Special Hobby 1/72 Sea Balliol T.21
KIT #: 72236
PRICE: 16 Euros
DECALS: four options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Includes photo etch and resin parts


The Sea Balliol is an offshoot of the Balliol once used by the RAF. It was so modified to be capable of landing on carrier decks. Deck landing trials were in fact carried out aboard the HMS Illustrious in November 1950. That was followed by Sea Balliols VR596 and VR599 that were fitted with arrestor hooks. VR549 was fully modified and undertook trials on board the Illustrious in June 1953. 30 of the type were supplied to the Royal Navy.

 There was only one export order received for 12 land based Balliols. It was a time when the world was full of cheap T-6 Harvards/ Texans available being the principal reason. More ‘history’ about this aircraft appears in another review of same type that was released by Pegasus.


 When I came across the Special Hobby Kit of the Boulton Paul Sea Balliol T-21 I was at the time looking for something colorful and indeed it was as one of the liveries offered included a particular old style color scheme of silver and yellow trainer bands finish in combination with the later day glow orange areas as if the finish of one particular aircraft was captured during the transition period where FAA and RAF trainer types were switching over to a new style of  day glow era of trainer finish.

 This more conspicuous trainer livery fell on Sea Balliol with registration WP328. Being a more recent kit release this appeared to contain lots of detail parts as compared with the previous Sea Balliol kit that I happened to build, the one issued by Pegasus. Upon opening the box there one finds a 9-page kit instructions that contained a lot of detail of kit parts complete with tiny cockpit and undercarriage detail parts I brass etch as well as resin crew seats, column, radiator, folding wing detailed bracket ends and consoles. This was in addition to the 41 or so injection molded parts in gray styrene, a very clear canopy with embossed frame and a detailed decal sheet covering four different trainer aircraft markings, one of which decorates a colorful box art cover. An alternative smaller tail wheel is also included which is a good reason to believe that SH had a RAF Balliol in mind for release in due course.


 There are 8 stages of construction, starting with cockpit interior assembly that included a cockpit floor, two consoles adjacent to the seats; two control columns, rudder pedals, instruments and decals for it. The seats have separate brass straps and bracket at back of seat. Once the canopy has been assembled, painted and I also added a crew figure from my spares box, the rest is almost a straightforward job. At one point one need to decide if the kit was to be built with folded wings option and in this case the resin detailed end brackets fitted at the wing sections need to be inserted. I still have space in my showcases and decided to assemble the wings in lowered mode.

 The propeller comes with 4 separate loose blades but there is supplied a hub end flange to which the blades are attached which makes assembly easy. Other details such as separate exhaust manifolds, to which I drilled the port ends open, landing light transparency, wing tip lights and brass etch aerials are all supplied in detailed manner.  Even the windshield wipers are issued. I missed putting them on when I took the pictures of the completed model. I added a pair of footsteps to fuselage roots that show clearly on the box cover, these were made out of bent wires each flattened at one end.


The box cover artwork is very inspiring and my choice of colorscheme fell on WP328 mentioned earlier. This was the most colorful of all 4 options. I first masked the canopy that by now was in place, and gave the kit a coat of undercoat white at areas to receive the yellow bands and day glow patches. This was followed by air brushing Revell brand day glow oranges. Allowing this to dry, masking applied and the trainer yellow bands carefully air brushed using Revell trainer yellow paint. Again these band areas were masked with ‘Stuk’ precision masking tape and the kit given an overall coat of commercial silver mix. I gave the kit a coat of Future and applied the kit decals. Cockpit frame was made using cut strips from ‘Tauro’ silver decal sheet.


 The aircraft may be little known outside the UK in view of its short service but definitely well known by enthusiasts who are keen on Royal Navy type of aircraft. This was an enjoyable kit build and the impression is that the livery was very effective in making the aircraft stand out in the sky during a familiarization training flight way back in the early 1950s.

Carmel J. Attard

July 2015

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page