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Manuel Magrinho
66 articles

Restoring an old Westland Lysander kit: Matchbox, 1973, 1:72.

December 10, 2020 · in Aviation · · 29 · 3.1K

has always been a plane that I really liked, mainly because of the mission mystique associated with the French resistance and in the transport of agents, which it played.
When a friend showed me an old from 1973 that was badly beaten and damaged, asking me if I was willing to repaint and restore it, I couldn't refuse.
The model was painted with enamel, so I dipped it in brake fluid and brushed and scrubbed it to remove the old paint. In the process, many pieces came off and one of the propeller blades broke.

After painting the interior and adding minor details (such as seat belts because the thickness of the clear parts did not justify much more) I proceeded with the assembly and applied a primer coat to check for possible defects. Some parts had to be rebuilt (there was no antenna or rear wheel) and it was necessary to introduce a small piece of metal to fix the broken propeller blade.

The painting scheme requested was the desert one, which I applied straightforward. To enhance the canvas cover of the wings and tail, I applied tape strips to the structure area and darkened around it with a layer of diluted Tamya Smoke. The effect corresponded to the intended one, although a little broad. Next time I'll make it a little thinner.

As I did not have all the necessary decals, some had to be masked and painted. Fortunately, this plane (according to the chosen reference photo) did not have any flight code or registration number.

The front of the engine cowling was painted with gun metal and then burnt metal was applied. The spinner was kept in semi-gloss dark red according to references.

Finally, some dust was applied to the landing gear, rear wheel and bottom of the plane, after which I applied a matt varnish.
Once dry, it was time to remove the tape from the windows and apply a little rinse aid in order to try to recover them a little and apply crystal clear in order to replicate the landing gear headlights and navigation lights.

The result, although not excellent, is satisfactory for a 1973 kit and in poor condition, and my friend liked it a lot.

I hope you like it too, cheers!


Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

29 responses

  1. That's a great restoration project! Ended up looking very good. I think I have this same kit, yet unbuilt...

  2. Excellent recondition of a beaten up model, Manuel!
    You gave the Lysander model a new life.
    And what a life! It looks absolutely superb!
    Best part of all is, for me, your friend's smile upon seeing his refurbished Lysander.
    Well done, my friend!

  3. This is really good challenging work. It takes a special kind of modeler to tackle restoration of an old kit and actually pull it off with such superb results. You've got to be brave, fearless and skilled. Thanks for the great photos.

  4. Pretty amazing save. Proof of "waste not/want not".

  5. Great job on this Manuel.

  6. You did a wonderful job here, Manuel.
    Just speechless how you brought this model back to life.
    You did it so well, you just don't notice that it is a rebuild.

  7. Great work Manuel.
    In addition to the fantastic restoration of the build, your painting and finishing is stupendous.

  8. Nice work. I have a few candidates for the rebuild treatment. Did the brake fluid harm the clear parts at all?

  9. Matchbox did a pretty good range of kits back in the 1970s and 1980s, and you've made a terrific job of restoring this one, it's better than new. Definitely liked.

  10. You did a great job of restoring this, well done. You may be interested to know that a colleague of mine who is due to retire this month used to work at the Lesney factory setting up the moulding machines in the 70's so probably was there when your kit was moulded ! small world eh ?

    • Hi Neil, thanks for your kind words. I surely built some Matchbox kits moulded in that time. Matchbox was my favourite brand in my teens, thanks for the info and for bringing such dear memories.
      Compliments to you and your friend

  11. Amazing restoration of an old classic Manuel - This plane should almost be renamed from 'Lysander' to 'Lazarus' 🙂

  12. Great job, Manuel. You gave this legendary model a new life.
    I have done some restauration and I know it means such a special experience.

  13. Beautiful restoration, it looks great!

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