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Short Sunderland Mk.III "U-Boat Killers" (SH72304) 1:72 Special Hobby


Julien
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Short Sunderland Mk.III "U-Boat Killers" (SH72304)

1:72 Special Hobby

 

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The Sunderland was developed by Short Brothers to an RAF requirement R.2/33 for a long range general purpose flying boat. It is thought Shorts took their work on Imperial Flying Boats to design the Sunderland, however the RAF requirement was released before the Imperial Airways requirements, and Short's decided to pursue both at the same time.  The Sunderland would be a large four engined flying boat with both defensive and offensive armaments.  The large wings with would mount 4 Bristol Pegasus engine were able to hold 200 Gallons of fuel giving the aircraft a 14 hour range.  For defence initially four guns were mounted in a rear turret, two guns in the nose turret, and two guns on each beam.  Later a dorsal turret would be added. Offensive weapons were carried internally and winched out under the wings through doors in the aircrafts sides. Later aircraft would also gain 4 fixed forward firing machine guns.   German pilots nicknames the Sunderland the flying porcupine and there are numerous cases of Sunderland fighting off superior numbers off attacking aircraft.  Radar fitted to these flying boats enabled them to become accomplished submarine hunters.  Production shifted to the Mark III in December of 1941. This had a changed hull to improve seaworthiness.  With 461 built this was the most numerous mark.  

 

 

The Kit

This is a new boxing for the Mark III based on Special Hobby's new tool Mark V from 2019, with new parts. The parts breakdown on the spures would also indicate other earlier marks are planed as well.  This is an impressive kit with good quality large mouldings and a full interior.  Construction starts in the cockpit. The instrument panel and pilots seats are built up onto the deck with the control columns being added. The cockpit bulkhead goes in and there is an additional seat to fit on the bulkhead. At the other side what appears to be the navigators position goes in. The lower deck under the cockpit then is assembled with its bunk areas for crew rest on those long flights.  The next stage is to build up the weapons carriers and the rails which winch them out under the wings. 8 bombs are provided. The top and main decks can then be joined and the weapons section added to the rear of this sub-assembly. To the front is added the mooring deck/access to the front turret with a realistic grating effect to the floor, Additional parts can now be added inside both main fuselage halves before you can think about closing them up around the main internal section. The modeller can have the weapons windows open or closed but this needs to be done now as they swing inwards. At the rear of the main cabin the gunners position and access to the top turret parts need then to be added. At the bow the anchor needs to go in. Only once all this is done can the fuselage be closed up.

 

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The exterior now needs to be looked at, The main top insert for the turret goes in, then underneath the hull step part is added. Both of these being inserts to allow for the different marks to be kitted.  At the rear the vertical fin and separate rudder go on, then the tailplanes, here the moving surfaces are moulded in. The main wings go on next. These are conventional left/right upper/lower surfaces; again the moveable surfaces are moulded in. The wings have large tabs which slot into the fuselage which should help then fit on correctly and not droop over time. If you opted for the bombs slung out under the wings now is the time to add the racks there.

 

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We are now on the finishing straight. Still on the main wing the four engines are assembled, each with its own resin exhaust. The two main wing floats then go on. Next up its the gun turrets. All these are fitted from the outside which is a great help when it comes to masking and painting them as separate items.  The front turret can be mounted slid back for mooring or in its forward position. The front boarding door can also be open as all the structure behind it is in place. The props and exhausts go on here.  The last step is to attach all of the external aerials. Given there are four on the top, eight on each side; and two on the wings it's probably better left until after painting! If wanted by the modeller then beaching gear is provided for the aircraft. 

 

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Clear Parts

These are of the same excellent quality as the other kit parts, and again it can be seen there are parts for other marks on the clear spure.

 

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Markings

The decals are printed by Cartograf so that gurentees there will be no issues with them. A generous four aircraft can be modelled using the kit decals, 

 

  • EK591 - 2U, No.422 Sqn Royal Canadian Air Force, Castle Archdale Northern Ireland, Early to Mid 1944. On 10th March this aircraft sank U-625
  • EJ168 - J, No.343 Sqn (French) RAF, Dakar 1944. Aircraft of this Sqn normally flew with the Dorsal turret removed.
  • EJ134 - N, No.461 Sqn Royal Australian Air Force, Pembroke Dock, 1943. This aircraft successfully defended itself againt 2 JU 88s, and 2 Fw 190s on 13/02/43. Then on 02/06/43 it was attacked by more Ju 88s shooting down 3 of them, the aircraft ditched in South Cornwall and was wrecked. 
  • DV969 - E, No.10 Sqn Royal Australian Air Force, Pembroke Dock, spring 1943. On 31/05/43 she managed to sink U-563, then on 27/07/43 escaped four Ju 88s. Sadly on 21/09/43 she encountered more Ju 88s and was shot down over the bay of Biscay with the loss of all the crew. 

 

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Conclusion

This is great new tool of an important though often overlooked aircraft for the RAF. The kit is very detailed indie and out. Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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