Contrail kits

Blackburn Kangaroo


A small number of Kangaroos saw service towards the end of WW1. They sank one U-boat and damaged four others. After the war, some were converted for civillian use.


The kit is one of Contrail's later and better productions that included white metal parts. A version with floats is also available as a separate kit.

Vickers Vimy Commercial


The Vimy Commercial can be claimed to be the world's first commercial airliner. 


The kit consists of a vacformed fuselage and engine from which one can build the Vimy Commercial or the Vernon.  Other parts need to come from the FROG Vimy or the Maquette version. The Maquette version includes the Instone Airlines decals. 

SARO London


The London entered RAF service in 1936. Some were still flying in the early years of the war. It was one of the last of the flying boats of the biplane era.


The kit is relatively crude but there is no other available. It is worth the effort to build.

Supermarine Stranraer


The Stranraer is one of Contrail's early kits, and it shows. It was the only model of the type available in 1/72, or any scale, until Matchbox produced their excellent kit. The Contrai kit can often be bought for quite modest prices.

Blackburn Iris


This aircraft dates from the mid-1920s. Only five were built, but it served with RAF squadrons until 1934.


The kit is fairly basic with heavy sack-like moulding on the wings to represent fabric. It is, however, fairly straightforward to build with as usual, only the struts to cause difficulties. Decals have to be sourced from elsewhere.

Blackburn Perth


The Perth was a development of the Iris and indeed, shares many of its parts. The flight deck was enclosed. It was the largest flying boat ever to have served with the RAF, though pnly four went into service.


The kit is similar to the Iris in most respects.

Supermarine Scapa


Only 15 Scapas were built. The prototype was designed by R.J. Mitchell and first flown in 1932 by 'Mutt' Summers (test pilot of the Spitfire). It served between 1935 and 1939.


Although much smaller than the three engined flying boats, it can be made into an attractive model.

Supermarine Southampton


The Southampton was developed from a civil flying boat named the Swan. It was another of R.J.Mitchell's designs. It entered RAF service in 1925. A total of 85 were built.


The kit is as basic as the others, this one even lacking in rib detail. It has to be applied using stretched sprue. The scale may also be suspect in that it is not quite to 1/72. An article by Hugh Markham in Scale Models Magazine September 1975 shows how to build one.


Short Rangoon


Models by Paul Murphy

Short Calcutta


The model uses the 'spare' fuselage, engine pods and central part of the upper wings from the Contrail kit. All other parts were scratch built.

Model by Jim Lund
Model by Jim Lund

Short Mayo Composite 


This combination of aircraft first flew in 1937. The Maia provided the launch aircraft for the Mercury passenger aircraft. The first crossing of the Atlantic by the Mercury was in 1938.



Scratch built Mercury, mainly from balsa wood.
Scratch built Mercury, mainly from balsa wood.
Model by Jim Lund
Model by Jim Lund




Handley Page HP42 

The four photos below show the model built by the web author. 

Fairey 111


This was an extremely successful various design that first flew in 1917 and was still in service in 1940. There were many variants of the type from the IIIA to the IIIF.


The kit provides options and enough parts to make three complete models, both with floats and wheels as well as other differences. It is an aircraft that has been completely ignored by all the main injection kit makers.

Boulton Paul Overstrand


The Overstand was the last of the bi-plane medium bombers. It entered service in 1936. It was the first to have a power operated turret.


A Sidestand, the earlier version, can also be built from the kit. A version was also produced by Esoteric that included white metal parts.

Blackburn Baffin


The Baffin was developed from the earlier Ripon, the main difference being the Pegasus radial engine. It served as a torpedo bomber between 1934 and 1936.


The kit has enough parts to make both the Ripon and Baffin and who can resist building both?

Blackburn Ripon


The Ripon served with the FAA between 1930 and 1935 when it was replaced by the Baffin. Some Ripons were convered by giving them the Pegasus radial engine.


The kit allows both the Ripon and Baffin to be built. There is nothing new in 'buy one, get one free'.

Hawker Horsley


The Horsley served between 1926 and 1935. It was the last all wooden Hawker aircraft. The Dantorp was a naval version for the Danish navy with floats and a radial engine.


The kit is fairly crude with indented lines to show wing ribs. Stretched sprue needs to be added to make them stand up slightly. There are some black injection moulded parts that are crude but just about usable. 

Blackburn Blackburn


The Blackburn used wings from the Dart but with a redesigned fuselage. It entered FAA service in 1923. It is possibly one of the ugliest aircraft ever to take off from an aircraft carrier, against some stiff competition for that title.


Wing ribs have to be added from stretched sprue or whatever other method you prefer. There are some black plastic injection pieces that are barely possible to use.

Vickers Vildebeest


The Vildebeest first flew in 1928. It served in the Middle East durg the 1930s. It remained in service, even flying against Japanese forces in 1942. A version with an inline engine was built in Spain by CASA.


The kit provides parts to build either the Vildebeest or the Vickers Vincent.


Vickers Vincent


The Vincent was developed from the Vildebeest in 1931. It carried an under-belly fuel tank but otherwise, looked the same as a Vildebeest. The model shows the aircraft in New Zealand markings.


The Vincent can be built as an option in the Vildebeest/Vincent kit.

Handley Page Harrow


The Harrow first flew in 1936. It quickly entered RAF service as a heavy bomber. It was replaced as a bomber by 1939 but carried on into WW2 in other roles.


The kit is fairly straightforward to build with no complications of struts apart from the undercarriage supports.



Handley Page Heyford


The Heyford was the last bi-plane heavy bomber. It served between 1933 and 1937.


The kit is fairly basic and of course, the Matchbox/Revell injection kit was subsequently produced against which the Contrail kit is no competition for detail and accuracy.

Douglas B-7/ O-35


This was the first bomber monoplane that served with the USAAC.  It was faster than some fighter aircraft of its time.


The kit is a standard Contrail product that needs a bit of effort to look decent.

Consolidated P2Y Ranger


Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

SARO Lerwick


Blackburn Botha


The Botha entered service in 1939 but was not as effective as the Beaufort so was withdrawn from front line service. It was used for convoy dutie and anti-submarine patrols.


Later versions of the kit included some metal parts. There is no surface detail so this has to be scribed.



Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle


The Albemarle was designed as a bomber, but was mainly used as a general transport and glider tug. The model shows it with D-Day markings. It was also used for the Operation Market Garden assault.


The kit is standard Contrail in its lack of detail. The glazing areas are especially difficult to get right.



General Aircraft Hamilcar

WACO C.G. 13a


A larger glider than the C.G. 4, it was used operationally in the Pacific theatre of war, but not in Europe.

Miles Monitor


Designed as a target tug near the end of WW2, only 10 were ever built. 

Bristol Buckingham (kit also issued by Sanger)


The Buckingham waas desiged as a medium bomber, but was not successful in that role or indeed, in any role. Some were used as high speed courier aircraft.


The kit (from Sanger) comes with some cast metal parts. The Contrail mouldungs are, as ever, fairly crude and need some work to tidy them up.

Westland Welkin


The Welkin as intended as a high altitude interceptor. Only 77 were built. By the time it was built, there was nothing to intercept.


The kit is as basic as a vacform can possibly be. There are no metal or injection parts and the surface detail is non-existent.

Supermarine Scimitar


The Scimitar was a front line RN aircraft between 1958 and 1969. Just over half were destroyed in accidents.


The kit is fairly straightforward to build, provided the parts are cleaned up and scribed.



The ill-fated history of the TSR2 is well known. An example of the type can be seen at the Cosfrod aircraft museum.


The kit was the only one available of the type for many years so it could command high prices. Then Airfix produced their injection kit at a reasonable price. The result, as is often the case, is that unbuilt vacform kits suddenly lost their value.

AVRO Lincoln


The Lincoln was the last RAF piston engined heavy bomber. It's development from the Lancaster are clear to see.


The Contrail kit provides all the large basic parts one needs. The rest must be scratch built or parts taken frm spares. But apart from converting a Lancaster using aftermarket parts or scratch building, there is no other choice. 



Vickers Valiant


The Valiant was the first of the three V-bombers. It went out of service in 1965.


The kit has fairly deep panel lines that detrat from its appearance. The kit did provide injection parts for the undercarriage. The Contrail kit has suffered the same fate as the TSR2 in that it could command high prices until Airfix produced a top of the range injection kit.

Latecoere 631


This is one of the most sought after Contrail kits but beware - it is big!  The colour scheme was designed for the aircraft but was never used.