Airfix Westland Lysander in 1/72

The Westland Lysander was designed in the 1930s as a multi-purpose aircraft that could perform duties ranging from army-air force liaison and artillery spotting to supply drops and ground attacks. Unfortunately, during the 1940 campaign in France the Lysander proved to be extremely vulnerable under actual combat conditions against the Luftwaffe.¹

The Lysander had one unique capability that turned out to be its saving grace for war-time service, however: the airplane could land and take off on extremely short, rough fields. And so it ultimately found its true niche and a measure of fame as a spy plane of sorts, sneaking agents into and out of Occupied France under difficult conditions.

Lysander box

The classic Airfix box art depicts just such an operation. The clandestine landing, pick-up and take-off behind enemy lines must all happen so quickly that the engine remains running while the agent uses the fixed side ladder to clamber aboard. In my diorama I have tried to recreate the atmosphere of this type of night-time foray into hostile territory.

¹“Lysander — By the Light of the Silvery Moon,” Royal Aviation Museum of Canada.

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