When the first B.534 flew in 1934, the aircraft was well ahead of its contemporaries in other air forces. The British were using Hawker Furies, the US had Curtiss Hawks and the Russians had the I-15. With the German takeover of much of Czechoslovakia in 1939, many of these planes were taken over by the Luftwaffe. The B.534’s combat record is sparse, although some flown by Bulgaria did attempt to intercept the Ploesti raid, and a 534 flown by a pilot of the Slovak National Uprising shot down a Hungarian Ju-52 in October of 1944, the last recorded victory by a biplane.
You get four of everything except decals. The 4 sprues are not exactly identical, being called B+C, B+D, B+E and B+G. There are plenty of parts, and many of the parts on the sprues are for a version you won’t be building. It looks like Eduard is planning another B.534 kit of a later version. (That would be nice!) The decals are for six different aircraft, 3 pre-WW2 Czechs, 1 Slovak from 1940 and 2 Luftwaffe 41-42.
I built one of the Luftwaffe aircraft, partly so I could participate in Hyperscale’s 1/144 WW2 Group Build. The other reason is the monochrome paint job.
One thing I noticed after I had the model assembled and painted is that the marking instructions show a tail wheel on the 534s with the enclosed canopy. But none of the fuselages on the sprues have a tail wheel. I’m not sure what’s right or wrong here, and I’m not going to be upset about a tiny detail like that.
This is a pretty simple kit, with a couple of things requiring a little skill. You must decide before you start step 1 which version you’re going to build. The interior is standard for all 4 versions, but the setup for the canopy and the fuselage under the engine are different. There’s version A, then B, then C & D and E & F. The versions for A through F line up with the color schemes.
The floor, seat and instrument panel make up the interior, along with the control stick. There are two parts for the cooling system that go in under the floor, and then the fuselage halves are assembled. I’m doing version F here, so there’s one part which goes on top of the forward fuselage.
The lower wings are added. I put the masked canopy on, and painted the entire aircraft at this point, including all those parts I hadn’t put on yet.
I then installed the struts between the upper and lower wings. I then installed the upper wing. Because of the way I did the struts, I had a little trouble getting the upper wing aligned. For the next one, I’ll use tube glue thinned with some liquid, to give me longer working time. Next were the horizontal stabilizers and struts for them.
I put a coat of Future on the plane, and I was ready for decals.
I cut out the decals I needed, and put them on the aircraft. Although the upper wing wasn’t installed yet, that was OK, as version F has no upper wing markings. Everything else worked marvelously. Eduard has very good decals.
The last items were the landing gear and prop. For the gear, I will put the center strut in first then add the gear legs next time. I then put the wheels on. The prop fit nicely. And it was finished.
Highly Recommended. You may notice that I noted no fit problems on this build. That’s because there just weren’t any. Once I got the interplane struts correctly aligned, the upper and lower wings fit very nicely. I did have to scrape a seam on the bottom of the fuselage, but no putty was needed anywhere.
You may also note that I intend to build another of these kits. That’s because I have the PE set for another B.534. I want to do an earlier version.
The first kit I ever built from Czechoslovakia was K-P’s Avia B.534, back a long time ago. It’s nice to see another B.534, and this kit is much nicer than that one.
Many thanks to Eduard for the review sample, and to IPMS USA for the chance to build it.