High Planes Red Baron RB-51
A Rolls Royce Griffon powered Mustang with contra-rotating props - how cool is that?! Steve Hinton set the world propellor driven speed record at 499.018 mph in August 1979 in the "Red Baron". The following month the RB-51 was completely destroyed and Hinton was badly injured at the Reno Air Races. The propellor blades went into flat pitch due to a lack of oil pressure to the prop governor - the supercharger gear drive (which drove the oil pump) had self destructed. Red Baron crashed into Lemon Valley and burst into flames. Fortunately Hinton recovered to fly again and won the unlimited race 6 years later in the R-4360 powered Super Corsair.
I'm a big fan of High Planes Models from Australia, not just for the quality of their kits but also for the subjects they model. I've always thought the highly modified warbirds in the unlimited class at Reno were some of the neatest and most colourful aircraft out there and would make for some fine lookin' models. Yet there were no kits available for a long time short of a few hard to find and very expensive resin kits. High Planes has a line of Reno racers in my favourite scale (and a growing line in 1/48th for the visually challenged) that are high quality limited run kits. They require more work than your average Japanese mainstream kit but the end result is worth the effort and the colourful racers really stand out amongst a collection of drab miltary types.
Everything went together well and I was quite impressed by the fit after the parts were cleaned of flash and the inevitable short-run moulding flaws, which were very few. I did have to build up the top of the cowling directly in front of the canopy with superglue to get a nice straight line, but I think this was an error I caused rather than a fault of the kit. A combination of a bit too much liquid cement and rubber bands that were too tight caused the sag. Oops. The resin wheel wells were very nice although I decided to go for the lean 'racy' look and closed the inner doors, effectively hiding most of the detail there. Excellent resin wheels, white metal gear legs, decals, and a beautifully clear vac-formed canopy finished the kit off nicely.
Darryl Greenamyer's Bearcat "Smirnoff" is the next racer on the workbench. Stay tuned....
Back to 1/72 Aircraft Main