My favorite inhabitant was an old, white Ryan Navion. It was quite unusual sitting among its smaller brethren, and I grew fond of it. You may know that it was designed by North American for the civilian market after World War Two but was eventually manufactured by Ryan and eventually saw service as the L-17. It is one of the most macho looking civilian aircraft I've ever seen. If I were a private pilot, this is the airplane I'd own.
As a modeler I looked for a model of the Navion and found that only Lindberg had made a crude kit a thousand years ago. Not something for the serious modeler.
I always remained hopeful that I would see a kit of the Navion but knew it was beyond even a long shot. My hope took the form of cheeky quips on Hyperscale and ARC over the years -- nine years ago telling Jake Reid that his next book should be on the L-17 Navion, once proclaiming the Navion as the best aircraft that ever flew, and making the claim that the Navion is only prop-driven airplane that could shoot down an F-16.
Meanwhile one of the most popular topics of conversations on the forums has always been wish lists, and I’ve always mentioned the Navion, always with the thought that I’d never see one.
Fast forward too many years, and here I am holding the new Valom 1/72 Navion!
I shouldn’t be surprised. A year ago I opined here on Scale Model Soup that the manufacturers might run out of subject matter in 10 years, estimating that we could see 500 new 1/72 aircraft, 500 new 1/48 aircraft, and 750 new 1/35 tanks and soft skin vehicles by 2025. And guess what. I even mentioned the L-17 Navion in that post!
I share my excitement about finally getting a model of this unusual aircraft only to suggest that if you wait long enough, if you’re patient, you may eventually get your wish. I know we’re an impatient bunch of guys, but the good news is we have plenty of models to build while we wait.