Beechcraft G17S Staggerwing
At the height of the Great Depression, aircraft executive Walter H. Beech and airplane designer T. A. "Ted" Wells joined forces to collaborate on a project to produce a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive. The Beechcraft Model 17, popularly known as the "Staggerwing" was first flown on November 4, 1932. During its heyday it was used as an executive aircraft, much as the private jet is now, and its primary competition were the Waco Custom Cabin and Waco Standard Cabin series of biplanes.
The Model 17's unusual negative stagger wing configuration (the upper wing staggered behind the lower) and unique shape maximized pilot visibility while negligibly reducing interference between the wings. The fabric-covered fuselage was faired with wood formers and stringers over a welded, steel tube frame. Construction was complex and took many man-hours to complete. The Staggerwing's retractable conventional landing gear, uncommon at that time, combined with careful streamlining, light weight, and a powerful radial engine helped it perform well.
The kit is produced by Round 2 Models, a well-known company who bought the AMT Line and is re-issuing the kits in very colorful packaging. The box artwork is outstanding! The scene depicts the Beechcraft Staggerwing in a nose up attitude reaching for the sky with clouds below.
The kit consists of 38 parts and comes on four yellow sprues and one clear sprue. The parts are nicely molded and there is a minimal amount of flash. This is to be expected keeping in mind the age of the molds. All panel lines are raised and all the sprues have large gates. The 2-page instruction sheet shows the suggested assembly through 6 steps starting with the cockpit / interior assembly, and progressing through the fuselage, wing, landing gear, and cowl assembly. The clear sprue parts for the front windscreen, side windows, and landing lights are a little thick but fit with no problems.
This kit is a re-box of the older kit. The kit fits together very nicely but filler was required to fill the seam between the top wing and bottom wing assembly to the fuselage. I had no problems with gluing together any of the remaining assemblies and additional filler was not required. All the pieces did require a little cleaning up of flash. Again please remember that the molds for this kit are getting old and the flash is to be expected. I built this model as a civilian G17S since that was the only decal option. Since these aircraft were used by the military during WW2 for a variety of roles a military version would be a valid option. A pilot figure is included but I did not assemble the figure and install it in the cockpit. I used thin gauge piano wire for the rigging. The locations for attaching the rigging are identified on both the upper and lower wings and I drilled out the holes at an angle prior to painting. After painting I cut the piano wire to length and popped them into the predrilled holes.
I painted the aircraft overall with Tamiya Chrome Yellow. I painted the cowl ring with Tamiya Blue to match the decal blue. I did paint the interior a cream color after reviewing a number of interior photos on Google.
The decals are printed within register and lay down with no silvering. But I did find them them to be very brittle. The engine cowl ring decal was not included in the kit as depicted on the box art.
Overall the kit is a joy to build and builds into a handsome Beechcraft G17S Staggerwing! All that is need is a 1/48 scale 1940’s civilian vehicle and you have a nice diorama. There is some flash but is easily cleaned up with a sharp X-Acto blade, and some filler was required.
My thanks to Round 2 and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build this great kit. I look forward to building more Round 2 kits in the future.