Wow, double digits on things that are not a train, or even in HO Scale. Yes friends and readers, I can be easily distracted sometimes by the shiny side project. This is one of those things I’ve wanted to do for years, build a model of an Avro Lancaster. There are some amazing kits in 1/72, 1/48 and now 1/32!! scale, but I definitely don’t have room for them, so I went with the baby of the bunch, 1/144 scale. Which is smaller than my regular HO Scale 1/87, I must be mad, there is already a reason I don’t do N Scale trains at 1/160!! In any event, its that time again, another “That’s No Train” project, past ones can be read about here: 1, 2, 3 (& 3.5), 4, 5, 6, 7 8 and 9!
I didn’t take a lot of pictures through the assembly, but here are a couple of me getting started, and of the final stages of getting it up on its wheels, and checking the props fit before painting.
For this project, I bought one of the A-Model 1/144 scale Lancaster kits, along with decals from Kits World, Scale Aircraft World white metal landing gear and KV Models pre-cut masks for painting the windows. I ordered everything from Hannants models in London England as they had everything and carry a large supply of aircraft kits and parts.
I am modelling the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum‘s Lancaster Mk.X which flies out of the museum in Hamilton. She is known as “Vera”, or a phonetic sounding of her alpha code VRA. The decal sheet I ordered has decals for the two flight-worthy Lancaster’s, the one in Hamilton and the Battle of Britain Memorial Fund’s in England. The 3rd Lancaster in the decal set is a privately owned one in England which there is also hope to return to flight some day. 1/144 scale kits are small, so its an interesting challenge for me getting everything together. I would say the A-Model kit is not the best quality on fit and finish. Everything went together, but certainly not without some convincing to get the body halves and the wings together and aligned.
Painting a Lancaster. Prepping, primer, brown on the top side, and then green top side markings. Painted by hand without masking. Decided to challenge myself and not have hard separations which seem unrealistic to me on planes churned out fast in a war.
For paint, I bought a Vallejo Model Air set of Bomber Command I started laying down brown over-top as the base for the camouflage. I then sprayed the dark green stripes. I looked at masking, and decided I wanted to try and do this free hand. I’ve never painted free hand like this before. A World War 2 bomber is a good candidate, as while modern repaints have nice clean lines, my sense is that in WW2 they were being painted fast, and wouldn’t have had as perfect paint lines. I also like the look of the lines fading. At the end of the day, as with everything I do, I am most concerned with my happiness than others opinions, and I don’t generally enter contests, so its not like I’m going to get marked down by some judge. I masked the top of the winds and fuselage so I could spray the black on the underside.
Masked and underside painted, then back to the workbench to start adding canopies/turrets and propellers.
I haven’t done many aircraft in a long time. Painting the cockpit frames always used to cause me grief, as I didn’t really understand masking, and I’ve built only a couple of aircraft when I first got an airbrush years ago, and since I’ve been more actively building the odd kit in the past few years, I’ve only built one aircraft that had no clear windows but which used decals for them all!
Applying pre-cut canopy masks and the results of painting the canopies. I wish I had had these things years ago when I was building plastic kits a bit more seriously!
With the canopies and turrets painted and installed, the last thing to do was the decals. The Kitsworld decals are gorgeous, not a lot of carrier film, and easy to apply and settle. My biggest complaint is that they are so small some of them, it was hard to find the right ones and get them cut off the sheet with three planes worth of decals crammed onto one small sheet. The instructions could have been better as well, the decals are not keyed, and the diagrams are not super clear, but, in such a small scale, it wasn’t the end of the world.
Applying decals and then light weathering, the distinctive streaks of exhaust across the upper wings that collects on Lancaster’s.
All in all, as with many of my projects, this one proceeded in fits and starts, where I would get things done for a bit, then set it aside for many reasons, then all of a sudden seemingly get things done and find myself looking at a finished project. I have wanted to build a model of a Lancaster for a long time, but it’s just never happened, for many reasons. Now, I have a nice and reasonably small Lancaster model in my collection.
The dreaded side by side. VRA on the ramp at Hamilton International in 2012, and in my photo box in 1/144 scale in 2022!
1/144 Scale Vera (VRA) gallery, the flying Lancaster of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. Complete and ready to find a home for display.