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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 19:29 pm 
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Airfix 1/72 Avro Lancaster B.III Dambuster (A09007) In-Box


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For something like 30 years the Airfix Lancaster (08002) was regarded as the best kit of this aircraft on the market with its derivatives (08004) Dambuster and (08006) Grand Slam. The arrival of a challenger from Revell caused some to question the detail of the Airfix kit, though not its accuracy as it was still regarded as better in outline shape than the pretender. But Airfix could not sit back and rely on the old tooling to maintain its bread and butter turnover and a whole new tool was designed and made. This is the first of the variations in output. We already know of the imminent B.II issue, and I’m sure a normal B.III and B.III Special will eventually ensue.
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The box gives this Skill Level 3. It has 3 Flying Hours token. The decals are printed by Cartograf and the kit is manufactured in India. The 24 page instruction booklet shows assembly in 110 exploded diagrams. The front page gives a history of the development of the aircraft and ordnance and of the raid itself; in English and French with other languages on page 2. Page 3 provides assembly advice in 12 languages and a legend for the icons used in the assembly instructions. Pages 4 to 21 contain the assembly instructions. 22 & 23 are for modelling notes and the rear exterior is blank. An additional A4 sheet is provided in full colour, printed on both sides, with instructions for painting and decal placement for:
    A. Avro Lancaster B.III (special), reserve aircraft flown by Flight Lieutenant Joseph Charles McCarthy DFC (Royal Canadian Air Force), No.617 Squadron, “Operation Chastise”, Royal Air Force Scampton, England, 16/17th May 1943.
    B. Avro Lancaster B.III (special), aircraft flown by Flight Lieutenant Robert Norman George Barlow DFC (Royal Australian Air Force), No.617 Squadron, “Operation Chastise”, Royal Air Force Scampton, England, 16/17th May 1943. Aircraft and crew lost in action

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Transparency runner

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the bouncing bomb

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new undercarriage arrangement

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exquisite detail

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exhausts and wheel bays/cowlings

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both types of propeller

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fuselage window apertures

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office detail

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wheel bay & flap detail

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bomb bay

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weighted wheels

What an improvement over the 08002 tooling :notworthy:

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 19:42 pm 
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Err WOW :shock: I'm about to start the old tooling but this blows it out the water ( no pun intended ). Definately on the list for some time this year.

Does it have apertures for the height spotlights Ratch ?

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 19:46 pm 
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I didn't look John :oops:
I'm sure the reviewer will fill in any blanks :geek:

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 20:09 pm 
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Looks very nice :)
Ratch, could you please tell me i there is a HS2 dome included in the transparancies?

Thanks,
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 20:21 pm 
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Hawk98 wrote:
Looks very nice :)
Ratch, could you please tell me i there is a HS2 dome included in the transparancies?

See dead-centre of the transparency sprue

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 20:25 pm 
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Ahh cheers, I didn't notice it there :)

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2013 20:47 pm 
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Its no use asking me more questions, the kit is packed ready for posting, so until the reviewer gets the kit (or someone else gets one) you'll have to wait :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sat 13 Apr 2013 09:15 am 
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That's looking great! I love see this kit in the shops very soon, In holland.

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr 2013 20:13 pm 
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Superb looking mouldings,might be tempted with this,built the older version and that WAS nice!

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr 2013 20:20 pm 
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dag nab it...another one on the wanted list :airhead: nice review Ratch :thumb:

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr 2013 21:49 pm 
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Got one on it's way from Airfix, that Club voucher is now spent.

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr 2013 22:50 pm 
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Impressive, :love: hope it goes together well . . .

Looks like there may be the option of a 'standard' aircraft being built what with the H2s and bomb bay mouldings ?? :drunk:
Would liked to have seen some of the instructions as the exhaust stacks were usual covered, perhaps again an option for post war model ?? :shrug:

Really looking forward to seeing this one despite the fact i have been gathering the 'old' standard bomber kit for my diorama for many years :nod:

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PostPosted: Mon 15 Apr 2013 21:51 pm 
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That is... well, beautiful. The old Airfix Lanc always looked exactly 'right' to me. I only hope this one does too when its all built! Can't wait for the Mk. II as well. I'll doubtless get one regardless of my conversion attempt!


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PostPosted: Mon 15 Apr 2013 22:13 pm 
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Lincolnlanc wrote:
Looks like there may be the option of a 'standard' aircraft being built what with the H2s and bomb bay mouldings ?? :drunk:
Would liked to have seen some of the instructions as the exhaust stacks were usual covered, perhaps again an option for post war model ?? :shrug:


Check out the transparencies:

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...there's a post war turret in there. Also on this sprue:

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...there's shrouded and un-shrouded exhausts.

Basically there's enough components for a variety of BI/III options, plus the turret moulding would suggest a 'Just Jane' issue of some sort. Am optional extra sprue with Mk VI nacelles would be very nice.

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PostPosted: Tue 16 Apr 2013 23:40 pm 
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I'm pleased to report that the postman safely delivered the review kit today, so I can make a start on answering some of the questions. Looking in the box, the mouldings are fantastic, and seem to include most of the parts required to produce a standard bomber, such as the bomb doors. However, I can't actually tell for sure, as other variants may come with an additional sprue (possibly including bombs?). Anyhow, rather than speculate further, I'll post up the photos and concentrate on the Dambuster variant that this boxing depicts.

The Aircraft and Marking options

Before taking a closer look at the instructions, we need to understand what the options are that are provided in the box. The kit provides parts and decals for two aircraft, ED825/G AJ-T and ED927 AJ-E. For anyone wondering about the "/G" suffix, it indicates an airframe containing secret equipment, which must have a sentry posted whilst it is on the ground. These suffixes were generally painted out before the aircraft fly over enemy territory. As for the two aircraft, ED927 was lost during the raid along with it's crew. However, the Upkeep mine actually remained intact, and there is a photo in the Imperial War Museum Archives of the mine with a German civilian stood alongside.

ED825 on the other hand actually survived the Operation. ED825 was initially assigned as the test aircraft at A&AEE Boscombe Down, and as a result is probably the most photographed of all the Dambusters. While there, it was fitted with a unique ventral gun position, equipped with a single Vickers machine gun. This makes identification of the airframe easy, even when the photo does not clearly show the serial. At this point, it did not carry squadron codes, just the ED825/G codes and national markings. The aircraft was not delivered to 617 Squadron until the day before the raid, at which point it received the AJ-T code. Some sources state that there was not time for this aircraft to receive the twin spotlight installation. The aircraft was assigned as a reserve airframe, but as one of the aircraft assigned to the second wave went unserviceable, the crew transferred over to AJ-T. They successfully bombed the Sorpe Dam, which was a rather difficult target. Due to the dam’s construction, the attack profile for this particular target was to drop down the side of the valley, fly along the length of the dam and drop the Upkeep mine directly onto the Dam (rather than flying perpendicular to the dam and bounce the mine across the water’s surface). As such, the bomb was not spun for this attack. Flt Lt McCarthy flew repeated approaches before the bomb aimer was finally satisfied, dropping the mine on the 10th attack. One other aircraft reached and bombed the dam, but despite the two hits, the dam survived.

On the way back home, ED825 actually overflew the Mohne Dam, receiving fire from the air defences that his squadron had already given cause to be very alert. As a result, ED825 spent some time after the raid under repair, and during this period would have lost the Upkeep carriage equipment. However, the modifications made meant that the bomb doors were never to be refitted. On return to 617 Squadron, ED825 was recoded to AJ-E, and kept this code until lost over France approximately 7 months after Operation Chastise. The mission on which it was lost was to drop supplies to SOE agents. The Vickers machine gun was apparently not carried at this time, though the hatch/fittings remained. The crash site was only recently located, and it was this hatch that confirmed beyond doubt the identity of the aircraft. The hatch is now on display in Grantham Museum. I’m pleased to say that you’ll also find it and the Vickers MG on the sprues supplied in the box.

So, why all the background information? It is mainly to highlight the fact that even with just the decals in the box, you could model ED825 at any point in it’s career, with little deviation from the instructions. All you need do is decide when you are trying to depict the aircraft. Anyhow, this brings us to the painting guides. First of all, this is ED927:
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And this is ED825:
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Which seems a good time to look at the decals again. They are printed by Cartograph, which is rather ironic as they include a decal for the maps to go on the navigator’s table:
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Instructions

They start off with the usual cover page explaining the background to the Operation, but surprisingly do not give additional information on the 2 aircraft for which decals are provided.
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The next two pages are taken up with the translations of page 1 and the usual Airfix assembly information.
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And then we come to building the model:
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Take note of the Vickers gun installation option for ED825 in steps 18 and 19, and assembly of the undercarriage bays in 22 to 26.
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In steps 35 to 38 and 46 to 48, note that both sides of the radiators are supplied.
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In step 64 to 67 note the dropped flap option.
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In step 72, note part G12 and in step 85, note part G7. These are the spotlight installations for judging altitude.
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The turrets go on rather late compared to the build of the old mould kit, but that also means you could leave them off until most of the painting is done.
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On the final page, you get a treat, in that you can elect to build a bomb trolley for the Upkeep mine.
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And finally, the booklet ends with a couple of pages for notes as Ratch pointed out earlier.
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Next we’ll be taking a closer look at the sprues
James

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 00:59 am 
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The Sprues
In each case, aside from the transparencies, I’ll show you photographs of both sides of the full sprue (except for the transparencies, where this is rather pointless), and then some close ups of particular items. I apologise for any duplication with the shots already posted by Ratch, but it’s easier to post the things that caught my attention than to remove them. So, making a start, lets look at the transparencies as these seem to have attracted the most comment so far.
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The H2S radome is partially frosted on the inside, presumably as a guide for painting. As has already been noted by Peebeep, there are two rear turret types supplied. Based on what I've seen so far though, there doesn't seem to be a twin .50 cal option if anyone is looking for it. {EDIT - actually that's exactly what this second turret is, and the guns are included on one of the other sprues. However, you only get a single part for the other side of the turret and the same for the floor, so you effectively get one and a third rear turrets in the box}
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Also present are both the original blunt and the later, rounded, versions of the bomb-aimer’s position, as well as both flat and blistered windows for the canopy. Sadly, the way these are moulded, I don't think you can do them open without cutting the part, but it shouldn't take much effort.
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This is Sprue A:
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Looking in more detail, I found myself drawn to the detail in the interior...
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...and the flaps and wheel bays...
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...as well as the control surfaces, wheels and bomb-bay
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Here’s Sprue B
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There’s some impressive detail on the underside of the wing
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And also on the rudders and fins
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Sprue C includes the bomb doors and some other interesting items. These include the aerials fitted either side of the nose on some late production machines (corner of the sprue furthest from the undercarriage doors), turret blanking plates, and next to the undercarriage doors 12 bomb carriage fittings for a bomber variant. Many of these parts won’t be needed for the Dambuster build, but it gives a taster for the future variants.
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Also included on this sprue is the single crewman
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This is Sprue D
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Of note on this one is the flap detail...
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...the detail on the gun barrels...
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...and the walls for the wheel bays
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Sprue E is almost totally taken up by parts for the engines.
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Again, there’s some nice detail on both sides of the radiators.
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As has been mentioned elsewhere, Sprue E also includes the parts for both the exhausts and the shrouds.
Sprue G is the dedicated sprue for the Dambuster variant. It includes parts for the Upkeep Mine, bomb trolley, and the modifications for this variant including the searchlights. Also on this sprue are the Vickers MG and hatch.
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Summary
Overall, I’m really excited to have received this kit. It looks really good, and the extra parts indicate that the future variants will be great too. The panel lines are generally well done, being less deep than on some previous kits, and hopefully are about the right depth to keep the majority happy. The kit itself seems very well researched (I was half expecting to find that the Vickers option was not included for example). I think at this stage, my biggest criticism is the fact that only one crew member is included. Otherwise, I’ve nothing more to say about it other than I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes together.

Meanwhile thank you to Ratch for providing the opportunity and to Airfix for providing the kit.
James

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Last edited by PaveShadow on Thu 02 May 2013 01:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 12:59 pm 
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This is 1/72!!!!

I had to go back and check just to be sure. I got to get one of these. Looks superb. Look forward to the build review.

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 16:11 pm 
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Splendid kit. Hard to believe there are three quality Lancaster kits out there now. We are truly living in The Golden Age. Whippersnappers...take note!

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 16:18 pm 
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The only Lanc I have ever made was in the BBMF kit, and the Spitfire and Hurricane in that kit were just as bad as the LAnc, I really look forward to getting myself one of these. My reslution not to add the the stash has now been sorely tested (not for the first time). Need to start dropping hints for my next birthday in July.

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 17:27 pm 
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Sorry, I couldn't tell from the instructions, but I don't suppose any of you would know whether the turrets will be fixed or rotatable?

Tom


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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 17:39 pm 
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Very good question Tom. As usual, the symbol for "do not cement" is a square. However I can't find a single example of it being used on this kit. However the props and guns all look like they'll be moveable if assembled carefully. So, while I can't answer for the turrets yet, I will aim to produce the built model with moveable turrets, so you'll know by the time I finish the build.
James

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 18:10 pm 
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I thought the newer Revell kit was good, but this is simply stunning. :clapping:

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 18:41 pm 
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Cheers James

Tom


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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr 2013 19:21 pm 
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I think with these new kits it would appear that the turrets rest in place so they can be moved. It looks like they've gone for accuracy over functionality, or that's the way it appears with the Revell Halifax which has similar turret layout, ( well accurate with regards to the turrets at least)

Great review, got to get me some of these.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr 2013 09:57 am 
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Very nice review.

My only criticism, from looking at the sprue shots, is that the crew entry door (starboard fuselage in front of the tail) is moulded closed. With the famous photo of Gibson's crew just about to board through this door in mind, it would have been nice to have it moulded separately, but a few minutes' work will soon sort that!

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