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Lancaster B.Mk.I/III
and
Dambuster / Grand Slam Bomber

Tamiya, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

Tamiya Kit No. 61111 - Avro Lancaster Dambuster / Grand Slam Bomber

Tamiya Kit No. 61112 - Avro Lancaster B.Mk.I/III

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 293 parts in grey plastic (kit no. 61112); 51 parts in clear; decals for three (Dambuster) or four (B.Mk.I/III) options.
Price: 7600 yen
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Hih quality moulding; lots of useful options; good level of detail; includes several newly tooled sprues; five crew figures included.
Disadvantages: Questions about engine nacelle shape
Conclusion: This is a big impressive model of an iconic aircraft that, with the inclusion of new sprues, stands up very well against the new releases of today.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Lancaster B.Mk.I/III and Dambuster / Grand Slam Bomber
are available online from Squadron
 

Introduction


I returned to modelling around 1987 or 1988, a few years after I was married. The closest model shop at the time was actually inside a department store – Grace Bros at Roselands for any Sydney locals who might recall the place. This was a cosy plastic haven with rare imported kits and books, aftermarket decals and resin accessories - very unusual in an otherwise typically homogenised chain retail emporium.

A year or so after I came back to the hobby, Tamiya offered a limited reissue of their 1:48 scale Lancaster, which was originally released in 1975. When it appeared on the shelves at Grace Bros, I could not resist. I did not buy the kit to build straight away though. This was the same time that Trimaster burst onto the scene with their unparalleled (at the time) 1:48 scale Fw 190, He 162 and Me 262 kits. Revell also reissued their big 1:48 scale C-47 Skytrain kit.

I bought all of these kits (well, not all of the Trimaster kits as the prices were staggering) and stashed them safely in a couple of stout cardboard cartons awaiting the day that I might do justice to their high quality.

 

 

Interestingly, every one of these models remain in those cartons to this very day.

When Tamiya’s re-issued Lancaster B. Mk.I/III and Grand Slam surprised me on the doorstep a few weeks ago, I returned to the carton that entombed the kit that I had bought more than two decades earlier. I hadn’t even opened the plastic bags! The original sprues were moulded in black, which I never liked very much as the detail was hard to see and the paint coverage would be difficult, but otherwise I always marvelled at the size and surface detail of the kit.

 

 

FirstLook

 

This time around, Tamiya has moulded the B. Mk.I/III and Grand Slam Lancaster kits in their customary medium grey coloured plastic. I am sure that the quality of the plastic is the same as it ever was, but the parts look even better in grey.

For the B.Mk.I/III kit, there are 293 parts in grey plastic; 51 parts in clear; and markings for four aircraft. The Dambusters kit offers three marking options.

 

  • Tamiya 1/48 Avro Lancaster Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Tamiya 1/48 Avro Lancaster Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Tamiya 1/48 Avro Lancaster Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Tamiya 1/48 Avro Lancaster Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Tamiya 1/48 Avro Lancaster Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Tamiya 1/48 Avro Lancaster Review by Brett Green: Image
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Apart from the decals, the main difference between the two kits is the bomb bay. While the B.Mk.I/III includes the standard bomb bay with conventional and Cookie bombs, the Dambusters boxing provides two sprues - one with the Grand Slam bomb and bay, and the second with the Dambuster parts.

 

 

Surface detail comprises fine raised panel lines and rivets representing the overlapping panels of the full-sized beast.

Interior detail is adequate, but little will be seen though the canopy and turrets in any case. Even so, the kit’s interior elements will form a nice basis for a super detailing project using either scratch built parts or aftermarket accessories, notably Eduard’s comprehensive suite of photo-etched frets.

This time around, the kits include both paddle and needle blade propeller assemblies, and the two styles of clear nose dome.

 

 

Tamiya released limited edition versions of the Lancaster in 2009 that included electric motors to spin the propellers, and also canopy and turret parts with pre-painted frames. For these releases, the electric motors are gone but Tamiya has supplied both the painted and unpainted versions of the clear parts in each kit – a nice touch.

 

 

A number of other sprues moulded in 2009 provide new nacelle fronts with recessed panel detail and unshrouded exhausts, bulged and flattened main wheels with smooth tyres, and parts for the late rear turret with two .50 cal machine guns.

 

 

The five crew figures from the 1975 release are included in both new kits, and all the other original features are present too – bomb bay with separate doors and bombs, alternate turret armament and two basic Merlin engines.

Decals in both kits are in register and the colours look good.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The inclusion of the 2009 sprues and the painted canopy parts is a nice bonus in these Lancaster re-releases. The original parts stand up very well more than three decades after their original release too. In fact, the raised surface textures are arguably more accurate for a 1:48 scale bomber than the petite recessed panel lines that are more common in the 21st Century.

I think that it is high time that I actually built one of Tamiya’s Lancasters. I will probably leave my 1990s purchase in the carton though, and start with one of Tamiya’s new reissues!

Thanks to Tamiya Japan for the sample
Tamiya kits are distributed in the UK by The Hobby Company Limited


Text and Images Copyright 2012 by Brett Green
Page Created 23 May, 2012
Last updated 23 May, 2012

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