Pzl P-7a by Marek in 1:50 scale

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Jim Krauzlis, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Okay, this is probably a big mistake...BIG...I mean HUGE!
    But, not being one that usually listens to reason anyway, I figured I'd take a stab at making one of those amazing airplanes I've had the immense pleasure of seeing in this part of the forum. You guys are just amazing, the clean, neat builds I see here...well, time to muddy the waters. :p

    I chose as my first real kit the Marek beautifully designed Pzl P-7a in 1:50 scale. I figured no sense going totally nuts, start with something small. Sure, I've built my share of the FG models, love them! Fun, easy to build (for the most part) and you get a nice model. But, I wanted to try one of the more complex builds...well, not that complex, actually, but for me it is. :roll:

    Having admired all of the Marek designs for quite some time, it was finally time to take the plunge...and this is it. The way I figure it, this design is really outstanding, so any faults in construction are all mine. I can blame some of the mess on my not understanding some of the construction techniques used, despite my diligent reading of the other threads...they helped a lot in some spots, but there is no substitute for just getting to cutting and gluing yourself. :D

    So, I laminated the specially marked parts, mostly the formers, with a bit of card...next time I'll try a thicker laminate, it will help a lot, I think, in lining up the skins...first novice mistake! I did end up using some thin strips of paper to help at the joints under the skins, but you can tell the part where that was not done...right at the joint where the head rest is. I've put a two little red arrows in one of the photos below to show the bulge problem I created...as if you need the arrows to see them. :lol:

    Anyway, it helps that I just love the way this airplane looks...it got me over the frustration of seeing those errors and just plowing forward nonetheless. I fear the gull wing, however, will be my downfall, and so I have been second guessing my choice for a first time build...but, as I said, reason is not something I often pay attention to anyway.

    At this scale, it's a bit smaller than the others I've seen here, but I've got this thing about building small models...I can't explain it, it's just the way I am.

    One thing I did that I am glad I decided to do is to paint most of the edges as I went along...sort of hides a few mistakes. I did have a particular problem with the bottom seam...not the design, it's right on as to fit, it's just I didn't find much support behind the seam to help keep the edges together. This is particularly true just forward and under the cockpit area. I did learn in the process, however, how important it is to test fit everything...and I did a lot of that along the way...not that you can probably tell, but it reinforced my appreciation for the effort that went into this design to see, when I pulled the ends tightly down, they met up right on...save for the area that I didn't pull it tightly enough the first time around. Well, I'll know better next time. :roll: Mistake number two!

    It took a bit of trial and error to find the correct color for the watercolor mix I used for touching up the edging...I just had a heck of a time getting the right mix and tone, but it's pretty close for the most part.

    When I got to the head rest, I must have did something wrong with the set up because the fairing behind the head rest is supposed to cover the former, just behind the leather "padding", but it doesn't. Again, it's me and my mistakes, not the design. I believe next time I will take more time fitting that part, probably needed a bit of trimming that I just didn't do. So, mistake number three...better stop counting, don't you think? :wink:

    The tail wings (what is the correct term for them?) went together real well, but I ended up with two pieces I just have NO idea where they should have gone. I ended up using one of them to help join the two little wing pieces together, but I supposed the other should have been used on the top half as well...just couldn't see it fitting with the internal formers...and the illustration was not clear on how it fit together...another mistake caused by inexperience with this type of construction.

    Well, that's enough talk...really, I could go on, but you'll see plenty in the pictures, I'll wager.

    Anyway, any suggestions, criticisms, hints, tips, whatever, are, as always, very much appreciated.

    I'll try to post more as this build goes on. I'm determined to finish what I started in this, it's the only way I figure I'll learn how to build one of these beautiful planes, but bear with me as I muddle through the process, would you? :D

    So, this is it for tonight...hopefully more in a day or two.


  2. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Okay, now we get to the close-ups and obvious mistakes...argh!
    Here are the shots that show those bulges and mistakes in getting the smooth joints...and the obvious head rest fairing mistake. :cry:
  3. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And the last few for the night...


  4. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Jim, your'e not doing too bad in that scale...there is a reason I enlarge everything to 1:32. (That way I can always blame it on a hardware (other than my head) problem.)
  5. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Hey Jim..........I agree with Darwin. 1/50 is small..........I know you are used to small, but......

    It is looking very good.

    Don't worry about bulges too much. The stuff you have to stick onto the plane cover-up a lot!!

  6. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks, guys!

    I figure I can play around with it a bit and do something to smooth over the head rest fairing...looking at the photos (which nicely enlarges the problem area :roll: ) it seems that former was not cut out right, in some way, because it's a tab too wide and the fairing piece doesn't have a neat flow onto the upper part of the former like it should...there's a discerable ridge which made me think the fairing stopped at the back of the headrest, but I should have checked it better, it is supposed to go over that upper former part and end up flush with inner surface...is this making any sense? Well, at least I think I know what I did wrong.... :lol:
    Bottom line...I need to triple check the fits better...still can't figure out where those extra pieces for the tail wing thingey were supposed to go...and what is that tail thingey called? Oh, that's right... horizontal stabilizer. :D

    Thanks for watching, guys!


  7. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Actually, just "stab & elevator" plus "fin and rudder" will take you a long way, Jim...

    The part I never, not even now, remember the term for is the internal load-bearing part of the wing, one or two of them usually, the RIBS are attached to it, and the AILERONS usually depart from somewhere in the neighbourhood of the aft one, here it comes: SPAR!

    Now I will remember this, hopefully. Just learned that in Dutch "spar" means spruce or fir. Could there be a connection?

    Nice choice of model. And I agree with John, it will look alright eventually.

    If your are willing to risk it, you could have a go at the protruding joints with a fine emery nail file, or very fine sandpaper. The headrest seems an obvious candidate for this treatment.

    Afterwards, you can touch up with water-colours mixed with clear acrylic. Might work, if you are careful to go from lighter colours and gradually work your way towards the correct darker hues. If you get it too dark, you'll have to go back and mix in some non-transparent white into your colour mixture.

    If you haven't tried it, this might be as good an opportunity as any. But I think you'll have to cover the whole fuselage afterwards with matt acrylic to even out the differences in reflexivity. It will cover a lot of such mistakes, particularly glue spots (not that that I noticed any on your model).

  8. barry

    barry Active Member



    Time for a slightly enlarged fairing piece on thin paper it should not show if you make an overlay. Looks good anyway

  9. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Hi, guys! :D

    @ Leif, thanks...I found a page online that gives some basic terms of aircraft parts...I sort of knew them from long ago, but forgotten most of it over the years.... :roll: That's a good idea to coat everthing once it's done...perhaps before any rigging is added, if any (i.e., radio wires).
    Glad you like the choice, it's been one of my favorite planes on looks alone for some time now, just never got around to trying to build one.

    @ Barry, thanks, mate, good idea, and I've already printed out the part on thin paper, so if the color isn't too far afield from the original part I'll have to add that cheat sheet. If all works out, that should help smooth out the rough appearance, and finish off the headrest the way it was designed to. I'll post an "after" picture once I've done that to show how it came out, for better or worse.... :lol:


  10. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Hull comes from the German word for wood, "holz"...,


    P.S. Wonder why many of the names of aircraft parts are French?
  11. shrike

    shrike Guest

    And in another thread we learned that "spar" means spruce or fir.

    I'm just glad that aviation wasn't devloped by the same folk that did computers. Not sure I want to sit in the userport while the SOFLD's* carry me aloft

    *Sticky-Out Flat Lifting Device
  12. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Tell you what, this model is a lot of fun to build! :D

    I was able to get a bit more done since the last update, and here are the results.

    That trick Barry suggested seems to have worked fairly well. I added a little oversized piece over the original, and it covered it nicely...this time I took more care to cover the former up to the leather head rest, and trimmed the former a bit to get a better fit. Seems to have done the trick...thanks, Barry! :D

    I also added the horizontal stabilizer that I had finished building the last time, as well as to make the rudder. The fit in this kit is right on, making it a bit easier for a first timer like me. I'm beginning to get the feel for the construction method so I am getting lucky and not getting those bulges at the joints...although I did do something wrong in the stabilizer fitting because there was just too much space between it and the bottom of the rudder, but the fairing pieces pretty much took care of that.

    Then I started today the most distinctive part of this plane, the gull wings. Now, I really thought I made a mistake in picking a plane with this complex wing set up but, again, Marek's designing genius shines through to make it a doable task for someone as mistake prone as me...the internal support system was stronger than I expected it would be with such small pieces. Again, I think it would have been easier to fit the skins had I used a slightly thicker former laminate, but it still fit together like a charm...just took a bit of extra care to make sure the joints between the skins were as close as they could get and, again evidence of a great design, if you lined up the joints right, the trailing edges were right on, with very little adjustment needed.

    Now, the part that I shuddered to consider, joining the wing to the fuselage, well, that too went very well, after figuring out the assembly process. There's a piece that covers the middle joint of the wing, and attaches to the fuselage at the very front, and when it was in place and brought down along the middle of the wing, the edge lined up exactly where it was obviously supposed to. This makes for a happy build when things fall together like this! :D

    So, that's about it for tonight. I think I will go a bit off of the numbered sequence because I want to put those wing supports in as soon as I can, before adding some of the fiddly bits that go on the wing. I already started rolling the cylinder tubes for the engine detail, and that was a joy to do. Using a bamboo skewer as the mandral, the joints lined up exactly right for the lower half of the cylinder. The next part that gives me pause is the cowling, which is a series of conical parts that, when joined up, should form the right cowling shape...I hope! Truth be known, if it doesn't work out, it's going to be all my fault, not the design...this is a joy to work on, everything fits so very well!

    Well, enough for tonight...and here are the photos. Again, any comments or criticism, or tips, are always welcome and, indeed, encouraged. :wink:


  13. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And a few more pictures of the progress tonight...
  14. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And the final shots for tonight...

  15. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Love it Jim..............boy you like'em small!
  16. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    See, already looking very nice! - L.
  17. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jim

    Cracker build mate for a ship modeler :lol: :lol:

    One thing I have found with small scale aircraft like this ( I only build these for my/local kids to play with) do away with the butt construction and use strips of fine paper to conect the parts together!!

    Most kits I have found usng this method don't require any colour at the joints and only use formers when you think you need to!!

    Grat stuff Jim, keep at it mate

  18. barry

    barry Active Member

    I thought you were a veteran with this build mate looks first class even more if it is your first.

  19. silverw

    silverw Member

    Great looking plane Jim....

    BUT...I almost mist them because I wasn't logged in!!...

    I'm going to have to send you a tutorial on putting your pictures at the "FROGGY" place :oops:

  20. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks so much, guys...I really appreciate all the kind feedback.

    And the saga continues! :D

    Okay, I'm going to try to upload the images using the service Bill suggested...and a number of folk are now using...not sure why I didn't do it earlier, but let's see how it works.

    I got a lot done over the last two days. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this kit is fun! And fairly easy...which is a good thing...yes indeed, Barry, this is my first real plane kit, but I am quickly becoming addicted to these builds. :wink: Fit is great, graphics superb. The only thing that has had me miffed a few times is the illustrations are good but sometimes more details would help...that's probably because I'm not familiar with this type of construction, but I like a few projection illustrations just to be sure where stuff goes when a flat profile is ambiguous...at least to me. :roll:

    I also came across what I think to be a mistake in labeling...on some of the parts the "left" and "right" I think they are actually the other way around. I say this not based on any expertise, far from it, but when I looked at the part and fitted it to the model it was pretty clear it was backwards and had to go on the other side. The parts I am taking about are the wing brace fairings (the little parts that cover the braces at the wings), the lower wing fairings (the ones just above the landing gear struts) and the landing gear struts. Alls well that ends well, as I caught them before getting into trouble! :shock:

    Anyway, here's how she looks at this point. The wing struts/braces with their fairings have been added, as well as the landing gear struts and small wire bracings. I added the engine and cowling (nice design, that cowling, went together fairly easily using small paper strips to help align the edges) and a few details like the windscreen and the "leather" lining to the cockpit...there's probably a proper term for that lining, but I have no idea what it is. :lol:

    So, here she is as of tonight.

    Here's another view, hopefully showing the cowling and engine a bit better.

    Here's a view from the back, showing the cockpit, windscreen, and the step the pilot used to get into the cockpit.

    Here's a view from the back, which I think nicely shows the wing shape.

    And a view from the other side.

    This is a little closer in to show the cockpit details...I probably could have done a better job on the interior details, but I didn't have any photos...and I didn't want to go too far on this first build.

    Here's a close-up of the engine...a bit out of focus, but it shows the nice graphics Marek did for this build.

    In this shot I wanted to see how she looked to the ground crew...of course the propeller is missing, but that's for next time. :D

    This next shot tries to show the under wing arrangement a bit better and another view of the excellently designed cowling.

    This view is a close-up of the cockpit area to give a better idea of how the headrest fairing came out...besides, this is what I would imagine the pilot would see as he went to his plane. :wink:

    Here's another view, partly looking into the cockpit...I could have done a bit more to the instrument panel, but it looked pretty good as designed, I thought.

    And this last shot is a look into the cockpit. I definitely should have added a bit more girth to the joystick grip, it looks too thin to me...next time. :wink:

    Well, that's about it for tonight...hope the picture links work better for everyone. Let me know if you all prefer that the pictures get posted this way or the old way. At least this method gives you the option of seeing the pictures a bit clearer and larger than when I have to resize everything to meet the size limits of the forum and I can put them all in a single post...besides I believe this saves the webspace for everyone else, which is a great idea on it's own.

    Hope you enjoy the photos and the update!
    I'm not sure if I will be able to get more done tomorrow, but I will try...and if I do I will post a further update.
    Take care, all.



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