Avro 504K by MPC

1/72 scale
Cost:  $9.00
Decals: One version
Comments: Old mold; simple model of WWI British trainer


A development of A.V. Roe’s Series 500 racing aircraft, the Avro 504 was designed in 1913 and went into service with the Royal Flying Corps the following year.  It was destined to become probably the greatest trainer of all time and was the type chosen to develop the system of flight training which remains much the same today.

Intended from the beginning to be a training machine, the 504 was used in action in 1914, when some of the first aircraft were used as bombers and used in a raid on Friedrichshaven, and again in 1918 when 276 504K’s were converted to single-seaters and fitted with a machine gun for use in home defense against the Zeppelins and Gotha bombers.

The first 504 of 1914 was developed progressively until the Model J was produced in 1917, this was selected as the standard trainer but when supplies of its Monosoupape engines ran out, a modified version was produced capable of accepting any of the rotary engines which were available — this became the famous 504K.  It was produced in 1918 in Britain and Canada and subsequently in Australia, Japan, China and Russia.

After the Armistice the 504 remained in R.A.F. service but many of the 8,304 built during the war were sold as surplus, and until 1929 it was the most common civil aircraft in the country, some 276 examples flying in a variety of roles, which included  “joy-riding” and towing advertising banners.  Its reliability and economy, together with the ability to land and take off from a small field, were reasons for its great popularity.

The last Avro 504, an S variant, was produced in 1931, although during the Second World War a few 504 N’s remained operational with the Greek Air Force, making for a service life of at least 17 years — perhaps the longest of any World War I aircraft.  The Avro 504 was powered by a variety of engines, a typical one being the 110 h.p. Le Rhone rotary which gave a maximum speed of 95 m.p.h. and endurance of 3 hours.  Wing span was 36 feet, and length 29 ft. 5 in.

The decals included with the kit will likely need replacing, due to the sheer age of the kit and the garish nature of the “customized” decals, a feature of MPC kits of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Fortunately, appropriate decals sheets are available from Blue Rider and Xtradecal.

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