Whimpy Alouette: 1/48th Trumpeter Wellington Mk.III
This was a great kit to see released as it had been overlooked for so long in 1/48th (Especially considering the Wellington had flown from the beginning until the end of WWII and was the backbone of RAF Bomber Command in the Early Years.) Trumpeter made its Wellington debut with the Mk.I in 2006 and followed it with this Mk.III in 2007. Very well detailed right out of the box, you could go all out in the interior although very little of it will be seen (as is usual with these bomber kits).
Notable Kit Features:
Nicely appointed cockpit with film instruments that can be sandwiched in
Detailed bomb bay with a huge assortment of bombs provided (250s, 500s, 1000s, 2000s equaling seven different loadout options) - so your RAF bomb spares stash will have a good stockpile afterwards!
Main tires molded in vinyl (I believe they are vinyl, as most learned from the rubber tire fiasco of the 1/48th F7F Tigercat - Rubber and styrene don't play well together. I have an airborne Tigercat model now, after the rims melted)
Photo etch parts for wheel wells and other fine details
Main gear is metal for added strength
Finely detailed turrets with ventilated gun barrels
Engines have front and rear cylinder rows as well as exhaust collectors & stacks. Plus open or closed cowl flaps are provided
Detail interior all the way to tail gun (although more could be added - it won't be seen - but then that is part of the model building art)
Separate control surfaces
Easy 1-piece closed bomb bay or all 30-doors(!) open option
Good surface detail (some have complained about the geodetic being overdone)
Crystal clear and thin "glass" parts
The Wellington bomber series was flown extensively by RCAF crews during WWII so I was very happy to see this Trumpeter 1/48th scale Wellington Mk.III release come about. I purchased the Mk.III kit and after I got a look at the detail and was impressed, I bought a Mk.I as well. Don't let the twin engine configuration fool you here though, this Whimpy is only slightly smaller than the 4-engine Heavies.
After some exhaustive research looking for a suitable RCAF crewed Wellington (Whimpy) subject to build, I came across a story of a RCAF 425 Alouette squadron aircraft (at this time part of 6th Group) that was lost on an op during the night of April 14/15, 1943. So, this build would be dedicated to the many crews who did not return home.
Thirty Halifax bombers from 405, 408, and 419 Squadrons were joined by 91 Wellingtons from 420, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, and 431 Squadrons for an attack on Stuttgart Germany. The crews were over the target flying between 12,000 and 20,000 feet, releasing 42,000 lbs of high explosives and 236,000 lbs of incendiaries. According to reports, the weather was clear and much damage was caused to the industrial area, including a large rail repair shop.
However F/O T. Doucette flying Wellington III X-3763 coded KW-L and the crew, failed to return from this operation. All aboard were killed in action that night. The aircraft took off from Dishforth (in North Yorkshire, England) and crashed at Mussey-sur-Marne (Haute Marne), on the W bank of the Marne, 8km S of Joinville, France. All crew rest in Mussey-sur Marne Communal Cemetery.
F/O T. Doucette RCAF
Sgt A. Jones RAF
F/O J. Desroches RCAF
Sgt D. Vollans RAF
F/O G. Ledoux RCAF
W/O2 P. Trudeau RCAF
A total of 9,919 RCAF airmen died while serving with Bomber Command, whether in 6 Group or in some other unit. This figure represents three-quarters of the RCAF’s 13,498 WWII casualties.
The kit has a bit of flash however it is cleaned up relatively easily due to the crisp plastic
There are many ejector pins which will need some clean-up. Some are hidden however others are on mating edges or parts that will be seen (Visible ones include interior of flaps, inside of landing gear doors and ceilings of the main landing gear wheel wells. - Dremel time!)
Many of the sub-assemblies have a lot of parts and dry-fitting everything is highly recommended (E.g. turrets and engines.) Actually overall the kit has a lot of parts!
I had to shave down the collector ring stack ends to get the engine cowls to fit on - Here is an example of a place you want to test fit everything so you don't find out after all the glue dries that you can't fit the cowls)
The guns on the turrets are bound to be broken as the turrets have to be fitted when the fuselage comes together. I cut the gun barrels off at the base and drilled out shallow holes to refit the guns afterwards (this added time to the turret builds but I am sure it saved time and stress overall on the project)
I rebuilt the underside antenna which was molded into the fuselage half as a solid rung piece (my reference showed a towel rack antenna here)
The PE in the main gear bays add nice detail, however you will have to take your time and get a proper fit of everything (leave the tires off for post paint attachment)
I dropped the flaps (although I didn't find reference to back this up) as I decided this was a nice look on the parked aircraft
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Crew seat belts were added from painted and detailed masking tape
Red call letter decals seemed too bright so I painted on the Squadron codes as well as the upper RAF roundels (I figured I had to spray red anyway why not blue as well) The airbrushed roundels look very good, although with available decent kit decals and a zap of decal solvent the difference between decal versions and "painted on" is minimal).
Here is a case where the top paint went on first, as I typically spray from lightest to darkest in colour. Model Master Enamels were used, starting with RAF Earth and RAF Dark Green. As usual, I varied the shade of paint during spraying for a subtle weathering effect. Near black was used for the undersides with lots of tone variations added for weathering effects. "Type C" fuselage roundels and tail fin markings were decals and all other markings were sprayed using paint masks. Exhaust stains were added post-paint by dry-brushing on Tempera black paint (which appears dark gray).
The After-Build Report:
Due to the inclusion of a lot of kit detail, this model is not for the beginner or quick-build enthusiast however, if you want an impressively sized Wellington Bomber for your display, this is definitely the kit (or your only option really). I had read a number of early reviews about how this kit was "unbuildable" due to the overdone geodetic surface finish and some fit issues... is it overdone, sure - but then if you really get picky, aren't a lot of 1/48th scale surface details overdone? (you bet ;). To me, the geodetic fell into an acceptable range and doesn't detract from the build. I was surprised what a great kit this Trumpeter Wellington was after all the whining I read in reviews. Very little filler (if any) or repairs were required, although as I said, patience, prep-work and care is necessary to get the pieces lined up where they should be. This kit was also not overly expensive which was another bonus - If you see one (and are a RAF Bomber fan) treat yourself and pick one up... Oh, and build it as well... you are supposed to eventually build those kits you buy, you know ;)
Completed build #185 - October 2015 using the 1/48th scale Trumpeter #2823 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers