AZ Model 1/48 Kellet YG-1A/B

KIT #: AZ 4829
PRICE: $60.25 from GreatModels 
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run kit with resin and photo etch parts.


Using the experience gained in building Cierva autogyros under licence the Kellett Autogiro Company developed the KD-1 which was similar to the contemporary Cierva C.30. It had two open cockpits, a fixed tailwheel landing gear and was powered by a 225hp (168kW) Jacobs L-4 radial engine. After testing of the prototype a commercial variant designated theKD-1A was put into production. The KD-1A had a three-bladed rotor with folding blades and a number of minor detail improvements. A KD-1B which was a KD-1A with an enclosed cockpit for the pilot was operated by Eastern Airlines and inaugurated the first scheduled rotary-wing air-mail service on 6 July 1939.

In 1935 the United States Army bought a KD-1 for evaluation and designated it the YG-1, a second aircraft followed which had additional radio equipment and was designated the YG-1A. These two aircraft were followed by a batch of seven designated YG-1B. In 1942 seven more were bought for use in the observation role as the XO-60. Six XO-60s were re-engined with 300hp (224kW) Jacobs R-915-3s and re-designatedYO-60. One YG-1B was modified with a constant-speed rotor and was re-designated theYG-1C, it was later re-engined with the more powerful R-915 and re-designated again as the XR-2. The XR-2 was destroyed by rotor ground resonance problems and the evaluation was continued with another modified YG-1B designated the XR-3.

Imperial Japanese Army developed the Kayaba Ka-1, referring to KD-1A. Powered by a 240hp (179kW) Argus As 10 engine, Airframe that changed engine of prototype.


Molded in AZ's usual tan plastic, I found that the quality of the molding is actually very good. I found no sink areas, no flash, no nasty ejector pin marks and no problems with mold mis-match. This is good. A nicely done photo etch fret includes a number of small parts, many for the interior as well as two external plates for the Navy version. Resin is provided for the seats, prop, engine, exhaust, wheels, and a scoop of some sort. Casting on these parts is superb with almost no molding glitches aside from a small air bubble or two. Also included are two acetate instrument sections to fit behind the etched panels in the cockpit. Parts for the Kayaba Ka-1 (the engine cowlings) are not used.

The kit has a very complete interior with floor, seats, control sticks and rudder pedals. Some of these parts are photo etch. AZ models provides full painting information during construction, though I'm not sure if chromate green would be appropriate for this aircraft as unpainted aluminum was more the norm before the war. The interior includes a nicely molded frame work that is installed on the sidewalls.

As you can imagine, the landing gear struts are going to be a bit fiddly, but AZ provides several drawings to help getting everything properly aligned. A few areas require the builder to stretch some sprue, but that is the norm for many short run kits. The rotor blade attachment is a butt join. I'd drill outthe blade ends at a minimum and perhaps find some wire to insert in the blade and hub for a more secure join. The kit does not include the windscreens, nor does it provide a template so you are on your own in that regard.

Markings are provided for three aircraft. You have a civilian KD-1 in red and cream, an Army YG-1 in OD with yellow tail surfaces and a similar Navy YG-1 with a blue fuselage and yellow tail surfaces. The kit decals are your only option for something like this and they look to be well done. Instructions are also nicely drawn and provide quite a bit of information to help build this one.


My personal experience with AZ kits has not been good, but then those were generally early kits. This one seems to be much newer and looks to be an interesting build.


May 2011

I got mine at where you can find many other interesting kits and accessories.

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