Winnie Mae

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Company: Round 2 Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Round 2 Models - Website: Visit Site
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Round 2 Models continues re-releasing older kits with their latest release of a true classic Lindberg’s Winnie Mae. The Lockheed Vega was a true master piece of aviation engineering. The Vega was designed by Jack Northrop and Gerrard Vultee in 1926. The 27 foot long Vega was constructed of a molded plywood fuselage and a single spar wooden wing, which was a radical design and lacked the familiar wing struts. The Vega first flew on July 4th, 1927 and quickly became the favorite of many veteran pilots. The Vega was also used by several business firms and airlines, having flown with 47 different commercial airlines. In the late twenty’s and early thirty’s the Vega was constantly setting speed records. This prompted an early advertising slogan, “It takes a Lockheed to beat a Lockheed”. The Vega was faster than many of the fighter planes of the day and notched 34 separate world speed records. Arguably, the most famous of those records was set by Wiley Post in the Winnie Mae. In June 1931, Wiley Post and his navigator Harold Gatty flew the Winnie Mae around the world in 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. Two years later in July 1933, Wiley Post repeated the feat solo. Beating his previous record by 21 hours, completing the trip in 7 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes. Wiley Post also set altitude records in the Winnie Mae flying to 55,000 feet and reaching speeds of 340 mph while flying in the jet stream. Lockheed built a total of 128 Vegas from 1927 to 1934, including the last ten versions with a metal fuselage.


The original Lindberg Winnie Mae was released in the early 60’s making this kit over 55-years-old. It does show its age a little with flash present on the horizontal stabilizer and control surfaces. There are large knock out pins with flash on some of the parts but they cleaned up easily and once cleaned up the parts fit was excellent, especially for a 55-year-old kit. There are 45 parts in the kit, including a stand. The ailerons are sided, with the words right and left molded on the parts and these will have to be cleaned up before painting. All the control surfaces are moveable.

My sources indicated the interior was natural wood, not white as indicated in the instructions. So I started by painting the interior surfaces with a base coat of Tamiya XF-60 Dark Yellow. Then I painted the wood grain effect with Burnt Umber oil paints. The pilot and seat will have to be replaced. They are really unusable. I picked an appropriate 1/48th scale seat from the parts box, I then scratchbuilt an arm rest for the right side. Post had an arm rest added to his seat, on the right side only. The control column was moved to the right and by adding the arm rest to the right side he could rest his arm while flying long distances and still have his hand on the control column. Lindberg, thoughtfully, moved the control column to the right side of the floor but the seat is useless. I added the arm rest and painted the seat light gray with tan seat belts and olive drab cushions. The seat was added to the kit floor and glued in the fuselage. Once this was in place I closed up the fuselage. After cleaning up the seams I painted the engine. The engine is just a flat face with the 9 cylinders molded along with the crank case cover and lifters. However, once in place with the front of the cowl it is passable. Once the engine and cowl are in place I added the wings and horizontal stabilizer and elevators. Before adding the wing, I masked and added the windscreen. This needs to be in place before adding the wing. Kit part 30, is a hollow button designed to be used with the pose able stand. A small piece of soft wire is included to be used with the stand with the wire fitting into the button on the bottom of the fuselage to allow you to pose the airplane on the stand. I did not plan on using the stand so I glued the button in place and sanded it down to the contour of the fuselage. The wheel pants were next. There is no need to inset wheels when gluing the wheel pants together. It is easy to add these later after the decals are in place. It’s much easier to add decals without the pants being glued to the struts. I did glue the landing gear struts to the fuselage before starting the painting.


I started by priming with Testors Model Master gray primer. Then I painted the model with Tamiya XF-2 White. Once this was dry I over coated with clear gloss in preparation of the decaling process. This is where I ran into problems. All the decals that went over flat surfaces laid down nicely and did not pose a problem. However, when I got to the decals for the cowling I couldn’t get them to follow the compound curves. When I got it lay properly on the side of the cowling, the front surface curled out of place. When I corrected that, the sides of the cowling shifted out of alignment. Even using decal set as suggested didn’t help. I was really disappointed with the results. Especially after the kit built up so nice. I still haven’t figured out what I did wrong.

In spite of its age this kit still builds into a nice model of the Lockheed Vega. There are aftermarket decals available for the Vega. The markings for Amelia Earhart’s Vega that she used to fly solo across the Atlantic are available as well as others. Definitely worth picking up one for your collection.

Thanks to Round 2 for the model to build and thanks to IPMS for allowing me to build and review it.


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