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Avro Anson Mk.I
Colorful Annie
 

Special Hobby, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 48081 - Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie"
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 51 parts in grey styrene; 68 parts in cream colored resin; 15 clear injection molded parts; colour photo-etched fret; printed clear acetate sheet (instruments); instructions; decal sheet and painting guide for three aircraft
Price: USD$54.90 available online from Squadron
GBP23.74 available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Large and impressive; excellent surface detail including very nice fabric texture, high quality plastic moulding; thin, clear, cleverly designed and separately packed clear parts; impressively detailed resin parts; three interesting and varied marking choices.
Disadvantages: Some modelling experience helpful for preparing resin parts; a bit of flash present; a little extra time required for alignment and perfect fit.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Special Hobby's 1/48 scale Anson Mk.I is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

The Avro Anson was derived from the civilian Model 652 transport aircraft. In 1936, the Anson earned the distinction of being the both the first monoplane and the first type with retractable undercarriage in RAF service. The Anson initially performed the anti-submarine and reconnaissance roles, but was relegated to navigation and gunnery training duties as the war progressed. Perhaps its most important responsibility was as the nursery to new pilots and aircrew throughout the Commonwealth under the Empire Air Training Scheme.

Despite its important role in the Second World War and beyond, and a total production run in excess of 10,000 examples, the Avro Anson is a sadly neglected subject in styrene.

A number of Ansons were re-engined with Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XIX powerplants featuring smooth cowlings, and some were also fitted with a clear nose.

Classic Airframes released their excellent Avro Anson (early and late version) kits in 2006, followed by the "Post War" boxing early in 2007. Special Hobby has now reboxed the Classic Airframes kit with a couple of differences. Most obvious is the new colour photo-etched fret. Also, this kit offers both the wartime bulged engine cowlings, and the post-war smooth cowls of the Cheetah powerplant.

Special Hobby's Avro Anson Mk.I kit comprises 51 parts in grey styrene; 68 parts in cream colored resin; 15 clear injection molded parts; instructions; plus a decal sheet and painting guide for seven aircraft. The kit contents are essentially the same as the earlier four releases with the exception of the engine, cowlings and clear parts.

 

  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby Avro Anson Mk.I "Colorful Annie" Review by Brett Green: Image
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Plastic parts are presented to a very high standard. Moulding quality is excellent with a satin finish to the surface. There are no moulding imperfections on any of the exterior surfaces. The surface texture mostly represents fabric, and it is very well done. I especially like the restrained approach adopted on the fuselage and fin. Where appropriate, panel lines are crisply recessed and consistent while other structural features stand proud of the fabric surface. The overall effect is quite convincing.

The Cheetah engine and nacelles are supplied as plastic parts.

Resin parts are very nicely detailed. The bulk of these details are for the cockpit, including extensive framing inside the fuselage, but the undercarriage bays are also supplied in resin.

The high level of detail in the cockpit is justified by its visibility inside the large fuselage windows. Seats, navigator's table, radio gear, dickie seat next to the pilot and cushion for a prone observer in the nose are supplented by the new colour photo-etched fret.

 

 

The turret is a mini-model in its own right, with 13 parts in grey plastic, resin and clear.

Some of the parts are cast onto fairly stout blocks so a combination of a good razor saw and caution will be required when preparing these resin components.

Clear parts are well moulded and distortion free - very important for this glasshouse canopy and fuselage. The windscreen is moulded to part of the forward fuselage, which will make painting easier. The long windows for the rear cabin are also moulded as an integral part of the mid-upper fuselage, adding strength and also minimizing the risk of smudging these clear parts with glue during painting. Please note that the squared-off post-war turret is not included in tis boxing.

 

 

Options include glazed or covered nose cone, turret or faired-over fuselage, landing lights, long ailerons and various avionics alternatives (aerials, DF loop, astrodome etc). Control surfaces are moulded in place, with separate photo-etched hinges and actuators.

The kit is broken down conventionally - fuselage halves, wing halves etc - but there are no locating pins or tabs. I strongly recommend that wings and tailplanes are reinforced with metal or plastic spars. Sprue attachment points are narrow, but there is a fair bit of flash on some of the smaller parts.

The shape of the model looks accurate compared to published plans and contemporary photographs.



Markings

Three interesting marking options are offered on the instructions:

  • An overall red French Air Force Anson from 1950

  • An RAAF Anson wearing experimental anti-submarine camouflage of Dark Slate Grey and Extra Dark Sea Grey over White with a high demarcation on the fuselage sides. This aircaft also has red codes.

  • An overall yellow Canadian Anson of the 8th Air Observer's School in 1944

 

The large decal sheet is printed in perfect register, and colours look good.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Special Hobby's 1/48 scale Anson is an impressively detailed kit of one of the neglected workhorses of the Second World War and beyond. With a price of around USD$55.00, it remains quite a bargain too, especially considering the significant resin content and colour photo-etch.

The relatively small number of plastic parts belie the complexity of the kit. You will need experience before tackling this project due to the extensive use of resin and the lack of locating pins. However, with care and plenty of test-fitting, Special Hobby's Anson should not present much more of a challenge than most other twin-engine mainstream kits.

You won't have to spend a cent on after-market accessories though, thanks to the very high level of detail in the cockpit, and the ample markings options.

I have already built the early version Classic Airframes Anson Mk.I (below). It was a pleasure to work on, and is impressively sized and striking with its large windows revealing the nicely detailed interior. The Special Hobby version shares almost all of the same parts, therefore should be similar to build.

 

 

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers.
 

Thanks to MPM / Special Hobby for the review sample


Review and Images Copyright 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 2 May, 2008
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