Usually I don’t load my reviews with too much historical data. However, Enoch Tulin’s designs deserve some background information, and can possibly influence your decision to get the kit of this historically important and attractive airplane. Many people know that Enoch Thulin, the name behind the type D, was the Swedish aviation pioneer famous for his French influenced airframe designs. He started with a modified Bleriot type, but later switched his interest to a Morane Saulnier designs. The type D, for instance, closely resembles the Morane Saulnier type L (Parasol). Thulin’s designs, however, were not mere imitations of the French counterpart; he improved the original designs by applying the streamlining aft of the engine cowling and fitted his airframe with the Thulin A 95hp rotary engine (Le Rhone Type C-9 engine). The type was later delivered to the Swedish military, but it was also used in his flying school near Linköping.
The Enoch Thulins Aeroplanfabrik AB
was situated in Landskrona, a small town in southern Sweden, northwest of Malmö. There both airframes and engines were produced, while Thulin gradually improved his designs in terms of their flight characteristics. The fighter type K, which was the latter fruit of the experience gained with earlier designs, was exported to Holland during the war, and some of the planes are still preserved in Swedish museums. It is historical curiosity that one type D was donated to Finland in 1918 by the Swedish aristocrat Eric von Rosen
, and became the first military aircraft in Finland. The plane was decorated with the blue swastika cross, the crest of the von Rosen’s, later to become the Finnish national insignia. The aircraft has been restored and is on display in the Finnish Airforce Museum. Should you wish to model this particular aircraft, you will have to order another kit from Omega models (#48018), because this one allows you to build only two (or three?) of the Swedish flown aircrafts. The dilemma over the exact number of aircraft that you are able to produce from the review sample is only reinforced by lack of detailed decal instructions.
The Omega model of Štemberk, Czech Republic, has already established fine reputation among dedicated and more advanced modellers with their short-run resin (and often multimedia) kits. This is particularly true of the Early Aviation subjects, although they hold in their catalogue many interesting aircraft from various eras and in different scales. Should there be any disclaimers prior to reviewing the kit, one must bear in mind that most of their kits this don’t fall together easily, and they are not particularly suited for a complete beginner.
Thulin type D comes in a very sturdy and top-opening cardboard box, with a trademark profile of the aircraft on the box cover. The contents of the box are stored safely and secured with a bubble wrap, while resin parts are packed in one single plastic bag and with five individual compartments to hold different parts. This is very good because it minimizes the friction between the parts, making the parts difficult to fall off the resin casting block or damage during transport.
The box holds:
- 47 resin parts;
- one copper photo-etched fret (25 parts);
- one decal sheet with two (or three?) marking options;
- one clear acetate film;
- two rubber tires;
- one steel wire rod (11,5 cm x 0,8 cm)
- two A-4 (6-fold, double side) instruction sheets.
fuselage and wings
The fuselage is a one piece resin cast with the cockpit hub. It is nicely cast with sharp details and subtle panel lines (only two, in fact). I did notice, however, that the tail skid location holes are a bit offset and asymmetrical, but the remedy should be quite simple. As in other resin parts, the surface texture is satin, and without major blemishes, warping or bubbles. Simulated linen is very nicely accentuated with very subtle, almost indiscernible x-patterned surface finish (see the main wing detail). I suppose this will render quite real linen effect under few light coats of light colour. The cockpit upper cover, on the other hand, shows minor casting imperfections, especially at the rear part around the opening. I advise you to repair this with a drop or two or thick gap-filling CA prior
to removing from the pour block, because you’ll minimize the chance of it being broken.
A two-piece main parasol wing is very nicely cast, but also very fragile and will require special care in order to be removed from the casting block. The photos are witness to their extreme thinness at the main wing trailing edge. I mentioned that the kit parts are generally free of major casting imperfections; in my review sample, however, I did spot one dicey casting mistake at the port side of the main wing trailing edge, right at the join between the wing and the pouring block. This will require particular care during its removal from the pouring block an later during assembly, or the wing might simply crack beyond repair. The elevator and the rudder shouldn’t pose any problem at all, since they are nicely cast in two parts and with same quality of surface finish.
Wing cabane and wing warping pylons are all cast in resin, and are – in my opinion – one of the weakest parts of this kit. To be honest, I don’t have any particular problem with their casting quality, but I do have some reservation in terms of their robustness to carry quite heavy parasol wing. When I set out to build this model, these will be the first candidates for iron or brass “strutz” that can withstand more weight with proper rigging reinforcements.
The Lateral control in these early designs was achieved by wing warping. The front wing spar is fixed by 6 upper-landing wires and 6 lower- flying wires. The rear spar is controlled by wires running through a pulley located at the top wire support pylon and an actuator lever at the lower wire support pylon. The actuator is coupled to the control column by wires. Hence by moving the control column the wires are activated. Having in mind the original design, those who would like to invest more in this kit should pay proper attention to a rather complex rigging. The reference drawing at the bottom of this review might assist you to get a proper idea of the rigging sequence. The kit, however, comes with a rather bleak rigging diagram, but I am quite sure that there is plenty of historical information available on the net to assist you. The lack of the proper and easily understandable rigging diagram is a minor downside in the kit’s instructions, unless you've decided to go around without the rigging.
the engine and the props
Thulin A 95hp closely resembled Le Rhone type C-9 engine, and is very much identical in appearance. The kit comes with a multipart engine, which consists of the cylinder block and crankcase, nine individual cylinder bodies with sufficient head and body detail, and separate pipes. The pushrods need to be scratched. The engine cover is nicely cast, and all the engine parts are satisfactory in level of detail, but there is a significant amount of resin flesh, particularly around the smaller parts and the cylinders. But as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of beholder. Nevertheless, if you intend to make a real contest stunner, there are many available Le Rhone resin engines on the market that can be easily adapted to your needs. The kit comes with a standard Thulin two bladed prop, which is nicely cast and with nicely detailed propeller head. If you are not satisfied with the detail of the propeller head, you can use the provided PE substitute. There is also an option to build a four-bladed version with a propeller hub, and you should consult your reference material prior to building a particular version of Thulin type D.
the cockpit, undercarriage and wheels
The earlier mentioned copper PE fret contains the etched cockpit frame, which was of tubular steel construction in the real aircraft, and is (naturally) flat in appearance. Nevertheless, PE cockpit frame, PE rudder pedals, and two resin seats are pretty much everything that you get to dress up the cockpit. There is another PE part (C), which probably belongs to the cockpit, but don’t look for the information in the instruction – it’s simply missing! The cockpit area will benefit from extensive scratchbuilding in order to achieve satisfactory level of detail. It would be pity to leave it bare, and it is crucial to consult some historical reference publications or photos.
The main undercarriage spars and tail skid are all nicely cast and warp-free. There is also a steel rod to model the main wheels axle, which will supposedly withstand the overall weight of the model. There are also several smaller PE pieces; various control connectors and actuators will provide a good basis for further detailing of the main undercarriage, tail skid, elevators and stabilizer. The wheel hubs are nicely detailed and cast, and there are two rubber tyres provided to complete the wheels. I am not particular fan of the rubber tires, but this is your only option, unless you find some replacement wheels.
instructions and decals
It is my overall impression that this kit could benefit from more instructive instruction sheet. Apart from fussy rigging diagram, the main instruction sheet holds basic information on the parts breakdown, as well as the exploded assembly diagram. I must say that the instruction is vague in places and rather confusing, and therefore you are advised to source for additional reference material. Apart from the engine, there are no particular painting instructions, although the required colours are listed in AGAMA and Humbrol equivalents.
The decals are thin with rather sharp colours, and printed almost in perfect register (see the photo). Apart from the profile on the box cover, there is instruction on the decal placement as well as how many painting schemes you could render from this kit. It seems that Omega models find the enclosed black-and-white photos to be sufficient information for a more dedicated modeller, but a beginner or uninitiated – for which this model is probably not intended – will have hard time on how to use the provided decals.
It is pretty much obvious that this kit is not a starter’s kit, and that it requires extensive research in order to achieve good results. On the other side, it is exactly the kind of kit that is bellowed among the more advanced modellers who cannot be scared off by the lack of basic information in the kit. Some scratchbuilding experience will prove quite essential, along with the regular skills required by the short run resin and multimedia kits. It is, however, my sincere belief that this kit could only benefit from more detailed and clear instruction, particularly during assembly, rigging, painting, and decaling.
In all other respects, this multimedia kit deserves high praise for the quality of casts – which is almost blameless – combined with rather peculiar attention to detail. Having in mind the lack of detail in certain areas (for instance, in the cockpit), it is all the more strange, really, that almost scrupulous attention to detail is exercised in others (for instance, surface finish). Knowing the passion and the verve of the modelling enthusiast behind it, I am sure that this kit will make you happy if you strive for more complex building experience. Should you wish to go with a bit more simple build, you may give it up in favour of converting the Eduard’s Morane Saulnier L. However, this little kit still holds many aces up the sleeve.
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