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Sacre Bleu! C'est un Shaque!
This happened because I really needed an H2S blister for my Winchester GR.2 (see Mike's Pick to see what it looked like without one) and while I couldn't find a suitable shape in my spares box I did find a fistful of Lancaster/Lincoln/Shackleton treatises and a selection of apposite decals. Hannants' search engine revealed the Czechmaster 1:144th Shackleton MR.1 kit, which came with a choice of two, and therefore left me with a whole kit to find a scheme for, and on a second consultation I found the Berna Aeronavale Lancaster set; after that I looked no further. Working on a possible scenario of the French navy looking to replace their ageing Lancs, a refurbished Shackleton GR.1 fitted my elastic logic, and Martin Derry's Flightcraft book on the Lancaster had good coverage of the the French aircraft with photos of a Tony O'Toole model in 1:72 in the dark blue scheme, and a colour profile which showed me much of the upper surface walkway markings which I was able to adapt from those in the kit's excellent decal sheet (I forbore from translating the "no steps", though).
I'd set aside Tamiya's X-3 for the dark blue - I suppose that if I'd stuck to the possible timescale it should have been all white, but... - and I was taken somewhat aback by the shade of blue on the decal instructions being rather faded; I expect the Pacific sun to be hot, but not hot enough to fade the colour that much. Bolstered by the pictures of Tony O'Toole's model I stuck to plan A, and I'm very content with the result. The quality of the kit was first class, but I did make something of a dog's breakfast - le petit dejeuner du chien? - with the props, several of the blades becoming detached and having to be re-attached to the spinner; two or three had run away altogether, and my fettling of their replacements was rather more clumsy than I'd have liked. Apart from my liking the idea of un Shaque, a type that has been much on my modelling mind recently, I also wanted it to act in the same way as my two little Vampires, to be positioned close to my Coastal Command Winchester to show just how Giant the Giant Bomber really is. I hope to have the toute ensemble at St.Ives this coming weekend to amuse those Good Chaps of the Brampton Branch; if you can't make it .....
As promised/threatened my production line of the Vickers Winchester (aka Giant Bomber) continues, though probably not for much longer; my MasterPlan goes no further than this year's ScaleModelWorld. My original intent was for this one to be in '50s Lincoln colours, but I was nudged into this role and consequent scheme by Airfix's release of the Boeing Fortress B.III in service with 100 Group; ever since the appearance of Martin Streetly's book "Confound and Destroy" I've found this aspect of Bomber Command operations, and their equipment, fascinating. The requirement for a bomber support role for the Winchester presupposes a longer war against sophisticated opposition, but I've maintained "European" colours and markings rather than redecorating one for a far east role (I've already submitted my contribution to Tiger Force). I had a further reason for picking this role and unit; long ago when I was gainfully employed one of my air traffic colleagues had been a 223 Squadron navigator, and this therefore carries the individual letter W. The functional additions are a large mast half way along the top of the fuselage, which you will recognize as part of the Airborne Grocer system (me neither); and there are "toast rack" aerials either side of the tail guns which are not strictly accurate but represent the Monica tail warning radar. Martin Streetly published "The Aircraft of 100 Group" in 1984, whichi has a distinct bias towards the modeller in his description and illustrations of the specialist kit fitted to types from the Anson to the Mosquito. Apart from convincing aerials one of the problems I find in modelling in this scale is finding decals of about the right size; the upper wing 'B' type roundels came from the Xtradecal Tiger Moth set!
I've really enjoyed making both this particular model and its siblings, all of which are due to accompamy me to Telford. One self-imposed guideline which I've broken is the size of the completed model, even in this scale; my rule of thumb for helpng me to find a space on a shelf is that it shouldn't be bigger than a 1:72nd Canberra (thanks to Mel Bromley I should be able to check that out after SMW!). I'm very grateful to Fantastic Plastic and the Anigrand for the opportunity to fulfil this wish thirteen years after Keith Woodcock's painting caught my eye, and to Crecy for publishing it in the first place (where would I be without them?). Oh well, perhaps just one more then! 18.10.17....
I was looking for an H2S blister for the 223 Squadron aircraft at the IPMS Brampton show at St.Ives, and remembered that the one that Mike Verier very kindly, and quickly, sent me had come from an AModel "Dambusters" Lancaster kit, and was surplus to his needs; I figured that if I could find a similar kit I could find an entertaing way to utilise the rest of it. On the Tiger Hobbies stand I found such a kit, and as I picked it up I noticed the small pile of Canadian Lancaster MR 10s and hesitated; not only did it have the same sprue of transparencies but also a useful set of decals and an informative and attractive box top painting, leading me to the instant conclusion that this scheme would look good on the Giant Bomber which was on its way from Fantastic Plastic. This would satisfy my requirement to wear red, white and blue roundels, and besides as you will know I have a soft spot for the Royal Cowboy Air Force ever since they taught me to fly.
After the first three - though at this stage I was still working on the B.I(BS) - I had worked up a routine for putting the bits together which varied slightly from the instructions, and with 6G-W in a condition to be moved to one side of the workbench I started on the propellors and undercarriage. In this kit only one of the forty-eight prop blades arrived detached from its hub, which made my life somewhat easier, and after getting another batch of Trumpeter's Model Clamps from Hannants - fortunately Tony Cowell could remember what they were called - one end of the workbench looked like a small windfarm. As I've mentioned before the kit is very well cast, and relatively simple to assemble; I found it helpful to insert the main u/c legs in to the engine nacelles before attacing their doors, but ensuring that all six mainwheels touched the tarmac at the same time was no problem.
Adapting the Lancaster colour scheme to what was now of course the Winchester MR10 was straightforward, and as well as the boxtop painting I was able to call on Pat Martin's invaluable "RCAF Aircraft Finish and Markings 1947-1968"; Plan A had been to use the kit decals, but I thought that the blue of the roundels was altogether too light and shuffling through my RCAF decals for replacements they were found not unexpectedly on one of Mike Belcher's sets for a 1:48th C-45. As wll as the roundels these also gave me the "Red Ensign" fin flashes in place of the WWII-style decals. I also stumbled by chance on the Scale Aircraft Modelling Vol.30 No.3 whose Aircraft in Profile was "Special Lancasters" and among the colour side views by the sadly-missed Dave Howley was the aircraft featured in the kit.
Just so often I achieve an "A-Team" conclusion. "I love it when a plan comes together" and in this case it applies both to this individual aircraft and to the group of four. The original Plan was for a pair, and while I wouldn't say that it got out of hand it did take me over - just a little. My aim was to be able to take the quartet to Telford and trust to Martin Higgs to find enough room to arrange them in a Pleasing Pattern (I hope to add a smallish jet fighter to give an idea of comparative size). I'm trying really hard to suppress any ideas of a scheme for a fifth; so far I'm winning, but after all one of the joys of Telford is to acquire surreptitiously some else's Good, but so far unthought of, Idea. For those of you who make the Great North West Trek I hope to see, and of course talk to, you there. 05.11.17 ...
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