AIRFIX 1:72 WESTLAND LYNX (ARMY)
Reviewer: Myself (email@example.com)
Also see my 1:72 review on the Navy Lynx version by Airfix.
This Anglo-French designed helicopter carries the company cooperation of Aerospatiale-Westland, but in many ways is more viewed as a Westland chopper than the former. This is part to the design number WG.13 from which the Lynx was developed. It is a very capable and fast helicopter and was produced in two major versions being the general purpose and utility variant for the Army and a more specialised version for the Navy. Ironically, the main helicopter it replaces in both versions is the Scout/Wasp family which has similarly two offsprings specialised for the respective services. As the Army Lynx it is generally given the designation of AH.1 and performs the role of offensive attack, most commonly anti-tank duties, search and rescue and ground support. Its speed and manouvreability is exceptional achieving a speed record over a 25km course of 322 km/h in 1971, diving speed of 370 km/h and a backward flying speed of 130 km/h. Overall an exceptional helicopter that can carry air-to-surface missiles, anti-tank TOW missiles, rockets and miniguns to pack a decent punch on the battlefield, plus operate in all-weather and night-time conditions.
Airfix have released two kits of the Lynx, notably this Army version and the other Naval version. On opening the box you could be forgiven in thinking that the one kit can build both versions - wheels, landing skids, etc - but on further scrutiny you will find that the kit will only complete the version for which it is marketed. Details are reasonably well done with raised panel lines and about 90 parts in the kit - although not all will be used for this version. I have made both representations from Airfix, and found that both kits were different. The Army version is molded in dark green styrene while the Naval version is molded in light blue and white plastic. Instruction sheet for both kits are the same, except the assembly steps have been sketched specifically to make the version of the kit being made, in this case the Army Lynx, and the brief paragraph on the history of the chopper is also adjusted to the respective version.
You commence construction on the engine and main chopper blades. This is reasonably easy to get assembled and its well worth painting the parts first before you put them on the chopper later. Interior detail isn't too bad - in the cockpit you are supplied with two seats to put on rails and affix to the base, plus pilot figures, foot pedals, control sticks (where's the collective?) and a well detailed instrument panel complete with dashboard, centreline panel and raised knobs. In the cabin you are given three bench-seats to fit it out as a troop transport.
Once the cockpit/cabin unit has been assembled you attached it against a fuselage halve, place in the front feet-windows, a rear cabin wall and roof that will eventually accept the main rotor assembly. This was a bit of a tight fit with the alignment grooves helping what would otherwise be a difficult task. Then you attach both fuselage halves which go together fairly easily but will need a peg or two to hold it together in the right places while drying. You then construct the roof-engine exhausts and cowlings and providing you work out the right nazelle to attach them to you should find it fairly straightforward. In part 10 of the instructions it shows you how to assemble both exhausts, then in Part 11 it simply shows you where to place them, it doesn't tell you which exact sub-assembly goes to the port side or starboard side, and the diagram isn't any help. They are slightly different shaped depending which way you place them so consult some good reference material to ensure they extend outward at the right angle.
You then place on the main side doors and because you have to attach both the upper and lower railing in this step, it needs quite a bit of care to get the right distance apart so that the door will fit snuggly in. I overcame this by attaching the lower railing first, letting it dry and then fiddling with the upper railing and getting the door to fit on the rails correctly. If you do this right it will enable you to open and close the doors on the finished product and is worth the effort. You can then zoom it across the sky with doors shut, or land it and slide open the doors and play troop alightment :)
Closing the cockpit with windscreen, canopy etc induced particular frustration and annoyance. It comes in a variety of pieces including windscreen, side windows and cockpit roof that required the small ceiling windows to be separately placed in. You will need to spend some time sanding and dry fitting before you can get even a reasonable mating with them all. The sidewindows and windscreen just don't like the idea of attaching together in the appropriate way. The roof also allows a window with a night-vision sight to extend into the cockpit and sit in front of one of the pilot's faces. I had a tremendous amount of trouble getting this to sit right (perhaps the pilot was sitting too far forward in his seat) and in the end gave up. The window where the sight is attached to is naturally cloudy in the middle where you have to cut a hole for the sight. It would have been better if Airfix provided two pieces, one with a hole to mount the sight and the other without so that you could have a clear ceiling port window. Unfortunately they neglected to do this, so if you don't attach the sight then you have to put up with a roof window that you can't really see through.
The nose cone also was not an easy fit, it is not shaped right to correctly align in the grooves on the front of the fuselage, and this would be further compounded if the fuselage was not glued together properly. I ended up sanding off the grooves, attaching the nose as-is, then sanding the sides to get a smooth mate with the fuselage. The landing skids presented no problems although you had to plug the indentations with small pieces that contained the correct holes to attach the skids - these went on quite easily and finally the chopper started to look like a Lynx
The kit also comes with pylons to attach to either side of the fuselage with three HOT mounted pods each. While these were easily sub-assembled, attaching them to the fuselage and getting them to sit in the right place was a completely different story. Even after many attempts they do not sit correctly and are noticeable in being problem parts when looking at the finished model.
Two examples are produced by the kit, both in the AH.1 all weather/night versions carrying Olive drab/black camouflage schemes. I went against normality and finished my kit in the earlier Dark Green/Earth scheme even with the HOT pods. The decals were quite thin and had plenty of excess carrier film, so they need a good trimming first. I elected to use the decals provided with the kit, and they fixed quite nicely, but a slight amount of silvering is evident.
Overall the kit replicates the Army Lynx quite nicely and is a better reproduction than the Revell version. Accuracy is not complete as it lacks the true lines of the roof mold and landing skid attachment points to the fuselage, but otherwise it is fine. Unfortunately, the nose, pods and canopy problems turn this otherwise nice kit into a bit of a nasty one and therefore I would only recommend to those of at least intermediate building skills.
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