Inpact 1/48 Martin-Handasyde
KIT #: P-102
PRICE: Second Hand 10 
DECALS: Only for the stand
REVIEWER: Chris Peachment


This looks like the No 3 Martin-Handasyde an early British single-seat monoplane design, built by the partners  HP Martin and George Handasyde. Only one was built, and it bore a close resemblance to Antoinette monoplanes of that period, with its thin wooden triangular section fuselage, and tapered wings braced by mid-span kingposts. Lateral control was by wing warping, though it had a conventional tailplane with rudder and elevators. The undercarriage was a cross-axle with a leaf spring and a curved skid ahead. It was powered by a 60hp Antoinette V-8 engine. It was first flown at Brooklands by HP Martin in 1910, and was then flown throughout 1912 by G Gilmour who was killed when it suffered a mid-air structural collapse in February 1912. After this, the Martin Handasyde team concentrated, perhaps wisely, on motorcycles with the name Martinsyde.


I found this second hand under a table at an IPMS model meeting at RAF Hendon in North London. The kit was made in London, dates from some time in 1960s, and is straightforward and presents no large problems in construction. The plastic is tan and medium soft and has little flash and few moulding seams.

No etched parts, the only additions being a reel of black thread for rigging, and a clear stand. 


For once, construction did not begin with the interior, as there isn't any to speak of. Once the cockpit floor is wedged into the lower V-shape fuselage, then the top deck can be fitted, along with the forward engine mount. Wings and tailplane are best kept separate and given a coat of white. (See below.) The engine was put together from 5 parts, painted and fixed to its mount. The forward control mast was fitted, together with joystick and wheel, and pilot's seat. I have no figure painting skills, so didn't use the pilot figure, who is jauntily dressed in Edwardian sporting gear of tweed jacket, roll neck sweater and a flat cap. He has a separate arm to attach to the control wheel. If you can paint figures, it might be nice to use him, to give a sense of scale and also period. I also fitted the one piece beam axle undercarriage, the forward spoon-shaped skid, and tailskid. All of this was then painted to represent wood (see below). The kingposts can be painted wood, then slid through their holes mid-wing and glued. The two fuel tanks were painted and fixed into the wing roots, and the wings and tailplane then fitted. All the mounting holes and tabs proved well designed and strong.

For control lines I used elastic thread which had been pre-coloured silver from a felt tip marker, and secured in place using a tiny drop of superglue gel, placed with a sharpened toothpick. The elevator and rudder lines emerge from two holes behind the front cockpit. The wing warping wires run from the wing tips over the kingposts to the central control post. I fashioned anchor points from fuse wire, twisted around a drill bit to form a short post with a loop at the top. The posts were superglued in place and the loops bent to the correct angle. The silver threads can then be slipped into the loop and superglued in place with a small drop of gel on a toothpick. A new scalpel blade trims them off.  The prop, painted as wood, was added and the solid metal windscreen glued in place on the control column.

And finally, to the shame and humiliation of the kit and its makers, the wheels were added. And I didn't glue them in place because they are an unsightly disgrace and I don't know what to do about them. Clear plastic just won't do to represent spoked wheels. I have scratch built spoked wheels in the past for Merit Racing cars of the 50s, but these ones are too small for my ageing fingers and eyes. I have used photo-etched spokes on a 1/48 Lebed biplane by Special Hobby, but wasn't entirely happy with them, as it is tricky to get them dished to the right conical shape. And the spokes themselves are flat rather than circular in cross section. Besides I have none in my spares box. I cannot find any after-market spoked wheels. If any kind reader can suggest a solution, I would be more than grateful. Indeed I won't be happy until I have binned those wheels and found a substitute. I painted over the hubs in linen colour, and tried to pretend that they were canvas covered. But a larger part of me knows that was not the case with the original. In the meantime, please avert your gaze.

The small reel of black cotton thread is best consigned to the spares box until you get around to rigging a three masted schooner.


There are no markings. Wings and tailplane were painted separately with Humbrol Primer White from a rattle can, and very good paint it is too, showing no signs of pooling or running but giving an even, solid white finish.

For the fuselage and undercarriage parts, I chose my usual way of doing wood, which is to paint an undercoat of middling brown, in this case Middle Stone from the Lifecolor range, and then giving it a streaky dry brushing of UK Dark Earth (Lifecolor again) with a stiff hog-bristle brush. This is then coated with Tamiya Clear Orange, and given a very light wet and dry sanding to tone down the gloss a little, though not too much.

The engine was painted matt black with a dry brushing of gunmetal, and the intake tubes on top were painted bronze, and dirtied with matt black. The exhaust stubs were picked out in dark rust.

That windscreen, which was as much to protect the pilot from oil spillage as from the slipstream, was painted matt silver (Xtracrylix RLM 01)


I built this kit when it first came out, back in the 60s, in the wake of seeing the film Those Magnificent Men... and had very fond memories of it. As I do also of that film, which never seems to be re-released here in the UK, though I believe there is a DVD available. It was very pleasing to find it again, and have those memories confirmed: that it is an excellent little kit depicting an aircraft from a period which is sadly neglected by kit manufacturers.

On a different note, I can't help noticing how modern the aircraft is. It has excellent all round vision for the pilot, probably better than any modern fighter even the F-16. It has an armoured windscreen. And has anyone noticed how modern aircraft mimic the old wing-warping method of control? When you see the variable-angle flaps and slots and slats all come down during the landing approach of your modern airliner, have you ever realised that they are doing exactly the same as wing-warping and varying the camber of the wing?

I see from the Lindberg website that they have plans to re-release the Bristol Boxkite and the Avro Triplane. I will certainly get these kits when they appear, and hope for the rest of the range of six, which included a Belriot, a Deperdussin, and an Avro Biplane. And also hope that they do something about those spoked wheels. If they don't then at perhaps there will be an opportunity for the aftermarket companies to make some spoked wheels.


Obviously there are no surviving examples of this early aircraft.  But pictures of the aircraft can be found as follows.

Chris Peachment

February 2014

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