|PRICE:||£26.99 (ON SALE)|
|DECALS:||Two kit options|
My first real aircraft model was the AVRO Lancaster – the classic Airfix kit. I bought the kit in 1960 for 12 Danish kroner ( roughly = 1,80 USD in the present currency exchange rate). The kit was assembled and painted in the recommended camouflage scheme. Humbrol Colors were unknown to me at that time, but I bought some small cans of paint in the local bicycle shop. I had to mix the colors myself, but I did not even have a color photo of a Lancaster as reference, so my shades were purely guess-work. The paint descriptions ”dark green” and ”dark earth” were my only clues for mixing the shades. My dark green turned up to be acceptable, but my dark earth was too brown and too dark. The model was painted before gluing the wings and tail planes to the fuselage. This was the easiest way of doing the painting. The sides and bottom surfaces, spinners, propellers and gear got no paint, as the plastic was already black. I took some black and white photos of the finished model and the camouflage pattern was invisible on the model! The colors had apparently exactly the same black/white value. I was 14 years old and rather content with the result of my efforts.
When SAAB was working on the development of the Lansen fighter, STAL simultaneously was working on the development of a suitable jet engine to be used in the Lansen. Everybody knows the SAAB company, but only a few knows STAL. STAL or Svenska Turbinfabriks AB Ljungström was founded in 1913 and was a specialist on constructing steam turbines for powerplants. The STAL company delivered in 1932 a very powerful steam turbine to the Västerås Steam Powerplant. The efficiency of this turbine exceeded 90%, a world record at that time for efficiency of steamturbines.
In the late forties STAL began developing gas turbines for jet engines. The company hoped to get orders from the Flygvapnet. At the same time SAAB was developing jet aircraft for the Flygvapnet – the Tunnan and the Lansen. And it is here the Tp 80 gets into the picture: The Flygvapnet needed a flying testbed for the testing of the STAL Dovern jet engine. Rolls Royce has named their jet engines after English rivers: Nene, Avon, Spey, Trent etc. STAL named their product after a small lake in the vicinity of the factory in Finspång, which is located about 25 kilometers north of Linköping, where the test center of the Flygvapnet (Fc) is situated at Malmen.
In 1950 the Flygvapnet ordered a Lancaster by AVRO. The plane should be modified as a flying testbed according to the specifications of the Flygvapnet. AVRO did their task and the aircraft was delivered in 1951 and was attached to the Fc at Malmen, and got the designation Tp 80 and the serial number 80001.
The Fc performed more than 100 flights testing the Dovern engine, however, the Dovern never completely fulfilled the expectations of the Flygvapnet. The engine would under certain circumstances suddenly loose the major part of its power – and this is unacceptable in a military fighter plane. So the big order for jet engines for the Lansen went to Rolls Royce. The Avon engine was just suitable for the Lansen production, and later for the Draken. Rolls Royce delivered Avon engines for the prototypes only, all other engines were licence built by another well known Swedish company: the Volvo Aero in Trollhättan, Svenska Flygmotor division.
The flying tests continued, however, with the Tp 80, but now it was a Swedish designed afterburner for the Avon engine, which was being tested. Now and then the Tp 80 also had some completely different tasks, which it was well suited to do, such as photography of aircraft in the air. The Flygvapnet made a recruiting movie on the J 33 Venom: Nattjakt (night fighting!). If the casing around the opening for the tail turret is removed, it leaves a 180 degrees free view backwards, and the aircraft makes up a perfect platform for a camera operator. Most of the air scenes were filmed from the tail of the Tp 80.
We are now in 1956, when the test-flights suddenly came to an end. During a
flight with an after-burner engine, the Tp 80 caught fire and crashed in flames.
Unfortunately just 2 of the 4 crew members managed to bale out in time. A sad
end of the Lancaster era in the Flygvapnet!
At last it should be mentioned, that STAL managed to solve all the problems of the Dovern engine, and it turned out to be a successful industrial powerplant. An updated version of the Dovern engine is obtainable even today!
Compared to the old Airfix kit from 1958 the Hasegawa kit represents a huge step towards a realistic model. The Airfix kit was a toy rather than a scale model. At that time rivets were compulsory – but hopelessly out of scale. On a close-up photo of the BBMF Lancaster, I calculated that on the fuselage between the canopy and the bomb bay door there are approximately 2800 rivets – starboard side only! This area on the model is roughly 2 by 4 cm, and this means, that one square cm has 350 rivets. Rivets have nothing to do on small-scale models. But if we talk of scale 1/16 or even bigger, the rivets may be realistic.
The Hasegawa kit consists of 275 parts in light grey and clear plastic and is without rivets. In return there are some screw heads on the engine cowling parts – and that is OK with me. Recessed panel lines seem to be wanted by modelers of the 21st century, but has anyone tried to calculate the scale-correct size of these scratches? They are probably out of scale in the same way as the rivets were 50 years ago! I would prefer no panel lines at all for a model to a 1/72 scale. Some modelers even scratch their own panel lines. The effort should rather be to secure the shape of the parts provided and to what extent optional parts should be used – or not.
I shall mainly deal with the necessary operations needed to change the Hasegawa standard Lancaster Mk.I into the highly specialised Swedish version: the Tp 80. The changes relate to the fuselage, the fins and the gear. Wings, tail planes and engines are unchanged.
The opening of the long bomb bay was reinforced by gluing 2 pieces of 3 x 3 mm ABS strip on the inner sides. And this reinforcement offered furthermore a firm plane for gluing the new fuselage bottom with the jet pod in place. A test assembly of the two fuselage halves revealed, that the plastic piece supposed to keep the tail planes in place could be moved about one mm sideways. I wanted this support to be absolutely firm, and I did this by gluing 2 small strips of 0,5 mm ABS on either side of the inner side of the slot. Now the tail plane support was firm, when the fuselage halves were pressed together.
The next operation was to make everything which should be done before the final assembly of the fuselage. This included painting of the interior of the cockpit area. All the walls should be interior green (Humbrol no 78) and the furniture and instrument panel flat black (Humbrol no 33). The decals with instruments and radio were omitted, since they can´t be seen from the outside anyway. Don`t use effort and time on something unnecessary! The fuselage was then glued together using K 200 – a fast drying glue which hardens in 5 minutes. And I could immediately after do the nessessary filling and sanding – an easy job, because the halves fit so well together.
The assembly of the two fuselage halves demands some careful planning, especially if you use a fast drying glue. It is a good thing to exercise this operation 3-5 times without glue – just to learn your fingers exactly what to to, and do it fast and without failures. And you will know how much tape and other fastenings you need to make a perfect assembly.
As the Tp 80 is unarmed the 3 turrets should be omitted and the openings sealed. In both ends of the fuselage it was necessary to make a casing conformal with the openings. These were made of two pieces of Ureol, which were roughly formed and glued in place. The after casing should be glued to the parts no 11 & 12. The new twin tail wheel should, however, be in place before the casing is glued on! (I shall deal with the tail wheels later.)
The final shaping of the two casings was done very carefully using a small diamond sanding drum with a mini drilling machine. This tool is most useful for shaping without touching the plastic parts. The openings on the dorsal and the belly could be closed by optional parts from the kit. Some filling and sanding was necessary to seal the openings properly.
The new bottom piece of the fuselage, which was to replace the bomb bay doors, was made of an appropriate piece of Ureol. The shape was made according to Karlström`s drawing in ”Flygplansritningar 5”. The width was kept 1 mm too much to ensure a precise matching to the fuselage after being glued in place. The precise matching was a milling job. And the milling could not have been done without the 3 x 3 mm reinforcements mentioned earlier, which secured a firm fixation of the fuselage during the milling procedure.
The jet pod.
The jet pod was cut from a piece of Ureol with the contours from the side and from the bottom. The exhaust pipe should be made in brass, and was a job for the lathe. The intake was made around an 8 mm hole in the center of the front. The hole was drilled about 3 cm down. On either side of the 8 mm hole a 4 mm hole was drilled 2 cm down. The material between the holes was carefully milled away, and the oval F-100 like air intake was the final result. After the intake was formed, the hole in the hot end was drilled, also using the 8 mm drill – and only this. The exhaust pipe opening is circular.
Next the exhaust pipe was turned in brass. I tried first to make it in a mixture of acryl and brass, but the result was not good enough. All the time you learn by your mistakes – but mistakes often come before a success! The jet pod was attached to the new bottom piece by means of a pair of 2 mm brass rods. This made it possible to separate the parts again for the ultimate adaptation to the fuselage. And at last I made the front piece of the Dovern engine and pressed it into the bottom of the intake opening. Now you can see that there is something inside the jet pod!
At length the final shaping of the jet pod could be done. All unnecessary material was to be removed – until the right shape was obtained. As the drawing did not show all of the shape, I used all available photos of the original Tp 80 as reference. The jet pod was finished when there was no apparent difference between the model and the documentation. However, this will not guarantee the model to be 100 % correct! A model can never be more correct than the documentation allows. The documentation is - as in this case – often incomplete. The best documentation will be the photos you take of the object you want to model. But for very good reasons I did not have this option.
The biggest problem, however, turned out to be the connection between the bottom and the jet pod. It took quite some time and numerous disconnections of the jet pod from the bottom to sand a smooth connection without spoiling the shape of either the jet pod or the bottom. But at length I was satisfied with the result.
The fins should be modified to the Lincoln-type, a rather easy operation. I simply cut the rear downward corner off and replaced it by a small ABS plate of the correct thickness. The correct shape was just a matter of sanding. The finished Lincoln fin was, however, 3 mm too short compared with the Karlström drawing. Was Hasegawa or Karlström wrong – or both of them? This is a genuine documentation problem!
I made several measurements on the photos of the real Tp 80 and found, that Karlström was right. The book ”Lancaster – a bombing legend” contains a lot of photos of the only two flying Lancasters in the world. I also measured the fins on all of the head on photos and found that Hasegawa was right! Now the question was: did the Tp 80 get an especially prolonged Lincoln fin? I could imagine that it might have been necessary with extra prolonged fins to secure the stability and manoeuvrebility of this very special aircraft. The jet pod must have had quite an impact on the flying characteristics of the Tp 80!
Karlström has a note on his drawing, saying: ” Tp 80 was a modified, unarmed Lancaster MK.I with bigger Lincoln-type fins and twin tail-wheels.” These words could be understood thus: The Lancaster had Lincoln-type fins, but they were taller than normal for this type of fin. I hope that someone with a first or second hand knowledge of the Tp 80 will enlighten me on this point! Anyway, I cut the fins in the middle and put in an extra piece of ABS plate to make the fins 3 mm taller. Some filler and sanding smoothed out the unavoidable steps from the lengthening.
The tail wheels
An important modification is the tail wheel. It had to be retractable, otherwise the rubber would be burned by the hot exhaust from the Dovern engine. The rather big single tail wheel of the Lancaster is not suitable for being made retractable. AVRO was, however, at that time occupied with the developement of the Shackleton, and I wonder if the twin tail wheels of this aircraft found their way to the Tp 80? Anyway, I had to produce two wheels, the leg, the wheel doors and cut the hole in the fuselage beneath the elevators. And do not forget a piece of Ureol glued inside the fuselage in which to fasten the leg. NB: the position of the retractable twin wheels is about 2 cm aft of the position of the non retractable big single tail wheel. The wheel doors must be rounded to conform with the rounded bottom. And the doors are in a horizontal position, when they are open.
And dealing with the gear: Hasegawa`s main wheels were no good for two reasons: they were a little too small although the diameter is perfect, and they lacked the pattern. So I went hunting in my unbuilt kits. And in the Airfix Mosquito 1/48 kit I found exactly, what I was looking for: the main wheels of the Mossie were perfect for the Tp 80, and with a nice pattern. They were without flat bottom, but it was a piece of cake to mill off 1,5 mm and put some filler on for the bulging. All tyres were painted with Model Master ”antracitgrau”.
The gear was not up to the standard of the rest of the kit, and I had to make a
small modification to get it useable. The problem was, how to fix two pointed
ends to each other. I did solve the problem by connecting the ends by a small
piece of thin electric wire insulation. There was no help to get from the
instructions. It seems to me that Hasegawa has totally overlooked the
problem with the gear legs. If the
instructions are good, there will be no doubt of what to do. I had to consult
the gear of my old Airfix Lancaster to realise, how the parts should be put
together. The easy solution of the problem would of course have been: gear up.
The canopy has only the bulged pane in the starboard side. But this was very easy to make, because the transparent parts of the kit are very generous and allow several options. The astrodome should be the taller one, and the bomb aiming blister should be the smaller one. Hasegawa has made a small blunder. The escape hatch of the canopy is placed too far forward. It should be moved one frame backwards. But I must confess: I did not do that – because I became aware of the problem after I had painted the canopy.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
As to the color scheme there are two options: Either metal all over, or light grey upper surfaces and black bottom surfaces with the jet pod and the fuselage behind the jet pod kept in natural metal. I chose the latter option, because I like the contrast between the black color and the yellow-blue crown markings. The light grey is described as ”medium sea grey”. I found that Humbrol no 147 light grey would be appropriate (FS36495). The spinners should be gloss white in both options. The bottom surfaces were painted gloss black, Revell no 7. The jet pod and the bottom of the fuselage was painted with natural steel, Xtracolor no x502. Here it should be mentioned, that all of the bottom plating aft of the jet pod are stainless steel plates! Steel can better cope with the heat from the jet engine than aluminium can. All parts of the aircraft were painted 3 times. Normally I would have primed the model with Humbrol Metal Cote 27002 polished aluminium. But since I had no documentation for weathering of the Tp 80, I could save this step. My model depicts the aircraft just after leaving the paint shop.
Almost all of the parts are very precisely
and correctly made, and fit very well together. A proof of this is the
fact that it is not necessary to glue the wings and tail planes to the fuselage.
This might be an advantage if you need to transport the model. A much smaller
box is sufficient, as the wings and tail planes can be separated from the
The Hasegawa kit is absolutely highly recommendable -
but other kits not quite to the same high standard
are at much lower prices.
Finally I would mention that I have made a ”Lan-casket” for the safe transport of my Tp 80 to model exhibitions around. The outer dimensions of the Lan-casket is 33 by 18 by 12 cm, and it can be handled in any position including upside down – the model inside is absolutely safe!
Björn Karlström: Flygplanritningar 3 . Allt om Hobby, Stockholm. ISBN 91-85496-25-1
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