Pavla 1/72 Westland Lysander Mk. II

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

Overview

The need for an army co-op aircraft led to the development of the Lysander in the mid-1930s. Its high wing and sturdy landing gear made it ideal for short-field handling, and during the Second World War the Lysander saw extensive service throughout Europe and Africa. The aircraft was in such high demand that license production in Canada provided additional aircraft to the Lysander pool. In addition to the RAF, the Lysander saw service with Turkey, Ireland, Canada, and the Free French Forces in Africa.

The Kit

While Pavla's Lysander kit is not the only option in 1/72, it is by far the best detailed and will likely become the number one choice for modelers. The kit comes with two sprues of gray plastic parts, a bag of resin parts, a set of vacuformed canopies, and a decal sheet with several options. The detailing on the plastic parts is nicely done, with the fabric sections subtly represented. While there is some flash on the parts, there is nothing that would hamper cleanup and assembly.

The interior is very well represented in this kit, which is good considering how much will ultimately be visible under the canopy. The cockpit is built up from a combination of resin and plastic details, and includes seats, framing, a fuel tank, radios, gun and ammunition, control stick and rudder pedals, and an instrument panel. The interior alone will take up much of the construction time of this kit, and careful work and painting will definitely pay off.

Once the interior is finished, the assembly should go smoothly. The fuselage is split into right and left halves, and the wings are also split into halves. The finished cockpit interior has a set of rods that the wings attach to, providing a positive attachment that should help keep everything aligned. Those worried about the strength of this assembly might want to replace these rods with metal ones, though. The landing gear comes in right and left sections, each split into a top and bottom piece. For some of the decal options, the modeler will have to trim away the wheel covers, which could be a bit of a challenge given the thickness of the plastic.

With the landing gear on, some thought should be given to final assembly. While the instructions have you add the wings next, it might be better to leave those off and paint them separately, as that would make it easier to mask around the canopy. As the wings generally had a camouflage separate from the fuselage, this would make the most sense.

Speaking of camouflage, the decal provides three options, two of which are RAF examples and the last is French. The first RAF option is a Lysander Mk. II from No. 13 (AC) Squadron based in France during the Phony War in the winter of 1939/40. This plane is camouflaged in dark earth and dark green over aluminum. The second Lysander is a Mk. II from No. 225 Squadron at Odiham in May/June 1940. This plane is also camouflaged in dark earth and dark green over aluminum. The final option is a Lysander Mk. II of the escadrille "Rennes" Groupe "Bretagne" of the Free French Forces in Zouar, Chad, in 1942. This plane is camouflaged in Mid Stone and Dark Earth over Azure Blue, with Chocolate Brown sections on the rudder, upper fuselage, and landing gear. While the decals are nicely printed and should prove trouble-free in application, the colors of the French roundels look a bit off in the blue to my eye. It might be better to source those from a different kit, should you choose that option.

Conclusion

This is a welcome addition to 1/72 RAF model collections, and one that has been long overdue. While the construction will be somewhat challenging, the results will pay off handsomely. My thanks to Squadron Mail Order for the review copy.

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