Mike Posted October 24, 2022 Share Posted October 24, 2022 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 She was thoroughly outclassed as a front-line aircraft though, so was soon withdrawn from fighting service to form part of the training fleet, and as a communications ‘hack’.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 20 4 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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