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1/72 Airfix Short Sunderland Mk.I conversion
The Nemesis of the U Boat

by Mick Evans


Short Sunderland Mk.I


 Airfix's 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 available.

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 then assembled.

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.


Painting and Markings


The kit was finished in Xtra Color Dark Slate Grey /Dark Sea Grey over Sky.

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 outboard floats.

The finished result was very pleasing.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model and Text Copyright 2004 by Mick Evans 
Images Copyright 2004 by Brett Green
Page Created 01 November, 2004
Last Updated 02 November, 2004

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