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Westland Whirlwind


Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Kit No. 463
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Low-pressure injection plastic - 32 grey styrene and one clear parts for canopy. 57 parts in pale cream-colored resin (Note: there is an unexplained fifth cannon.). Four pieces in white metal. Etched metal (Which includes 12 pieces for the Sutton harness!).  Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide for 2 aircraft.
Price: USD$50.00
Review Type: QuickLook
Advantages: All the parts necessary to do either the fighter or “Whirlibomber” version.
Disadvantages: Some small resin parts damaged in transit.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for moderate to experienced modelers.


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Westland Whirlwind may be ordered online from Squadron.com


Deja Vu All Over Again...


This is a bit more than an in box review. It is a remembrance of things past and a marking of time. 

In September of 1992, Scale Aircraft Modeling had an Aircraft in Detail article by Alan Hall on the Westland Whirlwind and Welkin.  It was love at first sight.  That little bit of a fuselage between those massive twin engines and four 20mm.cannon in the nose; that little baby meant business. I wanted a model of that aircraft, even knowing its history of destined for failure.  The Peregrine (not Merlin) engines made it slow and ineffective for combat other than as a low level fighter.  Its range made it ineffective as a an escort fighter.

Finally, although the four cannon packed a punch, it was limited to about 10 seconds of actual combat time.  As a result only 114 Whirlwinds were built and only two squadrons were equipped, No. 263 and No.137, Finally the Whirlwind was relegated to a low level fighter-bomber role until it went out of service in December, 1943. 



Not long after that article appeared, rumors began to circulate of a vac-form release from Cooper Details. I followed those rumors until the Spring of 1994, when rumors became reality.  I had to have one, even at the price of $43.95 (“gulp”).  It was absolutely beautiful, a magnificent combination of resin, white metal, etched metal and vac-form plastic (thank you Roy).  I did it as a “Whirlibomber” in Dark Green and Grays with the White and Black marking that I had seen in the SAM article (more about this later). 

I always wanted to do another one in Dark Green and Dark Earth, but for some reason I never got my act together to get another Cooper kit and I missed out on what appeared to be the quickly sold out Classic Airframes release in 1999. At the time, it was said that resin in the CA kit owed its heritage to Cooper Details.  Since then, there has always been a blank spot in my collection for an early Whirlwind.

Well, that blank spot can now be filled with Classic Airframes’ re-release of the Whirlwind kit.

As far as I know, it is the same kit with three changes, and these for the better!  The new kit has bombs included and a very clear injection molded canopy. While molded in a single piece, it should be easily cut apart with a bit of care.  The other change is the etched metal is now steel instead of brass. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


One of the advantages of a re-release is that you do not have to wait for a build article.  With a mere click of your mouse, turn the clock back to January 1999, and follow that “novice” Brett Green through his construction and painting of this fine kit in his Feature Article.



Marking Options


The kit has a nice set of decals from Microscale for two different aircraft.:

HE*V / P6969 of No. 263 Squadron

Dark Green, Dark Earth and Sky underside (click the thumbnail at right to view larger image). 

The eye catching making here is the fin flash which runs the full height of the tail fin.  There is some debate as to the color of the fuselage band and spinners.  The color guide calls for them to be painted in Sky.  The picture and some articles indicate that they were a lighter color, such as a Sky Blue.  A modeling decision.

There is also the possibility that this aircraft had a black port wing, but not nacelle underside, in December, 1940. 

For modelers who want to do something different, the first Whilrwinds had the top-side camouflage wrap around the bottom of the fuselage and nacelles.  There are profiles of Whirlwind P6967 with this style, but it did not have any squadron codes.  The spinners were in Dark Earth, and the fin flash was the full height, as in the kit.  The roundels were also the same as in the kit.  It most likely had the black port and white starboard under-wing.


HE*Z / P6874, also of 263 Squadron

Dark Green, Ocean Gray and Medium Sea Gray underside (click the thumbnail at right to view larger image). 

This aircraft carries very distinctive special marking.  The entire nose is white and the outer wing undersides are black with two broad white stripes circling the outer wing. 

Now for the debate.  According to the instructions and the September, 1992 issue of SAM, these markings were used to identify aircraft used in raids on Dieppe in August of 1942.  But according to Ian Hartup, in a  Summer, 1999 (exact issue date unknown) issue of Aircraft Modeller International, these markings were used in an Army co-operation exercise called “Operation Spartan”.  Also, Ian shows that the entire undersurface of the wings (including the center fuselage portion, but not the nacelle undersides) was painted black. 

Regardless of the historical reference for this scheme, to quote Ian, “Cor, sexy”.






I, for one, am very glad that Jules from Classic Airframes decided to re-release this kit.  Even though the aircraft itself was but a mere footnote to the air war in Europe, it is a great addition to any WWII aircraft model collection. 

There is no question that, like other CA kits, this one is less than “perfect” and will take a little work to construct (I understand the wing and nacelle fit require close attention), but then again no mainstream model company would produce the aircraft that Classic Airframes has chosen to issue. 

Sometimes the greatest satisfaction can be had from the hard work needed to flesh out those footnotes to history.













Review sample provided courtesy of Classic Airframes

Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright © 2003 by Steven Eisenman
Page Created 30 June, 2003
Last updated 09 November, 2003

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