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Dekno Howard DGA-15P/NH-1

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale aircraft kit
Kits of civilian aircraft are relatively rare in 1/72 scale, and even more so if they’re from the Golden Age of the 1930s and ’40s. Dekno Models of Spain is one company that offers interesting options from this era in resin, although many come with military markings — sheep in wolves’ clothing.

Dekno’s newest release is a Howard DGA-15P — dubbed DGA (for Damned Good Airplane) by its designer, Benjamin Howard. 

The robust, stylish personal transport was pressed into military service in World War II, serving the U.S. Navy as an NH-1 “blind flying” instrument trainer as well as overseas as an ambulance with Free French forces. Both options are included in the Dekno kit.

Cast in an eye-catching powder blue resin, the parts are detailed and well defined. The smaller detail parts are a bit over-scale and are difficult to remove from their pour plugs. However, it was a pleasant surprise that the resin struts were easily removed, thanks to the molded-in gaps in the plugs.

The resin is resilient and reasonably strong — I didn’t have to replace any broken parts. Clear resin windows are included, and while they were quite thick they fit exceptionally well.

I added Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG) to the windscreen to enhance its clarity, along with a touch of filler at the top where it meets the wing.

A full interior is included, along with a separate cabin door that can be posed open — although the thickness is over-scale. Be aware that the decals are sealed with a carrier film over the entire sheet, not the individual images. I found that out while attempting to apply the instrument panel decal — better then than later!

The fuselage halves needed sanding along the mating surfaces to even them up prior to gluing them — my sanding must have been a bit too exuberant, because I had to restore some material at the nose with a piece of styrene rod stock.

I painted the detailed one-piece engine casting and mounted it inside the one-piece cowling prior to adding it to the fuselage using the alignment tab molded on the nose — well-designed, Dekno!

I had chosen the Navy NH-1, which includes green stripes on the wing — Testors willow green — so I left the struts off for masking. Otherwise, the full airframe was assembled and painted, leaving off only the prop and petite tail wheel. After first spraying the stripes, I masked them and applied Tamiya flat aluminum.

Decals were trimmed as closely as possible, then applied; they settled down nicely. After the window masking was removed, I added simple rigging lines at the tail — not shown clearly on the artwork or mentioned in the instructions — and the Howard was finished.

I spent a little more than 10 hours on this charming little kit and, while I wish it had at least one civilian decal option, it was an impressive and simple build. I will have to try some more of Dekno’s forgotten flyers, like a Stinson Reliant, or …

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2018 issue.
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