Matso's Airships

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JFS Graf Zeppelin

As I understand it, this kit has been around for quite some time. Its quality shows in just about every regard - this is another fine project.

Once again, the hull exterior is supported by formers on the inside of the hull. The main gondola and engines are simply attached to the exterior of the ship. The few details are printed on the hull panels, including the "Graf Zeppelin" on the forward part of the ship. A minor historical point - the name was actually printed in scarlet, not black as on the model.

The only real problem I found is that the name, which is printed across three hull sections, does not accurately line up on the port side. This is easily remedied by displaying the model starboard side out! Otherwise, the fit of all parts is solid and presents no problem for an advanced beginnner. Accurately lining up the hull sections when assembling the model is the key to success with the Graf. The hull is so long and narrow that any "banana" shape to the ship will be obvious! In 1:200 scale, the model is 46" long and very impressive, printed in metallic silver-gray.

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JFS Hindenburg
The most famous (or notorious) of all the rigid airships, the Hindenburg, is represented here in 1:200 scale. This JF Schreiber model is definitely not a beginner's project, as many of the compound curved surfaces call for an experienced hand in assembly.

Graphically, this model is gorgeous. The exterior is printed in two-tone metallic silver (though the tail fins lack the swastika emblems). The "hindenburg" name on the forward hull is in brilliant red, and the interior details are all in their authentic colors.

Detail is the name of the game with this kit, as the passenger public rooms and control gondola are complete with tables, chairs, desks, the Bluthner baby grand piano, control wheels, name it. Each of the four engine gondolas has its own Daimler diesel engine and radiator. Each of the dining tables has four place settings!

Unfortunately, once you have placed the passenger quarters inside the hull, you can't really see any of this wonderful detail, even with the windows cut out. Likewise for the gondolas. If you're into building the details just so you'll know they are there, great. You could also build this model without cutting out all those windows and without installing the interior furnishings, and it would still be pretty impressive at 49" in length.

Beware of some of the curved surfaces, though. The bottom of the control gondola and each of the four engine gondolas gave me all sorts of trouble. And the photo-instructions are sketchy at best. There are a lot of really small parts in this kit, and unless you know your way around an airship, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure out where they all go.

The hull, like most other rigid airship models, is supported from inside by formers. I recommend reinforcing these formers with foam board, or very thick cardstock, to keep them from bending much during installation. Otherwise you will wind up with very warped hull sections, and they will be impossible to align properly. At its widest, the hull is about eight inches across, so there's a lot of room for error!

I recommend this kit if: you know the Hindenburg well enough to figure out all those parts, and if you have lots of experience with compound curved surfaces. Overall, it's fairly difficult and would represent a good challenge for an experienced modeler. The kit is marked as a "2" difficulty level on a scale of 0-3...I would upgrade that to a "3".

Matso's Scratchbuilt Airships.

R.101.jpg - 6676 Bytes  R-100.jpg - 7403 Bytes  ZRS5.jpg - 5633 Bytes  LZ127.jpg - 7898 Bytes

Review and pictures by Matso Limtiaco.

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This page was created by:
Saul H. Jacobs M.Ed.
Microcomputer Technology
Pima Community College
Tucson Arizona