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Airfix 1/48 scale Westland Lynx

Kit:A10107 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$49.99
Airfix, from Hornby America, 253-922-7203
Good detail; clear parts; options; decals
Soft plastic; busy instructions; no paint names
Injection-molded, 331 parts, decals

Airfix has really done a spectacular job with its newly tooled Westland Lynx Mk.88A/HMA8/Mk.90B. The kit comprises six sprues: one clear, five molded in light blue styrene. You can build three different versions: counter-piracy, air/sea rescue, and anti-surface warfare.

There are three sets of Cartograf decals, too: German navy, Royal Navy, and Danish naval air squadrons. The decals are thin and in perfect register (par for Cartograf).

Airfix has done an exceptional job with the surface detail: petite raised rivets, raised structural stiffeners, and engraved panel lines are all convincing. A full interior with molded-on seat belts is also included.

The version you choose determines the options you take. For example, the British naval HMA.8 can have the main rotors folded or deployed, and the tail fin can be folded for storage. And there is optional weaponry: Mk.11 depth charges, Sea Skua missiles, and a .50-caliber machine gun.

The instruction booklet consists of 23 pages and 141 construction steps: I had to study the booklet carefully for several hours to make sure I could figure out what steps were needed for the version I chose — which was the Royal Navy HMA.8 fitted with the winch for a rescue mission.

Depending on the version, there are two separate interior floors; you’ll need to drill holes in the flooring to mount crew seats, passenger seats, radios, etc. That approach was necessary for most of the subassemblies, with different antennas and sensors requiring locating holes or slots that need to be opened up. There are even two different tail booms! 

Construction started with the cockpit. Once I had the holes drilled and seats painted and mounted, it was time to assemble the rear walls and ceiling panel. The two rear walls needed trimming for them to fit without raising the ceiling panel too high. This step is also critical when trapping the interior between the fuselage halves; if the interior is not perfect, the fuselage halves will not fit together and the fit of the front canopy, engine, and rotor support structures will be affected as well. Trim carefully, test-fit twice, and glue once.

The instructions have only numbers for all the various assemblies and tasks: assembly steps, parts, paint callouts (for Humbrol only), and decals are all numbered. With no color cross-reference chart, I went online to find equivalents for other brands. I ended up using Tamiya acrylics for the interior.

The rest of the construction went smoothly. Airfix has managed to mold some extremely tiny, delicate parts that were hard to remove from the sprues without ruining them. Patience is key.

Considering the Lynx’s complex shape and Airfix’s commitment to accuracy, multiple panels form the final structure. To avoid wiping out all the fine rivet details and panel lines with putty and sanding, any filler I used to hide seams was cleaned up with cotton swabs dipped in Tamiya lacquer thinner. This removed excess putty while preserving detail, with no damage to the model’s surface.

With construction complete, I used Xtracolor enamel barley grey for the fuselage; I set the model outside in bright sunlight for the enamels to dry faster.

Xtracolor paints are so glossy that there was no need to clear-coat before decals. The Cartograf decals performed perfectly, though difficult to move into place once on the model’s surface. A little more water on the surface allowed them to slide more freely. To cover areas with more rivets and raised detail, I used a tiny bit of Mr. Mark Softer. But be careful with that product! After you’ve applied it, you must not touch the decal until it’s almost dry or the decal will become a colored smear.

After several coats of Testors Dullcote to flatten the gloss, I removed the canopy masks and my Lynx was ready for display.

Overall, I really enjoyed the challenge of building this model. The level of detail is outstanding! It was a nice change from my usual fixed-wing aircraft. I spent about 33 hours due to the rather complicated assembly, many small parts, and detailed instructions. I would recommend it only to more-experienced builders — but patience will be rewarded with a spectacular model of a Westland Lynx!

A version of this review appeared in the January 2013 FineScale Modeler.


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