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