Matchbox 1/72 Supermarine Stranraer

KIT #: PK 601
PRICE: $16.00 on auction
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Greg Ewald
NOTES: Seek ye filler in great quantities.


After WW1,  Supermarine came into their own with the production of such great planes as the Southampton and the Scapa…predecessors to the outstanding design of the Stranraer (named after a coastal town in Scotland).  The Stranraer was of mostly metal construction, and ruggedly built…with a lot of redundancies, which made it stable as get-out, but something of a tank in a pilot’s eyes.  The biplane configuration made the Stranraer a wonderful spotting platform, although it did have 3 lewis machine guns as armament, and could carry a limited amount of bombs or depth charges…it was lauded mostly for it’s ability to loiter, very useful in anti-submarine warfare.

     The Stranraer went through several modifications during pre-war, wartime, and post-war service (some of them were still up and running long after WW2), but the basic hull configuration stayed near the same as the original 1934 version.  For an in-depth look at the plane, I heartily recommend Mushroom publications #6113, well worth the price for a look at such an amazing aircraft…


Please visit the preview to see what comes in the box.


 As far as building the kit goes…this one takes a lot of filler, and a lot of sanding to get just right, almost like a limited production kit. Most of the parts fit together nicely, but the major seams need a lot of work.

    The first thing to tackle is the three tone casting…I sprayed all of the sprues with light grey primer, both sides, and set aside to dry.  Rustoleum makes a great spraycan primer that does a good job of covering the odd colours, and without losing any detail. Since the wings are molded in upper and lower halves, I took this opportunity to paint the uppers with  Testor’s  “intermediate blue” and the lower wings with a 50/50 mix of flat white and aluminium (again, Testor’s Model Master paints) to represent the aluminium dope used pre-and mid-war.

      The interior of the fuselage was painted “R.A.F. interior green”, and set aside to dry. Once dry enough to handle blue masking tape, I cut out small squares slightly larger than the hull window openings, and gently taped them into place. The cabin and walls were painted the same interior green, and spot-glued into place while the two fuselage halves were carefully put together…don’t drink too much coffee here, a steady hand is a must to align the 3 walls, the cabin, and the two halves!  Tape the son-of a-gun up, and set aside to dry.

    The wings go together quite well, but I did remove the location pins to get a flat bond…the leading edges needed a little bit of filler , but the trailing edges glued up just fine.  The nacelles were another story…glue them together, and start puttying and sanding. I had to re-scribe details on my kit after all was said and done.

     I did not attach the cowlings and engine to the nacelles until the very end of the project to ease in painting…and with all of the filling I could see coming up from my dry fits.

In step 6, you add on the middle gun tub, and the wings.  Putty and sand, putty and sand…I recommend you have a good cd to listen to , or cable tv on in your studio, as this process takes quite a while ! Shaving the tub (part 25) to fit exactly helps save some time…the wings, however, fit o.k., but you may need to prop the plane up in a jig while the glue sets up… I used a large can to keep the hull level while I attached each wing.

   The tail assembly is equally as tricky, but with less putty…I did find that parts 30 and 31 (rudders) needed to be held square while gluing…I made a little styrene square to check the angle as they dried.

    Disaster Strikes! It was at this point, while taking a picture of the model in progress, that my tripod and camera fell square upon the delicate thing, and I ended up regluing and refinishing the whole dang fuselage/wing assembly…one of those frustrating things that can happen, and certainly an obstacle…took a deep breath, and decided to push on.

    In step 8, I left off the tail assembly, reasoning that it would be too hard to rig the wings with it in the way.  Attaching the middle upper wing assembly is somewhat tricky,  the instructions are rather ambiguous as to what goes where… after several test fits, I determined that the main struts go all of the way through the nacelle to meet the bottom of the wing. Gluing this assembly into place is a little tough, the use of a few draftsmen’s angles helps out with making sure the whole structure is perpendicular to the lower wing…some rough eyeballing is also necessary.  Set aside to thoroughly dry.

   When you go to attach the upper wings to the center section, glue the inner struts (82-85) first, making sure that the wings are centered and at the right dihedral.  After this whole thing has set up, attach the uprights (90 and 91) then the angled struts.

    These seams required as much time filling and sanding as did the main hull, I used Bondo finishing putty to take care of the divides, with frequent sandings between coats, then rescribing details lost in the process.

   The outrigger floats get the same treatment, while they are drying, you can build the beaching gear cart, putty and sand as necessary.  Assemble the wheel halves, sand and paint…but leave the gear unassembled until you attach the main struts to the fuselage. Once the gear was sturdy, I felt free to do the rigging.  Using stretched, painted sprue, with a pair of calipers, I attached each one of the cross-riggings as noted in the available photographs and illustrations with white glue…surprisingly enough, this was one of the easiest planes to rig I have ever worked on !  Gluing on the tail was a bit of a process, use a slow setting glue that gives you some maneuvering room and check your angles as it dries.


Using Krylon to prime made this a simple early build, and I went with a common pre-war scheme of blue over white/aluminium for my Canadian bird.  Applying coats of paint, and sanding in between, brings out the neat fabric details of the Stranraer, weathering was done using light gull gray with a smattering of steel…I like airbrushing with Testor’s Model Master Acrylics, as they dry a little slower than the others I have used, and thin easily.

     The bottom of the hull was painted in layers of aluminium and steel, and burnished to a nice worn glow.  I painted the beaching gear with bright steel and chrome…often these were painted grey in the field, but I wanted to depict a coastal craft.

    After punching in and removing the blue tape window coverings,  Krystal-Kleer was used for  the small windows…I used the kit canopy as mine was really quite nice…a quick dip in some future and ‘violla” !!  A little bit of weathering with coloured pencils and a ultra-fine Sharpie made the lines stand out on the whole plane.

  Kit decals in this box were hideous, and I used some spares…but I am hoping that with the advent of the publication of Mushroom’s  #6113, some aftermarket decals may become available…would be a great addition to this kit ! 


This model is not for the weekend build, that is for sure…but it would be perfect for someone wanting to tackle an interesting subject who is just breaking into limited edition kits…kind of halfway between the mainstream and the limited, with the benefits of both.  If you have one on your shelves, start it…if you see one at a sale, I would heartily recommend buying it.  Just don’t drop a camera on it…


the new book:

Greg Ewald

March 2005

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