Dougal and Ermintrude Join Airfix Range
Welcome to the latest edition of Workbench and our regular behind the scenes look at the fascinating world of Airfix modelling. We have yet another feature packed edition for you to look forward to, which will include further details from some of the new models announced in the recent 2017 Airfix range launch and an exclusive ‘first look’ at the new parts included in a kit featuring a British aviation classic. We will also include the second and final instalment in our 1/48th scale RAF Canberra build review, as well as showcasing one of our reader’s impressive unmade kit collections in our ‘Flash your Stash’ feature. We are also pleased to tell you that Workbench attended the recent Bolton IPMS Scale Model Show and will also be at the Huddersfield event in February. We will be including full reports from both shows in a future edition of Workbench, which will show the extremely healthy state of the modelling hobby in the UK.
With so much modelling news to bring you, we had better make a start.
STOP PRESS - Airfix wins prestigious award at Nuremberg Toy Fair
We are very proud to announce that Airfix has just won a prestigious award at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair - the Modell Des Jahres (Model of the Year) Award in the flight category for its Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 1:72.
A judging panel made up of German model publishers selects outstanding models that have gone on sale the previous year, and awards Model of the Year to a select few.
Sarah Frame, Brand Manager for Airfix commented "We are thrilled to have received this award, it really is a great honour as these awards are so highly regarded within the industry. Congratulations to our very talented product development team who designed such an amazing model!"
Shackleton update for 2017
Beautiful new box artwork will be featured on the Shackleton AEW.2 release
Amongst the modelling delights announced in the recent 2017 Airfix range launch was the much anticipated inclusion of a Cold War aviation sentinel, which can trace its origins back to the most famous bomber ever to serve with the Royal Air Force. The mighty Avro Shackleton was developed from the Avro Lincoln heavy bomber, which in itself was a descendent from the Lancaster and proved to be the last aircraft in RAF service from this illustrious family of aircraft. Designed specifically as a long range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the Shackleton would be required to mount extremely long patrols, using the very latest detection technology to search for increasingly sophisticated Soviet submarines, as the world descended into the Cold War period. Whereas the Lancasters of Bomber Command were required to pulverise Germany into submission, its big brother was tasked with undertaking long hours of watching and listening, in the protection of Britain’s sea lanes.
For an aircraft type possessing such a rich aviation heritage, it came as no surprise that when the Airfix Shackleton MR.2 was released in late 2015, it quickly became one of the most popular kits in the entire range. Building into one of the most interesting RAF aircraft of the Cold War era, any model display will be enhanced by the addition of a Shackleton, particularly as the new model has been developed using the latest technologies available to the Airfix designers and is a highly detailed and extremely accurate representation of this famous aircraft. Although this new model was clearly of interest to a great many modellers around the world, various hobby websites and forums were awash with requests for Airfix to release the AEW.2 version of the aircraft, which is the one many enthusiasts will remember seeing perform at Airshows around the country during the 1980s and therefore is of specific interest to them.
Exclusive first look at the new Shackleton AEW.2 sprue parts
Computer rendered CAD images of the new Shackleton AEW.2
The distinctive Airborne Early Warning (AEW.2) version of the Shackleton was regarded as something of a stop-gap aircraft, but went on to provide years of essential airborne early warning cover at a time of great political and military uncertainty. The decision to withdraw HMS Ark Royal from service would see her compliment of Fairey Gannet AEW aircraft also retired, potentially leaving an unacceptable gap in Britain’s defences. The ingenious solution was to take the AN/APS-20 radar units and electronic surveillance systems from the Gannets and install them in RAF Shackleton airframes, maintaining this vital cover until the new Nimrod patrol aircraft could enter service. Although the Shackletons would obviously be operating from mainland bases, as opposed to their naval counterparts, their impressive endurance would greatly enhance the effectiveness of Britain’s airborne early warning capabilities.
Twelve Shackleton airframes were converted to AEW Mk.2 standard and operated in the colours of No.8 Squadron, originally at RAF Kinloss in early 1972, but moving to nearby Lossiemouth following the completion of significant runway strengthening works the following year. One particularly enduring feature of Britain’s AEW.2 Shackletons was the fact that each of the twelve aircraft was given a name after characters from children's TV series of the day, either from ‘The Magic Roundabout’, or ‘The Herbs’ – the aircraft would also feature artwork depicting their respective character, usually applied under the cockpit window. Significantly, these stop-gap aircraft would go on to provide Britain with almost 19 years of effective airborne early warning cover, with the final Shackletons retiring in June 1991.
Decal options for the new AEW.2 Shackleton
Scheme A. Avro Shackleton AEW.2 WR960, ‘Dougal’, RAF No.8 Squadron, Lossiemouth, Moray, North East Scotland, 1980 - this aircraft is now preserved and displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
In their distinctive overall dark sea grey scheme, the AEW.2 Shackletons of the RAF were not only some of the most distinctive aircraft to see service throughout the 1970s and 80s, but also extremely popular crowd pleasing Airshow performers. Powered by four 36 litre, V-12 Rolls Royce Griffon engines, Shackletons were given the nickname ‘Growlers’ by nature of the noise emanating from these mighty powerplants, highly distinctive for anyone seeing one of these aircraft from the ground, but probably less appealing to aircrew embarking on their latest twelve hour patrol.
This particular aircraft was named ‘Dougal’ after the sugar lump eating dog from ‘The Magic Roundabout’ and displayed artwork of the character on the port side of the aircraft, under the cockpit canopy framing. It is currently preserved and on public display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and is by far their largest and most impressive aircraft – a review from the museum was included in edition 30 of our Airfix Aerodrome blog.
Scheme B. Avro Shackleton AEW.2 WR963, ‘Ermintrude’, RAF No.8 Squadron, Lossiemouth, Moray, North East Scotland, 1979
Converted to AEW.2 standard in 1971, Shackleton WR963 was delivered to RAF Lossiemouth on 18th July 1972 for installation of the AN/APS-20 radar and taken on charge with RAF No.8 Squadron. Transferred to Kinloss on 1st August 1972, WR963 was named ‘Ermintrude’ and commenced her AEW duties. At the end of her service career, the aircraft was put up for MOD auction and sold to a private buyer, who intended to keep the aircraft in airworthy condition, thrilling Airshow audiences around Europe. Unfortunately, due to a lack of support from both British Aerospace and the CAA, this did not prove to be the case and this Cold War sentinel stayed firmly on the ground.
Now owned and operated by the Shackleton Preservation Trust at Coventry Airport, WR963 has been restored to a high standard and can regularly be seen wooing crowds of enthusiasts during one of her ground running and taxiing events. With all four of her engines in working condition, the prospect of seeing an Avro Shackleton in the air once more is still a possibility and if the trust have their way, it will not be too far away.
Avro Shackleton AEW.2 stencil placement data information
The new 1/72nd scale Avro Shackleton AEW.2 (A11005) is currently scheduled for release in Summer 2017 and is already proving to be a popular addition to the Airfix range – for further details and the opportunity to pre-order your example, please check the Airfix website, or visit your usual model supplier.
Chelveston Fortress - an 8th Air Force Classic
The stunning artwork depicts a scene that was commonplace at airfields all over East Anglia during WWII
One of the most rewarding aspects of bringing you our Workbench blog each fortnight is the ability to provide updates on new tooling projects from first announcement, right up to the time the models appear in hobby stores all over the world. Just before Christmas last year, the magnificent new Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress in 1/72nd was released and immediately made its way to modelling workbenches everywhere, as this famous WWII bomber continues to fascinate and inspire in equal measure. Not content with offering modellers a single kit option for this magnificent new model, the recently announced 2017 range included another B-17G option, which is certainly worthy of closer inspection. Currently scheduled for a March release, A12010 is the new Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17G and Bomber Re-Supply Set, which will allow the modeller to produce an iconic diorama scene from the USAAF base at Chelveston during 1944.
Scheme Details: Boeing (Douglas Built) B-17G-35-DL Flying Fortress 42-38206 ‘THUNDERMUG’ (WF-K), USAAF 364th Bomb Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, RAF Chelveston airfield, Northamptonshire, England 1944
For many modellers and aviation enthusiasts, USAAF Eighth Air Force operations during the Second World War is a source of particular fascination and a subject that continues to attract new devotees and updated research material. With sleepy English villages and former RAF airfields becoming Americanised almost overnight, it is little wonder that this aspect of the air war over Europe holds such an enduring interest to this day, as the might of American industry and her brave sons arrived in Britain to help turn the tide of war. Not only did the meeting of these two cultures help to create a special bond which endures to this day, but the arrival of thousands of aircraft, vehicles and support machinery heralded a logistical exercise of unimaginable complexity that still astounds to this day.
Details of the ground support vehicle models included with this set
With the British public more accustomed to the Wellingtons, Stirlings and Lancasters of Bomber Command flying operations by night, the arrival of Flying Fortresses and Liberators operating during daylight hours made the sight of American bombers commonplace around Britain and heralded a round the clock bombing campaign aimed at pummelling Germany into submission. The public would also have seen evidence of the ferocious opposition these aircraft and their brave crews would have faced over occupied Europe, as 8th Air Force bombers limped back to their bases showing signs of significant battle damage, only to be patched up (wherever possible) and sent to fight again.
Close up detail highlighting the replacement wing on ‘THUNDERMUG’
The decal scheme included in this impressive new kit features a Douglas built B-17G of the 305th Bombardment Group, based at Chelveston during 1944. ‘THUNDERMUG’ was the veteran of many operations over enemy territory and is thought to have completed three bombing missions to Berlin in just four days. She also clearly illustrates the punishment that these aircraft took and the determination of ground crews to keep their aircraft serviceable – badly damaged aircraft were stripped of all useable parts, which then helped to keep repairable aircraft in the air. This particular aircraft had her port wing replaced following battle damage, retaining the engines and cowling covers of the original wing. The tail unit has also been replaced on this aircraft, which clearly illustrates the both the bravery of the aircrews flying these aircraft and the ingenuity and professionalism of the ground crews that kept them flying. It is hard to imagine just how fascinating it must have been to witness the activities on Allied airfields during the Second World War, but the modeller can certainly test their imagination by building kits such as this.
The new Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17G & Bomber Re-Supply Set (A12010) combines the newly tooled B-17G Flying Fortress kit with the vehicles and accessories of the WWII USAAF Bomber Re-Supply Set released last year, allowing the modeller to create a stunning diorama display. Scheduled for release during March 2017, please keep checking the Airfix website for the very latest release information.
1/48th scale Canberra build re-visited
In the previous edition of Workbench, we featured the first part of an impressive 1/48th scale English Electric Canberra build by Jason Young, who originally posted pictures of the project on the Customer Images section of the Airfix website. In this final instalment, we look at the painting and finishing of Jason’s Canberra and how he produced an extremely impressive display model – once again, over to Jason.
“Once the model was primed and any areas in need of attention were seen to, the whole thing got several coats of gloss white, and was left to dry for a week. The whole of the top was then masked up, using miles of Tamiya tape, and the yellow applied. If I was to make it again, I'd use a more golden yellow, as the one I sprayed here was more of a trainer yellow and in some photos, the real thing has more of an orange tint to it. Once the yellow had dried and received two coats of Klear, the black stripes were masked and sprayed using several mist coats of Humbrol 85. I wasn't overly fussy about being accurate with the striping but it's close enough for me.
Details of the underside paintwork on the Canberra
When this was dry, and again covered in more Klear, the whole underside was masked off and the small blue areas were sprayed. The Airdecal sheet calls for Oxford Blue to be used, but I thought this was a tad too dark when reference photos were consulted, so I went with Roundel Blue instead, and there's not much of it anyway to worry about it. The last masking was to ready the airframe for the red, for which I used Humbrol 19, which sprays beautifully.
A big de-masking session revealed a couple more areas requiring touching up, and the Tamiya tape managed to remove some small patches of red on the port engine cowling (so don't look too closely!) and some yellow on the undersides. Once these were tackled, the whole aircraft received two more coats of Klear to protect the paint and to ready it for decaling.
Jason took on quite a complicated paint scheme for his Canberra build
And so, on to the motivation for this build. The Airdecal sheet provided some of the individual aircraft markings, but there were a couple of major errors that prolonged the build. Firstly, it provides two sets of black serials, one for the front undercarriage bay doors, and secondly for the rear fuselage. Trouble is, the latter should be white, so I ended up having to get an Xtradecal sheet of white serials and making them myself.
Second, whoever designed the Airdecal sheet either didn't do their research, or just assumed that WH734 had the same upper wing colour scheme as the other options on the sheet, and for whatever reason provided upper wing roundels with white edges that only go halfway around the circumference of the roundel (the theory being that the missing white half would actually be placed over the white area of the wing anyway). But these roundels actually sit completely on the red areas, so required roundels with complete white surrounds. I could find normal roundels to fit, but none with the required white, so I ended up getting white A4 decal paper and cutting out discs myself. I had ordered a compass cutter - which never arrived - so had to do it the hard way with a new blade in the scalpel, so they are both a bit rough!
Close up detail of Jason’s impressive Canberra build
The stencilling provided with the kit wasn't really used in the build as it was either the wrong colour, or the wrong language! So I got a Model Alliance sheet and used various items from that. Again, it's not 100% accurate, as I had to use what I could find, but it's good enough, I think.
Final details. I added aerial masts from scrap, aerial wire from EZ Line, pitots and blade aerials from plastic card and rod, made intake covers from plastic card, and exhaust covers from the paper that you see covering a decal sheet, superglued in stages to the exhausts, before painting Humbrol 60 and using a piece of plastic strip to represent the strap around whole thing. RBF tags were added from Eduard brass, and a pilot from my last Lightning build gives the finished item some scale.
As I said, it may not be 100% accurate in places, but it looks good to me. I don't know if I'll make another one soon, though possibly a PR.9 with open cockpit and nose may appeal, but I'm happy with this target tug, and it makes a colourful addition to my classic jet line-up.”
The finished model is a thing of beauty and a credit to Jason’s modelling skills
This is an extremely impressive build and has certainly resulted in a finished model that would grace any display. We would like to thank Jason for taking the time to produce this build review and allowing us to use it – good luck with your PR.9 project!
The latest kit stash to be ‘flashed’
When we decided to launch this ‘Flash your Stash’ section of Workbench, we were a little unsure just how many modellers would be comfortable to share details of their unmade kit collection, even though it was always intended to reassure people that they were not alone. As it turns out, we needn’t have worried and we are grateful to those people who have already sent us pictures of their stash. In actual fact, the feature is now almost turning into a rather impressive medium for highlighting how active modellers are and showcasing the kits they have earmarked for construction over the coming few months.
Paul Capon’s more established unmade kit collection
Our latest contributor has sent us a pair of images which show both his longer established kit stash, along with a picture of the new models added during 2016. Mr Paul Capon from Dorset certainly lives in a beautiful part of the country, but it seems he may not be in a position to enjoy the countryside much this year, as it looks as if he has a rather busy build schedule for 2017. There are some new and classic kits in his 2016 stash and we hope that you enjoy working through them – thank you very much for sending in the pictures.
This image features kits that were added to Paul’s stash during 2016
If you would like to be the next star of ‘Flash your Stash’, please send your pictures to us at email@example.com, or via our Facebook or Twitter channels – we are looking forward to hearing from you.
That's all we have for you this edition. There are now many ways for our readers to get involved in all the latest Airfix modelling chat and sharing ideas with fellow modellers. You can always e-mail us directly by using our firstname.lastname@example.org address, or there is our dedicated Workbench thread on the Airfix Forum. If social media is more your style, you could either access the Airfix Facebook page or our Twitter channel, using #airfixworkbench. Whichever medium you decide to use, please do get in touch with us, as it is always great to hear from fellow modellers.
Don’t forget that all the very latest model release information can be found by checking the New Arrivals section of the Airfix website, which can be accessed by clicking the shop section at the top of the webpage. As work on the website is a constant process, a quick search through all the Airfix web pages will usually reveal new information and updated images in many of the product sections, so this is always a rewarding way to spend a few minutes.
Until next time, please don’t forget to let us have pictures of your model stashes.
The Airfix Workbench Team
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