Airfix 1/72 Skyvan






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The Shorts Brothers of Northern Ireland have been renown for producing flying boats and up until the end of WWII, it seemed that they were destined to continue to do so. However, the end of the war brought along with it long ranged land planes that pretty well spelled the end of the flying boat. Shorts then had to look to another source of income. It eventually settled on doing STOL short range airliners and cargo aircraft. Recently it has expanded into other types, but the STOL transport has been its mainstay.

The Skyvan was their first really successful aircraft and sold several hundred to both military and civil operators. The Skyvan is nothing if not a utilitarian aircraft. Its large, boxy fuselage is capable of carrying either passengers or cargo. Pure cargo versions have a large rear ramp that allows for easy loading of either men or equipment. The success of the Skyvan provided Shorts a reputation for hard-working and reliable aircraft that allowed them to move on to other projects.


This is by no means a new kit. The original moldings were developed in 1975 and have held up well over the years. The Skyvan has not been reissued very often and I think this may be the first time since the initial production. As a result, the molding is still very good with little, if any flash on the parts. The kit does suffer from ejector pin marks (like in all the seats) and some sink marks on the thicker parts, the landing gear stubs being the worse of the lot for sink marks. You'll end up removing all of the nicely done rivet detail when filling them. The cabin windows also suffer from sink marks and there really is no fix for them!

All of that aside, the kit really is quite complete. It is designed to be the passenger version and comes complete with a full complement of  18 seats. As was the norm of the time, you also get a cockpit crew. In this case you get civil pilots for the Olympic Airways version and properly attired military pilots for the other options. You also have the option of having the rear ramp open or closed. Another typical feature are separate control surfaces. The ailerons and flaps are not movable items, though the elevators and rudders are.

Instructions are taken straight from the original boxing so you need to be a bit careful. For instance, the original boxing included all the fuselage cheat line decals for the Olympic Airways plane so have you apply these early in the construction. They are not included in the new boxing, being much easier to paint on. The decals are a lot better than what you'd find in the older kit, basically because they have not yellowed beyond use!

There are schemes for three aircraft. One is the box art aircraft from Olympic Airways in white and dark blue. Again, you'll have to paint the dark blue parts, but that assures a color match! New to this boxing are a camouflaged Austrian Air Force plane. This should be in a glossy finish as the Austrians keep their aircraft is tip-top shape. Also new is the NASA version. This is in the old style of gull grey undersides, white top and blue trim. It appears that the wing tips are in red. This brings me to my one real complaint about the instructions. All of the colors are in Humbrol paint numbers. Not all of us have access to Humbrol paints and so will have to either track down what they are or give it a good guess. This is just as irritating as Tamiya, who do the same thing. How difficult is it to give us a decent color reference that tells us what the colors really are?!



This kit has been on the 'I wish they'd reissue it' list of many people for a long time. Now that it is here (and at a reasonable price), it should do well. If you want one, get it now before it disappears for another 30 years!

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