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Big love handles

28 Dec

Big love handles,aircraft scales for sale

When the AEW Nimrod was being tested I heard rumours that the type was going to be renamed as the Toucan because two radars can work better than one, certainly it had a massive bill! The AEW Nimrod was one of the great financial disasters that seem to beset the British procurement programme, with only the three prototypes taking to the air with the cost of the programme estimated to have exceeded a billion pounds. But remember that the specification set by the British government for this aircraft far exceeded any AEW system then in service and all of this was to be added to an already elderly airframe. Did they learn any lessons from the AEW Nimrod problems? Well not really as the reengineered and updated MR.4 Nimrod is well behind schedule and the future of the elderly fleet of MR.2s is currently the subject of much debate. Maybe we should just spend the money on an all-new purpose-built design rather than update an aircraft based on a design that is over 50 years old?
Ever since the Airfix Nimrod came out rumours abounded of an AEW conversion in the works and earlier this year there was a taster of the resin parts on the Cammett stand at a number of shows, now it is finally here but was it worth the wait?

Nimrod AEW.3 Conversion

On opening the very tough brown post-resistant box you find a number of bubble wrapped packages containing some beautifully cast resin parts. This conversion will add the distinctive bulbous radomes to the front and rear fuselage. This of course will necessitate some quite major surgery to the kit parts which is clearly shown on the instructions. The nose radome is supplied as a single resin casting with virtually no cleaning up required but the tail is far more complicated. The main part is the very large replacement tail section; this casting has been cast around a balsa wood core in an attempt to minimise weight, but you will definitely need at least 75 grms of ballast in the nose to prevent the finished model tail sitting. To this resin tail section you add the new tail fin and tailplanes, both of which have positionable tail surfaces. A test fitting of these parts shows a very good fit and it is really going to be down to how good your surgery to the Airfix kit is that will decide the amount of filling you will need. Now I have already mentioned the instructions and they are in the most part very clear, using a mix of plans, photos and text to guide you through the assembly process. One surprising omission is that there is absolutely no guidance on colours and markings carried by the three completed AEW aircraft or the position of aerials and the relocated pitot tubes. If you have web access this is not so much of a problem as a quick use of a search engine will find you a number photographs, but it is surprising considering the otherwise exceptional standard of the conversion.


I was very impressed by this set; the resin parts are produced to a very high standard and look to match the shape of the real aircraft perfectly. There are also some nice engineering touches which will help assembly like the use of recessed dots on the joining areas of the resin parts to indicate which similar looking parts are designed for the left and right sides. No decals are supplied in the conversion but these should be easy to reproduce using the sets marketed by Model Alliance and of course you could always adapt the 8 Squadron markings from a Heller AWACS to represent the type in service! If you want a really different Nimrod this is the only game in town and I just hope the designer and casters of this set are working on some further updates for the Nimrod (throw away 60% of kit and replace with resin and you have a MR.4) as well as the new Airfix Canberra family.

Stop Press:

We have been advised by Cammett that Model Alliance will be producing a new Nimrod decal sheet in 2008 that will include markings for an AEW.3 for use with this conversion.

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