My replica 'Speedee-Bilt' P.80 kit arrived from the US much sooner than I expected. It was expertly made packed by the estimable Ron Anderson and (oh joy!) there was no import duty to pay.
Here it is:
Note the authentically preformed 'monofoil' wing and the lovely decals. The plastic parts, too, are beautifully reproduced:
The plan has been given a CAD 'going over' and is superior to the original:
And what was delightful was the inclusion of a copy of the 1950's 'Hints and tips':
Which gives the kit a splendid 'period flavour'. You will note these 'Hints and tips' are generic and not particular to this 'jet' kit. Indeed, there is no indication of notice power that I can see.
I remember what Marty Richey once wrote about these 'jet' kits:
“It’s typical of most jet kits of that time sold here in the States. Except for a couple of Comet designs, they had no prescribed power plant. Cleveland suggested a ground-based catapult; Comet sometimes recommended a whip method, but they all had landing gear so I believe the producers assumed they would be built as display models. I don’t think they were in high demand in their own time, which explains their rarity today.”
I shall enjoy the challenge of making this one and getting it to fly. I will add lightness by using balsa mouldings instead of the (quite heavy) authentically plastic parts. A Rapier L-2 could either be hidden in a trough or mounted externally in a 'weapons pod' (did Shooting Stars have weapons pods? We will see.
Be this as it may, I was very pleased with this kit - it is a quality item - and the Ron Anderson kits (and there is a grand selection of them) can be bought with confidence!
"A friend here in the States emailed me about your article and the P-80 writing that he didn't know Monogram ever did that model. told him that they only did 17 kits up to the P-47 and that all the rest on my list are my own designs using the same techniques pioneered by Monogram.
I've tried to select subjects that I thought Monogram would have eventually done had they not abandoned the Speedee Bilts in 1964 in favour of all plastic injection molded kits.
I'm sure they did this because of economic reasons. It's my understanding that the plastic accessories in the original Speedee-Bilts were moulded by another company in Chicago, and eventually Monogram decided to invest in the equipment to do the moulding in-house.
Many of us modellers mourned the passing of the Speedees, and over the years a number of folks tried to get Monogram to re-introduce the kits. But the answer was always that the costs and demand were just not there to make it economical.
I think Ron has done a fantastic job with his replicas ... I'm now having to resist the temptation to buy the F-86 Sabre and the MiG-15.
Above: Ron's replica Monogram Speedee-Bilt jets. The MiG 15,and P.80 Shooting Star are Ron's designs; the others are replicas of original 1950's kits.
I'm sure the Panther could be turned into a Cougar. I did an Internet search to see what kits for the 'Cougar' were out there. This was a mistake.
Probably best to wait and see if I can get the P.80 to fly. It will probably need something like an L-2HP to get it motoring. These are, alas in short supply at the moment - I'm hoping Dr Z will be visiting us with fresh supplies soon.
The KK profile Shooting Star surpassed itself at the recent Old Warden event. As it weighs only 16-17 grams it flew well even with original ribbed (1950) Jetex 50 and ICI pellets. It climbed steadily and smoothly. And quietly without the smoke and noise of a Rapier L-2. And then there's the smell. I had many flights in the calm sunny afternoon and managed not to hit anyone on the crowded airfield.
True, my model did just miss a child's buggy coming in to land .... the mother opined, "it was dangerous!" I ask you, what does she expect at a flying event?
The Shooting Star's performance, and two orders for original kits stimulated me to refine the original scans of the Keil Kraft kit. These were quite 'tatty' and, in truth, I hadn't done that good a job with them:
So they did need a bit of cleaning up.
Note this is 'mirror image' ready for printing on T-shirt iron on transfer (I don't have a flat-bed printer that will take balsa sheet)
I've managed the removal of the balsa grain and the tidied up lettering and numbers. It now looks more like a Jetex.org proper product, and the definition is (dare I suggest) better than the silk-screen printed kit. On the wave of all this enthusiasm I have also been working on my 'Shooting Star' Mk 2':
I have kept the Keil Kraft pilot. I hope Cpt. Yeager likes his orange 'bone dome'.
The new kit will soon be available - if anyone would like to 'beta test' it, just let me know!
My better half being away, I took the opportunity to work on the profile Shooting Star (ignoring an extensive 'to do' list that included some gardening. The Cats and fish got fed (though not the latter to the former ).
Below is the template ready for printing on tissue and 'beta' testing:
Having wrestled my fractious A3 printer into submission (which I managed without the usual daisy chain of expletives) I cut out the parts and transferred to balsa using old-fashioned dope as adhesive.
Above: not too bad for a first try. Inevitably, I did spot some errors, and the tissue really needs to be printed darker than this - the 'Modelspan' didn't take up the ink as well as I would have liked. But this can be adjusted for - next time.
Comparing the new model with the original KK 'Shadow' P.80 was interesting:
The fuselage in particular, of Albert Hatfull's design is much chubbier than scale. I took mine from a published 3-view, which, comparing it with photos, was pretty accurate:
Above: the KK model is more rounded than the 'real thing'. But prettier, which is probably why he changed it.
At this stage I start to wonder if all my fiddling about with an iconic kit - hours of computer time when I could have been doing something sensible like sleeping - has been worth it, and will mine fly as well as the original? We shall see ...
If anyone would like a 'set of part' to make one as part of beta testing this potential profile part kit, please let me know. I fancy it will make up into an attractive model.