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Lysander Mk.III Kit

Gavia 1/48 Lysander Mk.III Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

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

First Look

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 produced this beautiful Lysander Mk.III kit under the 'Gavia' brand name and it remains the nicest Lysander tooling in this scale. If Eduard were to release this kit as-is today, it would now be an Eduard 'Weekend Edition' as it is a nice, simple styrene kit. Eduard has since re-released this kit with some nice photo-etch and resin additions ( look here).

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus an addition tree of clear parts. The details are crisp and nicely scribed, with the fabic texturing not overdone.

The cockpit is nicely laid out with the tubular airframe structures visible in the cockpit replicated without being over-engineered and complex.

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.

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 flight control surfaces are molded in place, so if you want to position the slats, elevators, flaps, or whatever, you'll need to do some careful surgery.

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • Lysander Mk.III, T1429, 26 Sqn, RM-H, RAF, Gatwick, 1940/41
  • Lysander Mk.III, V9437, 309 Sqn, AR-V, RAF, Dunino, 1942/43
  • Lysander Mk.III, LY-120, 2/LeLv 16, Finnish AF, 1941

This kit has been out of production for a while, but it can still be found at kit swaps and on eBay. As mentioned earlier, Eduard has re-released this kit with some nice additions to the box for AMS modelers. 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.