Airfix 1/72 Wellington IA/C

KIT #: A08019
PRICE: Delivered prices range from $41 - $68.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: .2018 tooling


The Vickers Wellington is a British twin-engined, long-range medium bomber. It was designed during the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, led by Vickers-Armstrongs' chief designer Rex Pierson; a key feature of the aircraft is its geodetic airframe fuselage structure, which was principally designed by Barnes Wallis. Development had been started in response to Air Ministry Specification B.9/32, which was issued in the middle of 1932. This specification called for a twin-engined day bomber capable of delivering higher performance than any previous design. Other aircraft developed to the same specification include the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and the Handley Page Hampden. During the development process, performance requirements such as for the tare weight changed substantially, and the engine used was not the one originally intended.

The Wellington was used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, performing as one of the principal bombers used by Bomber Command. During 1943, it started to be superseded as a bomber by the larger four-engined "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft. It holds the distinction of having been the only British bomber that was produced for the duration of the war, and of having been produced in a greater quantity than any other British-built bomber. The Wellington remained as first-line equipment when the war ended, although it had been increasingly relegated to secondary roles. The Wellington was one of two bombers named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Vickers Wellesley.


The Wellington was a mainstay of the Airfix catalog since the 1960s and while it was not a bad kit at all, it was eventually superceded by a fairly nice one from MPM and an easier to build version from Trumpeter. Since one of Hornby's long range plans is to replace most of their old aircraft catalog with new tool kits, it is not at all surprising that this one was done. One thing the new Airfix has been doing is multiple boxings/variants as is the norm with kit makers today so I'm sure we will be seeing others as this one seems designed for just that.

The first thing I noticed while going through the instructions is that Airfix has pointed out those interior parts that will be difficult or impossible to see once the model has been built. This will allow the build time to be shortened for those who would normally eliminate some of those items anyway.

You are provided an extensive interior that extends from the cockpit back to the entrance door. This includes all sorts of things attached to the inside of the fuselage, most of which are on the 'don't need to add them' listing. You also need to decide if you want the bomb bay doors open or closed before closing the fuselage halves as the open bay door bits will need to be cut away for the separate closed bay. The closed bay option also eliminates the need to add in the bombs and various attachment points. One has a very hefty wing spar to add prior to closing the halves. Note that all the fuselage transparencies attach from the outside.

One can do a raised or lowered landing gear and before building up the nacelles a choice needs to be made. Again, this pertains to doors. You do have to install the gear attachment structure as it is what keeps the nacelles apart from each other. All flight surfaces are in halves and all the control surfaces are separate. Motor mounts are provided for the radials and an there are exhaust pipes molded on the inside of the engine cowlings, the first time I've seen this done on those planes where the collectors are the front of the cowling.

Props and spinners are part of the gearbox of the engine and can be attached after the model is painted. Fore and aft turrets are nicely detailed and seem to be items that can be assembled with minimal fuss. They are not designed to rotate so can be added after painting. A nice touch are two cockpit canopies, one with the pilot's window slid back.

Instructions are excellent with the usual Humbrol only paint numbers. A separate painting and markings guide is provided for two planes, both painted in dark green/dark earth over black. The upper colors seem a lot more washed out than any paints I have of these shades. One is from 20 OCU and the other is the box art plane that shows the crewman climbing out on the wing of the aircraft to put out an engine fire. He survived and was awarded the Victoria Cross.  The decal sheet itself is superbly printed.


There are those who would tell you to toss your other 1/72 Wellingtons, but really, most kits, regardless of age, deserve to be built. This is just the best one to date of this aircraftand I think will very much please fans of the type.  


January 2019

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