RalphSarc Posted September 4, 2014 Share Posted September 4, 2014 Several years ago while on a business trip to Washington DC I had the opportunity/pleasure to spend the day at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum. While I was blown away by the stunning array and the sheer volume of beautifully refurbished aircraft presented there I walked away oddly in love with the British WW2 Westland Lysander on display! A few weeks ago my friend John Benfield offered me his vintage 1/32 Matchbox Lysander Mk-1 for the mere price of shipping from Florida! I of course jumped at the chance and sent him a check immediately!! I’m thrill at the chance to breathe life into this wonderful vintage kit and proudly display it in “The Basement Air Force”! History. In the mid-1930s, the British Army was looking for a liaison aircraft to replace the Hawker Hector. The Air Ministry released the requirement to selected companies and Westland was not on the initial list of invitees. When they did receive their opportunity, Westland's designers went beyond the specification and interviewed the pilots to see what capabilities were the most important. The key features they wanted were visibility, low-speed handling, and short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities. The resulting design, internally designated as P.8, featured a high wing, an advanced aerodynamic wing with leading edge slats, slotted flaps, and an adjustable tailplane for low-speed pitch trim authority. Powered by an air-cooled Bristol Mercury engine rated at over 800 horsepower, the aircraft could take-off and land in very small fields, climb at over 1400 feet-per-minute, had a useful load of nearly 1800 pounds, and a range of 600 miles. Compared to the German equivalent - the Fieseler Storch, the Lysander was twice as fast, could climb about 50% more per minute, and had more than double the range. While the empty weight of the Lysander was also twice that of the Storch, that also made the aircraft more tolerant of less-than-ideal field conditions where a stray gust of wind could flip a lighter aircraft on the ground. A little history on the Udvar Hazy Westland Lysander. During World War II, Westland Lysander crews flew highly classified clandestine missions from England over Axis territory. Many of their operational missions remain tightly locked in official secrecy. The Lysander was designed to land and take off from places normally unrecognizable as airfields. The aircraft operated comfortably from pastures, fields, and even clearings in the forest and was effective at inserting secret agents deep into enemy territory. The museum's Lysander was built in Canada in 1942. Little is known about its service history, but it likely flew as an aerial tow plane for target practice. This aircraft is painted in the colors of 138 Squadron RAF. During World War II, this squadron was based at RAF Tempsford Airfield. It was controlled by the Special Operations Executive and flew clandestine missions supplying resistance forces and transporting agents to and from occupied Europe. Donated by Dwight F. Brooks Physical Description:Westland Lysander IIIa army cooperation/liaison high wing aircraft; bent seagull wing shape with trailing edges tapered forward equipped with trailing edge flaps and leading edge slats, which operated automatically; the wing is braced with two pairs of "V" struts; steel tube fuselage with aluminum panels on front half with fabric covered rear; aluminum cowling and aluminum covered fixed undercarriage and wheels; Medium Sea Gray and Dark Green upper camouflage pattern on upper surfaces, Matt Black underside, and Type C1 Fuselage Roundel: yellow, dull blue, white, and dull red, Dull Red Squadron Code "AC"; Bristol Mercury XX nine-cylinder engine. The Kit! For those of us old enough to remember Matchbox kits, here is one of their better classics, the 1/32 Westland Lysander. This kit was one of the most detailed of their offerings, providing parts for three different configurations. At that time, one of Matchbox's claims to fame was the multicolored styrene sprues that comprised their kits, and this tended to distract many modelers from the merits of these kits but not me, lol! This kit while molded in gray, dark gray and black styrene is presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The molds are in great shape and there is no visible sign of flash problems. While the tooling is older, this kit has scribed surface details though you might opt to fill in many of these scribed lines and rescribe them with less width and depth. The clear parts are one area for some tweaking. While the windows are molded in separate sections to provide so options, the frames are a bit shall we say overemphasized. The clear parts however are wonderfully clear and free of distortion and should be easily masked. The cockpit of this kit is rather simplistic, though the thinking was that you wouldn't notice any issues if you planted both pilots into the two cockpits. If you want to leave the cockpits unoccupied, there are sufficient details between the separately molded steel frame and the various control panels to get a good start. The kit's Bristol Mercury engine isn't bad out of the box, but again, I may want to do a little detail work on the stock parts. The build. I was warned by a member on “The Basement Air Force” that there may be a problem gluing the Lysander and that he had to resort to using CA. Luckily I haven’t experienced that using Tamiya Extra Thin. The cockpit OOB as stated is pretty simple but presents a lot of potential. I’m will paint it Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green and use Vallejo Chipping Medium and Pigments for the first time to detail the interior. 5 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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