Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Hasegawa Lancaster "Rescue Unit"
Above is the box art for the newest boxing of the pretty nice "new tool" Hasegawa 1/72 Lancaster released few years back. Notice the RCAF markings. Occasionally Hasegawa have issued kits with (R)CAF decals and decal accuracy has been uniformly poor. Sadly, based upon the box art you can add the Lancaster to the list. A few years ago I assisted decal artist Jennings Helig when he was working on an Xtradecal sheet for the same aircraft. Jennings originally had the fuselage flash as red as well, until I mentioned it was blue. A colour photo in Larry Milberry's Canada's Air Force At War and Peace Vol 3 clearly illustrates that FM104 had a blue fuselage flash. (See here for a photo of FM213 in the same scheme.) I'm not sure where the idea of the red flash originated but clearly Hasegawa has copies someone's previous error. It is also my understanding that Hasegawa used International Orange for the Rescue Band, this should be dayglo orange, and used a light blue for the RCAF roundels, this should be normal roundel blue. I have yet to see the actual decal sheet, but I will guess that the maple leafs will be misshapen, as Hasegawa has yet to get the RCAF leaf correct. Also, I wonder if Hasegawa has provided additional parts to build the under fuselage radar dome? It is not in the plastic on the standard kit. Also keep in mind that RCAF aircraft has little bulged SAR windows just before the horizontal stabilizers and these were different in location and construction then the similar windows on RAF aircraft.
There is one point on the scheme that is still in question. In the photo referenced above it is hard to tell if the hi-viz panels on the wings and horizontal stabilizers are red or dayglo orange. Jennings is of the opinion they are red and that is how he illustrated them on the decal sheet. I'm not 100% sure. They sure look like dayglo orange on FM213, and I would assume that they were the same on FM104. Anyone know for sure?
What is really sad about this situation is that Hasegawa had previously boxed the Lancaster kit as FM104 in a later scheme. In that boxing they contracted Leading Edge models to do the decals and resin necessary for the aircraft. As is usual, Leading Edge did an excellent job on the decals, and that boxing is an excellent buy for the RCAF modeler. I wish Hasegawa had again contracted Leading Edge for this boxing rather then doing a poor job using their in house staff.
If you wish to model FM104 in these markings, I suggest you buy a cheaper boxing of the Hasegawa kit, or the new Revell kit, and pick up the Xtradecal sheet. That way you can accurately model FM104 in this scheme.
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I once had a loong conversation with Dave Klaus about the general subject of accurate decals. He was frustrated (when was he not, but that is another story) that modelers seem so obsessed about the accuracy of model kits, but seemed so unconcerned about the accuracy of the decals portraying the markings of a particular aircraft. In some respects I thin he was right, thought I am not sure of the reason why.
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