Airfix 1/72 F.27 Friendship
KIT #: ?
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard


The Rolls Royce powered Friendship F27 is one of the first aircraft to bring speed and comfort of long-range flight to short-range routes. The F-27 was built in Europe by Fokker Airplane Company, Amsterdam and in the US by Fairchild Airplane Company in Maryland. The Friendship is a twin engine turboprop airliner with accommodation for 36 to 40 passengers. The prototype first flew in 24th November 1955. Air Lingus-Irish Air lines was the first to operate the aircraft commercially in Europe; at a time when the jet travel for the masses was a twinkle in airline executive’s eyes and turbo-prop propulsion was the latest thing in ‘Whisper quiet’, vibration-less flight.

 Ansett airlines of Australia operated a large fleet of F-27, a mini-airline by today’s standard. The gallant little F-27 has seen the come-and-go of many piston and jet engined aircraft of much larger proportions and until recently continued to serve the commuter and feeder routes of the Australian, US and European nations which says much for its reliability and sound airframe.

The Friendship features high wing construction, giving the aircraft improved aerodynamic qualities and providing passengers with an unpeded view. The Rolls Royce Dart engines developed 1600 shp, has low noise level, and negligible daily servicing. Economic operation and maintenance are features of the Dart. 


Molded in silver styrene and clear styrene for transparencies, totaling around 67 kit parts, this model was released over 50 years ago. It has a complete cockpit including two crew figures. Printed instruments are cut from instruction sheet and glued to instrument panel part. The kit has all moving control surfaces, rudder, elevators and ailerons and can be assembled with the undercarriage lowered or retracted. Instructions are typical Airfix, comprehensive and easy to follow. Originally released in Air Lingus green and white livery but my example had had decals for a Norwegian registered aircraft belonging to Braathens shipping concern. A clear 4-view drawing and clear box art cover is useful for coloring and decaling the model. Instructions also contain history of the aircraft. At one time the Airfix kit also appeared in Dutch air force markings with the aircraft finished in NATO green and dark sea gray upper camouflage and light aircraft gray lower surfaces.


 Assembly starts with the cockpit office consisting of 2 crew seats, 2 control wheels, instrument panel and a bulkhead with a central open door that leads to the passenger area. I opted to close the door using a piece of plastic card cut to shape of door, so that the bare lack of seating arrangement in the passenger area is not visible. If one chooses to use the clear styrene for the fuselage windows these has to be added before the fuselage halves are closed. Alternatively one can easily use Kristal Kleer at a later stage. Being a tricycle undercarriage aircraft I added another bulkhead which ½” apart from the kit one and in the space between inserted a flat lead piece sufficient to balance the nose. The nose gear and are also glued in place before the fuselage is closed.

 The following is the extra work done to improve the kit and also to modify it for the version that served with Ansett Airlines.

  1. Close examination of parts revealed sink marks around nose wheel well, at an area on forward fuselage top, on elevators and nacelles forward and aft. These probably prevailed due to thick section of the kit parts. These areas were filled with a small quantity of Plasto filler and smoothened down.
  1. Cargo door at forward fuselage was blanked completely. A new passenger door was scribed and added making reference to photos of the type from The rear door also required a little adjustment as it fitted slightly depressed n its location, so that it now has maintained the smooth continuity to the surrounding fuselage.
  1. There were 10 passenger windows to each side of the fuselage. This meant that an extra window was added to the forward fuselage. This kept the same distance pitch as the rest and the new window was marked by placing the fuselage halves face to face, aligning the windows so that the ports are adjacent to each other and scratch the oval outline for the new window position. It was drilled through and shaped with an oval file. This was repeated also to the other side.
  1. A large air intake scoop similar to the one molded at the rear on the port fuselage is added to the starboard side at same place as the kit one but on the other side. This was shaped out of a 5000 lb WWII bomb as half part of it almost matched the intake scoop and only required little shape adjustment using a small file.
  1. The kit corrugated panel details at the aft airframe of engine nacelles were sanded of and smoothened and later finished in natural metal. These panels are in fact unpainted stainless steel for heat deflection.
  1.  Propeller tips should be square. The rounded tips were cut at 3/16” from the end and a square plastic card added instead. This was shaped to the continuity of the rest of the blade.
  1. The exhaust outlets were drilled and shaped open. A blanking plate was added further into the nacelle.
  1. Detail No54 and No55 on kit instructions, which are actuators for the control surfaces, are shown in the wrong way round and were fixed in correct position, ref to box art painting which is shown correct.
  1. Blade aerials, antennae and wireless added to correspond with those fitted to the aircraft ref photos. Note that the Friendship in service with Ansett had differed aerials detail and it was essential to make reference to the specific type in registration for locating the type of detail to add.

 The Ansett Friendship VH-FNQ was practically overall white finish. This meant that the kit was first given an entire coat of matt white undercoat. Areas at wing root and seams were attended to and smoothened and more matt white coat applied. After a further smooth sanding, two coats of gloss white were applied, allowing time to dry in between. Wings and tail planes and fin areas were then masked so that the de-icing boots could be airbrushed in semi gloss black. Aft exhaust panel to engines were painted a mix of light gray and silver. The exhaust outlet was painted a mix to simulate burnish metal. Propeller blades had the tips painted in stripes of white red white (3” wide on the actual prop) with the rest of the blade being light gray and black leading edge. The nacelles front rings were light gray. I have used a Roodecal sheet for the Friendship. I got this sheet from Victorian Hobby Centre of Swanston Street, Melbourne 3001, Au.during a visit 14 years ago. This gives detail to the aircraft paint finish and position placing of decals. Apart from the Ansett complete livery the decals also include an extra window decal to place at the front row of windows in the event one take this option instead of shaping the new window as I explained earlier. Decal was thin, sharp and opaque and appropriate. They are beautifully printed making the kit truly come alive.


I rarely do civilian types but building the occasional prop driven civilian one is always enjoyable and makes a change too. Roodecal made a truly interesting decal sheet complete with prop danger markings. If you manage to find a copy of the decal and you are a civilian model enthusiast it is worth having and is recommended for both the MPC and Airfix kits.

Carmel J. Attard

June 2010

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