Luedemann 1/72 resin Airspeed A.S.6E Envoy

By Grzegorz Mazurowski

History

Produced in 25 examples, the Airspeed A.S.6 Envoy, although not as classy as the Dragon Rapide, was a very elegant small airliner, capable to carry six to eight passengers. In the mid-thirties Envoy, developed from the similar, but single-engined Airspeed Courier (first British aircraft with retractable undercarriage) was a pretty modern design. One, designated as A.S.8 Viceroy was modified to take part in MacRobertson England-Australia race, but instead it went to Spain and was used as a bomber by Republicans in the Civil War, along with some standard Envoys. Other Envoys, powered with various engines, were used in Britain, South Africa, Japan (two original and eleven more license-produced by Mitsubishi) Czechoslovakia (five). The militarised version of the Envoy, the Airspeed Oxford, was produced in great numbers, and was a popular trainer for bomber crews shortly before and during WWII.

The Kit

As majority of the Luedemann kits, our Envoy is moulded in good quality cream-coloured resin. Parts are very nice, with only little flash, and few airbubbles (two on the right wingtip, one on the left wing trailing edge close to the fuselage, and one on the fuselage half just behind the passenger's door and one on the tailplane tip - see the scans - all easy to fill with putty and sand).

Kit engineering is simple: two fuselage halves, two wings with the engine/undercarriage nacelles, separate tailplanes and the fin/rudder unit, engines moulded together with the cowlings, separate passenger's door (good idea!) and some small details like set of seats, propellers, undercarriage and two alternative floors for the interior.

As I wrote, kit is pretty simple, and assembly won't be difficult, unless you go into detailing the interior. Internal surfaces of the fuselage are moulded very crudely and show no detail - they need to be sanded and equipped with the imitation of the internal structures, also I expect that they should be thinned to accept the floor. All that work, although not deadly necessary, should be rather done, as the plane has long rectangular windows in the sides and a big canopy making the interior of the plane very visible. Cockpit canopy, crash-moulded in the clear sheet of thin plastic is included in the kit, side windows should be made from scratch. Cockpit canopy, although I wasn't able to make good scan of it, is pretty good and usable.

All the external surfaces are very nicely detailed, with beautiful imitation of the wing and tailplane ribs and fuselage longerons. Engines are very basic and more ambitious modeller would like to detail or replace them - as the cowlings are a bit to small in diameter, compared with the drawings provided with the kit.

Kit depicts the early version of the Envoy, powered with weaker engines in shallow cowlings, but conversion into other versions isn't difficult. That fancy cowlings for the more powerful engines aren't easy to scratchbuild, but you can use cowlings from the Airfix Avro Anson, kit cheap and easily obtainable. To build the Viceroy, you need deeper but simple cowlings, modified tailplane, and finally you will have to fill some of the windows in the fuselage sides. Kit contains no instruction, but only a two sheets of general drawings and painting schemes for one Czechoslovakian, one Slovakian and one Japanese plane, and no decals are provided.

Conclusion

This nice kit will be good addition to the collection of the more advanced modeller (it's a resin kit, so not the easiest to build!) and if you're a real 'tweener or Spanish Civil War maniac, you should buy more than one, as it can be easily converted into many versions (including improvised bombers), and even more various painting schemes are available.

Thanks to Mr. Thomas Luedemann for the review kit!

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