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Airfix Vickers Wellington

Review of the 1/72 scale aircraft kit with amazing decals
Nicknamed “Wimpy” after a famous contemporary British comic strip character, the Vickers Wellington was anything but wimpy, relying on a unique geodetic structure for immense strength. The Wellington served as the backbone of Royal Air Force Bomber Command from the beginning of World War II until the Lancaster and Halifax heavies pushed it to second-line service.

Airfix’s new 1/72 scale Wellington portrays the early-war Mk.IA or Mk.IC, but unused parts and flashed over holes point to future versions. The kit includes markings options for one “A” and one “C” version. The instructions are very clear about build options and which parts are needed for each version, and helpfully point out up to 15 parts that may be left off as they will be nearly invisible on the finished model.

Build options include open or closed bomb bay, open hatch with boarding ladder, and landing gear up or down. Also included but unmentioned are clear waist windows and machine guns, as well as simple instructions to trim away the nose-turret shroud, a common modification on Mk.IC and later aircraft.

There is significant interior detail, including a flare chute that matches with the external opening. Bulkhead assembly angles are mentioned in the instructions, but I found it easier to use the fuselage as an alignment jig.

The instrument panel decals do not fit well and must be trimmed.

Even if you leave out the parts indicated by Airfix be aware of other viewpoints into the fuselage, for example through the bomb bay if it is posed open. Before painting the inside, I added the covers for the waist windows and the window on the side of the nose. Be aware the fit is not good, requiring filling and carving to match the well-done fabric covering of the fuselage. The waist window cover part numbers (E46 and E47) are reversed in the instructions, which caused even more fit issues. I added the bombs to the racks, but they are a bit crude and clunky.

A robust spar installed prior to closing the fuselage provides a solid mount for the wings; they join with a nearly perfect seam. The wings assemble well, even with the complicated engineering of the nacelles. The engine bulkheads include details molded on the front side, even though they aren’t visible.

The molded geodetic fabric covering on the wings is restrained but visible. All control surfaces are separate and fit perfectly. A nice touch is the elements molded into the clear plastic landing light lenses.

The instructions have you mount the landing gear right away, but I left mine off. It is easy to trim off the mounting peg for the retraction strut which makes assembly much easier, while the main gear struts attach easily and firmly.

For painting, I used Eduard’s masking set. While it is a huge help for accurate framing, be aware it does not include both sides of the bomb-bay vision windows, nor does it include the landing lights. I used a punch to create my own from leftover masking material.

Airfix has the major airframe colors listed by name — all other paint callouts are by Humbrol paint number only so grab a cross-reference if you are using another brand.

The decals are the best I’ve ever used in an Airfix kit, not a surprise as they are printed by Cartograf. Installing the remaining details was easy, but be careful when placing the astrodome on top of the fuselage as it can fall in.

I spent almost 26 enjoyable hours creating my Wimpy and can recommend the kit to anyone interested in having a Wellington in their collection.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2019 issue.


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