The Avro Lancaster, Manchester and Lincoln

A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeler

SAM Publications Datafile #4

by Richard A Franks

reviewed by Paul Mahoney


The Lancaster is covered in #4 of this slowly-growing series produced by the publishers of Scale Aircraft Modeler International magazine. It is soft-bound, and comprises 175 pages of text, photos, and drawings.

The book begins with brief chapters covering the development of the Manchester, it's evolution into the Lancaster, and the ultimate transformation into the Lincoln. Operational history with the Royal Air Force is discussed, including special units such as the Dambusters and test-bed development of a variety of technologies. There are also chapters on the usage in foreign air forces as well as civil airlines.

The real meat of the book (at least for modelers) lies in what follows after the first 60 pages noted above. First, there is a listing and brief description of all injection-molded kits of the Lancaster, both available and out-of-production. Several paragraphs are devoted to each model, along with comments on accuracy, details, markings available, and so forth. Photos of the boxtops are included. Next, there are ten pages of well-detailed color profiles, covering all three types. This is followed by six pages of color 'scrap-views' of the interiors of each type.

After the color section, there is a most helpful 21-page chapter entitled 'Understanding the Subject.' Presented in sequential order is a three-quarter's view line drawing of each major variant, subvariant, test-bed, and conversion of the Lancaster (and Manchester and Lincoln). Brief text and notes next to each drawing explain the modifications necessary to build a model of the subject, as well as any commercially available (or not-so-available) conversion kit that has been issued in 1/48 and 1/72 scales. A highly useful chapter!

Another equally useful chapter follows, 'Detailing.' This comprises 32 pages of line drawings and modern color photos of every part of the aircraft in question. Intricate drawings of the landing gear, turrets, cockpit, flaps, etc. are included. A superdetailer's dream! Following this are a few pages of built-up reviews of 1/144th and 1/72nd scale kits. Unfortunately the Tamiya 1/48 scale kits are not represented here (although they are listed in the earlier chapter). Color photos of the assembled kits are shown, along with some discussion of what needs to be fixed on each of the kits for accuracy. The final chapter of the book covers camouflage and markings. There are some color plan views in here, as well as comprehensive text discussing colors, description of the various markings, and measurements of everything from squadron codes to serial numbers!

Lastly, there are appendices dedicated to both modeling information and aircraft particulars. Appendices I-III cover all injection-molded kits (again?) that have been produced, as well as all accessory/conversion sets and decals that are, or have been, available, The next six appendices list all powerplants used, every variant of the series, a genealogy table to keep things straight (looking like a bizarre family tree!), squadrons employing the aircraft, foreign operators, and serial numbers of the production run. The last appendix is a fairly comprehensive bibliography (on the off chance you might not have absorbed enough with this book!).

Bottom line: Great single-volume resource for a modeler. A little short on the history, but as the title say, it's a guide for the modeler, not a history narrative. The wealth of detail aimed specifically at the model-builder more than makes up for this. If you plan on superdetailing your kit of the Lancaster family, or just want to spruce it up a bit, then this is the book for you. Highly recommend!

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