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Short Stirling Mk I

Scale: 1/72nd
Manufacturer: Italeri
Ref No: 1335
Material: IM, PE
UK Price: £41.50
UK Distributor: The Hobby Company Ltd

Short Stirling Mk I
Short Stirling Mk I Short Stirling Mk I Short Stirling Mk I Short Stirling Mk I
Kit Review
Having given us the less glamorous glider tug Mk IV (#1350) in mid-2014 Italeri have now done the standard Mk I bomber version. If you have done the Mk IV you will recognise the majority in essence, but the bulk of the parts are new in this version in one way or another. The four grey-coloured sprues contain over 100 parts and the surface detail remains the same type of engraved detail seen on the Mk IV; some of you will like it, other will feel it is too pronounced. The instructions are the photo-type that Italeri do nowadays, which are OK although they can be dark if your copy is a little over-inked in the printing process. When you start making up things like the fuselage you will see the various windows that have to be opened up, as they are flashed over to allow some level of flexibility in re-using the basic moulds. All the detail inside is similar to that seen in the Mk IV, so you have the etched seat belts and the instrument panel to go on top of the decal. All the crew stations are there, with the floor and running boards linking it from one end to the other. You still get the neat Elsan toilet and the etched mesh around the gyro-compass. The main difference here is the inclusion of front and upper turrets, which were not in the Mk IV. There are nicely moulded with structural details in etched included in the front one, and thankfully the style of turret used means that the 50/50 glass/metal nature of each lends itself perfectly to the breakdown of plastic in the kit. You do get a blanking plate for the mid-upper turret as well because the third and fourth decal options don’t have a turret installed. The bomb bay is full of 500lb GP bombs with the early style tails and each is mounted on a basic bomb carrier; we can see the etched boys having fun here! There is no option to close the bomb bay though, unless you want to line up all the separate doors, as the set of doors in the closed position seen in the Mk IV are not on the sprues in this version. The bomb cells in the inboard wing undersides are there, with separate bombs and doors, but again you will have to line up the separate doors if you want to pose these closed. The main and tailwheel undercarriage can be posed up or down, although we can’t see many opting for the former . The main wheels are nicely moulded and don’t have ‘weighted’ flats on them, which in this scale we think is fair enough (you decide how ‘flat’ you want them). The landing lights in the port wing leading edge is achieved in this version by cutting away the corresponding area in each wing half (it is recessed inside, so you can see it), then building up a new insert with separate clear lights and cover - very nice…, if it fits of course.  The engines remain unchanged, so are each bank of cylinders as separate parts and the front cowl support bars as etched components. The final details include the usual DF loop, aerial mast, pitot etc., as well as clear front and rear formation lights, which is excellent in this scale.
The kit offers six decal options as follows.
• N6086, LS•F, No.15 Squadron, RAF Wyton, 1941

• N6103, OJ•E, No.15 Squadron, RAF Wyton, 1941

• W7442, MG•M, No.7 Squadron, RAF Oakington, 1941

• N3637, MG•K, No.7 Sqn, RAF Oakington, 1941

 •N3705, MG•F, No.7 Squadron, RAF Wyton, 1942

All of these five options are in the standard RAF Dark Green/Dark Earth over Night scheme.
• N3705, ex-MG•F of No.7 Squadron after being rebuilt and test flown by the Luftwaffe after crash-landing near Gilze-Rijen on the 16th August 1942. This machine retained it upper Dark Earth and Dark Green camouflage, but the undersides were yellow. The nose of this aircraft was damaged and not repaired, instead it was stuffed with straw and covered with a canvas sheet strapped in place; this element will have to be built from scratch, as it is not included in the kit.

The decal sheet is nice, with a full set of known airframe stencils and all the unique markings for each option. There is one set of basic roundels and fin flash, along with the yellow-ringed one of N3705. The stencils and coloured rings for the bombs are also included.
A excellent kit that surpasses the ancient Airfix example at last, and although a little complex and having those etched parts in it, there is no reason that anyone of moderate skills should not be able to cope with it. Highly recommended to all.

NB. The quoted price is the highest we have seen it, although it is available cheaper and we got our example from Plastic Past-times in Poole who, at the time of writing, are offering it for only £34.99 inc P&P, so check out their eBay listings under the user ID polarbearkitcatcat.