Airfix 1/48 Chipmunk T.10
“You have control - I have control.” Hundreds of Air Cadets had their first experience of piloting an aircraft or even their first flight in the venerable DH Chipmunks belonging to RAF Air Experience Flights. These Flights (AEF) were training unit of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) whose main purpose was to give introductory flying experience to cadets from the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force. AEF numbers 1 to 13, were formed across the United Kingdom in 1958, all but two forming on the same day, 8 September. All were initially equipped with the Chipmunk T.10 trainer.
The Chipmunk T.10 also served with Reserve Flying Squadrons (RFS) of the RAF Volunteer Reserve (VR), as well as the University Air Squadrons. During 1958, multiple Chipmunks were pressed into service in Cyprus for conducting internal security flights during the height of civil unrest during the Cyprus dispute. Eight disassembled aircraft were flown out in the holds of Blackburn Beverley transports; following their reassembly, these Chipmunks, which were operated by No. 114 Squadron, were operated for some months into 1959. From 1956 to 1990, the Chipmunks of the RAF Gatow Station Flight were used to conduct covert reconnaissance missions by BRIXMIS over the Berlin area. Chipmunks served with the following Air Forces, Belgian, Ceylon, Danish, Egyptian, Ghana, Irish, Iraqi, Israeli, Jordanian, Kenya, Lebanese, Malaysian, Portuguese, Saudi, Spanish, Syrian, Rhodesia, Thai, Uruguayan and Zambian.
The kit provides three sprues moulded in grey plastic and one sprue of clear parts. Decals are provided for 4 aircraft and contain a plethora of “no step” type airframe stencils.
Parts are broken down in the usual way, L/R fuselage, and single piece lower wing to set the dihedral and separate control surfaces. No provision is made to lower the flaps but I have never seen a Chipmunk on the ground with its flaps down.
Construction starts with the cockpit which seems to have enough seats, instruments etc. to make a good representation of the real thing. Decals are provided for the instruments. With the canopy fully open you will get a very good view of the cockpit. After market seat belts are available and it’s up to individual modellers if they want to use them.
One item I do like is that the main canopy is moulded in 3 parts, the top and L/R side screens. This should make painting the canopy easier. Airfix include a jig to assemble the parts.
Another nice touch is the inclusion of a Gipsy Major 8 engine, engine bearers and various bits and bobs on the firewall. Modellers can super detail the engine bay but remember the Gipsy Major is inverted so you mostly see the bottom of the crankcase!!
I have not assembled any of the parts but the mouldings look on a par with other well designed kits that Airfix have issued recently. Whilst I am tempted by the Red/White/Grey colour scheme it’s not the easiest scheme to paint so the inclusion of easier schemes is welcome.
This seems to be a nice kit with enough parts to appeal to the average modeller as well as the dedicated rivet counters. It appeared in a wide range of colours from the all black RAF Historic flight machine to the Red White and silver variants so should have wide appeal. At approximately £ 20 ($28) it seems good value for money and (subject to any fit issues) I would recommend it.
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