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EVERYTHING UKRAINE GROUP BUILD IS NOW UNDERWAY.

Matchbox 1/32 Westland Lysander Mk-1


RalphSarc
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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”!

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Ralph

 

I do recall reading that you had to be careful with the wings/fuselage joint, mainly because it is a join to the canopy. Not sure if that's correct... but someone said it wss a little dicey in terms of strength of joint.

 

Matt

 

Thanks for the heads up Matt. My friend Guy Smith has also suggested a possible problem with the wing roots. I'm going to speak to him further concerning this on Skype in the next few days! The top cockpit framing is actually molded in clear, you can see it at the top of the picture above, rather that being molded in gray like the rest of the cockpit framing.

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A real iconic aircraft,

 

You don't see these kind of builds very often.  The lysander certainly deserves a better place in history, how many pilots haven't been saved from occupied europe with the lysander, and how many droppings haven't  been made with this aircraft?.

Looking forward to see this build in progress,

 

Frank

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Fantastic subject matter Ralph!  I remember building Matchbox's Tiger Moth and being hugely proud of it.  Never could get over the varied colours of the sprues and parts though .. never figured why they did that :)

 

I agree with Cees, your choice of subject matter is superb.

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Continued one with the cockpit section of the Lysander today! Again a pretty straight forward build however I’m finding the instruction a bit vague and sometimes misleading.

 If I was a kit manufacturer I would put in note saying ”by the way when you get to step 12 refer to step 8 and insert peg” or something to that fact!!

Since there is no aftermarket PE, Decals etc I sat this morning with my good old Johnson&Johnson first-aid tape and craft wire and made seatbelts for both the pilot and gunner seats. I also fashioned a pair of seat cushions. Luckily I have a sheet of WW2 1/32 AirScale decals to liven up the instrument panel. 

 

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Bottom of the cockpit and fuel tank! The instruction show a mounting hole to attach the pilots seat in the front of the fuel tank however there is no such hole/slot!!

 

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Top of cockpit with pilot seat installed! That clear bit on top is all that supports the wing roots other than the struts, lol!!

 

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The Lysander’s cockpit frame made its way to the paint shop last evening for a gray coat of” rattle can gray primer” and a color coat of Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green. Our humidity is pretty high so will let the paint dry/harden today before beginning the weathering process!

 

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Enjoyed a very hot and humid Atlanta Sunday indoors working on the Lysander!

Finish all the weathering, chipping, washing etc and sealed it all with a spray of Revell Dull Coat. Also sprayed the inside fuselage halves using Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black before slipping all the parts in the jig for glue up. Had to remove the instrument panel as it was incorrectly positions and was it the way. I’ll make a few necessary minor adjustments to it and re-install tomorrow!

 

Looking aft along the cockpit frame.

 

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Looking forward along the cockpit frame.

 

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In the assmeble jig. Fancy name for large woodshop clamp, lol!!

 

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Removed the Lysander from the gluing jig yesterday and began assembling the engine and landing gear. Note on the Lysander main landing gear: Matchbox/Revell's engineering/design of the main landing gear was very poor. The tabs fitting the gear to the fuselage are much to small and there is no support backing inside the fuselage itself! Also the gear is molded in four oddly shaped parts. I believe two would have been better. Oh well a bit of filler and some shaping will see the day, lol!!

 

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Lysander on display at the Udvar Hazy.

 

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In looking at the Lysander on display in the Udvar Hazy I noticed two intake ports mounted inside each side of the engine cowlings. I also noticed that the molded model carb scoop on the belly of the engine cowling had no hole or scoop cowing! So I got out my styrene tubing and did a bit of scratch building!

 

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I also fashioned support cross bars and aiming sight to the back of the otherwise featureless instrument panel to add some interest when looking through the canopy!

 

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The finished instrument panel!

 

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Thanks to a newly realized skill of using fingernail polish remover to remove excess filler on seam lines I was able to fly through the fuselage seam work and install the underbelly storage pod on the Lysander yesterday. Now it’s really looking ungainly, lol!!

 

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If I remember correctly Ralph, don't you have to be quite quick with the Nail Polish remover?, I seem to recall that it can eat into the plastic.  So long as you don't flood it you're ok, just dampen a cotton bud and give a ol' good swipe and you're away!

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If I remember correctly Ralph, don't you have to be quite quick with the Nail Polish remover?, I seem to recall that it can eat into the plastic.  So long as you don't flood it you're ok, just dampen a cotton bud and give a ol' good swipe and you're away!

 

Grant I laid down Tamiya Tape on either side of the seams, brushed on Mr Surface 1000, let stand for a miute or so and then using a Q-Tip dipped in the remover and wiped away the access. Finally after a few more minutes I removed the tape and buffed with a sanding square. I did a test on the plastic before beginning!

The technique worked great and saved hours of sanding!!

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Looks like that technique works, anyway. Looking smooth.

 

Here's what I do Ralph - I use an old screw top glass ( jam- ) jar with some paint thinner in it, on the inside of the lid I smear a big glob of ( Squadron ) putty.

With a medium paintbrush I then thin some of the putty to a buttery ( or even watery ) substance in the lid and then go to work with it. Excess putty

on the model can be brushed off with a clean brush and paint thinner.

And the good part is that the glob of putty stays on the inside of the lid as I close the jar and put it away.

That putty will hang there and stay ready for use for a week, or more, due to the paint thinner fumes in the jar.

Very economic too - I never throw away any hardened putty.

 

George

 

George that's a fantastic idea!! I'll have to give that a try. Thanks always for your tips and guidance!

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The Lysander was transferred down to the paint shop earlier yesterday morning. When I was last down there the paint shop crew had primed the aircraft with good old rattle can primer and had just finished spraying the Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black underbelly surfaces!

 

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