On seagull wings...

The PZL P.11c

From original to model

The more than 1,000 scale models, primarily of the international standards 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32, form an independent part of the collections of the Hannover-Laatzen Aviation Museum.

Such true-to-original miniatures allow viewers of museum technology history to gain an "overview", not only of the individual exhibit (sometimes even as the only possibility of a real three-dimensional display if there is no surviving original), but also of lines of development in aircraft construction by means of possible sequencing and juxtaposition. Sometimes they even close gaps in the presentation of the originals. The quality of their craftsmanship alone is a pleasure to behold..

The PZL P.11c of Revell in 1/72. We have replaced the pilot figure with an Airfix miniature and added two tension wires to the undercarriage. Otherwise the kit is built out of the box.t.

And this time... Well - another one of the good fortune of the early years. Actually, the wonderful diorama of Otto Lilienthal's "Fliegeberg" by our long-time chief modeller Siegfried Fricke was supposed to be presented here, but the enthusiasm for the classic 1/72 Revell kit of the Polikarpov I-16 from last month shows us that many of our readers and friends of the museum discovered their interest in aviation and their love of modelling with these small but in their time fine kits, and like to remember them in words and pictures.

So today, in our 'Model of the Month' series, we present another of these Revell kits from the 1960s: The Polish fighter PZL P.11c of 1934.

Who can remember? The layout of the kit - a touch of exoticism enveloped both the original and the model.

The model: The power of pictures...

Ah, those modelling catalogues of the late 1960s and golden '70s! These mostly excellently (and historically correct) drawn cover pictures of the kits... You were (young as you were) drawn into the depiction, into the model, you walked, drove, flew along. In the hobby shop downstairs tricycles and dolls, on the first floor railway and model kits on shelves up to the ceiling. Finally, at home, the box, the mouldings, the parts, the details. The building instructions including the historical outline. And the plastic glue... Well, we digress.

The PZL P.11c was launched in 1965 by Revell (GB) in 1/72 and had 26 parts plus decal set, was a bit tricky for beginners with its struts and rigid undercarriage, but on the whole a good-natured kit. The model was a Polish Air Force fighter from autumn 1939.

The Aviation Museum presents a P.7a and its successor P.11c in its model exhibition. The model shown here was rebuilt from the museum's kit stock and probably dates from around 1975. The decals were a bit of a stress, but with a steady hand, Decal Soft and (eventually) some solid swearing we were able to get them to their destination. For a long time the Revell kit was the only miniature of this type in 1/72, in the meantime there are various far more detailed kits, but we always find that the overly perfect can also be tiring...

"Jacked up": Our PZL 11 with an aerodynamic impression.

The original: metal gull wings

And so here is the aircraft type with which the first aerial victory over a German aircraft in the Second World War was achieved: Less than an hour after the start of hostilities on 1 September 1939, the pilot of a PZL P.11c of the Polish Air Force shot down a Junkers Ju 87 in Polish airspace.

The P.11c of the Polish State Aircraft Works PZL took off from the ground for the first time in 1934 as a further development of the P.7a. The designer of the all-metal monoplane with braced gull wings, rigid landing gear and open cockpit was Zygmunt Pulawski, followed by Stanislaw Prauss and Wsiewolod Jakimiuk, who were ultimately responsible for the P.11c after his fatal flying accident.

Poland's pride

Of the total of 350 P-series aircraft built, half were P.11c. These were the standard fighters of the Polish Air Force from 1935, making it the first air force in the world to make all-metal aircraft standard. And with this type, it took a first-class model into service at the time.

The braced shoulder wing with the wing bent towards the fuselage and a profile tapering towards the tip, which was also known internationally as the "Pulawski wing" after its designer. Note the MG on the fuselage side above the radiator and the grinding spur at the tail..

Powered by the licence-built British Bristol Mercury 9-cylinder radial engine with a maximum of 645 hp, the type reached a top speed of 386 km/h with a take-off weight of 1,630 kg and had a range of 670 km. Armed with two to four 7.7 mm machine guns, the aircraft had a length of 7.55 metres and a wingspan of 10.72 metres.


Like so many designs of the 1930s, a time of rapid technical innovation, the type rapidly became obsolete. Like the British Gloster Gladiator, for example, the PZL P.11c was at the turning point of fighter aircraft construction in the mid-1930s. Already equipped with pioneering features such as monoplane metal construction, remote-controlled machine guns and (intended) radio communication, it was outclassed by designs only three or four years younger, such as the Hawker Hurricane, the Bloch 152, the Heinkel 112, Supermarine Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf 109, which established a new category of fighter aircraft as low-wing monoplanes with a closed cabin and retractable landing gear as well as (mostly) in-line aircraft engines and variable pitch propellers.

Bottom view. Only the wing and the elevator are painted sky blue, but this is counteracted by the prominent nationality markings.

And so, during the three-week German-Polish War in autumn 1939, the P.11c, which was deployed in a total of 12 squadrons of the Polish Air Force, fought valiantly and bravely, not without success, but ultimately in a losing position against an opponent who was superior in all essential strategic, tactical and technical respects.

The remaining P.7 and P.11 were used by the German Luftwaffe and then also by the german allied forces of Romania and Bulgaria for advanced and fighter pilot training, and in some cases were also used for subordinate front-line operations.

The two (often not installed) MGs in the wings at the height of the struts; the perspective reveals the very good visibility through the gull wing.

The P.24 as the end of development of the series with covered undercarriage and canopy was already an export and licence model for various Balkan countries up to Turkey before the start of the war, but never flew in Polish colours.

Come in!

Have we managed to arouse your curiosity? Then visit our aviation museum - over 40 sports, training, passenger and fighter aeroplanes, helicopters and gliders in the original and faithful replicas, a large engine and turbine section, pictures and printed works as well as over 1,000 scale models await you!


Ready for take-off. The aerodynamically embedded open cockpit with front glazing was definitely 'state of the art' in 1933/'34 - as was the entire design.


Kontakt zum Autor der Modell-des-Monats-Reihe können Sie hier aufnehmen: Autor-MdM