Thread Tools
Mar 29, 2020, 11:07 AM
Tomorrow I'll procrastinate
Thread OP
Build Log

QSBO: 72" Avro Lancaster from Tony Nijhuis short kit

First: for those who come back and read this in the future… QSBO means “quarantine scale build off” because so many of us were quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic. See here for other parallel builds: Quarantine-Scale-Build-Off

OK, let’s get started with my first ever build log! I remember reading somewhere on rcgroups about starting a “good” build log with a detailed introduction, so here goes…

What am I doing here? I actually mean WHAT ON EARTH am I doing here? I’ve never built a scale model before. So this will probably be an entertaining journey for everyone else and a bumpy journey for me! But I hope you’ll follow along … and please help me!

If you’re new to this scale forum, you’ll see why I don’t think I really belong here if you take a look at contributions from people like hammerd, vonJaerschky, J Morgan, St Martin, ARUP, Steve85, walter3rd, fairweatherflyer, D-Rock, Sopwith Mike, Spit100, philip57, Pat Trittle, and many others (sorry, if I missed your name: I was doing that from memory!). But we all have to start somewhere, right?

Why this log, now? Well, I was careless enough to comment in Steve85’s “Any interest in a Quarantine Build-Off?” , so then I felt obliged to contribute, because I was partly responsible for the rules and encouraging the kick-off. Anyway I’ve been trawling through rcgroups for many years, and all I’ve done is absorb other people’s ideas – never contributed myself – so I guess it’s about time I corrected that and gave something in return.

I was motivated to pull this Lancaster out of the backlog stash because of these guys.. Group-build-Peter-Holland-s-74-Lancaster . They are building 4 (?) Lancasters almost exactly the same scale as this one. I don’t know any of these builders, but when I made a comment in their thread about driving the ~100 miles to go see them fly, the warm reaction was typical of this hobby: words to the effect of “let’s get together at NEAT”.

Why a Lancaster? The first time I saw the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane) in 1980, I was working at the National Waterways Festival (English canals) at Lee Valley in London. Like many people have said before, the sound of those engines gets into your blood, and it’s impossible to forget.

I distinctly remember the Lancaster doing a long slow banked turn over the park, flanked by the fighters, then flying directly down the canal as if he was doing a dambusters run. He seemed to be WAY below the altitude they would probably allow these days! After that the Flight did a long slow figure eight so we could see them again, then they continued on their way.

I don’t know how or why the flyover occurred, because I was one of the Festival organizers and we didn’t arrange it! Maybe they were just having some fun on their way home from somewhere!

Throughout the 80s the Memorial Flight was a regular feature at the RAF Fairford airshows which my wife and I attended annually for many years. We were also lucky enough to see them from the flight deck of aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal when it was moored at the Gosport submarine base in Portsmouth harbor, on England’s south coast (around 1986?). Standing way up on the carrier deck it was almost like they flew past at eye level as they cruised inland into the harbor. Later a harrier put on an impressive show approx. 200ft away from where we were standing on the flight deck – doing its pirouettes and tip forward (bow), also at eye level. Probably the loudest and most spine-chilling air display I've ever seen. But I digress.

What are my challenges?

1. Finishing! I like working with balsa, but I tend to get distracted when it comes to covering and finishing all the fiddly bits. There are way more incomplete balsa models in my hobby room than completed ones! I hope that documenting my build here will motivate me to finish something for a change!

2. Timeline of the QSBO. I’m still working full time from home during this pandemic – in fact I would say the workload is worse now – managing ~35 programmers remotely has its challenges.

3. Staying focused! I’ve never been one to let the hobby dominate my life: if I don’t feel like modelling, I don’t. As a consequence I’ve done nothing yet in 2020!

4. Chasing bright shiny objects. Ooh… ahh.. I received one of the very first shipments of the Spektrum AR637T receiver yesterday (SAFE, AS3X, telemetry: altimeter, variometer, receiver voltage, main battery voltage). Investigating its capabilities will distract me for a while!

5. Lack of experience. I built quite a few “plans only” control-line models back in the 70s, but they were so simple that instructions weren’t really needed (mostly combat flying wings). After ~45 years out of the hobby I restarted by flying a few foamies and assembling a couple of ARFs. I built a SIG LT25 last year. A SIG “Somethin extra” (bare balsa) is getting pulled off the building board to start this Lancaster. And that's about the extent of my experience. There’s a huge difference between building a SIG laser-cut kit with “do this, then do that” step by step instructions, compared to this short-kit build!! I did not plan to build this Lancaster next: my intention was to get more experience building other models first.

6. How much scale detail to add? Or add none at all? I like the “that looks about right” attitude of many builders on here. I would like to ensure a scale-like look – for example 3 blade props are a must – but at this scale (~1/17th, I believe) there’s not much opportunity to add too much detail. Time will tell exactly what I choose to do.

7. Multi engine. Yes, a challenge of course. I don’t think it’s as daunting any more in the age of electric propulsion. It boils down to more nacelle work and paying attention to power distribution, electric spikes / noise, etc. My background is electronics and computing, so hopefully that will help.

8. Getting distracted by rcgoups! I am already following too many threads! As an example of how easily I get distracted, I stumbled across John Morgan’s work in December and spent every spare moment over the following 4 or 5 weeks reading almost all his threads. And they’re LONG. There are a lot of chatty people who follow him

Purpose of the build log? To entertain! Please feel free to comment – in fact I really hope people will comment – I don’t want to feel alone, while I struggle through this! If this build is successful then I hope it will encourage other inexperienced builders like myself to take the plunge and try something challenging.

Last edited by Iceman59; Apr 06, 2020 at 08:50 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Mar 29, 2020, 11:08 AM
Tomorrow I'll procrastinate
Thread OP

Some references / data

--- under construction as I go through the build ---

References to full size Lancasters <-- pan and zoom photographs. Really nice!

Tony Nijhuis information

Parts list

3mm 1/8" rigid plastic tube for guns
6mm 1/4" rigid plastic tube for fake structure on retract landing gear (undercarriage).
4 off propellor. I used Master Airscrew 9"x7"x3

BOM (bill of materials) on the plans (all 36"):
15 x sheets 1/16" x 4" med (1.5mm x 100mm)
5 x sheets 3/32" x 4" soft (2.5mm x 100mm)
8 sheets 1/8" x 4" soft (3mm x 100mm)
2 sheets 3/16" x 4" med (4.5mm x 100mm)
1 sheet 1/4" x 4" med (6mm x 100mm)
1 sheet 3/8" x 4" soft (9mm x 1000mm) off-cut
1 sheet 1/2" x 4" soft (12mm x 100mm)
17 strips 3/16" x 3/16" sq med (4.4mm sq)
8 strips 1/4" sq hard (6mm sq)
3 strips 1/2" soft triangle (12mm)
3 strips 1/4" x 1/8" hard (6mm x 3mm)
2 strips 3/16" x 1/8" hard (4.5mm x 3mm)

Other balsa..
Scrap block approx. 3/4" x 3/4" x 1.75" for shaping under the rear gunner position. Or could be laminated from the 3/8" sheet.

I x CNC wood pack from Tony Nijhuis
1 x Vacuum formed plastic pack from Tony Nijhuis

Some references

Group-build-Peter-Holland-s-74-Lancaster <-- group build, work in progress
Avro-Lincoln-from-Ivan-s-Lancaster-plan Sopwith Mike
Fun-Build-5-51-Lancaster-B-X-in-Depron Steve85
Scale-Build-Off-3-51-Stick-and-Tissue-Lancaster Steve85
Started-a-replacement-Lancaster eflightray
Avro-Lancaster-80-scale-1-15 JornWildt <-- work in progress.
Avro-Lancaster-BIII-(Special) heli_madKen <-- unbelievable detail, including operating gun turrets
Avro-Lancaster-from-Radio-Modeller-Plans rostap <-- not yet started.
Tony-Nijhuis-72-Avro-Lancaster-Build TheHawkLord <-- builder unwraps parts then stops
Chris-golds-90-Lancaster playaviation <-- brief thread, not much content.
Lancaster-from-Ivan-s-plans RiBell <-- Long detailed thread
Avro-lancaster-72-tony-nijhuis ChrisLarkins <-- incomplete, very short thread.
Tony-Nijhuis-72-Lancaster salisbug
72-avro-lancaster-build-thread twchdyn
Avro-Lancaster-build-thread cougar33 <-- Tony Nijhuis, but mostly talk about retracts, and doesn't get beyond fuselage.
Last edited by Iceman59; May 24, 2020 at 04:25 PM.
Mar 29, 2020, 12:33 PM
Tomorrow I'll procrastinate
Thread OP

The opening

The short kit has been sitting in a box since I picked it up 2+ years ago. I was back in the UK and took the opportunity to collect the box (approx. 15" x 9" x 36") and bring it back with me as checked baggage. I was travelling business class so there was no charge for an extra bag/box - that saved me an estimated $150 in shipping! Otherwise that would have made this kit really expensive!

I purchased the plans, a short kit (laser cut parts), vacuum formed plastics (cowls, spinners and glasswork) and the retractable landing gear. (Details here: Tony Nijhuis accidently shipped a full wood kit instead of the retracts. When I notified him, the retracts were delivered within 48hrs and he told me to keep the wood kit! Now that's customer service

Pictures below. I tried to get a picture of the vacuum formed parts, but I couldn't get enough contrast to take a good photo of clear plastic.

For anyone who doesn't subscribe to RCM&E magazine (Radio Control Model and Electronics), Tony Nijhuis is a regular contributor of designs and articles. Currently the magazine is featuring a range of small EDF jets that he recently designed. The Concorde is one of his latest offerings: see website.
Last edited by Iceman59; Mar 29, 2020 at 05:03 PM.
Mar 29, 2020, 02:30 PM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar

There's no backing out now; you're committed! You're already achieving your stated purpose, because your thread so far is very entertaining! You've probably guessed I have a thing for Lancasters, so I'll be following closely. No slacking!

Mar 29, 2020, 04:41 PM
I can relate to many of your challenges, Martin! I too suffer from "Squirrel!" syndrome. Will definitely be following along - I'm a big fan of the Lanc and have been curious about a number of the Tony Nijhuis kits.
Mar 29, 2020, 09:23 PM
No problemo...
stangrob's Avatar

Welcome to the party! We'll be happy to give you encouragement to keep you moving forward

I'm so jealous of those awesome looking retracts. I just ordered a set of 85 degree E-Flite electric retracts for my Lanc. They won't be scale like yours but will be around the right angle and will get the job done. I too don't like gear hanging out on scale planes.

Once I finish up my current project the Lancaster is next onto the workbench. My buddy is also building his but he's also a travel nurse and had been eyeball deep in the COVID-19 pandemic, so his building time is naturally very limited right now. I'm more concerned about his health than his building at this point.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you'll have this girl done for NEAT. In addition to the Lancasters my friend just finished up a Royal B-17 (in electric) and although they didn't fly together during the war (to the best of my knowledge) all of those bombers would look great flying together during the Noontime Demos

Mar 30, 2020, 01:57 AM
I meant to do that - no really
ImpactSpecialist's Avatar
Iím in and along for the ride. Gotta love a Lancaster and canít resist subscribing to any Lancaster build logs. Found your thread from the link in the Peter Holland group build thread you mentioned above.

On that subject, you might already be aware of it but check out Heli-madkenís amazing build here: - lots of inspiration to be had there
Mar 30, 2020, 06:55 PM
Tomorrow I'll procrastinate
Thread OP

Opening the laser cut parts

Steve: thanks for the encouragement, followed by the butt kicking ("no slacking") I don't know whether I can meet the QSBO deadline, but I intend to try. Yeah, you're definitely into Lancasters: two of the build logs that I quote as references in post #2 are yours!

CF105: Welcome aboard. I hope to do this justice so you can get a feel for what Tony Nijhuis designed and supplied. Squirrel syndrome? Now I have a name for my disease

Rob: thanks for joining. Looking forward to some activity in your build log [ Group-build-Peter-Holland-s-74-Lancaster]. I'm sorry to hear about the COVID-19 concerns. Yes, I am definitely going to keep NEAT in my mind because if this build has a deadline then maybe I will keep on track for a change!

Impact: Thanks for riding along. Yes, thanks, I've seen that build: it's one of the ones I quoted in the references. I will probably go back and read many of them again, now I've finally got started.

Moving on... I am glad I got the plans copied (so I have a copy to cut up and build over) before this quarantine: I don't think I could get them copied right now! Most places are closed.

Well.. time to look at the laser cut parts. It was nice that they were so well sealed in a plastic bag, because it kept the humidity out while it sat in my stash for 2+ years! I don't exactly know how the plywood was made, but it's not something I've seen before. Some of it is warped - any suggestions how to flatten it? Thanks.

Last edited by Iceman59; Mar 30, 2020 at 07:19 PM.
Mar 30, 2020, 08:25 PM
Tomorrow I'll procrastinate
Thread OP

The first problem

Remember that box of balsa I was pleased to get for free? It's not for this model!!! "Darn" wasn't the first word out of my mouth! Judging by the sizes (1/4"x1/4", 3/8"x3/8" and plenty of 3/32" sheet) it's for something bigger. I wonder if it's for Tony Nijhuis' 134" Lancaster? [see Tony Nijhuis' multi-engine designs].

Who knows whether anyone like SIG, BalsaUSA, etc are accepting orders and shipping balsa, or whether they're sheltering from COVID-19, so now I'm up a creek without a balsa paddle and quite seriously trying to think of what other model I can enter into the build-off.

[…. here, some time passes while I calm down …]

In a more logical frame of mind I turned to my trusty pile of balsa to see how "out of luck" I really was. There is a wood list on the plans (I'll list it all in post #2 when I get some spare time) and I was pleased to be able to find most things except for stringers and thicker sheet offcuts. If necessary I can laminate thinner sheet to make it thick enough for carving, but what to do about those stringers? Then I remembered I had a balsa stripper from the days when I made control line models (I built this combat wing multiple times: Liquidator).

The odd thing is, I don't know why I bought the stripper because I don't remember ever using it. Which brings me to my next question - does anyone know of a link showing how it really should be used? Or is it simple enough that you can explain it to me? I came up with my own method, and the results were OK-ish (see pictures) but I'd like to do better. Thanks.
Mar 31, 2020, 09:49 AM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar

That's quite the stash of balsa you've got there. Looks like you're doing alright with the stripper. There are quite a few threads on improving it, do a search and include the "Builders Workshop" forum and you should get good results. From memory and my own experience, the two main issues that arise are the tip of the #11 blade flexing while cutting thicker/harder wood, and the fact that the "fence" edge of the stripper isn't precisely vertical (it's slightly slanted to allow the plastic part to be popped out of its mold). To cure the blade flexing problem, some folks have substituted #10 blades (the ones that looks like a scalpel blade) for the pointed #11 because they're much more rigid. To cut thicker stock, I like to make two or three passes, with a thinner piece of balsa or bass under the plastic part of the stripper to control the depth of each successive pass. Finally, if you have a mitre sander or even a well-trued disk sander, give the side of the stripper body a truly perpendicular surface in relation to its bottom surface and you'll be good to go.

Apr 01, 2020, 07:24 AM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Hi Martin, very involved project, for sure. With the Windsor stripper, setting the blade properly(#11) will make all the difference. I change my blade about every two years. Setting the blade depth is important. You do not want to cut completely through the wood. I slide a single edge razor blade under the tip of the blade, and angle the blade for a castor effect. Work slow when you pull the stripper. And select wood with a strait grain. Grain changes on the same sheet.

After completing the cut, just fold the cut piece away from the cut, and it will break cleanly. By not cutting all the way through, the blade will track strait. When my cam batts charge, I'll post a few pics.

Apr 01, 2020, 11:20 AM
Good looking Cook+Maid needed
flyerdave's Avatar
Subscribed! Looks like an interesting build!
Apr 01, 2020, 11:50 AM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Here's a pic of the MA stripper. Don't remember when I replaced the #11 last. But Steve had a good point, on replacing the blade with a heavier one, should you need to strip heavy balsa or bass.

Apr 01, 2020, 01:20 PM
Viceless no longer :)
fairweatherflyer's Avatar
Hi Martin,
I like your inspection team! - helpful. I seem to recall someone on rcg whose wife had a pet goat which ate his plans half way through the build.
Hope the build goes well.

Quick Reply

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion 2012 - Tony Nijhuis 72" Avro Lancaster Build TheHawklord Electric Warbirds 18 Mar 02, 2017 07:33 PM
Build Log Avro lancaster 72" tony nijhuis chrislarkins Electric Warbirds 27 Dec 09, 2011 03:49 AM
Discussion 2006 Tony Nijhuis 72" Lancaster salisbug Electric Warbirds 56 Jun 10, 2010 03:14 PM
Discussion tony Nijhuis lancaster LovelyJam Power Systems 7 Sep 30, 2008 09:07 AM
Discussion Information needed - 72" Nijhuis Lancaster Pat Lynch Scale Kit/Scratch Built 2 Oct 14, 2006 06:36 PM