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Dennis7423

HK Models Avro Lancaster Mk.I WIP: Rear Turret Internals 12/13/19

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Since I have completed my HK 1/32 B-17G, it's time to get cracking on another project. My brother and I were contracted two years ago to build some large scale kits for a flight museum that will open in Salt Lake City, Utah in a few years. I figure, why not get started on another kit!

 

The plan for the museum display is to show, in large-scale, the bombing campaign in Europe using heavy bombers, their escorts, and their opposition. We have completed a B-17E so far, with a B-17F, B-17G, B-24D, B-24J, and Lancaster planned for the heavies. The hope is to make them more or less as accurate as possible, to help share the story of the bombing campaign against Germany. The museum has given us pretty free reign as far as what specific aircraft we model, as long as it was operational in the European campaign.

 

I chose to get started with the HK Models 1/32 Lancaster. After having so much fun building their B-17G, I wanted to get cracking on another one of their excellent kits.

 

So, in steps Lancaster Mk.I EE139, "Phantom of the Ruhr". Originally assigned to 100 Squadron on May 31st, 1943, she went on to fly 121 missions, including 15 trips to Berlin. I plan to model her during her early years, where she wore fuselage codes HW-R. She was later assigned to 550 Squadron, and bore fuselage codes BQ-B.

 

48909999276_ca514ec936_b.jpga3425306814_10 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

While I don't have any in-progress shots yet, I have started on a few small modifications to the kit (chopped up the cockpit floor). Here's what I can glean from photos so far, and I would love any input anyone can provide for this particular airframe:

 

She was an early Mk.I, without side blisters to her canopy. Additionally, from photographs, it appears that she has aluminum interiors to her front turret, aluminum landing gear legs, and aluminum hubs to her wheels. All signs point to her being a very early Mk.I.

 

48910167816_7f1dbb7868_k.jpgPhantomofTheRuhrBefore100thOperation by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

48909999196_3972b76598_k.jpgimg012 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

48909469048_f749841734_z.jpg24336d1142014385-lanc-phantomoftheruhr_144 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

48909469043_e29c09cef2.jpg08741b6a17bc6f1e690930dc43d2f8c5 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Here's a few questions I have for the boffins:

 

1. What type of bomb sight would she have? I have a feeling she has an early SABS (Stabilized Automatic Bomb Sight) because she is such an early bird, but I am not sure, and its not entirely clear in the photos.

 

2. Would she have her fuselage windows painted over on the sides? (EDIT: It looks like in the last photo I posted, that she does indeed her her windows. I hadn't noticed that before).

 

Hoping you all follow along on what will surely be a long journey once again. Thanks for tuning in!

 

- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

Edited by Dennis7423

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If she was an early production Lanc, and the yellow gas detection circle on her nose suggests this, then she will definitely have the “windows” in the fuselage. 
 

Further to the above, EE139 was part of the batch of Lancasters (488 in total) built at Newton Heath/Chadderton under Contract No.B.69274/40 delivered between November 1942 and June 1943. According to my source (The Lancaster Story by Peter Jacobs) she was actually a Mk III, meaning that she had American built Packard Merlins rather than the British built Rolls Royce Merlins. There was no external difference. 

Edited by mozart

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12 hours ago, mozart said:

If she was an early production Lanc, and the yellow gas detection circle on her nose suggests this, then she will definitely have the “windows” in the fuselage. 
 

Further to the above, EE139 was part of the batch of Lancasters (488 in total) built at Newton Heath/Chadderton under Contract No.B.69274/40 delivered between November 1942 and June 1943. According to my source (The Lancaster Story by Peter Jacobs) she was actually a Mk III, meaning that she had American built Packard Merlins rather than the British built Rolls Royce Merlins. There was no external difference. 

 

Interesting stuff there Max, dont know to much about Lancs so thanks for sharing and worth remembering for a future build.

 

Regards. Andy 

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A very, very small update today, and a request for some further information from the experts.

 

I started by chopping out the cockpit floor where the pilot's pedestal was located. I will lower it, and work on some details underneath it that would be visible from the nose before placing it back into place. Cut, insert plastic card, superglue the bejeezes out of the joins, sand, and voila. Good enough for the folks at home. This is essentially step one towards correcting the cockpit area:

 

48941558856_d18fc5cd8b_k.jpg73071521_638880206518523_1822513833835495424_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Step two will begin shortly, and that entails correcting the pilot's seat. It's positioned wrong on the pedestal, and the seat bottom is far too long. I have glued the two base pieces together so that I can begin the surgery process:

 

48941750697_688d85bc91_k.jpg72917119_701178707031621_7925287475231064064_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Other cockpit modifications will include correcting the angle of the instrument panel support, wiring, piping, and ribbing on the fuselage halves to hide the wing attachment points.

 

I also purchased a really nice resin RAF parachute from True Details, which I will modify to more accurately represent the ones used by bomber crews. I'll then cast some copies, and put them in their appropriate homes inside the fuselage.

 

48941558816_a5c36ad2f5_k.jpg74417322_689998301485772_3716218318265253888_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Work continues slowly on the fuselage, and much faster on the wings. I am in the process of getting the outer nacelles attached to the wings, and hope to have that completed next week. I'm also going to try (very carefully) to drill out the main canopy where the starboard blister will attach, so its actually hollow inside rather than just plastered to the outside of the canopy. Wish me luck. Folks here have pointed out that Phantom likely had the starboard blister, so I will add it to my build.

 

I've been able to deduce from photographs of Phantom that she had natural metal internals for her nose turret. Would the entire nose turret have natural metal internals, or just some pieces? I haven't been able to find many reference photos of the turret internals, let alone photos showing early war ones that weren't painted jet black. Does anyone have any photos they would be willing to share? Additionally, would the upper and tail turret also have natural metal internals like the nose turret? Those I have absolutely no reference photos of, especially of Phantom.

 

Thanks for tuning in folks! As always, comments and critiques are welcome.

 

- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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I’m surprised to hear you talk about a “natural metal finish” inside Lancaster turrets, I’ve been in a few and they’ve all been black. 

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7 hours ago, mozart said:

I’m surprised to hear you talk about a “natural metal finish” inside Lancaster turrets, I’ve been in a few and they’ve all been black. 

Hi Max,

If I look at the photographs shown here, there is a light color visible, but this could be interior green, not necessarily natural metal finish.

 

Alain

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7 minutes ago, Alain Gadbois said:

Hi Max,

If I look at the photographs shown here, there is a light color visible, but this could be interior green, not necessarily natural metal finish.

 

Alain

Agreed Alain, it looks remarkably pale.....I really can't explain that.  I'll look at my library of Lancaster photographs to see if I can find anything of a similar ilk that might throw light onto the matter.

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From the research I have been doing, it appears to be a natural metal color, rather than a British interior green shade:

 

48947653148_378f8c3ea4_b.jpgAvRo Lancaster B.Mk.1 R5666 44 Squadron KM-F front FN5 turret detail (WM TR188) by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

48947653193_25ac5c19e3_b.jpgAvRo Lancaster B.Mk.1 June 1942 front FN5 turret detail (IWM TR20) by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Of interesting note, too, in the second photo, it appears the turret is camouflaged consistent with the airframe, rather than the standard overall black we're used to seeing. Could also be a Manchester, too.

 

 

Thoughts?

 

- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

Edited by Dennis7423

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I found a little bench time this morning, so I got cracking on Phantom a little bit more.

 

I turned my attention to the nose turret, building off the research we've been discussing lately. Why not, as the mojo is currently situated there.

 

The Lancaster bomber used a Frazer-Nash FN5 nose turret. The kit's turret is quite nice out of the box, but has some subtle shape issues. That, and I can't leave well enough alone. Additionally, with much of her innards not going to be the standard black we're used to, it's going to be a focal point of the model. I needed to kick it up a notch, even if only subtly. 

 

The easiest mod for the kit parts is drilling out the various lightening holes in the different structures. A simple, quick task immediately improves the look:

 

48963794821_ee96cd333a_k.jpgreceived_407179460227530 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Another simple task is to separate the gun sight from the turret controls. These are molded as one piece in the kit, but the sight traversed up when the guns were elevated. For a kit with the turret guns in a flat, level position, you could get away with it. I elected to separate them:

 

48963972652_a9c241ef72_k.jpgreceived_416354449055998 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

I also drilled out the gun sight, which is solid. I'll put some Tamiya clear yellow in there when it's painting time to capture the amber color.

 

A more obvious niggle with the kit are the upper support arms for the turret. On the kit, they are molded as straight triangles:

 

48963973087_bdac92a47c_k.jpgreceived_666987883829619 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

On the real thing, they are an intricately curved and rotated piece of metal:

 

48963972527_2983c99ecc_h.jpgreceived_426209424753274 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

So, out with the needle files, and away I went. Fortunately, the plastic is thick enough to reshape what's there to better capture that piece:

 

48963973202_64cba797ab_k.jpgreceived_2394091067507472 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Drill out the lightening holes, thin the plastic, remove the shoddy ammo belt (this will be replaced later), and fill the ejector pin marks, and voila. We're off to greener pastures:

 

48963794946_5ea7d6c321_k.jpgreceived_1419364988236883 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

 

Now I've just got to complete the other side. Then, do the same for the upper turret. Piece of cake! It's the little things, right?

 

- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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