KIT:

Airfix 1/72 Auster Antarctic

KIT #

1023

PRICE:

$4.95 MSRP

DECALS:

Two options

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

 

HISTORY

The postwar Auster AOP (Air Observation Post) series was derived from the early British Taylorcraft models. They were improved variants, featuring several design changes which optimized their military roles. The 145-hp Gypsy Major VII-powered AOP Mk 6 appeared in 1946, with larger fuel tanks, longer landing gear legs, and large trailing-edge flaps. From 1946 to 1953, the RAF took delivery of 312 AOP 6s and used them primarily for target spotting. Their short field take-off and landing capabilities gave them great versatility in this role. The AOP 6 saw combat in Korea and Malaya during the 1950ís, conflicts which led to the development of the AOP Mk 9, the only variant built specifically for military use. The Mk 9, with a 160-hp Blackburn Cirrus Bombardier engine and a bigger wing, appeared in 1955 and remained in service into the late 1960s.

Thanks to Malaya Wrecks Research Group for that historical background.

THE KIT

To my knowledge, this is the first reissue of the 'Antarctic' boxing of this kit since it came out in the header bag back in the 1960s (or maybe even the 50s). That kit was molded in yellow, whereas this one is in the standard grey. Though I've seen it released as a standard AOP 6, I've not owned it so am curious to know if the floats and skis were included. As with all these classic kits, there is no interior per se, only a fuel tank and a pilot figure for the cockpit. Being a light plane, there is no rivet detail. The wing ribs are simply strips of raised detail so those wishing to sand them off will find they can do a pretty good representation of the usually taught canvas found on these plane. The only real option is the choice of wheels, skis or floats. With a minimal pars listing, construction should be quick. One thing I found on my kit (and this is getting to be the norm with me and Airfix) is that the prop blades were broken off one side and badly bent on the other!

Instructions are the standard drawings in three construction steps with separate steps showing either the wheels, skis, or floats. Markings are provided for two aircraft. One is a standard AOP.6 from 1912 flight in Germany during 1952 in a wraparound Dark Earth and Dark Green (though I suppose it might be a gloss finish?). The other is one of the Auster T.6 'Antarctic' versions in overall trainer yellow. Decals are well printed and rather matte, looking a lot like the standard Airfix/Heller offering.

CONCLUSIONS

It is nice to see this kit back on the shelves again. Yes, it is definitely old world technology on the detailing, but I'm sure someone will come up with a cockpit set for it; in etched brass if nothing else. Until then, be glad it is available again and enjoy it.

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