Gee Bee Z Williams Bros. #32526 1/32 Scale Review

2013 January 3
by Doug

RoR Step-by-Step Review 20130104* – Gee Bee Z Williams Bros. #32526 1:32 Scale Review
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Fig 000

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The Gee Bee “Z” was constructed during 1931 by Bob Hall and the Granville brothers as the first in a series of aircraft specifically intended for racing. It was powered by a 535 horsepower Wasp junior radial engine on loan by Pratt & Whitney. Because of its corpulent configuration and unique color scheme, the craft resembled a giant bumblebee and was the subject of considerable controversy among aviation enthusiasts.

The Gee Bee Z was entered in the 1931 Cleveland National Air Races winning five 1st place trophies. Later, its engine was replaced with a Wasp Senior model of 750 horsepower enclosed in a larger diameter cowling, in preparation for an assault on the world’s landplane speed record. During a series of attempts, one run resulted in a speed of 314 mph, but various technical difficulties prevented completion of the four runs required by the regulations. On December 5, 1931, another try was arranged, and while pilot Lowell Bayles was making a high-speed pass, tragedy struck when a catastrophic wing failure rolled the tiny craft into the ground. 

For the Modeler: This kit went together very well.  The hardest part of the build was the paint job.  I can’t wait to build her big sister Gee Bee R. Although this is a nice kit with good moldings there are some things you’ll need to know before you build it to perfect this model! Sink marks are identified; engine paint color, weathering and finishing techniques; the use of metal parts to enhance engine realism; how to mount small parts for paint; masking methods; replacing interior parts with real wood for realism; tire loading techniques; repairing seams; using the decal templates for exterior paint; part clamping methods; canopy clarity techniques; adhesive selections and applications; decal applications and the use of setting solution; and rigging materials are fully discussed in this full-color 18 page tutorial review.  


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