Airfix 1/48 Albion 3-Point Fueller Build Review
By Mark Nickelson
|Date of Review||September 2019||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Subject||Albion 3-Point Fueller||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||3312||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very useful subject, fine detail throughout, all-styrene assembly||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$17.95|
There can never be too many flightline support vehicles in 1/48. There could, but there never will be. This truck was a must for the RAF section of my collection, and I’m delighted to have it. Midway through the build, I began to get the sense it might be a grand, imposing model once it was all assembled.
The Albion isn’t grand, but it oozes atmosphere and period charm, and certainly earns its place in the flightline diorama context.
This truck is a stout, ruggedly made chassis and a capacious cabin, carrying a little 350-gal. tank of avgas. It looks modest, with the improbable overhead booms that could supposedly service three airplanes at once. If an Albion, a full one, fuelled four early Spitfires, it would be time to refill the truck. Early Spitfires held 85 gallons of gas. A thirsty Lancaster would require five or six of these trucks before it was satisfied.
The molded hose sections festooned along the booms looked like trouble on the sprue, but they worked out. I attached the booms only temporarily, so they can be repositioned in a diorama someday if needed. For a boom assembly deployed and fueling an airplane, some other material will be needed to represent the hose.
The rest of the assembly posed no interesting problems, despite Airfix’s penchant for designing kits with a surfeit of pieces. As model projects go, this one was in a class with other serious models from sophisticated kits, not a quickie, and not a junior modeler’s project.
The only tricky part of this project, for me, was the intermediate stage when the main painting occurred. The chassis was fully assembled, including engine and radiator, but not bonnet, wheels, tank and pump assembly, or cab. The cab was not yet assembled at all.
So masking was the order of the day, and it demanded forethought and focus. Some modelers are advocating early-stage painting in their Facebook postings these days. For most projects, they’ll never convert me.
There were two main reasons for painting at this stage: a) I wanted external paint on the cab before installing the windshields, and b) I wanted to shoot paint into some places where it probably wouldn’t go after further assembly. This is where the thinking and planning came in.
The camouflage swatches would follow final assembly, and then there would be gloss coat, decals, dull coat, and some final retouching.
This truck, like most truck models, would lend itself to modification by adding a different work bed, whether a van/ambulance, a dropside or flatbed lorry, or even, say, a wrecker. With the right passions and skills, a modeler could fabricate a canvas canopy over the bed. I’m thinking wire bows and doped tissue. Somebody take this as a dare.