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  1. AVRO Anson Mk.I in Worldwide Service Photo Archive Number 25 ISBN: 9781908757371 Wingleader Publications Originally designed as a fast mail carrier in the early 30s, the original AVRO design was amended in the mid-30s in response to a specification issued by the Air Ministry for a reconnaissance aircraft that could also perform other roles. It beat a similarly militarised de Havilland Rapide and was awarded a contract for series production with the name Anson after an 18th Century Admiral of the Fleet. At the outbreak of war it was still performing its given roles, and was engaged in the Dunkirk evacuation where it surprisingly managed to shoot down two Bf.109s and damage another, as they found the low speed of the Anson hard to gauge, overshooting straight into the line of the nose-mounted .303 machine gun operated by the pilot. She was thoroughly outclassed as a front-line aircraft though, so was soon withdrawn from fighting service to form part of the training fleet, and as a communications ‘hack’. Despite its withdrawal from front-line service, more aircraft were built, and they were used as trainers for radar operators, navigators and as a stepping-stone for pilots that were destined to fly multi-engined bombers. Its replacement in maritime service was the Lockheed Hudson, which had a substantially increased range and speed, the Anson only being capable of a four-hour endurance that prevented it from covering much of the Atlantic or North Sea before it had to turn for home. It could carry a small bomb load however, so could take offensive action if it was to find a U-boat on its travels. Following WWII, Faithful Annie as she became known was used as a civilian and business aircraft, although some of the wooden-winged examples that were used overseas began to suffer from problems due to humidity’s effect on the timber areas. Not all Ansons flew on wooden wings though, and some of the wooden winged aircraft were retrofitted with the improved metal wings, although even these were eventually retired, leaving only one airworthy by the turn of the new millennium. The book This twenty fifth volume in the series by Andrew Thomas and Simon Parry covers the Anson Mk.Is exclusively, as they made up the majority of airframes built, even though there were several other variants during its service. The book starts with the prototype that was created for civil use by Imperial Airways as the Type 652, gaining the approval of the military procurement staff as a potential trainer for pilots, navigators and gunners of the RAF and FAA. Pictures of the civilian and military prototypes are to be found on the front few pages of the book, the original needing dozens of changes to be accepted for service, arrowing the square windows as one such item. Some of the photos are of course staged for official use and in publications of the time, but there are also a large number of candid, personal and engineering shots, and some are of damaged aircraft, one lying flopped on the airfield after a less-than-successful landing by a novice pilot, another damaged by a “forced landing”, which could be pilot-speak for a mistake. The photo of the Anson “parked” on top of another on the airfield will have you scratching your head until you read the caption. Believe it or not, they collided mid-air and became locked together but with a degree of control, and miraculously, managed to land in that same predicament with no loss of life. A visually impressive book with plenty of reading material into the bargain that will have you coming back to it again and again. The inclusion of a unique float-plane conversion is tempting, and it was used as a teaching airframe for pilots before they progressed to Sunderlands, instructing them on water-handling of heavy aircraft without taking a four-engined Sunderland flying boat off front-line service. There is also a section on Ansons in foreign service, including a batch sold to America from Canadian stock fitted with new engines and wearing stars-and-bars. The last page of photos is a rare colour imagine of an Anson with a female aviator in the pilot’s seat, which faces a couple of tables printed on the inner cover that reproduces a list of all operational squadron codes, and serial number batches that the type used. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. AVRO Anson Mk.I (A09091) 1:48 Airfix Originally designed as a fast mail carrier in the early 30s, the original AVRO design was amended in the mid-30s in response to a specification issued by the Aviation Ministry for a reconnaissance aircraft that could also perform other roles. It beat a similarly militarised De Havilland Rapide and was awarded a contract for series production with the name Anson after an 18th Century Admiral of the Fleet. At the outbreak of war it was still performing its given roles, and was engaged in the Dunkirk evacuation where it surprisingly managed to shoot down two Bf.109s and damage another, as they found the low speed of the Anson hard to gauge, overshooting straight into the line of the nose-mounted .303 machine gun operated by the pilot. She was thoroughly outclassed as a front-line aircraft though, so was soon withdrawn from fighting service to form part of the training fleet, and as a communications ‘hack’. Despite its withdrawal from service, more aircraft were built, and they were used as trainers for radar operators, navigators and as a trainer for pilots that were destined to fly multi-engined bombers. Its replacement in maritime service was the Lockheed Hudson, which had a hugely increased range and speed, the Anson only being capable of a four-hour endurance that prevented it from covering much of the Atlantic or North Sea before it had to turn for home. It was capable of carrying a small bomb load however, so could take action if it was to find a U-boat on its travels. Following WWII, Faithful Annie as she became known was used as a civilian and business aircraft, although some of the wooden-winged examples that were used overseas began to suffer from problems due to the humidity’s effect on the timber areas. Not all Ansons had wooden wings though, and some of the wooden winged aircraft were refitted with the improved metal wings, although even these were eventually retired, leaving only one airworthy by the new millennium. The Kit 1:48 hasn’t been well-served with Anson kits apart from one that is now long-since out of production, and wasn’t renowned for its fit according to some sources. This is a brand-new tooling from Airfix, and judging by the hubbub on our forum alone, it should be a good seller for them, as there appears to be a ready market, myself included. The kit arrives in a reasonably large top-opening box in the usual red style of Airfix, and inside are six sprues in the darker grey styrene that was used for the recent Buccaneer kit we reviewed here. There is also a substantial clear sprue with a pair of raised protective protrusions over the two canopy parts, although mine had been broken off in transit, doing their job of protecting the parts from harm in the process. I glued them back on so you can see how they should look. The instruction booklet is printed in colour on matt paper, and the decal sheet is found inside with a sheet of translucent paper protecting it from moisture damage. The final component is a separate pair of glossy-printed folded A3 painting and decaling guides, with one option per page and the final page detailing the location of the surprising number of aerials and control wires that were found around the airframe. Detail. There’s some of that. Lots of that in fact, and with this being an early airframe, the wooden wings and fabric covering have been moulded with undulations that hint at the structure under the fabric. The interior is also similarly detailed, with tons of ribbing on the expansive interior of the aircraft, although there are by nature of injection moulding some ejector-pin marks here and there that you may or may not need to fill, depending on where the interior parts are placed in relation. Construction begins with a strange lever on a triangular base that I have no clue about. Answers on a postcard please. It is added to the large floor part, which has the faintest wooden grain texture that I tried to photograph to no avail. A short spar is applied to a step across the floor, and a three-part ‘commode’ seat for the pilot, plus a rather laid back-looking tubular-framed seat for the instructor/co-pilot is made up with separate sides and placed next to the pilot, plus another two-part commode-style seat and yet another backless stool are fixed into the passenger area, with three decals applied to cylinders toward the rear of the floor section. The wider rear spar drops into a slot between the two passenger seats, with two scrap diagrams showing that it should be perpendicular to the floor in both directions. The Annie’s cockpit was surrounded by a tubular frame that is formed from one part per side, which has details of various equipment and instruments moulded-in, first inserting the control column with bow-tie yoke, navigation table with angle-poise lamp, well-detailed instrument panel with decal and centre console plus rudder pegs, and a stack of radio gear in a tubular frame that also has a number of decals to depict the dials. The starboard framework has a Lewis gun added across two of the triangular struts, then the roof framework is attached across the two frames, with the top of the radio rack locating in a socket moulded into the front cross-brace. Two scrap diagrams show the sockets in the side frames and how they mate with the cross-frame for maximum strength and precision. At the rear of the passenger area is a solid bulkhead with lots of details moulded-in, with a detailed painting guide for the various aspects, and a stencil decal for the bulkhead. The port fuselage half has a detail insert applied to the inside of the wing root on three pegs, plus an instrument box further forward, and a clear lens in the upper nose, then it is slid over the spars of the cockpit assembly, with eight drawings showing the right and wrong position of several sections of the assembly. Another Lewis gun is mounted in the port rear of the passenger area, then behind the rear bulkhead, a circular frame and another smaller bulkhead are glued together and inserted into grooves toward the tail to receive the turret later. At the same time, a clear part is painted with three translucent colours on the inside before it is put in place in a triplet of half circles cut in the floor of the fuselage under the turret. The starboard fuselage is prepared in the same manner as the port and closed up over the cockpit and spars, with seven more location guide diagrams with ticks and crosses to guide you. A small hole is drilled in the cockpit roof insert before it is placed over the framework, and underneath is a floor section, both of which have feint ribbing moulded into their exteriors. The fuselage structure is completed by adding the elevators that are linked together by a rod, with extra thickness added by another layer, both of which have subtle ribbing engraved. The completed elevator is dropped into cups in the tail, and closed over by the lower elevator fins that also includes a short section of the tail underside. The tops of the fins are separate, and as you may now have started to expect, they have rib-work moulded-in. There is still a little work to do to the fuselage that includes the glazing, but attention turns to the wings next. The main gear bay assemblies are made up around a short length of spar, trapping a cylindrical tank between the frames that hold the firewall to the front. Each one is inserted into a nacelle that is moulded into the lower wing, with an UP arrow showing the correct orientation on these and the twin landing lights that fix into the leading edge of the port wing. The lower wings are offered up to the fuselage and are mounted by gluing the longer rear spar, and the front spar overlaps on a pair of studs to strengthen the join. The upper wings close over the rear of the bays, while the front section is covered by two further cowling parts that close each of the bays entirely. A brief diversion to apply the ailerons and their actuator tab to each wing leads us back to the engine nacelles, which need an engine each to complete them. The Anson flew slowly thanks to a pair of Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IXs that generated a staggeringly unimpressive 335bhp each from their seven cylinders, which are depicted in full here, beginning with front and rear halves of the cylinder banks, which are backed up by intake trunking on a circular block, and have the pushrods moulded into the bell housing at the front, which also traps the prop-shaft in position, leaving it free to spin if you are careful with the glue. More ancillary parts are added front and rear, with the exhaust collector fixed to the ports on the rear of the cylinders. The Annie’s cowling was covered in fairing bumps to accommodate the piston cylinders, and to achieve maximum detail it is made in three segments, which each have three fairings added from separate parts that fit in recesses, with the area in the centre of each fairing hollow to allow the pistons to project into the fairings, just like the real ones. With the three sections joined around the engine to make up the full cowling, a small exhaust slots into another recess, and both engines are glued to the front of their nacelles, with the exhausts facing outboard. Another diversion has you gluing the two rudder halves around the C-shaped hinge that is moulded into the fin, and this can also be left mobile if you don’t slather it with glue. The Anson has an expansive full-length series of windows all along the sides of the passenger compartment, and each side is supplied as a single part, with some stencil decals applied to the inside before gluing them in place. If ever there was an excuse to get one of Eduard’s Tface inside/outside mask sets, this kit is it, as there is a lot of framework that will be too shiny inside unless it is painted. There is a choice of two front canopy types with different frame layout, which you can refer to the decaling drawings to decide which one you need, and two roof lights are fitted into square holes there. The nose is supplied as a clear part because it has a foglight in the nose, the reflector for which is styrene and should be painted with chrome paint before you insert it into the back of the clear nose. The nose is fixed to the fuselage with a flat panel underneath to close up the fuselage. While the model is inverted, a pair of oil-cooler loops are added to recesses under the engine nacelles, then it’s time to make up the landing gear. Each main wheel is made from two halves, with a flat-spot moulded into the bottom, and they are installed in a short yoke that is in turn glued into the strut, which is unusual, as it has the bay door moulded integrally to it, and is supported when down by a twin strut at the front that locks into location within the main bay. At the rear is a single-part tail wheel and yoke, then the airframe is detailed with the forward-firing machine gun, pitot under the nose, aerials, D/F loop and windscreen “things”, plus a tiny trumpet on the top of the port nacelle, which could be the fuel dump valve. The two-bladed props are a single part each with a short cap studded with bolts added on top, gluing onto the prop-shafts projecting from the motors, then it’s turret-time! The interior of the turret is built first with a bicycle seat for the gunner, suspended in a framework that drops down into the turret ring, on top of which the gun mount sits, fitting the final Lewis gun at the front on a small upstand. It is enclosed with glazing by first gluing on the port side, adding a central faceted panel, then finally gluing the starboard side before popping it into the hole behind the cockpit and completing the model… except for paint. Markings As already mentioned, there are three decal options included on the sheet, with a varied set of schemes and operators to widen its appeal. Each option gets its own page with the remaining side covering the aerial/rigging diagrams. From the box you can build one of the following: N9732 No.500 (County of Kent) Sqn., Royal Auxiliary Air Force, RAF Detling, Kent, June 1st 1940 AW665 Coastal Commands Camouflage Trials Aircraft, No.71 Sqn., Royal Australian Air Force, Lowood, Queensland, October 1943 KB727 No.3 Training Command, No.31 General Reconnaissance School, Royal Canadian Air Force, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, 1941 Decal option A was the Anson that was responsible for shooting down two Bf.109Es from I./JG20 over the English Channel on that day. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The instrument decals have the dials and outlines, so you will need to paint the panel first. Conclusion The Anson doesn’t perhaps get the kudos it deserves due to its predominantly second line service, but it was an important machine that was responsible for training a huge number of pilots, navigators and radar men that went on to play their part in the defeat of the Reich. She’s an elegant bird, and must have been well-loved to garner the nickname Faithful Annie. She’s also a cracking-looking model that should be much easier to build than previous kits. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. AVRO Anson Mk.I ‘Anti-Submarine Annie’ (SH48211) 1:48 Special Hobby Originally designed as a fast mail carrier in the early 30s, the original AVRO design was amended in the mid-30s in response to a specification issued by the Aviation Ministry for a reconnaissance aircraft that could also perform other roles. It beat a similarly militarised De Havilland Rapide and was awarded a contract for series production with the name Anson after an 18th Century Admiral of the Fleet. At the outbreak of war it was still performing its given roles, and was engaged in the Dunkirk evacuation where it surprisingly managed to shoot down two Bf.109s and damage another, as they found the low speed of the Anson hard to gauge, overshooting straight into the line of the nose-mounted .303 machine gun operated by the pilot. She was thoroughly outclassed as a front-line aircraft though, so was soon withdrawn from fighting service to form part of the training fleet, and as a communications ‘hack’. Despite its withdrawal from service, more aircraft were built, and they were used as trainers for radar operators, navigators and as a trainer for pilots that were destined to fly multi-engined bombers. Its replacement in maritime service was the Lockheed Hudson, which had a hugely increased range and speed, the Anson only being capable of a four-hour endurance that prevented it from covering much of the Atlantic or North Sea before it had to turn for home. It could carry a small bomb load however, so could take offensive action if it was to find a U-boat on its travels. Following WWII, Faithful Annie as she became known was used as a civilian and business aircraft, although some of the wooden-winged examples that were used overseas began to suffer from problems due to the humidity’s effect on the timber areas. Not all Ansons had wooden wings though, and some of the wooden winged aircraft were refitted with the improved metal wings, although even these were eventually retired, leaving only one airworthy by the new millennium. The Kit This is a rerelease of the Classic Airframes kit that originated in 2006 before appearing in Special Hobby boxes from 2007 onwards. While it has been superseded by a new tooling that is fully injection-moulded, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its own appeal, particularly if you like to include resin in your builds for extra detail. The kit arrives in a top-opening blue/white/grey themed box, and inside are five sprues of grey styrene of various shades and textures, a clear sprue, thirty-six resin parts in two bags, a sheet of pre-painted and nickel-plated Photo-Etch (PE) that is found in the same bag as the two decal sheets. The final item is the instruction booklet that is printed in colour on glossy white stock, with painting and decaling instructions on the rear pages. Detail is good, although the kit won’t fall together if you shake the box. There is a lot of detail present however, enhanced by the quantity of resin, much of which will be seen through the extensive glazing. Construction begins with the floor of the aircraft, adding two sections of spar running spanwise across the middle, fitting the port fuselage side and moulded-in framework behind the window frames. A bulkhead is fixed to the rear of the floor, with another short length and its bulkhead behind that, adding radio boxes and other gear on and around the spars. A pair of resin bucket seats are painted and detailed with pre-painted four-point PE belts, one fitted by the radio equipment, the other to the front behind the control column, and a simpler box seat by the navigator’s table, the occupant held in position by lap-belts alone, as his seat has no back to his seat. Another shallow seat has lap-belts glued on and is placed on the front spar after adding two folded PE toppers to the starboard end of each spar and a cross-brace between the rear edge of the map table and the spar. The single .303 machine gun in the nose is inserted into a groove along with its ammo feed, which requires the trough to be cut out from the port fuselage half before the almost complete interior is inserted into the port fuselage after adding a window, adding a resin bed for the bomb aimer, a fire extinguisher and two blocks of dials on the wall. A scrap diagram shows the completed interior once it is emplaced within the port fuselage, which should help with the arrangement of parts in the nose. The starboard sidewall and framework are glued to the opposite side of the interior, spacing them to the correct width with the roof framework. The starboard fuselage can then be brought in after fitting a square window behind the main windows, plus another small one in the nose, and two recognition lenses under the bomb-aimer’s position under the nose. A small fairing is attached to the wing root fairing on both sides, and another resin equipment box is glued into the starboard nose. The pilot’s instrument panel is built from a blank shape with a coaming for one decal option and sidewall behind it, fitting rudder pedals to the back, and layering two printed PE panels to the front, then gluing the throttle quadrant into position to the lower right along with three PE levers and two more on the main panel, inserting the finished panel into the port fuselage for one scheme, locating the quadrant on a peg moulded into the cockpit floor. An insert for the top turret is detailed with three-part lower framework and a bicycle seat, adding the upper framework, Lewis gun with plate mag and two-part clear dome after main painting is complete. Don’t forget to mask the hole, and similarly mask and paint the clear parts in the meantime. The instrument panel minus coaming is used in two decal options that have less aerodynamic windscreen panels, so the top won’t be seen. Firstly, the nose cone has a tubular recess inserted from behind, and is glued to the front of the fuselage, installing the top turret insert and the upper glazing for the interior at the same time, and selecting your chosen windscreen and gluing a ring sight into the front roof frame. The coaming-free instrument panel is glued to the underside of the windscreen 4.5mm away from the front lip before it is glued into position. The sloped canopy is glued over the cockpit where the instrument panel already resides. The wings are prepared by inserting a roof and bulkhead panel with a nick cut from each side into the lower along with the twin-strut gear leg and cross-brace, painting the details and gluing the upper wing into position. This is repeated on the other side, as is the insertion of the retraction jack, followed by the two-part nacelle front. The wings are butt-joined to the fairing moulded into the fuselage, and the joint would be strengthened by adding stiffening material or a pin to the equation. The elevators are each two parts, and these too butt join with the tail and would also benefit from strengthening of the joint. A diagram at the bottom of the page shows the correct dihedral of the wings, and the elevators are shown in red, as they would otherwise be invisible due to the wings being at the same height. The Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX radial engines have the 7-cylinders moulded as one, adding a reduction bell to the front, a spacer to the rear, and an exhaust collector ring around the rear. You are shown the arrangement of the push-rods in an additional diagram, but you must make them from 0.4mm wire from your own stock, each length 5.8m long. Another diagram shows the arrangement from the front, and once you have it painted to your satisfaction, the largest resin cowlings with extended bulges can be slipped over the engine and glued in place via the locators shown in red through the drawing. Two resin exhaust stubs are glued into the collector rings through the oval holes in the cowling, repeating it for both engines, which is probably best done after main painting is completed. Detailing of the exterior of the aircraft is the last task, starting with the underside, fitting the two-part wheels in between the twin struts, and gluing the resin radiators under the nacelles. PE actuators are fitted to each of the ailerons and elevators, adding a pitot under the nose, and the yoke with separate wheel under the tail. Flipping the model onto its wheels, more actuators and hinges are dotted around the flying surfaces including the rudder, with an antenna mast and D/F loop fixed on the roof over the interior. The two-bladed props are each sandwiched between two plastic washers, and have a PE detail plate on the forward face, sliding onto the short peg protruding from the engine’s bell housing. Two small clear lights are glued to fairings near the wingtips, painted clear green and red, adding a length of 0.2mm wire between the mast and the tail once the rest of the model is completed. Markings There are three decal options on the sheets, all wearing either A or B variants of the early war green/brown upper surfaces, with sky or silver undersides depending on which decal option you have chosen. From the box you can build one of the following: K6285/MW-F, No.321 (Dutch) Sqn., RAF Carew Cheriton, late 1940 EG359, Groupe Artois, Escadrille Arras, Point Noire, French West Africa, 1943 N5331/5, No.6 Air Observer & Navigator School, Staverton, early 1945 The decals are printed using a digital process and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. This means that the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. The third decal option has upper wing roundels that originally had the white painted out, but the paint is shown wearing badly on the decal sheet, as it was a well-worn machine that the instructions advise was filthy, especially on the underside. Conclusion Whilst this isn’t the newest kit on the block, it should result in a good replica with careful building and painting, taking the time to test fit and adjust fit as necessary. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Avro Anson Mk.I Tface Masks (EX918 for Airfix) 1:48 Eduard Airfix’s new and long-awaited Anson in quarter-scale is a great kit, but it’s got a lot of glazing that might make some of our fellow modellers wince at the prospect of having to mask off the many clear parts, especially as is common with a lot of early WWII aircraft, it was quite a greenhouse, with frames everywhere across its extensive set of windows. Well, worry not because Eduard are riding to the rescue with this comprehensive set of masks. Unlike the usual Tface sets, this is supplied in an A5 flat-pack, on three large sheets of yellow kabuki tape with extensive diagrams guiding you. These pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, side windows, turret and all the other glazing both inside and out. In addition, you get landing light masks, alternate masks for the simplified windscreen framing, and a set of hub/tyre masks for all three wheels, allowing you to cut the demarcation perfectly with little effort. Having used a Tface set of masks for my recent Wildcat build, I’m a huge fan of the concept, as I believe it gives your model’s glazing extra realism and depth, so will be using these sets at every opportunity. They’re highly accurate too, and once you have installed masks on the exterior panes, locating the inner sections is much easier, as you don’t have any doubt as to where they should fit. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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