Kopro 1/72 S.328 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||October 2007||Manufacturer||Kopro|
|Kit Number||006||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$8.98|
The S.328 was an unremarkable biplane designed to meet a Finnish requirement for a two-seat reconnaissance bomber and first flew in prototype form in 1932. The type was an equal-span biplane of fabric-covered metal construction with open two-seat accommodation, a plain tail unit with a strut braced horizontal surface, a staggered single-bay wing cellule with N-type interplane struts and ailerons on the upper and lower surfaces, and fixed tailskid l landing gear including a main unit of divided type. The Finnish air force lost interest in the type which was then s saved from oblivion by a Czechoslovakia order placed in 1934. The type was built over a five-year period to the extent of some 445 aircraft.
After their occupation of Czechoslovakia in 3/39, the Germans seized all the surviving aircraft and kept most of them in service as trainers, although a number were used as night harassment aircraft over the eastern front in 1942 carrying small loads of 4.4lb bomblets. Others were transferred to Croatia in 1939 and Bulgaria in 1940. Between August and October 1944 the type saw its last service when three such aircraft were operated by the Combines Squadron of the Slovak insurgent air force against the Germans during the Slovak national rising.
S.328N: This was the night fighter version with 4 fixed and 2 trainable 7.92 mm machine guns but no provision for bombs or reconnaissance cameras. 13 were built.
S.328V: This designation was applied to four twin-float seaplane target tugs used at the Czechoslovak Air Force training school on Yugoslavia’s Adriatic coast.
S.528: This was a development of the S.328 with a Walter (Gnome-Rhone) 14Krsd radial engine rated at 800 hp. Six were built for the Czechoslovakian air police.
This kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a Letov S.328 on floats making a take-off run off the water. There is a battle ship and a coastline shown in the background. It is in generic Czech Air Force markings and is painted khaki above and light blue below with bare metal floats. It has a Czech tricolor, done as a pennant below the pilots cockpit. The pennant is supposed to have the black serial no. S.328.1v above it.
In usual practice, This serial number would just be on the left side, However the pennant appears to go both sides, but this number is missing on the decal sheets. Some small black dry transfer letters, available in the HO railroad section of most hobby shops could be used to put together this serial number I suppose.
A side panel shows a color profile of a S.328 on wheels and in the same two colors, but with the white fuselage code A8. It seems that this code was reversed on the other side, so that the “A” always faced forward on the fuselage…making it 8A on that side. Next to the fuselage codes there is a squadron marking of a white square with a red Cross of Lorraign on it. There is a small black serial no. S.328.110 below the front pilots cockpit on just the left side.
On the other side panel is still another S.328 color profile (same colors) on wheels, with different national insignia and the call letters S-76 in white on the side of the fuselage. This one carries the black serial no. S.328.61 below the pilots cockpit on just the left side. It says that this is the SNP version, but I don’t know what SNP stands for? The Czech roundels on this last one have a white Cross of Lorraign at the top over a black wavy sea like line. Not the plain red, white and blue segmented circle like on the first two schemes mentioned.
Inside the box are two light gray trees of parts, two loose fuselage halves, four halves of two floats and a tree of clear parts that includes a 2 part stand. There are two decal sheets and the instructions that complete the kits contents. None of these items is in a cello bag.
The first light gray parts tree holds: the cockpit floor, engine, cowling, exhaust pipes, pilot seat, wheeled landing gear parts (optional), prop, dashboard, bombs on wing racks, wing strutwork, machine gun and its ammo drums, foot pedals, pilot figure, joy stick etc. (47 parts) I noticed that there is a lot of flash around the main wheels. However, that was the only flash noticed in the kit.
The second light gray tree holds: the upper and lower wings, the horizontal tail surface part, the rudder and some more struts (9 parts) All flaps and the rudder flap are all molded solid.
The last light gray parts are all LOOSE. They are the fuselage halves, and the halves of the 2 floats. (6 parts)
The clear tree holds the windscreen, a couple of fuselage windows and a 2 part stand (5 parts).
There are two decal sheets in the kit. (markings on them described above, with the box art description)
The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages.
The first page of the instructions begins with a black and white profile drawing of the aircraft shown on the box lid side panel. This is followed by the history of the Letov S.328 in Czech only.
The second page begins with some paragraphs, that are each numbered, in Czech again. I haven’t a clue as to what is being said here? The bottom of the page is the parts tree drawings
Pages 3 and 4 give 6 assembly steps, called out alphabetically (B to G, A being to mark the parts trees drawings). You can opt to arm the aircraft or not, put a wheeled undercarriage or floats on it. There are paragraphs of more Czech text next to these assembly drawings. Sure wish KP had done these in English too.
Pages 5 and 6 give us the drawings for the 3 schemes offered on the decal sheets. There is a 2 profile view of the wheeled version, that is armed, with A8 on the side, a view of the top and bottom of the wings and a side view of an unarmed float version. The third version, shown on page 6, is the SNP version, on wheels and armed with the code S-76 on the side. Unlike the aircraft with A8 on the side of it, that becomes 8A on the other side, the S-76 code on this one remains the same on both sides. The is some more paragraphs in Czech here. I assume they talk about the colors and markings.
This is an interesting kit of a kind of obscure aircraft. At least I didn’t know what a Letov S.328 was until my pen pal in Krakow traded me this kit years ago.