Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 11:52 PM UTC
MIrage Hobby have announced the welcome re-release of the 1:48 Lublin R.XIII in its floatplane configuration. I vividly remember buying the landplane kit when it was first released some 20+ years ago by Spojnia (what was to me a totally unknown Polish company), and being extremely impressed by the detail and overall quality of the kit.
Lublin R.XIII Ter / Hydro
Reconnaissance seaplane
scale 1/48 | cat. no. 485003

During 1933-1938 the Lublin R-XIII was the most popular liaison aeroplane. A total of 288 in all versions were built. From 1938 on these aircraft were gradually withdrawn from service and replaced by more modern RWD-14 Czapla (Heron) aeroplanes. Nevertheless, the inter-war period saw mass use of the R-XIII. The type was used in liaison, naval and sports aviation. It participated in foreign visits and rallies. In September 1939 the Polish Air Force still used some 150 R-XIIIs, including 50 in first line units.

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I bought this kit off eBay, and wouldn't mind finding out more about this, engine used(I think that the Wright Whirlwind was used), as well as any alternate color schemes. When I got the kit, I eagerly opened it and was impressed with it. This looks like it'll be a fun build.
APR 19, 2013 - 01:57 PM
The original kit made by Spójnia had the choice of building the wheeled or float (Polish Navy) versions. It also featured rather garish green plastic. Since it was taken over by Mirage (along with the RWD 8 kit), Mirage have sold it as two different kits with only the relevant sprue included. The kit can be enhanced with Part's PE set, well worth the extra cost. LINK As far as other versions are concerned, you will be disappointed to learn that they were only used by the Polish Navy and this is the only scheme, a pale sea grey/green colour similar to Sky. The colour is available from Agama but exclusively from the Jadar Shop. LINK The Lublin RXIII was an exceptionally successful and delightful aeroplane in its heyday but by 1939 manifestly obsolete and unsuitable for its combat tasks. The story began ten years earlier when both the air force and naval aviation were in the process of expansion and looking for new equipment. The Lotnictwo Wojskowe (Army Aviation) expressed interest in an advanced and aerobatic trainer and light reconnaissance/liaison aircraft, and the Navy a observation/training floatplane. The designer Jerzy Rudlicki's R-X offered considerable scope for further development and, at the end of 1928, he began work on progressive developments of the basic design, employing a superior elliptical wing and a number of refinements designed to improve the overall efficiency of the structure. One of these, later to be known as the R-XIV met the requirement for a trainer, and another designated R-XV, with a 7,7 mm flexible gun in the observer's cockpit, was intended to meet the reconnaissance/liaison need of the LW. Equipped with floats it was to be offered to the Navy. The number XIII in Rudlicki's designation sequence was not at first used. The Lublin factory submitted initial tenders for 15 R-XIV trainer and 15 R-XV liaison airframes but the the R-XV was rejected by the Department of Aeronautics in favour of an armed liaison variant of the R-XIV. It was also agreed that the fifteenth R-XIV would be modified and fitted with armament to serve as a development and evaluation machine for the reconnaissance/liaison version. In December 1929, Rudilicki's design was accepted in principal as the future standard equipment of the observation units in preference to the PWS 5 and PZL Ł2, becoming the second indigenous design to be approved for quantity manufacture. As the R-XIV was a superior development of the already proven R-X, no proper prototype was built and the first production machine, c/n 54.1, powered by a 220 hp Wright/Skoda radial engine fitted with a Szomański two-blade wooden airscrew, took-off for its first fight at the beginning of July 1930. More trainers from the initial batch soon followed. After brief testing at Lublin 54.1 was transferred to the IBTL in Warsaw for certification and service acceptance trials. All trials were quickly completed with very satisfactory results and the first R-XIV trainers were accepted by the LW on 9th August 1930. From that date onwards the the production Wright/Skoda powered R-XIV, fitted with dual controls, were delivered to the Kraków Advanced Flying School at the 2nd Air regiment and later to the CWL Dęblin. The last trainer from the batch, 54.14 was accepted on 30th April 1931. 54.11 received the civil registration SP-AFD and in March 1931 flew with other Polish aircraft to Riga and Tallinn to mark the formation of the Estonian Air League. The last R-XIV, 54.15, aremed with a 7.7 mm Lewis gun and modified to the reconnaissance/liaison standard was finished on 1st July 1931 and transferred on the 15th of the same month to the IBTL for service evaluation trials. During these the machine showed to advantage its exceptional handling qualities and hands-off flying capabilities. The pilot, Col Jerzy Kossowski, putting the aircraft though a set of lively aerobatics, sheared off the control stick locking-pin head. No longer responding to controls and with little margin of altitude, Kossowski abandoned the aircraft. The pilotless R-XIV righted itself and made a perfect landing in an open field coming to grief in a ditch. A better adaptation of the design for reconnaissance/observation and the installation of a Scarff-ring mounting over the rear cockpit to improve field had been requested. This resulted in a new development which retained the wing of the R-XIV with a reworked rear fuselage incorporating the specified armament and tail surfaces of increased area. As the project was already the subject of a Government contract, Rudlicki decided to defy superstition and allotted the designation R-XIII to it. An order for a single R-XIII prototype, c/n 56.1, was awarded followed by the production agreement No. 33/31 for 50 machines (c/n 56.2 to 56.51) signed 21st July 1931. The 220hp Wright/Skoda powered prototype that initially lacked the Scarff-ring and had a rectangular-section rear fuselage flew in the summer of 1931 and completed IBTL trials in September. With the introduction of small alterations and improvements the machine became known as the R-XIIIA and the first production model with further refinements R-XIIIB. Construction of 56.2 began on 17th September 1931 and it was accepted by the LW on 7th June 1932. Manufacture continued at the rate of one a week, the last 56.51 completed on 15th May 1933. In contrast to its predecessors, it had a normal passenger cockpit without gun ring and was given the civil registration SP-AJT. In the second half of 1932 three-aircraft observation/reconnaissance platoons began to be formed as the R-XIIB became available and these were progressively attached to various LW Dyons. Meantime, on 20th April 1930 Lublin submitted for approval the initial proposals for the Wright/Skoda-powered R-XV observation/liaison monoplane incorporating a convertible wheel/float undercarriage. Subsequently the Navy rejected the R-XV in favour of a direct twin-float development of the R-XIII. Consequently, Lublin was asked to carry out the experimental conversion of one R-XIII to twin-float configuration, this becoming the R-XIIIbis. The aircraft was almost certainly the original R-XIII prototype c/n 56.1, equipped with two flat-bottomed wooden floats, was delivered to the Morski Dyon Lotniczy base at Puck in the summer of 1931. There it successfully completed naval evaluation trials. Pleased with the results a contract was issued on 9th January 1932 for the delivery of three R-XIIIbis seaplanes provided with similar wooden floats, and three sets of land under-carriages incorporating PZL oleo-pneumatic shock-absorbers and including skis interchangeable with the wheels. In addition to specified items of naval equipment they were to be fitted with wheel controls in place of normal control columns. The machines were allocated the naval serials 701, 702, and 703, which also became their c/ns. They were delivered in the autumn of 1932. In 1932 one of the three R-XIIIbis seaplanes was experimentally fitted with a Townsend ring which improved the aircraft’s overall performance. Simultaneously Rudlicki began work on an extensively cleaned-up land model. The engine was enclosed in a narrow-cord ring and provided with low-drag head-plate with adjustable louvres, a faired over oil cooler, modified exhaust system and faired undercarriage legs. Designated R-XIIID a follow-on order for 120 R-XIII was placed by the LW in September 1932. The contract 112/32, dated 19th September 1932 called for: 48 220 hp Wright/Skoda powered R-XIIICs (c/n 56.52 to 56.99); an improved variant of the R-XIIIB; two higher powered experimental developments stressed for 300-400 hp engines, the R-XIIIE, c/n 56.100 with 360 hp Gnome-Rhone 7K Titan Major radial, and R-XIIIF c/n 56.101, with Polish designed 340 hp Polish Skoda Works G.1620 Mors radial; and 70 220 hp Wright/Skoda powered 'new type' R-XIIIDs (c/ns 56.102 to 56.171). The R-XIIIC and R-XIIID succeeded the R-XIIIB in production in the autumn of 1932 and deliveries of the 48 C variant were completed in December 1933. The first R-XIIID was delivered to LW for evaluation trials on 28th February 1933 and this machine together with the next five machines were specially prepared and finished for an official return visit to the Soviet Union. The six R-XIIIDs led by Col Ludomił Rayski left Warsaw for Moscow on 3rd November 1933 but were unable to fly beyond Minsk due to weather and had to continue to Moscow by train. Early in 1933 the Navy issued a detailed specification for a twin-float variant of the R-XIIID following it with a contract on 5th May for ten aircraft which became known as the R-XIIIter/hydro. They were to be equipped with R-XIIID type cowlings, redesigned float-chassis, and all metal sea type Short floats, interchangeable with the flat-bottomed river type floats of the R-XIIIbis. Five sets of land undercarriages and one two blade adjustable pitch Standard Steel metal airscrew for evaluation purposes were also requested. The R-XIIIter/hydros with naval serials 704 to 713 began to arrive at the Puck naval base in early 1934. The Department of Aeronautics' request for the straightforward adaptation of the basic R-XIII airframe for engines almost twice the power of the units originally installed (R-XIIIE/F) led to increasing friction between Rudlicki and the department. Rudlicki argued that to make the best use of increased power the R-XIII could not be just adapted and that a complete reworking was necessary essentially resulting in a new aircraft. The department was unwilling to meet the expenses for the development of a new project would not agree. Work on initial proposals for a much cleaner machine with substantial aerodynamic improvements, evolved around the specified Mors engine, began at Lublin, led by Rudlicki, in December 1932. Designated R-XXI it was submitted for the design contest for the R-XIII replacement, competing with the RWD 14 and PWS entries, the U-6, and Z-7/Z-7bis, but failed to win approval. Consequently, except for restressing of the engine bearing structure and other vital elements, the R-XIIIE and R-XIIIF airframes were generally similar to that of the R-XIIID. Construction of both machines began in July 1933. With good progress with the Mors, it was obvious that the Gnome-Rhone powered variant would not be produced and the sole R-XIIIE was delivered to the PWS factory in Biała Podlaska in 1934 to be rebuilt as a test bed for moveable vertical tail surfaces. Delays in the selection of a R-XIII replacement led to the Department of Aeronautics to revise the 112/32 contract and at the beginning of February 1934. The number of R-XIIIs was increased by 50 to a total of 170, and their power-plant was specified as the 220 hp Wright/Skoda (R-XIIID) or 340 hp Skoda Mors radial (R-XIIIF). There were to be 25 of each. The production R-XIIIF was to differ from the prototype (56.101) and incorporate some features fro the abandoned R-XXI. Because of this the model received c/ns of a new series 58.1. At the same time the Polish Navy decided to supplement its fleet of Lublin monoplanes with a few machines of the latest model and on 23rd May 1934 signed a contract for six 220 hp Wright/Skoda powered R-XIIIG/hydro seaplanes serials 714 to 719. Provided with metal Short floats which were interchangeable with the floats of the earlier R-XII versions, they were equipped with normal stick controls instead of the wheel controls used on the earlier versions. In addition the factory agreed to supply the Navy with a single R-XIIIG landplane (thought carry the serial 720) in lieu of outstanding work on the forth R-XIIIbis seaplane not rebuilt as originally planned. Meanwhile, in 1934 the three early R-XIIIbis floatplanes were detailed for the River Seaplane Platoon of the Polish river fleet, operating from Pińsk on the river Prypeć which protected the extensive marshlands of the central Russo-Polish boarder. At the end of 1937 the unit was disbanded and the aircraft returned to Puck to be written off. Production of the R-XIIID continued until 1935. By 1936 33 first-line observation/liaison platoons, quipped with a total of 99 R-XIIIC and R-XIIID monoplanes were in existence. During subsequent reorganization these platoon were reformed into 12 seven aircraft observation squadrons. R-XIIIBs were withdrawn from operational use, mainly to training units. On 5th September 1934 the factory began construction of the first production R-XIIIF, c/n 58.1 which was accepted on 22nd July 1935 and altogether seven R-XIIIFs of the 25 in the revised contract 112/32 reached the LW by the autumn of that year. Traces of another LW contract for 50 R-XIIIFs negotiated in 1934 can be found in surviving documents but the indications are that this contract was never properly finalised. The first R-XIIIFs were extensively evaluated under operational conditions during the large summer army exercises in August and early September, in the course of which some trivial points were raised by an Air Force technical commission under Maj Jarina regarding the message pick-up gear and the suitability of the aircraft for picking up messages from the ground. This criticism was used by the Department of Aeronautics as pretext to bring about the collapse of E.Plage and T.Łaśkiewicz (Lublin). At the end of September 1935, when all the component parts for the R-XIIIFs had already been manufactured and the remaining 18 airframes were in being assembled, the department declared the machines 'unsuitable' and cancelled the order. With very little work on hand and the semi-complete R-XIIIFs at scrap value, the factory was forced into bankruptcy. It was taken over by the State and quickly reformed as the LWS company. The R-XIIIFs were now found to be 'suitable' again and LWS were instructed to complete and deliver them. It is thought that LWS were given the contract for all 25 Mors powered R-XIIIFs and in addition to the 18 machines abandoned by the previous firm assembled seven more from spare parts and assemblies. The R-XIIIF was said to have flown like a fighter but no details of performance are available. It seems that no R-XIIIF were delivered to any of the observation squadrons and all of them went to the CWL at Dęblin to be used as operational trainers. The total number of R-XIIIs produced amounted to 228 for the LW and 20 for the Navy. In 1939 the LW had 225 R-XIIIs in its inventory. On the outbreak of war seven combat observation squadrons, Nos. 16 26, 36, 43, 46, 56 and 66, with seven aircraft each were equipped with the type and a few more were attached to various units for liaison work. The remainder were employed on training. The R-XIIIs attached to the armies in the field were operated by their crews in the exceedingly difficult conditions of the September Campaign with great devotion to duty and complete disregard for their safety, the aircraft constituting on many occasions the only means of communication between besieged and scattered Polish Army units and their commands. Almost defenceless, very slow and operating at low altitude, the machines were not only easy prey for the enemy but were also under continuous fire from their own troops who failed to distinguish friend from foe. They suffered shattering losses, particularly when coming into land or picking up messages. According to the available statistics 70% of R-XIII lost in action fell to the guns of Polish troops. The Navy's order of battle showed 16 R-XIII seaplanes on strength on the 1st September 1939, based on the Baltic coast. Ten (together with two R-XIIIbis) forming the naval cooperation squadron; five the the equipment of the training squadron; and one supplementing the three RWD 8 landplanes of the liaison platoon.
APR 21, 2013 - 04:58 AM
Hello! Long ago, I built a model of this aircraft
APR 25, 2013 - 08:54 AM

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