Published On: Mon, Feb 5th, 2018

Build your own Dambuster

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By Dick Smith
2/5/2018 •
Aviation History Magazine

Revell of Germany’s 1/72nd-scale Avro Lan­caster B Mk. III “Dam­buster” (kit 80-4295) has been called the best model of the British bomber ever produced. The 2009 release, a re­working of the “Lanc” from 2007, can be built as a standard bomber, but also includes the modifications needed to build one of the 19 “special” aircraft used in the Ruhr valley dams raid.

First assemble the pilot, flight engineer, bombardier, navigator and radio operator positions. There’s some controversy about what color the crew areas should be painted, but it’s generally agreed that the sidewalls and floors should be “British interior green.” There are nearly 30 parts to the crew area, including a table for the navigator and decals for the pilot’s instrument panel, flight engineer’s post and radio operator’s equipment. Note that most of these details will be hidden once the fuselage sides are closed.

With the crew positions complete, glue the special bomb bay part and the spars that hold the wings and horizontal stabilizers into place in one fuselage side. Next the in­struc­tions call for cementing the windows that run down the length of the fuselage, but installing them now will pose difficulty during painting, so skip this step. Instead, fit and solidly glue the fuselage sides together. This is important, as the bomber’s long wings will put strain on this joint. Then glue together the top and bottom sections of the wings and horizontal stabilizers and attach them to the fuselage. There are two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines that fit into each of the inboard engine nacelles. Displaying these engines requires an arduous task: cutting out inspection panels. But even with the panels removed, it will be difficult to see the tiny Merlins in the completed model.

Assemble the interior of the wheel wells and the outboard engine nacelles. You’ll need to do some cutting and fitting to assure that the nacelles fit snugly into the undersides of the wings.

The Lancaster was camouflaged on the fuselage underside in flat black, FS-37038, up to the window line, as well as the undersides of the wings and horizontal stabilizers and both sides of the twin vertical tails. The topside should be camouflaged in an irregular pattern of RAF dark green and dark earth, ANA-617. Whether the bomber’s camouflage pattern should be hard-edged or soft is another controversial choice.

On the special Dambuster Lancs, the ventral and dorsal turrets were removed to save weight. Revell has supplied plugs to fill those spaces. The nose gunner’s turret has replicas of twin Browning .303s, while the tail gunner has a quad mount of the same caliber machine guns. Paint these “gunmetal,” then fit them into their respective glazings, which should be assembled with white glue.

Paint the tires very dark gray, FS-36076, with flat black hubs. Mask the pilot’s greenhouse cockpit canopy and gunner’s turret glazings, then paint them to blend into the surrounding pattern of the fuselage camouflage. Next fill the windows along the fu­selage sides with “Micro-Krystal Klear” (this takes the place of the supplied windows).

The drum-like 9,250-pound “Upkeep” bomb should be painted anthracite gray, then mounted on a pair of supports fitted into the sides of the bomb bay. Use silver to paint the motor that gave the bomb its backspin and bounce. Also paint the two underside spotlights silver to replicate the lighting used to judge altitude.

This kit provides markings for three of the aircraft from No. 617 Squadron that participated in the Ruhr dam raids on the night of May 16-17, 1943. Among them is AJ-G, flown by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the mission leader. 

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