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Gannet Kit

Trumpeter 1/72 Fairey Gannet AS.1/4 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2006 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Fairey Gannet AS.1/4 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1629 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Another FAA subject turned into a contemporary production kit Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $27.95

First Look

Gannet Kit
Gannet Kit
Gannet Kit
Gannet Kit
Gannet Kit

The Admiralty issued a requirement for a carrier-based submarine hunter in 1945 which yielded prototypes from Blackburn and Fairey. The Fairey design was initially to be powered by a pair of Merlin engines connected to a common gearbox, turning contrarotating four-bladed propellers which could translate that high horsepower into thrust. When the bulk of the twin-Merlin installation proved impractical, Fairey adopted the Armstrong Siddeley Twin Mamba twin turboprop engine design.

The Gannet first flew in September 1949, and on 19 June 1950, became the first turboprop to land aboard an aircraft carrier. The type first entered service in 1953 after incorporating a radar, a third crew station, and additional requirements into the airframe's design. Dubbed the AS Mark I, this first Gannet was an antisubmarine warfare aircraft, and with that huge wing, could cruise at low speeds and low altitudes comfortably.

Further developments of the type yielded a T.2 trainer, an upgraded ASW AS.4 version, and the rather ungainly AEW.3 version which sported an APS-20 radar under the airframe. A T.5 trainer and an ECM.6 rounded out the family. Over 440 Gannets would be produced for the Royal Navy and for other services around the world.

Following the release of the 1/72 Westland Wyvern last year, Trumpeter has covered another overlooked subject from FAA history - the Fairey Gannet. Like the Wyvern, the Gannet was also a turboprop aircraft with contrarotating propellers. Now the question is this: will Trumpeter scale up the Gannet like they did with the Wyvern? Time will tell.

The kit is molded in Trumpeter standard light gray styrene and is presented on four trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. Detailing of this kit is quite nice with finely scribed details throughout.

With 100 parts in this kit, this kit should be a straightforward build.

The instructions don't acknowledge positionable front, center and rear canopies, the kit looks like it would support open canopies to show off some of the nice interior details.

The ailerons and flaps are molded separately whilst the rudder and elevators are molded in place. While the ailerons can be posed, the Fowler flaps are designed to be posed 'down'. The props appear to be set in 'feather' position, though it wouldn't be hard to set them in 'run' - just check your references to get front and rear propellers turning in the correct directions.

The ventral radome looks positionable, but if you believe the color profiles and instructions, you might be tempted to glue that thing in the down position. If you do, you'll have one heck of a time getting it to sit properly on the gear much less being able to raise the nose to take off and land.

Markings are included for three examples:

  • Gannet AS.1/4, XA322, CU/711, 769 Sqn, HMS Culdrose, 1957
  • Gannet AS.1/4, XA402, B/327, 820 Sqn, HMS Bulwark, 1956
  • Gannet AS.1/4, UA+112, MFG3, West German Navy, 1960

This is a nice looking kit that will provide FAA (Fleet Air Arm) modelers with the first styrene kit of this unique aircraft since the now-dated Hasegawa or Revell kits. Definitely worth buying!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!