Peck Polymers peanut scale Andreason BA4-B

A trip down memory lane now, as we have a look at a kit produced by one of the pioneers of Peanut Scale, and still going strong, namely Peck Polymers. The firm is now in the competent hands of the A2Z Corporation, and the Peck range in their familar orange boxes should hopefully be around for many more years to come. I chose this particular peanut for review because it is a proven good flyer, yet is relatively simple to construct, despite it being a biplane. It was also designed by one of the legends of the hobby, namely the late and great Walt Mooney.

Here we see the kit contents laid out, and it all looks very familar to anyone who cut their teeth on such kits back in the 1970's. There is however one significant difference, in that now the parts sheets are laser cut.

The laser cutting is very neatly done, and the wood in my kit was nice and light. The upper sheet is 1/8" and the lower 1/16". One advantage of the laser cutting, apart from the obvious one of time-saving, is that you are guaranteed a set of completely identical wing ribs.

This is the first plan sheet, which shows the simplicity and attractiveness of the design. The model was designed by Walt back in 1974, when Peanuts tended to be built using 1/16" square balsa rather than 1/20" or even 1/32" as commonly used today. This means there is a slight weight penalty, but on the other hand it makes the model much more robust and buildable by the average modeller. If you study the plan, you can see that all the structures are very simple, and even getting the upper wing on at the correct incidence should be easy, as the cabine struts are built in with the fuselage sides. One tip though - I would steam the lower longerons to get the required curve before building the fuselage halves over the plan. This will remove the risk of distortion when it is removed from the board. The kit shows a paper upper cowling, cut out of the plan, but I would probably use 1/32" balsa instead, because it would be less prone to creasing and you can sand the edges to blend everything together neatly. I might also be tempted to reinforce the lower wing roots by adding a small area of local balsa sheet infill above the lower longerons.

The second plan sheet contains the illustrated building instructions, plus a 3-view for proof of scale should you decide to enter the model in a competition. You may have noticed that the Andreason does not have any wire rigging, just a diagonal strut each side, so much easier than a normal biplane.

The tissue is rolled loosely with the plan, which avoids creases. Three different colours of domestic tissue are provided to allow you to model SE-XBS in its colourful scheme of a blue fuselage plus yellow wings and tailplane with red sunbursts. The kit also supplies a selection of decent quality stripwood and 1/8" rubber strip.

Final inclusion in the kit is the hardware pack containing a 6" plastic prop, wire prop shaft, washers, nylon nose button, wire for the undercarriage, hollow plastic wheels and press-on decals for the white fuselage registrations. The plan shows a 5" prop, so the plastic one provided will have to be trimmed, especially if you want to do take-offs.

In conclusion, this may be a 30 year old design, but it was designed by a master of the craft, and is capable of putting in excellent flights, while being a relatively simple and straightforward build.

I know it's a biplane, but I honestly think this kit would be suitable for a beginner to peanut scale. I would however suggest building something a bit bigger first though if you had never built a free flight scale model before. I should also point out that there are plenty of other laser cut Peck Peanut kits to choose from that would also be suitable for beginners, for instance the Nesmith Cougar, Lacey M.10 and Piper J3 Cub. There is nothing to stop you entering a Peanut scale model in the BMFA kit scale class as well as the normal peanut scale class, so with one model you could have yourself a whole day's competition flying!

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