Welcome to... Steve's Scale Models

Specializing in 1/48 scale dioramas, vehicles, RAF & Luftwaffe aircraft (particularly the Me262).

1/48 SCALE BUILD: TAMIYA LANCASTER B III DAMBUSTER!

The Tamiya Lancaster Dam Buster in 1/48 scale, kit # 61021-4000 (this is the vintage 70’s kit). Note that this kit has been reissued by Tamiya as #61105 and is widely available with updated, more correct parts.  And it goes for under US$70.00 many places!

 Here are photos of the finished product. NOTE: the exhaust stains need to be corrected. Should have a buff/light gray center sandwiched by black. And the outer stain should go under the wing, not over. All stains should not be heavy since this aircraft was fitted up for one mission, so the stains would be from a few engine run-ups.  

 

 

 

 This is a big kit and a big project!  First, just because it's a big plane.  Secondly, the old kit needs some upgrading for accuracy and detail.  So here's how I built it:

FIRST: line up the needed parts: 

Extra parts:

Reason

Flightpath # FP-48-011 Photo-etched set: also a BIG photo-etched set!  Purchased in the 1990s, currently OOP.

Tons of reasons!  Complete flaps, canopy and turret frames, cockpit parts, antennas, and on and on.

Belcher Bits #BB15 (Lancaster engines 1/48)  $29.99 from Belcher Bits Available from Michael Belcher, belcherbits@gmail.com

The kit nacelles have incorrect features and lack detail, plus the fit is poor.

Paragon Designs #48121 Lancaster Narrow blade props x4 $14.99

The kit props are the rounded tip style which are incorrect for almost all war-time Lancs.

Paragon Designs #48149 Lancaster Smooth tread bulged wheels – $14.99  - both Paragon sets available from North American Hobbies, thestohrs@aol.com

The kit tyres with square-pattern tread are incorrect for the BIII Dam-busters.

Eduard # EX129 Die-cut Masks $7.50 From Roll Models.

For clear parts and wheels.

Eduard #49034 Lancaster seatbelts $6.95 Great Models web store

No seatbelts included in the kit, and the seats are visible.

Falcon #40 Clear-Vax vacu-formed canopy set (RAF part 2) for the Late Style Chin Blister $19.50, Roll Models

The kit blister is an early, low-profile type while the BIII Dam-busters had the later style deep blister.

Hmm.  I see I spent about $80 on parts to replace incorrect kit parts.  I could have just bought the Tamiya re-issue. Oh well.  I probably got some better quality parts.  That's my consolation.

Another change I would make would be to buy the Eduard # FE371 photo-etched set, and use it instead of the Flightpath parts and Tamiya decals for most of the cockpit areas. And really, since the Flightpath set is long out of production, I would recommend buying the following Eduard photo-etched sets instead:

the above mentioned FE371  ($7.95)

 #49371, Color photo etched set ($29.95)

 #48563, photoetched flaps ($29.95)

 And if you want to go crazy with the landing gear bays, go for # 48564.

OK NOW HERE'S SOME PROCESS STEPS:

Internal modifications:

COCKPIT : Internal photo-etched parts included radio and radar equipment fronts, throttle levers, pilot’s seat, seat belts, interior wall detail, handrail, DF loop, wiring, and instruments. I added wiring and misc. equipment.  See below for more details.

Interior colors: The cockpit interior is matt black.  This includes the seats, including the pilot's seat except the back of the armor plate panel being British Interior Green. The hand rails into the bomb-aimers compartment were red, later yellow. The nav/radio table should be interior green.  The interior matt black should be painted with a very dark grey, allowing the interior to be seen through the canopy, and also allowing other 'black' items to be painted black, making them highlighted a little more. It will also give a more 'scale' appearance.

The entire interior from the main wing spar which is right behind the radio operator’s set to the rear turret, is British Interior Green. 

By the way, I used almost exclusively Model Master enamel paints for the entire model. In a few spots, Xtracolor enamels were used.

All cushions, padded armrests etc. were dark glossy green leather.  The kit seat cushion have deep gaps between the ribs: this is incorrect and they should be mainly smooth leather, so the gaps should be filled.  Here's super-detailed seat from Hellenic modelers' site:

 Mine's a little simpler but I think it does the job:

 

Here is a detail reference photo from the right side of the pilot's seat, showing some adjustment controls: 

The yellow circle should be on both sides of the head armor of the pilot seat.  Do not place the parachute in the pilot seat bottom, as the pilot carried his parachute out with him and would never be left in the seat.  All the crew had places to hang their parachutes, and most would not be visible from the outside.  One that can be seen is on the bulkhead behind the bomb aimer’s position.  

Here's a nice photo of a Lanc instrument panel, which looks mostly original.  There are quite a few photos on line of this view with modern control and instrument adaptations, avionics, etc.

There is a major mistake in the positioning of the navigator/radio operator table that also affects the exterior: the table is positioned too far forward, along with the seats, and the two adjacent square windows.  I started just changing the window positions, and then realized that the table was wrong too.  Since I already had attached to table and seats, I left them. 

The navigator's chair was mounted on a large bulkhead which covered the main wing spar. Add a piece of plastic or metal across the fuselage to right behind the nav. chair. Here's my interior floor for this section with the corresponding seats: 

In the rear of the plane, the main crew door on the rear starboard side opens in and to the right hand side via hinges. This is worth displaying open for a plane on the ground.  The door can be cut out and reused, which is what I did, adding little hinges.  With the door open, the interior is visible so I added sheet styrene for the floor, as well as a scratch-built Elsan toilet, a flare dispenser, and some detail on the opposite wall.  See resources.
Here's the flare chute seen through the rear side door.  The chute is scratch-built from spare parts.  Also interior side wall detail is visible.  The rectangular pattern is photo-etched from the Flightpath set, and the cables are electric guitar strings.

 

 This is the toilet made from a piece of round sprue:  The floor is visible as well as a step which is from the Flightpath photo-etched set.

 

 REAR TURRET: Rear machine guns and main mounting brackets are shown inverted on the instruction sheet.  The guns should be pointing upwards and the mounting brackets are shown in the instructions as sloping in the wrong direction. The left should be on the right and the right be on the left !!!   The internal details and external frames for the turrets supplied by Flightpath are amazing but the frames are very difficult to apply. 

Here are a bunch of reference images:

Front turret: 

Here is my front turret with Flightpath photo-etched ribbing: (I haven't attached the gun barrels yet...)

 

 

 Bomb aimer’s position:

 Bombsight: this looks like it will have to be totally scratchbuilt, unless I can find an aftermarket part that's not too expensive!!!  BUT WAIT.... The Dambister didn't need a bombsight!  They used a totally different aiming system relying upon spotlights that shines down on the water's surface, lining up just so to indicate the plane's height.

 Main landing gear bays:  the kit materials are fine, although there is a replacement set: Scale Aircraft Conversion Brand #48043 Lancaster Landing Gear, metal parts. Cost: $22.95 at Great Models.

Here's mine with the kit struts and Paragon smooth-tread tire, also wing fuel tanks, visible from the main landing gear compartment: replicated with styrene painted red oxide shade (not green as sometimes done).  This model isn't finished.  More details and painting is lacking.

 

Wire for brake lines and other hydraulics added later.  And, according to most sources, the entire wheel bay including the struts, hubs, doors, etc, should be painted black. That was apparently a field modification since the original aluminum/silver colors would put the aircraft at risk from detection by searchlights.  Same thing goes for the flaps. You may ask, why would they be flying over searchlights with the landing gear down and the flaps open?  Apparently, that was a technique used to cause a sudden decrease in speed when the plane was illuminated by a searchlight.  That way they could escape the beam.  But if there was a lot of silver or other shiny colors exposed, they would have been more easily detected again.  So, to quote Mick Jagger, "Paint it black".

Some engine details can be added which will be visible from the bays: tubing and also a large oil tank painted red.  I used a piece of resin from the wheel set.

This image shows a lot of other things that can been done if exposing the engines.  Since we are using Belcher Bits engine nacelles, we are not going to have this option.  I guess I could put one in.  Hmm. One look at this and think not at this stage.

External modifications:

Positioning the flaps down is a nice touch.  The Flightpath set is, wow, nicely made, not too hard to install, and looks great!

Here are some reference photos:

 

 Note the position of the rear end of the engine nacelle: here's another shot:

 

 

 Here's a close-up:

Here's my kit: the lower wing with the Flightpath flap parts installed:

 

 And here are the Flightpath flaps before attaching to the wing:

 

 Other details:

Wing vents [2 parts numbered B61] are shown the wrong way, The vents should face rearwards of the wing.

Props in the kit are paddle blade and 99.9% of lancs had needle tip props, make sure you have the correct ones, a Dambuster looks stupid with paddle blade props.

Wing roundels supplied in the kit are too small.  I got some replacements somewhere... hmm, i'll have to find them...

Only early style shallow nose blister is supplied with the kit.  Most early lanc's where retrofitted with the larger deep nose blister.  PAR48150 paragon or Falcon

Wing tip lights are supposedly the wrong size but I didn’t change this.

Paint scheme: apparently the camouflage pattern in the Tamiya instructions is not correct according to other references. But to start, I pre-shaded the panel lines after painting the first coat of brown.

 

Here's "da bomb" loaded up, ready to roll!  I've read that it could have been painted silver or interior green from the factory, but then was almost certainly overpainted black by crews.  Hey, they weren't dumb!  Who wants to be flying around up there with a bright shiny object stuck underneath, while nightfighters, searchlights, flak crews, and all kinds of thing were looking for you to just show a little, tiny little, teeny-weeny tell-tale sign of anything up there.  So, again, do your best Jagger and "Paint it black"! (a rough paint job over silver would probably be the most accurate).

Short-cut to the end:

Web sites:

 http://www.helmo.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=684&Itemid=1 - perhaps the most complete “build-up” account for the Tamiya Lanc.  I DON BELIEVABLE the amount of scratchbuilt etc.

http://s362974870.onlinehome.us/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=205003&st=0  ANOTHER AWESOME BUILDUP.

http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/start-finish-builds/tamiya-1-48th-dambuster-build-wayne-little-13671.html

http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Gal8/7501-7600/gal7551-Lancaster-Calcaterra/00.shtm

http://www.brian.geek.nz/models/LancDamBuster/index.html

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/lanc.html  - TONS of photos!

http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/weapons-systems-tech/fn-50-center-turrent-8234.html

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t32014.html   - front turret info

http://www.pan3sixty.co.uk/tours/duxford/lancasterfs.html  AWESOME 360 degree cockpit tour!

http://lancaster-archive.com/  HARD TO NAVIGATE PAGE BUT W/ LOTS OF GOOD INFO.

 http://www.lancaster-archive.com/lanc_interior.htm

http://www.lancaster-archive.com/lanc_rear_turret.htm

http://www.hyperscale.com/features/2000/lancastermm_1.htm

http://www.florymodels.co.uk/tamiya-148-lancaster/   ANOTHER EXCELLENT TAMIYA BUILD – W/ SCRATCHBUILT FLAPS!!!  AND PROP-BLUR(WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?)

http://aeroscale.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=2915

http://goto.glocalnet.net/bosradio/marconiR1155eng/R1155photogallery.htm  - radios and radar

http://www.qsl.net/pe1ngz/airforce/lancaster/lancaster-equipment.html   all the electronic gadgets

http://s110605900.websitehome.co.uk/lanc/main.htm  WALKAROUND and WALK-THROUGH PHOTOS

For a very good walk-around and walk-through - http://www.acrair.com/AWA2/1001-1100/walk1039-Lancaster-Hollingsworth/00.shtm

Walk-around: http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/AWA1/501-600/walk525_Lancaster_Hollingsworth/walk525.htm

 A dambuster photo, close-up, original    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PnjruCyyH70/SzacQktZSPI/AAAAAAAAAnA/ybGXTmcZP1I/s1600-h/1943%2Bdambusters%2B02.jpg

A very complete dambusters page but all in Dutch: http://dambusters.be/  look at the photo and film section.

Informational page on the dambusters, few photos: http://www.dambusters.org.uk/