The Fiesler Storch by GPM

Discussion in 'First Impressions Kit Reviews' started by Leif Oh, May 24, 2005.

  1. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    The Fiesler Storch by GPM, 1/33 scale

    The new kit of the Fiesler Storch from GPM is in fact, I understand, a reworking of an older kit by master modeler Tadeusz Grzelczak, who drew the two B17 models, by Fly and GPM, respectively, that has been much discussed on this site. Among countless other models by him you will find also the B24 Liberator, by Fly and GPM in two versions.

    Now, this is very interesting. The Storch kit in fact combines the best of two worlds, the handdrawn design with a keen sense of what's in fact humanly possible (or realistic) to attain with a paper model, and the finish of a computerdrawn design.

    Let's start with the handdrawn part, which is still clearly visible in the instruction sketches:


    These still retain the mystique and fascination of being able to construct an intricate structure in three dimensions from simple paper sheets, and I like them very much. They are a far cry from the rather sterile instructions sketches that accompany many newly designed kits (although the number of sketches there may be far greater). Even if the instructional value of the modern sketches may be great, they lack the fascination of this handdrawn work of art.

    Having said this, the execution of the print sheets themselves are a great improvement of the old Grzelczak sheets. I have not seen (and was not aware of) the older version of the Storch, but I can compare to other models by Grzelczak (such as the B17 and the B24), and the present kit is a vast, to say the least, improvement.


    In this sample (scanned at 100 percent, 72 dpi) you will hopefully see the distinct and thin contour lines, the excellent shading and colouring, and the rather good 3D-print effects. In fact, these are so good in places, that I would hesitate to improve on them by attempting to double hatches etc. with extra copies of thin paper. That might simply turn out to be too clumsy. But we'll see, eventually.

    This kit depicts the tropical version of the Storch, as used in the desert campaign in Africa. The camouflage pattern is well done, but it should also be pointed out that there is no weathering at all. This is a matter of taste, and the main point is that the shading for ribs and other underlying structures is very well done.

    A point of criticism, however, would be the all-black outlines of parts, instead of a darker shade of the colour of the part. The black lines will tend to make cuts stand out rather clearly, as evident also from the publicity photos of the finished model:


    A note of curiousity on these photos is that the propeller has been built for the wrong direction of rotation (as compared to the parts in the kit, the included three-view drawing, and photos of remaining Storchs). Prospective builders should look out for this, but there is not really a problem since the parts provided invite you to do it correctly - just as long as you do not let yourself get distracted by the photos!

    As for level of detail, I would say it is excellent, without crossing the line of becoming outright daunting. At 340 parts the model is simply eminently buildable, and the "glasshouse" of the cockpit does not require vacuformed parts. The Grzelczak affinity for making moveable rudders and flaps is retained, and the new 3D-printing effects should make the cockpit interior come out much better than in any original Grzelczak version (which tend to be a little bit on the intuitive side from the examples I've seen; someone else has termed his style as "cartoonish", but that is all gone in this modern update).

    So what you get, as already pointed out, really is the best of two worlds. The kit thus is thoroughly recommended. For my part I will scale it to 1/16 eventually, and I will not build it until I've found a way of recolouring it into the Swedish Air Force colour scheme of olive and grey, with Swedish national insignia and accurate markings. But that's another challenge, and a project for the future.

    Meanwhile, here's the lowdown on the kit: Size A4 (thank you, GPM!), which makes scanning and enlarging much easier; six pages of parts (mixed colour and black-and-white - parts to be doubled on card are printed on regular thickness paper, too); four pages of instruction sketches (including an excellent three-view drawing); building instructions in Polish, German, and English (thank you again, GPM!). Although the translation sometimes leaves you hanging there wondering what you really are supposed to do - a common weakness so far for many translations from Polish - the mere effort to provide it is commendable.

  2. Rafael

    Rafael New Member

    Leif Oh - If I good remember, the old GPM's Storch was designed by Mariusz Ploszajski, not by Tadeusz Grzelczak. It wasn't quality of Grzelczak's models - belive me ;)
  3. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    You're right about the earlier GPM version, of course. Having checked out a friend's copy of the GPM 011 Fiesler Storch from 1989, whatever merits it had then, it is just ridiculous by today's standards, and clearly not by Grzelczak.

    However, the present GPM version certainly is an original Grzelczak design (as stated in the kit, and as evident from the instruction sketches).

    The question remains then, has this Grzelczak Fiesler Storch been published earlier by someone (as other sources imply and I would hold plausible, although I can't find out by whom); or does it in fact represent a new tack by this designer? Possibly a new collaboration with computer-literate technicians? Interesting...

  4. tino

    tino Member

    Hi Leaf,
    I think that this is tottaly new kit, because GPM normaly when make make a re-release of a model keep the same number of catalog and this is not the case between the two models.
  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hello Leif,

    Thank you for the review. I hope this type sells well for GPM.

    On the subject of up-scaling and repaint. I've been somewhat perplexed by the black outlines on the Grunau Baby IIB. The black outline really kills the "scale look". I haven't experimented with Photoshop yet but was thinking about a selective color replacement using a mask to change only the black outlines to say a slightly darker shade of yellow for the Baby. I was wondering if you've given this any thought?

    Best regards, Gil
  6. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thank you, Leif! :D

    As always, a superb write-up with very modeler oriented observations and comments, and great photo spread.

    Very informative!

    Thanks for taking the time and expending the effort to give us all a superb review of this new kit.


  7. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Hi Jim, thanks for the comment (also on the Airacobra thread - I did notice!); and for keeping in contact.

    Gil - same thing to you, and on the issue of outlines: Absolutely, yes, it's well worth experimenting with Photoshop. There is an option whereby you can get an outline of a selection in a selected colour and thickness (1 point, 2 points..), and you can specify whether you want this on the inside, outside, or middle of the selected area's outline; and if you want it darker or lighter than the selected colour. I've been meaning to learn this for a long time, but never quite got there. If anybody is a master of this particular art, please write a short tutorial, and not necessarily here either, but in a separate thread (although a heads-up here would be nice).

    And finally, Tino, thanks for the comment. This makes it very interesting to find out whether Grzelczak is still active, and actually entering the era of computers. Very good news in that case, because there is a world of difference between this model and another fresh release from GPM, namely the Be2E. I'll return to that in a separate review, but let me just say that it is both a modeler's dream and nightmare - perfect in detail, but totally without character in the execution of the kit.

    More at a later date on that point. It is not meant as a "downer", but as an interesting subject to discuss - where is the art of card modeling headed in the computer age?

  8. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Accomplished removal of the black outlines on both wings of the Grunau Babby IIB. Found that the outline can be selected in Photoshop with the magic wand tool and judicious selection of the tools tolerance value while in the contigous mode. The outline "area" is then filled with sampled base color with appropriate filters applied if desired. Not sure a tutorial is required as it's pretty easy to do once you get the hang of it. The difference between the before and after is fairly striking.

    Best regards, Gil

    P.S. The cost of shipping to the West Coast U.S. from Joseph's SPI shop is $18.80!!! Guess I'll wait till one of the North American suppliers stocks the item.
  9. tino

    tino Member

    Hi Leaf,
    Did you by the models wiyh the laser cut formers?
    If yes what can you say about them?

    Diamantino Mateus
  10. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Gil, glad you succeeded in eliminating the black lines. That is a good way, using the magic wand tool, although if used on a low quality scan, or if the original is of low quality, it will give lines of varying thickness, depending on how much or little the wand picks up. If it solved your problem, though, all the better!

    I was thinking of how to get to a more general method. For example selecting all the white around a part or parts, then reverse the selection, and then request an outline in a specified colour and of specified thickness.

    That wouldn't take care of all the black lines within a part though, so there you'd have to select on the colour of the part, but then you'll end up with the same problem, diffuse edges.

    Your way is probably the most convenient. For a perfect result one would have to redraw all the lines, which seems going a bit over the top if another solution can be found.

    Tino, since I always enlarge models, I couldn't buy the laser-cut frames. I'm sure they're very nice, though!

    Best, Leif
  11. k5083

    k5083 Member

    Either Gil's technique of using the want to select the lines or Leif's proposed method of selecting the white and reversing will work, but both depend on having a high quality original, as Leif says.

    When I am trying to do a really decent repaint I have found there is no substitute for manually tracing each part using a path or selection tool that can define a part from connected lines and smooth curves. Can't really describe the details because I use an editor called LView Pro in preference to Photoshop.

    One advantage of the path method is that (in LView Pro at least) the path you define is vector, so it can be scaled up without loss of resolution. I redraw panel lines the same way; it gives me a scalable black-and-white version of the model that I can resize however I want, then repaint.

    Adobe Illustrator will do the same thing, but it has a user interface that makes me want to throw my computer out the window. And I mean my 39th floor office window.

  12. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Thank you for confirming difficulties with Illustrator. What a relief! I've been feeling like a dunce for ages, without daring to say so, because I can't get heads or tails of Illustrator (and I have been working satisfactorily with other vector-based programmes in the past). That's why I'm sticking to Photoshop, despite losing the many advantages of being able make curves and straight geometrical figures.

  13. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    I hope this means we will be treated to another outstanding build thread by you, Leif.

    Now, don't make me beg.....okay, I will....PLEASE??? :lol:



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