Kit: No. P72-002
Manufacturer: Olimp Models, available from Joe's Models, P.O. Box 81, Verona, NJ 07044-0081
Comments: 97 parts, decals
Pros: Accurate outlines and "look," multiple versions available
Cons: Warped parts, tricky rigging
No airplane exemplifies the early history of American aviation better than the Curtiss Jenny. Olimp has released no fewer than three versions of the JN-4 in 1/72 scale, with its close cousin, the N-9 floatplane, due out soon. Versions kitted so far are the early JN-4A/D, the JN-4H/Navy JNS-1 (reviewed here), and the gunnery trainer JN-4HG. Each kit comes with all the parts to build the gunnery version, so builders of the earlier versions will have two full sets of guns to stock their parts bins.
I began by removing the nose of the early JN-4A/D and replacing it with the blunter one for the JN-4H. Careful measurement and trimming are needed to obtain a good fit. The kit has good detail, including "pinched" fuselage fabric and an adequate cockpit. The cockpit floor is too wide to allow the fuselage halves to close fully; a little filing solved the problem.
Each wing is molded in three pieces, and the outer wing sections in my kit were warped slightly. Warming the panels over a candle flame and a gentle twist brought them back to shape. I painted the Jenny Testor Model Master marine green and chrome yellow. The decals are quite fragile, but the white lettering is dense and didn't let the green paint underneath bleed through. The decals for the horizontal tail stripes were grossly oversize so I painted them on. After painting and decaling, I used a No. 80 drill to make holes for the rigging wires.
When the assemblies were dry, I installed the upper wing after drilling holes in the struts and wings and reinforcing the joints with wire pins. I used two-pound-test fishing line to simulate the rigging. I know I left off some of the wires, but there are enough there to give the Jenny a finished look.
Olimp's Jenny captures the look of the full-size aircraft nicely. It takes some work to straighten the model's wings and add the myriad wires, but the effort is rewarded in the finished product. The extra parts were a nice bonus for the 30 hours of modeling I spent.
- Chuck Davis