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ThomasProbert

1/32nd scale Avro Shackleton AEW2 - scratchbuild project

124 posts in this topic

You know those occasions when you get a crazy idea and just have to give a try? Well this is one of those. There's far from any guarantee of success or completion, but fortune favours the brave and all that..!

 

Having a real soft-spot for the Avro Shackleton I've decided to do something really stupid and have a go at scratch-building one in 1/32nd scale. As I'm sure we're all aware there's kits available in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale, but nothing in 1/32nd so the only option is to start from scratch.

 

I have an old ID Models 1/32nd Lancaster in the stash, and always planned to convert that to a Lincoln. However, when doing some research on the Lincoln I discovered that the wing and centre section (although widened on the Shackleton) were in essence the same airframe. Therefore I thought, making a Shackleton using the Lancaster as a parts donor could be a viable option...

 

The first phase of the project was to find some plans. The Warpaint Series on the Shackleton came up trumps, and although these plans are far from perfect they've given me enough to get started. I duly enlarged them to 1/32nd scale and cobbled together a reasonable outline for a MR2 which is the version I'm hoping to replicate. You can see the size this model will (hopefully) be when finished when you put the Airfix 1/72nd kit on top:

 

23807134133_eaabe7c7d9_c.jpg

 

With that done it was sourcing the key components of a project like this - various thicknesses of plastic card:

 

24325656392_651bed6dcf_c.jpg

 

And of course the ID Models Lancaster:

 

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I then set about building up the centre section from plastic card formers, using the bomb bay roof as the structural centre-point. Wing spars have been made integral to the structure for strength and stability. I'm not going to worry too much about an interior to the fuselage, as it'll all be sprayed black and next to nothing will be visible through the small fuselage windows. The forward flight deck area will be fully replicated, though:

 

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The plan is to use the Lancaster fuselage sides for the 'skinning' of the model, and other areas will be 'planked' and blended with filler from thin plastic card strips.

 

With the fuselage centre section progressing well and having cut my teeth on making bulkheads and formers etc., I had the confidence to have a go at making the nose section. This is a lot more tricky as there are many complex shapes and subtle curves to try to replicate, especially around the extreme nose where the bomb aimer/gunner's glazing. Again, the interior won't an accurate structural representation of the real thing, but being black and only the extreme nose interior being visible there shouldn't be too many problems here.

 

As with the fuselage, the basic shape of the formers were made from plastic card and assembled to give a skeleton that'll be skinned in due course:

 

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I haven't made the 'roof' to the nose compartment yet as some form of interior needs to be added, as well as the observer/gunner's transparencies and its associated fairings:

 

23805710114_3781e31606_c.jpg

 

So this is where we're currently at:

 

23807151573_62a3ae2471_c.jpg

 

And alongside the 1/72nd scale version for a 'size reality check!'

 

24407736796_cef0f7e41a_c.jpg

 

As I said at the start, there's no guarantee of success in the long term, but I'm having a blast right now!  :)

 

Tom

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Evening all,

 

I've been concentrating on the nose section of the Shackleton over the last couple of sessions at the bench, as it's quite a complex area considering the gentle curves and apertures for the nose glazing and turret etc. I felt that if I could crack this it'd set me in good stead for the rest of the project, such as the tail area and engine nacelles.

 

I have cut some plastic card 'planks' and added them one by one to the skeleton structure beneath, which allows the contours of the nose structure to be followed more easily than bending larger 'sheets' of plastic card to shape and getting them to conform. Each 'plank' was approx 3mm - 4mm in breadth, and they were secured with poly-cement for a strong join, both to the ribs beneath and the plank below it as I worked from the bottom up. 

 

This created the basic shape for the nose and after the glue had fully cured the whole nose got a thorough sanding to smooth out any rough edges. Then it was a liberal coating of my trusty car body filler, and this again was allowed to harden over night before it too got a thorough rub-down with some wet 'n' dry. 

 

I must say that considering it's the first time I've attempted anything like this, it's come out pretty well. A few blemishes to sort here and there, but a resounding success if I can bold enough to say! It did feel more like I was building an old wooden galleon than a cold-war warrior though!

 

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Now it'll be a few coats of filler-primer to see how it all looks - no doubt this'll reveal a multitude of sins but nothing some more filler can't sort out.

 

Until next time,

 

Tom

janh and sandokan like this

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Afternoon all bye.gif

 

A little more work done on the Shackleton so time for an update.

 

I've given the nose section a good spraying of Halfords' Filler Primer, which was done with a base layer going on, a good rub down, and then a couple more coats with rub downs in between. This has removed any traces of the 'planks' below and has given me a nice smooth surface, which will have the panel detail added in due course:

 

24581770235_0bc5eec00b_c.jpg

 

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When the nose section is secured to the rest of the airframe and the interior built, I will of course need to add the 'roof' and fairing for the observer's transparencies.

 

I've also started butchering the ID Models Lancaster and have made some of the fuselage side panels - the plans were followed very carefully to get the windows in the correct locations: 

 

23954981673_7f89b8b107_c.jpg

 

These then slip over the bulkhead structure:

 

23954944923_30757e0d1c_c.jpg

 

And then it all starts to come together:

 

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So far, so good. 

 

Until next time,

 

Tom

sandokan and Pardelhas like this

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Wow amazing that you use the Lancaster side panels. Will you be using the underside ones too?

I was wondering how are you going to tackle the windows? I am about to start to cut individual windows

on the Manchester, sand them flush with the skinning and then mask off. Interior has been painted black using your method.

Keep it up Tom, this looks fantastic.

Ces

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Wow amazing that you use the Lancaster side panels. Will you be using the underside ones too?

I was wondering how are you going to tackle the windows? I am about to start to cut individual windows

on the Manchester, sand them flush with the skinning and then mask off. Interior has been painted black using your method.

Keep it up Tom, this looks fantastic.

Ces

 

Hi Cees,

 

Yes the Manchester, Lancaster, Lincoln and Shackleton all shared a common centre-section and inner wing, only the Shackleton's fuselage was widened when plans evolved from the Lincoln. I'll attempt to use the Lancaster fuselage to skin the lower portions too, but the fuselages did differ in this area. We'll see what a little hot water and bending can do!

 

For the windows I'll just use clear acetate,much as you have done with your Manchester.

 

A little more done to the Shackleton to update you on.

 

I've grafted the nose section to the forward cockpit bulkhead, and have used some more Lancaster fuselage to make a start on the cockpit sidewalls. Whilst doing this, I have cut out the aperture for the cockpit windscreen and the transparent sections, which was done by carefully following the scaled up plans I have:

 

24759898251_e89bac52d5_c.jpg

 

The sidewalls did need a bit of blending with filler but nothing too major.

 

24827097186_fd77a9a156_c.jpg

 

The actual flight deck itself hasn't been started yet, but you can see the area where the windscreen will sit more clearly here:

 

24853353065_b8932e98c4_c.jpg

 

I've also made a start on the upper flight deck area which is again Lancaster fuselage - I've removed the side windows and astrodome opening but haven't got around to any of the cockpit windows themselves yet; this will come at a later stage when I've had more time to think and plan as to how I'll get this done:

 

24225209214_3e310b69c9_c.jpg

 

When it's plugged into the fuselage the shape starts to take on the real thing, which is an added bonus:

 

 24827096606_90a31837cf_c.jpg

 

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Obviously there's still a huge amount to do here but it's a start.

 

With the nose section and sidewalls blended in nicely, these sections have had a coat of filler primer:

 

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With the roof section applied:

 

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For a bit of 'light relief' I've also been beavering away with the new-tool Airfix 1/72nd DC-3 - also serves as a good size comparison:

 

24759899831_b1d23cbacd_c.jpg

 

Until next time,

 

Tom

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Wow!

 

Can you tell me more about that yellowish primer?

 

Hi Jeroen,

 

The primer is from Halfords, an automotive paint manufacturer here in the UK. It goes on like treacle but shrinks back to a nice flat finish and covers any minor blemishes. It'd be no good on injection-moulded kits though as it'd fill any fine surface details,

 

Time at the bench has been a little limited over the last couple of weeks due to the birth of my daughter Imogen, but I've nevertheless managed to sneak a little building in when the little 'un was snoozing...

 

I've been working on the skinning of the fuselage centre-section since the last update and using the Lancaster fuselage sides have made good progress. If you recall from earlier in the thread, I'd got as far as marking and cutting out the main panels from the Lancaster:

 

23954981673_7f89b8b107_c.jpg

 

These were then sprayed black to stop the interior looking hollow, and then glued to the skeletal bulkhead structure with poly cement for a very strong join. With the Shackleton having a wider fuselage than the Lancaster I added a strip of plastic card along the upper and lower joins to cover the resulting gap, and then blended the whole thing in with my trusty P38 car body filler. After the fist session with the wet and dry we are here:

 

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This will now get a thorough coating of Halfords' Filler Primer to see how it all looks - I can see that there's a blemish or two to attend to, but with the fuselage all being one uniform colour it'll give a good indication of how it's shaping up.

 

Until next time,

 

Tom

sandokan likes this

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Afternoon all,

 

I've a little more progress to report on the Shackleton project, and have had some time at the bench despite my new daughter's best efforts to keep me away...

 

I've been working on the extreme rear of the fuselage, as I'd got as far as making the skins to the rear of the bomb bay, but not a lot further. Progress was slower for the rear section, as being quite different to the Lancaster in this area, I've had very little of the Lancaster kit that was of use. However, there were a few bits here and there that with very careful planning and cutting to shape I was able to incorporate. Despite this, there was a whole lot of filling gaps with regular plastic card, often heat shaped in hot water, and then plenty of subsequent blending in with filler. Thankfully I remembered to build the tail wheel bay at this point as this would have been a right pain to add later!

 

25982545956_286681ef80_c.jpg

 

You can see how the filler hides a multitude of sins... P38... a modeller's best friend!

 

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So now the basic outline (apart from the flightdeck area) is about done. There's still a little fettling to be done at the extreme rear as I'm not totally happy with the shape, but this area has to be cut off anyway as I need to add some detail to the extreme tail section such as the internal ribbing and the observers cushions and such-like. Therefore, a little more shaping and fine tuning can take place when I reattach the tail section.

 

From the rear:

 

25982698546_b0ddd8ffeb_c.jpg

 

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And from the front:

 

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Hopefully it'll all look a little more uniform with some primer on - that'll be the job over the next few days.

 

Until next time,

 

Tom

sandokan and colt6 like this

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Great update Tom,

Having reached that stage you now can begin to think that the first time scratchbuild project will be a succes.

I wonder how you are going to fit the windows. I thought about going the same route with all those windows on

the Manchester but chickened out. Now I have a difficult masking job on my hands.

Will you be using acetate pieces again as on the C17?

Cees

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Great update Tom,

Having reached that stage you now can begin to think that the first time scratchbuild project will be a succes.

I wonder how you are going to fit the windows. I thought about going the same route with all those windows on

the Manchester but chickened out. Now I have a difficult masking job on my hands.

Will you be using acetate pieces again as on the C17?

Cees

Hi Cees,

 

It's getting there... there's still an awfully long way to go and there's no certainty of success just yet, although getting the fuselage out of the way is probably the biggest hurdle.

 

Windows will be acetate sitting on inset frames - this way they can be added after the painting process. I hate masking so don't envy you at all with the Manchester; there's a lot of windows there.

 

Tom

Wingco57 likes this

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Impressive progress.

As with some other Large scale subjects you've tackled this one is unlike to be kitted anytime soon.

Makes it even more special.

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