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  1. Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths; Our bruised arms hung up for monuments; Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings, Our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Thread title not a reference to the cuddliest-looking Prime Minister of the last fifty years: Awww, look at him! Who wouldn't wait at the church for him? In any event, I've made all the usual New Year's Resolutions: be a better, more loving husband; tidy up more; put myself forward at work; etc etc. I also swore blind to myself that I'd (1) try and build new additions to the stash ASAP, and (2) try and build some of the big kits I've long been putting off: Nimrod, Vulcan, Valiant, and Victor. I used to have an Eduard Minicraft LIberator VI and two Hasegawa Lancasters, but I sold all of them off when I figured I wouldn't build them. (This is changing. If anyone has the markings for decal option B from the Eduard Liberator VI, KH283, or knows of a surplus sheet, please let me know.) However, with the dawning of the New Year, I noted that Sprue Brothers, in an act of munificence quite unusual for them (I buy from them when I want it fast, not so much cheap, generally) had the Airfix Battle of Britain Memorial Flight set for only three dollars (21/-) less than the straight-up Lancaster I/III boxing. Well, how could I pass that up? I didn't particularly want to build the aircraft in her current guise, opting instead to go aftermarket. I chose a sheet of Aeromaster (AKA Errormaster in some parishes) decals that had the following aircraft on it: Majestic, isn't it? More sharkmouths than any other aircraft that flew in the war, I daresay. Also, based on my (almost nonexistent, please recommend a cheapish book) knowledge of the Lancaster, it appears to be eminently do-able with the Airfix kit. I will still be hoping for lots of advice, solicited or otherwise, and I hope you won't be offended if I prove too stupid to follow it. However, let's see if we can find a photo of the aircraft in question now, instead of halfway through the build, as is my custom. Well well well: The udder that houses the H2S isn't shown on the decal sheet! Bashi-bazouks! Poltroons! Other than that, though, we appear to be solid. Okay, moving along. My workspace is a little tidier than it's been recently, though this doubtless won't last: I began with a sprayed coat of Tamiya fine surface primer, as I'll have to mask off the green bits to spray the black inside parts, and acrylics have a nasty habit of coming right up with the tape if there's nothing for them to cling to. As you all know. To reduce clutter on my bench, I've conjured up a slightly Heath-Robinson-esque side desk, the cunning plan being that it, vice my normal desk, will become filthy. It's a can't-miss proposition: Yes, I know my modelling grotto is a hole. Much of the rest of my house is fairly nice! At the present, here's where we are: So far it's just the interior green (the late lamented Pollyscale RAF Interior Green, and presently I'll mask it off and spray some flat black for the black bits. I'm hoping/trusting that Canadian Lancasters followed the same scheme of interior painting as their RAF counterparts. I've painted the firewalls visible in the landing gear bay interior green as well, but would they have been flat black/Night by the time KB772 saw service? Also, I note that much of the interior will not be seen, as the windows were all painted black. So I've wasted some irreplaceable paint, huzzah! Incidentally, I didn't realize that the wing spars had a front and back, and so solidly glued the for'ard spar backwards and had to break it off and bodge it back on. Happily this seems to have worked, and it now fits about as well as might be expected. My current feeling on the kit is that it's cleverly-engineered, but perhaps too cleverly. I would not have wept were it less complex. Dropped flaps, for instance...pfah! As mentioned elsewhere here, I had the delectable experience of having a filling fall out (or fall off, rather, as it was the side enamel that had worn away) on Monday, and had an emergency dental appointment today to rectify the situation. I have no fear of the dental arts, but what I experienced was horrible and involved three gag-inducing shots of novocaine and the hideous whirrrrrr of a drill as tiny fragments of my own teeth flew out of my pinioned-open mouth while the dentist and dental hygienist cheerfully discussed his jogging regimen. This was made all the worse because I run, and I felt like I had something to contribute. Mindful of preserving my tongue for future endeavours, I did not attempt to do so. (Many years ago, in the middle of a then-experimental laser surgery, six-year-old me was insufficiently anesthetized and awoke as two of the attendings were discussing the then-relatively exotic phenomenon of cable [banned in the household of Procopius Mater et Pater]. I weakly murmured "I love cable," and was rewarded with so much anesthetic that even after I came back out, I was literally seeing treble for hours after.) Here I am after my thrilling adventure. Note the horrible ceiling of my grotto. When we bought it, the entire house was ceiling-ed with paper tiles, which did not sit well with the beautiful but uncompromising Mrs. Procopius, and everywhere else, they have been replaced with a proper ceiling. Not in the grotto, though. My shirt has a sloth on it and the legend "live slow/die whenever", which is roughly my philosophy as I stumble into my thirties. So I suppose I should tell the story of why I've always wanted to build a Lancaster. Many years ago, and it feels strange to say that about this period in my life, as the mind for its own preservation tends to skip over the wasted and lost decade which followed, when I was in high school, I attended with a very intelligent and talented young woman with whom I am no longer on speaking terms. (Not uncommon, my associations, when they dissolve, tend to do so acrimoniously; I am not particularly likeable, and was even less so then.) Her grandparents were Polish displaced persons who had after the war gone first to the UK, where her mother had been born, and then to the United States. Her grandfather's first wife had been killed during the war, fusillé pour les allemands, as they say; his relationship with her grandmother, his second wife, was quarrelsome. Her grandmother had worked as a slave laborer for VW under armed guard until the end of the war. Neither of them had anyone else; their pre-war world had been obliterated by the great conflagration that defined their lives for sixty years afterwards. Even in the late 1990s, they always stockpiled food. I asked my friend to ask her grandmother, what, if anything, she felt about the RAF bombers that she heard passing overhead many nights, bombing German cities and industry and suffering terrible losses. I felt that her perspective as a slave laborer would be interesting to hear, as she too would have been a target, however inadvertent, for the bombs. Her response to her granddaughter was succinct: "They gave us hope." And I guess that's enough for me.
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