The Avro Lancaster (including the Lancastrian) Part Two - Post-War Service

Published on
September 7, 2023
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Richard A. Franks
Other Publication Information
Portrait Soft Square Bound; 8.25” x 11.75”, 272 pages [Plus Fold-Out Drawings]
Product / Stock #
Volume #: 21
Provided by: Valiant Wings Publishing - Website: Visit Site

Valiant Wings Publishing was founded in 2010 under the guidance of Richard A. Franks and Mark Peacock. Valiant Wings has released several series of primarily airplane monographs [Airframe & Miniature, Airframe Album and Airframe Detail series] with the first Airframe Album dedicated to the Heinkel He 219 ‘Uhu’ released in 2012.

Valiant Wings Publishing’s editor, Richard A. Franks, and in this case the author of The Westland Whirlwind, has recollections of making models at the age of eight. The first aircraft Richard ever built was an Airfix blister-pack 1/72nd Fokker Dr. I Made in an afternoon, resplendent in 'Post Office Red' and with the decals applied whilst the paint was still wet so that there were lots of fingerprints! While working in the real world, Richard started to submit work for publication in magazines which led Richard to working for such titles as Model Art International, Scale Models, Scale Aircraft Modelling, In Scale, and Scale Aviation Modeller magazines. Richard became the title of editor of the latter in 1995 and continued with that title for the next decade, before leaving it to take the reins of Model Airplane International from its launch in early 2005. Valiant grew much quicker than originally anticipated, resulting in Richard A. Franks dedicating his talents to Valiant Wings in 2014.

Illustrator and author, Richard J. Caruana’s first aviation illustrations were published in 1970 by Ermanno Albertelli of Parma, Italy. These were soon followed by a 15-volume history of the Italian Air Force during WWII published by Edizioni Bizzarri of Rome commissioned by the Italian Air Force. ‘Air International' was the first UK publication to publish Richard’s work in 1976, followed by 'Air Enthusiast' and 'Aviation News'. Between 1984 and 1991 Richard set up and managed Modelaid International Publications, which for ten years produced a specialized aviation monthly magazine,'Modelaid International' (later Air Forces International). Richard’s color illustrations have been featured in many other magazines and book titles.

The front cover features a color illustration by Jerry Boucher for this first edition’s cover. The in-flight Avro Lancaster Mk 10MR (FM213) marked as she served for ten years with the RCAF No. 107 Rescue Unit over the Atlantic Ocean. FM 213 was built at Victory Aircraft near Toronto, Canada and delivered on August 21, 1945. She was immediately flown to CFB Trenton where she was placed into storage. She was converted to the 10MR variant by de Havilland Canada at Downsview Airport. After her service in Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) she was eventually rescued by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in July 1977. She currently is one of only two airworthy Lancasters (C-GVRA) in the world and is now painted as “X-Terminator”, KB772 / VR-A that flew 84 missions in World War 2. Richard Caruana delivers the rear cover with ten color Squadron badges.

I counted 219 color pictures and 589 black and white photographs. There are 131 captioned black and white technical drawings, some with labels, most from technical or flight manuals. Richard J. Caruana provides 96 black and white side profiles and 48 color profiles plus scrap views by of the Avro Lancaster, including detail, top, and bottom views. Richard Caruana also serves up four fold-out pages of the 1/72th scale line drawings at the back of this monograph. Juraj Jankovic contributes one-hundred-and-three 3D isometric views of all the prototype and production airframes in Chapter 6 on ‘Building A Collection’.

Richard A. Franks kicks off with a forty-one-page Preface that addresses the development service of the Post-War Lancaster and Lancastrian. This includes Foreign and Civil service along with all the wonderful test-beds. Page 51 shows off the first Canadian two B Mk. X aircraft. KB700 was the first B Mk. X production airframe and shown in a black and white side profile and photograph of its delivery and handover to RAF Norholt on September 15, 1944. The lower side profile and photograph of Lancaster B Mk. X “X-Terminator”, KB772 / VR-A at RAF Middleton St. George.

Chapter Two and Three covers the Lancaster and Lancastrian trials and test airframes and a similar format is used for each variant with a black and white side profile and photograph to depict each variant. Chapter Four addresses Camouflage and Markings by using photographs and color illustrations that are primarily side profiles but include top and bottom views. Color Scrap views of Unit Badges and Crests are included where appropriate. Page 130 includes a nice color photograph of Lancaster Mk 10DC (KB851) on September 21, 1960 at Cold Lake. This color photograph shows off the fluorescent red-orange high visibility paint in comparison to the red spinners and the red Ryan Firebee drone. The color illustration at the bottom of the page depicts a Civil conversion of a Mk X to a Mk XPP with the registration of CF-CMX. CF-CMX was one of the last Mk XPP aircraft for Trans-Canada Air Lines and seems to have been natural metal from the start.

John ‘Tigger’ Wilkes does a build review of the HK Models 1/32 Lancaster B Mk I for Chapter Six. Filled with color photographs, John takes the reader through step-by-step from construction to final painting. Building a Collection (Chapter Six) follows with 3D isometric drawings from Juraj Jankovic that shows the reader every Post-War variant and how a modeler can make them. Page 147 provides a good example with two 3D isometric drawings and a black and white photograph of the subject. Notes are provided to show the differences from a base model of the Lancaster. Sadly, the Wingnut Wings designed Border Models 1/32 release of the Lancaster is not included. A build review of this kit is promised for a later edition of Valiant’s Airframe Constructors book series that focuses on build guides for aircraft.

The final chapter cover the Lancaster In Detail and consists of manufacturer diagrams and drawings along with color (and some black and white) photographs of five Lancasters around the world. Page 198 provides a good concept of the detail provided with two color photographs of the cockpit along with detailed drawings of the pilot’s seat and control column. The first of three Appendices comprise an exhaustive listing of kits, details sets, and decals of the Lancaster B Mk VII to X and Lancastrian along with representative color photographs. The second Appendix is a listing of every manufactured airframe by serial number by type. Appendix Three addresses the extensive bibliography, again accompanied with color photographs of book covers. The last part of this tome is a fold out that extends to four pages that features Richard J. Caruana’s 1/72 scale line drawings.

The sections include:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Note
  • Glossary
  • Preface
  • The B Mk VII
  • The B Mk VIII & IX
  • The B Mk X
  • Lancaster in Post-War RAF Service
  • UK-Based
  • Heavy Conversion Units
  • Lancaster Finishing School
  • Special Duties Flights
  • Maritime Reconnaissance School
  • Operational Training / Conversions Units
  • Other Units
  • Based Abroad
  • Tiger Force
  • Air-Sea Rescue & Maritime Reconnaissance
  • Egypt, Africa & Final Flights
  • In-Flight Refueling
  • Lancaster in Post-War Foreign Service
    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Egypt
    • France
    • Russia
  • Lancaster Engine Test-Beds
  • Merlin
  • Dart
  • Metropolitan-Vickers F.2
  • ASK
  • ASP (Python)
  • Mamba, Adder and Viper
  • Sapphire
  • Dovern
  • Orenda
  • The Civil Lancaster & Lancastrian
  • Canadian ‘Civil’ Lancasters
  • British ‘Civil’ Lancasters
  • The Lancastrian
  • Lancastrian III
  • Lancastrian Test-Beds
  • Nene
  • Merlin 600s
  • Avon
  • Clyde
  • Hybrid – Griffon/Merlin
  • Ghost
  • Specifications [Table]
  • Airframe Chapters
    • Chapter 1: Evolution – Lancaster Mk VII to X
      • B Mk VII
      • Lancaster B Mk VII Prototype (NN801)
      • Lancaster B Mk VII (Interim)
      • Lancaster B Mk VII (F.E.)
      • Lancaster B Mk VII (F.E.) – NX676
      • Lancaster B Mk VII – RT690
      • Foreign Service - France
      • Lancaster GR Mk I (Aeronavale)
      • Lancaster GR Mk 7 (Aeronavale)
      • Lancaster GR Mk 7 (Aeronavale Trainer)
      • Lancaster GR Mk 7 (SGAC/Aeronavale - SAR)
      • Foreign Service - Canada
      • Lancaster B Mk X – First (KB700)
      • Lancaster B Mk X – Early (KB701-774)
      • Lancaster B Mk X – Late (KB775 Onwards)
      • Lancaster B Mk X – KB805
      • Lancaster B Mk X - KB783
      • Lancaster B Mk 105
      • Lancaster B Mk 105 – KB944
      • Lancaster B Mk 105 – Saddle Radome
      • Lancaster B Mk 105 – 10S&R
      • Lancaster B Mk 10P - Early
      • Lancaster B Mk 10P - Late
      • Lancaster B Mk 10BR (Interim) – FM221
      • Lancaster B Mk 10BR (Interim) – FM222, FM228 & KB961
      • Lancaster B Mk 10BR
      • Lancaster B Mk 10BR – Search & Rescue
      • Lancaster B Mk 10MR – Initial Form
      • Lancaster B Mk 10MR – Late Form (SAR)
      • Lancaster B Mk 10N
      • Lancaster B Mk 10N – FM208 ‘Polaris’
      • Lancaster B Mk 10N FM206, FM208 & FM211 Later
      • Lancaster B Mk 10DC (Drone Controller)
      • Lancaster B Mk 10AR
      • Lancaster B Mk 10MR – Initial Form
    • Chapter 2: Lancaster Trials & Test Airframes
      • Trials & Test-Beds (All Nations)
      • Lancaster Prototype BT308/G – Metrovick
      • Lancaster Mk I (L7528) – Arrested Landing Trials
      • Lancaster Mk I (L7529) – Arrested Landing Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk I (R5546) - Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk I (R5576) – 8,000lb ‘Cookie’
      • Lancaster B Mk I (R5609) – Radar Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk I (W4963) - Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk I – Gun Barbettes
      • Lancaster B Mk I – (ME562*) – Tirpitz Raid
      • Lancaster B Mk I - Dart Engine - Initial
      • Lancaster B Mk I – Dart Engine - Revised
      • Lancaster B Mk I – Propeller Trials
      • Lancaster GR Mk I – (WU-24) Trials
      • Lancaster Mk I – Aerofoil Testing
      • Lancaster Mk I – Compacta Tyre Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk I – ‘Special’
      • Lancaster B Mk I - ‘Aires’ - Initial
      • Lancaster B Mk I - ‘Aires’ - Revised
      • Lancaster B Mk I - ‘Aires’ - Final
      • Lancaster Tp.80 – Dovern Engine
      • Lancaster Tp.80 – RM6 Engine
      • Lancaster B Mk I (F.E.) – Python Engines – Initial
      • Lancaster B Mk I (F.E.) – Python Engines - Revised
      • Lancaster Mk II – Universal Test Bed
      • Lancaster B Mk III Prototype – Merlin 85s
      • Lancaster B Mk II – RAE Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk III (EE182)
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Revised Nose
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Glider Towing
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Bristol B.17 Turret
      • Lancaster B Mk III – TFU
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Gust Alleviation Research
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Radio Warfare Establishment, RAF Watton
      • Lancaster B Mk III (ND340) – Post War
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Electrically-Heated Propellers
      • Lancaster B Mk III (RE131)
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Mamba & Adder
      • Lancaster B Mk III – Mamba w/o Adder
      • Lancaster GR Mk III – Glow Worm Flares
      • Lancaster B Mk VI – Armstrong-Siddeley A.S.X.
      • Lancaster B Mk VI - Mamba
      • Lancaster GR Mk 7 (WU-42) Trials
      • Lancaster B Mk X – Chinook
      • Lancaster B Mk X – Orenda
    • Chapter 3: Lancaster (Civil), Lancastrian & Lancastrian Test Airframes
      • Civil Conversions
      • Lancaster (Civil) Mk I (G-AGJI) – Initial
      • Lancaster (Civil) Mk I (G-AGJI) - Revised
      • Lancaster (Civil) Mk I (G-AGJI) – with Merlin 102s
      • Lancaster B Mk I (PB972) – Flight Refueling - Initial
      • Lancaster (Civil) (PB972) – Flight Refueling
      • Lancaster (Civil) – Flight Refueling
      • Lancaster (Civil) Mk III (G-AHJV) – Freight Pannier
      • Lancaster (Civil) (R5727) – CF-CMS - Mailplane
      • Lancaster (Civil) (R5727) – CF-CMS – Mailplane - Revised
      • Lancaster Mk XPP (CF-CMT) – Passenger Plane
      • Lancaster Mk 10PP (CF-CMV & CF-CMX) – Passenger Plane
      • Lancaster Mk 10PP (CF-CMY, CF-CMZ & CF-CNA) – Passenger Plane
      • Lancaster B Mk 10 (CF-IMF) – Spartan Air Service
      • Lancastrian
      • Lancastrian I
      • Lancastrian Mk I – BSAA Freighters
      • Lancastrian Mk I (C-AGUM) - Freight Pannier
      • Lancastrian C Mk II (C Mk 2 After 1948)
      • Lancastrian III
      • Lancastrian III (VH-AEV) – ‘The Pregnant Lanc’
      • Lancastrian C Mk IV
      • Lancastrian Engine Test Airframes [All Nations]
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 (VM732) - Avon - Initial
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 (VM732) - Avon – Revised [& VL970 Initial]
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 (VM970) - Avon – Revised
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 (VM704) - Clyde
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 - Sapphire
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 – D.H. Ghost
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 - Merlin / Griffon
      • Lancastrian C Mk 2 – Merlin 600s
      • Lancastrian - Nene
      • Lancastrian – Nene Icing Trials
    • Chapter 4: Camouflage & Markings
      • Lancaster Post War (RAF)
      • The B Mk I and III ‘Specials’
      • Tiger Force
      • Lancaster Post-War (Coastal Command)
      • ASR Mk III
      • GR/MR Mk III
      • Lancaster Civil
      • Wartime Codes [Table]
      • BSAA
      • Flight Refueling Civil Lancasters
      • Lancastrian
      • Lancastrian C Mk II
      • Lancastrian III
      • Foreign Service
      • Argentina
      • Lancastrian in Argentina
      • Australia
      • Canada
      • Egypt
      • France
      • Miniature Chapters
    • Chapter 5: Building A Selection
      • HK Models 1/32 Lancaster B Mk I by John ‘Tigger’ Wilkes
    • Chapter 6: Building A Collection
      • Lancaster
      • Foreign Service & Production – France
      • Foreign Production – Canada
      • Trials, Test & Special Duties Airframes
      • Civil Conversions
      • Lancastrian
      • Lancastrian Test Frames
    • Chapter 7: In Detail
      • Fuselage
      • Forward Fuselage
      • Bomb Aimer’s Compartment
      • Cockpit
      • Navigator’s Position
      • Mid & Rear Fuselage
      • Engines & Bearers
      • Cowlings & Nacelles
      • Propellers
      • Oil System
      • Fuel System
      • Heating System
      • Oxygen System
      • Pneumatic System
      • Wings
      • Control Surfaces & Landing Flaps
      • Horizontal Tailplane & Elevators
      • Vertical Fins & Rudder
      • Main Undercarriage
      • Tailwheel
      • Armament
      • Armament – Nose Turret
      • Armament – Ventral Turret
      • Armament – Mid-Upper Turret
      • Armament – Tail Turret
      • Ordnance
      • Bomb Sight
      • Pyrotechnics and Sonobuoys
      • Electrical Equipment
      • Radio & Guidance
      • Radar
      • Camera
      • Access Panels
      • Covers & Picketing
      • Lifeboat
      • Anti-Icing & De-Icing
      • In-Flight Refueling
      • Drones
  • Appendix I: Lancaster B Mk I to X & Lancastrian Kits, Accessories, Masks & Decals
  • Appendix II: Manchester, Lancaster (Inc. Civil Conversions) & Lancastrian Production
  • Appendix III: Bibliography
    • 1/72nd Scale Plans Avro Lancaster

Richard A. Franks serves up yet another must have model reference. The 272 pages is not exactly an easy read, but as the subtitle claims, this is a ‘Complete Guide to the RAF’s Legendary Heavy Bomber’. Combine this Volume 21 with the previous Volume 20 covering the World War Two years of the Avro Lancaster, and this a huge step over the previous 176-page Modeller’s Data File Volume 4 on the Avro Lancaster from 2000.

I spent nearly two weeks reading this reference and discovered tons of notes that were new to me. The detailed drawings and period photographs provide amazing detail that can be used to detail up any model kit. The Richard J. Caruana color illustrations in conjunction with the Camouflage and Markings chapter make sure you get the correct colors on your kit. There is absolutely more than enough contemporary photographs to inspire your next build. Juraj Jankovic’s isometric illustrations help organize the myriad of variations that can be considered and makes for a nice evolutionary presentation that is quite valuable. If you have any interest in modeling the Avro Lancaster, put this book on your list to acquire!

My thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035


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