Julien Posted October 23, 2020 Share Posted October 23, 2020 Avro Lancaster B.II ( A08001) 1:72 Airfix The Lancaster is without doubt one of the most famous aircraft ever to fly and became the back bone of Bomber Command alongside the Halifax in the latter half of WWII. Development was born out of failure in the guise of the Avro Manchester to which history has been unkind because of the unreliable Vulture engines. Convinced that the basic Manchester airframe with an unobstructed full width bomb bay was basically sound, Roy Chadwick and his team designed the Type 683 Manchester III which used a larger wing supporting 4 Merlins. From the start, the aircraft proved Chadwick right, requiring only minor modifications for operational service. The cleverly designed bomb bay meant that the Lanc could carry a 14000lb conventional bomb load but with some modifications could even lift a 22000lb bomb which was unheard of at the time. With over 7000 Lancasters serving in WWII, most were indeed powered by the legendary Merlin. With a risk of Merlin shortages, a design was tested using the Bristol Hercules radial engine which led to one of the most visibly unique variants to operate, the B.II. Whilst the Hercules was more powerful, it had a slightly inferior service ceiling meaning that they generally flew lower than the Merlin variants during raids putting them at greater risk. This contributed to a 60% operational loss although they had a slightly faster cruising speed and rate of climb. All together, 300 B.II’s were produced, operating mainly with the RCAF which used it to replace Wellington bombers. B.II’s were eventually replaced by Merlin variants although a few went on to become test beds. The Kit Until Airfix's new tol B.II arrived in 2013 the only way to build a B.II was using a conversion kit, The kit is nicely moulded, and while Ive seen finer panel lines in my time as a reviewer, the panel lines on the external surfaces of this kit dont stand out as being over done. The overall shape of the model looks good and I haven't heard any complaints of significant shape errors since the original versions of the kit were released. Construction starts with the interior, which is very well detailed. The roof of the bomb bay and the spars for the wing must be assembled first as the rest of the model builds up around this core structure. The bomb bay itself is very nicely detailed, although youll need to provide your own ordnance or purchase the Bomber Re-Supply Set. Onto this part are added the spars for the wings. The spars form internal bulkheads at their centre, and extend as far as the main landing gear bays in the inner engine nacelles. The flight deck is comprised of a raised floor, a two-part pilots seat, a folding seat for the flight engineer, a control column and a two-part instrument panel. Forward of the cockpit is the bomb aimers position, for which a nicely moulded bomb sight is included. Aft of the cockpit are the navigators and radio operators stations. Sidewall detail is moulded in place on the inside of the fuselage halves and in my opinion it looks excellent. The fuselage window glazing must be installed at this stage too. Once the fuselage halves have been joined, assembly moves on to the wings. The next few steps in the construction process are either clever or complex depending on your point of view. The two wing spars mentioned above aid with the alignment of the wings and strengthen the structure of the model, but they also form the fore and aft walls of the main landing gear bays. To complete the structures, you need to add the rib and frame details which run parallel to the fuselage. The end result should be a pair of landing gear bays which are superbly detailed as well as nice and strong. The ailerons are moulded in place but the landing flaps are separate assemblies, and very nice they look too. The elevators and rudders are all moulded as separate pieces and so can be posed in a variety of positions if so desired. The engine nacelles are fairly simple in just two halves. The struts which connect the landing gear doors to the undercarriage legs are moulded in place. This means that, should you build the kit with the gear down, you should be able to achieve a good, strong fit at the first time of asking. If you wish to build the kit with the gear up, then you just need to cut them off. I really like this approach and I hope it works as well in practice as the instructions suggest. The landing gear legs themselves are well moulded and nicely detailed and the wheels have flat spots moulded in place The radial engines are built up from two cylinder banks , these are installed onto the nacelles. then the three part cowls go on followed by the props. The exhausts go on the sides. All that remains to do at this stage is to add a few small parts such as the DF loop and elevator actuators, the propellers and the transparent parts. Airfix have suggested that you assemble the turrets last of all, but you could just as easily build them at the outset and set them to one side. The frame lines on the transparent parts are clearly marked. Decals Decals are by Cartograf so will pose no issues. A choice of two schemes is provided on the decal sheet: LL725 – ‘Zombie’ EQ-Z of 408 ‘Goose’ Sqn, RCAF based at Linton-on-Ouse, 1944 DS842- ‘Fanny Ferkin II’ of 514 Sqn, RAF based at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire 1944 Conclusion Airfix's Lancaster is nicely detailed, superbly engineered and widely available (in the UK at least). The price is pretty reasonable too. The only grumble concerns the lack of ordnance, which has been debated on this very forum. That aside, this is an excellent kit and Airfix should be commended for doing the B.II as well as the B.III. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of 3 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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