|KIT:||Kiwi Resin Models 1/72 Auster Mk IV/V|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vacuformed windows|
The Auster Mk IV was an upgraded version of the earlier Auster series; all of which were license built in the UK based on Taylorcraft designs. If you think these planes all look like big engined Piper Cubs, well, they are!
What was really different with the Mk IV was the larger Lycoming flat four, now producing a whopping 130 hp. This enabled the Mk IV to fly at a top speed of 130 mph and cruise at 112 mph. It had a range of 250 miles, but as the aircraft was basically used for light tac recon and artillery spotting, range wasn't a major consideration in its design. The key was to be able to stay aloft for a useful period of time carrying a pilot and observer/radio operator and his radio equipment. Those that were gutted of their radio gear were able to carry an additional passenger if needed.
These aircraft operated in the last year of the war and well into the late 1940s. Subsequent versions operated into the late 1950s and early 1960s until replaced in service by helicopters. Nowadays, there are still many ex-military Austers of various marques still in the air and providing fun and economical enjoyment to their owners.
I feel that I have to preface this preview by telling you that Kiwi Resins is very much a cottage industry. Nowadays, what used to be laboriously made by one person is produced by a much more robust organization that can hardly be considered a cottage industry. This term came from those folks in the UK who may have had a small one or two room cottage in the back of their property, and in there, they worked to produce resin kits and aftermarket materials.
Today these folks are working out of their garages and basements, as much for the love of the hobby as any real desire to become rich. I can understand their sentiments in this area. Since every kit is hand made, perfection, though desired, is not always possible, so these kits will have some minor glitches in them. The most common are air pockets, resin balls, short shot areas, and sometimes shifted molds cause steps in the seam area. This kit shows all of these, but not in such a preponderance as to make building the kit impossible. All the ones I found can be fixed with superglue, filler and some gentle sanding.
The kit itself consists of a fuselage, wings, tail planes, fin, nose section and then there are seats, radio gear, instrument panel, anti-glare panel, landing gear struts, a belly tank, four sections of strut material, two fairly well done vac canopies (not shown) and some other smaller bits. There are no control columns and while you can get some from Aeroclub, I'm not sure if they are the 'spade' variety or straight sticks. Some may want to sand down the wing detail as it is a bit more pronounced that one may like.
The instructions basically list the parts, give some advice on construction and leave the rest to you. No step by step construction diagrams and no exploded view. Frankly, this isn't needed if you are at the level of experience that these sorts of kits demand. The instructions do recommend replacing the lower landing gear section with wire or sprue and since the axle stubs on the kit are short shot, this is sage advice.
Also included in the kit is a very nice set of drawings showing the complete aircraft and a camouflage pattern as would have been used late in the war. Through the cockpit windows one can see the framework that was normal in these aircraft. The builder will have to made this out of stretched sprue or perhaps sections of thin plastic rod. It will behoove the builder to building this cage as it will greatly enhance the strength of the clear bits onto which you will have to attach the upper wings. No decals are provided as they are basically insignia and serials if one is doing a military version. For a civil plane, one can search the internet and find a number of fetching schemes for this neat little light plane.
So what we have here is a kit that is not for beginners. In fact, I'd have to say that if you don't have some small experience in scratch building, you may want to buy one and squirrel it away for a future date. These sorts of kits have very short availability lives so if you want one, you need to get it at the earliest opportunity. One thing for sure, it will not take up a ton of space on your shelves and will look just great next to some hulking Phantom or Eagle!
My thanks to Kiwi Resin Models for the review kit. E-mail them at email@example.com for information on this and other Kiwi Resin kits. This one will be featured in a full build review, but I have to caution you all that I have several other projects that need to be finished before I can start on this little cutie.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has nearly 300,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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