Special Hobby 1/72 Sea Balliol T.21

KIT #: SH 72236
PRICE: $28.50 SRP ($15.00 on sale)
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with resin and photo etch parts


The Boulton Paul Balliol andSea Balliol were monoplane military advanced trainer aircraft built for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) by Boulton Paul Aircraft. Developed in the late 1940s the Balliol was designed to replace the North American Harvard trainer and used the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, with the Sea Balliol a naval version for deck landing training.

Pre-production Balliols were delivered to the RAF's Central Flying School in 1950, but with the change in air-training policy, the Balliol was only delivered to one Flying Training School, - No. 7 at RAF Cottesmore, replacing their Harvards. The Balliol later served at the RAF College, Cranwell until replaced there by the de Havilland Vampire T.Mk 11 in 1956. The Balliol also saw limited squadron service from 1953 with No. 288 Squadron RAF based at RAF Middle Wallop. Operations continued until the squadron was disbanded in September 1957.

The Sea Balliols served with 781 squadron at Lee-on-Solent and 1843 Squadron RNVR at Abbotsinch. The last one was delivered in December 1954. Some remained active at Abbotsinch until September 1963.

Two Balliols were used for the testing of radar absorbing coatings.

The only Balliols exported were 12 Mk.2s to the Royal Ceylon Air Force. 


This is not the first 1/72 injected kit of the Balliol, as I believe Pegasus did one several years back. However, this one is a true multi-media short run kit that includes resin parts for the seats, control sticks, side consoles, glycol cooler and a box in the interior. There are photo etch bits for the seat harness, main instrument panel and a number of other small bits like control knobs.

A flat floor is provided on which to build up most of the interior. There is some sidewall framework detail but no boxes of various types to be installed as one often finds located thereon. As is the norm for this sort of kit, there are no alignment pins and many of the parts are butt joined. However, the inner wings and tailplanes are tabbed to help with alignment.

The kit is designed so that it can be built with the wings folded, so there are resin formers to place on the inside of the outerwing panels and the outside of the innerwing panels. The attachment points for the folded wings appear to be very tenuous and while it would have been great to see just how they are attached, the instructions are mute on this point. The wings can also be posed in the lowered position. While the instructions show this done at the very end of construction, I would join the outer and inner wing sections without the resin inserts prior to attaching the upper and lower sections together. For those choosing the raised option, a set of struts are provided that should help things out in terms of rigidity.

There is a resin forward radiator that is eventually covered by a three part section. The exhaust are a single piece that can be installed once the kit is built and painted. Nicely done landing gear with single piece wheels are provided. The tail wheel is molded in with the tail gear. Both the small wedge forward of the tail wheel to prevent it from tangling the arresting cable and the mount into which the tail hook is inserted are small etched pieces. As much as I dislike them, this kit comes with four separate prop blades that one inserts into the spinner. No positive alignment is given for pitch so one needs to be careful in this regard. A single piece canopy tops all this.

Markings are provided for four aircraft. All of them are in silver lacquer with yellow training bands on the wings and fuselage. The box art plane also has 'Signal Orange' bits on the nose, tailplanes and wing tips. This plane is with the Maintenance Test Pilot's School in 1963 at the end of the aircraft's career. With a red spinner is a plane from 727 NAS based at Brawdy in 1957. Also with a red spinner is  plane with the Junior Officer's Air Course Flight 1957. This plane was used for carrier landing practice. Finally with a silver spinner is a ship's hack for the HMS Triumph in 1953/55. Decals are nicely done by Aviaprint so no issues in this regard.


Though a rather obscure trainer, it is one that very much belongs in any collection of either FAA or training aircraft. It will take a bit of work to get all that p.e. properly placed and so it is not a kit for the beginner. However, those used to working with tiny parts should have no issues and will end up with a very nice model for the efforts.




Thanks to me for getting this one on sale. 

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