Czech Master Resin 1/72 Avro York Conversion
|Date of Review||July 2005|
|Manufacturer||Czech Master Resin|
|Subject||Avro York Conversion|
|Pros||Converts Airfix Lancaster into York transport|
Once again the mighty Roy Chadwick, the brilliant Chief Designer at Avro, had produced an aircraft that combines beauty of form with function. Realising the need, he began sketches for a long range heavy transport aircraft in 1941. It relied heavily on the Lancaster bomber, using the wing (though now shoulder mounted), the Merlin engines and dual tail assembly, built around a larger fuselage, with a box section more suitable for carrying cargo.
The prototype took to the air in 1942, and production began in 1943. Naturally the main priority at the time was construction of the Lancaster, so when production ceased in 1946 only 258 had been built.
In addition to normal military service, the Yorks went on to equip the fledgling civilian airlines of a number of countries throughout the world. Most had an 18 seat configuration, and such were the levels of luxury, some were 12 berth sleeper airlines! Yorks took part in the Berlin Airlifts, and accounted for a formidable 58124 sorties of the 131800 sorties flown by the RAF.
Two years in the making, with many a release date pushed back, the kit finally arrived at my house during the second week of July, 2005. Was it worth it? Yes. But I would say this as I am totally biased: partly because I like the York , and partly because I had a miniscule part in the creation of this kit, though I am almost ashamed to say it was merely in the provision of information. Enough of my ramblings let us look at the kit.
First off, you will need a donor kit to provide the wings, engines, undercarriage struts, and tailplane. At time of writing the obvious choice is the Airfix Lancaster. No doubt the forth coming Hasegawa Lancaster would be equally suitable. Some surgery is required on the wings. You have to cut off 9mm from the wing root, and then will probably need some filler to blend them in with the upper surface of the fuselage. Rivets will have to be sanded off as the Airfix Lancaster is festooned with them. This is not too onerous a task. Trust me, I have done it before.
Moving on. The kit comes in a very sturdy box. So sturdy in fact I think you can stand on it and it will not collapse. Further protection is afforded the kit parts contained within. They are sealed in heat sealed polythene bubbles, each bubble containing a few parts. Major components, e.g. fuselage halves, are contained in their own bubbles. This arrangement minimises breakages from parts sloshing around, however as this is a resin kit you must expect some possible breakage of smaller delicate parts. And trust me again. This kit is festooned with an array of detailed parts.
But first let’s concentrate on the fuselage. They are large castings. Beautifully moulded with my sample being virtually free of flaws i.e. an almost total absence of bubbles, pinholes, and miscasting. Small amounts of flash will need to be removed, and the mating edges cleaned up and squared for a perfect fit, but this is quite normal for resin kits. Fine engraved panel lines adorn the exterior, while some quite excellent detailing grace the cockpit area. There is no other interior detail. You will have to scratch build any passenger seating or cargo furniture, should you chose to pose the model with the optional cargo door in the open position.
Other major components consist of replacement tailfins, main wheels with superb separate hubs, two types of tail wheel, and paddle propellers with separate spinners; all beautifully moulded and cast.
I had thought the conversion would just consist of the fuselage and fins, and pretty much little else. Was I wrong! There are a whole plethora of small detail parts. First off there are some gorgeous exhaust stacks. These can be used in place of the solid shrouded exhausts of the Airfix donor kit. I will do so, as I expect this would be a vast improvement on the lumps provided by Airfix. Then there are delicate horn balances for the tailfins, and various other aerials. I once spent several fraught hours making horn balances, so their inclusion is most welcome.
The bulk of the detail parts are reserved for the cockpit. There are instrument panels (with an excellent compass moulded into one), detailed seats, bulkheads, the most stunning set of throttles, and many other delicate and detailed items.
Transparencies are a mixture of clear epoxy resin for fuselage portholes, and vacu-formed for the cockpit canopy. The latter is a mixed blessing. The clarity and thinness of the vacu-formed plastic should allow all the interior detail to be seen, but the cutting and fitting may deter many.
Markings are provided for five colour schemes covering three aircraft:
- 2 schemes for the Australian MW 140 “Endeavour”
- 2 schemes for the colourful Dan-air G-ANTK
- 1 camo scheme for MW 103
As usual the decals are beautifully printed, of good register and colour. From experience they should be thin, and conform well to the shape of the model.
Yes I have waxed lyrical about this kit. For this I do not apologise. I admit it, I am biased toward the Lancaster family. However in my defence this is a high quality kit, from a company that prides itself on quality and accuracy. The detail parts alone are worth their weight in gold. I would certainly buy a set of horn balances, exhaust stacks and throttles if CMR were to sell them separately.
Be warned, you will need old fashioned modelling skills to put this kit together, so it is not for the absolute beginner or those only used to shake-n-bake kits. The castings are some of the best I have seen from CMR, but it can be a bit of a lottery as the extremely high temperatures suffered by the Czech Republic greatly affect the casting process.
Would I recommend this kit? Silly question: Of course I would.
The retail price is not as high as I thought it might have been. At £38.80 GBP (from Hannants) this is just under double the price of an Airfix Lancaster. Add the price of the donor Lancaster, and you are looking at a final price of just under £60 GBP for a York, however £50 is more realistic as you can pick up Airfix Lancasters for as little as £12, and as many of us have a Lancaster or two languishing in our stash the real price is really £38.80 as it gives us a chance to use one of them.
To put this cost in a little perspective: the projected price of the Hasegawa Lancaster appears to be £30. I would say the quality of the CMR kit is every bit as good as offerings from Hasegawa. Cockpit detailing has been one weak area of Hasegawa, and it remains to be seen what they do with their Lancaster.