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Qantas Avro 504 1/72

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After seeing this aircraft on display at the Mascot Terminal in Sydney, I thought I might try to build it.  Turns out all 1/72 scale kits (in fact probably all scale kits - even the extremely rare Airfix one) of this a/c have the wrong engine and fuselage shape, so major surgery is required.  The Qantas a/c had the normal radial engine replaced with a Sunbeam Dyak engine which is squarer in shape.  I found a great build thread from a bloke who'd converted the A-Model 1/72 kit into the Qantas Dyak version, so will follow his tips on fueslage cuts and scratching.   But I'm using the Airfix version (which unfortunately does not have the 3 raised ribs along the fuselage sides, so I might have to think of a way to create them...or just leave it).  Hawkeye Models make the decals for the Qantas version & my girls are buying me some 0.01mm Mig Ammo elastic rigging material for Fathers Day ...I hope.


The real thing at Mascot Airport (though it might be a replica?)




The box




The parts (pretty basic!)




The fuselage cuts - red I will do, black I might try to get away with avoiding and just adding a layer of styrene sheet to thicken up the fuselage depth (which is apparently too shallow for the Qantas version).  The tail fin also needs cutting off & the fuselage lengthened slightly at that point before sticking the tail back on.




The entire cockpit section and nose forward of the cockpit needs to be scratch built.

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Engine compartment construction  underway for the Sunbeam Dyak engine shape.  God knows where this will end up, but I added plenty of internal bracing as I can see lots of putty & sanding & scribing in my future as ultimately this all needs some smooth curves.





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First attempt to create the basis of the slightly curved surface of the Dyak engine compartment using basic Tamiya putty.  Not a great result.




Started scratching some cockpit details also.



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A little research on the good ole interweb revealed this stuff might be a better option for nose sculpting and the hobby shop 20kms down the New England Highway in Uralla actually had some in stock!




I applied it last night.  Works like a dream (as long as you keep your fingers wet).  I rolled out a smooth flat section, about 1mm thick, then cut it to approx shape and moulded it with my fingers.  This morning I gave it a rough sand with 180 grit wet & dry.  It is beautiful to work with, moulds easy when wet, sands easy when dry.  I need to add a little more in spots to fill indentations, then sand smooth with finer wet & dry.  Will also use it to sculpt some seat belts.





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I had to re-position the new nose, much better now.  Was too short & pointing too high.  Tried scribing detail on it, but in the end used a mixture of scribing & adding raised detail with stretched sprue.


Cockpit internals are done, added the cockpit covered areas, the turtledeck on the spine (thinned Evergreen card, scribed ridges into it with an old pen). Then those 5 fiddly vents on the nose, used softdrink can metal in the end.  10 attempts to get 5 I could live with.  Evergreen rod drilled out for exhausts.  Not 100% happy with their position, but it will do for now.


I might have got past the hardest parts now???





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Upper wing test fitting and sorting out strut length, as cutting left right and centre means the kit struts need some lengthening.


Test fitting of the struts ended in tears when I tacked them in with a tiny bit of CA, and when I pulled them out, the whole canopy deck lifted with them. Thus commenced regluing, and putty and sanding....again.





Edited by Thommo
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On the 3rd attempt I built a radiator I could live with.  The metal in the middle is from a Pepsi can, and I used the back of an exacto blade to scratch the hatches in it...and give myself RSI.  You can buy after-market metal for this stuff, but I'm not a big after-market type.


I've been in touch with Hawkeye Models in Canberra & ordered the Qantas decals for this. model.  Turns the owner just finished a resin nose/engine for this model, but as I'd already scratched that, I decided not to buy the resin.


Apparently the Sunbeam Dyak still suffered from overheating problems....just what you want in an aeroplane engine eh 😲





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A thing of beauty your radiator.  Well Done.

I too like to "craft" needed parts. It fills a need in my quest to create the perfect model.....OK, OK  I'm too cheep to by resin and PE---there ya happy?😁

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Rigging :doh:

I decided to try the eyelet & turnbuckle method on this one.  There are lots of great articles on the interweb on how to do this, problem is they are all about 1/32 scale (or 1/48 in rare cases).


Being a sucker for punishment, I decided to try the method in 1/72.  The first problem is, you are supposed to do it like this:


1. Make an eyelet out of fine electrical wire by twisting around a 0.1-0.3mm drill bit, and CA into a half-hole in the wing or where-ever.  This is easy and worked well, though I made some with a 0.3mm drill and some with 0.1mm - should have done all at 0.1mm I think.




2. Thread a turnbuckle (hollow section of brass tube) over the rigging line.  Put the rigging line through the eyelet, then turn it back and put it back through the turnbuckle in the opposite direction and CA the line into the turnbuckle.  


I'm using 0.3mm external diameter and 0.1mm internal diameter tubing, and the finest rigging I could get.  This stuff is Hell to work with at this size!






Just threading one piece of tubing on the line can take me 20mins, and I have about 70 to do :crying2:  There are several challenges:


A. Cutting the tube without squashing it - best way to do this is to gently roll the blade over it till it cuts - and try not to let the bit fly away.

B. The holes in the end may still need a little reaming out.  I've broken 5 of my 10 0.1mm micro-drills already (lucky they only cost $5 for 10 from China, and that the broken ones still do the job.  They are incredibly fragile)

C. Using an optivisor at the highest magnification & holding the tiny tube in tweezers while threading the line through with another set of tweezers, then trying to grab the end and pull it through one it slightly emerges - this is the most challenging part.


So far I've threaded 35 on the line (half way there-ish) & I reckon that's about 7hrs of threading!  It's a killer.




Problem is step 2. above will not work as everything is too small to double the line back through the tube (turnbuckle).  So I'll have to glue the line directly to the eyelet, then slide the tube down to the eyelet and glue if there too.  This will be less secure than the usual method, but no choice.....though I have ordered some 0.2mm inkjet nozzle cleaning flexible drills so might be able to ream the tubing out a bit more.


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Paint & gloss coat on.  I pulled out most of the wire eyelets & rebuilt them with a wire eyelet inserted in a small piece of brass tube which is more representative of the real thing, but far more fragile. Will be interesting to see how it goes when it comes to putting rigging on.  Will attach rigging to top wing before putting the top wing on, then work out a way to tie/CA it to the eyelets on the bottom wing.


All in all it's a very fragile build.





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Cheers mate. I'm starting to install some rigging now.  It's killing me it is so bloody small & fiddly but onward & upwards eh.


The green paint is proving a little fragile & rubs off with handling, but I'm gonna leave the touch-ups till much later as there is a lot more handling to come yet.


The Qantas AVRO decals from Hawkeye Models in Canberra are on their way.

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Well, I got it to a stage where all the crazy fine rigging was on & painted, then I dropped it....twice :doh:, and some struts broke away, some rigging snapped, and my attempts to re-glue it only showed the whole top wing arrangement was too weak.  This is the closest I've ever come to having a shelf (or a bin) queen.


So I'm going to rip the top wing off & see if I can re-do it all in a more secure way.  Also, I was not really happy with the rigging eyelets, and this time will just do it with small bits of brass tubing.







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This is just another way the Quality modeler displays the art of his craft. The repair of damage so as to be invisible to the average person.     Sign_tongue.png   


p.s. looks like your on your way back 👍

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The re-build following the crash landing is underway.


It was fortuitous actually because I've now added mounting points for the struts from brass tubing which are stronger, and have decided the wire eyelet with brass tube turnbuckle idea is crazy in 1/72.  The wire section is just too prone to bending out of shape  and pulling out of the brass tube. Just using the brass tube turnbuckle is a much simpler & stronger idea in conjuction with the 0.01mm Ammo Mig rigging, so that's what I'm doing now.


One benefit of the Mig rigging is it's incredible affinity to CA.  Just one touch and it grabs instantly which is great, unless it grabs in the wrong spot.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments gents.


Of all my builds since getting back into the hobby about 15yrs ago, I thought this one would be my first epic fail. It is just so small, tricky & fragile.


The Ammo Mig rigging has been an interesting and very positive experience (in the past I've either used invisible thread or stretched sprue).  It is incredibly fine & fiddly, but if you apply it under some decent stretch, you will find if you sag it out of shape with subsequent handling (which I've done numerous times on this build), just leave it overnight and by morning it will have sprung back into a nice tight line.  Also, acrylic paints work best on this rigging, as enamels can bead.


I'm now working on the aileron and tail control surface rigging.  The wing aileron rigging spans almost the entire length of the upper and lower wings, but I've devised a way to do most of it with just one long length, and two shorter lengths of the Mig thread.


The Hawkeye decals were OK, but a little thick so left a bit of a visible edge.  I found they would not bed down at all with just water, or with MicroSet, but a coat of wet Future under then over was the best option.  Then several coats of Future over the entire model to blend it all in.  It's a touch too glossy, so I might use some very dilute flat clear in the final stages to tone it down a bit.


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