Percival Pembroke C.1 by Special Hobby

1/72 scale
Cost: $34.00
Kit No. SH72105
Decals: Three versions, two with No. 60 Squadron, Royal Air Force; one for Levant Communications, by Aviprint
Comments: Engraved panel lines, detailed cockpit and cabin interior, resin detail parts for interior, PE parts for exterior


The prototype Percival Pembroke took its maiden flight on November 21, 1952 and entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1953. The design which replaced the venerable Avro Anson in the light transport and communications role was based on the Percivial Prince, but had a larger wing for improved load capacity, and was featured at the 1953 Farnborough Air Show. Rearward facing seats for the passengers were fitted for safety in common with other RAF transport aircraft. In addtion to standard transport duties, the Pembroke could be fitted with dual controls, to serve as a pilot trainer, or could be converted to a flying classroom for training navigators or air signallers. In 1956, six photographic reconnaissance aircraft were fitted with air survey cameras and were used by No.81 Squadron in Malaya during the final years of the guerilla insurgency there. These were designated C (PR) MK. I.

The use of the Percival Pembroke as a Cold War surveillance aircraft was highly classified until the late 1990’s. Pembrokes of No. 60 Squadron RAF often flew along the air corridors between West Germany and Berlin, established during the 1948-49 Berlin Blockade during which the West mounted a massive year-long airlift of supplies to the beleaguered city. While they were widely used as transport aircraft by the RAF, their true function along that particular route was known only to a few within military and intelligence circles.

These aircraft were employed for Operation Hallmark, a sensitive intelligence operation in which the Pembrokes were fitted with high-powered reconnaisance cameras to acquire imagery of Soviet and East German military installations and airfields below the tightly controlled air corridors. Subsequently analyzed by photo intelligence and imagery experts, who recorded any changes in the Warsaw Pact forces facing the West. Alterations in the order of battle, appearance of new equipment and movement of military units were all items of great interest. At the time of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, it was Percival Pembrokes that provided Western analysts with some of the first indications as to where the Soviet ground forces had come from.

The last of 45 Percivial Pembrokes produced for the RAF was delivered in February 1958. The Pembroke proceeded to serve in various transport, training and intelligence capacities for the next 30 years. Pembrokes were modified to extend their service life in 1970. While the type was reportedly decommissioned in 1988, there are some accounts of its continued use, at least in the intelligence role along the Berlin corridor until the very end of the Cold War in 1990. At least one aircraft is still airworthy and is based at Duxford in the United Kingdom, where it continues to be used for air-to-air filming and photography.

In addition, to Britain’s RAF, Pembrokes were flown by Belgium, Germany, Kuwait, Sweden and Bahrain in the communications role.

A small fret of photo-etched brass provides detail parts for the landing gear and other components.


Powerplant: 2 x Alvis Leonides 127 radial engines of 540 hp each
Max Speed: 186 mph – 300 km/h
Dimensions: Wing Span: 64.5 ft – 19.66m
Length: 46 ft – 14.02m
Height: 16 ft – 4.90m
Service ceiling: 22,000 ft – 6700 m
Weight (Empty): Empty 9,691 lbs – 4,400 kg
Weight (Max Takeoff): 13,489 lbs – 6,124 kg
Range: 1,012 nmiles – 1850 km

The kit includes 28 resin detail parts for the cockpit and exterior. There are two clear plastic options for the nose to facilitate depiction of cameras.

The Kit

The Percival Pembroke is molded in dark grey and consists of 153 injection molded plastic parts, 28 resin parts and a small photo-etch fret contained in the same separate clear plastic bag containing the decals. There is an option for a solid or a clear Plexiglas nose, although the instructions tell the modeler to disregard the latter. In the cockpit, there are individual armrests for the aircrew seats, resin rudder pedals, control yokes and control console, and an instrument panel with raised details. The cabin contains six detailed seats of five parts each, and features fore and aft bulkheads, which have both raised and engraved detail. Each wing consists of four parts, with separate halves for the top and bottom wingtips, and there is an option to remove a small corner of each wingtip for clear plastic lights. There are photo-etch parts for detailing the landing gear and exterior aircraft surfaces, forming antennas and aileron detail parts.

Special Hobby instructions

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