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Airfix Sunderland.


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Here we go again, another big four engined Airfix offering.

 

Not a pocket money purchase, more Xmas or birthday, possibly doing well at school, that type of thing. Personal memories of this one are not exactly vivid, but I remember the pointed top turret well, as I used it as a kind of Dalek when they were all the rage. It was white, so it couldn't have been the Stirling one. Dr Who was a big thing as a kid. Dalek toys were a bit thin on the ground in Earls Court though. We made do with Airfix gun turrets! The imagination of a child is a joy.

 

It's nearly a collector kit, but the box has a couple of marks and splits and one turret, the flight deck and the porthole glazing have been started. Well under the 25% rule though, so best it gets finished.

 

IMG-2305.jpg

 

The Photoboxes look rather gloomy to me and are difficult to get attracted to. That does mean collectors like me don't chase them down as much as the earlier versions, so prices seem to stay sensible. That makes them good builder fodder in my book.

The kit itself has been around a while, first issue was in 1959 and was the biggest Airfix aircraft to date at that point. Here's the first box, sat alongside a period shop banner and a few others released that year.

 

 

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The kit also got an early US release with a very gung ho type of box, typical of the US Airfix boxes. I probably won't go with the bright red cowls!

 

 

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I'll add the Type three, Roy Cross box once I dig it out the loft. I've also got the T6 candy coloured background, violence removed version, up there somewhere. Expect it to appear here at some point.

 

As far as finishing this one goes, the Hannants sheet in the opening picture will provide markings, probably the green/brown/black one as it's something totally new to me. The sheet is for MK1's though, so a bit of backdating of the MK3 provided by Airfix is in order. Top turret has to go and the keel needs mods. That's as far as my knowledge of the subject takes me. The journey of Sunderland enlightenment starts here! Any pointers or advice will be gratefully received.

 

Tony.

 

 

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Oh yes! Now we are talking!

A large Airfix 4 engined model that I actually built, but only once and a very long time ago. I have fond memories of the kit and remember the depth charge rack that slides in and out of the fuselage, and the fact that it actually floated in the bath whilst recreating the Battle of the Atlantic with the Graf Spee and a Matchbox Narvik class destroyer.

Really looking forward to this one as I like the aircraft a lot and I'm very interested to see how you deal with the backdating to a Mk.1.

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I can't give you any pointers, but wish you luck with the build. I also have the US Airfix release of this one that has been started - and the cowls are already bright red!

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Hi Tony,

 

This kit was a Christmas present for me the year it came out (cost 10/6) and I still have it. If you are building a Mk I then you will need to add the 2 part hatches for the beam Vickers K guns mounted on pillars in the galley area just behind the wing. When open, the front part seems to have formed a windbreak whilst the rear part folded or slid into the hull that or it was removable. There are some useful pics on Wiki. As you say the step was modified on the Mk III so you will have to "back date" it to the earlier configuration - I will check to see if I have any pics showing the difference.

 

As to the green/brown camo, Osprey say that prewar they were aluminium with perhaps a few in Sky Grey, and that orders were issued at the start of the war for the standard Temperate Sea Scheme scheme of EDSG/DSG over initially aluminium of Sky Grey unders, later giving way to Sky. They also say there is some anecdotal evidence of a few in Dark Green/Dark Earth but no pictorial evidence. However both Profile and Warpaint do show some in green/brown with a  variety of underside colours including a pale blue.

 

Later

sund

I will be interested to see how you modify the step as it looks like it could be quite a bit of work.

This is a Mk II, similar to the Mk I

sund1

As you will note the step is quite deep and possibly angled slightly forwards. The hull behind it is straight albeit angled up on the centreline, but curves somewhat at the outer edges.

This is the Mk III as per the kit.

sund2

The is no " vertical" step as such and the hull curves up and back from the point where it used to be. However, there is at least one thing in your favour -  the kit has one mg in the nose turret which is probably correct for the Mk I AFAIK, the Mk III having 2 mg so at least you don't have to bother altering that

 

Rather you than me - good luck!

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
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Brilliant Tony, another super exciting one to see come together.

I guess you need to build a new ‘water / sea base’ for this little lady.

Edited by Dansk
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 Smashing choice ,I never built one of these when i was a kid,wanted to,but never did, i bet the nostalgic section of your stash has taken an almighty hit with this gb tony,

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57 minutes ago, Hewy said:

 I bet the nostalgic section of your stash has taken an almighty hit with this gb tony,

The Forum Group Builds have seen my building take off like a rocket! They are the perfect shove to get a kit built for me. My ideal situation as a collector and builder is to have one of each, a built example and a mint original. I like to make things difficult for myself. 

It's rare for me to build a collectable kit. Luckily there's no shortage of builder kits out there.

My opinion here is that if it's survived untouched up until now, it won't be me who builds it. Fortunately kits were made in the millions, at least back in the day they were, so later re-issues are my first port of call for an old style build.

Part started kits come up for sale and are usually a good deal, as long as you know what you are getting. Decals and transfers to suit get picked up along the way and are often all that's needed to build a kit as it was first issued. Another method I use to build early style is to restore built models. They come up for sale all the time, in varieing states of disrepair. Sometimes that's the only way to get a builder kit that doesn't involve financial suicide! An Airfix BT-K Spitfire, although hardly rare, usually fetches over £100 unbuilt for instance. A built one will be a fraction of that, so that's the way to go. To open and build an original would be nice and if money were no object I would do that. The depth of my pockets means I need to take another route though.

I can't remember what I paid for the Sunderland now. I do remember I bought it as part of a job lot of photobox kits. Job lots are usually cheaper than single kits and at the time, photobox kits were cheap anyway. Add to that, the kit was started, so I doubt I paid much at all for it. It has taken nearly ten years to get to the front of the build line though!

 

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23 hours ago, modelling minion said:

actually floated in the bath whilst recreating the Battle of the Atlantic with the Graf Spee and a Matchbox Narvik class destroyer.

I bet there wasn't  much room left in the bath to get in, although the graf spee is a pocket battleship to be fair

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6 minutes ago, Hewy said:

I bet there wasn't  much room left in the bath to get in, although the graf spee is a pocket battleship to be fair

I'm not that fat! At least I wasn't back then.

priority was getting as much stuff in the bath to play with as possible, any cleaning was purely accidental.

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Straying a bit off topic here, but I can remember sitting in the bath with my Airfix Bismark, hiding from my patrolling Swordfish, in an iceberg made from Matey.  Great big crisp plumes of the stuff would result from trickling it into the flowing tap water.

 

A nice childhood memory, the trouble is that it was this morning...

 

..not really, it was a bit further back than that!

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45 minutes ago, TonyW said:

..not really, it was a bit further back than that!

I was going to agree that it must have been years ago as they don't sell Matey bubble bath anymore - however upon checking they do!

 

 

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8 minutes ago, modelling minion said:

Matey was THE bubble bath of choice, made great icebergs!

Apologies for the thread drift, but a jingle is starting in my head - - 'your Matey's a bottle of fun'... am I dreaming?

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Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...

 

Here's the box top that probably set Sunderland sales alight. Roy Cross at his finest.

I have always thought that pair would make the ultimate Dogfight Double!

 

IMG-2317.jpg

 

An attempt at freshening up the box by removing the background punch up was less than successful though...

 

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The kit has been started.Hooray!

 

I've hit the parts with silver acrylic as I'm going to have an experiment with a weathering technique I think might work. More on that after an experiment or two.

 

IMG-2323.jpg

 

 

1 hour ago, Jinxman said:

Apologies for the thread drift, but a jingle is starting in my head - - 'your Matey's a bottle of fun'... am I dreaming?

Drift away, it's a nostalgia GB after all!

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There are more questions than answers. The more I find out, the less I know.  Name that song.

 

Here's a few questions from me...

 

I know the jury is out on the subject of dark earth/dark green but I'm going to go for the colours anyway as I have an Xtradecal sheet I've just bought and paid for,  with RB-D in those colours.

The decal sheet guide shows the plane with Type A Roundels on the wing top although all the pictures that I can find of cammo RB- aircraft show Type B roundels.  Are both correct?  If it came to a choice, I would rather use the red and blue option.

 

IMG-2311.jpg

 

Is it possible that RB-D ever had A1 roundels on the wing tops? I ask as I would love to use a pair, I think they really bring a plane to life. 

 

I also want to give the plane a fairly heavy weathering.  I'm starting from an aluminium base coat and intend adding appropriate primer and top coats and then removing layers to hopefully get the look I want. DA-G has the weather beaten look I'm after.

 

IMG-2312.jpg

 

What colour would the primer be on RAF types?

Red oxide would be my guess, but it would only be a guess.

 

 

 

Thanks in advance for any contributions.

 

Tony.

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Checking the Airfix fuselage against the Mk1 and the Mk111 in the relevant years Aircraft of the Fighting Powers shows a very close match all round. There's slight differences here and there, but I would put money on Airfix using these plans at some point. The keel step is slightly different on all three, both the kit and each plan.

 

The profile shows another Dark Earth/Dark Green scheme that looks tempting. That radar array looks a bit intimidating though!

 

The Coastal Command book has a few good period interior shots.

 

IMG-2309.jpg

 

IMG-2307.jpg

 

IMG-2313.jpg

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She does look good on the plans Tony, assuming that they are accurate, don't want to open that can of worms!

Can't help you with your technical questions I'm afraid but I do like your choice of scheme, if I had to put money on something I would say it was more likely that red/blue roundels were only used on early camouflaged aircraft.

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30 minutes ago, TonyW said:

What colour would the primer be on RAF types?

Red oxide would be my guess, but it would only be a guess.

Generally, red wouldn't be an aluminium metal primer colour. Red dope is the shrinking dope used on fabric surfaces.

 

For an aircraft in the maritime environment, an anti-corrosion primer would be used on metal surfaces. I don't know what Short used on the Sunderland, but most appropriate primers would be light grey. It's also possible that some surfaces on the hull may have been anodized (passivated) for further protection before priming. Short Brothers had the longest experience of metal monocoque construction of all the British manufacturers, and they built marine aircraft for decades before the Sunderland, so they will have used the most up-to-date technology available.

 

I'm sure someone on here will know more, though.

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Searching through my stuff for anything Sunderland related, I found a couple of period magazines...

 

IMG-2328.jpg

 

Nice looking and useful as well. The Sepia toned cover shows the early keel quite well. It looks like a fair bit of cutting and shutting is in my future.

 

IMG-2329.jpg

 

There's not much in the way of new info contained inside except for this nice interior shot towards the rear of the plane. The beam gun posts are shown well, although no guns fitted. The Coastal Command book  further up the page has a good shot of the gunners stations though. I doubt I'll be adding much detailing here, but you never know!

 

IMG-2330.jpg

 

I could avoid keel problems by sitting the plane in a diorama seascape but I'm leaning towards setting the plane in flight. A quick tryout shows promise.

 

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Something along the lines of the Dornier I built for the Seaplane GB a few years back would fit the bill...

 

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Moving on to actual building work...

The silver paint I used seems very reluctant to dry on the airframe and wiping a bit of turps over it removes it a bit too easily for my liking. I'll have to remove it and start again as I need a tough base for the weathering to come. A bit of a pain, but I'm glad to find the problem now rather than later.

 

The glue smeared portholes have been knocked out and binned. I sharpened up a cheap hole punch and had a go at different thickness clear plastic to make replacements. The thicker of the two clears bowed a bit once whacked with my hammer and the resulting dome was too apparent for use. The thin stuff worked just fine and punching out replacements looks like it's going to be easy.

 

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I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Airfix portholes are too big and should have a frame around them. If that's so, I have a get around in place.

I tried a sharpened bit of brass tube against a bit of masking tape and a slight twist on the tape cuts out a perfectly round tape circle. Sat inside the punched clear discs, they reduce the clear bit of the porthole while leaving a frame around it. 

 

I'm waiting on a book or two to arrive, along with the ESCI decals. Once that lot have been delivered the build can get underway properly. Meanwhile, a bit of thinking and planning will take place. 

 

Tony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interesting build in prospect. Apparently, even though it was Airfix's biggest kit to date, it fitted perfectly from the first test moulding, and it still fits together well in the later mouldings. I know it's a B+W photo so all bets are off, but DA-G in post #18 does seem to have far too much contrast for TSS, so I would also go for DE+DG.

 

If DE+DG doesn't work for people, there's always DE+Mid Stone as a fallback...

 

Regards,

Adrian

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8 minutes ago, AdrianMF said:

If DE+DG doesn't work for people, there's always DE+Mid Stone as a fallback...

Italeri chose DE+DG for their version of D-AG. Am I right in thinking the excessive weathering seen on DA-G may be down to the TLS paints not standing up well to the marine environment?

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