AZ Models 1/72 Auster AOP Mk III

KIT #: AZ 7264
PRICE: $23.35 at GreatModels
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run kit with a resin part.


The Auster was a twice removed development of an American Taylorcraft design of civilian aircraft, the Model A. The Model A had to be redesigned in Britain to meet more stringent Civil Aviation standards and was named the Taylorcraft Plus C. After the start of the Second World War, the company developed the model further as an Air Observation Post (AOP)—used for directing artillery fire—aircraft for working with the British Army Royal Artillery units.

The Plus C was re-engined with the Blackburn Cirrus Minor I engine and re-designated the Taylorcraft Plus D. Most of the civil Plus Cs and Ds were impressed into Royal Air Force service, the Plus Cs were re-engined with the Cirrus Minor I and re-designated asPlus C2.

The first Auster I was the eleventhTaylorcraft Plus C aircraft which was delivered to the Air Ministry for trials in 1939. The trials led to an order for 100 aircraft placed in 1941.

The Auster II was a re-engined aircraft with an American 130 hp (97 kW) Lycoming O-290 engine. Due to the shortage of American engines that version was not built but led to the Auster III (Model E), which was the same as the Auster I but had a 130 hp (97 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major engine. The next development was the Auster IV (Model G) which had a slightly larger cabin with three seats and used the Lycoming O-290. The major production version was the Auster V (Model J) which was an Auster IV with blind flying instruments, and a flap modification.

Post war the Auster Mark V was used as the basis for the Auster J/1 Autocrat intended for the civilian market; the British firm having changed their name to Auster and stopped licensing from Taylorcraft. Further military aircraft were supplied post war; the Auster AOP6, Auster T7 (a trainer), and the Auster AOP9.


AZ Model kits are generally well formed and this one is no exception. A single sprue of grey plastic with a loose clear canopy and resin part are in the bag. You could easily fit another kit or two in the box in which it comes as large this one is not. I did find that many of the parts had oversize mold seams so clean-up will be a major part of the build. The one piece wing halves simply butt join to the clear cockpit section. I'd have to think that one will really need to be careful on gluing these in place to ensure proper alignment. As the interior is so open, it is fairly well detailed. The mass of tubing that one finds in these sorts of light planes is provided as it will be very easy to see. In fact, I dare say that a goodly portion of the parts count is frames and braces.

Since this is a short run kit, you'll have to make a few braces from rod as well as the rear fuselage hand holds, but dimensions are provided. This includes a rather odd looking piece that fit in the cockpit somewhere. The instructions are rather vague about placement of this and a few other bits. The main wing strut attachment locations are simply some nubs on the lower wing, as an example of some of the placement locations. The lone resin piece is shown in the instructions as the lower cowling section with the angled exhaust stubs. The part in the kit is flat with four holes to show where your scratch built exhaust pipes will be located. Well, three holes as one is filled.

Instructions are fairly good, though a bit vague at times. Colors are generic and shown throughout the build. There are markings for four aluminum doped aircraft. There is the box art plane from the Czech Army as well as a Dutch version, British version and an Israeli AF version with civil markings. The decals are nicely done as are nearly all Czech made decals, though there is some smearing on the large Dutch roundels.  BTW, the actual markings are not as bright as shown in the scan.


It isn't very often the we see a light aircraft, even if it is an Army Co-Operation type. Those who can handle short run kits (and my experience with AZ Models is that they are very short run), should be able to do this one. Not recommended for a beginner.


February 2011

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