Like the York, Avro's Tudor arose from a bomber, in this case the Lincoln. The Tudor used the wings and landing gear of the Lincoln, mated to a circular pressurised fuselage. In a departure from Avro's previous large aircraft designs, the Tudor was equipped with a single fin and rudder in place of the Lincoln's twin fins. The Tudor was not as successful as Avro could have wished. In its early versions it was unstable, heavy, and its tail wheel undercarriage marked it as a relic of the past rather than a harbinger of the future. BOAC returned its Tudors to Avro with almost indecent haste and replaced them with the Canadair Argonaut DC-4 derivative. The Tudor was subsequently developed over 9 different versions which saw limited airline service with small charter and second-line services before it was finally discontinued. The Tudor 8 and 9 were used to develop jet engine technology as applied to transport aircraft. The Tudor 9 was equipped with nose wheels, rendering it almost unrecognisable as a Tudor. In fact it was renamed to Ashton before it flew. The introduction of the DH Comet ended any chance of jet Tudors entering service.
This kit is a jewel of the cottage industry. Details are very crisp and the execution is clean. The kit makes good use of the strengths of resin and vacuform moulding techniques while avoiding the major weakness of an all resin kit which is its comparatively heavy weight.
The fuselage is in Welsh's traditional thick vacuform plastic with 2 circular bulkheads to keep it from collapsing. Windows are provided as decals with a note on the instruction sheet advising the modeller to apply the decals as a guide for marking their positions preparatory to drilling them out if clear windows are desired. In addition to the bulkheads, small tabs cut from the backing sheet should be glued to the fuselage halves to help keep then aligned and to add to the gluing surface. Give them a little curl before gluing to keep the fuselage circular. This kit is a good candidate for Clint Groves' “river of epoxy” technique. Cut a hole in the roof of the wing root area and notches in each of the bulkheads to allow slow setting epoxy to be poured into the closed fuselage. Rock the fuselage back and forth to allow the epoxy to coat the entire inside of the upper fuselage seam and allow to dry. Then repeat for the fore and aft sections of the lower seam. Done correctly the fuselage will become extremely solid and stand up to extraordinary abuse.
Each wing is a one piece resin moulding which also comprises a portion of the lower fuselage. The wings are joined together and the completed fuselage fits over-top. One wing root is thicker than the other. Sanding and filing to match the other will need to be done before the wings are glued. Being resin, they will need to be glued with epoxy or cyanoacrylate glue.
The tailplanes are one piece resin mouldings. They will need to be drilled and pinned for strength. Given the construction, then cannot be left off until after painting and decalling. Luckily, the cheatline runs above the tailplanes rather than overlapping them.
The Tudor's Merlins are moulded as one with the wings. Very nice 4 blade propellers and spinners are also one piece mouldings which will only need a small amount of filing and polishing before they may be glued to the nacelles. There is no radiator detail in the engine fronts, but at this small scale not much will be seen after painting. Modellers wishing to portray the individual exhaust stacks will have to file them into the exhaust mouldings.
The landing gear struts and wheels are one-piece white metal mouldings with surprisingly good detail. They will need only a good painting before they can be glued in place. The gear doors are nice little resin mouldings. They are not quite scale thickness, but are much better than comparable injection parts. They will have to be cut apart and sanded down to a more scale thickness before being glued to the wheel wells. Neither a tail wheel well nor doors are provided. The well roof may be made from a scrap of the backing plastic, and doors cut from thin sheet.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a Tudor.
Decals and markings
The decal sheet has markings for two variations of Air Charter of London; A standard Tudor IV in passenger service, and a Super Trader (Tudor IVB) in freight service. The differences between the marking options are slight, involving different titles, “Super Trader” titles for the freighter, and a bare metal rudder for the passenger version. The decals were printed on a laser printer, so they will have a continuous film, and can be expected to be slightly transparent when applied to the bare metal portions of the airframe. Luckily only the black wing registration letters need to go on the metal; everything else goes on the white upper fuselage. This will require some slightly tricky masking just aft of the cockpit to capture the two different levels the white covers.
This kit illustrates the strengths of the vac/resin combination. It's simple, very well detailed and the subject is one the mainstream manufacturers will never even dream of producing. It could very easily serve as an introductory vac kit to a modeller who has never done one before. There are only 2 parts to sand out, and only the vertical stabiliser to worry about getting properly thin.
The real thing
G-AHNO at Manchester, 1955
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