Eduard 1/48 Westland Lysander (Special Duties In France): Part 2

At the end of my previous post, I’d completed the assembly of the cockpit and rear compartment of this aircraft. Some more bits and pieces needed to be modified and detailed before I could begin assembly.

First, wheels. The Lysander had a spatted fixed undercarriage, with landing lights recessed into the front of the spats. The kit provides locating holes for the wheels which correspond to the position they occupy in flight—but they sink a little deeper inside the spats once the shock-absorbers are loaded on the ground. So I needed to adjust the wheel position with a little judicious chiselling. Here’s the before (left) and after (right) view:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, undercarriage revision
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And the corresponding before and after wheel positions:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, wheel repositioned
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The landing lights proved problematic. A parabolic reflector needs to be fitted inside the spat, with a transparent cover fitting flush over the top of it. There seemed to be no discernable way the kit parts could be made to fit inside the spats in the way the instructions portrayed. I ended up removing a lot of plastic before I could get things to go together neatly, like this:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, spats assembly
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The rear wheel likewise needed to be adjusted. First to remove a large fairing that doesn’t match the appearance of the Special Duties aircraft, and secondly to shorten the oleo to depict its compressed position on the ground. Here’s the original part:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, tail wheel part
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And the trimmed part in the final wheel assembly:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, modified tail wheel
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I also want to model this aircraft with the canopy open—top panel slid back, port-side window slid down. This requires a bit of work with a razor saw, because the transparent parts in the kit are not designed to allow open sections. Here’s the tricky upper canopy as supplied:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, top canopy
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And once I’d divided the two sections:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, top canopy divided
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Next, the wings. The Lysander had an innovative set of automatic flaps, connected to leading-edge slats, which deployed in response to reduced airflow over the wing. So when it was parked on the ground, both slats and flaps were fully deployed. The Eduard kit doesn’t provide any sort of option for this—flaps and slats are moulded in the stowed position, as if the aircraft were in flight. I got hold of a CMK Lysander detail set, which provides, among other things, a set of slats and flaps. But, amazingly, only the outboard slats. Since the inboard slats were mechanically connected to the flaps, it’s actually impossible for the aircraft to have flaps down without inboard slats deployed. So if I wanted to model this aircraft at rest on the ground, I was faced with building my own inboard slats. After a bit of hunting around for ideas, I used some 0.1mm aluminium sheet to reproduce the missing slats. First I applied some Tamiya masking tape to the inboard leading edge of the wing, and traced out the shape of the slats. Then I peeled off the tape and and stuck it to my aluminium sheet, so that I could cut out the correct shape. Then I taped the flat aluminium sheet into place on the leading edge, and gently bent it into shape. Presto, I had a slat.

Then I needed to remove most of the leading edges of the wings, and cut away the kit’s moulded flaps. Here’s the result of that:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, wings trimmed
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I was certainly beginning to feel a little committed at this point. I applied CMK’s replacement outboard leading edge, and improvised an inboard leading edge using the material I’d cut away from the outboard leading edge. So here’s how that all looked:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, wings and slats
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CMK provide slat supports for their outboard slats, with enough spares to allow me to add them to the inboard wing, too. I’m going to leave the slats off until late in the build, for ease of painting. But here are the flaps in position:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, CMK flaps
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Eduard provide some photoetch flap hinges, but of course they’re intended for flaps in the stowed position. They were easy enough to split and position correctly on the lowered flaps. The inboard hinges are in position, above; the outboard hinges need to wait until later in the assembly, because they attach to the wing support struts.

Next, the tail, in which I installed CMK’s replacement control surfaces and tailplanes. The Lysander tailplanes were (rather notoriously) adjustable, and needed to be cranked slightly downwards at the leading edge for take-off and landing. The kit, of course, doesn’t permit that adjustment.

Life was complicated somewhat by the fact that I seemed to have two port tailplanes from CMK:

Czech Masters Lysander tailplanes
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They’re identical top and bottom, and since I was adjusting the position of the locating tabs anyway, in order to tip the tailplanes forward, I simply sawed off the tabs and repositioned them:

Czech Masters Lysander tailplanes fixed
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More complications, however, because there’s a plate attached to the upper surface of the tailplane, which tips with it, and this plate is inconveniently moulded as part of the kit’s tail:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander tail
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I traced the plate on to Tamiya tape, again, and transferred the shape to some thin styrene sheet, before sanding off the moulded part and scribing in the missing panel lines:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander tail revision
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You can see I’ve also carved away the kit rudder, in preparation for replacing it with the CMK version, slightly deflected to the right to match my rudder pedals. The CMK rudder looked like a good fit when held against the intact model, but ended up needing a little filler to make a snug fit. Here it is, dry-fitted, with the tailplanes attached and the styrene plate in position:

Eduard 1/48 Lysander, CMK rudder fitting
Click to enlarge

So that’s all the bits and pieces ready to glue together. More next time.

3 thoughts on “Eduard 1/48 Westland Lysander (Special Duties In France): Part 2”

  1. Once again I can but admire your skill and patience – far beyond anything I could display.

    Reading this made me realise that I had never seen any film of a Lysander in flight so I found some and had a good look. What first came to mind was that it seemed much bigger than it did in still photos. The videos I saw included a couple of very enthusiastic Movitone News reports from around 1939/40 vastly overpraising its capabilities. I was surprised to see one variant with a defensive machine gun in an open rear cockpit. Much was also made of its abilities as a light bomber.

    It seems to have been a dismal failure in its intended role. I read one report that despite being designed as an Army co-operation aircraft no particular attention was paid to what sort of aircraft the Army wanted to act in that role. However, it certainly did redeem itself in the ‘Special Duties’ role and I look forward to your finished product.

  2. Yes it was a tall aircraft–the pilot had to swarm up a series of fairly awkwardly placed footholds to get into the cockpit.

    The machine gun was part of the original plan for the aircraft, I believe. The rear canopy could be closed when the barrel of the gun was tilted downwards, but the canopy could be slid a long way backwards, well out of the way, to give a clear field of fire.
    The Eduard kit is configured to mount the machine gun, so it took some revision to depict the rear compartment as used for passenger transport.

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