Airfix 1/72 Navy Lynx mk 8






Four aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Older kit with updated sprues


First flying over 25 years ago, the Westland Lynx is a British success story in terms of light lift helicopters. Developed for the British Army as a light troop carrier and anti-tank helo, its small size and performance was ideal for use on British warships. In place of the Army skids, wheels were added as was a folding tail section to allow for shipboard stowage.

Over the years the Lynx has been developed and that development continues today. Though certainly not unique to the British, many of the 'new' aircraft that are in service are actually rebuilds of older airframes. This is unlike the US where a whole new plane is built when a major modification is done to the airframe. Many of the Royal Navy Lynx helos are rebuilds and include the updated engines, rotor system and sensors of the Mk 8.


Upon opening the box, one is presented with an old friend and a new sprue. Interestingly, the old kit parts are in an unsealed bag while the new sprue is sealed! The new sprue includes a new rotor system, new sponsons, and new noses as well as a few more antennas and fuselage mounted sensors. The quality of the new sprue is about the same as the kit itself so should blend in well. No engraved panel lines on the new bits! :o)

From experience in building a couple of the older Lynx kits, I can tell you that it will go well with no real problems. A perfect kit it isn't, but it is also not beyond the realm of most modelers. One thing that is missing in both the older kit and the newer one is the screens over the engine intakes. Almost all photos I've seen of the Lynx have had these screens and they are even shown on the box art. Why Airfix didn't choose to add them for this update is beyond me as they are sorely needed. As an additional reminder when building this kit, the main gear were normally canted outward at about 45 degrees to keep the helo from rolling around on a pitching deck. They were 'straightened out' when the ground crew had to move it. The instructions don't show this toe out stance so you need to be aware that it was the norm.

Instructions are typical of Airfix kits giving good construction and color information. Again, all the color data is for Humbrol paints with only numbers showing and no other description of the colors. Once more, Airfix ignores the fact that there are places where Humbrol paints are not available. I'm sure I could complain until I'm blue in the mouth and nothing will happen regarding this color problem.

Markings are for four aircraft. Thanks to having the older kit in its entirety, one can do an older version of the Lynx with no trouble should that be the desire. There are two Royal Navy Lynxs, one the box art HMA.8 from 815 Sq circa 2000, the other an HAS.3 ICE, also from 815 Sq with red-orange bits on the nose, tail and doors. The ICE versions are special cold weather versions. These have been updated with the new main rotor system, but keep the original tail rotor. The third is a German Lynx 88 from MFG.3. In truth, one cannot actually build this version without a bit of work being done. The German and Norwegian Lynx do not have folding tail sections. As a result the tail section is a bit more built up than on the standard version. It should require little more than some plastic card and filler to do this, but you who are concerned about such things need to know this. The reference has some good drawings to help you on doing this. The final version is a Lynx 21A of the Brazilian Navy, and probably the most colorful. Airfix's decals are typical; a bit soft on detail, but ones that work well.  


If your penchant is for helicopters, then this will make a great addition to your helo collection. It has lots of optional bits that will help when doing just about any Navy version. Because of the number of fiddly bits, a beginner may not like it, but the rest of us will be quite happy with the results.


Scale Aircraft Modeling, October 2002.

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