Next up, Airfix 1/72 Avro Lancaster Dambuster

My next kit will the nearly brand new tooling of the Avro Lancaster Dambuster. It’s a 1/72 scale subject of the British heavy bomber that attacked the Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr Valley in 1943. This is a commission build, but I think I’ll buy another kit because I’d like one in flight with the dam backdrop and those two searchlights beaming down upon the water (I think the searchlight parts are provided; they provided altitude information for the very low-level mission).

It’s really a beautiful kit and has been praised elsewhere. There’s practically no flash on the parts and from what I can tell, no sink holes or ejector pin marks that would normally be visible. There are engraved panel lines, that are truthfully a little too wide for my taste, but not enough that I want to cover them up and re-scribe.

I think most control surfaces can be posed and there’s enough interior detail considering the scale and the near impossibility of seeing inside. There is a Big Ed photo etch kit from Eduard that would supply painting masks, seatbelts, flap details, wing ribs and replacements for some of the pulleys that kept the Upkeep bomb spinning, but frankly the kit has enough detail to satisfy just about anyone. The machine guns that are on the sprue are so delicate and detailed you’d swear they were resin or photo etch. They’ll also be very easy to break.

Weighted tires are provided. There’s only a pilot figure and no provision for the rather flimsy looking co-pilot’s seat. Perhaps during the Operation Chastise mission the co-pilots were doing something else. The instrument panel is a decal. There’s also a decal of a map that goes on the  navigator’s or radio operator’s table. The Upkeep bomb is very nicely represented here and I don’t think you’ll miss the photo etch replacements pieces. Decals and painting instructions are provided for two of the 19 planes on the mission, but you don’t get the markings for Guy Gibson’s plane (he was the leader of the 617 squadron that attacked the dams).

color-chartThe only thing lacking on the model is rivets. There are some rivets here and there on the nacelles, but nothing on the fuselage or wings. To that end, I’ve bought Trumpeter’s Rivet Maker and I’ll give updates on how that proceeds.

The only parts that have a problem are the clear pieces for the cockpit—spider silk thin lines or ridges that I hope are on the inside, where it’ll be much easier to sand smooth. There do appear to be clear pieces not used on this B.III model, probably called for on the other two Lancaster kits Airfix sells. The Dambuster planes were heavily modified to accommodate the Upkeep bomb—the lower gun and upper middle gun turrets were removed and the bomb bay doors are notched for the bomb. There is an insanely small optional Lewis gun or Vickers K you can poke through the belly of plane.

One nice thing Airfix does on their website is gives you the Humbrol paint numbers for the kit, which goes well with the provided painting guide in the box. As best I can reckon, these are the closest ModelMaster Acryl matches for the Humbrol colors:

11 Silver / 4678 Silver
24 Trainer Yellow / 4721 Insignia Yellow
26 Khaki / 4789 Sandgelb RLM 79
29 Dark Earth / 4846 Dark Earth ANA 617
30 Dark Green / 4670 Dark Pearl Green
33 Black / 4768 Flat Black
53 Gunmetal / 4681 Gunmetal
56 Aluminium / 4677 Aluminum
60 Scarlet / 4633 Stop Light Red
61 Flesh / 4603 Skin Tone Warm Tint
62 Leather / 4704 Earth Red
78 Cockpit Green / 4862 Panzer Olivgrun RAL 6003
96 RAF Blue / 4744 Intermediate Blue
98 Chocolate / 4675 Rust

As soon as I can get all the needed paints (sometime this weekend), I’ll be starting. I’m really looking forward to this build. I made a hash of it when I was a kid and this is a chance to redeem myself.

UPDATE: Seatbelts are molded into the pilot figure. I don’t know how cheesy that will look, so I’ll probably leave off the pilot and scratch some seatbelts. CORRECTION, that’s the parachute harness of course molded onto the pilot. Oddly, he’s not wearing a Mae West. Also should mention that some parts like the wings have a slight texture that will need to be lightly sanded. The excellent review of this kit at mentions this texture aid in the mold release during manufacturing.

Also, I overlooked the fold-up co-pilot’s seat, which is included. It needed to fold up because otherwise it would block the path to the bombardier’s position. And sadly I have found some sink marks or depressions in the wings that will need to be puttied.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: