by Graham Green
The Airfix Lancaster has been out for years now. After all this time it is still the best 1/72 scale game in town, and was the donor kit for this conversion to the Manchester.
The base kit required a little rescribing to bring it up to date, but not too much after the wings were modified. In any case, what's a little scribing compared to all the hacking that is to take place!
The Paragon set for the Avro Manchester 1/72 Conversion set was used for this transformation.
The largest components of the conversion set are the wings and the engine nacelles, plus props and spinners all of which totally transform the original Airfix kit. Mods to the fuselage include an insert for the mid-upper turret and the back part of the aft turret. New tailplanes, separate elevators together with smaller fins/rudders for the tailplane tips and the single, central fin, for on top of the fuselage and a set of resin wheels aerial mast basically complete the contents of the conversion kit.
Vacuum-formed parts are included for the mid-upper and rear turret glazing, along with the bomb aimeršs window and the landing light on the wing.
I added more detail in addition to that provided in the conversion by opening the crew entry door and adding interior formers and stringers to the inside plus a floor, ammunition runs and, of course, that very important piece of equipment required for long 'nights out', the 'Elsan'.
The rows of windows along the fuselage side were opened out for the Manchester and glazed.
Paragon supplied the mid-upper glazing and tail turret , while I used Falcon vacform replacements for the nose turret and the cockpit glazing.
I scratch built the interior of each of the turrets. The structural detail was formed from copper wire, with additional parts from thin plastic-card. All the turrets employed the Airfix kit guns with the barrel ends carefully drilled out.
I chose the version with the Botha styled dorsal turret and the three fins, as I felt that this epitomised the Manchester profile. For this the resin tailplanes for the shorter, 28'-0" span, and fins provided in the conversion set were used, with the central fin.
The rudders were carefully cut from the resin fins and, when the model was finally assembled, they were replaced off-centre.
The most noticeable difference between the Manchester and Lancaster was of course the shorter wing span and the two engine nacelles. Only the inner section of the kit wing, lower nacelle and undercarriage are left for this part of the conversion.
I incorporated Paragon's Lancaster flaps into the model after shortening the two outer bays.
The undercarriage is as per kit but with the addition of the resin flattened wheels supplied by Paragon.
The aircraft modelled is featured on the cover of the Avro Manchester book from Midland Publications. This aircraft is L7432 EM*Z of 207 Squadron which returned from Berlin on one engine - no mean feat for a Manchester - on the night of7/8th September 1941, landing safely at RAF West Raynham.
The finished model certainly looks different - I still cannot get used to seeing just two engines attached to a fuselage that is usually associated with four. It was a big project but I think worthwhile .
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Model, Text and Images Copyright Š 2000 by Graham