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Mike

AVRO Shackleton MR.3 (03873) 1:72

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AVRO Shackleton MR.3 (03873)

1:72 Revell

 

boxtop.jpg

 

The Avro Shackleton was a long-range maritime patrol, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft developed by Avro from the Lincoln (with a few elements borrowed from the Tudor), which in turn was developed from the wartime Lancaster bomber. Powered by four Rolls Royce Griffon engines driving contra-rotating propellers, the Shackleton possessed far greater range than its forebears, enabling it to stay airborne for over 14 hours, despite its higher gross weight. In the Maritime Reconnaissance role it began life as a tail-dragger that bore more of a resemblance to the old Lanc, which morphed from versions 1 to 2 with a longer nose and relocated radome, into the MR.3 that added a nose-wheel that brought it more in-line with the tricycle undercarriage sported by the rest of the fleet as it modernised.  The MR.3 was further modified with additional equipment inside both to improve its abilities and enhance crew comfort (a little) on those long sorties, which were further extended by the fitting of wingtip fuel tanks.  The twin 20mm cannon in the nose and the complement of stores in the bomb bay were key, and the Phase 3 had two viper turbojet engines added to the rear of the outboard nacelles to improve take-off performance when heavily loaded.

 

 

The Kit

Revell's new tool in 2016 was eagerly awaited by many, as modellers had waited over 40 years for a new kit of the Old Grey Lady, with the AEW.2 the first out of the gate.  Now we have an MR.3 with changed parts to depict this quite different version of the much-loved Shack.  Inside the large end-opening box are 209 parts spread over twelve sprues in grey styrene, two of clear parts, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour painting guide to the rear.  The mouldings look excellent, with fine, engraved panel lines, recessed rivets and plenty of crisply rendered detail. A great deal of effort has gone into the tooling of this kit.

 

sprue1.jpg

 

sprue2.jpg

 

sprue3.jpg

 

sprue4.jpg

 

sprue5.jpg

 

clear.jpg

 

 

detail-ip.jpg

 

As usual, construction starts with the cockpit. Whilst it doesn't feature a full interior, Revell have done a good job of representing the inside of the Shackleton. The cockpit itself features nicely detailed seats with separately moulded armrests, decal seatbelts, and control yokes, while the detail on parts such as the instrument panel is exquisite as you can see from the detail photo above. The rear crew stations aft of the bomb bay are also nicely represented. Crew seats are moulded separately and there is plenty of moulded-in detail. You can even finish the model with the rear door open in order to show off a little more of the inside. The fuselage itself is broken down into front and rear sections that we rightly assumed were hinting at further releases, and features a double wing spar fixed to the roof of the bomb bay which, just like the real thing lends a lot of structural strength to the model. Before sealing the fuselage halves together, don't forget to fix the small side windows in the fuselage from the inside beforehand. While we're on the subject of clear parts, those provided with the kit are excellent, being both very clear and nicely moulded. The bomb bay doors are split and can be finished in the open position if required, but Revell provide no stores to put in there.  The canopy and top hatch glazing are installed after the seams are dealt with, and here you'll need to be careful to get a good join to minimise clean up, although you have a much better chance of retaining all the rivets as they're recessed.  If sanding starts to make them faint, you can always stop and deepen them with a bradawl or pin.  The big nose cannon are fitted to the pivot from the inside and attached to the hole in the nose along with the curved canopy on top and a trapezoid bomb-aimer's window below.  At the rear there is a clear stinger for observation purposes.

 

detail-nose.jpg

 

detail-fuselage.jpg

 

detail-wing.jpg

 

The huge wings are split into upper and lower halves, with separately moulded ailerons and landing flaps which once assembled simply slide onto the wing spars to form a nice strong join. The rudders and elevators are all moulded separately too, so bonus marks go to Revell for including this useful extra feature, and the tip-tanks are separate with a clear lens added to the front of each one. The engine nacelles are very finely represented with superb moulded-in detail and separate cooling flaps, with the main landing gear bays sandwiched inside the inner engine pods. The landing gear is absolutely fine, but on the other hand you want to hang your Shackleton from the ceiling, you can close the landing gear bays up completely and save yourself the trouble of painting the wheels. There are also alternative outer nacelles with the exhaust for the Viper turbojets if you choose to model the Phase 3 example, which is good to see.

 

Aside from adding a host of aerials and other small details such as the belly-mounted radome, all that remains to do is assemble and paint the propellers. This is no mean feat due to their sheer numbers – 24 tips in all.  That's the bonus of contra-prop models, twice the props, twice the fun! Tackling this sub-assembly first might be wise as it is bound to be quite time consuming and could seem more of a chore if you're approaching burn-out at the end of the project.

 

detail-engine.jpg

 

 

Markings

There are two decal options supplied on the sheet, each one taking up two pages of the booklet, but you'll need to flip pages whilst decaling as they aren't pages that face each other even though there is a blank page at the back.  Both options wear the same high demarcation white fuselage over dark grey scheme, and from the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Shackleton MR.3 (Phase 2) No.206 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Kinloss, Scotland, 1965
  • Shackleton MR.3 (Phase 3) No.42 Squadron, Royal Air Force, St Mawgan, Cornwall, 1970

 

profiles.jpg

 

decals.jpg

 

Decals are printed for Revell by Zanetti, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  You can have a look at our Walkarounds by clicking on the buttons below for a bit more incitement if the pictures of crisp plastic detail aren't yet loosening your wallet.

 

MR.3 (Phase 3) WR977 @ Newark Air Museum
walkaround.jpg

 

MR.3 (Phase 3) WR982 @ Gatwick Aviation Museum
walkaround.jpg

 

 

Conclusion

It's hard to believe we've been blessed with two modern toolings of the Shackleton and now four variants are covered, with the Revell kit appearing to be free from what most would consider to be major potential oopsies. surface detail is superb, with its beautifully rendered panel line and rivet detail, making the competitors look a little soft by comparison. Overall a very pleasing effort for this variant from Revell that has tempted this 1:48 modeller.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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Psssssst!! Mike.

Only 24 propeller tips.  :rolleyes:

Chris.

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7 hours ago, stringbag said:

Psssssst!! Mike.

Only 24 propeller tips.  :rolleyes:

Chris.

It was more than 10 so he struggled!

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On 8/19/2019 at 2:22 PM, Mike said:

The MR.3 was further modified with additional equipment inside both to improve its abilities and enhance crew comfort (a little) on those long sorties, which were further extended by the fitting of wingtip fuel tanks.  The twin 20mm cannon in the nose and the complement of stores in the bomb bay were key, and the Phase 3 had two viper turbojet engines added to the rear of the outboard nacelles to improve take-off performance when heavily loaded.

 

 

 

On 8/19/2019 at 2:22 PM, Mike said:

There are also alternative outer nacelles with the exhaust for the Viper turbojets if you choose to model the Phase 3 example, which is good to see.

Nice review and it is indeed a lovely kit.

 

I cannot reiterate this enough, and hopefully to the benefit of other modellers, Phase III mods and the addition of Vipers were quite separate, indeed WR975 portrayed in the kit is actually an MR.3 Phase III and XF703 is a Phase III (Viper).

 

On your review sample the red in decals look almost like the wartime brick red, however in the hand they look like the proper bright red.

 

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Great to have a good MR.3 at last, and so pleased they included the Viper option as well!

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6 hours ago, old_tonto said:

Could this kit be used to build a South African Air Force MR.3?

Yes. But you’ll need after market decals. Dutch Decal are going to re-release their beautiful set for the SAAF Shacks.

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For what it's worth, this old Shackleton-lover (in both senses - I'm old, and I love old Shackletons), this is a lovely kit. I've done quite a bit of work on mine and only have one real complaint. On my example, two of the twenty-four prop blades were short-shot. My AEW.2, which apparently used the same moulds for these two sprues, doesn't have the short-shot parts, but I guess it was Friday afternoon and they were running short of polystyrene when they moulded my kit. Oh well, if they hadn't done this, I'd have precious little to complain about on the kit. This is one kit I do actually believe I'll complete. I completed the Frog kit over forty years ago, so I suppose it's time to complete another one. With the AlleyCat MR.1 conversion kit, which I'll combine with my Airfix AEW.2 (I'm building the Revell AEW.2), I'll have all four major versions of the Shackleton. But then I suppose I also need the T.4, and a SAAF MR.3, maybe an early and a late version...

 

Regards,

 

Jason

Edited by Learstang

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Mine has arrived. So how much of the already available aftermarket stuff (Wheels from Barracuda, etch from Eduard etc.) can be  used with the Mk.3? Or is the beast so different we have to wait for specific releases?

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54 minutes ago, dalea said:

Mine has arrived. So how much of the already available aftermarket stuff (Wheels from Barracuda, etch from Eduard etc.) can be  used with the Mk.3? Or is the beast so different we have to wait for specific releases?

Mine arrived today as well, however the box was heavily crushed but thankfully all parts seem intact.

Now don't Barracuda just make resin replacements for the earlier and much larger MR.2 / AEW.2 wheels? The wheels on the MR.3 are much smaller in comparison, You might be able to use some etch, however one would think that AM canopy masks, wheels, decals and a dedicated etch set for the MR.3 won't be too far away. I'll probably just buy some canopy masks as that looks to be an essential item to get things nice and crisp. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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Glad to hear the parts are okay with your kit, Dave, despite the crushed box. Now this is one reason why I like tray and lid boxes. A lot of modellers seem to think it's no big deal, but one of the very nice things about tray and lid boxes as opposed to those wretched end-opening ones is they are much stronger. I can stack a bunch of tray and lid boxes several feet high with no crushing. Try that with those end-opening boxes. Stack two good-sized examples of those and they start deforming. Back to the MR.3, I'm certain the folks at Eduard and other AM companies are busy creating aftermarket goodies for this kit, not that it really needs many. The canopy mask you mention would be nice to have, though. That clear-view canopy is very important to the overall look of the MR.3.

 

Regards,

 

Jason

Edited by Learstang
Slight change. Really just a trifle. Hardly worth mentioning.

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Thanks @Learstang, and after my recent episode with said type of flimsy opening box, I couldn't agree more with what you've written above.

Now back onto the AM stuff, I get the feeling that Revell may have kept this version a little on the quiet as one would have expected both Eduard and Xtradecal to have their products already available to add to your favourite retailers online shopping cart? Hard to think of a recent 'British' subject where Xtradecal didn't have a decal sheet at least as a 'Future item' before the actual kit came out. 

 

Cheers and I look forward to putting this together (after all my GB commitments!)... Dave  

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This kit did not seem to have the fanfare I would have expected for such a nice, new-mould kit of the MR.3, especially considering that many modellers have been dreaming about such a kit for a long time (yours truly included). An interesting item I noticed was the trademark on the MR.3 wing reads '2015', so it appears that the moulds on this kit, or at least some of them, may have been ready for a long time. It's all a bit strange but I'm just thrilled to have such a nice new-mould kit of the MR.3. On mine, I'm 'going-to-town' on the weathering of the white interior bits, such as the wheel wells and the bomb bay. Since the version I'm doing is from 1970, towards the end of their long career, I'm guessing the bays were all rather tatty. What I start out with is white; what I'm ending up with is a sort of grimy light-grey. Perhaps a bit overdone, but I like the look.

 

Regards,

 

Jason

Edited by Learstang

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