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AMT 1/48 Vega Build

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  • Member since
    July, 2013
AMT 1/48 Vega Build
Posted by on Friday, July 28, 2017 9:46 AM

Hello, all. I've been away from scale aircraft modeling for awhile and thought I'd get back by building one of AMT's Vega's as Amelia Earhart's trans-Atlantic Vega, NR-7952. Here's a few photos of my progress so far:

I decided that I wanted to replace the kit representation of the engine with something a bit more detailed. Vector's resin Pratt and Whitney R-1340 isn't an exact match to the engine in Earhart's Vega, but I think it's better than the kit part. I first had to assemble enough of it to check the fit inside the cowl.

It turns out that I needed to remove material inside the cowl in order to get to engine to fit. I did that with a sanding drum attachment to my Dremel. While I was working on the cowl, I also removed a bit of the mounting points to open up the view through the cowl (as on the prototype) and I added a mounting for the engine made out of .060x.080 styrene strip.

Most of the fuselage windows on Earhart's Vega had been blanked out. The kit clear parts weren't flush fitting, so I needed to come up with something on my own. Rather than try and make multiple inserts, I carved off the raised trim on the outside of the fuselage, covered the openings from outside with Scotch tape, and filled the openings with resin. Since I was just going to paint over the windows anyway, I didn't worry that they didn't come out clear.

That's it for now. Best to all,


  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 28, 2017 11:08 AM

I had a friend who did that kit, as a Wily Post plane. It came out pretty nice.  I was doing a 1:72 kit from Eastern Europe- forget whose kit exactly, though.  He had a harder time, but it still built up nice.  You are doing great work so far.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March, 2003
Posted by rangerj on Friday, July 28, 2017 11:39 AM

If I remember correctly Lindberg did a 1/48th scale model of that Vega WAY back in the 50s. It was the Wiley Post decals. The real airplane, both Wiley Posts Vega, and Earhart's Vega, are in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The Earhart plane had several of the side windows covered over with doped cloth, rather than being filled in with wood. I never did find out why this was done. Drag? The Wiley Post airplane had this done as well and the windows eliminated for different flights are different. Anyone know why this was done? Anyway, enjoy the build. Testors has a maroon red that matches the real aircraft very well.

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by on Saturday, August 19, 2017 3:41 PM

I really haven't forgotten this build. I've been scratchbuilding bits and pieces for the cockpit. If you've ever seen the kit, you know that the AMT cockpit is something of a blank canvas; there's really nothing to it other than a vaguely seat-shaped blob molded on the bulkhead and a male pilot figure. I really couldn't use the pilot (Amelia was, well, you know, a woman), so the seat thing had to go. The Air and Space Museum's Web site has one of those Flash player apps that lets you look into the cockpit of Earhart's Vega. The viewpoint doesn't make it easy to work out dimensions, but all I really wanted to do was to suggest that something was in there. Here are some shots of my representation of Amelia's cockpit.

I'm going to put this out there for anyone listening: I'd pay decent money for a modern, newly-tooled, well-engineered 1/48 scale kit of a Vega. And if it was set up so that it could be built to represent both of Earhart's Vegas and Post's Winnie Mae, I'd buy three as soon as I could get my hands on them.



  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by bvallot on Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:56 PM

It's good to hear from you again Larry. =] Those Vector engines really can't be beat for the price some times. It's a definite pick me up in detail!! And  you're sure looks sparce in there. I imagine you must be busy scratching out some parts. =P

Looking forward to seeing more.

On the bench:  

Tamiya P-51D-conversion: F6-D William Shomo

Accu Minn P-51A James England

Tamiya F4F-3 Butch O'Hare

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by on Saturday, August 26, 2017 12:05 PM

Good to hear from you, Britt. You're right about the Vector engine. It's gorgeous.

Here's another update on this build. Once I felt like I had enough detail in the cockpit, I closed up the fuselage. I applied Testors liquid cement to both halves, stuck them together, and then used assorted rubber bands and clamps to force things into alignment. Then I snapped the first of the photos. Then I said many, many bad words. Those fairings on the bottom of the fuslage that mark the attachment points for the landing gear: Earhart's Vega didn't have them. And I knew that. It would have been far easier to remove them and fill the space before joining the fuselage halves.

While the fuselage joint was drying (and I was trying to figure what to do with those pesky fairings), I opened up the inspection ports on the bottom of the wings. I used scrap styrene and leftover bits from my spares box to provide detail visible in the inspection ports. I also marked the locations where I'll mount MV Products lenses to represent the retractable landing lights.

In the final photo, this thing is starting to look like a Vega. I'm not sure whether that's because of the kit or in spite of it. Despite determined sanding and aggressive clamping, there was still a significant gap between the forward edge of the wing and the rear of the top of the canopy. I was able to turn that bug into a feature, however. As I was studying the situation, I noted that the gaping space in the wing was clearly visible through the canopy. In my photos of Earhart's aircraft, there's a bulkhead there. So, I cut a piece of .010 styrene sheet, painted it red to match my photos and slipped it through the gap between the wing and the canopy. After the cement sets up hard, I'll trim it off flush with the wing. A bit of sanding should then blend it in.

  • Member since
    March, 2005
  • From: Lancaster, South Carolina
Posted by Devil Dawg on Saturday, August 26, 2017 10:45 PM

Hey, wait a minute!! I though the Vega was made by Chevy! Propeller Big Smile

Great job, Izdaily! Looking forward to seeing the finished build.

Gary Mason


Devil Dawg

On The Bench: 1/48th Academy Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion; 1/48th Hasegawa A-7 Corsair II; 1/48th Hasegawa F/A-18F Super Hornet; 1/48th Eduard Fokker Dr. 1 Triplane; 1/48th Eduard/Hasegawa Ultimate Sabre with "MiG Mad Marine" markings; 1/48th Monogram Douglas TBD-1 Devastator; 1/48th Monogram Pro-Modeler A-26B Invader

Build one at a time? Hah! That'll be the day!!

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by on Sunday, September 10, 2017 11:12 AM

Gary, Chevy did make a Vega. I owned one back in the day. Never got it to fly, though.

I've made a bit more progress on my current Vega. Eugene Millikin published an article on Earhart's Vegas in the Winter 1979 edition of the IPMS/USA Quarterly. I followed that to model the wingtop details since it is difficult to get a clear shot of them at NASM. The various gas caps and covers were made from bits of styrene rod. The AMT kit included 3 pairs of teardrop-shaped fairings; I carved of the middle one on each side. I also rescribed the flaps to better match the prototype.

Removing the incorrect fairings on the belly of the aircraft meant that the braces for the landing gear were now too short. I made new ones out of strip styrene. I mounted then engine in the cowling and installed that assembly and then added a pitot tube made from a piece of .5mm tubing.

Several seams need a bit more putty and sanding, but I'm nearly ready to prime this beastie.


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