Hasegawa 1/72 Lancaster Tp 80
KIT #: 00553
PRICE: £26.99  (ON SALE)
DECALS: Two kit options
REVIEWER: Torben Plesberg
NOTES: Conversion


 My first real aircraft model was the AVRO Lancaster – the classic Airfix kit. I bought the kit in 1960 for 12  Danish kroner ( roughly = 1,80 USD in the present currency exchange rate). The kit was assembled and painted in the recommended camouflage scheme. Humbrol Colors were unknown to me at that time, but I bought some small cans of paint in the local bicycle shop. I had to mix the colors myself, but I  did not  even have a color photo of a Lancaster as reference, so my shades were purely guess-work. The paint descriptions ”dark green” and ”dark earth” were my only clues for  mixing  the shades. My dark green turned up to be acceptable, but my dark earth was too brown and too dark. The model was painted before gluing the wings and tail planes to the fuselage. This was the easiest way of doing the painting. The sides and bottom surfaces, spinners, propellers and gear got no paint, as the plastic was already black. I took some black and white photos of the finished model  and the camouflage pattern was invisible on the model! The colors had apparently exactly the same black/white value. I was 14 years old and rather content with the result of my efforts.

 53 years later I wanted to build a second Lancaster. But now I was an experienced modeler – even professional for a period of 5 years with my own firm. I bought a Hasegawa kit, which was on sale at half the normal price. This price was, however, 20 times as much as I paid for the Airfix kit, but corresponding well with the general inflation through the period of + 50 years.

 One year before this purchase I got an interesting book as an Xmas present: Björn Karlström's ”Flygplansritningar 5” dealing with the transport planes of the Flygvapnet (the Swedish Air Force) from 1926 to 1989. In this splendid collection of aircraft drawings (mostly to a 1/72 scale) I  found the Tp 80, the sole Swedish Lancaster. This aircraft was going to be my model – based on the Hasegawa kit of the Lancaster Mk I/III in scale 1/72.             

 When SAAB was working on the development of the Lansen fighter,  STAL simultaneously was working on the development of a suitable jet engine to be used in the Lansen. Everybody knows the SAAB company, but only a few knows STAL. STAL or Svenska Turbinfabriks AB Ljungström was founded in 1913 and was a specialist on constructing steam turbines for powerplants. The STAL company delivered in 1932  a very  powerful steam turbine to the Västerås Steam Powerplant. The efficiency of this turbine exceeded 90%, a world record at that time for efficiency of steamturbines.

In the late forties STAL began developing gas turbines for jet engines. The company hoped to get orders from the Flygvapnet. At the same time SAAB was developing jet aircraft for the Flygvapnet – the Tunnan and the Lansen. And it is here the Tp 80 gets into the picture: The Flygvapnet needed a flying testbed for the testing of the STAL Dovern jet engine. Rolls Royce has named their jet engines after English rivers: Nene, Avon, Spey, Trent etc. STAL named their product after a small lake in the vicinity of the factory in Finspång, which is located about 25 kilometers north of Linköping, where the test center of the Flygvapnet (Fc) is situated at Malmen.

In 1950 the Flygvapnet ordered a Lancaster by AVRO. The plane should be modified as a flying testbed according to the specifications of the Flygvapnet. AVRO did their task and the aircraft was delivered in 1951 and was attached to the Fc at Malmen, and got the designation Tp 80 and the serial number 80001.

The Fc performed more than 100 flights testing the Dovern engine, however, the Dovern never completely fulfilled the expectations of the Flygvapnet. The engine would under certain circumstances suddenly loose the major part of its power – and this is unacceptable in a military fighter plane. So the big order for jet engines for the Lansen went to Rolls Royce. The Avon engine was just suitable for the Lansen production, and later for the Draken. Rolls Royce delivered Avon engines for the prototypes only, all other engines were licence built by another well known Swedish company: the Volvo Aero in Trollhättan, Svenska Flygmotor division.

The flying tests continued, however, with the Tp 80, but now it was a Swedish designed afterburner for the Avon engine, which was being tested. Now and then the Tp 80 also had some completely different tasks, which it was well suited to do, such as photography of aircraft in the air. The Flygvapnet made a recruiting movie on the J 33 Venom: Nattjakt (night fighting!). If the casing around the opening for the tail turret is removed, it leaves a 180 degrees free view backwards, and the aircraft makes up a perfect platform for a camera operator. Most of the air scenes were filmed from the tail of the Tp 80.

We are now in 1956, when the test-flights suddenly came to an end. During a flight with an after-burner engine, the Tp 80 caught fire and crashed in flames. Unfortunately just 2 of the 4 crew members managed to bale out in time. A sad end of the Lancaster era in the Flygvapnet! 

At last it should be mentioned, that  STAL managed to solve all the problems of the Dovern engine, and it turned out to be a successful industrial powerplant. An updated version of the Dovern engine is obtainable even today!


Compared to the old Airfix kit from 1958 the Hasegawa kit represents a huge step towards  a realistic model. The Airfix kit was a toy rather than a scale model. At that time rivets were compulsory – but hopelessly out of scale. On a close-up photo of the BBMF Lancaster, I calculated that on the fuselage between the canopy and the bomb bay door there are approximately 2800 rivets – starboard side only! This area on the model is roughly 2 by 4 cm, and  this means, that one square cm has 350 rivets. Rivets have nothing to do on small-scale models. But if we talk of scale 1/16 or even bigger, the rivets may be realistic.

The Hasegawa kit consists of 275 parts in light grey and clear plastic and  is without rivets. In return there are some screw heads on the engine cowling parts – and that is OK with me. Recessed panel lines seem to be wanted by modelers of the 21st century, but has anyone tried to calculate the scale-correct size of these scratches? They are probably out of scale in the same way as the rivets were 50 years ago! I would prefer no panel lines at all for a model to a 1/72 scale. Some modelers even scratch their own panel lines. The effort should rather be to secure the shape of the parts provided and to what extent optional parts should be used – or not.

 The classic Airfix kit consisted of 75 parts in black and clear plastic. The moveable parts were numerous: ailerons, elevators, main wheels, propellers, turrets and guns. This priority shows that the model basically is a toy! Moveable parts are not a priority of the Hasegawa kit – and thanks for that. Only the propellers are calculated to be turnable. A big step forward is, that you can press the propellers in place after they have been painted as the last operation to finish the model. They are moveable and will not fall off again! And all this thanks to 4 poly caps, which were  unknown in 1958.

 I will especially point out parts no A 12 and A 33, since these parts make it possible to assemble the wings and tail planes to the fuselage without using glue! This is really something I could wish was the case for a lot of other kits.

 The decal material is not better now than 50 years ago. The print is in return much better and more detailed, and there are far more decals on the sheet. Options were unknown in 1958. Only the most important decals for a single aircraft was at hand. The Hasegawa decal sheet offers 3 alternative aircraft to be depicted. You have a choice. But the Hasegawa decals are not perfect: the white is not white but rather off white. And there are some spelling mistakes: ”wark” for walk and ”eich” for Reich. And that is too bad!

 The Hasegawa kit is modern and very well engineered, and the parts fit almost perfectly together. It will produce a realistic and correct small replica of the real thing – if you have the necessary skill and patience! There are a few shortcomings of the Hasegawa kit, but these will be mentioned in the relevant places in the construction paragraph. For the Tp 80 I used only 128 of the 275 parts supplied with the kit.


I shall mainly deal with the necessary operations needed to change the Hasegawa standard Lancaster Mk.I into the highly specialised Swedish version: the Tp 80. The changes relate to the fuselage, the fins and the gear. Wings, tail planes and engines are unchanged.

 The fuselage:

  All the small narrow windows should be deleted. I did this as follows:  On the inner sides I glued a length of o,75 mm ABS strip over the window openings. And on the outer sides small rectangular pieces of 1 x 2 mm ABS were glued in the openings. Filler was used in both ends of the rounded openings. Then sanding and filling a couple of times untill all of the openings were completely gone and the fuselage sides were absolutely smooth. I might of course have used the clear  windows of the kit, but I prefer to have a large stock of spare parts.                                                                                                           

The opening of the long bomb bay was reinforced by gluing 2 pieces of 3 x 3 mm ABS strip on the inner sides. And this reinforcement offered furthermore a firm plane for gluing the new fuselage bottom with the jet pod in place. A test assembly of the two fuselage halves revealed, that the plastic piece supposed to keep the tail planes in place could be moved about one mm sideways. I wanted this support to be absolutely firm, and I did this by gluing 2 small strips of 0,5 mm ABS on either side of the inner side of the slot. Now the tail plane support was firm, when the fuselage halves were pressed together.

The next operation was to make everything which should be done before the final assembly of the fuselage. This included painting of the interior of the cockpit area.  All the walls should be interior green (Humbrol no 78) and the furniture and instrument panel flat black (Humbrol no 33). The decals with instruments and radio were omitted, since they can´t be seen from the outside anyway. Don`t use effort and time on something unnecessary! The fuselage was then glued together using K 200 – a fast drying glue which hardens in 5 minutes. And I could immediately after do the nessessary filling and sanding – an easy job, because the halves fit so well together.

The assembly of the two fuselage halves demands some careful planning, especially if you use a fast drying glue. It is a good thing to exercise this operation 3-5 times without glue – just to learn your fingers exactly what to to, and do it fast and without failures. And you will know how much tape and other fastenings you need to make a perfect assembly.

As the Tp 80 is unarmed the 3 turrets should be omitted and the openings sealed. In both ends of the fuselage it was necessary to make a casing conformal with the openings. These were made of  two pieces of Ureol, which were roughly formed and glued in place. The after casing should be glued to the parts no 11 & 12. The new twin tail wheel should, however, be in place before the casing is glued on! (I shall deal with the tail wheels later.)

The final shaping of the two casings was done very carefully using a small diamond sanding drum with a mini drilling machine. This tool is most useful for shaping without touching the plastic parts. The openings on the dorsal and the belly could be closed by optional parts from the kit. Some filling and sanding was necessary to seal the openings properly.

The new bottom piece of the fuselage, which was to replace the bomb bay doors, was made of an appropriate piece of Ureol. The shape was made according to Karlström`s drawing in ”Flygplansritningar 5”. The width was kept 1 mm too much to ensure a precise matching to the fuselage after being glued in place. The precise matching was a milling job. And the milling could not have been done without the 3 x 3 mm reinforcements mentioned earlier, which secured a firm fixation of the  fuselage during the milling procedure.

The jet pod.

 The jet pod was cut from a piece of Ureol with the contours from the side and from the bottom. The exhaust pipe should be made in brass, and was a job for the lathe. The intake was made around an 8 mm hole in the center of the front. The hole was drilled about 3 cm down. On either side of the 8 mm hole a 4 mm hole was drilled 2 cm down. The material between the holes was carefully milled away, and the oval F-100 like air intake was the final result. After the intake was formed, the hole in the hot end was drilled, also using the 8 mm drill – and only this. The exhaust pipe opening is circular.

Next the exhaust pipe was turned in brass. I tried first to make it in a mixture of acryl and brass, but the result was not good enough. All the time you learn by your mistakes – but mistakes often come before a success! The jet pod was attached to the new bottom piece by means of a pair of 2 mm brass rods. This made it possible to separate the parts again for the ultimate adaptation to the fuselage. And at last I made the front piece of the Dovern engine and pressed it into the bottom of the intake opening. Now you can see that there is something inside the jet pod!

At length the final shaping of the jet pod  could be done. All unnecessary material was to be removed – until the right shape was obtained. As the drawing did not show all of the shape, I used all available photos of the original Tp 80 as reference. The jet pod was finished when there was no apparent difference between the model and the documentation. However, this will not guarantee the model to be 100 % correct! A model can never be more correct than the documentation allows. The documentation is  - as in this case – often incomplete. The best documentation will be the photos you take of the object you want to model. But for very good reasons I did not have this option.

The biggest problem, however,  turned out to be the connection between the bottom and the jet pod. It took quite some time and numerous disconnections of the jet pod from the bottom to sand a smooth connection without spoiling the shape of either the jet pod or the bottom. But at length I was satisfied with the result.

The fins

The fins  should be modified to the Lincoln-type,  a rather easy operation. I simply cut the rear downward corner off and replaced it by a small ABS plate of the correct thickness. The correct shape was just a matter of sanding. The finished Lincoln fin was, however, 3 mm too short compared with the Karlström drawing. Was Hasegawa or Karlström wrong – or both of them? This is a genuine documentation problem!

I made several measurements on the photos of the real Tp 80 and found, that Karlström was right. The book ”Lancaster – a bombing legend” contains a lot of photos of the only two flying Lancasters in the world. I also measured the fins on all of the head on photos and found that Hasegawa was right! Now the question was: did the Tp 80 get an especially  prolonged Lincoln fin? I could imagine that it might have been necessary with extra prolonged fins to secure the stability and manoeuvrebility of this very special aircraft. The jet pod must have had quite an impact on the flying characteristics of the Tp 80!

Karlström has a note on his drawing, saying: ” Tp 80 was a modified, unarmed Lancaster MK.I with bigger Lincoln-type fins and twin tail-wheels.” These words could be understood thus: The Lancaster had Lincoln-type fins, but they were taller than normal for this type of fin. I hope that someone with a first or second hand knowledge of the Tp 80 will enlighten me on this point! Anyway, I cut the fins in the middle and put in an extra piece of ABS plate to make the fins  3 mm taller. Some filler and sanding smoothed out the unavoidable steps from the lengthening.

The tail wheels

An important modification is the tail wheel. It had to be retractable, otherwise the rubber would be burned by the hot exhaust from the Dovern engine. The rather big single tail wheel of the Lancaster is not suitable for being made retractable. AVRO was, however, at that time occupied with the developement of the Shackleton, and I wonder if the twin tail wheels of this aircraft found their way to the Tp 80? Anyway, I had to produce two wheels, the leg, the wheel doors and cut the hole in the fuselage beneath the elevators. And do not  forget a piece of Ureol  glued inside the fuselage in which to fasten the leg. NB: the position of the retractable twin wheels is about 2 cm aft of the position of the non retractable big single tail wheel. The wheel doors must be rounded to conform with the rounded bottom. And the  doors  are in a horizontal position,  when they are open.

And dealing with the gear: Hasegawa`s main wheels were no good for two reasons: they were a little too small although the diameter is perfect, and they lacked the pattern. So I went hunting in my unbuilt kits. And in the Airfix Mosquito 1/48  kit I found exactly, what I was looking for: the main wheels of the Mossie were perfect for the Tp 80, and with a nice pattern. They were without flat bottom, but it was a piece of cake to mill off 1,5 mm and put some filler on for the bulging. All tyres were painted with Model Master ”antracitgrau”.

The gear was not up to the standard of the rest of the kit, and I had to make a small modification to get it useable. The problem was, how to fix two pointed ends to each other. I did solve the problem by connecting the ends by a small piece of thin electric wire insulation. There was no help to get from the  instructions. It seems to me that Hasegawa has totally overlooked the problem with the gear legs. If the  instructions are good, there will be no doubt of what to do. I had to consult the gear of my old Airfix Lancaster to realise, how the parts should be put together. The easy solution of the problem would of course have been: gear up. 

The canopy has only the bulged pane in the starboard side. But this was very easy to make, because the transparent  parts of the kit are very generous and allow several options. The astrodome should be the taller one, and the  bomb aiming  blister should be the smaller one. Hasegawa has made a small blunder. The escape hatch of the canopy is placed too far forward. It should be moved one frame backwards. But I must confess: I did not do that – because I became aware of the problem after I had painted the canopy.

 Other characteristic details:

  Just behind the after dorsal escape hatch there is a big rod antenna. It was made of a 1,5 mm brass wire which was turned conical to about half thickness in the top. On the starboard side of the fuselage above the back edge of the wing there is a cabin air refresher. The shape of this part of the kit is wrong. The part is not symmetrical in both ends! And the shape is completely wrong on Karlström`s drawing! This gear is clearly shown on several photos of both flying Lancasters – the Canadian one, and the one of the BBMF. The correct shape can be gathered from these photos. The refresher is easily made of a small piece of ABS strip and sanded  to the correct shape.

 No modifications were needed for the engines, the optional parts of the kit would do. The flame dampers were not necessary for the Tp 80, and the small unshrouded exhaust pipes shall be used. The carburettor intakes on either side of the engines shall be the smaller ones, and the propellers shall be the paddle type, not the pointed ones.


As to the color scheme there are two options: Either metal all over, or light grey upper surfaces and black bottom surfaces with the jet pod and the fuselage behind the jet pod  kept in natural metal. I chose the latter option, because I like the contrast between the black color and the yellow-blue crown markings. The light grey is described as ”medium sea grey”. I found that Humbrol no 147 light grey would be appropriate (FS36495). The spinners should be gloss white in both options. The bottom surfaces were painted gloss black, Revell no 7. The jet pod and the bottom of the fuselage was painted with natural steel, Xtracolor no x502. Here it should be mentioned, that all of the bottom plating aft of the jet pod are stainless steel plates! Steel can better  cope with the heat from the jet engine than aluminium can. All parts of the aircraft were painted 3 times. Normally I would have primed the model with Humbrol Metal Cote 27002 polished aluminium. But since I had no documentation for weathering of the Tp 80, I could save this step. My model depicts the aircraft just after leaving the paint shop.

 Since the wings and tail planes fit so well and firmly to the fuselage, there is no need to glue these parts in place. This also made the paint job quite a lot easier. But don`t paint the part of the wing, which will disappear into the opening of the fuselage. If you do that, the wings cannot be pressed into the right position! You will have to mask the wing roots carefully to solve this problem. But how would I know exactly where to fix the masking tape? Quite simple: With the wings in position I used a scriber all the way round on the wing roots and very close to the fuselage, i.e. 0,5 mm!. The scratch would then tell me exactly where to fix the edge of the masking tape!

 The paint job was done with brushes of different sizes. I have never felt a need for airbrushing. Doing a good job with a brush is a question of the size of the brush and of the viscosity of the paint. Most of the paints I used needed some extra thinner to flow properly - but without running. The most difficult part of the paint job was the canopy. This is a job to be done with a very fine brush, and I did the painting without masking. Excessive paint can be removed with a tooth stick which has been cut off to make a sharp edge. But this must be done before the paint is absolutely dry. Painting a canopy in scale 1/72 is hopeless. The frames will end up being too thick, and as a matter of fact out of scale! However, the model looks better with painted  framing than without! A small scale has its limitations. Photos of the real Lancaster will show how thin the framing of the canopy is.

  I made, however, a blunder. After  decaling  the wings, I put on a layer of Humbrol Satin Cote on the top side of the  left wing. And  4 hours later once more. After the second layer, the surface began  wrinkling and ended up looking like the skin of an Indian rhino! Did I really have to clean the wing and do all of the painting and decaling again? I allowed the wing to dry thoroughly for 3 days. Then I very carefully wetsanded the surface with a  piece of grain 1200 wet & dry paper. And the miracle happened: all the wrinkles disappeared slowly during the sanding and the paint and even the decals were undamaged! The blunder was, that I did not allow the first layer of Satin Cote to dry sufficiently, i.e. over night. If you are impatient, you will be punished – sooner or later. Patience is the foremost virtue for a modeler!

 The decals:

  The Hasegawa decals were not usable for the Tp 80 with the exception of the walkway lines on the top of the wings. Apparently some Japanese are not good at spelling in English: the text says either ”walk here” or ”wark here”. The pronunciation, however, will be the same and the message understood. The Swedes had probably translated the text into Swedish, and if the model had been to a 1/48 scale, I would have made the text in Swedish.

 The crown markings were found in my stock of new kits, the SAAB B 17,  the SAAB J 21, and a Hunting Pembroke - Scandinavian edition. I succeded in finding them in the right colors, well printed and in the correct sizes: 24 mm for the bottom side of wings, 14 mm for the top side of wings and 12,5 mm for the fuselage.

 The very special markings of the Tp 80 are the ”Fc” and the ”80001” on the fuselage after the crown markings. In another Karlström book ”Flygplanritningar 3” is shown the different types of letters and numbers used by the Flygvapnet at different periodes. I copied the letters and numbers I needed, and scaled them up to a size big enough for cutting them out in  a thin ABS plate. The finished letters ”Fc” were painted yellow, and the numbers ”80001” were painted red. Then they were put on a black background, and I took some photos  at different distances. Now it was possible to get the right size for printing them out on a  sheet of white decal paper. And at last the Tp 80 could get its identity through almost 100 % correct markings. There is possibly an easier way – if you know to operate your computer and appropriate software well enough. But I wasn`t born with a PC in my mouth, and I had to find an alternative solution of the marking problem.

 I started the project on April the 20th, and finished with the last layer of Satin Cote on July the 4th 2013.

 According to different sources a conversion kit for the Tp 80 has been offered about 30 years ago – but hardly obtainable anywhere now. Via Wikipedia I found a color-photo of a Lancaster converted to Tp 80. If this model was made from the conversion kit, I would much prefer my own way of producing a model of probably the most special Lancaster in the world.


 In spite of the small flaws, my rating will be an A! The decal sheet has some blunders in the spelling. I guess Hasegawa must learn to check the spelling on their decals before printing them! Some have criticized the angle of the dihedral and found it too big. I found it, however, ok - and in accordance with both Karlström`s drawing and all front view photos in the Lancaster book. The gear is not up to the standard of the rest of the kit. And the single tail wheel is too big. The diameter should be 10 mm – not 11 mm.

Almost all of the parts are very precisely  and correctly made, and fit very well together. A proof of this is the fact that it is not necessary to glue the wings and tail planes to the fuselage. This might be an advantage if you need to transport the model. A much smaller box is sufficient, as the wings and tail planes can be separated from the fuselage. 

The Hasegawa kit is absolutely highly recommendable -  but other kits not quite to the same high standard  are at much lower prices. 

Finally I would mention that I have made a ”Lan-casket” for the safe transport of my Tp 80 to model exhibitions around. The outer dimensions of  the Lan-casket is 33 by 18 by 12 cm, and it can be handled in any position including upside down – the model inside is absolutely safe!


Björn Karlström: Flygplanritningar 3 . Allt om Hobby, Stockholm. ISBN 91-85496-25-1

 Björn Karlström: flygplansritningar 5. Allt om Hobby, Stockholm. ISBN 91-85496-30-8

 Wikipedia: Articles on STAL, Dovern and Tp 80.

 Nick Radell & Mike Vines: Lancaster – a Bombing Legend. Chancellor Press 1996   ISBN 1-85152-269-1

 Michael Forslund: J 33 Venom. Allt om Hobby, Stockholm. ISBN 91-85496-43-X

 The Venom book contains on p. 234 a photo of the cameraman in the rear end of the Tp 80, showing the twin tail wheels and suggests a 3rd  painting scheme. (Unfortunately it is not a color photo.)

 Torben Plesberg

December 2013

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