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Airfix Avro Shackleton MR2

Wowzah! There’s a lot of model in this big red box. Parts are furnished for two Shackleton MR2 variants, including options for movable rudders, retracted or extended flaps, and bomb-bay doors. Closed landing gear doors and an extended radome are supplied for posing the aircraft in flight, but no stand is included.

The kit provides a nice interior, including radar operator and crew stations — there’s even a map for the nav table — and two pilots. Sadly, most of this won’t be seen after the fuselage is assembled. But the cockpit looks appropriately busy when built up.

Color callouts reference Humbrol paints.

The four-color instructions and keyed parts made assembly easy, but time and patience are required because of the model’s size and myriad components.

The horizontal and vertical tails feature mortise joints that make alignment a snap. I did have to file the interior to close the fuselage around it.

The fuselage seams and the upper nacelle-to-wing joints required filling and sanding, and I had to trim the dorsal turret and its cannon’s breeches so the barrels didn’t splay outward. Those barrels and one LORAN antenna were damaged in the poly bag, and I was never able to repair or straighten them to my satisfaction.

The four torpedoes are mini models, each needing seam sanding, painting, masking, and decals. The nicely detailed bomb bay benefits from a wash.

I used Eduard masks (No. CX434) for the clear parts; they worked beautifully and left no residue behind.

Markings for an aircraft from No. 224 Squadron and one from No. 204 Squadron are given. I chose the former because I liked the dorsal turret and the twin 20mm cannons in the Boulton-Paul nose turret. The extensive decals feature full stencil data and a flat finish, and they conformed well.

While I’m not a big fan of building a complete interior that can’t be seen, I can visualize a wired, fully-lit fuselage with glowing radar scopes. You just know some modeler already has that planned.

Parts breakdown indicates future Shackleton variants may be forthcoming. As long as I’m dreaming, how cool would it be to see an Avro Lincoln kit; except for the fuselage, this kit’s got most of the parts for one.

The fit issues were a bit perplexing, but not terminal. Airfix’s new Shackleton isn’t a difficult build, but it takes time and a lot of painting small parts. I spent 55 hours building mine, and I really liked the kit, challenges and all.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2016 issue.


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