Pegasus 1/72 Sea Balliol T.21
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $5.
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Short run kit with metal parts

HISTORY

The Balliol was developed to meet Air Ministry Specification T.7/45Specification T.7/45 for a three-seat advanced trainer powered by a turboprop engine, competing against the  Avro Athena. It was a conventional low-wing monoplane with a retractable main undercarriage and a fixed tailwheel. Pilot and instructor sat side by side ahead of the observer. The first prototype first flew on 30 May 1947, being temporarily powered by an 820 hp (611 kW) Bristol Mercury 30 radial engine.

The second prototype, powered by the intended Armstrong Siddeley Mamba  turboprop, first flew on 17 May 1948, the world's first single-engined turboprop aircraft to fly. The Air Ministry had second thoughts about its training requirements, and issued a new specification, T.14/47, requiring a two-seat trainer, powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin  piston engine.

The Merlin powered Balliol, designated Balliol T.2, first flew on 10 July 1948, and after extensive evaluation, it was chosen over the Athena, with large orders being placed to replace some of the Harvards in RAF service. The observer's seat of the Mk 1 was removed, the side-by-side seats remaining.

The Sea Balliol T.21 had folding wings and arrestor hook  for deck landings. By 1951, however, the Air Ministry changed its mind about its training requirements yet again and decided to introduce a jet-powered advanced trainer, the de Havilland Vampire T.Mk11. A total of 30 Sea Balliols T.21 were built by Boulton Paul.

The Sea Balliols served with 781 squadron at Lee-on-Solent and 1843 Squadron RNVR at Abbotsinch. The last one was delivered in December 1954. Some remained active at Abbotsinch until September 1963.

Two Balliols were used for the testing of radar absorbing coatings.The only Balliols exported were 12 Mk.2s to the Royal Ceylon Air Force, 7 from RAF cancelled contracts and five from RAF stocks, which were replaced by a further five production aircraft.

THE KIT

Kit is molded in soft gray plastic. A canopy is provided but looked under size and I preferred to use it to mold one slightly bigger. Careful separation of parts is imperative as plastic can easily drag part of the component unless cut through from its gates. Parts have engraved panel lines including engraved detail inside wheel wells. The kit has a spacious cockpit office but evidently lacks detail as only a pair of seats were provided.

A three view drawing is printed on a light blue instruction sheet displaying a Balliol T.2 in RAF service. The instructions indicated that it was possible to convert the T2 into a Fleet Air Arm  Sea Balliol T.21 and that anyone considering doing so could utilize Aviation News Vol qo No 9 Sept/Oct 1981 as a reference. A decal sheet is provided for one RAF Balliol T2 WG124 of No 7 FTS circa 1950 that was silver overall with yellow trainer bands.

CONSTRUCTION

Starting with the two fuselage halves these contained no dowel guides but fitted well. The dorsal fin on each half was slightly over size . These were trimmed at the wedged end. The main wing halves have inner and outer pieces as they are joined with the dihedral angle. These are joined together before attaching each wing to fuselage. Another good reason for the wings to be split in this manner is that these could be folded upwards at the joint at a slightly acute angle just past the vertical in the event a Sea Balliol is built.

A large 4-blade propeller comes integral with a fairly large boss, this had a pin so that it is guided inside a hold on fuselage front.. The main undercarriage legs were trimmed from their slight finn and a torque link, also in white metal was attached to the legs.  The wheels which are molded in gray plastic were oversize and had to find a replacement set of correct size from  spares box.

Since I converted the kit into a Sea Balliol I needed a replacement tail wheel which was made in such a way to keep the aircraft more lifted at the rear and could accommodate an arrestor hook. This I shaped from stretch sprue. I added detail to the cockpit, this included instrument panel, two control columns, a crew figure occupying one of the seats and seat support bracket at the back. A clear acetate canopy was molded and trimmed to fit and fixing it to the fuselage using white glue. A rectangular antenna was added at rear of cockpit and two L shaped foot steps added to each side of wing root at rear. A fine filter gauze was added inside the engine air intake.

COLORS & MARKINGS

The kit was airbrushed in base coat of white followed by Revell dayglow orange. These areas were then masked and an overall coat of silver mix  was applied to the kit. This was followed by two coats of Future. Model Decals were used for lettering and roundels. Tail unit crest was partly hand painted of a printed decal from spares. Kit was completed as WL732, a sole surviving Sea Balliol now accommodated at the RAF Museum in UK.

CONCLUSIONS

 

This was another pleasing FAA model to join my ever growing Royal Navy section. Like many aircraft of same era this carried high visibility paintwork adopted to trainer aircraft drifting away from the normal silver and yellow bands color scheme. Thanks to Roll Models for supplying the kit.

Carmel J. Attard

June 2015

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