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Farman 223

2 Jul

model airplane drawings

Kit: Farman 223.4 Jules Verne Scale: 1:72

Kit type: Injection moulded Decal options: (three) Jules Verne (camouflaged), Camille Flamarrion and Le Verrier (Air France post-Armistice) UK price: £37.99

Our French contemporaries at Air Magazine have an enviable arrangement with the Franco-Czech kit manufacturer Azur whereby the latter produces the occasional ‘special’ tied in with a feature in the former. The latest example of this is a series of no less than three four-engined Farmans from the late 1930s. The original design for a night bomber was modified at the request of the ministry to become a long-range passenger/mailplane, at a time when transatlantic flight was becoming prestigious; the first aircraft designated 223.1 made a proving flight to Santiago de Chile to demonstrate French prowess, though it was pressed into camouflaged service after the outbreak of war. The next batch, 223.3, entered military use and saw employment with both sides after the Armistice. The last three 223.4s had a rather deeper fuselage than the earlier models and were delivered directly to Air France, but these were also impressed into the military in late 1939. This last variant is the subject of this kit and the particular aircraft built, Jules Verne, was the first Allied aircraft to bomb Berlin, in June 1940.
This is a big model; wing span is about 46 cm (18 in), if you wish to check your available shelf space. Mouldings are in the usual somewhat soft grey plastic, which means they should be separated from the sprues with sharp scissors, and can suffer from over-enthusiastic trimming with a sharp knife. There are no locating pins or sockets and I would suggest putting a little plastic strip under the lips of one fuselage half to help the join.
The cockpit area has a couple of floors and seating for three, with instrument panel, control column and rudder pedals. The two small windows between the nosecone and the cockpit have to be cut out; a pair of transparent panels is provided, but I ‘cheated’ and used Kristal Klear. There are three resin pieces for each nacelle: for the two intakes and the cooling gills that are halfway along the top of each. These latter are the only non-plastic parts in the kit, and are justified because they have a sharper edge than could be obtained using the injection-moulding process.
The big wings need to be firmly in place before attaching the engines, not least because the main undenting struts are an essential part of the engine-attachment girder work. One of my fellow reviewers suggests inserting a pair of wing spars through the fuselage, which is probably desirable, but not essential. The four engines are in tandem pairs and their mounting between wing and fuselage with a multiplicity of struts needs considerable care in lining up; those with a working knowledge of Plastruct might consider a jig. The struts between engines and fuselage are attached to streamlined fairings which are integral with the fuselage walls; if I had been more confident of guaranteed geometrically-precise fitting I would have used a fast superglue for quick and strong results (this is where locating pins, or even tongues, would have helped). As it was I used my regular Revell ‘glue-gun’ to put some of the adhesive at least where I thought it was needed. I then moved each assembly until I thought it was lined up correctly, holding it gingerly until I thought it was safe to release it. The main undercarriage is a masterpiece of engineering, with each item being assembled from seven pieces, not counting the two rods from each nacelle to that large, flat part that is either a door or a very big mud-flap. Each assembly goes into its seating in the nacelle without protest or undue wriggling. There are two pairs of subsidiary struts for the tailplane; these, like the undercarriage rods, need to be made and fitted by the modeller.
Decals are provided for three aircraft, with
Camille Flammarion and Le Verrier in post-Armistice Air France colours. These include orange and yellow upper surfaces with much tricolore striping; I was sorely tempted, but put off by the need to add a fan of tapering black stripes above each wingtip, for which decals were not included. Settling for Jules Verne in warpaint, I discovered that the French World War II Xtracolors were no longer available, but I was relieved to find appropriate acrylic Lifecolors: UA145, 142 and 143 for blue/grey, khaki green and brown. These are very flat, and contrive on my model at least to give a slightly worn appearance without my even trying!
This is a very impressive model, and
Air Magazine and Azur are to be congratulated on bringing an aircraft of this size to life with this production technique. Had it been made in resin – probably the only alternative for an aircraft of somewhat limited appeal outside its homeland – the cost would surely have been prohibitive, and my only dilemma now is to find enough space for it; it is about the same size as the Lancaster. The story of this Farman family is told in Air Magazine numbers 21 and 22, the second being concerned with the 223.4. If you are not familiar with this excellent magazine this is a good reason to try it, and the Aviation Book Centre has copies at £6.99 (plus p&p).
My thanks in particular to the editor Jose Fernandez for ensuring that this kit came to me, and I hope that he and his team will be encouraged to consider similar projects in the future; the French did build some exceedingly interesting aircraft in the 1930s.

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1 Response to Farman 223



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