|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run, kit long out of production|
The Messenger was designed to meet a British Army requirement for a robust, slow speed, low maintenance, air observation post and liaison aircraft. The aircraft designed was a cantilever low-wing monoplane with fixed tailwheel powered by the de Havilland Gipsy Major 1D in-line engine. The prototype was converted from a Miles M.28 Mercury and first flew at Woodley on 12 September 1942. The aircraft had a good short field performance but only a small order was placed by the British Royal Air Force for the Messenger I as a VIP transport plane.
Wartime users of the aircraft included Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery and Marshal of the RAF Lord Tedder.
After the war the Messenger 2A was built for the civilian market. The production aircraft were built at Newtownards in Northern Ireland and flown to Woodley for final fitting out. After 71 aircraft were built production of the aircraft ceased in 1948.
During the war a prototype aircraft was built as the M.48 Messenger 3 with fully retractable flaps. The model was not further developed as it did not provide any advantage over the other variants.
When the RAF retired surviving aircraft in 1948 they were in good condition and were converted for civilian use as the Messenger 4A.
The aircraft was a popular touring and racing aircraft during the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1954 Harold Wood won the King's Cup Race air race at 133 mph.
This is not one of Pavla's newer kits and it may be difficult to locate, but I had no trouble finding this one. There is a single sprue of grey plastic holding all the airframe parts. The plastic is well molded with very fine engraved lines, an attribute of most company's early short run kits. The wings are one-piece and solid. There are some strange meandering engraved areas on the wing surfaces that will need to be filled.
All of the various surfaces are butt joined as is typical of a short run kit. The kit also includes resin and this is pretty much limited to the cockpit, though the venturi tubes are also in resin. Photo etch is used for the blets and the flap hinges, in which instance the parts are folded over for increased strength to hold the plastic flaps. Two transparencies are provided (not shown), with one having more rear glazing than the other.
Instructions are well drawn with a total of 6 construction steps. There are various additional detail drawings includes for parts placement and alignment. The builder will also have to construct the exhaust, which is either four angled stubs or a long one-piece tube exhaust. Drawings provide dimensions for these items as well as some additional landing gear struts. Colors are provided for Humbrol and Agama colors. Markings are for two planes. One is the box art plane which was Montgomery's personal transport in standard trainer colors. It can be done both with or without the invasion stripes. The other is a restored civil aircraft in red with cream trim. Decals appear to be well printed, though I'm wondering how well the civil registration will handle the intensity of the red without showing through to some degree.
Overall, one of Pavla's nicer older kits. It isn't so resin and photo etch intensive as to turn off someone new to the genre and will make a model that won't overwhelm the display shelves.
Thanks to me for this one.
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