1/48 ESCI Cessna 172P

Gallery Article by Rob Nieuwenhoven on Sept 11 2019



Back in 2008, I finally finished off the path to my Private Pilot Licence, started in 1987 (yep, it took a while!). I got serious with Aero Dynamic Flight Academy on Australia's Sunshine Coast, starting with the Zenith CH2000, I moved onto the ubiquitous Cessna 172 for the cross-country component. Most of my flying and my PPL test was in C172P, VH-SNQ. When a member on another forum had a cheap second-hand kit for sale, I knew what I wanted to do with it. 

The ESCI kit has been around for a few decades now. It's a bit different to the Minicraft kit and Italeri have recently re-released it - which was lucky as I lost the baggage bulkhead AND the windscreen during assembly and had to order new ones from Italeri. It's reasonably basic with some detail where you'd least expect it.

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I decided to tidy up the engine bay a little by adding the heater and fuel lines, as they're quite visible in the engine bay (unlike most of the engine detail!). I used round elastic from my local haberdashery store and painted it orange to represent the SCAT hose and firesleeved fuel line. I also did some work on the interior, adding seat belts to the seats and above the door (the shoulder harness stows there for both sides in the P model, later model 172s have inertia reels), a fire extinguisher (only to find there's already one on the sprue!) and I made an instrument panel from brass using the kit decal for a template. I also added scratch-built throttle, mixture, carb heat and flap controls and used a couple of small bits from an old etch set to make the chromed metal door handles (inside and out) and the seat belt decals. Almost none of it is visible now! Lots of lead shot was added anywhere I thought I could get away with it to keep the nosewheel on the ground. There's just enough to do that but not by much! I thought the rivets were too pronounced, so I sanded them down but went a little too far in most places. I still think it looks better than over-sized rivets.

VH-SNQ was owned by the New South Wales branch of the Scout Association, so had the Scout colour scheme applied before ADFA bought it. It was later repainted in a nicer blue trim but it was still in the Scout scheme when I did my licence test. Model Master enamel white was used after several coats of Mr Surfacer 1000 and White 1000 and Model Master RLM 04 looked like a good match for the yellow, as did Humbrol 2 Brunswick Green for the green. I used 0.3 mm nickel wire for the ADF antenna on the roof and for the horizontal part of the antenna on the lower fuselage. Some 1.6 mm brass tube was used for the exhaust. A couple of steps were made from brass sheet and added to each wing strut and fuel caps from plastic sheet were also made, painted and added. Custom decals were used for everything but the Cessna titling on the wingtips printed on my inkjet printer and sealed with Future. A gloss clear coat gave a good surface for the decals and oil crayons were used for the oil staining. Chalks were used for the graphite staining on the ailerons and elevators and a carbon pencil gave highlights on some panels/flight control surfaces. The whole lot was then sealed in Future with a dash of Tamiya X-21 added.

While not perfect, it's a good enough representation for me and will look nice in the cabinet.

Rob Nieuwenhoven

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Photos and text by Rob Nieuwenhoven