Vintage Model Company Jodel D.18

It’s always rather exciting to see the emergence of a new range of flying scale kits, especially in this case where the aim seems to have been to recreate the spirit of the old Keil Kraft and Veron flying scale ranges for a new generation, but using technology that Albert E Hatfull and Phil Smith could only dream of! This Jodel D.18 is part of the “Magnificent Flying Machine” range produced by the Vintage Model Company – others include a Spitfire, Cessna 140, Hurricane and Messerschmitt BF-109. They are based in Bakewell, UK, and started out producing Replikit reproduction kits after buying the company. The Magnificent Flying Machine range is however completely new, designed by keen aeromodeller and vintage flying scale model enthusiast Andrew Darby. All the designs have been built and successfully flown before kitting, and I’ve seen several of them in action myself. I think Andrew has trodden the line between scale accuracy and building simplicity/flying ability really well.

I chose this kit to review because I’ve built and flown a couple of the Veron Tru-Flite Bebe Jodel models, and really enjoyed the experience, and I thought this one would make an interesting comparison.

Here is the kit unpacked. The three laser cut sheets are packed in a plastic envelope - useful to retain any stray pieces that may have dropped out.

The plan is CAD drawn and very comprehensive. The laser cut fuselage sides make construction far easier than a traditional box. Stiffness is provided by the formers, or 1/16" sq. stiffeners glued inside.

I like the extensive use of laser-cut notches, which not only gives greater strength due to increased glue contact area, but also means you can't put the ribs, formers or cross pieces in the wrong place.

The forward position of the motor peg is a good idea, and will minimise the amount of noseweight needed.

Tacked onto the side of the plan is the part reference diagram - not a bad place to have it so you can check the parts as and when you need them.

Here are the three 1/16" laser cut balsa sheets. Wood quality in my example was excellent, with the bottom two sheets in light balsa, the upper in rather stiffer stock. A sign that considerable thought has gone into this kit is that the stiffer sheet contains the nose components, 1/16" square strips, the leading edges, sanding block laminations, wheel cores, the wing ribs on which the undercarriage is mounted, and the rear peg reinforcements. So, parts where a bit more strength would be advantageous.

Here are the contents of the hardware bag. Prop is just shy of 6 inches, so a good match for the 18" wingspan. The rubber looks like Tan super sport, and a loop of 3/16" seems a good place to start for a model of this size. Three nose bushes are provided, only one of which is for the nose block - the other two are for the wheels - a clever idea, as they should centre perfectly in the laser cut laminated wheels.

How nice to see glue included in a kit - a good idea if you are aiming the kit at beginners. As it is described as "easy sand" I presume it is aliphatic rather than PVA - nice little nozzle on the bottle too.

The large canopy is a dominant feature of this design so it is pleasing that the moulding supplied is faultlessly vac-formed and not too heavy.

A large sheet of yellow domestic tissue is included, rolled with the plan - plenty to cover the whole model (it's folded in half here)

The simple markings for G-OLEM are supplied printed on a thin paper sheet. They are intended to be cut out and applied with glue stick. If you can't face cutting out individual fuselage letters, just cut out the yellow backed letters as a rectangle.

The kit contains a very neat 36 page instruction booklet, tailored to this particular kit with detailed assembly instructions as well as many useful general hints and tips. The first page shows Andrew's nicely finished prototype model

At the end of the booklet are pages for recording building and flight notes, which is a nice touch. Also a colour and markings guide.

You've probably got the impression that I was really impressed with this kit and you'd be right. It's a very well thought out design I'd be happy to recommend to a newcomer to the hobby, who I think would have a good chance of success. I suspect we'll see a few kits from this range entered in the BMFA kit scale class in the next few years - they seem excellent candidates. I look forwards to future releases - next up are a couple of biplanes, an SE5 and Tiger Moth.

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