Matchbox 1/72 Siskin IIIa


PK 25




Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken




During the late 20's and early 30's, many of the planes built in Europe were just a bit odd looking; at least to this Yank. Creeping near the top of the list was the Siskin. Now looking odd and being ineffective do not go hand in hand. The Siskin was very much a plane of its time. Armed in typical WWI fashion with two light machine guns, the Siskin IIIa was a real delight to fly.

It first entered service in 1925 with 41 Squadron and eventually served in 11 different units. This is pretty remarkable as one may recall that not a lot of money was spent on the military services after WWI. The Siskin was also around during one of the most colorful periods of the RAF as planes were decked out in large swaths of  color in the form of squadron markings on the fuselage and upper wings. The Siskin served well with the RAF being retired in the first part of the 30s. It was sold to a few other countries where it could still be found flying on the eve of WWII


Matchbox kits have several redeeming features. One is that they were generally quite colorful, being molded in multiple colors. This kit is in green and light grey. They are also very well engineered and fit quite well. The downside of all this is that they are usually devoid of interior detail beyond a seat and stick and also had rather large gaps where the parts joined. Matchbox kits were designed to be built by youngsters with enough to start with that more experienced modelers could detail them to their heart's content should the desire strike.

This particular kit has no real options other than decal markings. The instructions are typical of Matchbox in that all the painting info is at the end of the construction sequences! Color information is given in generic terms. There are two decal options; one for a 29 Squadron plane and the other for a 32 Squadron plane. The decals are large and a bit off register. From past experience, I can tell you that they do work well and will succumb to setting solutions. They are also a bit thicker than normal, but stand up t lots of abuse! Typical of RAF planes of the time, it can be painted in any color you want as long as it is silver! Aftermarket bits are few and far between and probably consist of a replacement engine and prop from Aeroclub and a single example on a decal sheet by Modeldecal.

Like many Matchbox kits, it is either the only game in town or was for several decades!! If your penchant is for interwar RAF types, then this is one you need to have!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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