Airfix 1/72 Lancastrian (Conversion)
Pavla and M&E parts used for conversion.
The Avro Lancastrian
originated in Canada when, in 1942 a British built Lancaster B Mk
was stripped of its turrets and camouflage by Victor Aircraft of Toronto which
fitted it with a pointed nose and tail fairing, plus three extra windows. Trans
Airlines evaluated the machine for freight service and found that the
performance and load carrying capabilities satisfactory. Such was the
requirements for high speed transports that the Lancaster was returned to Avro
in the UK for more permanent conversion which involved among other things the
provision of 10 passenger seats and installation of extra fuel tanks to increase
the range to 4,000 miles. In its new form the aircraft inaugurated the Canadian
Governmentís transatlantic air service (operated
with four tons of forcesí mail.
certificate of airworthiness was granted on
initiated conversion of two and later increased to seven Canadian built
B Mk X aircraft. One was lost over the
in December 1944 and the original conversion was destroyed by fire while engaged
in engine trials in June 1945. The remaining Lancastrians continued to operate
in 1946 as a schedule passenger service. In this form the aircraft proved
uneconomical and was replaced the following year by Lockheed Constellation after
making 1,900 crossings of the
were converted by Avro for BOAC when problems with the Tudor developed. This
involved more detailed conversion than the Canadian aircraft and the designation
Avro Type 691 was adopted. This had 500 Imp Gallons fuel tank fitted in the bomb
bay. This gave the Lancastrian a range well over 4,000 miles and the first
aircraft to be handed over early in 1945 established a record between
of 3.5 days.
the conversion fits any
kit at scale of 1/72. I used the Airfix Lancaster BMk
The review of this kit can be found in other section of the archives on MM kit
reviews. The M&E Models of Sittingbourne
consists of five conversion parts to make the nose and pointed tail fairings and
a blanking piece for the dorsal turret. The Pavla detail air intakes come from
the Edition Aircraft kit No U782-71 Air Intakes for Lancaster mode of resin and
these consist of four highly detailed main engine air intakes and eight small
side air intakes. The main air intakes make a difference to the
kit once they replace those on the kit and also have gauze like radiator front
seen from the intake interior.
The kit is built as
per instructions for the
bomber but with the following alterations. The conversion parts of the M&E kit
are first removed from sprue, flash trimmed and each half rubbed down until each
fairing have a perfect match. Using the one page side drawing given on the red
printed instructions, the following were cut off from the Airfix Lancaster kit.
Front gun turret is
mounting for mid upper turret is also removed using an exacto saw blade, and
also the rear turret mounting is removed. To know the exact place where to part
the sections one has to take measurements from the scale side view/drawing, in
fact it is stated that the panel lines on drawing match to the Airfix BIII kit.
If using any other base kit care is taken to match in fairings. There are 7
rectangular side windows to be marked and cut on each side of the fuselage.
These are all in same position. 6
windows are equally positioned but the extra window is at the front of the wing
leading edge root. An additional single window is located at the rear of the
starboard side of the fuselage just ahead of the tail plane. This is not
indicated on the instructions and should not be left out.
openings of these windows will later be filled with Kristal Kleer.
Fuselage halves with
detail already added to cockpit to personal choice are joined together and their
joint is rubbed down. The front and rear fairings are then joined to fuselage
and rubbed down. I noted that the front fairing was too pointed in side view and
I rounded it towards the nose by building up with putty the top and bottom of
this part, shaping it with a file when it set. The mid upper turret blanking
piece is inserted and filled and sand to fit flush. This required a small
quantity of filler to bring a smooth continuous joint. It is turn for the air
intakes to be replaced with finer ones supplied by Pavla Models. These cater for
the front intakes and also the smaller side intakes as mentioned earlier. The
rest is straightforward and the kit has from now on taken the shape of a
initial coat of primer identified imperfections; these were filled with Plasto
and then primed again. And wet sanded with 1,000 grit. The Lancastrian is
finished in overall natural metal. I found that Alclad II Lacquer
as the most fitting duralumin finish. The kit had the windows blanked with
square cut tape to prevent mist from the airbrush reaching the canopy interior;
and the cockpit canopy masked. The kit was given an overall coat of Humbrol
gloss black, which is the proper undercoat for the lacquer. Following a period
of drying, the duralumin was applied, using low airbrush pressure and after
applying the first coat any small scratches revealed were attended to. The final
coat went very smooth and the kit allowed to set and was then ready for decals.
The spinners and prop blades were black while the prop tips yellow.
civilian registration decals that came with M&E conversion kit fell short of my
expectations. The first part that was immersed in water showed signs of cracks
allover. This was quickly retrieved, allowed to dry and treated the decals with
Johnsonís Klear liquid in order to save them. In the end all went smooth and the
kit was completed with wireless and small antennae under the fuselage. The areas
in way of engine exhaust were airbrushed with a dark mix of grey and varnish.
difficult conversion but in doing so a new aircraft type was added to my
collection. Had I continued to experience problems with the decals I was
prepared to make the RAF Lancastrian that landed in
in the mid 50s and which was the same one that made the record flight to
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please
me or see other details in the
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Review Index Page