AEC Swift

London Transport

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This photograph shows the production version of this model

Photograph © S & D Models


 Manufacturer of model Britbus
 Scale 1:76
 Fleet number SMS 52
 Registration number AML 52H
 Route number 70
 Destination Greenwich Church
 Advertising -
 Release details
 Quantities (if known) 1416
 Date released 1/05
 Availability General release
 Comments -
 Current market price  
Click here for a higher resolution image

This photograph shows a pre-production sample of this model

Photograph © Britbus


Britbus AS02 – AEC Swift London Transport 

Review by Mark Smith

Possibly one of the most universally unloved buses of all time, the AEC Swift has now been immortalised by Britbus in 1/76 scale.  This red liveried version was a must-have for my collection, simply because I have been lucky enough to encounter the preserved example at the Cobham Bus Museum on a couple of occasions.  The London Swift made in interesting comparison with the Ipswich version, which is rather more familiar to me – I help look after Ipswich 82 at the Ipswich Transport Museum (and so I know what a job they are to keep roadworthy!).  Many of the ‘Londonised’ features of the Swift, such as the driver’s dash, AFC equipment and the distinctive LT body specification have been splendidly recreated on this excellent model.

LT/LCBS acquired 838 Swifts, with similarly styled Park Royal, MCW or Marshall bodies.  They were all equipped with AEC AH505 8.2 litre engines, four speed fully automatic gearboxes and power steering.  The majority were dual door buses, and many had automatic fare collection equipment fitted.  The Britbus model, depicts a central area Park Royal bodied ‘standee’ version, SMS 52, in original condition, on route 70.

First impressions are favourable.  The body shape is impeccable, with accurate colours.  The flake grey central band looks the perfect shade, and the red is nice and bright.  Separate mirrors, etched wipers and offside engine grille are nice touches, and separate lenses depict the head and fog lights.  The destination blinds are printed behind the blind box ‘glass’ with printed detail limited to the various signs, logos and external loudspeaker grilles on the window vents beside the doors.

Without recourse to drawings it is difficult to quantify the dimensional accuracy, but scaling the casting reveals a model that is certainly there or thereabouts.  One or two comments have suggested the model sits a bit high on it’s wheels, but I suggest that this is more to do with the prominent lifeguards under the body being missed off – there should be a separate horizontal member fixed on brackets running under the body between the front and rear wheel arches on both sides.  This omission is not immediately apparent, but rather surprising nevertheless.

Internally the basic interior is enlivened by an accurate rendition of the automatic fare collection equipment, complete with signs, turnstile and guard rail.  The model is easily disassembled for a grumpy 1970’s OMO driver to be inserted along with some suitably chastised passengers!

The wheels ‘pose’ and have passable representations of the AEC hubs and nut guard rings.  The rear hubs have a silvered centre cap and are similarly acceptable.

In conclusion then?  Well, superb.  The gripes are very minor – the front destination box looks slightly undersized, the lifeguards are missing and the PAYE transfers are very slightly inaccurate (the lettering should be centred).  I’m not sure the engine grille should be mesh, as slats were certainly the norm on provincial Swifts.  Photos of London Swifts in my possession are inconclusive on this last point and I may be wrong!  Nevertheless these points certainly do not detract from the effort Britbus have obviously put into getting this model right.

Overall, a first class effort, which looks the part and deserves many plaudits – the future potential for sub-types (SM, SMD etc) and liveries is quite varied, and the fact that the entire front panel including windscreen and front dash suggests such variations may not be far off.  A Maltese one would be very nice.  Mind you, however quickly you say £27.99, it is still a rather pricey model!

Review © Mark Smith February 2005


This page last updated Monday, 25 February 2013

© British Model Buses 2005