(More customer reviews)This plane is one of a series of four classic WWI biplanes, I believe, produced by the same company about a decade ago and distributed in the US by retailers and online vendors, probably as remaindered items. This could account for their cheap price. They are all molded of sturdy plastic and prepainted, with metal screws and pins that are used to assemble the model kit.
They can be used as toys, display items, or for hobby modeling (games, train layouts, military dioramas). Once put together, they seem durable enough (as long as you don't try to "fly" them; they do not glide). The trick is assembly. I don't think I've *ever* encountered models this difficult before and this Red Baron triplane is by far the worst of the bunch. For starters, all the planes share the same one-page illustrated instruction sheet, which is printed so small I had to use a magnifying glass over each section to get any idea what to do. They are still poor instructions, no text is provided, you have to figure it out from the drawings. There are multiple pieces that have to be held in place while snapping other pieces onto the partial assembly, particularly with the first step, requiring you to have the arms of an octopus and the ability to balance tiny, tiny pieces carefully while pushing with great force on other pieces. The plastic parts aren't molded well enough for the metal pins to be inserted where necessary, I found on this model, and it's very easy to snap or break part of the model. I finally had to assemble this plane using glue instead of the prescribed process, which took days to do piecemeal (allowing for each step to dry), so it was a very tedious and difficult process and resulted in a less than attractive model, with glue over the seams and joins.
The other planes in this series are also extremely difficult and frustrating to work with (so many very small screws and other bits) and they take much longer to put together than you'd believe. Not something a child could manage, in my opinion. And an adult better have enormous patience, telescopic vision, and very agile fingers.
ADDENDUM, June 2011: I now note this model is being offered for extremely high prices, not the $8 to $15 this range originally sold for. It must be out of production. I would caution against spending huge sums of money on this item.
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