Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR.1

Airfix 1/72


This model is quite large. It was built over a period of 4 months or so, one section at a time. The model went together reasonably well and very little filler was required. The single problem in construction concerned the lower fuselage around the bomb bay, which seemed to be slightly distorted for reasons unknown. It was due to this that I decided to build the bay doors open. I also replaced the box antenna blades with thinner, plasticard ones and added an elastic thread HF antenna.

To my surprise (and relief!) the painting went very well, too. I used Vallejo acryllics, as ever, through my trusty H&S Ultra airbrush with a 0.2mm nozzle. Tempted as I was to break out the 'heavy duty' 0.6mm nozzle, the 0.2 handled it very well. Humbrol metalcote enamels were used for all metallic effects and Flory Dark wash was used for weathering. I found it very hard to locate a decent sprayable Light Aircraft Grey. Humbrol make one, but the tendency for their paints to be inconsistent in their consistency made me very wary and I ended up choosing the closest match I had in my Vallejo Model Air collection - a USAF Light Grey. Of course, having sprayed and decalled, I then found a much closer match with the help of Paul at Little Cars, in the AK range(isn't that just Vallejo, rebranded?) . Oh well...

The only major problem with this model was a familiar, and in this case well known one. The decals

The Airfix Nimrod decals are known for having a complete clear layer across the sheet, where the individual decals have to be cut very closely around the edges, else you get a lot of transparent decal layer on the model. I also heard that Humbrol used to replace these, free of charge. My problem wasn't that one, however. The printed parts of the decals were off-centre from the clear base layer. Some of them actually disappeared off the side of the base layer. Not only that, but when I attempted to slide on the first two stencils, having used only plain, lukewarm water to lift them from the backing paper, they turned to a sludgey, papier-mache type goo. This was a shame, as the stencilling provided was quite extensive. I decided to only fit the national and squadron insignia, and the roundels were from my spares box (that bungled 1/48 Lightning turned out useful, after all). The fin flashes were from the Nimrod decal sheet, and were just awful. They stuck like super glue, the instant they landed on the wet surface. The left flash started tearing when I attempted to move it, so I swamped it with water and lifted it completely, being very careful to then place it back on in exactly the right place.

The next issue was the varnish. I wasn't completely sure which to use, so I opted initially for the VMA matt, which is very effective. However, in this case it was too effective and the model looked like something in a scrapyard. I then applied several coats of Vallejo semi-gloss varnish, but it didn't improve things much at all. Lesson learned! I've read that putting a drop of washing-up liquid into the matt varnish gives a nice satin finish - so next time I will try that.

All in all, it didn't turn out too badly, though, as can be seen in the photographs. I won't build another, but that's because it was just too big for the space I have available, though I would like to build the R.1 version.

Maybe if I get a large inheritance, and can buy a bigger house...!