Azur/Frrom 1/72 Delta 'Over Spain'

KIT #: FR0033
PRICE: $
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit (2017)

HISTORY

When Jack Northrop set up the Northrop Corporation as a joint venture with the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1932, he set out to design two closely related single-engine aircraft as the new company's first products: a mailplane/record-breaking aircraft, which was designated the Gamma, and a passenger transport, the Delta. The Delta was a low-winged monoplane, with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. It was of all-metal, stressed-skin construction, with streamlining spats covering the main landing gear. While the Delta's wings were common with those of the Gamma, it had a new, wider fuselage, which seated the pilot in an enclosed cockpit immediately behind the engine, and had accommodation for eight passengers in a cabin behind the pilot.

The first Delta was flown in May 1933, and received an airworthiness certificate in August that year.

Although it was intended that the Delta would be sold in both airliner and executive transport (initially named "Victoria") versions, a change to the regulations governing commercial air transport in the United States in October 1934, prohibiting the use of single-engine aircraft to carry passengers at night or over rough terrain which would prevent a forced landing, stopped the market for single-engine airliners in the United States, and only three aircraft, all ordered before the passing of this regulation, were built as airliners. These consisted of the prototype, leased to Trans World Airlines for use to carry airmail, which crashed on 10 November 1933, one sold to Pan-Am for use by its Mexican subsidiary, destroyed by a fire in May 1934 and one sold to AB Aerotransport of Sweden, delivered in April 1934.

In May 1937 SE-ADI Hšlland (c/n 7) ceased its Swedish airline service and after several ownership changes was purchased in September by an Iraqi citizen, but then flew to Prat de Llobregat, near Barcelona, in the Spanish Republic. The aircraft was incorporated in the LAPE under registration EC-AGC and performed liaison duties for Republican leaders, piloted by Pedro Tonda and Josť Maria Carreras, who had been airline pilots before the civil war. Worth noting is the special mission to Zurich on September 9, 1938, when it flew Dr. Negrin, the Republicís Prime Minister, to negotiate with the Nationalistís Duke of Alba to end the civil war. The negotiations did not succeed however.

The plane was found by the Nationalists on a Catalan airfield after the fall of the Republic and went on to serve the Ejercito del Aire, under code 43-18. Its registration changed to L12-18 when the Ejercito del Aire reorganized in 1945, but was written off later that year.

THE KIT

Nice to see a new tool kit of a plane from this period. Though it is what we normally call a short run kit, it is nothing like the short run kits that many of us first built from VeeDay or Merlin or Pegasus. This one puts many mainstream kits to shame in terms of the quality of the detailing of the parts, yet it still has many short run features, such as a lack of alignment pins/slots, quite a bit of butt joining and some heavier than usual mold seams. This kit does not rely on photo etch and I'm glad that the clear bits are all nicely done injected plastic.

There are three kits being offered and each one is identical in terms of the sprues in the box. Where they differ is instructions, decals and the parts that are used.  I have kept the parts layout guide from the previous kit as they are the same. The kit has a nicely done cockpit section with side consoles, instrument panel, seat, and control wheel. Rudder pedals are molded onto the floor piece. In the back are eight seats. All of the side windows are separate inserts and there is a bulkhead in the rear of the cabin.

A nicely molded engine is provided with a choice of gear hubs depending on the scheme you choose. Tailplanes are an upper and lower half with the wings being a single lower piece and upper halves. There is a once piece canopy for the cockpit. This kit uses the long wheel pants, though you can see from the parts layout that other sizes are included. Depressions need to be drilled into the inside of these pants to fit the one-piece wheels. These are for the other kits. One needs to drill a hole for the tail wheel. Exhaust fit on the underside of the cowling. On the front, these planes use the two blade propeller.

Instructions come in a nicely done booklet with color information provided using generic names or the Gunze range. All the planes are overall unpainted metal. The three markings options on this sheet are all for the same plane at different times in its life. The first is the box art plane. In this case, you are provided with both silver and white codes for the center of the fuselage band. Note that all the red bits will need to be painted. The second is nearly identical to the first except that all the fuselage registration letters are in black. The final is a post-war scheme in unpainted metal with the Nationalist insignia. Note that since this is the Swedish plane, the builder should modify the fuselage entry door to the larger size. Full instructions on how to do this mod are provided as is a template. Of course, you can just leave it as it is as few would really notice. The decal sheet is superbly done by Aviaprint so should prove to be quite thin.
CONCLUSIONS

It is my hope that those interested in aircraft from this time period will support Azur/Frrom by picking up this or one of the other boxings. Manufacturers need to be encouraged to continue in this sort of thing and the only way this will happen is through sales. The kit is such that those who have never built a short run kit will find this one to be a great way to be introduced into the genre. The rest of us should have no issues and will be rewarded with a neat model.

REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Delta

March 2017

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