Pavla 1/72 Oxford I/II





Four aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Multimedia kit with resin and vac bits




Known to hundreds of RAF & RAAF aircrew as the "Ox-box", the Oxford first appeared in 1937 as a military development of the 1934 Envoy feeder-liner, and was the first twin-engined monoplane trainer in the Royal Air Force. The first Oxfords joined the Central Flying School in November 1937, and by the time of the outbreak of World War 2 nearly 400 were in service.

Production was subsequently stepped up, Airspeed building nearly 4,500 Oxfords, and with sub-contracts placed with de Havilland, Percival and Standard Motors the total number of Oxfords completed came to 8751.

Although used most widely in its intended role as aircrew trainer, the Oxford gave valuable service on communications and anti-aircraft co-operation duties, and was also used in some numbers as an ambulance, particularly in the Middle East. 

As a trainer, it served in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Rhodesia as well as in the United Kingdom. Outwardly there was little difference in appearance between the various mark numbers, the principal variations being in power-plant and internal equipment. the Oxford I was a bombing and gunnery trainer, and featured a dorsal Armstrong-Whitworth turret - the only Oxford to do so. The Mk.II was similarly powered, and was equipped as a navigation and radio trainer. This was likewise the function of the Mk.V, powered by two 455 h.p. Pratt & Whitney Wasp Juniors an was chiefly used in Rhodesia and Canada.  



Pavla's kit of the Oxford is for the British built Mk I and Mk II variants, though with what seems to be rather generic engines that are provided, perhaps the Pratt & Whitney Mk V could also be done. I'd like to start by saying that Pavla and MPM are NOT the same company. Though their products look quite similar and they do, at times, cover the same subject, there are differences. For one thing, Pavla kits are just a touch less refined as the more current MPM kits. This kit, for instance, does not have injected clear bits, but the usual vacuformed ones. The surface detailing is a tiny bit less 'clean' than on MPM kits with tiny rough areas to be found around wing roots and the such. Nothing major, but they are there.

Two full sets of clear vac bits are included, both of mine had the turrets punched in so there won't be a MkI in my future. As the history mentions the main difference between the two are the turret or lack of. There are also differences in the main gear doors and radio antenna locations. Basically small stuff. The kit is blissfully devoid of a photo-etched fret so loved by the MPM folks. Resin is used for the engines, main wheels, tail strut, gear retraction struts, air scoops, landing lights and some other minor interior bits. A small section of clear vac plastic is provided for the flat windows. I should mention that the props are provided as a single piece. No sticking blades onto hubs, thank you.

The instructions are the best in the short run industry, consisting of a booklet which has the construction sequences, parts layout, colors (again with Humbrol  references) and a large section on exterior colors and decal placement. The decals are superbly printed and provide markings for four aircraft. First is a Mk I (P1927)rom 14 FTS (Flight Training School) during 1940. It is Dark Green and Dark Earth over Trainer Yellow. Next is a similarly painted Mk I without the turret from 3 FTS in 1938.  An Australian Mk II from 1 FTS is next in, again, similar colors. This plane has a nice yellow tail band, engine cowlings, and nose stripe . Finally an overall aluminum dope Israeli Oxford with yellow fuselage and wing bands from 1950.



One more Frog kit bites the dust with the release of this one. I find it interesting to note that most of the new releases from the Czech Republic have been replacement kits for old Airfix and Frog kits, though there have been some new subjects as well. I like this trend as it means a modern 1/72 Wyvern is not far away!

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