by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Surfing the internet, something I spend more time than I should, I came across the very interesting restoration of a Boeing 40C a couple of years ago by Pemberton and Sons Aviation based at Spokane, Washington.
The Boeing 40 series and many similar mail/passenger aircraft really capture the imagination with the bravery of their pilots flying night and day and in bad weather. I am delighted to see that Czech Master Resin have produced a 1/72 multi media model to celebrate the aircraft and the restoration.
The Boeing Model 40 designed as mail plane would be the first aircraft built by the Boeing company to carry passengers. It was of conventional biplane configuration with a combination of standard and warren truss inter plane struts. Originally designed to compete for a US Mail contract in 1925, it was rejected in favor of the Douglas M-2.
The design was revived in 1927 as part of Boeing's tender for newly privatised airmail routes. Designated the Model 40A, this variant was powered by an air-cooled Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine, which offered a 200 lb weight saving over the water cooled Liberty engine specified by the postal service in 1925. Although the primary purpose of the aircraft was to carry mail, two passengers could be accommodated in the small cabin, allowing Boeing to operate it on any of the routes that the firm might bid for. The original fuselage design was changed to one using welded steel tubing. Boeing successfully bid on the San Fransisco-Chicago route, and Boeing Air Transport commenced operations on July 1, 1927 with 24 Model 40As.
CMR have chosen the only airworthy Boeing Model 40 for one of its marking options. . C5339 crashed into a mountain in Canyon Creek Pass near Canyonville, Oregon on October 2nd 1928. The pilot H. Grant Donaldson survived the crash, but his sole passenger a diamond broker D.P. Donovan did not. In 1993 Ron Bartley a member of the Oregon Aviation Historical Society found the wreckage after almost a ten year search. He was given permission to remove the wreckage and in the end salvaged approximately 200 parts with the intention of displaying them in a museum. Pemberton and Sons Aviation acquired the wreckage and as of February 17, 2008, Boeing 40C C5339 became the only airworthy example in the world. It also holds the title of the oldest flying Boeing in the world. After being recovered, it was completely rebuilt over an eight year period and with an estimated 18,000 man hours by Pemberton and Sons Aviation based at Spokane, Washington.
Very sturdy top opening box with reinforced ends. There is an excellent illustration on the box cover of the restored C5339 flying over a very wintry landscape. All resin parts are placed in multi cell plastic bags. Canopies, masks, decals and photo etched [PE] parts are sealed separately. Foam peanuts stop the parts from moving around too much.
-62 x resin parts approximately.
-4 x clear resin parts.
-1 x small pre coloured photo etched fret, produced by Eduard.
-1 x small non coloured photo etched fret, produced by Eduard.
-2 x small acetate sheets [windscreen].
-1 x kabuki paint mask set, produced by Eduard.
-1 x decal sheet.
-1 x A4 page parts guide.
-4 x A4 pages of instructions.
-4 x A4 page scheme guide.
-1 x A5 paint mask guide.
-1 x A5 data sheet, courtesy of Tom Kalina.
-5 x A4 'Boeing 40C in action' including 19 black and white photographic reproductions mostly from 1928
-6 x A4 'Boeing 40C in detail' including 32 black and white photographic reproductions of C5339 during and after it's rebuild.
-2 x A4 captions for 'Boeing 40C in detail'.
-1 A x 4 History of Boeing 40C 5339 by Don Hinton.
Cockpit & Passenger cabin: the cockpit has some good detail on the sidewalls. Coloured photo etched parts provide additional detail some of which require bending. Detail includes: throttle quadrant, fuel selector valve, and hand operated brake handle. There are two styles of rudder pedals one is photo etched, the other is resin. The resin seat has the option of using lap belts from the 1920's or more contemporary seat harnesses that comply with modern FAA regulations. All the belts and harnesses are pre coloured photo etched parts. The printed detail on the harnesses and belts is quite exquisite. The instrument panel appears to be based on the older style layout and not the one featured in the rebuild of 5339. As is the norm with Eduard photo etched instrument panels they are made up from two parts. The cockpit floor also forms the floor for the passenger cabin. The curved windscreen is cut out of a flat piece of thin acetate. The windscreen is outlined in black as a guide where to cut. CMR provide two windscreen just in case of mishaps. The venturi tube just forward and on the port side of the aircraft is nicely cast.
The passenger cabin has some interesting detail cast onto the walls including a couple of telephones with cables. The cabin floor includes the forward bulkhead which features a writing table. The table is stowed and indicated by recessed lines. The floor has marks which indicate the position of the staggered four leather passenger seats. The four seats are attached to a single block and each chair features some delicate detailing. Unfortunately there are no seat belts cast on them or supplied as photo etched parts. Seat belts could be easily scratch made although I am not sure how well you will see inside the cabin once the wings are attached. There is a photo etched 'Y' shaped brace to add to the cabin, just behind the forward seats. The passenger cabin looks as if it is lined with plywood, while the floor and ceiling have beige carpeting.
Fuselage: the two halves are split vertically. The level of detail on the outer surface is superb with a mix of recessed and raised lines and the recessed rivet/screw detail around the cockpit fairing . The stretched fabric effect over the fuselage frame work is refrained and reflects the look of the real thing. There is a film of thin flash over the passenger window, doors ways and the location points for the stubs of the lower wings. There are no casting blocks attached to either fuselage halves, but the remnants can be seen on the lower part of the fuselage halves. They will need cleaning up before joining.
Its good to see the two cabin doors on the port side are cast completely in clear resin with some additional photo etched door handles. The two windows on the starboard side are clear resin. The resin clear parts particularly for the windows are a bit thick and opaque, and you may want to replace them with some clear acetate or Kristal Klear.
The separate tail and rudder are one piece. There is a photo etched part that effectively replicates the corrugated panel that fits on top of the fuselage, just forward of the leading edge of the lower wing. Also a welcome inclusion are the photo etched straps that hold down the cargo bay doors on top of the fuselage directly behind the engine. Also to be added are two flare chutes directly beneath the cockpit.
Wings both lower wings are each cast in one piece, while the entire upper wing is one piece. Both upper and lower wings exhibit quite fine representations of the stretched fabric over the ribs. I do like the variation in the spacing where its required. The thin trailing edges have a slightly scalloped look as seen on the real thing. There is a good mix of recessed and raised detail on the wings, the inspection cover of the fuel tank on the upper wing has some really fine recessed screw or rivet detail around it. There is further detail to be added using photo etched parts for the fuel filler caps and control horns for the ailerons. A nice touch is the choice between retracted or extended landing lights on the lower wing. The locating holes for the inter plane struts look positive. The upper wing has it's casting block removed. Generally the area of separation is obvious, but in this instance it's difficult to spot. Running a finger over the leading edge reveals a little roughness where the cut off is located, a quick rub with wet & dry should soon sort it out. The lower wings have the casting blocks attached to the wing roots. The contact point is relatively thin and should present no problems detaching them. Just be careful you do not cut off the attachment stubs that fit into the fuselage. The aerofoil section along the span looks very good and there is no warpage at all. The rather obvious fairing for the navigation lights on the upper surface of the lower wings are separate parts. The inter plane and cabane struts of this two bay biplane are cast in the harder black coloured resin.
There is a rigging diagram indicating the double and single tension lines. Although not mentioned in the rigging diagram, the cables are aerodynamic in cross section. No rigging is included.
The two stabilisers are one piece casting attached to the same block and will take little effort to detach them. The detail again is very well done with raised lines depicting the tape over the ribs. There are positive holes on the under surface for the location of the four struts. Ideally the elevators need to be separated and repositioned in the dropped position when the aircraft is at rest.
There are photo etched control horns for all the control surfaces. You will need some thin plastic rod to scratch build the control rods for the horns, the dimensions are provided.
Engine: the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 9 cylinder Wasp engine is beautifully cast and will result in a superb replica with some careful highlighting. The push rods are separated from the cylinders, amazingly skillful work and illustrates the benefits of using resin. The two exhaust collectors each have a long exhaust pipes attached and are beautifully done. The the bend and chamfered outlets at the end of the pipes are nicely replicated. The delicate looking cap that fits in front of the engine is also nicely cast. The attachment point to the block has been kept to a minimum to ease detachment. The cap has been wrapped separately to avoid damage. The beautifully cast two blade propeller is one piece with very thin blades.
Landing Gear: the cross connectors are cast in the stronger black resin. I really like the way one of the cross connectors pass through an eye of the other. This is a delicate looking part and some care will be required removing the block and the thin film of resin attached to the cross connectors. The separate 'A' frame supports are separate and cast in black resin. There is a choice of two types of wheel one with smooth hubs and the other with rivet detail on the hubs. The older tail skid and the one piece tail wheel of the restoration are included.
Photo Etched Parts: the two sheets are produced by Eduard. The coloured fret has some incredible detail on it.
Decals are silk screen printed and described in one word they are superb. The decals have good colour depth and registration, the gold colour of the wings of the Boeing logo are beautifully done. The lettering is sharp with no sign of any ink bleeding.
Masks: the Kabuki masks are produced by Eduard. They are for 'C5390' option 'C' which has rather fetching French grey stabilisers and tail with Boeing green trim bordering the edges. The tape masks off the bulk of the tail surfaces for the application of the Boeing green.
Colour Schemes: there are four to choose from:
[A] Boeing Model 40C, C5339
In it's original Pacific Air Transport scheme of overall silver with International orange upper wing surface. Propeller is polished metal.
[B] Boeing Model 40C, C5339
The restored aircraft in it's Pacific Air Transport scheme of overall silver with International orange upper wing surface. Propeller is polished metal.
[C] Boeing Model 40C, C5390
Later Pacific Air Transport colour scheme of Boeing green fuselage and tail surfaces trim. Tail surfaces are French grey, the top of the upper wing is International orange. The rest of the wings are silver.
[D] Boeing Model 40C, C5390
Early Pacific Air Transport colour scheme of silver overall and International orange on the underneath of the lower wing and on the upper surface of the upper wing.
All colours have FS numbers
Instructions & Supplements: The diagrams are well drawn exploded line drawings with very helpful written details. For each colour scheme CMR provide port and starboard profile views of the aircraft and also a complete upper plan views. There are views of the lower wing and central fuselage.
As already mentioned the black and white images included with this release are a real bonus. There are 19 'in action' images and the 32 'in detail', the images are very good quality. The close up images help enormously when used in conjunction with the building instructions.
CMR instructions and information have to be some of the best in the business
This is an outstanding release from CMR. The quality of the parts, the attention to detail, the instructions, the supplementary historical background and images, present excellent value for money. CMR have replicated what should be a handsome looking 1/72 Boeing 40C. The nature of the subject means that previous experience building bi planes is essential. Very nicely done CMR.
Many thanks to Petr Buchr for the review sample.