1/72 Westland Lysander Mk. II
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.
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.
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
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.
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.