by: Christopher Wilson [ ]
The KitThe box contains 16 sprues, comprising 249 parts in light gray plastic along with a sizeable number of nicely done clear bits. The instructions follow 16 steps and are quite well done, even the color call outs for the subassemblies are for the most part correct. The quality of the molded parts is excellent with no flash though the fuselage does have two visible sink marks on the upper fuselage just in front of the turret. Decals are well done and cover 2 aircraft from 467 Squadron. The first is the famous PO*S, the second, PO*V. My only beef with the decals is # 17, which is the writing on the nose for PO*S does not spell “Reich” correctly For some reason Hasegawa spell it “EICH” leaving out the “R”. I did not use the kit decals, which turned out to be a big mistake for me, but more on that later.
AssemblyThe kit goes together, but not without a little work. I should note that compared to a short run kit, this is a cake walk, but there are issues that I think you should not have to deal with on a model from a manufacturer such as Hasegawa with a price tag like this Lancaster.
The fit on all of the engine nacelle parts could be better and the join of the outer nacelles to the wings is really poorly done. The next poor areas of fit are the nice clear turrets. The rear turret is fiddly at best and the fuselage plug (I1 & I2) needs to be shaped to accept the finished turret. The dorsal turret fairing fit is a little off and the same can be said for the front turret fairing as well. However, with just a little modeling work all this can be overcome quite easily, I just did not want someone to get the idea this kit fits like a glove.
Assembly starts with the interior and I took some liberties here and added some parts. The Hasegawa interior leaves a lot of detail out. This is for the most part OK because very little can be seen after the canopy is added anyway. However, a little scratch building goes a long way in the pilot’s area specifically. Also, I used the excellent pre-painted Eduard PE interior set. I cannot say enough good things about this set. It fits perfectly, is easy to work with and makes the model look much better. This would be money well spent!
Next I assembled the engine nacelles and the wings. As noted, the fit could be better here but a night of sanding and Mr. Surfacer and I was back in business.
Finally, I closed up the fuselage and cleaned all seams. This again takes a little more patience than I was used to for a Hasegawa kit, but no worries and soon the wings were attached.
At this point it started to look like a Lancaster. Next are the dreaded transparencies. For this I was sent the Eduard masking set. This is basically the same stuff as Tamiya tape pre cut to fit all the windows and the wheels. Sounds good right? In a way it was. This stuff is far better than the old masking material Eduard used, but it is sticky and I found that not all the windows were cut exactly right. It is close, but not dead on. Positioning is also hard because once on, the material doesn’t really want to slide around without deforming in shape. The good part is that for the inside of the rear turret, wheels and the bomb aimer’s blister these masks cannot be beat. For most of the rest of the glazing I gave up on the masks and used my own method of Bare Metal Foil. Some people are going to love these. If you are afraid of this type model because of the masking then set is probably something you will enjoy having.
Gluing on all the clear parts is next and then painting begins. I first primed the model in black and gray and while I had the paint out I painted assembled prop assemblies, landing gear parts, and wheels putting them aside for later.
PaintingThe Lancaster is big and to help break up the monotone look I used several shades of Dark Earth and Dark Green on the upper surfaces. I loosely freehanded the camouflage and went back with various shades of color and tightened the pattern and produced some fading. Once dry the top was masked and the black was added. For this I used PolyScale Brunswick Green as a true black won’t look right in this scale.
Once everything was painted and dry I glossed and began working on the upper surfaces with a filter of leather. This helped blend things together and lightened the colors. Again the whole filter process helps remove some of the toy like appearance.
After the filter I was ready for decals and this is where my trouble started. I used the Zotz sheet because I wanted to model QP*B “Piccadilly Princess” and this turned out to be a mistake. I had never used Zotz before and so I tested some spare code letters on a Spitfire wing prepared the same as the fuselage. I used 3 letters and three different solutions: Solvaset, MicroSol, and MicroSet. MicroSet didn’t react well at all. Solvaset was a little too hot, but MicroSol worked fine. So I went on with the process of application to the model on something went horribly wrong. Not only were the code letters QP*B off register but they silvered and bubbled badly. The wing roundels were even worse. By this time I was really disappointed. I applied the rest of the decals as best I could. After much cutting and many applications of MicroSol, Future, and even Lacquer Thinner I had then looking OK from about two feet. This was a huge disappointment after all the time invested and I will not be using Zotz decals again. Even if somehow the application was messed up by me the off register code letters were nothing I could help and there is nothing worse than an off register red code letter on a black fuselage.
After I was done with the decals I made a wash using mineral spirits and raw umber oil paint, streaking the upper wings and fuselage in the direction of airflow. Exhaust was applied with thinned black and gray and the model received a final coat of clear flat with a drop of sand mixed in the uppers and a drop of gray for the sides and bottom.
Recommendation This is a huge kit and a great looking Lancaster once done. If you are working on a collection of WWII bombers the Lancaster fills a hole and looks great next to the B-24 and B-17. Hasegawa went out there with this one and I think it pays off. This kit didn’t disappoint. The decals were a let down, but if I had used the kit marking I’d probably be a happy modeler. If you are looking for you first four engines subject to tackle, this one should be it.
Thanks go to Dragon USA, via Saul Garcia, for the Lancaster and Eduard Masks. Direct thanks to Eduard for the PE interior.