|KIT:||Heller 1/50 Stampe SV 4C|
|PRICE:||$5.00 at a swap meet|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The SV4 first flew on 17th May 1933, with Jean Stampe at the controls. The company manufactured six SV4 trainers for use in its flying school. Production ceased in 1935 after the death of his son Leon Stampe, but two more SV4s were manufactured in 1937 having been redesigned by Demidoff with two extra ailerons, and with a changed tail section.
Two more SV4s, OO-ATC and OO-ATD, were built in 1939 to enter a competition to find a new trainer for the Belgian Air Force. This time Demidoff once more redesigned the tailplane and swept both wings back. OO-ATD won the competition and was sold to Baron Thierry d'Huart. On 4th July 1941 this aircraft was flown to England from the grounds of Chateau Ter-Block when occupied by German Forces, by two Belgian Air Force pilots, Michael Donnet and Leon Divoy.
In1939 the Belgian Government ordered 300 SV4s, and production was set up in Antwerp and at the Farman company in France under license. The Antwerp factory had completed production of the first batch of 30, just three days after the Germans invaded Belgium on 10th May 1940. France had also ordered 600 machines, 10 of which were also completed at the Antwerp factory, with the Renault 4PEI engine. The only SV4 which survived World War 2 was OO-ATD.
Postwar, Belgium and France were in need of trainers to recreate their Air Forces, and the SV4 was a logical choice considering the lack of available alloys. The state run SNCAN manufactured 701 SV4s, nearly all having the Renault 4P engine, between 1945 and 1949.
In 1947, a contract for a further 150 aircraft was given to the Algerian Atelier Industriel de L'air, and were serial numbered 1001 to 1150. These aircraft are said to be of superior quality having been made from better alloys and high grade spruce and ash, as opposed to SNCAN where Jean Stampe was known to be unhappy with production quality.
In 1947 Jean Stampe met up again with Alfred Renard who had been with the company until 1930. Together they set up the Stampe and Renard Company in Antwerp and produced 65 SV4b aircraft with the Gipsy Major 10 engine, for the Belgian Air Force.
France created the Societe de la Formation Aeronautique with 500 Stampes spread amongst aero clubs and National Flying Centres. The SV4 was the mainstay of aerobatic competitions until the 1960s, when the performance of Pitts Specials and other aircraft left the Stampe SV4 behind.
The Stampe SV4 has been used in a number of movies over the years to represent WWI or early 20's aircraft. Probably the most famous is the one modified with a rear gunner's position as used in the third Indiana Jones movie.
I love these old Heller kits, especially when I can get an original issue version as the moldings are so clean. The only concerns I found in all that red plastic was that there are ejector pin marks on the inside of the cockpit doors. However, since there really is no sidewall detail in there, it is perhaps a good idea to keep those in the closed position. It is a pretty simple plane with seats, sticks and instrument panels for the interior along with three bulkheads, two of which will be used to attach the seats. The interior is either aluminum or wood, if I read the instructions properly. The outer surfaces of the fuselage and wings are in a rather complex 'fabric' pattern. It seems a bit overdone to me, but a coat of paint will soften things considerably.
No options and a somewhat complex looking main gear assembly. Individual exhaust stacks that you may want to replace with tubing. Two somewhat thick windscreens are also included.
Instructions are the old type with one side showing an exploded view of the kit with painting information (in this case, red with white rudder/elevator stripes). This side is in French. On the other side are English and German construction steps. A rigging diagram is provided. The only decals are registration for the rudder and a set of stripes running diagonally on the fuselage as shown on the box art. I'm sure some hunting will come up with something more interesting. This old kit includes a rather large tube of dried up glue as was the norm back then.
If you like civil types and are not squeamish about the raised detail and 1/50 scale, this is one you should seek out. I'm sure it can be made into a superb model with a bit of additional work inside with some plastic tubing to represent the framework.
Once again, you can thank me for providing this one for you.
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