The Zlin Z-37 Čmelák (Czech: "Bumblebee"), also known as LET Z-37 Čmelák is an agricultural aircraft which was manufactured in Czechoslovakia. It is powered by a Soviet-built Ivchenko reciprocating engine. The aircraft is used mainly as a cropduster.
Two companies supplied the committee with their preliminary designs. The first, Středočeské strojírny (formerly Letov) prepared
the design of the XZ-36, the second, Moravan Otrokovice, developed the XZ-37 design. The latter was chosen as the winner and
the design team of Let Kunovice also took part in the development, tasked with the wing design. Due to the nature of typical
operations, great attention was paid to the flight characteristics at stall speeds. While stall performance was originally found
unsatisfactory, fixed slots on outer parts of the leading edge and in front of the flaps brought performance to an acceptable level.
The design team led by Svatopluk Zámečník and Miroslav Langer intended to use a new in-line M-441 engine, which was still in development at the time. However, the project was cancelled, so it was necessary to find a replacement. The designers chose a version of the Soviet nine-cylinder radial Ivchenko AI-14 R with compressed air start-up system. However, its power was insufficient. The Avia factory solved the problem with modification, resulting in M-462RF with take-off power of 311hp (232kW), 51hp (38kW) more than the original engine. The engine powered a hydraulically operated constant speed V-520 propeller.
Ten prototypes were manufactured under the leadership of Stanislav Sklenář to verify and tune the design thoroughly. Factory pilot Vladimír Vlk took the Z-37 to the air for the very first time on June 29th, 1963, conducting a ten-minute flight. Serial production began in 1965 and was divided between three companies. The fuselage, including the application equipment, was produced by Moravan Otrokovice, the wings and tail surfaces were by Let Kunovice and the undercarriage was manufactured by Technometra Radotín. The final assembly took place in Kunovice. From 1971 until 1977, when production ceased, an improved version of the Z-37A was produced with more effective corrosion protection. In total, about 700 Bumblebees were produced. The production was resumed between 1983 and 1984, when 40 aircraft were produced. Number of Bumblebees were exported, most of them were delivered to the former GDR (about 250).
In the box
When Eduard first announced this kit, it was a bolt from the blue and I thought that's a bit left field. Its not until you read up the Z-37 that you realise it was designed and built in Czechoslovakia, and Eduard being Czech, then who better then them to produce a kit of this important little aircraft.
Now if your wondering what the box title means, I do believe (according to Google translate anyway) that it is "Service Boys".
Being a dual boxing you do get two aircraft, which is very handy as there are a twelve marking options, and as there will be Overtrees available then all of them can be modelled if you so desire.
So in the top opening box with have four dark grey sprues, 2 clear sprues, two pre coloured photo etch sheets, one set of masks, which covers two aircraft, a large set of decals, set of instructions and a lovely resin pilot figure.
The clear sprue holds the windscreen and side windows, plus the two passenger windows. The parts are thin, translucent and have a little detail on the framing.
As you would expect from a new tool kit, there is no flash and ejector pin marks are few and far between. Also I don't see any discrepancies in the plastic.
The exterior detail is very nice for the fuselage, and exceptional on the wings, with rivets and raised areas and service hatches beautifully reproduced.
The control surfaces are pretty much all separate but the instructions don't show of they can be modelled off center.
The tail sections are also separate parts, and in theory can be set off center.
The cockpit is superbly detailed with the seat having a six piece photo etch harness.
The instrument panel is a choice of decals or photo etch, of which there are three types to choose from. Which type depends on which marking option you are modelling.
The cockpit tub includes coloured photo etch panels, rudder pedals and sidewall detail, all of which will really detail this area up, and having a large clear canopy, you will see a lot of this.
The undercarriage is fixed so there are no bays or gear doors to contend with, so can be left to the last minute to fix into place, which always helps when painting and decaling the aircraft.
The detail is pretty good with one hub connected to the wheel guard.
The legs feature a P.E oleo, which replaces the moulded on oleo.
As the aircraft is a crop duster, two underwing tanks are supplied and the centerline pellet dispenser. Both of these are multi part affairs and add to the detail of the kit, but not all of them have both, so check your marking option.
The engine face is nicely detailed with the cylinders and pushrods showing but unfortunately a lot of the detail will disappear behind the cooling louvers once installed.
As already mentioned there is a resin figure supplied in this boxing. The pilot is in a standing position with the right arm outstretched. The right arm is a separate part. The detail is very nice and has a lot of character in the pose and expression.
Instructions, decals, and markings
When I first pulled the instruction book out of the box, I was very surprised how thick it was, and being a small plane with a low part count I couldn't figure why. That is until I opened it, and there is a very nice size multi page historical section of the Zlin Z-37 Cmelak (Bumblebee). When you first look its all in Czech, but turning a couple of pages there is an English section. All the pictures between the Czech and English sections are different, and really does add to the allure of this tiny aircraft.
The build itself takes place over five pages and is pretty easy to follow, with any optional parts clearly marked. You do have too choose which marking option you are doing early on in the build.
Internal colours for the Aqueous, Mr Color paints and Mission Models paints are given along the way.
The decals are on one large sheet and are printed inhouse by Eduard, they are in register and having used Eduard decals plenty of times I have never had any issues with them.
The tiger design is particularly nice and goes on marking option I.
12 marking options are supplied, most of which are yellow, another has a nice red and yellow scheme and the last three are in orange.
The last page has the stencil guide on it.
Now as most of the time we build warbirds, this kit will make a lovely change of pace, and Eduard have done a cracking job and manufactured a kit with a low part count, easyish build and tons of marking options.
I would definitely recommend this kit to anyone who wants to build something slightly off the norm.
Now just too find the time to build it.
Mfg. ID - 2131
Suggested Retail - £23.66
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