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Albion 3-Point Refueller

Scale: 1/48th
Manufacturer: Airfix
Ref No: A03312
Material: IM
UK Distributor: Hornby Hobbies Ltd

Albion 3-Point Refueller
Albion 3-Point Refueller Albion 3-Point Refueller Albion 3-Point Refueller Albion 3-Point Refueller
Kit Review
This is a brand-new tooling from Airfix and it joins their ever-expanding range of 1/48th RAF ground equipment. Inside their usual style box you will one clear and four-grey coloured sprues. These contains eight clear and 105 grey-coloured parts. The instructions are in the now familiar Airfix style and construction is achieved in 55 stages. Although the instruction include a colour rendition of the single painting guide, which is a waste of coloured ink I feel, they still fail to have a simple sprue layout map, which in this instance would be very useful.

This is pretty straightforward, and the bulk of the main assemblies can be made up in a two hour session. I found that it is best to build to a stage where you can then spray the overall colours, which means you can get the chassis built up quite a bit before you need to spray it black (the front mudguards will need to be masked and sprayed Light Olive though). Detail is excellent, and the fit of the main parts is good, but you will note that things like the axle to springs have no pin locators, one just sits on top of the other, plus the leaf springs don't have solid location either, so they can bow in our out. It all makes for a rather sloppy assembly and I assembled both spring and axle as soon I could to ensure it all lined up. I also found that most of the pins on things like the exhaust pipe front manifold (D05), don't match the size of hole in the mid/rear exhaust pipe (B11), and that seems common with a lot of the parts and the refuelling pipes(#A15, 16 & 17) should fit into the arms themselves (#B05, B06 and B07), but they don't as the pins are either too short, or too great a diameter?. The starting crank handle (A27) is too long at the engine side to allow you to get the front holes to line up with those in the chassis, so trim it a bit after dry-testing it. I also have to say that I found the front of the engine block and the way the fan belt was attached all a bit 'lacking', both in precision of fit and detail, as the engine block front is just that, a flat panel with a vertical join line in it.
I skipped the wheel assembly in Stage 19 and went on to build up the cab. Stages 20 to 22 can be done, as can Stages 24 and 25 without fitting the glass or steering wheel. It is then time to get the paint out and start spraying. 

Colour - Session 1
I had a look to see if there was a equivalent of Humbrol 86 Olive Green, but there is not in the Gunze-Sangyo or Tamiya ranges, so I dug out a pot of the real thing. Thinned with cellulose it was sprayed on to all the main components and then left overnight to cure. The chassis was sprayed with Tamiya NATO Black with shadows added using pure black. Once the overall colour is dry you are not actually in a position to do the camouflage yet, you have to go back to assembling

Construction cont...
I found the fit of the rear tank in stages 38 and 39 to be poor, resulting in a large gap along the length of the unit due to the 'step' nature of the seam. It may have been me, but this type of seam as opposed to the traditional butt-joint with pins does require precise tooling and moulding, and I just could not get everything to line up? I had to resort to filler, initially just a temporary bit I thought, but once dried and smoothed the seam could still be seen, so out came the superglue and accelerator! The superglue is harder than the plastic, so I carefully sanded it back trying to ensure the oval cross-section of the tank remained, without adding 'flats' at the seams. Once this was done, each seam has to be polished smooth, otherwise the sanding marks will show up in the Humbrol Light Olive, as it is quite matt. The radiator (D10) is shown painted, which I am sure it would be in wartime, but I wanted a little 'colour', so opted to do the inner core is a brass shade lightly sprayed over a black base coat, whilst the rest of the unit was sprayed with Tamiya X-33 Metallic Brown. All the feed pipework and controls in the rear of the tanker built in stages 32 to 36 were also picked out in this colour, just to break up the otherwise drab green monotone. The tread boards (A05, B01 and B14) were sprayed with a light tan (Vallejo Dark Yellow I think) colour, then a wood effect was achieved by 'dragging' a dried brush of a dark brown (Mahogany) paint over the top to create the grain. The metal bars across these tread plates were painted in the overall Light Olive and later a dark wash was used to highlight all the detail, plus some dark mud pastels affixed with MIG Productions fixer medium. Paint chipping on the rest of the (metal) areas was done with a fine brush and a dark grey (e.g. Dark Sea Grey) paint.
I was not 100% taken with black as the colour of the feed pipes on the three arms (B05, B06 and B07), so I went with a tan colour, then applied a wash of Burnt Sienna oil to give it a more organic look: this may not be 100% accurate, but it gives some interest to what would be big black pipes otherwise The arms were positioned in the stowed configuration, but the rear doors were posed open, just to show the interior detail, I also opted to have a cabin door open, to show the interior. The leather effect on the seat cushions by the way is a light tan base coat, over which apply dabs of a very dark brown paint (Mahogany) that is heavily thinned. You can use oil paint, such as Burnt Umber if you wish, but again it must be heavily thinned and dabbed on.

Colour - Session 2
With the tanker body done and things like the booms etc, these were all painted with the base Light Olive, then left to cure for a day. Once I was sure they were dry, everything was sprayed with an acrylic gloss varnish. You have to mask up the driver's side window and the windscreen, plus don't forget to bung up the other side of the cab, as I left the door off here until later (I used foam to fill such large holes when spraying). Once that is all dry you can loosely assemble the chassis and the tanker body, so that you can set about applying the outline of the camouflage Dark Green. Once these are done, take the chassis/cab and tank apart and fill in the rest of the Dark Green patches. The reason for this is that it ensures you can go right round under the tanker body and do the cab etc. without the risk of overspray elsewhere. As the Dark Green was acrylic, once it had dried the whole model was once again sprayed with an acrylic gloss varnish, ready for the decals.

The kit comes with just one decal option, a generic 'RAF' scheme with the numberplate 'RMC 2112'. The only other markings are the stencils on either side of the tank body, the mustard gas patch on the upper driver's side mudguard, the dials in the rear compartment and the main driver's instrument cluster in the cab. The overall camouflage pattern of Olive Green and Dark Green has already been mentioned, with the former colour only really available as Humbrol 86, whilst the latter you will find in most paint ranges, as it's standard WWII era RAF Dark Green as used with Dark Earth etc. on aircraft.

Final Assembly.
The wheels have the sidewalls done in Nato black and the tread areas with Dark Rubber from the Vallejo Panzer Aces range. Once these two colours dry, dark brown pastels were washed onto the sidewalls with MIG Productions fixing medium, then the threads were done with a lighter earth tone, mixing the top where they meet. Once dry, the tyres were sprayed with matt acrylic varnish, The hubs has been sprayed the overall Light Olive colour earlier, and then sprayed with the gloss varnish, so these received a Dark Wash from the MIG productions range, to highlight the recessed detail, then the excess was removed with a Cotton Bud or Microbrush. Once I was satisfied, all the hubs received a coat of satin varnish. You will find that the fit of the hubs to the tyres is such that they need no cement, they are very snug, especially if you have a little paint overspray around the edges. Both back doors had been treated in the same manner as the overall paint scheme, so these were attached with cyanoacrylate. I found the headlights moulded in clear a bit disappointing, as masking is a pain and the fixture of the main headlights (#E04) are such that they are very hit and miss. Those on the mudguards (#E03) fit snuggly into recessed though, much better. The refuelling booms press down nice and tightly into their locating holes, so again no glue was used. Make sure they are fully home though, otherwise the connecting pipes (A20 & 21) will not meet them.

A neat kit, you can add more if needs be such as wiring in the cab, or even separate foot pedals etc., but from the box this makes up into a neat little model. It is certainly one I recommend to all, because even with the fit issues I had, I don't think they will stump many, nor put them off. Well done Airfix, lets hope a Queen Mary trailer, a Coles crane and the Bedford Q-series and AEC Matador chassis are are the 'to do' list from them in the future 

Paints used;
Gunze-Sangyo Mr Aqueous Hobby Color
H330 RAF Dark Green
H331 RAF Dark Sea Grey

Humbrol enamel
86 Light Olive
Tamiya Color
X-1 Black
X-33 Metallic Brown
XF-85 NATO Black
Satin Varnish
Dark Yellow
Burnt Umber
Dark Rubber (Panzer Aces)