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Monogram Piper Tri Pacer VH-OLD the man meets the machine

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This is my Monogram Piper PA-22 Tri Pacer. This vintage kit was manufactured from 1957 onwards and is listed as 1:32 scale although there is some opinions that it is 1:33 or 1:34 scale. It was close enough to meet my needs however and when I saw the kit for sale at a model show, it immediately appealed to my esoteric taste in large scale model aircraft. The kit boxing that I have appears to be similar to the earliest release of the kit, although it was still shrink wrapped and in excellent condition for its apparent age.






The decals were not quite up to scratch and having a mask cutter, I set out to find an appropriate and attractive scheme upon which to apply to this model. I wanted to have it retain its classic Piper looks but have a modern take on it. The one aircraft that was jumping out at me was VH-OLD, a Western Australian based Tri Pacer. I was able to tick a few boxes here; Australian subject, beautiful retro scheme, great Rego (with the emphasis on the OLD part!) and of course some nice clear photos of the aircraft which would enable me to use my Silhouette Portrait mask cutter to full advantage.




I recently made contact with the owner of VH-OLD, Philip Maley and he was able to send me a comprehensive history of the aircraft which I have partially reproduced here. The aircraft started out as VH-RST, purchased brand new by the Royal New South Wales Aero club in Bankstown in 1958, where it was unpacked from a shipping crate and assembled. It then changed hands in 1963 and became VH-BST, based in Queensland where it also carried out flying school duties. Sometime after that it then moved to Western Australia where it was owned by various farmers. During this time, it was repaired after striking a sheep in 1969, and then unfortunately being blown over on its back at Wongan Hills in 1981. The aeroplane was then comprehensively restored by Mr R. Devenish to the state that it is in now, then passed along to another owner before being purchased by Philip in 2006 where it has been ever since. (photos from the Geoff Goodall collection)




Some historic images of the aeroplane:








As VH-BST at Wongan Hills






During restoration:






After restoration:




Whilst wanting to keep this model as out of the box as possible, there were a few details that I felt needed to be added. I was keen to retain the retro look and feel of the original release as I know that a lot of the older generation of modellers would have cut their teeth on these kits many years ago, and it was important to me that it would bring back memories of a far simpler time in modelling to someone who had built it in the past. The openable doors had to stay although I filled and rebuilt the hinges, losing the `snap fit’ nature of them. I retained all of the raised detail.


I scratchbuilt:


exhaust pipe

spray deflector and torque link behind the nose wheel

tail bumper

anti collision light

bell cranks to the ailerons and rudder with corresponding rigging


wheel covers

landing lights.

pitot tube

diagonal bars inside cockpit

seatbelts from metal foil.

tailplane rigging with knitting in elastic

I flattened the kit tires to simulate the weight of the aircraft.


The model was finished with Gunze Sangyo acrylic over white Primer.































Edited by ericg

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Well done Eric.   I’m always impressed with your genre of subjects.  Regardless of which one you choose, they are all superbly done after you have some time with them.  The Tripacer, the Peashooter are a few of my favorite subjects.   Well done.





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It's always good to see what can be done with an old kit; this one has scrubbed up very nicely.  Well done.  :goodjob:

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