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Mr T

Avro SHackelton MR1, Airfix kit and Alley Cat conversion 1/7nd scale

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After the Group builds have been finished i though I would do a relaxing build, but no instead I have started work on a Shackleton MR1 using the Airfix kit and the Alley Cat conversion set in resin. I will concentrate on the conversion and only discuss the base kit when there are issues that I feel are worthwhile highlighting  and that effect the build of the kit.

Although I suspect most members who will look at this section will be aware of the Shackleton, there might be some unfortunates who have never come across what was the last iteration of the line that started with the Avro Manchester just before WWII.

At the end of the war, it seemed clear that  long range land based aircraft were a vital means of combating any hostile naval forces, especially submarines. The problem for coastal Command was that its long range aircraft were neither designed for the task (although still quite successful) and were American and provided under Lease-Lend. A new aircraft was needed and in the interim a number of Lancasters were converted as stop-gap MR aircraft. An obvious starting point was the Lincoln, which had been designed as a long range bomber for use in the Pacific. At first it was thought a minimum change Lincoln airframe could be used, but it was then realised that to produce an effective long range maritime patrol aircraft more power and space was needed. Thus although the Shackleton used a suitably strengthened  Lincoln wing and undercarriage, the fuselage was widened and made deeper, larger fins and rudders were needed and the Merlins were replaced with new low altitude rated Griffon engines that had contra props to absorb the extra power and keep the engine spacing on the wing.

Originally the Shackleton was to have a rear turret with two 0.5 inch machine guns and two 20mm cannon in the nose , but these were not fitted to production aircraft. The MR1 also had a blunt nose with an undernose radar scanner. The MR1 entered service in 1951, and was used until the late 1950's. Some were converted to a trainer as the T.4 and these remained in service until 1968 (one makes a fleeting appearance in the Beatles ' Magical Mystery Tour' TV film shown in December 1967 and available on YouTube )

The contents of the conversion kit are shown below. note that the tailwheel and leg are ordinary resin and I have drilled the part out and added a brass rod as I not trust the resin not to buckle. The nose and radome are in clear resin, which cannot be easy to cast cleanly. Decals are provided for white and Medium Sea Grey airframes. The kit is also available with decals for aircraft in overall Dark Sea Grey

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Most of the changes in the conversion are confined to the fuselage at the nose and tail end and the fuselage is shown ready to take the new nose and tail. Some of the windows will need to be blanked off. This varied from airframe to airframe over time.

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This will be a longer project for me and I will add as and when, so it might not be terribly regular.

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I have one of the Alley Cat MR.1 conversion sets and a T4 too so I will follow this and interject with comments from my current T4 build if I may.

 

Gondor

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Not a problem, I am doing other bits to the Shackleton, eg engines, wings etc. My only issues so far have been the fit of the fuselage floor in one place near the aft end of the weapons bay, sorted with a bit of trimming and sorting out undercarriage bays where more care is needed than I took to ensure the front cross pieces are vertical and fit into the holes in the engine nacelle walls as well as the roof of the bay. With a lot of the parts there is zero tolerance on the fit and all paint and mould  lines have to be cleaned up. 

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Got my popcorn ready as I've also got one. looking forwards to seeing your progress

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Got my attention.  Got to love a Growler

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Hi Mr T,

 

And I thought my MR3 with Vipers on the Frog GB was bad enough! Good luck with this. Pity we can't do a group phote after you finish, with your Mk1, a Mk2 and my Mk3 showing the progressive growth in nose length and the change to tricycle undercarriage.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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A bit more progress, the new tailcone and the blanking plate for the undercarriage well have ben added. The blanking plate is meant to be added before the fuselage halves are put together. guess who had to fiddle around after the fuselage halves  were cemented together. Speaking of which, I ended up using more filler on the fuselage join lines than i expected, especially compared to the wings and tail that have not required any. i will put photos up when I have finished smoothing them in and when the nose goes on.

The nose looks as if it is going to be fun.the nose is cast in clear resin in one piece with some a floor, what can only de described as a sofa (but is accurate for the real thing) and a couple of other bits in grey resin. This fits in the nose OK, but the nose is a poor fit to the fuselage, being too deep top to bottom and too narrow side to side. I reckon there has been some distortion when it was cast and others might not have this issue. It is sortable and I have made a saw cut to reduce the depth and will get it on the fuselage to fair the rest in. this should be in the next update. Just to show I have documented what i am doing, here is a photo of the bits that go in the nose.

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22 hours ago, PeterB said:

Hi Mr T,

 

And I thought my MR3 with Vipers on the Frog GB was bad enough! Good luck with this. Pity we can't do a group phote after you finish, with your Mk1, a Mk2 and my Mk3 showing the progressive growth in nose length and the change to tricycle undercarriage.

 

Pete

There was no difference in length between the Mk2 and Mk3

 

Gondor

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1 hour ago, Lord Riot said:

This will be superb!

 

 I hope it will turn out alright, the nose is going to take some sorting, looking at a trial fit, going to take filling and sanding. 

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Some pics as promised of the nose and tail with the major conversion parts on. The tail was not too bad, needed a bit of filler and given how rein shrinks unpredictably, not too bad a fit. As mentioned the nose needs more work Some big gaps (probably due to my uneven sanding etc) have been filled with plastic card and the parts secured with epoxy resin that will stand some handling. The base of the nose section was cut to reduce the depth and is thick enough to be sanded down to match the rest of the fuselage. I am going to use  Miliput to fair in the nose as it will stick to the resin better. The new resin nose was painted black on the inside to avoid being able to see filler. The props have all the decals on them, one for each blade after being painted. My first thought on looking at the he nose doing a test fit was 'Ho Hum' (in the voice of 'Eddy , The shipboard computer')

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Would it be feasible to cut the transparent part of the nose away cleanly for re-attachment later, then cut the body vertically in two and rebuild it with a wedge-shaped shim on the join so the rear of it is packed out sufficiently to match the fuselage? I suppose this would depend very much on the strength of the resin.

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It was one option I considered, but after cutting a wedge to reduce the depth, I decided that the clear resin was too bit brittle and I did not risk a crack in the clear nose section. I spent a bit of time and with some sanding, only the sides will really need a bit of filler. After a number of Magna kits,  I think it wiil work. 

Edited by Mr T
Spelling

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After all the excitement of SMW last weekend, I have managed to move the Shackleton along. The nose and tail have been faired in and now look reasonable. Looking at photos the window and fuselage the window arrangement is different on the MR1 and so some have been blanked off and vent filled. I have had to decide which airframe I am building as the window fit seems to vary over time and airframes.

Wings, engines and tail have also been added and cleaned up. Despite the spars to support and align the wings, I had to do a some fettling to ensure the wings did not turn the model into a four engined Stuka/Corsair. while all this was going on, various other bits were worked on and the wheels are now fully painted and the props finished each blade with its little decal and so I am glad that is out of the way. The engine fronts are sorted and although a good fit on to the nacelles, they will need to be sanded down a bit to match the diameter of the nacelle. they are made up of a backing piece that has the radiator on and also holds the pin for the prop and a front piece. The backing has prominent mould lines that need to be removed, otherwise the engine fronts will not fit the nacelles The B17 turret has been made up and the only real problem was getting the 20mm cannon to line up properly, not sure they are completely in line now, but they look OK to me at the moment. work has started on the bomb bay doors and I wanted them closed, which is an option the kit allows for but they are  swines to line up. i have one door on, but getting the other to line up is not easy. They are a little flexible and needs some fettling. The door in place has has some tabs fitted to help align the other door. Gave up after an hour on last night and will come back to it on Monday (His Dark Materials and War Of The Worlds on tonight and Name Of The Rose on catchup)

Some photos taken in the best light available in not so sunny Yorkshire

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only just seen this, superb work.  Great to see how the Alleycat stuff works with the kit aswel.

 

I started the same a while back, it might be too late for yours but I have attached a link to my build here as it shows how the fuselage windows were rearranged, and the deletion and resiting of the kits landing/taxy lights go.

All MR.1 /T.4 and MR.2 Phase I & II have the same window arrangement.

 

 

Anyhow, following with great interest, gotta love Shacks of all marks!

Edited by 71chally

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A bit more done and nearly at the painting stage. Thanks to James for the link, I had deleted some of the windows, but decided it was too late to move some of the others and I have redone the landing lights. The canopies etc have are now properly masked and although not shown on the photos the radome has been added. This took a bit of work to get right and I needed to sand it down to get it to fit reasonably well. it is not completely clear, but my excuse is that the real thing would quickly lose their shine. As I tend not to build many large kits, this one seems to have gone on forever, but all the other bits like the turret, wheels u/c and props are finished. More to come when I can, planned on doing some last night but efforts were diverted into trying to sort out a leaking radiator. Realised it is the radiator itself that is leaking from a rusted seem rather than a valve and not a slow leak. given its age I cannot complain and the plumber has been round this afternoon to have a look (No way am I doing this myself as it is large radiator and beyond my skill set to do). i suspect this is going to be pricey.

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Very nice work! I have an Airfix AEW.2 set aside for this conversion.

 

Regards,

 

Jason

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5 hours ago, Mr T said:

 

 Realised it is the radiator itself that is leaking from a rusted seem rather than a valve and not a slow leak. given its age I cannot complain and the plumber has been round this afternoon to have a look (No way am I doing this myself as it is large radiator and beyond my skill set to do). i suspect this is going to be pricey.

 

Plummers can drain your bank account if your not carefull.

 

The Shack is looking great too

 

Gondor

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Fortunately the guy we use seems to be quite reasonable and we have used him for years as he seems to be reliable and competitive as living where we are there is some choice. Now where my mum lived there was one plumber and he charged what he felt like and showed up when the whim took him. Our plumber also knows I do my homework. 

Thanks for the comment on the Shack. A slightly heart stopping moment this evening when  it flew gracefully out of my grasp and ended up doing a belly landing. I would not have believed it, but the big wing and light weight coupled with the resin nose appeared to let it perform like the real thing. Only damage that I can see was the front of one of the bomb bay doors had sprung. 

 

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Update on damage, the bomb door just pushed back into place and has been secured with some superglue. The only other damage was a nick to a wing tip that has now been filled. The white primer of course has shown up several areas requiring further attention

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16 hours ago, Mr T said:

Thanks for the comment on the Shack. A slightly heart stopping moment this evening when  it flew gracefully out of my grasp and ended up doing a belly landing. I would not have believed it, but the big wing and light weight coupled with the resin nose appeared to let it perform like the real thing. Only damage that I can see was the front of one of the bomb bay doors had sprung. 

 

I'dve had a coronary.

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1 hour ago, Procopius said:

I'dve had a coronary.

Fortunately blood pressure meds and lifestyle changes may have helped here' also the profane language when it fell (glided?) undoubtedly helped relieve stress. The worst 
I have had was when a virtually complete met a wood floor vertically when nearly complete. Using epoxy resin rather than superglue made the damage bearable

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