KIT: A+V Models 1/72 Armstrong-Whitworth AW 52
KIT #: AVM080
PRICE: $51.50
DECALS: 1 option
REVIEWER: Fabio Beato
NOTES: Resin with metal details


Through being involved in laminar-flow wing development Armstrong Whitworth was keen to put its experience to practical application and proposed a jet-powered four-engined 120ft span laminar flow flying wing bomber. The design was to be evaluated through the use of a 1/3 scale glider. The end of the war brought an end to the project but not before work had started on the AW-52G glider. It first flew on 2 March 1945. Armstrong Whitworth, after cancellation of the bomber project, maintained its interest in a large flying wing and was eventually given a contract to produce two prototypes. To give some point to the project beyond research the type was designed to carry 4,000lbs of mail. The first Nene-powered aircraft flew on 13 November 1947 and eventually achieved speeds of around 500mph. It crashed on 30 May 1949 through control problems and the pilot, John Lancaster, made the first emergency ejection in Britain. The 2nd AW52 was powered by the Derwent and it flew on 1 September 1948, later on trials with the RAE until May 1954 when it was scrapped.

 (courtesy of this site:


If you think ‘Fying Wing’ your mind immediately goes to Northrop and Horten designs, however some experiments were done also by british manufacturers, with equally unconclusive results.

I’ve been eagerly waiting for this kit since it was first announced  four years ago and now that it was finally released I got one! On opening the sturdy box you find some substantial resin parts for the main airframe which is split in three parts and many smaller details, including the white metal u/c legs and the vacuformed transparent canopy. Casting quality ranges from very good for the main parts to quite chunky for the smaller bits, however nothing terrible. Decals are provided for the two only prototypes so you won’t go mad searching for the distinctive ‘P’s to be applied to the nose sides.

The instructions are quite concise, being limited to an exploded view and a so-so three-view grossly enlarged to 1/72 scale. Here come the bad news: apparently the master was based on this enclosed drawing which contains many inaccuracies! I placed the bigger parts on the scale drawings contained in British Experimental Jet Aircraft from Barrie Hygate and, as you can see in the attached photographs, the wing chord is missing at least 3 mm., the fins are misshaped and the u/c wells way misplaced. I checked with a few photos since I’m generally quite skeptical about scale drawings, but unfortunately I have to admit that the kit shapes are wrong (take a look at the enclosed photos for comparison).

This is very sorry since the effort put into the master is equally remarkable, but completely flawed by bad references and correcting the mistakes would involve a major reconstruction work apart from the fins.


Anyway, since this is a kind of airplane which most modellers are even unaware of, you can try to forget the inaccuracies, build it for your pleasure and get many astonished comments at the next club meeting!

 Review kit courtesy of my wallet.


 Barrie Hygate – British Experimental Jet Aircraft – Argus books 1992

Aeroplane Monthly - May 1995

Air Enthusiast Quarterly N.17

British Pathe short movie:

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