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 Air Lines #7903, 1/72 Westland Wallace

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pmmaker

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Location : Somers, Connecticut, USA

PostSubject: Air Lines #7903, 1/72 Westland Wallace   Tue Feb 21 2017, 13:03

A rather old kit back from the early 1960s produced by a long defunct company, the Air Lines Westland Wallace was an interesting throwback to the past.



I remember back to when I was growing up and I used to pick Air Lines kits up for a couple of dollars from a local store. One I had never built before was the kit of this unusual and little known aircraft.

History:
The Westland Wallace was a British two-seat, general-purpose biplane of the Royal Air Force, developed by Westland as a follow-on to their successful Wapiti. As the last of the inter-war general purpose biplanes, it was used by a number of front line and Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons. Although the pace of aeronautical development caused its rapid replacement in front line service, its useful life was extended into the Second World War with many being converted into target tugs and wireless trainers. In 1933 a Westland Wallace became the first aircraft to fly over Mount Everest, as part of the Houston Mount Everest Expedition.

The original PV-6 prototype, registered G-ACBR (and also known as the Houston-Wallace) along with Westland PV-3 G-ACAZ, was part of the Houston Everest Expedition, named after Lady Lucy Houston, the patron, in an attempt to fly over Mount Everest. Both aircraft received modifications that included fitting heating and oxygen equipment, fully enclosing the rear cockpits and using highly supercharged Bristol Pegasus IS 3 engines. The two aircraft became the first to fly over Mount Everest on April 3, 1933.



Most of the Wallaces built served with the Auxiliary Air Force with 501, 502, 503 and 504 squadrons beginning early in 1933. Others operated with the Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Flight at RAF Biggin Hill. The last Wallace was completed in October 1936.

When withdrawn from the general purpose role, many Wallaces were converted into target tugs. A total of 83 Wallaces remained in service at the beginning of the Second World War. The last were withdrawn in 1943.





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pmmaker

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PostSubject: Re: Air Lines #7903, 1/72 Westland Wallace   Tue Feb 21 2017, 13:03

The kit:

This very old kit was produced by a company called Air Lines.  Air Lines were connected to Frog - in fact, the name “Frog” is in the Air Lines logo.  This company’s models were distinguished by several “features” including separately molded control surfaces which could be glued in various positions.

Like many older 60s era kits, the plastic was a harder, silver colored styrene plastic and featured raised panel lines, rivets, and a semi-transparent clear canopy.  A rather robust, clear stand also comes with the kit – something I wish modern day manufacturers would get back into doing.  Crew figures (they aren’t great, but they work) are provided as well as markings for one plane, the Everest flight G-ACBR.  Unfortunately, 50 year old decals are well, 50 year old decals.  They were usable (meaning they came off the backing paper), but they were extremely yellowed.  As no “secondary” decal sheets are available for this plane, I used them as they were. I just cut as close as possible to the decal to reduce the yellowed clear overcoat and wherever possible, I touched up the color with acrylic paint.

The build was straight forward from the box with just a few additions (such as the exhaust piping).  The kit goes together really easily without any real problems or headaches.  Instructions were pretty good and included a picture of the entire plane and some limited explanations.  Coloring/painting directions were very basic (and left a bit of guess work) so the box illustrations were instrumental for painting the outer scheme.   Rigging was completed using 0.015mm music wire cut to length and glued in place.  Again, the box illustrations were a life saver here.

Overall, this was a fun build.  I had built several Air Lines kits in my early days of building back in the 1960s and this build was a blast back to the past.  Easy to build and fun to detail, this plane is a welcome (and unusual) addition to my growing biplane collection.

pmmaker

The completed build:











______________________________________________________
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad"
Alice: “I’m afraid so. . . you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. . . All the BEST people are.”
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Migrant

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PostSubject: Re: Air Lines #7903, 1/72 Westland Wallace   Thu May 11 2017, 10:27

For some reason the images took a long time to load on my computer, but they were worth the wait Very Happy Lovely little kit, and nice to see one built up. It's a shame about the yellowed decals. I've seen you post models in which you've created your own decals, was this built before you had that capability? Regardless, it's a very nice model and as always, enhanced by the rigging. Good stuff

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 Mike Grant | Calgary AB
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pmmaker

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PostSubject: Re: Air Lines #7903, 1/72 Westland Wallace   Fri May 12 2017, 05:36

Migrant wrote:
For some reason the images took a long time to load on my computer, but they were worth the wait Very Happy  Lovely little kit, and nice to see one built up. It's a shame about the yellowed decals. I've seen you post models in which you've created your own decals, was this built before you had that capability? Regardless, it's a very nice model and as always, enhanced by the rigging. Good stuff

Yes Mike, this one is the model that led me to think about alternatives to old "yellowed" kit supplied decals. I looked for alternatives on line, but seeing how this was such an old, "one of a kind" kit, after-market decals weren't available. Placing them in the sun did not work on these for some reason.

While building the kit, I tried to touch up the decals. I painted around the decals with silver. Knowing what I know now, I'd make new ones using my film. I may revisit this one someday and repaint it. Then I'd reapply decals I make on my own. Right now this model is safely displayed in my cabinet and I still enjoy it as it is.

Thank you for the kind words.

pmmaker

______________________________________________________
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad"
Alice: “I’m afraid so. . . you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. . . All the BEST people are.”
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