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Avro 533 Manchester Mk I (Mark 1) 83 squadron

21 Mar
2012

Avro 533 Manchester Mk I (Mark 1) 83 squadron,airplane rc

Not to be confused with the WW2 predecessor of the Lancaster, The Avro 533 Manchester was a twin-engined bomber designed in 1918. The type suffered because of the poor performance of its two Dragonfly engines and never made it past the prototype stage. This 1/72 offering from Ardpol is beautifully cast in resin, the quality of which is perhaps the cleanest I have ever seen. Unfortunately my review sample suffered a little from quite a few missing pieces including both Scarff rings and MGs. The instructions supplied come in three folded A4 sheets and are adequate but there are one or two vague areas of construction which could be clearer. The leaflet includes a set of 1/72 plans which, as is often the case, doesn’t match the model exactly, and a basic colour guide.

Construction manchester mark i

Avro 533 Manchester Mk I (Mark 1) 83 squadron,aircraft display models

Beginning with the cockpit and gunner positions, these are well detailed to a typical modern resin standard and I was particularly impressed with the sidewall. All the floors fitted snugly into the side of the fuselage without needing any adjustments. The two fuselage halves also turned out to be a very good fit and there was no need to smother the model with an excessive amount of filler. As is often the case with resin products the lower wings were supplied with no dihedral, making it necessary to cut the wings into two pieces and recement them to the correct angle. Another problem with the wings surfaced when I made my first attempt at attaching the upper wing, only to find that the alignment of the location points for the struts were all over the place. Off came the wing and new points (and in some cases new rigging holes) were drilled. By the time I’d finished, my lovely wings began to look like Swiss cheese. All the struts were replaced with a combination of Contrail and brass struts to avoid later problems with warpage. The instructions are not too clear on the position of the engine gondola struts and as these areas were not on view in the only photograph I had to hand I had to make an educated (or not as the case may be) guess on their positions. One area that is not mentioned at all in the paperwork is the eighteen pipes that fit to each of the engines. Unfortunately half of these were missing and had to be replaced with items made from fuse wire. As has all ready been mentioned my kit lacked Scarff rings and Lewis machine guns. The Scarff rings were made from scrap while I decided not to add Lewis machine guns to the finished model as the only photograph I had of F3493 showed the aircraft without guns.

Colour options

Avro 533 Manchester Mk I (Mark 1) 83 squadron,plane model plans

The kit markings depict F3493 as it was in December 1919 when the problematic Dragonfly engines were finally fitted. This aircraft is mainly finished in PC10, with a CDL underside. I deviated slightly from the instructions by painting the engine covers light grey in colour in place of the suggested natural metal. This was down more to personal preference than any insider knowledge. The decals were absolutely spot on for size, register and ease of use making the job of applying the decals an enjoyable one.

Conclusion

Despite problems with missing pieces and wing attachment I enjoyed building this model and was very pleased with the end result. It always amazes me how modern resin manufacturers can hope to sell fairly obscure aircraft such as this in large enough quantities to make production feasible. That they can and do is a credit to companies like Ardpol and Choroszy, and who knows, we might yet see a resin Tarrant Tabour. It will also be interesting to see whether, the earlier Mark II (with Siddeley Puma engines) will follow.

Connected themes: ww2 military planes, model aircraft design, model flight, Avro 533 Manchester Mk I (Mark 1) 83 squadron, aviation model, making scale models, scale model aircraft engines.

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