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1/72 Airfix Avro Lancaster Biplane!

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With a hectic few weeks passed through it is time to get back to the bench, I have managed to get in several small sessions and tackle the inlets. After weighing up the two options I felt that the kit option offered the best hope of a successful outcome, the Pavla items would need more work even I just fitted them on a one to one basis and with them not being that different in size the gain IMHO was too small.


So the kit item it is....


If you can remember, one of the last pictures in the previous post showed where I had sanded back the nacelle housing where the back of the inlet touched, to save you scrolling back here it is again;



The gap I have now created now needs filling and the front of the inlet sanding parallel to what will be the new panel line. Rather than put you through the pain of repeating this 4 times I will let your imagination do the work of the other three. 

I am aware that if I just throw filler into that gap a fair amount of it will overflow into the inlet and it will be hard to remove  so I need to add some solid plastic to stop this happening, this can then be sanded back when I reshape the inlet. First I need to fill the gap in the molding so as when I file away to my hearts content I do not hit empty space;


After this is done several small pieces of Evergreen plastic, roughly cut to size but allowing enough to be sanded back are glued to the back of the inlet;



While the glue was doing it's thing and drying I fashioned some radiator fronts as I did for the rear oil cooler earlier and glued them in place, again leaving them oversize so it can be sanded back flush with the existing nacelle;



The nacelles went together with minimal fuss and any small gaps filled and sanded back.

With this job in my thoughts I felt I needed some extra weaponry in my arsenal, at times it is going to be a delicate job and I will need to get into small spaces so I went shopping, something I have done a lot of recently, you know those new Amazon electric vans in the TV ads, I probably paid for at least one of them....😲.  This is one of them there purchases;



Made from Stainless steel and with sticky back sanding paper of varying grades I thought these would come in handy and they sure did, although I did use standard metal files too, using them to remove the bulk of the the plastic and the stainless set for the finer sanding.


So, like a good Disney dwarf it is off to work I go.


While sanding it worth bearing in mind that you can go too far too quickly so it pays to continually check your progress, making fine adjustments as you go. After what seemed like an age (nerves) we had this;



As can be seen it has gone on a fast diet and I am aware of how fragile it has become, you can also see in the next pic how little is left at the rear as the inlet has a downward slope towards the radiator;


Glad I filled it otherwise it would be more brittle.

The one picture that counts is from the front as this is the view everyone will see, for comparison a yet to be modified inlet.



There is more work to do, the two radii that return into the lower nacelle are a little ragged so will need a gentle clean up. Only three to go....:yikes:

If you think this is going swimmingly you are completely ........wrong, the one thing I did not want to happen has come to haunt me. I did not want to loose any of the front lip as by now it is thin and may be awkward to repair but it happened, even though I was careful it seems I was not careful enough, that file just had the better of me;



This one was filled and sanded with my new toy and I got away with it, small amounts of filler applied, you can just make it out, looking a little rippled. The filler was Mr Surfacer 500 built up in layers;



Along with the other three all were fixed to the nacelles and the previously mentioned evergreen plastic and filler could now be sanded back. It was while doing this that I noticed that the front lip on another inlet turned inward at the bottom, seen here;



That looks completely wrong and has to be fixed. First up was some butchery, removing some material to give me a fighting chance of fixing something to it;



A small piece of plastic was glued to the lip and left to set hard. Then it was more sanding and scraping until I was happy;




Not the picture of the year but you can see the white evergreen sanded back lovely but I kept getting little dinks out of the leading edge right on the corner and this happened on another one too. It was a case of going back and forth across all four until I felt I had found all the little faults. The only filler that worked was Squadron green filler, while it was wet I used a Tamiya cotton bud, moistened with thinner to shape the filler on the internal radius, reverting to standard sticks on the outside, but being very careful.


Again, not the best pic....sorry.


After a lot of repair work I finally had the other three done;


Just for comparison, the Pavla item and the finished item;



Quite a difference, I am glad I went the extra mile because if I had not I think it would bug me every time I looked at it. I have tried to capture the complicated inlet shape, while not perfect they are at a point I can be happy with them.


That's it for now, thanks for looking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After sorting the engine inlets out I now needed some wings to hang them off. This will not be the first time I have glued these wings together, my earlier laziness in not following the instructions led my down a blind alley, so after splitting them here we are ready to go again.


Seeing as Airfix were thoughtful enough to supply instructions I felt the least I should do was to read them, so, duly digested, I fixed the top wing section, however, as with the following wing constructions I would need clamps and Mk1 finger pressure. The clamps were needed because for some reason it would not stay in the grooves on the inner wing, bit of frustration as I thought all these new kits fell together....oh how  wrong I was.


With the top section on I moved on to the lower section, whistling while I worked, happy as Larry until I noticed this;



There is locating tab about two thirds of the way along the inside of the wing which I thought was the problem so I whipped it off. Need not of bothered, still the same. In the end all i could do was to hold it in place with my fingers using considerable force then gluing and continuing to hold, I did not fancy sanding the leading edge down with several of those small square protrusions to reinstate. What are they for ?


When I came to the other wing I had a similar problem but in a different place, this time inboard of the inner engine, it refused to close up unless I applied considerable pressure. I did think I had constructed the wheel bays incorrectly but I checked before hand that all was as it should be so I don't know why this has fought me so much....luck of the draw I suppose.



Well that's it folks....the shortest and least interesting update I have ever done. I just cannot seem to get my teeth into this build but hopefully that will change shortly. If your still awake...thanks for looking.



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The balloon cable cutters were notches in the wing.  The cable slid along the leading edge until it fell into this notch whereupon a steel blade was fired to cut through the cable.

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Thank you Graham and @Gondor44, fascinating fact as I never knew the Lancaster was so equipped, it must be rarely mentioned in text. Do you know if any pictures exist of this system? I am wondering if in reality it is not a square but more like a wedge with a sharp edge.

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I have just had a look for info on this system and I found this page;  https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/lancaster-cable-cutters.9290/


About 1/3 of the way down is a good description of how it works plus a picture further down of the components that make up the system. It included charges to blow the cable. Fascinating !

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I think Brian Atkinson's upcoming videos about the Lancaster might cover these in some detail later; but he's already mentioned them in the Lancaster Overview video he posted on Friday (at 2:40 in this video). These videos are fascinating! He tends to upload a new video every Friday, and I think he's finally done with the Spitfire.




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On 7/26/2021 at 9:03 AM, elger said:

I think Brian Atkinson's upcoming videos about the Lancaster might cover these in some detail later

Cheers Brian, that link could be priceless for Lancaster info. I was not aware of them being out there..👍


On 7/27/2021 at 2:17 AM, dogsbody said:

Cable cutter:

Cheers Chris, I am getting an idea now of how it all works, fascinating stuff.

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Nice intakes. I'm glad to see you got there in the end.

I like the gen about the cable cutters, but would they not have been removed post war and the holes faired over?

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58 minutes ago, Pete in Lincs said:

I like the gen about the cable cutters, but would they not have been removed post war and the holes faired over?

This is why I need mates like you Pete.....😆. That is a very pertinent question that I do not have the answer to.....yet! I will have a look at my research pics and see what they throw up. Watch this space.

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After putting on my Deerstalker headwear I  believe I have an answer to Pete's question.

I have found 2 pictures, one of PA474 at the time she had the aerofoil fitted to the upper fuselage and one of, I believe NX611 'Just Jayne'


These devices were fitted to the outer wing as well as the inner and I can see none here;


Copyright 'Boston Swing'


Then onto NX611, this time the inner section;


Copyright 'Scott' on BM


Nothing, so as Pete suggested they were removed Post War. Also, I have just noticed something else, the small opening on the starboard leading edge is blanked off and completely missing on the port so a little more research to be done there.


As soon as I can I will credit the above pics accordingly, I just need to find relevant info.

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I'm pretty sure the holes were covered, I don't remember there being any holes in the leading edges. But then again, I've slept since then...



The square intake was covered, it was also covered on the Canadian Lanc as well.



Edited by Tired&Emotional
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4 minutes ago, Tired&Emotional said:

I'm pretty sure the holes were covered, I don't remember there being any holes in the leading edges. But then again, I've slept since then...



The square intake was covered, it was also covered on the Canadian Lanc as well.



Nice one @Tired&Emotional.

That is the trouble with sleep, we do it too often...😲

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having put the cable cutters to bed it was time to move on to the canopy, that all glazed  affair that could easily double up as a greenhouse, which is why when PA474 was modified for photo survey work it was considered essential to remove/blank over much of that glazing that we are all so familiar with to improve crew comfort in what was a hot environment. It did change the look a little but it was still unmistakably 'Lancaster'.


The removal of some glazing was the first and most obvious modification to the canopy but after PA474 was retired from 82SQ and active service it acquired another modification which is less obvious but was made when it gained the fuselage mounted aerofoil. The astro dome was replaced by a flat panel affair, why, I can only guess at but probably to aid in taking photographs.

Here is PA474 with the modified canopy and original astro dome;


Copyright,BBMF twitter.


And this pic showing the latter 'flat' version. This is the only clear pic I can find;



Clearly visible but how to replicate this?


After a good rummage through my spares tins I came across something I think may work;


Instantly recognizable as an F4 canopy it may hold the answer to my problem. If I cut off the front section of the canopy and use the bird strike panel, it being flat, it may just work. So up to now this build is part Lancaster, part Gnat and part F4, at this rate I will have a complete air force flying in one airframe 😆


Only one thing for it, out with the butchers saw;



With that done and ready for fettling to mate up with the main canopy I now turned my attentions to the latter.


As far as I can tell the glazing wasn't simply painted over but replaced with a flush mounted aluminium skin so next was to do what I hate doing, taking a blade to a clear part. But take a blade I must.

All the existing framework in the required area was removed then sanded back flush with gradually finer grades of sander. Luckily, it does not have to be polished to a transparency as it will be sprayed aluminium BUT, it will still need to be smooth as NMF shows up any scratches, as we all know to our cost!


He it is, half naked and half dressed.

Next up is to fix both components to the airframe which will be in the next post.


Ta for looking.

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10 hours ago, Pete in Lincs said:

Great research and solutions!

Thanks Pete, picked up some good pointers from a chap who delivers beer around Lincolnshire....😉. Throw nothing away, mend and make do and all that, as good today as it's always been.....I think that last one  has something to do with bread..🤣


9 hours ago, Thom216 said:

Gonna be a unique bird.

Thanks @Thom216 that is why I pick the subjects I do although I am getting the urge to do a historical Lancaster and I have one in mind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tonight installment involves big things, small things and all things inbetween, a vanishing act, a hairdryer on steroids and even some paint, not altogether I may add, that would just be weird.


Where to start then?


Lets start with engine nacelles. These did not present any real issues, the fit was not perfect but with a little fettling they dropped into place OK . I have not been able to pin down the internal colour of the wheel bays so I have had to  call a meeting of the various department heads and I decided on black. The front wheel bay wall was fitted and the tank was painted in a grubby red-ish colour, I did have a pic somewhere but have been unable to find it, if my memory serves this too could be a different colour but the red does stand out against the black. Detail was picked out with grey paint;



The underside of the nacelles was the best fitting, it was the top that was a tatty;



It isn't the end of the world, a little filler and sanding and all will be good, however, I did notice something. I started wondering if that panel line on the insert, ( the part with the elongated panel)should be in line with the panel line on the wing. After looking at a few pics and one of 'Just Jayne' in particular, I could not see this panel line so it needs to be filled and sanded back.


I decided that the time was right to fit the canopy which fitted rather nicely, the only bit of sanding needed was on the two sliding sections that are fitted separately. This is where the vanishing act happened. Once the canopy was dry I looked for my truncated F4K canopy which was to form the rear section of the glazing as described in the earlier post. I looked high, I looked low, I even cleaned my bench looking for it but find it I could not. Bovver! This resulted in a frantic look though my spare transparency box and I found a substitute, from what I know not but what the hell, it fitted, if being a little too large. So fit it I did. Filled in the small gap where it sits on the fuselage and thought 'what a good save'.


It was about this time I needed a small plastic bag, cannot remember for what but I found what I was looking, a small plastic bag amongst all the other plastic bags I keep, but wait, it has something in it........yep, my missing front section of F4K canopy! Clear plastic hiding in a pile of clear plastic bags, I had no chance. I don't know about carpet monsters...I am thinking poltergeists.😱👻


I will keep that in case I do another similar build so all is well that ends well.


Something else I talked about in my last post but one was the two square openings in the leading edge of each wing between fuselage and inner engines. The port opening was filled leaving the starboard in place but needing a blank plate fitting inside which I have yet to do. Here is a pic;



One thing you may have noticed is that the front and rear turrets have been blanked, what I am tending to do here is do a bit of sanding at a time until I am happy with the outcome, hence no pics.


Another thing that has 'irked' me is the three lights, well, I think they are lights, under the rear fuselage. The fit seemed ok before I joined the two halves together but once joined a gap appeared round each light which I am now filling with Mr surfacer;



Also seen are two of the three locating holes for an aerial that is not fitted to PA474 during her time at Cranfield so these too are being filled.


Now onto small things, I am talking about the air vent that is prominent on Post War Lancasters on the starboard side above the trailing edge of the wing. Blackbird models very kindly include this in their post war Lancaster set but it is the wrong shape being too round;



It also has a strange curve to the fuselage mating surface, last time I looked the Lancaster had a slab like fuselage;



A second check;



Nah! That does not work so it will have to be sorted too.


Filler was added to the outside edges of the air scoop and sanded to shape to better represent the real thing;





Now then, here's the thing, I think it is a little overscale, being too broad but if I sand it down to scale it will eat into the throat of the vent and I will end up with a small chasm and next to no material. I will stay with this until, if and when, some other idea presents itself.


Now onto things 'inbetween', the tail feathers. Again, these come as part of the Blackbird set and are nicely done, placed next to the original items the difference is evident, a larger trim tab that has altered the lower end of the rudder to a more squared appearance. Again, this was a post war modification that I think was connected to the Lincoln.....I think🤔;



The tail surfaces are now all assembled ready for final assembly, care needs to be taken as these can be fitted on the wrong side;


No drama here so onwards and upwards.


I have quietly been building the propellers and hub assembly bit by bit, they are simple affairs and probably don't merit much space here, other than to say that PA474 had the broader style blades fitted but what is probably the main point of interest on these are the colours, the spinners are a lovely plum colour. Rather than buy this colour I simply mixed my own by experimenting with red, green and blue. In this pic they look plain old red but they are not;



I was hoping to do more on this update but mother time has beaten me again so my next update will be a continuation of this.


Happy modelling folks.



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The elevators should have a bit filed/sanded off the outer end. This was to avoid any contact with the rudder.





This build is looking great!






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3 hours ago, Head in the clouds. said:

I am thinking poltergeists

Grantham is famous for them, Well know fact. 

The three lights under the fuselage will be the wartime 'colours of the day' lights, I imagine. Probably removed by the time of these flights?

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17 hours ago, Pete in Lincs said:

Probably removed by the time of these flights

If they removed easily solved Pete.


Prey tell regarding Granthams poltergeist infestation...👻, I know everywhere has sightings and such but never knew we were known for things that go bump in the night.

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19 hours ago, dogsbody said:

The elevators should have a bit filed/sanded off the outer end. This was to avoid any contact with the rudder.

Thanks Chris, looking at my photo and your illustration it makes sense now. No matter how hard I look at research pics I always miss things but as they say, once bitten...

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46 minutes ago, Head in the clouds. said:

Prey tell regarding Granthams poltergeist infestation...👻, I know everywhere has sightings and such but never knew we were known for things that go bump in the night.

Poltergeist, being a German word, doesn't tranlsate into Granthamese. The closest we got was '"Ere, did you hear that?" And....

Due to council cost cutting, all the street lamps go out at midnight. It makes reverse parking a very dodgy occupation and leads to bent car bodywork.

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