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Old 10-13-2014, 08:39 AM
Leif Ohlsson's Avatar
Leif Ohlsson Leif Ohlsson is offline
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RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48

I am very happy to realize that a bunch of you evidently have found the reworked PZL-55 in 1/16 scale attractive enough to get it from Ecardmodels. Thank you!

By the time I got that pleasant surprise work was already underway on the next project in the same vein. Here it is:



This time it is not only a reworked, rescaled, and repainted model by Marek – it was also a very thorough lesson in history for me. Scouring the web for images of this, Poland's most produced aircraft until 1939, of which not a single airframe remains extant today, I unexpectedly found that it had played a very special role in the Jewish resistance movement against the British in Palestine during the 1930s.

Exploring that path took me deep into sources in Hebrew and Polish that would have been unintelligible if it weren't for the resources available to us today. At a push of a key those rare sources got completely transparent and intelligible. Thank you, internet translation services!

I also got quite immersed in the generous digitalized archive of the Polish Aviation Museum, where the original instructions for the RWD-8 are readily available, including fabulous see-through skteches.

The results of this is included in the kit, and I'll soon get to it. By way of introduction, and to immerse you in the period, let me first take you directly to Palestine in the late 1930s, by way of this film clip from the Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:



What you will see in this 7-minute long film clip is the flying school at kibbutz Afikim, just south of the Sea of Galilee. It was quite interesting to be able to date the clip (although no date is given; in the model I discuss how it is still possible to date it) to a period just after March 1938. What we see on the surface is a seemingly innocent flying club taking a few round the field flights in two RWD types, the RWD-8 and the RWD-13 – and the RWD-8 flown in the clip is the very aircraft modeled here, VQ-PAK! In addition your will see how the wings of the RWD-8 is folded back and the aircraft hauled back to its hangar.

What really goes on is the Haganah resistance movement training pilots for starting the very first Jewish airline in Palestine. It would very soon play a larger role than that, flying liason & medical rescue missions for Haganah during the Arab-Jewish hostilities at the time, and keeping a life-line open for the isolated kibbutzims under siege.

Enough for now. Let's take a look at what has been modeled here.
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RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-01-cover.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2014, 08:43 AM
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Leif Ohlsson Leif Ohlsson is offline
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Introducing the RWD-8 Polish 1931-39 trainer

In the original 1/33 scale kit Marek has modeled two versions of the military version of the RWD-8, used as a trainer for both pilots and paratroopers, with an open tub-like cockpit and no cowling between pilot and passenger/parachutist. His model includes an extra version of tapered wings used only on the prototype, plus a mid-cockpit cowling transforming the open tub to two separate cockpits, each with its own windshiled. The kit is recommended for those who wish to recreate any of those military versions.

My version is of the civilian RWD-8, painted in the standard scheme of red & silver, as used on most of those aircraft used by Polish flying clubs, with at definitely fixed and integrated two-bay cockpit cowling. The main difference of course is the VQ-P insignia, denoting British protectorate of Palestine:



What you get on this page is a condensed history of the type, its designers, the differences between the aircraft coming out of different factories, the engine, and how the particular aircraft modeled, VQ-PAK, ended up in Palestine.

There is much more to say about that, but first a few images of the RWD-8s used by flying clubs in Poland during the 1930s:

RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-fourview-sp-amt.jpg RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-rwd-8-folded-wings.jpg RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-rwd-8-sp-zhp-glider-tow.jpg RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-sp-alb.jpg RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-sp-bbe.jpg

The first image above, a four-view of SP-AMT, was very helpful for determining the color scheme, which is identical to the RWD-8s ending up in Palestine. The second is interesting, since it shows very well what the wings looked like when folded back for transport and storage. Then follows photos of two different RWD-8s (SP-ZHP and SP-ALB), both equipped for glider towing. Note the cumbersome tubular frame required for the tow-wire to clear the rudder & fin. Last a rather nice photo of a family outing on a summer's evening. I hope they all got to fly with the SP-BBE in the background! (Which, interestingly and in distinction to the other photos in this array, is of PWS-manufacture, as can be seen from the mid-section cockpit cover, and the single exhaust with a cowling of its own; this is not the DWL-manufactured version modeled here.)

A good source for all about Polish RWD-8s is Samoloty w Lotnictvie Polskim (translated version). Other images above come from a simple image search.
Attached Thumbnails
RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-02-plan-sideview.jpg  

Last edited by Leif Ohlsson; 10-13-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:46 AM
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Leif Ohlsson Leif Ohlsson is offline
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Getting to know the model

The usual page of all details visible on the finished model has been complemented with all new details made for this particular aircraft:



As you can see above, I couldn't help myself from making a 1:1 sketch of a possible electric motor installation (for show only). The point here is that at 1/16 scale there is ample room for such an installation. Continuing, we get to Marek's own instructional sketches:



Most of the instruction sketches have been collected on the page above. The original sketches have been cleaned up and arranged for better clarity. The sketch of the wing centersection struts and rigging was particularly in need of getting as clear as possible.

I have modified cockpit details to reflect what photographs of the original show, the most important change being full instrument panels & engine control levers in both cockpits.
Attached Thumbnails
RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-03-full-size-nose-instr.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-04-instr.sketches.jpg  

Last edited by Leif Ohlsson; 10-13-2014 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:49 AM
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Leif Ohlsson Leif Ohlsson is offline
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Sample of parts pages



Starting with the cockpit interior skin & details above, you will notice the double panels & engine dual controls. Note also the subtle shading, and simulated stringers of wood, which would have been placed outwards of the framework. Here, they are just painted on the interior skin, and shaded appropriately. As usual, I have taken the liberty of exchanging the rather boring grey of the interior to various shades of interior green and zinc chromate.



The page with exteror skin of the fuselage center section contains a lot of interesting details, among them the exposed oil tank, inserted into a cut-out of the lower left section of the fuselage. This would have been for cooling purposes. A similar arrangement can be found on the Tiger Moth.

I have applied what I learned from the PZL-55 about making part & detail outlines in darker shades of the underlying colors, so that all such lines appear to be of the same darkness, while in fact they are of very different colors. It is most effective!

In addition, I learned a good way of making shadings to simulate fabric covering over strings. Note the difference between fabric over stringers, and fabric over ply, in part 21 above. Shadings, too, are made from the same color as the underlying surfaces, which requires appplying quite sophisticated masks…



This becomes quite evident when insignia letters (above) all are to get their individual masks and shading, and yet the impression should be that the shading is equal over both red and silver.

As for the rendering of silver paint, I have always thought that rendering it as grey very often is results in too dark a result. Here, I've chosen to go a tad towards very light yellow & brown, resulting from reflections of the Middle East sun in sand and rocks. A model depicting an aircraft parked on tarmac or grass in northern areas probably should be more towards green/grey/blue. So this model is tailormade for Palestine in the 1930s!
Attached Thumbnails
RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-06-interior-skin.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-07-exterior-skin.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-09-rear-fuse-skin.jpg  
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:51 AM
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Leif Ohlsson Leif Ohlsson is offline
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Sample of detail pages



Leafing a bit further into the part pages, the one with fin & landing gear parts demonstrate what the shading looks like on the rudder surface, indicating areas where there was no ply under the fabric.

The landing gear has been redesigned to reflect the bungee-cord type shock absorbers used on all DWL-manufactured RWD-8s.



The page with the left wing tip skin above demonstrates what the shading looks like on the wing parts, and over insignia as well. I am very happy to have learned how to go about accomplishing this.



One page of frames (above) will serve to illustrate what they look like. I have redrawn them with only outlines, which will enable builders to print them on colored copy paper (light grey or something like this) rather than white, which will give rather nice frames to look at while building (even if it won't be visible when assembled.

The red on the outside of the wheels will be covered with a particular wheel-cover part, so there will be no loss of quality there. The inside may suffer just at little bit from being printed on grey paper, though…
Attached Thumbnails
RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-11-fin-landing-gear.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-13-wing-tip-skin.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-18-frames-tail-wheels.jpg  

Last edited by Leif Ohlsson; 10-13-2014 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:00 AM
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Leif Ohlsson Leif Ohlsson is offline
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History pages

The material in the history pages of the kit is what really triggered me reworking this model:



On the first of these six pages (above) the subject of Jewish Haganah aircraft is introduced, including a full list of all VQ-P registered aircraft (denoting British Protectorate of Palestine; see Air History: Israel/Palestine VQ-P 1930-48).

The close-up of the pilot in his cockpit shows the full instrument panel also in the rear seat, and the fold-up flap in the right wing root. On this page there is also a clickable link included in the pdf-kit to the film clip already referred to.




The second page above is filled with some very rare photos from the flying school at Kibbutz Afikim. They are taken by Naftali Oppenheim, who most likely also shot the film clip from which many stills of the RWD-8 seem to be taken. He was one of the founder of the Kibbutz Ein Gev (”Wall and Tower”) in 1937, and continued to document the Hebrew construction works in the Jordan valley during the entire 1930s and ‘40s.

See this article in Hebrew (translated version): "The first pilot course in Israel". If your interest is peaked by it, see also Naftali Oppenheim's photos from the construction works during the 1930-40s in the Jordan valley (translated version).

The photos above were very valuable to identify & corroborate details not shown previously on any drawing.




The same goes for the photos above of members of the first pilot class of the Haganah flying school at Afikim. Several details identified here were added to (or subtracted from) the kit.




A good source for the history of Polish RWD aircraft in Palestine is Jewish.org.pl, a Jewish Polish organization (translated version). Photos like these can also be found at the Israeli government Flickr photo stream. Samoloty Polskie has an excellent section on "RWD in Palestine and Israel" (translated version).




On this page (above) you get a condensed version of the Aviron Aviation Company, the first Jewish aviation company in Palestine. Pilots for this company were trained at the Afikim flying school. See also "Aviron is founded", at the Israeli Air Force website.




The last of the history pages (above) is very special. It tells the intriguing life story of "Jenka" (Yevgeni or Gideon) Ratner, a young Jewish emigrant from Russia who learnt to fly at the Haganah flying school, then became a Haganah special operations bombmaker; later on a bomb designer for the British during WWII; and still later the head of the secret group who managed to create an Israeli nuclear weapon.

His confident smile in the photo above would soon turn into tears as one of his bombs unintendedly will sink a refugeeship in Haifa harbor. The intended purpose was to stop the British authorities from deporting these Jewish refugees from Europe to Mauritius. Which in turn is only one small part of the tragic and conflict-ridden history of this part of the world.

For an Hebrew source of Jenka Ratner (translated), see this entry of the Hebrew Wikipedia. For an account of how the Israeli nuclear bomb came about, see the Google book excerpt from "The Bomb in the Basement: How Israel Went Nuclear" by Michael Karpin. For the large photo of Jenka with the VQ-PAK modeled here, see Wikimedia Commons. Note that the date given in the family album probably is off; in the kit I argue it must be from 1937 at the earliest, since that is when the VQ-PAK was registered.
Attached Thumbnails
RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-21-history-1.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-22-history-2.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-23-history-3.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-24-history-4.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-25-history-5.jpg  

RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-26-history-6.jpg  

Last edited by Leif Ohlsson; 10-13-2014 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:35 AM
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:52 AM
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The interesting piece of history.
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Old 10-13-2014, 11:26 AM
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Leif's reworked model is now available on Ecardmodels....you can get the model here:
1/16 RWD-8 - Jewish Flying Club VQ-PAK - Paper Model
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Last edited by 3Turner; 10-13-2014 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 10-13-2014, 11:54 AM
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What a coincidence, Leif.

In the last months I have recolored and lately started to build the very same plane - the RWD-8 VQ-PAK but in 1:33 scale.

I chose to recolor the model of the RWD-8 published by MPModel in their 4/2009 issue. Like you, I have also done an extensive search after information and photos from that period in order to recolor the plane as accurately as possible.

Some photos of my recolor are attached.

Theo
Attached Thumbnails
RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-031.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-055.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-059.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-064.jpg   RWD-8 in 1/16 scale as flown by the Jewish resistance in Palestine 1937-48-073.jpg  

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