Hobby supplies seatbelts for both the pilot and observer. Sorry, no Colt .45s are included.



Special Hobby has included a spar that the wings are constructed around. This is an interesting way to solve the issue of high wings glued to clear parts, but one still needs to very careful with the liquid cement.



This will be a fiddly build due to construction of the aircraft, just take your time and test fit.



Transparent parts are crystal clear as is usual with Special Hobby.  Now if only Special Hobby would include masks in their kits and not advertise them as an extra for the modeler to buy separately...




The small 3d printed carburetor/air box is beautifully printed.




The decals are my only complaint of the kit. 



Sure, they are all wonderful and well printed (and you have a choice of any scheme so long as it is Olive Drab over Neutral Grey) but how does one not include the Storch killer Cub?  (Thankfully, Iliad decals have corrected this oversight on their new L-4 sheet.)





Overall, a nice kit of a type that is often overlooked.  Thank you Special Hobby, but come on guys give us a J-3 and a Flitfire! Highly Recommended!
Kit eagerly purchased by reviewer; yes, again.
Whadaya want; I have no self control:)

For more on this review visit ModelPaintSolutions.com

Review Text Copyright © 2022 by Jim Bates
Images Copyright © 2022 by John Miller
Page Created 23 December 2022
Last updated 29 December, 2022

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