Calendar Plane of the Month September: Avro Lancaster

Tooby version

September's plane is the iconic Avro Lancaster.  This digital box art illustration by Adam Tooby is unique in that it is an exact recreation of Roy Cross' original and equally iconic painting which used to adorn the Airfix box when Triple P was young.

Cross original

The Lancaster was one of Airfix's first two large kits (with the Wellington) which came out in 1958 after the company had bought bigger injection moulding machines to allow much larger sized models for the first time.

The 1958 box art (above) by Charlie Oates, Airfix's original resident illustrator, demonstrates exactly what Roy Cross would later bring to Airfix during the decade he worked for them from 1964 until 1974.

The actual aircraft which is the subject of the current kit (Airfix produced a new, more detailed, version of the kit in the late seventies to replace the 1958 original) is a Mark 1 Lancaster serial number W4783 and known as G for George after the last letter of its identification letters.

The real G for George

G for George, which was part of 460 squadron, flew 96 combat missions (the second most of any Lancaster) over Europe during the war between December 1942 and April 1944.  This was a major achievement considering most Lancasters only reached twenty missions before they were shot down.  In late 1944 it was flown via Iceland, Canada, the US and a succession of Pacific islands to arrive in Amberley, near Brisbane, Australia to promote War bonds.  

It sat outside abandoned for ten years before being installed in the Australian War Museum in Canberra in 1955.  Completely restored between 1999 and 2003 it now sits resplendent in the Anzac Hall, one of only 17 out of 7,377 Lancasters built still in existence.

There is a slight family connection to this too, for Triple P, as his grandfather worked for Avro after World War 1. We have never built a model of the Lancaster, oddly, but this may change in the future!  Triple P took this picture of the Battle of Britain memorial flight example (one of only two still flying - the other is in Canada) flying over Windsor in 2008. 
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