Sword 1/48 Taylorcraft Auster Mk III




$29.98 ($25.46 from Squadron)


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run with vac canopies


The Taylorcraft Auster III was a light liaison and spotting aircraft developed from the US designed Taylorcraft Model B. In 1938 a British businessman arranged to have the Taylorcraft manufactured in the UK and obtained a license. A complete example was exported to use as a pattern. In order to meet British airworthiness standards, the aircraft had to use heavier gauge materials in its construction as well as some different instruments. Though identical to the Taylorcraft B, it was designated the Model C.

The Model D had the 55hp Lycoming replaced with a 90 hp Cirrus Major and was tested by the Army as a possible spotter aircraft. It was accepted as the Auster I and an order for 100 was placed in 1939. The Mk I was found to be underpowered and had a tendancy to 'float' when coming in for a landing. As such a larger 130 hp Gypsy Major I was installed as were landing flaps, which shortened the landing run. The amount of clear in the canopy was increased as well. This was accepted and 467 Auster IIIs were produced and saw action with the RAF, RCAF, Dutch Air Forces and with the RAAF. After the war, many were sold off to private operators.



The kit itself is quite similar to other Sword productions. All but the two fuselage halves are on a single sprue of plastic. It looks deceivingly simple to build, but personal experience with Sword kits leads me to believe it isn't as easy as it looks! Detail on the medium grey plastic is very good. The ribbing may be a bit more enhanced than some would like, but it really looks OK to me. Much of the kit is struts and bracing, as you might expect from an aircraft like this. The interior is quite basic with but a seat and control sticks and instrument panel. However, the Auster was a simple plane. No rudder pedals are provided which probably can't be seen anyway after the kit is finished. There are no resin or photo etched parts. The canopy is clear vac plastic and it is to this that the wings will have to be attached. It will be quite interesting to see how well this is accomplished. It might not be a bad idea to do some modifying of the kit to make room for a metal tubing or rod spar to hold things together.

Sword has always had good instructions and these are no different. It is in a small booklet form and gives clear instructions with some guide drawings to help with assembly. All colors given are generic if form with no FS or paint company references. Decals are by Techmod so you know that they are well done and thin. There are schemes for three aircraft. First is the box art plane from the RAAF in overall RAAF Dark Green. It sports a rather intimidating shark mouth! The other two schemes are  from the RAF. Apparently, these aircraft were painted in a wrap around camouflage of Dark Green and Dark Earth. One is from Italy and has large white underwing serial numbers. The other is from Normandy just after D-Day so sports large black and white D-Day stripes. You'll have to paint these stripes onto the aircraft. They also cover the wing struts so it will make for a challenging scheme.



For sure it is not what many had expected to see in a kit. Light planes generally do not sell that well, however, this one is rather well done and should find appeal to both the civil and military modeler. Because of the vac canopy, I'd not recommend this one to beginners, but those with short run experience should not have any problems.

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