Avro Shackleton
1/72 kits


Avro Shackleton models in 1/72 scale


         Here an old photo of a MR3 I took at Duxford, probably in the early nineties.

The Avro Shackleton was designed soon after the Second World War as a long range maritime patrol aircraft. It used many features from previous the British Avro designs like the Lincoln. It has a large cabin to accommodate the various crew members (often 11) using the many systems for the specific role and armament. There was also a large bomb bay that could carry torpedoes, bombs and other things like rescue materials etc. The crew comfort on board was not very good and long missions had to be accomplished at large noise levels inside. The Shackleton was used by the Royal Air Force worldwide such as from Gibraltar but also deployed sometimes to exotic places like the Pacific Chrismas Island and the Middle East and its crews executed real teamwork at these places. 

After a few prototypes, the Shackleton MR1 entered service in 1951 in the patrol and anti-submarine warfare role (ASW) replacing old aircraft like the Sunderland. Four Rolls Royce Griffon engines were used with each two counter rotating propellers. It had a radar in a radome directly under the nose, two 20 mm canons in the nose and a dorsal gun turret. It had a tail wheel and two large main wheels in a retractable struts in the inboard nacelles but the gear design caused some problems and ground handling was difficult. Also a navigation trainer T4 version was used. (some 87 aircraft of these first version were manufactured). 

The MR2 was an improved Shackleton version that first flew in 1952: it got a better radar and its retractable radome was moved aft of the bomb bay. Some major airframe modifications were done with longer nose and tail sections and a redesigned tailplane as compared to the MR1. Also a rear "look out" station with a glass cone was installed at the fuselage end. Other differences were the stronger undercarriage and twin rear tail wheels. It entered RAF service in 1953. Soon, the dorsal turret was removed. Some aircraft were also used as T2 trainers. (some 69 aircraft were manufactured, some of the envisaged 2nd order shifted to MR3). 

The MR3 version also got an anti-ship role and also was designed with better crew comfort in mind. It got quite a redesign with now a nose strut with twin wheels, deleting the rear wheel strut. The fuselage nose was made deeper to accommodate this nose undercarriage. Also a crew entry hatch was set in the lower forward fuselage aft of the nose gear bay leading to the flight deck though also the rear door was retained. The main undercarriage now also got twin wheels and retracted forward in the nacelle bays. The first MR3 flew in 1955. Ground handling was far better and sound insulation and better rest stations in the rear vastly improved crew effectiviness. The dorsal turret was not used anymore. The controls were improved with large ailerons and also tiptanks were installed, enlarging the wing area slightly. The cockpit canopy got less frames improving visibility. The weapon capability was improved as well. 
As this all increased take-off weight, and most MR3 aircraft got a Phase 3 upgrade by fitting a few new systems but particularly a jet assistance Viper jet engine was installed, one in the rear of each outboard nacelle. The straight jet pipe was at the rear of the outboard nacelle and for air provision during take-off a retractable panel was deployed below the nacelle. The Viper jets were only used for take-off as required. On the MR3 Phase 3 aircraft also the wing was strengthened as well. (some 38 were manufactured). 

The Shackleton was also exported to the South African Air Force. The SAAF got the first MR3 in 1957 with 8 deliveries. The extra Viper jet take-off assistance was never fitted. Nose canons were also seen removed. These aircraft were used for many years until 1984 when they became unserviceable due to the arms embargo. 

The Shackleton also filled another requirement for the RAF: airborne early warning (AEW) closing the gap as the carrier based Fairey Gannet was put out of service. For the AEW role to be deployed from coastal bases, 12 existing MR2 aircraft were refurbished and the first AEW flew in 1971. It got a large radar dome fitted under the forward bomb bay and various systems. Inside the mid fuselage AEW three radar operator stations were installed and a tactical coordinator station. The canon armament was completely removed but the now smaller bomb bay retained. Many external details were similar as they were refurbished MR2's  and the AEW 2 was operated by the RAF no.8 squadron at Lossiemouth until 1991 when it was quite obsolete. (it's proposed Nimrod AEW replacement was delayed and delayed and later cancelled). 
 

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With my friend Peter I made an comparison of three Shackleton kits in 1/72 scale: 
old FROG/Revell MR3, Airfix MR2 , Revell AEW

(1) the old FROG Shackleton MR3 kit ; kit issued first in 1967. The same kit later repopped under the "NOVO" label kit #172, AMT, even Hasegawa and also unter "Eastern Express","Donetsky", Modelcraft, Chematic and "ARK MODEL". In 1997 the same kit was released by REVELL GERMANY as kit #04101 with new decals and this will be discussed here as well; 

..


(2) the brand new tool REVELL GERMANY Shackleton AEW 2  ; kit # 04920 to be released end February 2016 

       the new style Revell box

Of this latest Revell kit, a "test shot" was received with sketch instructions November 2015 through IPMS Nederland. I made a "Christmass" pre-view for the Dutch IPMS NL  website www.ipms.nl  (text in english). The Revell instructions "new styled" as per kit were available January 2016 and some photos of these are shown as well.

IPMS Nederland members can read my kit modelling report in Dutch the IPMS NL modelling magazine  "Modelbouw in Plastic" MIP 2016-1:  this will be published end February 2016 as well as my English modelling report here on this personal website.... 
 


(3) Also, we looked at the brand new tool AIRFIX kit for the Shackleton MR2 kit A11004; released November 2015. (this kit I could borrow from my friend Michel)

Also loads of references and photo's were used from the internet as well as our aeronautical design engineering background to look at technical data and details. 

OK, how do these kits compare?
 


COMPARISON TABLE SHACKLETON 1/72 KITS
- (1)  FROG MR3 

(also in other boxes like Revell #04101)

(2)  REVELL AEW 2 
       #04920
(3)  AIRFIX MR2 
       A11004
general characteristics of the kit the kit looks to have the correct dimensions and looks for a MR3;
 

two large fuselage halves;
 

four large wing parts with separate but simplified ailerons, lower flaps and wing tip tanks;

as this kit and mould are very old it shows a lot of plastic shrinkage on the parts; 
 

the kit looks to have the correct dimensions and looks for AEW 2 with large SP-20 radar radome;

fuselage has four halves: rear and nose section separate;

four large wing parts with separate ailerons and lower flaps;
 

crisp parts but thick sprue gates, use a razor saw to separate the parts!
 

the kit looks to have the correct dimensions and looks for a MR2;
 

fuselage has two large halves;
 

four large wing parts with separate lower flaps but no separate ailerons;
 

some parts are warped and show "shrinkage" !

outside details of the kit parts areas covered with thick raised rivets; they are a bit thick but the real Shackleton had lots of raised rivets. Panellines and rivets patterns are simplified. Disadvantage is that sanding that is needed for good fit removes (some of the) rivet pattern.  finely engraved panellines including engraved fine rivets
(although not raised, they will look very good under a thin paint layer and advantage is that any sanding will not remove them).

Convincing surface detail. 
 

engraved panellines, somewhat a bit deep in areas. No rivet details.
 
 

 

fuselage external detail correct deep nose to house the nose wheeled MR3 undercarriage but without internal details; (so correctl for the MR3 with no rear wheels); 

upper fuselage curves looks a bit too small in radius over most of the fuselage and rear tail top and this is noticeable looking "too squared"; 

rear tail cone cross-section at fuselage end much too small;

correct long bomb bay as for MR3; 

correct deep nose MR3 with nose undercarriage gear;

large seam at upper left and right fuselage halves and a"roof top" window is missing;

no nose gun canons (but later MR3 did not have these);
 

correct for AEW 2 with large lower radome in forward bomb bay section; 
 

upper fuselage curves from side to roof look very good over full length with very subtle changes towards the forward section at the cockpit; 

correct looking fuselage end at rear view window;
 

correct short bomb bay as for AEW; 

nice rear tail twin wheels and bay; 

appropriate AEW antenna arrangements; 
 

correct for MR2;
long bomb bay doors;
 

upper fuselage curve at mid-fuselage looks slightly too small;

fuselage end at rear view window width is 1 mm too small with thus smaller cross-section;
 
 

correct long bomb bay as for MR2; 

nice rear tail twin wheels and bay; 

optionable nose canon arrangement: with or without canons;

nice choice with or without optional dorsal turret; 

the rear radar radome has a part to set it in the extended "flight" position;
 


Fuselage comparisons (above)

Photo with mid-fuselage upper radius.

Revell drawing:

Aft door comparison below...

 

Airfix drawing below with optional MR2 turret

(continued...) (1)  FROG MR3 

(also in other boxes like Revell #04101)

(2)  REVELL AEW 2
       #04920
(3)  AIRFIX MR2 
       A11004
fuselage windows a bit unclear windows but cockpit glazing has correct "less" MR3 frames with more more clear view;

upper rooftop window missing

very nice clear windows and cockpit glazing with nice frames;

window station positions look correct and include rooftop windows and dome; but the aft roof top window should probably not be in the center but be a little more off set to starboard;

glass M25+M26  suggests chaff dispensers?
 

very nice clear windows and cockpit glazing with nice frames;

window station positions look correct and include rooftop windows and dome; 
 

fuselage internal details (but often hidden inside with only small windows) very simple interior at cockpit only and nose observer station, no further interior details;

wing assembly strengthened with separate spar parts;
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

rear door can be set open but no internal details. (note that MR3 forward lower nose door is moulded closed and needs a bit rescribing). 

nice cockpit flight deck detail;
nice seats but missing cockpit roof instrument console; 

wing assembly very good with very nice separate spar interior parts looking good; 

raised forward crew "MR3 only" entry hatch on cockpit floor (part A4) in front of bulkhead A5, can easily be sanded flat;

observer nose station simplified with seat on tunnel that seems for MR3 (and not a seat on struts) but hardly noticable from outside;

no crew station details in centre section above bomb bay but hardly noticeable; 

rear stations and crew rest area has some nice detail (although a bit generic);
 
 

rear crew entry door can be set open with inside stringer details. 
tail cone station with slide floor and part M49 suggesting a "curtain";
 

nice cockpit flight deck detail;
nice seats and includes nice cockpit roof instrument console;

wing assembly very good with very nice separate spar interior parts looking good; 
 
 
 

good observer nose station with seat of struts and other nice details (gun part 85 not needed with removed nose canons);

centre fuselage above bomb bay has interior but for AEW with screens, seats and and stations (which is not in the MR2 so simply leave out this interior and radar consoles!);

rear stations and crew rest area simplified; 

rear crew entry door can be set open with nice inside stringer details; 
nice tail cone station with slide floor and stringers;
 


Below interior details...
 
 

 Revell still sketch kit interior drawing above : simplified with seat on tunnel     and rear stations 
(NOTE: the Revell instructions in the kit will be much different and modernized to a new style), as seen below here:
.

AIRFIX:
..
Airfix MR2 interior with nice nose observer station as well


Airfix MR2 interior drawings but appropriate for AEW 

FROG MR3 interior drawing below..

(continued....) (1)  FROG  MR3 

(also in other boxes like Revell #04101)

(2)  REVELL AEW 2
       #04920
(3)  AIRFIX MR2 
       A11004
bomb bay internal
 

simplified long bomb bay with no interior detail;

separate long doors but no details inside (can be set closed thus); 

no "stores" or weapon options; 

correct shorter bay as AEW radome is fitted up front;

nice bomb bay roof / floor engraving;

bomb bay doors internal details a bit simplified;

no "stores" or weapon options;

correct long MR2;
 

nice bomb bay roof / floor engraving;

bomb bay doors internal details very nice with "scalloped insides"; 

nice "stores" with weapon options like torpedoes and bombs; 
 

wing external details simple wing for MR3 that scales up to within 1% of about actual 1458 sq.ft  and includes the outboard trailing edge "kink" suggesting the enlarged MR3 ailerons and wing tips including the fueltanks; 

ailerons are separate parts;

ailerons are too small in chord as on the MR3 they were 133 sq.ft; the lower aileron edge is correctly a straight line for the larger MR3 ailerons; (it may be an idea to fill the gaps and rescribe the edges). 

wing tip chord looks about 1 mm too large; 
 

separate trailing edge lower flaps with even rib detail but no rib detail inside wing;

wing panels and thick rivets line scheme a bit simplified;
 

wing for MR2 that scales up to within 1,5% of the actual 1421 sq.ft and has the correct straight outboard trailing edge including the ailerons;
 

ailerons are separate parts;

ailerons have the correct taper ratio and scaled correct area of 110 sq.ft;
 

wing tip chord looks about 2 mm too large at the tip running gradually through the front areas but hardly noticable as the ailerons are good; 

separate trailing edge flaps at both inboard and outboard wing with nice internal rib details; 

nice wing surface details but the squared upper panel at inboard wing is not of MR2, can be filled with putty; remainder of general wing panel line scheme is similar to Airfix MR2 but includes also fine engraved rivets;
 

wing for MR2 that scales up to within 0,5 % of the actual 1421 sq.ft and has the correct straight outboard trailing edge including the ailerons; 
 

ailerons are not separate parts but have good slots moulded;

ailerons have a slightly too low taper ratio to scale up to area of 110 sq.ft; hardly noticeable; 

seems that the wing tip chord looks about 1 mm too small but not noticeable;
 

separate trailing edge flaps at both inboard and outboard wing with nice internal rib details; 

nice wing surface panel and the general line scheme is same as with the Revell AEW kit but no rivet details; 

Revell AEW kit:
..

AIRFIX: 

Airfix MR2 bomb bay 

Aileron drawing above of Revell and comparison below...

(continued....) (1)  FROG  MR3 

(also in other boxes like Revell #04101)

(2)  REVELL AEW 2
       #04920
(3)  AIRFIX MR2 
       A11004
tail surfaces correctly sized tail surfaces but look a bit rough;

separate rudder and elevator parts but they look a bit too simplified and have large amount of shrinkage needing filler; 
 

correctly size tail surfaces with correctly no dihedral; 

nice separate rudders and elevators in multiple parts with nice details including engraved rivets;
 

correctly size tail surfaces with correctly no dihedral that fit into slots; 

nice separate rudder and elevator parts with nice details but single piece mouldings have some shrinkage needing filler; 

engines and nacelles bit rough nacelles but shapes are acceptable;

oversimplified exhaust pipes;
 

counter-rotating propeller blades look a bit "too wide" in chord;

note: outboard nacelles have not the later Phase 3 Viper jet engine provision; (so correctly only for early MR3's and SAAF aircraft);
 

correct MR2 (and thus AEW) style engine nacelles; 

nice fine exhaust pipes and optional setting cowl flaps; 

good and fine counter-rotating propellers; but the aft propeller diameter is 2 mm too large. By carefull sanding this could be corrected by removing 1 mm at each blade tip and sanding a curved tip. 

nice engine cooling intakes; 
 

 

correct MR2 style engine nacelles; 
 

vulnerable exhaust pipe parts but two choices of exhaust arrangements; 

good and fine counter-rotating propellers; seem te have the correct diameters. 

nice engine cooling intakes; 
 

undercarriage and wheel bays correct nose undercarriage and changed main wheel undercarriage;
 

inboard nacelle has simple main undercarriage bays for the MR3 type undercarriage that retracts forward;

simplified but correct 4 main wheels for MR3;

simplified undercarriage with struts and must be fitted joint with nacelles;

no enclosed wheel bays and no interior details;
 

correct "tail dragger" undercarriage arrangement with twin rear wheels and nice bay;

good main wheel bay details inside inboard nacelle with also rib detail; 
 

main wheels show nice tyre pattern but "not weighted flat" area; 

very nice struts but look vulnerable, their fit inside the bay is simplified; 

correct "tail dragger" undercarriage arrangement with twin rear wheels and nice bay;

very nice and fine main wheel bay details inside inboard nacelle with multiple parts and rib detail;

main wheels show nice tyre pattern including "weighted flat" area; 

very nice struts but look vulnerable, their looks how they fit inside the bay is very good; 

Revell AEW kit:

Revell AEW kit:
.


 
Continued... (1)  FROG MR3 
(also in other boxes like Revell #04101)
(2)  REVELL AEW 2
       #04920
(3)  AIRFIX MR2 
       A11004
decals and schemes decals depends on the brand bought for this kit; 

after market decals replacement is recommended as often the decals are very old and stencilling simplified;

two schemes for RAF no.8 squadron AEW aircraft in overal dark sea grey with yellow walkway lines:
(1) coded "WL756" and nick name "Mr.Rusty" 
(2) coded "WL795" for the "Zebedee".
 
 

the RAF roundel "blue" looks to dark printed;

very nice stencilling with appropriate yellow walkway lines;

two nice options for MR2 schemes:
(1) RAF no.224 squadron at Gibraltar in 1967 with also a dorsal turret and in a medium sea grey and white scheme;
(2) RAF no.204 squadron based temporarily at Tengah base Indonesia 1972 in dark sea grey scheme and white upper surfaces;

the RAF roundels and the reds and blue colours look too light / bright printed;

very nice stencilling with appropriate black walkway lines;

FUTURE KIT OPTIONS? not really with kits with this single MR3 version (without the Phase 3 Viper jet) the separate sprues suggest that a release..... 

(1) as MR2 with only a few extra parts like:
- new long bomb bay doors
- nose canons and fairing
- rear MR2 radar radome (retracted or extended)
- some antennas
- hopefully some weapons armament

- appropriate MR2 decals 
 -----------------------
(2) as MR3 as the nose has separate parts....
- new long bomb bay doors
- nose canons and fairing
- rear MR2 radar radome (retracted of extended) 
- some antennas
- hopefully some weapons armament
and..
- new MR3 deep fuselage nose
- new set of undercarriage parts with new wheels and struts
- cover plate for rear wheel bay
- new set of larger chord ailerons
- wing tip fuel tanks with inboard tip fairing for larger size 

- appropriate MR3 decals 
 

kit issued as MR2 has also some of the AEW interior; (also some parts are on the sprues and unused);

AEW version would only require:
- new large radar radome to be set in front of bomb bay
- new set of shorter bomb bay doors
- various antennas

- appropriate AEW decals 

 

REMARKS AND SUGGESTIONS only kit for MR3 up till today;

filling and rescribing the MR3 large ailerons would improve the accuracy;

adding bit and details and enclosing gear bays may improve vastly the MR3 model;

downsizing the raised rivets may be desirable; 

sanding the too tight upper fuselage curves may also be done as sanding and filling is anyway needed; 

replace decals;
 

very good kit for AEW 2 with superior surface details;

slightly too large wing tip is hardly seen; 

fill upper inboard wing panel quadrant;

some other minor issues can be corrected such as observer seat and interior although not really noticeable;

the aft propeller diameter error can be corrected. 

good MR2 kit but simplified panel and rivet details;

multiple options, can be fitted with dorsal turret as well;

tight fuselage upper curves at mid fuselage is hardly noticeable or can be sanded a bit; 

some smaller issues like undersized ailerons are hardly seen; 

undersized rear tail cone end is hardly noticed;

AEW interior can be omitted for MR2 as per kit as not a lot is seen; 

-- - - -
-- (1)  FROG  MR3 
  (also in other boxes like Revell 
#04101
(2)  REVELL AEW 2 
       #04920
(3)  AIRFIX MR2 
       A11004
CONCLUSION:  OLD BUT ONLY MR3 KIT VERY GOOD KIT GOOD KIT

As noted above, I made this model for an article that will be published in the IPMS The Netherlands magazine MIP 2016-1. A Pre-view is seen on the website www.ipms.nl  (text in english). But now, I build the new Revell Shackleton AEW kit.....

On to next [ Page 2....
 


References:

- Warpaint no. 6, Shackleton by Alan W. Hall 
- Avro Shackleton, Aviation Classics, issue 26 
- Avro Shackleton, RAF Cold War hunter, Aeroplane Icons series , issue 21, Key publishing 2015 
- Air International, vol 36, no 5. , Key publishing 
- many other magazines like Aircraft illustrated, Flight international, etc. etc. 

IPMS NL Revell AEW kit pre-view (in english): http://www.ipms.nl/artikelen/recensies/vliegtuigen-militair/2218-revell-shackleton-aew.html

Walkarounds on the Internet:
http://www.primeportal.net/hangar/howard_mason4/shackleton/
http://www.avroshackleton.com/

 


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Published this page 
January 29 , 2016