Revell 1/39 Wright Flyer

Review by John Impenna

Kit Summary

Catalog Number: 5243
Plastic Quality A
Decal Quality: N/A
Instructions Quality: A


A very appropriate release in this 100th Anniversary year of Powered Flight, this 1960's era kit will please both beginner and expert modelers alike. Many of us who are old enough probably built this kit when we were kids and have fond memories of it. Yet, it holds up pretty well, even by today's standards. Given a little dose of "modeling skills", this kit can be made up into a gem.

Upon opening the box you will find 4 sprues in two colors. The flying surfaces are commendably thin. Even given it's odd 1/39 "box scale", it won't look out of place in any model collection. The flying surfaces have nice, if slightly overdone, rib details, but also have excellent fabric stitching. The kit matches very well to plans drawn of the original. The kit also includes the launch rail and small table and tools that are in the famous photograph taken at the moment of takeoff. The figures of Orville and Wilbur Wright are also included in the kit. A very pleasant surprise, not mentioned on the outside of the box, is included: a flyer giving a history of the event as well as super detailing and diorama tips. These tips include making the engine look more realistic, modifications to various parts, painting and some diorama building and figure painting tips!! The instructions are very detailed and provide step by step rigging instructions. Grey thread is included for rigging, although most will want to substitute fine wire, invisible thread, or monofilament.

This kit screams for extra detailing. Construction is fairly straightforward and should only need to be modified for the way one chooses to paint. The rib detail will allow "pre-shading" or detailing with pastel pencils to add depth to the flying surfaces. The way the struts are added to the wings should make for very easy positioning of the upper wing. The mounting holes very nicely represent the way the struts were attached to the original. The "cockpit" is also very nicely done and with a little detailing and pointers from the tips sheet should turn out very realistic.

As all of the parts are included for the engine assembly; a little extra time in this area will be rewarded. Even with the age of the molds, there is no flash present and the figures are very nicely detailed.
The kit appears virtually unchanged from when first issued by Monogram many moons ago! A clear stand is included to allow one to depict the moment of takeoff from the launch rail.

The significance of this aircraft and the importance of this anniversary, make this a "must build" for me. It will also be a break from the usual WW1 and WW2 planes that I normally build! This one is moving to the top of the "to-do" pile. Revell should be praised for both the quality and timing of this release.

Highly recommended.


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I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.