Airfix 1/72 Whirlwind Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||January 2009||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||0099||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice basic kit. May be the only kit in any scale of a Whirlwind||Cons||Cockpit transparancy and flaps molded solid, Only one marking option for an unknown squadron, Nil cockpit interior detail, Raised panel lines|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
First flown in 1938, the Westland Whirlwind entered service with the R.A.F. in 1940, but its existence was kept secret until 1942.
The Whirlwind was the first single-seat twin-engined fighter to be used in quantity during WWII. Because of the twin-engine layout, the armament was exceptionally heavy for the time, was fitted in the nose, giving concentrated fire power.
At first, the Whirlwind was employed as an escort and night fighter, but it’s main use was later, when it was employed in attacking enemy shipping along the French coast, and transport and installations on the mainland.
The Whirlwind was powered by two 885 h.p. Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines, giving a top speed of 360 mph. The wing span was 45 ft. and the length 32 ft. 9 in. Armament was normally four 20 mm cannon, although some aircraft also carried bombs.
The Whirlwind was retired in 1943 after only 116 being built.
Airfix is a model company based in the UK. This bag kit is over 30 years old and long out of production. A check of the internet makes it appear to be the only show in town, in any scale for a Whirlwind kit, unless one of our readers knows otherwise.
The kit is packaged in a clear cello bag with a header sheet stapled to it.
Inside the bag is one tree of of parts and some loose individual parts that appear to having been chopped off a larger tree in order for them to fit the bag.
The loose parts are: the fuselage and wing halves, the two propellers (that are each attacked to long shafts of sprue) and the engine nacelle halves. The wings have the flaps molded solid.
The parts tree holds: the horizontal stabilizers (with flaps molded solid) the landing gear struts, the pilot figure, the fuselage nose cap, the main wheels and tailwheel, the landing gear doors, cannon barrels, propeller shafts and radio antenna (23 parts)
The clear parts consist of a 2 part desk display stand and the cockpit transparency. The cockpit part is molded solid and is thick. It would be better replaced with a thinner vacuformed one. However, the cockpit is very sparse offering only the pilot who is to sit on a tab projecting from the right fuselage wall. Modelers with AMS will surely want to add extra detail here. The main gear wheel wells in each nacelle are also rather naked.
The final items in the bag are the decal sheet and a slip advertising Airfix Magazine (does that still exist?) and the rest of the slip is to be used to mail to Airfix with any complaints about the kit. The reverse side has a listing of several hundred other kits that Airfix marketed back in the 60’s, when I purchased this kit and a few other similar bag kits from them.
The header sheet shows a cover art of a couple Whirlwinds mixing it up in a dogfight with some Bf-109’s. The Whirlwind in the foreground is camouflaged in dark earth and dark green wave pattern above a pale blue undercarriage. It carries the fuselage code of H E(roundel) H on the right side and H (roundel) HE on the left. Red and blue roundels are carried above the wings and red, white and blue with yellow edge type under the wings. It has a fin flash on each side of the rudder and a fuselage white band just in front of the tail, with the black serial no. P6984 just behind the fuselage stripe. It has white propeller spinners also.
The part of the header sheet that folds over the back of the bag has the aircraft’s history. The other side of this sheet has the assembly instructions, as 3 steps – each with written instructions below them.
The cover art is shown on this sheet as a 3-view (already described above). This is the only marking offered on the decal sheet and we are not told what squadron this aircraft was with.
The decal sheet completes the bags contents. It also includes the aircraft’s name to apply to the desk stand, if used.
This is a basic kit. An easy build and a springboard for some more superdetailing. Panel lines are of the raised variety. One may appear someday on eBay perhaps, but the kit is long out of production. I paid a paltry .79 cents for mine in the mid 60’s.