Classic Planes 1/72 Gee Bee R-1/R-2 in-box review

by Tjepke Heeringa

This is a review for the new [1999] limited run 1/72 Classic Planes Gee Bee R-1. Classic Planes is produced by a model shop in Essen, Germany. They specialise in racers and aerobatics aircraft. Others kits they are planning are a 1/72 Extra 300, and maybe a Gee Bee model Z. I happened to pick one up at the 1999 Dutch IPMS Nationals, but it should be available from Hannants soon. The kit cost me Hfl 22, about US$ 10.

For this money you get a fairly small box with one injection molded parts tree containing 20 parts, two vacuformed canopies, a small decal sheet and a folded A-4 sized instruction sheet. The parts are nicely molded in light grey plastic, with fine, even delicate, engraved panel lines. The fabric covering on the rear fuselage is nicely represented by raised lines. The parts have little flash, and the only sinkholes I could find were on the wheel pants. Not surprising for a limited run kit, the parts are fairly thick.

The model consists of two fuselage halves with a separate cowling, a right and left wing and two (identical) tailplanes. A nice engine is provided, as is a propeller with separate blades (which need thinning down). Each landing gear leg consists of a single part. The interior consists of a floor with rudder pedals, bucket seat, control column, rear bulkhead and a small half-round piece that could either be the headrest or the instrument panel (I canít tell).

You get two canopies, so if you were to screw one up youíve got a spare. They're nice and very clear (though quite small). The canopy frames are a bit too pronounced for my liking, and there is a molding pip visible on the main frame.

Decals are nicely printed in three colors: white, red and black. You get markings for both race numbers 7 and 11, and a lot of small stenciling. Also included are scallops for the wings and for the wheel pants, but not for the fuselage. The instructions consist of half a page of Gee Bee history and some 3-view drawings showing markings. Unfortunately, there are no construction remarks or a guide for decal placement.

Although the box claims to be for the R-2 version as well as for the R-1 (and you even get the decals for it), you only get the larger R-1340 engine and matching cowling for the R-1. If you want to build an R-2, youíll have to find an R-985 somewhere and modify the cowling.

Iíve compared the model with plans by Harry Robinson, generally the model fits the plans very well. The fuselage is spot-on, only the rudder is about 1mm short in chord. The wings are nicely shaped, but taper too much near the ailerons, so the chord is 1mm too small there. Span is okay. The wheel pants are a bit too pointed front and rear.

The bottom line? I think a lot of people are looking forward to a nice, affordable 1/72 Gee Bee. And although itís not perfect, I think Classic Planes have created a model that fits the bill.

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