I 've always been a fan of Waco airplanes. Their purity of lines have always intrigued the modeling ghosts that haunt me (borrowing the title from a Crash Test Dummies' album), the rounded surfaces and armonic designs pleased my eye since I first got to know them in a movie some 25 years ago. Multitude of engines, variants, open and closed cockpits, militarized versions, skis, floats and wheels. Not to forget the huge number of colour schemes and that funny designation system.
Sadly enough, there are not many Waco kits out there. Perhaps the oldest one is Italeri's Waco CG-4 glider of WWII fame. There are a handful of resin and vaccuformed kits as well, of varying quality. I recall Khee-kha's YKS, Dujin´s ZQC cabin biplanes and the S3HD from uruguayan kitmaker Alfatango. So, I was surprised when walking by a hobby shop in downtown Buenos Aires I saw a couple of boxes in the window, from an unknown kit maker called Commando5. Intrigued, I walked in and asked for them. The stack pile comprehended a Waco CSO, Vultee V-11, Fw-58 Weihe and Meteor T.7. I bought the Waco and the Vultee, those being 2 of my favourite aircraft companies, the CSO being such a cute little biplane and the V-11 is a real underdog on its own right.
Commando5's Waco CSO comes in a small cardboard box with several small plastic bags, within a larger bubblewrap sleeve. Clever thought that some bigger companies should follow. First things first, so all the resin parts got a thorough cleaning in tepid, soapy water. I was very pleased with how thin was the vaccuformed windshield and the decal definition, though the method to apply the latter seemed a little awkward to me. More on this later.
All the major components were cut off from their pouring blocks with an X-acto blade. Small items like struts, Venturi, wheels, landing gear and cockpit interior were left in their blocks to forsake any damage or loss. The fuselage looked weird to me, and it turned out to be bent to the left. That kind of thing happens with resin parts sometimes and the solution is quite simple, guaranteed the resin itself is not too brittle or the piece too thin. You heat some water and dip the part for some time, depending on the thickness and kind of resin you're working with. You take it out off the water and start pulling to the other side really gentle. Follow suit, you repeat the process as many times as necessary. It got straightened enough in the end but being a solid resin block it took more time and hot water than I expected.
The lower wing was super glued to the corrected fuselage after its fuselage recess was sanded and imperfections eliminated. There were several, both tiny and medium sized bubble holes on the underside of the fuselage. While putty can be used for smoothing the surface, I tend to use super glue in this cases, besides the all the usual super gluing work that resin kits need. The reasons is simple, most puttys seem to be softer than resin itself, doubling the work needed to smooth a surface. After covering all the blemishes, the underside was water sanded, holes and dimples smooth out.
With that out of the way, the cockpit parts were taken off their blocks and cleaned up. The tiny instrument panel has some remarkable detail. The dial faces even have indicators on them. The seat presents the modeller with some fine detail work and harness representation. All of the interior was painted with Humbrol paints. H-56 Alluminium for the cockpit and H-33 Matt Black washes to bring out the detail. On the instrument panel the process was the opposite, H-33 then H-56 dry brushed on it; glossing the dial faces with Revell's 1 (Gloss Varnish). The seat had its leather upholstry painted in ModelMaster's Italian Red Brown and then dry brushed with H-186 Red Brown. The harness was picked in H-74 Linen and the seat metal structure in H-191 Chrome Silver. When all was thoroughly dry, a light wash with H-33 followed to bring out the detail cast on the resin.