1/32 Williams Brothers Gee Bee R-2

Gallery Article by H. Davis Gandees on Sept 24 2019



A color illustration of a Gee Bee rounding a racing pylon made a huge impression on me as a young boy. What a unique design it was!

This model was originally started in 1993 after watching Delmar Benjamin perform an impressive aerobatic demonstration in his R-2 replica. The engine and prop were assembled and painted and I discontinued the build as I was not up to the task of replicating the complex scalloped paint scheme. I think other modelers are also intimidated by this scheme. However, this problem has been solved! Tamiya recently released a vinyl masking tape that is very flexible and allowed me to lay out the red scallops. I laid out the scallops using templates traced from the 1:32 scale plans with a soft pencil. Tamiya rattle can Italian Red over Pure White were used and produced a glossy finish.

I selected the R-2 version of the Gee Bee, the same as Delmar's replica and the Bendix racer of 1932. The R-2 has a more streamlined cowling than the blunt cowling of the more powerful R-1.

The Williams Brother's kit is quite accurate with thin wing trailing edges and a nice cockpit interior structure that will never be seen through the tiny canopy. Assembly was without problems with no putty required. 

The radial engine is very accurate but removal of some cylinder head material was required to fit the cowling. The prop, painted 25 years ago with ModelMaster Buffing Aluminum had not lost its sheen.

Near the end of the build, I again stopped construction as the 25 year old decals were not usable and I searched for replacements, eventually securing a newer set from Williams Brothers Model Products that went on with ease.

The 0.012" flying wires were installed into molded locations that required drilling out.

The pitot tube was drilled out, painted chrome and installed, finally finishing the Gee Bee after 25 years.

H. Davis Gandees

Photos and text by H. Davis Gandees