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Lysander Kit

Airfix 1/72 Lysander Mk.II Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2009 Manufacturer Airfix
Subject Lysander Mk.II Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2053 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice subject Cons Next to nil interior detail. Mad Riveter work on wings
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $7.95

First Look

Lysander Kit
Lysander Kit
Lysander Kit

The Lysander, was a two-seat, high-wing monoplane which was employed as an Army Co-operation aircraft. It was built by Westland in the UK and used in WWII. The Lysander had an operating speed of 170 mph, a ceiling of 26,00 ft. and a range of 600 miles.

The Lysander was armed with one fixed Browning 0.50 in. machine gun mounted in each wheel spat, and twin manually operated Browning’s mounted in the rear cockpit. Anti-personnel bombs were carried beneath each stub wing on the landing gear legs. Amongst the Lysander’s many duties were reconnaissance, artillery spotting, dropping of food and ammunition to beleaguered forces, message dropping and air-sea rescue.

Perhaps it’s most famous role was dropping agents behind enemy lines. It was powered by one 950 hp Bristol Perseus XII radial engine. There were 8 or more variants of the Lysander produced. It was used by: Australia, British India, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Free France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and USA.

A small number are preserved in museums in the UK and Canada and elsewhere. The National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, in the Udvar-Hazy Center located in Chantilly, Virginia, suburb of Washington DC, near Dulles International Airport has a Westland Lysander Mk. IIIA on display, painted in the markings of No. 138 Squadron RAF (famed for their clandestine missions in wartime Europe).

Airfix is a model company based in the UK. This kit is out of production, but has been re-released with a new figure that is climbing the boarding ladder and it has a belly fuel tank now. This newer re-release may have better interior and other details now (kit no. ARX2053)

My kit is over 30 years old. I paid a paltry .89 cents for it back in the late 60’s. It comes in a clear cello bag with a header sheet stapled to the bag. The coverart shows a Lysander overflying a British formation on the ground. The aircraft is in a wave pattern of earth and dark green over a duck egg blue undercarriage. It carries a fuselage code of LX (roundel) M in large white letters and a fin flash on the tail. The propeller and spinner are jet black. This artwork shows that the small black serial no. N1256 is in front of the tail and just behind the white letters. However, the other side of this header sheet has a 3-view of the scheme with the serial number atop the LX on the right side and atop the M of the left side. The aircraft also does not carry roundels under the wings. This is the only marking provided on the kit’s decal sheet and my sheet has yellowed some with age and will have to be replaced with an after-market one of similar or identical markings. The sheet in the kit has a cloudy tissue provided, that is supposed to protect the face of the decal from abrasion. However, the tissue is loose and floating around, so of little protective value therefore.

The inside of this header sheet has the assembly drawings and there are only 3 of them, with captions below each telling how to proceed in those steps.

The parts in the kit are molded in silver gray styrene. It appears to me that Airfix took what was a larger parts tree and butchered it up into smaller sections, of only a few parts, to fit into the cello bag.

There are individual fuselage halves, the cowling and the wings. The wings have the flaps molded solid and they would take surgery to re-position if desired.

There are 2 of the chopped up trees. Some of the parts had broken off these from rubbing together in the bag.

The first one holds: the propeller, tailwheel, pilot and passenger busts (molded from chest up only and having a sink mark in the pilot’s chest), stub wings that carried the bombs on the landing gear, propeller shaft and retainer washer. (9 parts) The figures are meant to just be cemented to a waist high shelf in the cockpit. No other detail is provided in there.

The second tree holds: the wing struts, horizontal stabilizers (again, with flaps molded solid) and the spatted landing gear (with wheels molded in) (6 parts).

The clear parts consist of the large greenhouse cockpit transparency and a 2 part desk display stand.

The decal sheet completes the kit’s contents (already described above).

This kit is just a basic beginning for a Lysander model. Better kits of the Lysander have been released since this one was marketed. However, it is a springboard for a scratchbuilder and also an easy kit to assemble for a novice modeler.