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In 1983 I was 23 years old, had recently settled in Pennsylvania after my enlistment in the Air Force, and was wondering what to do with my life. I knew I wanted to write, but I hadn't figured out what I wanted to write yet. Among my other early experimentation, I decided to try my hand at writing parodies of hobby scale plastic modeling articles. The following material was printed in Trash News Number 5, the Spring 1983 issue. Trash News was a short-lived small print-run hobby spoof newsletter produced by Jack Gurner.

For some reason, the IPMS (International Plastic Modeler's Society) never printed any of the articles I submitted to them.

Kit Review: Pu-19 Flying Hamster

Spring 1983

After my half-finished article on conversion possibilities for the Visible Woman (editor's note: see Trash News No. 3) was confiscated by the vice squad, I decided to try my hand at the latest release by the well-known Irvanian firm Rivetmaster, the long-awaited Pu-19 Flying Hamster.

The kit is well molded on three sprues in seventeen colors and features optional clear or opaque canopies for an early prototype. Decals include markings for a Pu-19 of the 11th "Sitting Ducks" Panzer Division, a machine of the Irvanian airline "Aeroflop", and Hitler's personal moped.

The Flying Hamster was designed after a government request was submitted for the closing of Joe's Grill, forcing the Armaments Design Commission to meet at the airfield snack bar. The commission began design studies for a new ground attack/crop dusting aircraft in order to look busy to the suspicious aircrews.

When Joe's Grill opened a week later -- due to misplacement of the "closed" sign -- all designs were discarded in favor of a sketch done by the Tyrranosaurus Rex while in a hypnotic trance. Production followed rapidly with over five aircraft being built before construction ceased when the commission remembered that they only wanted three aircraft built.

Pu-19 Flying Hamster

The Flying Hamsters were used in the tactical crop dusting role against the invading Germans in 1942 with little success, as nobody noticed their attacks. The Germans continued to chase the tiny country around eastern Europe until the Irvanian Commandos accidentally annihilated the entire German 6th Army Group just minutes before the advancing Soviet army arrived on the scene.

The Flying Hamsters soldiered on after the war serving as VIP transports and sales exhibitions for various aluminum siding manufacturers. Today three of the machines are still airworthy, thrilling dozens of airshow spectators as the mounts of the Royal Irvanian Flying Service Flight Demonstration Team, known as the Suicidal Idiots.

After over 55 years of service to their country, the Flying Hamsters are credited with downing 12 MiG-25s, 38 Yak-3s, 192 Bf-109s, and Amelia Earhart.

The Pu-19 is of unique design, being the only triplane in history to have only two wings. Construction was of balsa wood, aluminum sheeting, duct tape, and nylon tie straps. Initial designs show the pilot facing the tail, a feature soon reversed when tests revealed this feature to be too advanced for the available technology. The other two crew members, the co-pilot/navigator/bombadier/machinegunner and the stewardess, sat directly behind the pilot on lawn chairs.

Construction of the Rivetmaster kit was fairly simple, although I needed to use glue on the fuselage-wing joints. I put 5 pounds of weight in the nose, which I realize is an unusual thing to do on a model without tricycle landing gear, but it does give the model an interesting, if not completely authentic, stance. The hydraulic lines molded onto the fixed landing gear looked suspiciously inaccurate, so I covered them with duct tape.

The coffee machine was a little undersized so I replaced it with a nuclear reactor from a cut-away submarine kit. I replaced the spare pool cues with stretched sprue and carved a new pitot tube from a 1/48th scale B-17 propeller.

I finished the plane in the common Irvanian gloss blue overall finish and handpainted the Chicken national insignia, squadron emblem, and the apple green/pink/zinc chromate fin flash.

Irvanian Squadron Insignia

Overall I felt this was a good kit, but not something I'd spend money on. I'd like to see Rivetmaster come out with a 1/72nd scale kit of a Spitfire, or maybe even a Bf-109. Who knows, maybe someday we'll even see a good P-51D kit.


About the author:
David L. Ferris, known simply as Ferns because no one can read his handwriting, is an accomplished modeler and author, having won many awards, none of which he can verify. He was installed on Earth in London, England in 1960. He served in the US Air Force from August 1978 to September 1982, where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was put in charge of telephone answering, paperwork shuffling, and giving people the day off. He currently inspects welds at a nuclear power plant as a hobby and feeds his cat for a living. He can't remember what he does after that.

Letters to the editor in the same issue:


I read the article on the new Rivetmaster Pu-19 Flying Hamster in this issue and I think it stinks! The scale is clearly not 1/32, the canopy is too clear, the tail is all the wrong shape, and the decals were all off register!

This is absolutely the worst kit I have ever seen in all my whole life! The parts don't fit, the undercarriage parts are crooked, and the gun barrels are too thin. Rivetmaster should be shot for producing this trash! Besides, why on earth would they make a model of the Flying Hamster when they could have made a kit of the Hellgiraffe? I've been waiting for a Hellgiraffe kit for weeks now!

-- George Slymedaug

Dear Jack,

I'd like to comment on the article on Rivetmaster's new Flying Hamster kit. The author obviously researched his subject thoroughly. The information is complete and accurate, the review was most informative, and the drawings were the best I've seen in this or any other magazine. I'd like to see more of this quality material.

-- the author's mother

Dear Editor,

I feel the article you're going to write on President Reagan's Tie-Fighter for next winter's issue is in very poor taste. You should tear it up even before you start writing it.

-- Guru Jablentz Hurrirama Jackson, American Society of Psychics


Next issue: Displaying your model bass

Let Ferns show you how!!!

Irvania.com webmaster: Dave Ferris
The content in this page was written in 1983
Last updated: June 11, 2016