Eduard's delightful little Avia B-534 returns to take its place in the simplified Weekend Edition series. By their own admission, modelling the Avia was something of a labour of love for Eduard's designers, as the aircraft holds a unique place in the hearts of Czech aviation enthusiasts. Their attention to detail is evident throughout the kit which comprises:
83 x pale olive styrene parts
1 x injected windscreen
Decals for a single colour scheme
As with the original release, the moulding is excellent - crisp and precise, with no trace of flash or any sink marks. Surface detailing consists of finely engraved panel lines and louvres, with subtly-handled fabric areas, which include rib tapes and stitching on the flying surfaces.
In common with the rest of the Weekend kits, the big change compared with the standard version is the lack of any etched parts. With plenty of detail on the plastic parts, this is no great loss and the cockpit is still nicely kitted out. What you do miss is the seat harness and, this being the open cockpit B-534 III-série, you might want to treat yourself to a set of Eduard's aftermarket belts to fill the gap.
With no etched parts, rigging is somewhat simplified, lacking the sleeves at the root of each wing wire. This does makes life easier, especially for less experienced biplane-builders, because the etched parts were quite fiddly to attach and prone to damage.
Instructions & Decals
While the plastic parts are superb, things have slipped a bit with the instructions because they are printed out of sequence and partly upside-down. Everything you need is there - it's just a bit of a shock to see such a muddle, as Eduard's instructions are generally well above par. The diagrams themselves are beautifully drawn and easy to follow - although Stage 5 (obviously taken from the original kit release) is misleading in showing the non-existent seatbelts.
There's no separate rigging diagram, but the wires are clearly depicted in the other views. Painting details are included throughout and keyed to the Gunze Sangyo range. Decals are included for one scheme, illustrated in colour on the top and side of the box:
"V4", No. 2 Air Regiment, 51st Fighter Flight, Olomouc, Czechoslovakia, May 1937 - March 1939
The decals are excellent quality. They are perfectly in register and the glossy items are extremely thin, with minimal carrier film.
Eduard's Avia B-534 series are a real treat for biplane enthusiasts - highly detailed and reasonably straightforward. Even in this simplified form, the III-série isn't a total beginner's kit, but it would make a fine intermediate project for anyone who's mastered the basics and is looking for the next challenge.
Considering their affection for the Avia, I'm sure the guys and girls at Eduard are kicking themselves for taking their eyes of the ball over the instructions, but I'm certain they'll ensure they're correct for the enclosed cockpit IV-série which I think we can count on also appearing soon as a Weekend Edition.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Beautifully moulded and detailed. High quality decals.Lows: Muddled instructions.Verdict: This is an excellent and well-priced model of a very attractive aircraft.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...