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Lysander Mk.III Kit

Eduard 1/48 Lysander Mk.III Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2008 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject Westland Lysander Mk.III Scale 1/48
Kit Number 1138 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very nicely detailed kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $59.95

First Look

Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit
Lysander Mk.III Kit

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.

Eduard has re-released their beautiful Lysander Mk.III kit which had been originally produced under the brand name 'Gavia' ( look here). Today, the contents of the Gavia kit would be considered an Eduard 'Weekend Edition' as it was a nice, simple styrene kit. This time however, Eduard has stepped up the game with some contemporary additions to the box. Let's take a look:

As before, the kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus an addition tree of clear parts. In this updated version, Eduard has added two frets of photo-etched parts including one featuring their color printing, one set of yellow tape masks, one set of resin parts, and a nice set of Finnish marking options.

The cockpit of the original Gavia edition was quite nicely laid out with the tubular airframe structures visible in the cockpit replicated nicely in this kit - detailed, but not over-engineered and complex. If you add the photo-etch detailing with the nice two-part instrument panel, that nice (large) HF radio set, and even the color-printed seatbelts and shoulder harnesses, the interior of this model is going to be quite appealing! More of the internal structure and details are in this release because there are things you can do in photo-etch that is nearly impossible to replicate in styrene.

The Mercury engine is nicely done and the detail is even better now with photo-etched push-rod tubes and new resin air duct details.

As with the Gavia release, the five-piece transparent cockpit enclosure can be posed closed-up or opened. The rear section can be posed with the rear canopy slid open while the pilot's port-side window can be carefully cut to pose the access panel open for pilot access.

The wheel spats are nicely replicated should you want to pose the aircraft on its wheels, but this set includes resin skis to replicate winter operations with the Finnish Air Force. Nice!

The kit also comes with a set of Eduard's famous yellow masks which will come in VERY handy in masking off all of those window panes! Thank you Eduard!

Markings are provided for four aircraft:

  • Lysander Mk.III, LY-116, 2/LeLv 16, winter camo, Hirvas, Jan 1943
  • Lysander Mk.III, LY-118, 2/LeLv 16, normal camo, Aug 1945
  • Lysander Mk.III, LY-119, 2/LeLv 16, normal camo, Feb 1942
  • Lysander Mk.III, LY-120, 2/LeLv 16, normal camo, Jun 1942

It is nice to see this kit back on the market as the original Gavia kit has been out of production for a while. There was one other version of the kit released which provided the special mission configuration with an external tank and a rear cockpit boarding ladder permanently mounted on the airframe to facilitate quick ingress for folks being extracted out from behind enemy lines.

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!