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RNZAF Short Sunderland MR5

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Hi All,


Place Holder for Saturday


Kit box



Bit of a dialogue:

I actually wasn't planning on buying this kit, however I changed my mind.

I am planning on doing a kit review (haven't seen one on Britmodeller yet), and I

will build as technical build, as an RNZAF MR5 (Maritime Reconnaissance), based at

RNZAF Lauthala (or Lacala Bay in Fijian) where my Dad was based for a time in the 1960's



Main Hangar


(Photo are my Dads, but Copyright is mine)

Aerial view of Lauthala Bay


(Photo I believe is RNZAF -Used for illustration only)

I Hope to build as a diorama with the Sunderland sitting in the braby (you can make it out RHS of photo)


Sunderland in Lauthala Bay Braby


(Photo I believe is RNZAF - Used for illustration purposes only)

My Dad also served at RNZAF Hobsonville, where I grew up, and got to see Sunderland's in Service

and see and do things on Sunderland's that aircraft lovers can only dream about:thumbsup:


Hobsonville or more colloquially Hobby





And as far a technical build, I have the real thing to use as a reference (yes I have crawled over every possible

inch of this aircraft)



As far as Kit sprue shots go, you'll have to wait for Saturday, as SWMBO won't let me have it till then.

(Birthday Pressie :popcorn:^_^)

See you Saturday





Edited by LDSModeller
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Hi Alan,

I am really looking forward to your build. This sounds great. Will be good to see how the Special Hobby kit looks and goes together. I would like to get my hands on one of these one day, but my money is awaiting the release of their 32 nd scale Westland Whirlwind.

Good luck with your build.

All the best


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On 8/28/2019 at 5:11 PM, bigbadbadge said:

Hi Alan,

I am really looking forward to your build. This sounds great. Will be good to see how the Special Hobby kit looks and goes together. I would like to get my hands on one of these one day, but my money is awaiting the release of their 32 nd scale Westland Whirlwind.

Good luck with your build.

All the best


Thanks Chris,

It will be interesting to see what's what in the kit, and how it does/doesn't go together.

Kick off is tomorrow ......:thumbsup:





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6 hours ago, AdrianMF said:

Looking forward to seeing a state of the art Sunderland that isn't the Italeri one! *





(*) I hope it's good news...

Except from what I’ve seen of the sprues it’s closely related!  Not that my Italeri Mk.1 was a bad kit, it just seemed to absorb a lot more elbow grease and filler than I’d expected of a modern kit...

If the SH shares any DNA with the Italeri beware of any areas of difference between marks, such as step or dorsal area where Italeri use different mould inserts whilst I think SH have separate parts.




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Hi all,


Got my hands on the kit:D


Nice art, though I think personally the artist, either took some license or Special Hobby (SH)

has absolutely no idea about Sunderland operations. Main flaps should be set at 1/3rd for take off..^_^

Sunderland's never flew with the Mooring Mast attached to top of Fuselage (triangular looking item)

interestingly SH mentions that the Mooring Mast is only fitted during mooring, in their kit instructions.

These were a Navigational/Nautical requirement of the aircraft Captain/Commander when on the water.

From the Mk V/MR5 ground handling notes



As a precursor to my Kit review, prior to my build log, some technical references at my disposal

(along with what I have learned form my Dad, or seen/done myself)

The above mentioned Notes


This particular one served at Lauthala Bay, as you can see - my Dad most likely handled this



This one always make me chuckle, have to wonder what this poor sod had done to end up here?

(Thoughts of "You Horrible Little Man....."^_^)



Flight deck



I have this book also, which has Mk V drawings





(Photo copyright mine,  used for illustration purposed only)





Thanks for looking in, I have taken photos of the kit to upload, just have to write the review


Check in again in the next day or so :bye:





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I really like the idea of displaying the model at a mooring - shades of my attempt to show the turntable platform and launch ramp on the Zeppelin Lindau (Dornier) Rs II in the last FB and FP GB.


Looking forward to following this one.



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Hi Alan,


Welcome to the GB! I have the Italeri Mk.III kit. It will be very interesting to see the SH Mk. V being built with all the expertise you have in store.







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Hi, wow niece project. I will be watching this build. This pilot/service manual book really astonishing piece of history. 

I don't know which kit (SH or Italeri)  is better, SH is probably a short run  low pressure inject kit. Do you plan to add any aftermarket parts?


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Hi All,


Bit of an update - Thank you for all your comments (seriously, I hope I can deliver ^_^)


On 9/3/2019 at 10:02 AM, Franz75 said:

Do you plan to add any aftermarket parts?

Hi Franz - No I won't be adding any aftermarket, at this stage - The Eduard PE stuff

is really just a re-pop of their Italeri Mk I/III kit stuff, and that is all fiction, with the exception

of the new Bomb bay doors, the kit ones will suffice I think


So on with a Kit Review Part One


Reading through comments above, Adrian (#4) made the comment about a "State of the Art" Sunderland.

That really got me thinking - What does State of the art really mean in terms of this kit?


Looking at various Online dictionaries, "State of the Art" means modern, up to date techniques used to manufacture

and any other descriptive words to show  that it is a cut above the rest.

I can suppose that  modern manufacturing techniques have been used, this is not my first Special Hobby kit, and

previously the kit was nice, but had foibles like fit etc.

In continuing with the State of the Art theme, I thought surely that should include things like accuracy, given

modern techniques for measuring, extensive research given (or not) the amount of information available these days.

So on with my findings - as a Caveat, if any modellers chooses to built this kit OOB - have at it.




The Kit boxing is quite sturdy, my box top was a little difficult to remove, but SH have

chosen to use a sturdy box, and it offers the kit very good protection - Kudos for that.


Looking in the box you see the following


Well Presented, all parts well bagged.

Special Hobby has chosen to use re-sealable bags which I'm very happy with, given previously, on any kit,

one had to cut the bag open and any loose parts could fall out.......



Kit Sprue Shots


Fuselage Exterior



The kit fuselage has panel lines - I'm not sold on this, and the jury is still out on this, we shall see.....

It's quite apparent that given the "Extra" portholes, Special Hobby have future plans for a Mk I/II and Mk III/IIIa.

Sorry Special Hobby, but a Mk I/II had a different fuselage, in that the Mk I/II fuselage was 10 inches or so wider

at the fuselage base (read waterline) than the Mk III/V fuselage. That equates to around extra 3mm in

1/72 scale in width.

The fuselage bow door is  open to display the interior if you want, the fuselage also has indented mooring bollards,

more on that later.


Fuselage Interior shot


Special Hobby have moulded the internal ribbing/stringers, though this does not extend to the far stern section.

Thoughts on this, mmmm........:hmmm: The Rear Hatch door if a proper Post war/Cold War Mk V/GR5 is missing the

Transparencies for Crash axe and Fire extinguisher - more later on this.


Wings/Vertical/Horizontal Stabilizers




Wings have paneled skinning, with moulded Ailerons - interestingly  Special Hobby have moulded the

lower wing section with the "Fluted" wing trailing edge and Aileron shape, but not the top wing half.

Special Hobby have moulded in/on, the covers for the Oil Cooler vents (upper wing Leading edge).

The vertical Stabilizer/Rudder is moulded separate and can be positioned but not Horizontal ones.

I note that the wings have big tabs which look to be "Inter locking" though if you wish to build an interior.

that will seriously impinge on your build space.


Additional Sprue



Sprues show from top to bottom, left to right

Exterior parts: floats/cowling Hamilton Standard Propellers (have to measure to see if 12' 9"), exhaust stubs,

Interior Sprues, (sorry I have issues with some of this already:hmmm:), RHS Sprue, more external parts, which again

suggests Special Hobby have designs to model a Mk I/II Sunderland (see previous comments re fuselage width).

The main issue for me in the part upper LHS of sprue tree for a Late production Mk III/later production Mk V,

and found on all later (Cold war ear) GR5's. This insert part is totally fictitious - Sorry to say, - more later....




These spues have have a mixture of items, Beaching gear, external ASV parts, Bomb Bay roof/more interior

parts. The strangest inclusion is the early WWII 250lb Anti Submarine bombs??? More later on this.


Clear Sprues


The parts are clear and thin, which also include a "clear" door for the bow hatch to show the transparencies

for the Crash axe/fire extinguisher. Also includes clear bomb bay doors, as well as a Clear Astrodome and hatch.

The afore mentioned parts obviously easier to mask clear areas and paint.


Decals and markings sheet


Note attached is a resin RDF Pod, interestingly enough one is already on one of the sprue trees -

cool for me as RNZAF MR5's have two:D

Not so clear in my photo above, are the Emergency stencils  see below for  close up



The lettering, especially Cold War era, looks very similar/same as the RNZAF used on our MR5's, being as

follows (from RNZAF Museum)


Both the Fuselage Code Letters and Under wing serials were 54" Standard San Serif lettering (meaning each letter is 33 3/4" wide with a 6" wide stroke)

I'll have to measure and see.


Kit Instructions


(By the way we Kiwi's are not New Zealander's, but New Zealandian's :giggle:)


Looking inside Instructions


As with any Special Hobby kit, where multiple aircraft versions are possible (in the future) the RED X

showing what parts not in use (nothing to say you can't build a WWII Mk V with upper turret from this kit)



Argh those darned bombs, not to mention some colour calls, and crew bunks in the Bomb Bay.

Earlier in early Marks of Sunderland's (Mk I/II come to mind) Crew Bunks could be found in the Bomb Bay,

but these were only on special order from Shorts (Short Sunderland Mk I/II manual)


Paint/Marking guides



Of Interest a photo of Sunderland SZ566 "Z" in Ocean Sentenial, shows no Grey Lanolin water proofing

as depicted in the above by Special Hobby.


Anyway end of Part One, Part Two soon










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Hi All


Part two


So continuing with the "State of the Art Theme, the Mk V Manual in my previous posts

above has the following measurements for the Mk V Fuselage



 The actual length as you can see is 85' 7.5" or 26.0985m


Special Hobby on their Kit Instructions gives Length as 26m



However proof is in the pudding with 1:1 26.0985m = 362.497mm in 1/72

 I measured the Special Hobby kit fuselage


Hmmn - about 2.5mm too long


For good measure I measured the Airfix Fuselage


Pretty much spot on


The Italeri kit measured also


a tad short by 1mm

(Caveat of course these measurements are subject to the ruler being correct etc etc)


I looked at the bow area - Front hatch too big to my eye, and that hatch panel, not on a Mk V


Looking at the real thing



I took to measuring a couple of other things, such as the Front and Rear hatch.


This from the Sunderland Manual, I worked out the given measurements to 1/72



I measured the front hatch height



Hmnn  roughly 1mm too tall - will need to address that


Rear Hatch


Roughly .4 of a mm out - Transparency areas annotated where they ought to be.


So onward and upward

That Upper Hatch issue

Special Hobby version - annotated by me



Late into production of the Shorts Sunderland Mk III/V's the Upper Turret was deleted

You can see from these photo links the changes in production

Sunderland with Upper Turret Fairing


Sunderland without fairing and new Hatch and hump


These photo links show what the actual hump and shape of hatch look like


RAF Seletar

Sunderland with Hump and open hatch


RNZAF Sunderland in Chatham Islands

RNZAF Sunderland with Hump and Hatch


What it looks like from the Inside


I have actually been up through these when the RNZAF Sunderland's were in Service.

I have some thoughts on how to address this, more on this during the actual build


Now those darned Anti Submarine bombs

I have a magazine article (do think I can find it for this:hmmm:) written by an RAF Sunderland crewman who served

at Seletar during the Malaya Crisis, and he tells of dropping 25lb bombs from the Galley Hatch, on the insurgents,

by hand.

However he also tells of carrying and dropping "Lindholme Gear" to a ditched Spitfire pilot in the South China Sea

To me this would have been more appropriate for for a Cold War ear Sunderland - you can see one mounted on

an RAF Sunderland at Seletar

RAF Sunderland with Lindholme gear


For those interested on how it works a Video clip

Lindholme Gear video


I have some more things to discuss, but I will address those during the build.


Next action item, Cut Some Plastic :D


Thanks for looking in








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Wow nice research on the topic, looks like SP didn't do their homework on this subject. I have Italeri kit, and I'm wondering how it is done compare to the real thing. 


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Hi Alan,


Thanks for the detailed review of the kit. I often wonder how can kit makers make such big mistakes when there's a lot of research material available.







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I really hope you get this finished Alan, I wish I had your enthusiasm for detail. I will research a bit for obvious (and easily rectified) errors re: the missing porthole starboard side on the Italeri one, apart from that I'm just happy to finish models these days!

Did you ever get the Airfix build finished? Using that for reference :winkgrin:


Best of luck, Davey.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Gents,


Thanks for the comments


On 9/10/2019 at 1:58 AM, DaveyGair said:

Did you ever get the Airfix build finished? Using that for reference 

Hi Davey,


Still working on it, had hoped to have it done before this GB - The Cowlings

are proving problematic, replacing the Airfix engines, the plastic is so thick,

I may have to vacuform some new ones





So an Update


I have added a link to a reasonably newish  (last year or so) post about

RNZAF Lauthala Bay from You tube.

The opening song "Isa Lei" is being sung a little cheesy manner, but anyone who

had anything to do with Lauthala Bay knew this song, which is

a Fijian farewell song The term "Isa" is a parents (usually Mother) way of

expressing sadness/concern the term Lei added for emphasis

Anyway I digress, please enjoy

RNZAF Lauthala Bay


A few items for modellers to be aware of

The SH Sunderland had indented Fuselage mooring bollards.


Not all Sunderland's had these.

This photo from the Sunderland notes shows a different type - Sometimes it is hard to identify from

a photos, but they were there



Stern camera Port, will need to add




So Plastic has been cut and off we go


I measured the two halves to see what the base measurement was (or not)


A Little narrow.......

Looking at general fit - bow got my notice


Will need a little bit of work



I have filled in the "extraneous" ports, using masking tape to help protect the panel lines (for now)



End result (prior to sanding)




So The Portholes.


All Porthole transparencies are 30.5cm  excluding Beam hatch-38.5cm


Pretty close, not going to lose sleep over .04mm

Now SH chose to portray the Opening Portholes by moulding the Outer Ring with

the Transparency Like so



The size measured is about 5mm 1/72,  which is 37cm in 1:1 scale, so not too bad.

The only problem I see is the Rim indentation disappearing under the paint.

The actual porthole opening measures 37cm in Diameter  as below



As an FYI if you want to have an actual porthole open, then this is what

the rear of the Porthole looks like


This photo of a wrecked RNZAF Sunderland shows what the porthole opening looks like sans

porthole covers


Used for illustration purposes

This photo/explanation below, hopefully illustrates how the opening porthole worked



Anyway, hope I haven't bored you all too much.

More plastic has been cut and more to show soon







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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,


Another Update.

So the fuselage a few things going on to get ready........


Started to cut out the Beam Hatches - hmn a little big


Another thing to fix.........


I have decided to fill in the wing wells, as I want to have an interior



I have added styrene Strip to place inserts



So I started the fore deck lower/upper,.

I began by making a whole new frame/bulkhead as the kit ones were as usual fictitious


I have filled/sanded the Marked areas by SH as the are wrong

The is how SH have engineered this section


For some asinine reason they chose to curve this wall area when it is straight as per my Photo below,

the lower angled piece next to step is a guide (great if you are in a dark aircraft)



This is the WC/Toilet section, its missing the triangular section as above



I have annotated the lower deck with what the area should look like, you can make out the grove

where SH would have you place the kit piece.



These are the kit pieces SH would have you add, again fictitious


What the real thing looks like



You can see the door, going into the "Cloak/Gun Room"


So this is where I am currently at:

I had to cut off the groove SH moulded to glue the kit parts to allow for the replacement card width



The kit plastic is really thick, this is my razor saw sitting by it's self part way through the cut



Anyway the plastic is cut and a fitting to see how it sits


You can see where I have penciled in the various areas to cut out.

And here we go with cut out areas



Looking from the WC/Toilet side, no, the step down is not out or extreme, I will insert a step in there

prior to all going together the real thing has about an 18inch step down =you can see it above

in the photo looking from the wardroom out to the bow deck



Things are starting to shape up - cool:thumbsup:


Well it's late here in the Antipodes, so more tomorrow


Thanks for looking in






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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Alan

I hope you are well. Very informative, thanks for sharing, I would like to get a Sunderland, but still unsure what one to go for at the moment, will wait and see how your build goes together. Your Buffalo build and information helped me a great deal when building mine so am definitely looking forward to seeing this progress.

Great work so far fella.

Keep up the good work.

All the best


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  • 1 month later...

Hi Folks,


Given issues of late, medical wise with family members the better half

especially, I'm not going to get this finished in the GB.


I'm going to transfer this to the WIP forums, so I can still share my

build, just at a more leisurely pace.


Thank you all for your support and comments.

Hopefully you'll find time to visit with me in the WIP forum.


I won't withdraw from the GB, as I have a kit that I could finish

in the 3 remaining weeks.


Kind Regards



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