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Just another Airfix Lancaster?


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After posting the Wasp last weekend, I was cleaning the display cabinet and thought why not finally post this one too?  It dates back from 2015/6 and was originally going to go up on 'that other place' but frankly I couldn't be bothered with the nit-picking.

Like many, one of my modelling themes is making all the kits that I had as a youth and that are now in landfill. One of those was the original, 1958, Airfix Lancaster, made by my father and finished in virgin black plastic. This model framed my appreciation of Lancasters for years and led me to thinking that all the ones in museums etc had weird-shaped radiator intakes... To make the build even more fun, I decided to have my own pop at the 'it's 2mm too short, it's unbuildable' brigade and to make it as accurate as I could but only using materials that would have been available back when the kit was released. So no aftermarket. 🤣  As an extra challenge I decided to only use references that would have been possibly available in the 1970s too. So I pretended that I had not seen the restoration details at the Australian War Memorial.

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So, moving on a bit... cockpit detailed with ribs, floor, seat, radios etc. As far as possible, original material was retained and enhanced... there wasn't much to retain here though.

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Let's not have a debate about handrail colours...

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All closed up and time to think about some wings and things.

Well, the wings are the wrong shape and length at the tips so they needed modifying. While I was at it, intakes and cable cutters were added. The vertical tail surfaces are so out that it is far easier to just make some new ones out of plasticard. Oh yes, and the general inevitable rubbing down of all those lovely rivets.

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Here we have the radiator intakes... Oh gawd. Now here I'd like to give a big thank you to the staff at the RAF Museum who early one Friday morning allowed me to get inside the ropes around S-Sugar (no touching) and take lots of lovely photos of the undercarriage bays, radiators etc. Sadly I neglected to photograph the building of those.

So, out with the razor saw and then build a new, squarer, opening that matches the real thing. Behind that it needed a representation of the radiator, achieved by heating up an old file and pressing it into plasticard: it worked really well. Once the new opening fitted, latex mould made and copied four times. Unfortunately it's a bit, well, a lot, out of focus, but you get the idea. Eight intakes for the sides also fabricated the same way.

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I wish that I had taken some more photos now, but also manufactured were, eight sets of exhausts and the shrouds to go over them (the original engines just have a solid half cylinder), the undercarriage bays and legs and a new tail wheel and fork.

Also out of focus the radiator exit louvres made out of Guinness can and also the lumpy fairings on the underside

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Now we get to the bit where I cheated. But, it's my game so I made up the rules. For those that remember, the mid upper turret looks like something the Victorians grew aspidistras in. It is just horrid. Also, the rear turret that came with the kit was short-shot and the front cracked. Well, spares might just be hard to order and I wasn't' going to buy another kit. So I decided that it was in fact the very early 80's and the second Airfix Lancaster had just been released and that the kind people at Haldane Place had sent me some from that kit. In reality, I robbed the Grand Slam version in the loft... I suppose I could have moulded some, but it was easier to get ones that would end up in the spares box anyway.

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Front turret inners. Original 'elephant guns' retained but whittled to something more like Browning .303s.

And finally:

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Decals from the 2005 issue with the correct markings. The originals were way, way beyond use, so there was a good excuse.

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The props are modified too, blades removed, spinners carved and a new hub made to attach the blades more realistically.

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At some point I must get around to moulding a shallow bomb aimer's blister for it.

Aren't close ups cruel, they show all the inaccuracies.

 

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Y'see HC,all these "Luftwaffe" types think I'm all Spiffires/Seafires and not much else when it comes to Merlin

powered machinery,they're slightly wrong,I'm a big fan of the Avro Lancaster too.

I last did "G for George" in the 1970's(it ended up with Spadegrip),then came Mike Squared,Admiral Chattanooga and the latest,Groggs the Shot,80% done as Uncle Joe Again(RF141).

Mike Squared and the Admiral are now part of the pub ceiling airforce,UJA resides in a shoebox all wrapped up in tissue paper awaiting the day when I finish him.

"Sugar" has been rebuilt at least once,so there's not a great deal of the original R5868 left really.

Nice work on the rads and carb intakes,I could have sent you a full set of needles(early B.1 propellers) if you'd have mentioned it,

I know I have a short nose blister(pre-Z/Village Inn fit)and matching pitot in the spares,yours if you want 'em.

Any wartime Lanc build is to be revered,remember the 55,000:poppy:,our freedom cost them theirs.

Edited by Miggers
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30 minutes ago, Miggers said:

Any wartime Lanc build is to be revered,remember the 55,000:poppy:,our freedom cost them theirs.

@Miggers, indeed sir, indeed.

@Huntsman’s Close, what a unique and cool challenge, my hat is off to you sir.  I think it's a great build showing off some great skills to get it to this level.

I've always wanted to build a Lanc (and a Halifax, etc.) but you could put what I know about them on the head of a pin*. I think I only have one reference on them (The SAMI Pubs Modeler's Guide if memory serves.) I'm assuming the latest/most recent Airfix release is the best/most accurate kit going?

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7 minutes ago, dixieflyer said:

 

I've always wanted to build a Lanc (and a Halifax, etc.) but you could put what I know about them on the head of a pin*. I think I only have one reference on them (The SAMI Pubs Modeler's Guide if memory serves.) I'm assuming the latest/most recent Airfix release is the best/most accurate kit going?

Yes, the latest Airfix Lancaster is probably the best but there is a lot of angst from the ‘never to be criticised’ about the heavy panel lines. To my mind, that’s what filler was made for.

For a Halifax III the latest Revell kit, but for a II or I the Revell has horrendous engines and props. The Aeroclub correction was best but now very expensive if you can ever find one.

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Wow! That's a fantastic result from a pretty basic start and I always like to see proper scratch-building.

 

10 hours ago, skwonk said:

the Stirling as a kid and still remains my fave 4 engine.

And mine.

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13 hours ago, Huntsman’s Close said:

Yes, the latest Airfix Lancaster is probably the best but there is a lot of angst from the ‘never to be criticised’ about the heavy panel lines. To my mind, that’s what filler was made for.

For a Halifax III the latest Revell kit, but for a II or I the Revell has horrendous engines and props. The Aeroclub correction was best but now very expensive if you can ever find one.

The Revell is pretty nice too,but you'll need to change the wheels and gun barrels.

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On 30/04/2022 at 19:52, dixieflyer said:

I've always wanted to build a Lanc (and a Halifax, etc.) but you could put what I know about them on the head of a pin*. I think I only have one reference on them (The SAMI Pubs Modeler's Guide if memory serves.)

Anything you want to know Warren just start another thread or a PM,between Spadegrip(my cousin)and I,

I don't think there's much we don't know.

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Nice build.

I got you beat, I just revived a build of a CF-18 I started in 1999. In the time since, I served in two Hornet squadrons, a third child was born, I returned to school for five years, obtained a secondary degree, retired from the RCAF, started a new career.

I also completed a lot of models over the years, this one was neglected.

Looking at pictures over the years, I spot this kit in various photos of my model room, in the background as I am framing and developing a new basement model room, it travelled with me those 23 plus years.

I’m determined to finish it. I recall putting my two infant daughters inside the airframe with a paint pen, our sons name is missing as he wasn’t a sparkle in my eye yet.😀

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