SMER 1/72 K-65 Cap (Fieseler Storch) Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||October 2007||Manufacturer||SMER|
|Subject||K-65 Cap (Fieseler Storch)||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||SR833 (153)||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat looking||Cons||None noticeable|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$8.98|
The K-65 “Cap” (Baret) was the Czech built version of the German Fiesler Storch. If I may digress a bit, I will start with the Storch.
The German Fieseler Storch (Stork) had amazing flight characteristics. It had full length fixed wing slats, Fowler-type flaps that increase the wing area by 18 % and ailerons that drooped with the flaps when they are extended past 20 degrees. Those long, spindly legs gave the plane the ability to land in awkward places, as they are able to absorb the shock of a hard landing and the wide stance made for stable landings in rough conditions.
The Storch was designed in 1935 by Fieseler, Mewes and Bachem, in response to a contest for a general utility airplane by the RLM. The plane flew for the first time May 24th, 1936. Among its key features was its maneuverability, extremely low stalling speed of 32 mph, and its short field takeoff and landing characteristics. In a head wind, it could almost hover like a helicopter. In late 1937, the Storch was accepted by the Luftwaffe and, throughout WWII, was widely used by German military forces for reconnaissance, liaison, ambulance, and other duties and by high ranking officers as personal transports. Between 1937 and 1945, the German Air Force accepted 2,871 Storches.
Initially the Storch was produced by the Fieseler Werke in Kassel, but from April 1942 on, a production was started at Morane-Saulnier in Puteaux, France. In October 1943 the Fieseler Werke started producing the FW 190 and production of the Storch was shifted to Puteaux.
At the same time, production was commenced at Leichtbau Budweis in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (better known as Czechoslovakia). Leichtbau Budweis built one Storch in 1943 and 72 the following year, before production was transferred to another Czech firm, Benes-Mraz in Chozen, who produced 64 units for the Germans. After the war, production of the Storch was continued in both France by Morane-Saulnier, as the MS.500 "Criquet", as well as in Czechoslovakia by Benes-Mraz, where it was named K-65 "Cap" (Baret). This is the subject of this Smer kit.
Smer is a model company based in Prague, Czechoslovakia. They are a really prolific manufacturer of 1/72nd scale aircraft kits. This one was traded to me by a pen pal in Krakow, Poland many years ago.
The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a K-65 flying over open country with a glider in the background. It is unclear whether the K-65 is the tow aircraft for that. The K-65 is in overall aluminum finish with the black call letters OK-ZEG on the fuselage sides. It has the Czech tri-color flag on the rudder. The call letters are again repeated above and below the wings in larger black letters.
On a side panel of the box is another scheme for the K-65. It is a Czech Air Force aircraft in overall khaki, with the white fuselage code V-13 and the Czech roundels on the rudder sides and wings. The underside is light blue. We are not told what squadron that would be.
Inside the box is one cello bag that holds 3 light gray trees of parts and 2 parts of a clear stand. A second cello holds a tree of clear cabin windows. The decal sheet and instructions complete the contents of the kit.
All the trees have a tab on them that has the raised lettering “Fiesler”, which leaves me to believe that the only difference between this kit and the Fiesler one…with Luftwaffe markings on the box art….is the decal sheets and the box arts. One could easily return this model to Luftwaffe by putting the German markings on it.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that is folded into 4 pages and then folded several more times to fit the box.
Page one of the instructions starts with black and white repeat of the box art. This is followed by the history of the K-65 in Czech only.
Half of page 2 has a blow by blow text in Czech of how to proceed with assembling the kit. Too bad it isn’t in English. The other half of the page all of page 3 holds 10 assembly steps. In step no. 8, you decide on an alternate cabin roof part. One option there is for a longer part with no rear facing machine-gun. The other, is a shorter roof piece with the machine gun exiting it at the rear. There are also options for two different horizontal tail surfaces, of different dimensions, to decide on. Half of page 3 also has a list of the names of the kit parts, again only in Czech. This way of laying out the instruction sheets seems to run through all the Smer kits I notice.
The fourth, and final page, of the instructions has a three-view of the civilian version of the K-65, in overall aluminum (described above) and a side and upper wing view for the military scheme (also already described). These are the two marking and painting options offered on the decal sheet.
The first light gray parts tree holds: one half of the fuselage, landing gear struts, wing struts, main wheels, cowling front, prop, tail wheel, wing balance knobs, cabin floor, wing leading edge parts etc. (28 parts).
The second light gray parts tree holds: pilot and passenger seats, dashboard, cabin bracing, the other half of the fuselage, tail wheel, and two different sets of horizontal tail surfaces (different spans) etc. (21 parts)
The third light gray parts tree holds the upper and lower wing halves. (4 parts).
The final parts tree is the clear cabin windows. (7 parts). The way these windows are separated into individual panels, the panel that swings up for passenger access could easily be posed open. There are two different top panels. The shorter of the two is to be used if the rear facing machine-gun is installed, as it allows room for its elevation.
The Storch is an aircraft that should grace any model collection of Luftwaffe aircraft. It served on all the fronts that Germany fought on in WWII and Field Marshall Rommel even had one as his personal hack. Highly recommended.