1/144 Armstrong Whitworth AW.27

Ensign I  

by Alex Bigey

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From the Welsh Models Vacuformed kit

The Armstrong Whitworth AW.27 seems a homothetic enlargement of the former AW.15 Atalanta with some technological refinements like a retractable undercarriage or variable pitch props. Such a large and advanced aircraft suffered reliability problems when into regular passenger service with Imperial Airways in 1938, causing delays, cancellations, and anger.

Here is an interesting link for historical data and specifications, with some pics of the real aircraft.

My Welsh Models vac kit provided white metal parts for landing gear, engines, cowlings, props, and goniometric antenna. Other details such as exhaust pipes, pressure probe, aerial mast, and rudder counterweight, had to be scratchbuilt.

Decals were also provided for three early Imperial Airways aircraft: Ensign, Ettrick, Elsinore.

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For the engines and cowling, I prefered to use those from the Airfix Boeing 314 I have, which necessitated less painful rework. Engines #2 & 3 have only one exhaust pipe at their inner side, which can be seen on the few pictures available on the web (my only reference material in addition to the kit's instructions). I also reworked the cockpit area using clear sheet plastic for more realism, although the passenger windows were drilled and filed with Micro Kristal Klear.

The painting process couldn't be more straightforward with a coat of Tamiya Spray TS-30 (Silver Leaf). The problem with silver paint, is that the decals are easily...silvering...! So I spent an entire day cutting each single letter the tightest possible, and applied them one by one! I used thin strips of masking tape as guides to get straight lines. The decals were of great quality and I put a drop of dishwashing liquid in my water in order to keep them sliding during application. The day after, I coated twice the entire model with handbrushed Future floor polish, except cowlings, ailerons, elevators and exit hatches, to get a bit of contrast in shades.

For main landing gear detail and aerials, the devoted girlfriend provided hairs.

If you like this model, you may see more of my building at: http://www.freewebs.com/aeroscale

Cheers!

Alex 

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Photos and text by Alex Bigey