Jump to content

Avro Lancaster B Mk.I Nose Art Kit (01E033) 1:32


Recommended Posts

Avro Lancaster B Mk.I Nose Art Kit (01E033)

1:32 HK Models




The Lancaster was a development from the two-engined Manchester, which was always an unsatisfactory aircraft.  The Manchester was a response to the air force's obsession with twin-engined bombers in the 30s, which would have required engines of greater power than were available at the time, and led to a change in mindset due to the comparative success of our allies with four-engined bombers.  Rather than start from scratch, AVRO simply re-designed the Manchester by adding an extra wing section between the inner engine and the outer, thereby extending the wing and improving both lift and power output substantially – of course it wasn't that simple.  AVRO's chief designer, the incredible Roy Chadwick submitted this design to the specification that also brought forth the designs for the Halifax and the Stirling, in a sort-of prequel to the post-war V-bombers, where the Government gave the go-ahead for all three due to the untried technology being used.  The use of the then-new Merlin engine with its previously unheard-of power output put the Lancaster's various capabilities into alignment and created a rather impressive "heavy".


After renaming the initial prototype Manchester III to Lancaster perhaps to distance it from its less-than-stellar twin-engined sibling, the prototype first flew in 1941, partially due to the fact that AVRO had already been working on improving the performance of the Manchester, and partly because of the urgent need for a heavy bomber capable of taking the fight (and a lot of bombs) to Berlin.  A large contract for over 1,000 Lancasters was soon forthcoming, and further production was begun at AVRO Canada after an airframe was flown to them as a pattern for production.  The quality of the eventual design was such that very few noticeable differences were made between the initial and later variants, with cosmetic changes such as side windows and the enlarged bomb-aimer's window being some of the few that were readily seen if we ignore the specials.  The main wartime alternative to the B.I was the B.III, which differed mainly by having license-built engines that were manufactured in the US by Packard, with over 3,000 built.  The installation was so close to the original, that a B.I could easily be retrofitted with a Packard built Merlin with very little problem.  There were of course the "Specials" such as the Dambusters and Grandslam versions, but other than 300 or so of the Hercules radial engine Lancs, most of the in-service machines looked very similar.


At the end of WWII the Lancaster carried on in service in some shape or form for long after hostilities ceased, with a name change to Lincoln when the design became mostly unrecognisable, and later the spirit of the original design lingering on in the Shackleton, which retired in the mid 1980s, 40 years after the end of WWII.



The Kit

The origins of this kit are the full 1:32 HK Models Lancaster B Mk.I that we reviewed here, where I pinched the preamble  and some of the pictures from in case you were wondering (why reinvent the wheel?).  This reduction to just the nose of that kit worked out beautifully due to the convenient break in the fuselage just past the leading edge of the wing.  It’s a big portion of the detail however, as evidenced by the hefty 171 kit parts, which includes a sprue of new parts that have been tooled specifically to act as a convenient support trolley to hold the finished model.  A lot of modellers have expressed an interest in the kit but baulked at the size of this well-known heavy in 1:32, and so the nose with the all-important cockpit was requested from HK Models and the other company that was planning a big Lanc, who sadly went into administration at the start of the current Covid-19 crisis.  HKM have obliged with this new boxing, reusing the nose area of the artwork as well as the majority of sprues, plus the aforementioned trolley sprue, some new decals that only cover the necessary area (who has roundels on their nose?), plus a wee-small clear sprue that holds a couple of new parts.


So what’s in the box?  It’s not a head, so don’t fret.  There are seven sprues in grey styrene and two nose halves in the same colour, two sprues of clear parts and a bonus clear starboard fuselage half to show off all your hard work, the original sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass containing seatbelts etc., a decal sheet and finally the new shorter instruction manual.  Everything is bagged either in pairs or separately for protection, and the clear parts have additional sticky clear sheets attached to the more vulnerable areas to ensure that the parts arrive in pristine condition with no chaffing.













Detail is just as good as before as you’d expect, as you can see from the pic of some of the cockpit parts below.




Construction begins with the cockpit.  I know, shocker, right?  The prominent pilot's seat, which is made up of a substantial number of parts including PE seatbelts is large and has a highly visible location within the cockpit aperture.  The cockpit floor is on two levels, and is fitted out with various equipment, including the radio-operator's station, the pilot's seat and control column on the upper level, and the instrument panel, which has controls, rudder pedals and other parts added along the way, being added to the assembly along with the side walls that have instruments moulded in, and a small extension to the front bulkhead beneath the instrument panel.  More instrumentation is added to both sides of the nose interior, and if you are using the grey styrene parts, you'll need to add all the clear side windows.  Attention turns toward the nose turret, with the detailed interior made up before it is cocooned inside the front and rear halves of the glazing, and as is standard with HK models, the gun barrels are separate parts that can be added later after painting, which is always good to see.  The Canadian airframe has some slight colour variations inside, and needs a few holes drilling, which is covered in a scrap diagram showing which areas are painted black and interior green, with separate call-outs for the various areas of the assembly as construction proceeds, then the halves are joined and some small parts are fitted in the upper cockpit, the fairing at the base of the nose turret is inserted, and the glazing under the nose is also glued in, with a choice of two styles, the circular insert being for the Canadian version.    The big glazed canopy appears almost complete as it comes off the sprues, but there are two openable panels that are separate, and the additional vision blisters need adding to the large side frames for all but the Canadian option, which is probably best done with a non-solvent adhesive to avoid fogging.  I'll be using either GS-Hypo, or even Klear when the time comes, although be wary when you pull off the masking so you don't also pull off the blister if you use the latter.  A small forest of antennae are fitted to the exterior depending on your decal choice, then it’s time to build up the trolley.




In terms of display options, it’s your only one unless you plan on building some kind of placard or base, so let’s get on with, as the DIY solution sounds too complicated.  The floor is made from two layers of framework that are laminated to create a deeper frame, and hide the ejector pin marks on the mating surface.  To be certain of a good fit however, it would be wise to at least flatten them off and test-fit them in place to achieve a good join.  Four castor wheels and their yokes are made up next, and they are joined by struts slotted through the frame with little round feet to take the weight off the castors and to make sure the trolley doesn’t go anywhere unexpectedly.  The corners of the frame have verticals with supports added, then the finished model can be slotted in between them, relying on styrene’s flexibility to safely insert the lateral pegs into the holes in the nose.



The new decal sheet has some elements of the original boxing, but with a lady in white added so that you can depict one of four airframes:


  • B MK.I R5868/OL-Q, No.83 Sqn. RAF, Wyton UK, June 1943
  • B MK.I R5868/PO-S, No.467 Sqn. RAAF, Waddington UK, May 1944
  • B MK.I W4783/AR-G, No.460 Sqn. RaAF, Binbrook UK, May 1944
  • B MK.I RF128/QB-V, No.424 Sqn. RCAF, Skipton-on-Swale UK, Spring 1945






Each aircraft is painted in the same green/brown over black with a high demarcation, although the location of the dark green sections are different on two of the machines.  The decals and painting guides are shown on a series of three drawings showing left, right and overhead with the decals shown using numbers, while the colours are marked in letters, both in triangles.  The fact that the drawings are in greyscale doesn’t really matter given the relatively small variations and low decal count, but you've also got the colour one above now too.  The colours are called out by name plus AK Interactive, Tamiya and Gunze brands, which shouldn’t be difficult to find in any brand, although the Tamiya mix for Dark Earth involves mixing four colours to achieve one.  I was sure that Tamiya now have a Dark Earth and Dark Green in their range now.  Did I imagine that?


Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.




Every home should have a big Lancaster, but if you’re short on space this is the perfect compromise, with lots of detail and still with a lot of the presence of the full kit.  There is already plenty of aftermarket devoted to the cockpit of the original kit that will fit this one, so you can start straight away, even if you’re addicted to aftermarket like a lot of us.


Very highly recommended.


Available soon from all good model shops.


Review samples courtesy of



  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got the original kit in the stash, don't fancy making that with the clear fuselage halves, so I think this will be a perfect  addition alongside it.

If it's 60 quid think that's a good price.

one thing I can't believe tho is that they still haven't included any cockpit decals, that said, who needs 'em when there is the Airscale beauty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, sinnerboy said:

there is the Airscale beauty.

That's almost mandatory... and should be ;) Reviewed on your favourite/present forum*




* delete as applicable, but if you delete the former one, I'll come after you with a sharp knife. :fight:


16 minutes ago, Ruskin Air Services said:

Must be around the £60.00 mark

Incidentally, we've had no guide from anyone on the price at all, and we seldom mention price anyway, as it's always different everywhere you look. GBP makes no sense to anyone other than us Brits, and we have the discounters that are there just to shift boxes for 50p profit, so it's something we decided to avoid at an early stage :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want this.... surely a range of large scale cockpits would do well, and I mean even larger than this, like 1/24 scale perhaps. I'd buy a Vulcan cockpit or six in that scale.

Might have to pick up this Lancaster, there's a fair few Lancaster cockpits around to base it on

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, dcrfan said:

Now where did I put 1/32 Queen Mary aircraft recovery tractor and trailer.  Oh thats right there isn't one.

Sounds like an ideal opportunity for the Hornby group: Airfix 1/32 kit and a Scalextric slot car version.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those interested, their is currently a build of the kit currently on Fine Scale Modeler. Its being built by a British guys (james) for the Hong Kong models display at Telford assuming it goes ahead.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...