Airfix 1/72nd scale Shackleton as an AEW2
I've completed it as Avro Shackleton AEW2, WL747 'Florence', of 8 Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth.
"Why not wait for the Revell kit?" I hear you cry... well I had a spare radome for a PB-1W (B-17) and impatience got the better of me so I decided to buy Xtradecal's Shackleton sheet and took the plunge.
The conversion itself was very simple - the bomb bay was shortened and a new plastic card bulkhead added to the rear of the forward sealed section of the bomb bay. I then needed to adjust the shape of radome where it meets the fuselage slightly, stuck it on, and blended it all in with Milliput. When it was painted I used a mixture of the Airfix decals, the aforementioned Xtradecal sheet as well as some Xtradecal yellow stripes for the walkways etc which were very different on the AEW2 fleet in comparison to the MR2 aircraft. There were no specific AEW2 stencils supplied with the Xtradecal set so there's a few missing, but I'm not going to lose too much sleep over that.
Although the conversion itself was simple, unfortunately my experience with the base kit was anything but. It looks lovely in the box, but was an absolute pig to get together. I'm more than open to the idea that it was me making a ham-fisted effort of it, but after reading various reviews in the mags and online I was expecting a straightforward build. However, mine was anything but:
Nose area was mis-moulded and I had to build the area up around the nose gun aperture with plastic card and filler.
The 'bomb-aimer's/gunner's' nose transparency didn't fit at all and needed much trimming and fettling to get it into its aperture.
The wheel bays just didn't want to go together at all , and when I did finally get them in position they didn't fit into the wing correctly and much trimming/sanding was needed.
The interior is beautiful, but means the fuselage won't fit together properly - despite much trimming and sanding of the interior bulkheads and floors. In the end the entire rear lower fuselage was shimmed with plastic card.
Upper turret plug doesn't some close to fitting and needed a lot of filling.
Cockpit glazing didn't fit and sat too low - the whole area had to be built up with filler.
Joins of the upper nacelles to the wing was an appalling fit - again lots of filler needed.
Now I'm one of Airfix's biggest fans and was very surprised to find these issues with a new-tool kit, especially after reading such rave reviews. As I said I'm more than happy to admit it may have been me having 'one of those builds', or even being unfortunate and getting a 'Friday afternoon' example - either way I'm afraid I won't be rushing to build another!
Anyway, enough waffle from me; enjoy the pictures.
Wishing all fellow "imodellers" a Happy Christmas and prosperous 2016.