|Kit:||AZ-Model, 1/72; double kit, bought for €10. Model finished on 2021-02-05.|
|Aircraft:||"OH-OULU-2", Oulu Air Defense League, Finland, late 1930s|
The Grunau Baby is a classic early German glider design, introduced in 1931 and used as the standard glider of der Deutscher Luftsportverband, a paramilitary organization of the German Nazi Party founded to train pilots for the emerging Luftwaffe. As such, many if not most German military pilots learned to fly with the Baby. Circa 6,000 Babies were built, in Germany and under license in many other countries. The Baby was used for flight training in many air forces, including Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) and the US Army Air Corps (as TG-27).
The model represents an aircraft of the Oulu Air Defense Association (Oulun Ilmapuolustusyhdistys, in Finnish) in the late 1930s. At that time, glider registration in Finland followed a pattern where the code was formed using the name of the town where the owner was based, plus a numerical index ("OH-" is the national code for Finland). When the registration system was overhauled after the war, this aircraft became "OH-BAM". It was lost in a crash in 1962.
The AZ-Model kit is simple yet accurate, and easy to build. I added some detail in the cockpit (e.g., photo-etch seatbelts) as well as some external detail like the venturi tube, control wires, etc. The windshield is made from thin transparent plastic sheet by first cutting a correctly shaped piece and then bending it around a metal rod and heating it up. It took me three attempts, not because I failed with the first two, but because I dropped them and they disappeared (like contact lenses, really).
I painted the model with Tamiya acrylics. The challenge was to simulate unpainted but varnished plywood (for the fuselage and the wing leading edge): I used several shades of medium brown with some masking and some feathered edges. Afterwards, I applied a 10% filter of lighter sand/linen color. The decals were produced using Adobe Illustrator and printed on decal paper using a laser printer. The usual Future floor wax plus a mixture of Testors' dullcote and glosscote treatment was applied to achieve a semi-gloss result.
National Air and Space Museum's Baby
Grunau Baby and PIK-10 Moottoribaby
Baby and Moottoribaby compared
In the late 1940s an interesting Baby conversion was built in Finland, fitting an original airframe with a 17hp Aubier & Dunne engine. I built a model of this aircraft several years ago; the build report is available here.