Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Airfix Britten-Norman Islander

To the best of my recollection the Airfix 1/72 scale B.N. 2 Islander is the last model airplane kit I built before I moved from our first Lancaster home on East Avenue J-5, to a new mobile home on 20th Street East. I remember picking it out from the shelf at Peterson Hobbies and my Dad saying, "Looks like an Aero Commander." That made me want to get it because I liked the Aero Commander. I would see the Rockwell company Commander fly over our house every now and then, and my Dad had great stories of being shuttled around in it during trips between Downey and Palmdale. I would have bought a model of the Commander if there were one available at the time. Comet's little Aero Commander 680 kit along with Aurora's reissue were long since out of production by the time I started building models; and I had no knowledge they even existed until years later when I started trolling through kit auctions on EBay. Nevertheless, Airfix's Islander was the next best thing, and I liked it. I still do.
The kit is molded in bright yellow, so overall painting is not necessary unless you want the model to look more like the real orangish-yellow of Aurigny's old paint scheme. Once the thing is all put together and the decals applied though, the original yellow doesn't look all that bad. Some dark red needs to be applied though on the tops of the engine nacelles, along with flat black de-icer boots. I painted the seats blue as per the instructions, but went a step further and painted the control panel and dash board flat black. Airfix instructions can be rather lacking in painting suggestions.
Build-wise the model is very detailed and accurate in scale, but suffers from poor fit, especially the fuselage halves and wing mount. Airfix decals over thirty years old can be hit or miss as far as usefulness, but the ones of this Islander rebuild were acceptable.
This is a fun little model to have again on the shelf, and reminds me of a time where I transitioned not only to a new home, but to mostly 1/72 scale aircraft.

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