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Roden 1/48 SD17S Staggerwing Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2012 Manufacturer Roden
Subject SD17S Staggerwing Scale 1/48
Kit Number 0448 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $52.98

First Look


Beechcraft took the bold move of developing a new executive transport, the Model 17, which was the business jet of the 1930s. The Model 17 was also called 'Staggerwing' for its unusual wing layout. While biplanes were still common in the 1930s, the lower wing was usually mounted aft of the upper wing but not so with the Staggerwing. With the upper wing aft of the lower wing, the Model 17 provided better forward and upward visibility without sacrificing downward visibility, all important factors for pilot visibility (since air traffic control in those days was up to the pilots themselves).

The D17S was an advanced version of the Model 17 with a lengthened tail for better pitch stability and the ailerons moved to the upper wing to remain clear of flap turbulance. With the addition of retractable landing gear and attention to clean airflow, Beech was able to make the aircraft cruise at over 200 mph while still able to land at a modest 45 mph. The those pre-war years of flight and the limited availability of landing facilities, it was only natural to develop a variant of the Staggerwing with floats to allow for operations in remote areas.

Last year, we had the opportunity to look at one of the early releases of Roden's Staggerwing series ( look here) and the kit was clearly a vast improvement over the only other option produced in this scale, the venerable AMT kit. Here we have the civilian version of the Staggerwing and it is every bit as nice as the original UC-43 kit. Molded in gray styrene, the kit is presented on seven parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts.

The cabin interior is nicely replicated with detailed seats (no seatbelts though), Beech 'throw-over' control yoke, brake/rudder pedals for the left seat and rudder pedals for the right seat, and an instrument panel with decals provided for the instrument faces.

The R985 Wasp Junior engine is nicely done and will look magnificent with some good painting of the details.

This release provides a nice set of Edo floats that replace the standard aircraft's landing gear as well as the supplemental ventral vertical stabilizer for improved yaw stability. An optional set of wheels are provided for beaching gear should you want to pose the aircraft out of the water.

Markings are provided for three examples:

  • SD17S, Yellow 5, 28th Composite Group, USAAC, Alaska, 1941
  • SD17S, KA08, 1st Air Base Group, Langley Field, USAAC, 1938
  • SD17S, CF-BIF, Brisbane, Australia, 1942

Once again, this looks like a beautiful kit and with these three examples being period aircraft from an interesting range of locations.

This kit is definitely recommended.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!