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Latécoère 298 B - Don't be afraid of short run kits ...

built by Christian Jakl (1:48)


This aircraft was put into service by the French air force just prior to World War II. It was intended as a reconnaissance aircraft as a torpedo bomber and anti-submarine aircraft. There was even the intention to use it as a dive bomber and a ground attack aircraft. After the French surrender, the Vichy as all as the Free French government used the aircraft and even the Luftwaffe used some that had been captured.

The B version had double controls and a crew of four. The navigator had to sit in the rear part of the aircraft. One of the characteristics of the aircraft was the deep indentation in the fuselage. This served to accommodate torpedoes, a 500 kg bomb or an extra fuel tank. The Escadrille 3.S used the last of these machines on Lake Constance for police patrols. 1950 the last Latécoère was scrapped.

Don’t be afraid of short run kits

The exact definition of a "short run" kit is not very clear. It is a fact that they are produced by small entrepreneurs that do not present us with all the possibilities of the main stream manufacturers such as Tamiya or Hasegawa. This does not mean that these niche productions have to take second place. Besides they offer us products that the mainstream manufacturers won’t touch. One immediately recognizes these kits by the somewhat thick resin parts that are easily worked on.

All the detail that cannot be reproduced by the limited injection run is supplemented by these resin parts. Their quality cannot be surpassed by the many accessory manufacturers’ products. Azur produces their kits in the Czech Republic and that means quality. There should be no reason for the experienced modeler to build such a kit and beginners have the possibility to improve their skills and learn many new techniques.

The model

All that is needed is really included in such kits. Fine resin parts to enhance the cockpit, fine recessed panel detail on the plastic parts and even some photo etch parts are included. In other words everything is in the box and does not have to be bought. I decided to replace some of the thicker resin parts with scratch built replacements made from Evergreen stock. This was done mostly with the struts in the cockpit area and other metal parts like exhaust covers. Since the resin material is very soft it was easy to work the resin into the plastic engravings and rivet detail.

The construction of the connecting struts between the fuselage and the floats were replaced with oval resin strips from Rai-Ro since the supplied struts were too thick and were at the wrong angle according to a plan. The only problem was with the trolley from Signifier (SN 48009). Not because of the kit but because of the rubber gaskets on the trolley presented some fit problems. This was easily remedied with a little sanding and fitting.

Latécoère 298 B (1:48)

  Model built by Christian Jakl, photos taken by Wolfram Bradac  
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Such interesting subjects wants one to build more aircraft like this. Firms like AZUR, SIGNIFIER, MPM and SPEZIAL HOBBY fill this niche very well. With a little practice and usually after finishing two kits they become as easy to build as production kits. One thing is certain that the current crop of "short run" kits are a tremendous improvement of what had been offered in the past. The only danger is that the large manufacturers will begin producing the same quality models using injection molded parts.
  meet the modeler      

Christian Jakl

  I was born in Vienna in 1971 and now I live in the middle of the mountains in the Tyrol district. I am in marketing and my specialty is graphic design and layout. Ships, planes and automobiles is how it started and now I have taken up aircraft models only. I concentrate on the German and Soviet air force. My favorite mode of display are dioramas in 1/48 scale. Here I can let my imagination run wild and can produce many of parts. Experimentation and the use of new techniques are foremost on my mind. I also combine stock kits with other add onís and try out new tools. There is always a lot to learn.

It is not all that important to me if a detail is no exactly in the right spot; the final product has to look right. If somebody stands in front of my model and is enthused then I did my job right. The only problem I have is the time factor and in this I probably not alone. I wish everybody a lot of fun with this page and hope that critiques and comments are forthcoming.
  Christian Jakl  
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This page:  GALLERY: Latécoère 298 B - Don’t be afraid of short run kits ... (1:48) - built by Christian Jakl
was last modified on: Mar 26, 2007
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Translation into English by Werner Stocker (Ft. Myers, FL USA).
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