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1/144 Scale BBMF Lancaster and Dakota

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This is a build for a friend, which was started at the end of October. The Crown Lancaster is a very old kit, the Minicraft Dak a bit more modern. I've built both of these kits before and the different ages of the kits show in the quality of the design, mouldings and fit. 

 

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This is the Lancaster kit unboxed and partly cut from the sprues to check on sizes for another part of the project.

 

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Here's the previous Lancaster build, an accessory on an N scale model railroad. The kits has its shape flaws, and particularly over long landing gear, but still builds into a nice representation of a Lanc.

 

airfield337.jpg

 

 

Edited by Army_Air_Force

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The Dakota kit. Generally better mouldings, but it has issues with the wing trailing edge.

 

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Here's the previous C-47 build.

 

airfield321.jpg

 

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Both models will be mounted in a small diorama within a 16 x 12 inch picture frame, along the lines of the image below, although the exact layout hasn't been finalised.

 

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Here's my daughter's Spitfire diorama framed in the same beech 16x12 inch frame. The frame is 1.75 inches deep and makes a nice way to display models and protect them.

 

spitfire_pr_2017_001.jpg

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I've framed a number of previous models for people, and most fit a 1.75 inch deep box frame. Before ordering a frame, I wanted to make sure both models would fit. I had previously made a template to check other models, so this is why the fuselages, wings and nacelles were cut from the sprues on both kits and laid out to check clearances.

 

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I've had the kits in the queue for some time, but it was only at the end of October that they made it onto the bench, Lancaster first. The tall landing gear mentioned previously was to be the first modification on this build.

 

I have a good Lancaster book with a 1/144 scale drawing in the back. Careful positioning of the inner nacelle, wheel and landing gear leg showed it to be about 4mm too tall. The kit wheels are also very thin, a long way from the big balloon like tyres of a real Lancaster. After  quick search in the spares box, I found a pair of wheels which looked far more appropriate.

 

bbmf007.jpg

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Once the landing gear legs were cut to the new length, the nacelles halves were joined and the inner nacelle was glued to the wing lower skin. The outer nacelles were left off for now, to allow the inner nacelle joint to be filled and sanded without any obstructions. The wing top skins weren't attached yet. More of that later.

 

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While the nacelle joints were hardening, I turned to the fuselage and decided I wanted the aircraft posed with the bomb doors open. It took a bit of careful grinding with the minidrill to thin out the fuselage skin enough to allow the doors to be cut free with a scalpel. It was a long job and the Lancaster drew first blood!

 

bbmf009.jpg

 

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While both aircraft will sit on their landing gear, they won't be attached to the diorama via the gear. For that I wanted something a bit more sturdy. The models would be attached to the base via M3 studs, one in each wheel well and one under the tailplane. An M3 nut was glued to either side of the tailplane to allow the studding to be screwed in when needed.

 

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With the tailplane fixing complete, I was then able to join the fuselage. In the background, the inner nacelle joints have been filled and await sanding.

 

bbmf011.jpg

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At the start of November, this is how the model looked.

 

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Before the front mounting bolts could be fitted, I needed the landing gear installed to make sure the bolts would clear the leg and drag strut. Some sanding of the nacelle joints had been done by this time.

 

bbmf013.jpg

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With the fuselage fully cured, I added the formers at the front and rear and then the bomb bay roof. The excess plastic on the formers would be sanded after they had hardened up.

 

bbmf014.jpg

 

Back to the wings and the mountings. The inner skin was rouged up with coarse sand paper and the M3 nuts expoied into the top of the nacelle.

 

bbmf015.jpg

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Now it was time to fit the wing top skins.....

 

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.....and then the bomb doors. They needed a slight sand along their top edge and the same on the fuselage/door hinge line to allow them to sit nicely together.

 

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A quick test fit of the wings to see how the ground angle looks with the new landing gear.

 

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I didn't do any more until Nov 3rd, when the outer nacelles were fitted and the props worked on. Straight off the sprue, the props had a little flash on them, but the main problem was that the blades were very thick. It took some time, but all the blade tips were reprofiled and thinned down towards the tip.

 

bbmf019.jpg

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It's starting to look like a Lancaster! There won't be much more assembly from this image as the camo will be painted before the wings and fins are added. In this picture, you can see the top turret mounting point has been opened up, along with the hatches in the top of the fuselage spine.

 

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It looks a bit messy at present, but the larger rudders have had dissolved styrene added to the rear lower edge to allow reshaping. The BBMF Lanc has late war rudders which come to a point rather than the rounded edge. These probably need a couple of days to fully harden.

 

bbmf021.jpg

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There was lots of filling and sanding done next, both on the wings around the nacelles and the fuselage. On the wings, the top of the nacelles needed filling to blend into the wing upper skin, and the outer nacelles needed filling top and bottom. I seemed to spend half the day making tiny sanding tools from thin styrene strips and 400grid wet and dry paper to fit between the wing leading edge and exhausts.

 

The leading edge seams also needed attention. While filler was drying, I also did a bit of sanding on my Ryan PT-22 build. The day ended with the fuselage having a light coat of primer to check the seams and modifications. That's everything up to date now, but hopefully more progress tomorrow.

 

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The next day saw a little more sanding and a prime.

 

bbmf023.jpg

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Starting to look like a Lancaster!

 

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After a couple of days to harden, the Lanc rudders were sanded. Here they are after basic shaping, but still needing a fine wet sand.

 

bbmf025.jpg

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On November 17th,  I was up to putting some dark earth on an Auster, so gave the Lancaster its dark earth at the same time ( although the lighting and camera make it look quite light here! ).

 

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On November 15th, while waiting for stuff to dry on another project, I made a start on the Dakota. The M3 mounting nuts were fitted first, epoxied into the structure.

 

bbmf029.jpg

 

The fuselage was joined shortly after.

 

bbmf030.jpg

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As shown at the start of the thread, I've built one of these Daks before, and remembered the wings don't fit together well. The problem is that the chamfer on the inside of the wing skin, isn't at the correct angle. If the trailing edge is joined with the top and bottom chamfers touching, the leading edge doesn't meet. If the leading edge is joined first, you get a big gap down the trailing edge joint!

 

So before joining, the insides of both wing skins were given quite a lot of sanding at the trailing edge. The trailing edge was glued first and weighted down to dry before the leading edge was glued.

 

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It took a while to work around the four seams, but once they's all been done, the tips were supported and centre weighted and it was left overnight to fully harden.

 

bbmf032.jpg

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Both elevators were scored along the bottom hinge line and folded down slightly to the locked position. They were also weighted down and left to dry. Today the wings were attached and a little while later, the seams filled along the wing fairing and underside joints. That was all for today.

 

bbmf033.jpg

 

bbmf034.jpg

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The camo was masked up on Monday morning, along with an Auster I'm also building, and the dark green was sprayed that afternoon.

 

bbmf035.jpg

 

bbmf036.jpg

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After a night in the airing cupboard to help the paint harden, I started peeling off the masking. It's always a mixed moment for me. I like the big reveal as the masking comes off and the model starts to come to life, but I'm always paranoid that I'm going to end up peeling a big chunk of paint off, or there's a bit I forgot to mask and the wrong colour has gone where it shouldn't!!

 

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Bit by bit, it became more Lancaster like!

 

bbmf038.jpg

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Now this is more like it. All the masking removed. The green/brown masking and painting is done and no masking goofs! Both the green and brown were given a light sand with a worn 400 grit flatting pad. The next job was back to masking again!

 

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bbmf040.jpg

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Masking the fuselage wasn't too much of a problem, but masking the wings, or particularly the insides of the nacelles and the wing leading edge between the nacelles was challenging. My fingers are much more suited to 1/6 scale and above than 1/144 scale!

 

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Time to get the black out. All the difficult corners were given a few light coats first before the larger areas. I dropped the pressure right down for these areas.

 

bbmf042.jpg

Edited by Army_Air_Force

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Wings and wheels.

 

bbmf043.jpg

 

The props were also painted, plus one side of the fins. Because I had a little black left in the airbrush, the gear doors were also sprayed, even though they'll need a little touch up once cut from the sprue. After air drying until the wet look went, the whole lot went back in the airing cupboard to harden.

 

bbmf044.jpg

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Now we're up to date. The masking was removed yesterday, and after further time to harden, the model was given a gentle rub over with a flatting pad. This is the model before I started spraying future coats this morning.

 

bbmf045.jpg

 

bbmf046.jpg

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