Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Mike

Westland Lynx AH-7

Recommended Posts

Westland Lynx AH-7



1:48 Airfix

boxtop.jpg

The Lynx began life as a European take on the almost ubiquitous American UH-1, and a replacement for the ageing Westland Wasp, but grew somewhat into a flexible and adaptable aircraft, utilising new technologies and having light weight honey comb structure in its rotor blades, cutting down on the rotating mass, which is a common goal in many spheres of engineering, not just aviation. Soon after its maiden flight it started showing its qualities, and broke the world speed record for a helicopter, hitting just short of the 200mph figure.

French collaboration resulted in Aerospatiale gaining a 30% share of the workload, but French Army orders were cancelled even before the first prototype flew, although the UK still bought Gazelles and Pumas as their part of the agreement, and the French Navy were the first to receive theirs.

As with most aircraft in service, shortcomings are addressed, and the Army version with the designation Lynx AH.X went up to 9A at time of writing, with the 7 representing the final evolution of the combat variant, sporting upgraded GEM 41-1engines, the oddly shaped but incredibly efficient BERP rotor blades, and gearbox. The AH.7 has been phased out as an Attack Helicopter, being replaced by the formidable Apache. Interestingly, a specially modified ex-demonstrator, G-LYNX set another speed record of 249mph in 1986, which still stands.

The kit arrives in a sturdy red Airfix box with one of Adam Tooby’s excellent digital paintings on the front. Inside is a single bag containing four sprues of Airfix’s familiar pale grey styrene, with the clear parts bagged separately inside. A large decal sheet, a thick instruction booklet and a large folded A2 painting and decaling diagram finish off the package.

sprue1.jpg

sprue2.jpg

sprue3.jpg

clear.jpg

First Impressions

...are excellent. While the sprues and the colour of the styrene are the same as previous releases, the detail and crispness of the mouldings are of a different class entirely. Looking across the sprues, you can see multiple layers of strengthening plates, very fine raised rivets, and recessed panel lines that should quieten even Airfix’s harshest critics, and face it we all know at least one. The detail extends to the interior, which has lots of really crisp sound insulation provided. This is one of Airfix’s special kits, and the care that has been lavished upon it shows almost everywhere you look.

The build begins with a choice. Do you want to mount your passenger seats transverse with door gun mounts, or longitudinally without, sir? The pilot and co-pilots seats give you another choice, of whether you want armoured seats, or the more traditional type. For the standard type, they build up with separate seat cushions and mounting section, and moulded in belts. For the armoured “in-theatre” variety, a tub is built up from two interlocking parts, into which the seat cushions are placed, with the whole assembly fitted to the standard mounting frame. Separate collective and cyclic sticks are provided for the cockpit, and two instrument panels are provided for the battle-ready decal choice, and the other two choices, with different layouts and decals for each option. More decals are provided for the central console and other panels, plus a pair of data placards for the rear of the armoured seats.

detail-interior.jpg

A hoop-shaped bulkhead separates the pilots from the crew, and the interior walls all get very nicely rendered quilted sound insulation material panels. A set of jump seats locate against the rear bulkhead, and the aforementioned passenger seats mount back-to-back in the centre of the rear cab. The seats have moulded in, but separated tubular legs, which is nice to see, although the seat surfaces seem a little slab-like and uncomfortable.

detail-fuselage.jpg

By this stage of the build, and with the addition of the internal roof and side panels, the cockpit and crew area form a self-contained unit, which is then slipped inside the fuselage halves after some holes are drilled and the knee-height windows are installed in the cockpit. This is an intelligent method of constructing the cockpit, as it requires no alignment of panels in the fuselage halves – it is simply installed and closed up. The engine deck is installed next, with a tab removed for the gunship variant. The instructions split down the centre of the page here, with the gunship version receiving its infra-red reducing exhausts and their accompanying baffles, while the other options have relatively simple exhaust pipes. Detail on the combat exhausts is excellent, and the part count is high. Each exhaust has a number of separate vanes moulded into it, and the grille covering the exit is a separate part. The fluted first stages are well shaped, but will need a little cleaning up because of the complexity of the mould. This area is then completed by the addition of the forward cowling, which has the mounting hole for the main rotor moulded in.

detail-exhausts.jpg

The observant amongst you will have noticed that the fuselage halves have no underside to speak of, and this is supplied as a separate part, due to the sheer quantity of detail that is moulded into the area, from tiny rivets to appliqué panels, all of which would have been impossible if moulded with the rest of the fuselage. The part is well supported, so should fit well, although as always, some test fitting and fettling of the join would be advisable before committing to the glue. The underside of the nose area is moulded into the floor, and the rest of the nose is made up of the top and two side panels, with the tip of the nose having options for a sensor fit, or smooth, depending on which option you are modelling.

The large sliding doors are next, and if you’ve opted for the gunship, you’ll need to remove a corner to accommodate the mounting point for the guns from each door. Separate glazing for the doors is supplied, which is nice and clear, and scrap diagrams show how the doors should look in both open and closed positions. The gun mounts themselves are added later, along with a good representation of the GPMG of Gimpy, as it’s colloquially known.

detail-tail.jpg

The tail boom is another masterpiece of detail, so take care when aligning the seams to minimise sanding once cured – it would be a shame to lose all that lovely detail. It is a straight fit to the rear of the fuselage, and has a tab running all the way around the mating surface to ensure a strong bond. The landing skids are fitted next, and have good strong mounting points, which are aided by the fact that each skid is a single part, reducing the number of weak points.

Now comes the final fit and finish of the sensor suites, armament, as well as all those delicate parts that modellers so often knock off. You will need your wits about you to ensure that it all goes smoothly, and it might be an idea to make some notes on the instructions before you start to reduce your likelihood of getting it wrong. As well as all the blade aerials, antennae and other sensors peculiar to each decal option, there is also a quartet of TOW missiles for one decal option, and of course the gun stations on each side door. These two are exclusive, so beware.

The main glazing is shown added after all the fiddly bits, which might be unwise, and that two has a few additional parts to detail the inside, plus a decal for an instrument panel. One side of the roof area is separate, and again you have the option of a circular blanking plate for two of the options, and the TOW control unit for the last decal option. The cockpit side doors are made entirely from clear styrene, and would benefit from painting inside before installation to prevent the exterior colour showing through the glazing, and to provide a matt interior finish. More version specific parts are installed after this, including a pair of tubular braces aft of the main side doors, which are moulded as one part each. Unfortunately, these are not protected by the sprues, and one of mine has become bent, and will probably need repairing before installation.

The all-important rotors are added last, and here you have the option to model them deployed for flight, or folded for storage. The main rotor-head is common, as are the blade cuffs, but the blades are different for each option. The blades are suitably thin, with nice attachment bolt detail, and that unusual looking BERP tip section with the slight downward kink at the very tip. There is no droop moulded into the blades, but as the real things don’t seem to droop unless they’re tied down, that shouldn’t be a problem. A set of props are included with locating points on the fuselage for the folded option, which have the blades set at the appropriate angle to the shafts, and a set of diagrams show how they fit into these yellow painted retainers. The rotor-head is topped and tailed by two small circular parts, and it looks like it’s possible to leave the rotors loose for transport, although a rotor that can actually turn will need a little modification to the kit parts. The head and stabilising wing on the tail are separate parts, and to this affixes the composite tail rotor, which is made from the main part with moulded in blades, and a raised part that glues into the open front of the hub.

Opening up the large paint & decal chart shows that there are three options available from the box, as follows:

  • Army Air Corps, Afghanistan, 2006 – Grey and green wrap around camouflage.
  • No.671 Sq. 2 (Training) Regiment, AAC, Middle Wallop, Hampshire, 2005 - Grey and green wrap around camouflage with a Tigermeet orange/black striped tail area.
  • No.847 NAS, 3 Commando Brigade/Royal Marines Armoured Support Group, RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset England, 2005.

decals.jpg

The first option was done with the assistance of our very own Greg Buckley, who provided Airfix with his walkaround shot during a tour of Afghanistan. Worthy of note also is that if you opt for the Tigermeet markings, you’ll be painting the markings freehand, as there are no decals for either the orange or the black. The decals are excellent, printed in Italy by Cartograf, and in perfect register. The Tigermeet aircraft from 671 Squadron has a large squadron crest emblem and text in gold, which is represented by gold printing on the decal, adding to the authenticity of the crest. The blade leading edges, which are a medium sandy brown are also supplied as decals, which is a nice option, although they’re quite long, so might be fiddly to apply well. I think I may opt for painting those myself.

Conclusion

A tour de force by Airfix, and happily the enthusiasm generated by the rapid prototype models and test shots at various shows has been followed through to what is a great kit of an under-rated (by some) and well used aircraft.

Of course with every model there are limitations to what is possible with injection moulding, but the potential pitfall of the quilted liner in the crew area has been avoided and looks very neat indeed. The seats in the centre of the passenger area however look a little clunky, but the fabric areas can easily be replaced or augmented to give them a more lived-in look, and the belts can be added from spares or tape.

The parts count is high, and the detail is excellent, with some sensible construction methods which simplify the job, increase the detail and leave options open for further versions in the future. The simultaneous release of the Naval HMA.8 is reviewed separately, and if this is anything to go by, should be another cracking kit.

If this is starting to get you hot under the collar about Lynxes, then you might want to visit our walkaround, which has lots of pics to whet your appetite.

Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of

logo.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That does look great and even though its to small for me at 48th (for a Helicopter) I could very well be tempted! Great review Mike :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This kit does look really nice

Julien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm definitely going to have to get one of those, especially as I flew in them many times in the RM.

I'll have to dig out some photos to see which cab to model

cheers

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not much of a chopper guy, but that looks fantastic. Definately tempted to get one, but then again I still have another 40 or so kits to build first, lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

came home from work today,wife lures me to the bedroom :hmmm: ,with a cheecky grin :whip: ,and says .."on the bed" whhoooooo!! im thinking" is it christmas already!!!"

better than that,a big red box with an eggbeater on it :yahoo: that was the best suprise ive had this year!

wife has just been promoted to god like status :worthy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! That look superb. I haven't built an airfix kit in about 15 years, this could very well tempt me back. Now tool it in 1/35!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks gorgeous - well done Airfix! :clap2:

May just tempt me to move down a scale and purchase my first Airfix kit since the early 80s - just waiting to see what the Revell 1:32 kit looks like.

Iain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If this is starting to get you hot under the collar about Lynxes, then you might want to visit our walkaround, which has lots of pics to whet your appetite.

Guys Mike's link is a bit out of date as I forgot to tell him I altered the walkaround section a bit :doh:

The Army/Marines Lynx walkaround can be found here.

The Navy Lynx Walkaround can be found here.

Both threads will get new pictures soon when I can escape from work.

Julien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For those of you building the New Airfix Army Lynx, todays walkaround addition is XZ208 one of the decal options from Airfix.

Thanks to our own Greg Buckley for these.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.p...p;#entry1008638

Julien

may be in wrong post is it possable to use beltcher bits parts to convert lynks hm8 to has 3 not sure does any one know thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review, Mike.

Any chance for another one on the RN version?

Suits me more than the army one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the review, Mike.

Any chance for another one on the RN version?

Suits me more than the army one.

I am pretty sure Mike is working on the Navy review.

Julien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got me a Navy one, it's a cracking kit, it has to be one of Airfix's best kits even. Congratulations Airfix. I think I'm getting diverted already to an early mark, I've made some additions to the sound proofing and cabin roof detail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

We had a Mk 8 visit AFB Waterkloof here a few years back, my walkround pics can be found on www.scale-rotors.com.

Colin on the Africa Station

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the review, Mike.

Any chance for another one on the RN version?

Huh???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×