Corgi AA32626 RAF Avro Lancaster B Mk. I Heavy Bomber - PA474, operated by The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (1:72 Scale)
"Apres moi le deluge" ("After me, the flood")
- Motto of No. 617 Squadron
Entering service at the beginning of 1942, the Lancaster's design grew out of a failed predecessor, the Avro Manchester. While its' airframe offered a stable platform for heavy bombing assignments, the Manchester's twin engine design was inadequate to the task. By upgrading to four Merlins, the resulting aircraft met the nation's needs and 7,366 Avro Lancasters were built during the war, the most of any British bomber. Armament included eight to ten Browning machine guns for fighter defense (depending on model variant) mounted in the nose, upper dorsal turret and the tail. Experience with a variety of bomb loads eventually led to adoption of the 'Grand Slam' 22,000-pound bomb, the largest carried by any aircraft in the war.
The majority of Lancasters built during the war years were manufactured by Avro at their factory at Chadderton near Manchester and test flown from Woodford Aerodrome in Cheshire. Other Lancasters were built by Metropolitan-Vickers (1080, also tested at Woodford) and Armstrong Whitworth. The aircraft was also produced at the Austin Motor Company works in Longbridge, Birmingham later in the Second World War and postwar by Vickers-Armstrongs at Chester. Only 300 of the Lancaster B II fitted with Bristol Hercules engines were constructed; this was a stopgap modification caused by a shortage of Merlin engines as fighter production was of higher priority. Many BII's were lost after running out of fuel.
The Lancaster B III had Packard Merlin engines but was otherwise identical to contemporary B Is, with 3,030 B IIIs built, almost all at A.V. Roe's Newton Heath factory. The B I and B III were built concurrently, and minor modifications were made to both marks as new batches were ordered. Examples of these modifications were the relocation of the pitot head from the nose to the side of the cockpit, and the change from de Havilland "needle blade" propellers to Hamilton Standard or Nash Kelvinator made "paddle blade" propellers.
Of later variants, only the Canadian-built Lancaster B X, manufactured by Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario, was produced in significant numbers. A total of 430 of this type were built, earlier examples differing little from their British-built predecessors, except for using Packard-built Merlin engines and American-style instrumentation and electrics. Late-series models replaced the Frazer Nash mid-upper turret with a differently configured Martin turret, mounted slightly further forward for weight balance. A total of 7,377 Lancasters of all marks were built throughout the duration of the war, each at a 1943 cost of 45-50,000 (approximately equivalent to 1.3-1.5 million in 2005 currency).
For the dam-busting strike in May 1943, the Lancaster dropped British designer Barnes Wallis's 'bouncing bombs' which skipped on the surface before impact. Wartime Lancaster sorties totaled about 156,000 during which roughly 608,000 tons of ordnance were dropped on the enemy.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Avro Lancaster B Mk. I heavy bomber that is operated by The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Pre-order! Ship Date: Autumn 2020.
Release Date: ?
Historical Account: "Leader" - As arguably the best loved historic aircraft in Britain today, Avro Lancaster B.I PA474 is one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world and the only one flying in Europe. Operated by the Coningsby based Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the aircraft serves as a flying memorial to almost 64,000 men of RAF Bomber Command who were either killed or injured during the Second World War and is a highlight act at any event which it displays.
Over the years, the aircraft has been presented in several different wartime schemes, marking the achievements of particular aircraft, aircrews or squadrons and following the completion of its 2016 winter maintenance schedule, it emerged in this attractive scheme which features the markings of two different Lancasters.
The port side wears the markings of W5005 AR-L 'Leader' of No.460 RAAF Squadron, including attractive nose artwork featuring a kangaroo playing the bagpipes, highlighting the international nature of the aircraft's crew. The starboard side carries the codes VN-T, representing a Lancaster of RAF No.50 Squadron, one which was flown by F/O Douglas Millikin DFC on 27 missions of his first tour of operations - F/O Millikin was the grandfather of the Commanding Officer of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at the time of the Lancaster's repaint. PA474 was still wearing these popular markings at the end of the 2019 Airshow season.
The original idea of forming a Historic Aircraft Flight of wartime piston engined aircraft began to take shape during 1957 at RAF Biggin Hill, as Wing Commander Peter Thompson DFC had access to one of the last Hawker Hurricanes in RAF service and wanted to preserve the aircraft for the benefit of the nation. Within weeks, the new Flight benefited from the addition of three former Temperature and Humidity Flight Spitfires from RAF Woodvale and the nucleus of the Battle of Britain Flight was born.
To more accurately reflect the growing commemorative role the Flight was being asked to perform, the name was changed to its current Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and whilst the aircraft it has operated since inception may have changed, the affection in which they are held has increased with each passing year.
In November 1973, the Flight received a huge boost with the arrival of Avro Lancaster B.I PA474, an aircraft which since that date has been continually upgraded to as near wartime configuration as possible.
The aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are regarded as a highlight act at any Airshow at which they display and are in high demand throughout the year, performing a multitude of ceremonial and commemorative duties alongside their many Airshow commitments. Receiving numerous requests to perform flypasts each year, it is not uncommon for the BBMF to undertake several hundred flying appearances during a season, thrilling many millions of spectators and aviation enthusiasts in the process.