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Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit

Airfix 1/72 Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit First Look

By James Feuilherade

Date of Review February 2014 Manufacturer Airfix
Subject Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Scale 1/72
Kit Number 4053 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Newly tooled kit, nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (GBP) £14.99

First Look

Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit
Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit
Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit
Fairey Swordfish Mk.I Kit

Recently purchased for the princely sum of 19 $ Australian, an example of the Airfix 1/72 Fairey Swordfish Re-tooling of the ancient Airfix original Swordfish kit. What more can be said about the Swordfish combat record. Let me put it this way. It was the Charlie Chaplin of the air war, like Chaplain, it was: A funny looking little dude who by cunning, savvy, pluck and a large helping of luck managed to beat up the much bigger and meaner villain of the piece.

Why was it so good? From what I've read: It was easy to fly, totally basic, handled exceptionally well at low speed, had no vices and so was able to operate in conditions, much more modern and powerful aircraft could not. It was able to lift over 1500 Lbs of weapons and could absorb lots of battle damage. It was extremely reliable' to the extent the reliability of the Bristol Pegasus engine would cause an expert Swiss watch maker to raise an eyebrow. Amazingly, despite the robust fixed undercarriage, it could be ditched successfully and seemed to stay afloat for a convenient length of time. What more could you want? Yes, well an extra 250 kts combat speed would be nice, but let's be reasonable!

I've always had a soft spot for Airfix, so many of us living in the "motherland or out in the colonies" cut our modelling teeth as young'uns, on Airfix kits. As a boy I remember the excitement when my Dad brought one home getting home from work, in that little plastic bag.

This kit is very impressive. It is really a case of "Honey, I shrunk the 1/48th scale Swordfish kit!". you are getting 1/48th detail in 1/72nd. The kit bears no resemblance to the old Swordfish kit at all, it is basically all new. Can be built with wings folded or extended. If built folded, Airfix has supplied a clever plastic jig, which will ensure the riggers angle (angle between wing chord and aircraft longitudinal axis), between the wing top and bottom center sections, is correct. Another nice touch is the kit comes with flat spot wheels. You also get a transport cradle for the torpedo if you do not want to mount it on the model. Great for diorama fans.

Taranto raid aircraft carried bombs, a center line aux fuel tank and an observer, others carried a torpedo, and no observer, in the observers place was the aux fuel tank. This is all supplied with the kit if you want to do either a Taranto raid bomber or torpedo attack aircraft. In a huge irony, the Japanese (not yet at war with Britain of course) were supplied with details of the Taranto raid, which effectively destroyed the Italian Naval fleet, totally altering the balance of power in the Mediterranean in 1940. I wonder why they were so interested........!!

Some delicate knife work required to clean up parts once removed from the sprues. Some delicate knife work to thin some cockpit parts, such as the cockpit airframe tubing, helps to make them look better, as they are a tiny bit chunky. Some say, the engraving on the kit is too heavy. I think it will tone down nicely under paint and when the model is complete and viewed as a whole subject, it will look good. The fabric effect on the wings and general detailing is very good.

A slight concern is the plastic seems a bit soft and it is wise to test fit as you go, parts fit being good but not quite in the "Tamigawa" league. That said, the price of this kit isn't in that league either. You are getting a lot for your dollar here.

The decal sheet is good, but not a lot of options. One is a rather bland prewar aircraft, the other a famous Taranto raid aircraft. Aftermarket decals abound.