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 Aeroclub's 1/72 scale Short 184
“Smoko break is over, there’s a war on!”

by James Fahey


Short 184

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I enjoyed making Aeroclub’s Short 184 kit so much (see http://hsfeatures.com/features04/short184jf_1.htm ) that I decided to do another one - a later version with bomb rack and Scarf MG mounting, finished in PC12 (a naval colour described as like ‘milk chocolate’).



This time I decided to open up the engine compartment and scratch build a Sunbeam Maori engine.





Engine Compartment

The wood framing in the nose is the plastic left over after cutting away the rest of the nose. Note that the longerons slope downwards from just in front of the centre section struts down to about level with the prop. I painted the longerons a pale sand colour (Humbrol), then when this was completely dry I painted over with artists oils ‘burnt umber’ and then wiped most of it off with a clean paint brush.


The engine is scratch built with brass rod, copper wire for the 24 spark plug wires, plastic scrap etc. Reference pics for the engine a hard to find but after doing a Google ‘image’ search I found this great website: http://www.enginehistory.org/hendon_&_duxford.htm

The white metal radiator casting from Aeroclub has aged badly with production so I scratchbuilt a new one from black card and styrene sheet. You can now see through the radiator just like the real thing.

Crew figures

There is a range of white metal figures by Monty’s Model Railways in the UK which are really great for Navy officers. These figures are OO gauge which is about 20mm so they work OK for 1/72 scale. Have a look here: http://www.dartcastings.co.uk/


The bomb rack is scratch built from brass rod and strip. As far as I know the only 100 lb bombs available in 1/72 are the four included in the Airfix DH4 kit. They only bear a passing resemblance to the real bombs but I thought it would be easier to modify them rather than scratchbuild. The photo shows my four new bombs with one of the originals from the kit.



The changes I made include:

  • Round off the front of bombs as the originals are too pointed. I fitted a new tip when this was done. The result is not perfect, more like a cross between 100 lb and 112 lb bombs but I am happy with them.

  • Sand off the bomb mounting as it is completely incorrect. Note the bombs should be mounted with the fins in an X shape not a + shape.

  • Remove the circular bomb struts. I replaced these with narrow strips of brass strip on three sides only. The fourth side has no struts so as not to get in the way of the bomb rack (it faces upwards).

  • Shortened the bomb fins.

Wingtip floats

I wanted to use the more rounded wingtip floats fitted to some later 184s. The alternative kit floats didn’t look right to me – too cylindrical, so I glued a strip of styrene around the floats then sanded it into the new shape.

Beaching Trolley

The trolley is made of plastic strip and card. The kit’s white metal wheels aren’t right so I made new ones from brass pipe and some 1/48 PE spokes from Fotocut (with every second spoke cut away).



I used pictures from the Datafile as a guide.


Painting and Markings

I used acrylics from the WWI range by Misterkit. The PC12 came up lighter than I expected.

I laid decal stripes (salmon coloured German rib tapes from Eagle Strike) along the underside wing ribs to make them stand out like the Datafile photos.


Finishing Touches



All the rigging and control wires are 0.005” stainless steel wire from Smallparts.com (product code is GWX-0050-30 for anyone who gets lost in their website like I did).

The kit instructions don't accurately capture the unusual rigging in the outer bays so I have played around in Paint to show how they should look (second pic).



In addition I have shown the additional flying wires that joined the wing half way between the bays, and the wire ladder fitted to many later versions.

The Wharf & Crane

The wharf is scratch built from bass wood with some bolts added from Grandt Line. The sea started out as tinfoil from an oven liner cut to fit inside the photo frame base. Cutting each square hole in the right spot for the wharf piles was a difficult job. It was painted green and liberally covered with a clear acrylic stuff called Mod Podge.


The crane is based on the photograph on the inside front cover of the Datafile. While researching details I discovered it is of a type called a "stiff leg derrick" and which rotates around the pivot point. It is mostly scratch built, with some bits from a Wills kit.

I found the tool trolley from Grandt Line and the detail on it is wonderful! Absolutely the finest detailing I have ever seen on a tiny injection moulded kit. The drums, hand pump, funnel, tool box etc are resin items from Attack’s WWII German tool set.


Thanks to John Adams at Aeroclub for producing such a great kit.


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by James Fahey
Page Created 21 December, 2005
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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