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Scratchbuilt 1/72 BOK-5 1937

By Gabriel Stern

The use of radial engines in small airframes tends to create very cartoon-like shapes of an undeniable appeal.
Some of these stumpy, chubby, cute little bugs are well known (like the Gee-Bee racers or the Polikarpov I-15) while others are more obscure subjects. If this type of design was a monoplane (like the Bristol Type 72 Racer or the Polikarpov I-16), then the effect was even more notorious; but if on top of that we have a “flying wing” example, then the resulting aesthetics are just as fun as they are attractive.

The BOK-5 was a Russian design proposal originated –as the designation states- at the Bureau of Experimental Aircraft (Buro Osovikh Konstruktsii) and the project was led by V. A. Chizhevsky. It had a Mikulin M-11 as its power plant and a span of less than 10 meters. It had metal structure and the flying surfaces were mostly fabric-covered.
After initial flights and some adjustments the plane revealed itself as a very good machine, but notwithstanding its virtues didn’t go into production.

The Scupley-made fuselage master fitted comfortably in the Mattel Vac-U-Form plate and promptly I had my two fuselage half-shells. The interior was furnished according to references and then the wing was fabricated out of styrene sheet and rod as per photos. A sort of Townend ring was created laminating styrene sheet on a metal tube–see also the images to follow the simple procedure- and an “Engine ‘n Things” Mikulin was retrieved from deep hibernation in the spares bin. This particular engine is not the best one I have seen from this manufacturer, with the back side well detailed and the front side marred by the area of the cylinders enclosed by the pushrods, which was a pool of resin. Some pinholes –or potholes- further enhanced the overall results.
Wing and fuselage were mated, but no eggs were laid. Details on the fuselage were added and then the under-hanging control surfaces for the wing. Wheels came from Aeroclub and landing gear structure was a combination of assorted bits. Last details were the home-made wooden prop and a number (14) of photoetched control horns, which amused my ears with the “ping” sound they made every time they jumped to hyperspace from the tweezers.

Finishing presented a dilemma. The original color was apparently either white or light grey, but I think that aluminum is a possibility as well. Some color reported as red –which will make sense being this a Russian plane- was applied to the nose ring, leading edges and to some trim lines on the upper fuselage. But for the annual parade a very original and psychedelic scheme was applied, a la Kalinin K-12 “Zhar Ptitsa”.
This artistic scheme is represented in different ways by several sources. The usual heavily retouched Russian photos duplicated with hectographic gelatin in the cold basement of a Buro (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hectograph) did not help. That made me lean towards the original scheme.

Few decals for this one: only the concentric circles for the wheels and the BOK triangular logo for the rudder.
Za Rodina!

Lost and Found:
Fellow modeler Lars Opland lost his tweezers somewhere over his building board. If anybody see them please call the Lost & Found office at ARC.

-“My Life On The Winged Steps” by Stevensko Kallanovich, People’s Editors, Novaya-Zemlya, 1937.
-“Oigadoñaya –Memoirs of a Russian Test Pilot Without a Samovar” by Jimilovich Schuberoff, Kalashnikov Editions, Alma-Ata, 1937.
-“The Varenike That Flew Through The Kitchen’s Roof” by Rosetia Moylensk, Valentina Tereshkova Publishers, Sakhalin Island, 2009.
-“Greeks Invented the Flying Wing” by Kristophan Psarrasnikoff, Kojak Editors, Kola Peninsula, 2012.