In 1936, the Czechoslovak factory Avia began development of a modern, low-winged fighter, the B-35/135. The B-135 was to become the shield against the expanding German Luftwaffe. Unfortunately, prior to the completion of the project Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in the wake of the Munich Agreement. Although the Germans ordered that development continue, it was not given priority and fell behind schedule. From 1939 the Bulgarian air force showed an interest in manufacturing the Av-135 under licence. However, as a result of bureaucratic delays on the side of the Germans only 12 planes were produced in the Avia factory and only delivered to Bulgaria in 1943. In terms of development, the plane was not up to the most modern standards. Plans for production under licence were discarded. All the Avia planes were assigned to the Dolna Mitropolje air base fighter school to be used by flying instructors. On
30.3.1944 a four member squadron of instructors attacked the superior four-engine bombers of the US Army and probably scored one hit. This is the only recorded air victory of the Avia Av-135.
Planet Models' Avia Av-135 is packed within a sturdy top opening cardboard box. The kit is composed of three plastic bags. The first two contains the resin parts which are secured within separate pouches and the third one contains a photo etched fret, a small acetate sheet, a clear vacuform piece and a decal sheet. Of course the obligatory instructions are also provided.
The biggest parts of the kit are the fuselage and the wings. They are both bagged in the same plastic bag but each one within its own pouch to prevent the parts from damage or scratches.
The one piece fuselage is quite nice with delicate relief and engraved surface structure but the choice of the casting method is a bit surprising to say the least. Planet Models decided to pour the resin from the top and the modeler will have to eliminate a huge casting block on top of the fuselage. Usually, in such cases, this casting block is located at the bottom of the part (where it is less visible) but this time it would have damaged the delicate relief details of the engine radiator. In their similar Avia B.35.1 kit (see review here
) the radiator was a separate photoetched part and the fuselage was made of two halves. Whether the casting solution used for the Av-135 kit is better or worse will show at construction stage, but care will be needed to both eliminate the resin stub and open the cockpit... and a good Dremel tool will also prove usefull for sure!
As I said before, the relief and engraved details are very nice but the engine exhausts already present on the fuselage are not hollowed. This is annoying and it would have been nice from Planet Models to "prepare" them a little so to make the drilling easier.
The one piece wing part, to the contrary of the fuselage, will require minimal clean up work. Only a very small amount of flash is present which will be easily removed with fine sanding paper. The underside features very nice wheel bays and structure details which will allow you to show the flaps in the down position. The wings are very thin and free of warpage. This is important as they have a unique and delicate look, very similar to those of aircraft racers of the 30'.
A smaller bag holds the 27 resin detail parts. Here also they are separated within two pouches. This was effective as no parts were damaged in my sample. Some of the parts are for the interior (cockpit floor, sidewalls, seat, control stick etc...), others for the landing gear (gear legs, wheels, tailwheel and gear doors) and the last ones for the exterior (horizontale tailplanes, rudder, spinner, propeller blades, venturi tube, radiator flap). it is to note that the parts are nicely done, without air bubbles and that the landing legs are reinforced with metal wires.
The small photo etched fret is composed of 18 parts (instrument panel, seatbelts, wing radiator grill, cockpit access door etc...) and does not call for other observations. An acetate sheet is provided for the instrument panel "sandwich" assembly (resin piece - acetate sheet - PE part). The clear vacuform piece, as usual in resin or short run kits includes two canopies so you can display the cockpit in the opened position.
The instructions are printed on both sides of a single A4 sheet and the assembly guide is quite rudimentary. This is not a problem since the kit seems to be easy to build... if you excepts the preparation of the fuselage part of course. A painting and marking guide is also present and will help you to represent two planes of the Bulgarian Dolna Mitropolje air base fighter school: white 5 or white 11. Colors are given as a RLM 65-70-71 combination. The decals of the kit are nicely printed and in registration.
If you are in an "Avia mood" (thanks to Eduard's great B-534 kit), maybe this "Ljastovica" will interest you. Apart from the fuselage, it won't represent a big challenge for an average modeler used to resin parts. The Av-135 is an interesting aircraft and will look good in any collection of WW2 fighters.
Planet Models references are available from MODELIMEX
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