Airfix 1/72 Fairy Swordfish
 
It was many years go that Airfix first made a 1/72 Fairy Swordfish and now as 2011 comes to a close, their new one is with us at last.  My first impression is simply wow!  Bearing in mind these are still reasonably priced models, the kit you get is quite marvellous.
 
The Swordfish was a design of the early 1930s which went into Royal Navy service in 1936, serving throughout WW2 and lasting longer in service that some of its' intended replacements.  With folding wings, it was ideal for the confined spaces on a Carrier, even the small Escort carriers.  It was slow, had an open cockpit which must have made operating in it far from pleasant, but it performed so well over the years.  Involved in the attacks on Taranto and of course against the Bismark, it must be considered one of the most famous Naval aircraft of WW2.
 
To talk about the kit itself, I think I must first mention the thing I felt a most excellent bit of thought by the designers.  The kit can be modelled with the wings out, or folded in the stowed position.  This means the small centre sections are separate but need to be accurately lined up to then get the wings to sit square afterwards.  Airfix have included two moulded 'jigs' that will hold them together at the right spacing on both sides while the glue sets.  Simple and so effective, it is not a thing I can recall seeing in a kit before, and such a good idea.
 
The interior of the cockpit, including the tubular framework for the crew compartment is all there and neatly done to give the best Swordfish cockpit I have seen in this small scale for the money.  The engine is just as good, even when much of it will be hidden under the cowling.  The struts are moulded in pairs rather than individual pieces, so everything will fit and line up without a problem.  To go under the lower wings are a selection of bomb racks and bombs, or the option of the centreline mounted Torpedo.  Another little addition within the kit if you want it with folded wings, maybe out on the deck of a carrier, is the inclusion of a well detailed torpedo trolley, perhaps being taken out to arm the aircraft.
 
Two marking options are provided for.  One is a mostly silver finish, the markings of 820 NAS (Naval Air Squadron) on HMS Courageous in March 1939, while the other is a camouflaged machine of 824 NAS flying from HMS Eagle in the attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto on 11/12 November 1940.  You'll see the options in the album below, along with the detail of the parts on the sprues.  Perhaps the only thing missing is any provision to clearly show the extra rigging wires you need to finish off the wings.  However, there are scale drawings available which can show you these, and I wouldn't be surprised to see an aftermarket producer do an etched brass set for them before very much longer.
 
As value for money, I rate this very highly and I am sure it will prove to be a very popular kit of this famous old biplane.  Congratulations to Airfix for such a fine all new version of one of their older kits.
 
Our thanks to Airfix for our example. 

See the Airfix website for more details of their ranges