by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The Lancaster is a big kit, but this still doesn't quite prepare you for the sheer weight of BigEd #4882! The sturdy cardboard envelope is bulging with no less than 6 etched steel detail sets and a packet of painting masks:
EX129 Lancaster Painting Masks
48553 Lancaster Bomb Bay
48563 Lancaster Landing Flaps
48564 Lancaster Exterior
48565 Lancaster Bomb Rack
49034 Lancaster Seatbelts
49371 Lancaster Interior
EX129 Painting MasksThe painting masks are bound to be a huge help when tackling the Lanc's multi-paned cockpit enclosure and three gun turrets. The die-cut kabuki tape is perfect for the task - flexible enough to follow the contours, but easily removed when the job's done and leaving no glue residue behind. The set will save literally hours compared with measuring and masking each panel individually.
49034 SeatbeltsThis is a pre-painted fret, with 40 items comprising a full harness for the pilot and lap belts for the other crew positions. The pilot's shoulder harness is designed so that it can be used with either the Tamiya plastic seat or Eduard's metal replacement from set #49371 which is also included in the BigEd package.
49371 InteriorAfter a nice easy start, things begin to get a bit more complex with Eduard's interior detail set. There are no less than 5 steel frets - 3 pre-painted - included in this single set, with a total of 180 new parts.
Every crew seat is rebuilt with a detailed framework and there are neat little mesh thermos flask holders to add, along with document wallets. Needless to say, all the Lancaster's instrument panels and consoles are replaced with pre-painted items which show finely detailed bezels and instrument faces. There are new throttles and rudder pedals for the cockpit, plus a number of new details for the gun turrets. The radios and engineering panels are replaced and there's new detail which will be visible through the bomb-aimer's nose blister. There is some wiring included, which is obviously rather 2-D, but unless you're planning to open up the interior as a cutaway model, this is probably perfectly adequate in this case and a great time saver.
48553 Bomb BayThe theme continues with the bomb load and another 3 frets containing 138 parts. The set details the bomb-bay roof and has replacement fins and tails for all the bomb-load. There's a new centre section for the bomb bay and further details for the sides of the bay and the bomb-doors. But that's just the start of the story...
48565 Bomb RacksThis set carries on with 2 more frets and another 122 parts for the bomb racks! Each individual rack is folded from 6 parts and the difference between Eduard's metal racks and the simple moulded lugs as originally provided by Tamiya hardly needs explaining....
48563 Landing FlapsHaving built a few sets of Eduard's metal flaps, I can safely say they aren't nearly as daunting to make as they first appear. In fact, assembly is surprisingly straightforward. The real test here is going to be plucking up the courage to take a razor saw to a £100 kit to fit them! 2 frets are provided, with 40 parts. Obviously, this being a Lancaster, the flaps are pretty large, will will actually make the assembly somewhat easier.
48564 ExteriorFinally, there's an exterior set with 3 more frets aimed primarily at detailing the wheel-wells, plus smaller items for the turret exteriors, trim tabs, grills for air scoops etc. The set adds a lot of welcome detail to the mainwheel wells and the gear legs themselves, with new structural items and brake cables. The latter will probably best serve as templates for replacements cut from wire, as they will look a bit flat for this scale.
InstructionsEach of the sets is accompanied by typical Eduard colour-coded diagrams which are very clearly drawn, but the sheer number of parts involved here makes it vital to study the instructions carefully before removing any parts from the frets. It's also probably worthwhile ticking off sections as you complete them.
ConclusionIt's not cheap, but BigEd 4882 is a mammoth package for what looks to be a huge modelling project and represents a saving of over $50 compared with buying the sets individually. It's certainly not a build to be hurried, but the final result should be pretty astounding - the bomb-bay alone is a mini-kit in its own right. It goes without saying that this upgrade isn't suitable for beginners, but for anyone prepared to devote the time to produce the ultimate 1/48 scale Lancaster, you'll be rewarded with a museum-quality model that will turn heads wherever it's displayed. Highly recommended.
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