1/72 Airfix Short Sunderland Mk.I
The Nemesis of the U Boat
by Mick Evans
1/72 scale Sunderland Ml.III is available online from Squadron.com
The Airfix kit is still the only 1/72 scale kit of the Sunderland
The Airfix offering is a Mk.III and was first moulded nearly 30 years
ago. The kit is quite accurate in outline but suffers from gimmicks,
such as moving turrets and guns, moving flight controls, retractable
nose turret, and bomb carriers. For these gimmicks to work the kit is
simplified and made inaccurate.
I decided to make the kit as Sunderland Mk.I in the colours of FLT
LT W.N. Gibson of No 10 Sqn (RAAF), who on July 1 1940 became the first
Australian pilot sink a U boat.
To convert the Sunderland Mk.3 to a Mk.1 required some major
conversion work. The Mk.3 has a curved planing hull where the Mk.1 has a
stepped planning hull. This was where the major work was started.
The smooth curved hull was cut away and replaced with a step
constructed of plastic card. Some extra portholes were added as per the
plans and the upper gun turret was filled with plastic card.
The two new gun positions were cut out and the retractable airflow
deflectors fitted. All of the heavy rivet lines and raised panel lines
was sanded off before re-scribing the flaps.
The bulkheads and fuselage floors were constructed to prevent a see
through effect, and the cockpit completely scratch built. The kit was
The flying controls were modified with plastic card to look more
realistic when fitted. The kit gun turrets were thrown away and replaced
with scratch built items.
The kit transparencies were replaced with vac formed Falcon canopies
from set no22.
The kit was finished in Xtra Color Dark Slate Grey /Dark Sea Grey
The code letters were hand painted.
The kit was weathered and sealed in semi gloss before the portholes
were made from Microscale Krystal Klear and rigging was added to the
The finished result was very pleasing.
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02 November, 2004
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