Da Vinci Helicopter

Published: February 20th, 2016     
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Reviewed by: Marc K. Blackburn - IPMS# 42892
Company: Academy Models
Price: $21.98
Product / Stock #: 18159
Product provided by: MRC

For several years now, Academy Plastic Model Company has been producing a series of kid-friendly kits based on the designs of Leonardo Da Vinci. I love these little kits. I have the armored car in my office as a conversation piece. These are, perhaps, more toys than traditional model kits but are a perfect kind of kit to introduce kids to modeling. This particular kit is modeled after Leonardo's air screw. According to da-vinci-inventions.com, Da Vinci sketched out his air screw in the 15th century. The screw was manufactured from linen, wire, and reeds and was to be rotated by a crew of four men. It was never constructed and would have been an impractical flying machine to say the least. Nevertheless, it is testament to Da Vinci's genius.

The Kit

As you can imagine, there's not much to the kit. There are two sprues of light and dark brown parts. The light brown simulates wood for the platform; the dark brown the gear mechanism that turns the airscrew. The turning mechanism is spring loaded, just like an old fashioned wind-up toy. This is preassembled and packaged separately. The airscrew itself is molded in a linen color and is packed separately, along with the platform. The pieces easily separate from the sprue and are well molded. There are even slight quilting patterns in the airscrew to simulate the linen!

Assembly

The kit is can be assembled without the benefit of glue, but I used a dab of tube cement to strengthen the critical bonds. The instructions are fairly straight forward, but you need to follow them carefully so all of the gears and components fit together and work properly. The kit's engineers have broken down the airscrew into a variety of sub-assemblies. The first sub-assembly are the gears that move the airscrew As long as you follow the instructions, they don't need to be test fitted. The next sub-assembly is the platform that rests on the gears. The final sub-assembly is the airscrew. There's only three pieces and they must be assembled in the proper order to work properly.

No painting. No decals. Assemble the airscrew and play with it!! Previous experience indicates that any of these kits with moving parts work with a spring loaded mechanism. There is a locking mechanism that temporarily disables the gears. Once you have stored enough kinetic energy in the spring, you unlock the mechanism and the air screw moves up and down and around. As mentioned in the beginning of this review, I love what Academy has done. Using modern molding technology, they are using plastic to recapture the designs of Da Vinci. They are easy to assemble and provide hours of fun.

My thanks to IPMS, MRC, and Academy Models for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.

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