IPMS Gent modelbouwclub

Handley-Page 0/400

KitHandley-Page 0/400
ManufacturerAirfix
Scale1/72
TypeInjection moulded
PaintHumbrol
AccessoriesAirwaves, Reheat Models, scratch
Documentation



Scale Models International Mei 1984.
Airfix Magazine October 1984.
Scale Aviation Modeller International (SAMI) Mei 2005.
Airplane Vol 12 nr 134.

History

As soon as WW1 changed into a trench war, it became clear that England would need a long distance bomber capable of carrying a heavy load of bombs over a long distance. Strange enough, this demand came from the Royal Navy who was the first to see its use and demand its development. The growing U-boat threat and the fact that U-boat hangars were situated on German territory will have been a major source of worry and a reason for the demand
Handley-Page developed the 0/100 to be followed by the 0/400, a twin engine aircraft capable of transporting a big load of bombs on the inside of its body or one massive bomb on the outside. In 1918, the US Air Force placed a big order for more than 600 aircraft of this type but the end of the war saw this order cancelled for the major part. Some survivors were rebuild as civilian liners but unfortunately not one of these military or civilian types has survived the age of time.

the kit

Handley-Page 0/400 I think this kit was first released around 1968 and made its first appearance in the Airfix catalogue. The kit I bought was re-issued in the ’80s having a new box-art but with nothing changed to the contents or the decals.
All parts are moulded in dark green plastic, easy to work with but sometimes very fragile. br /> The construction plan provides a rigging scheme for both main wings, not for the tail section. Wings are provided in the form of an upper and lower wing half with pre-drilled holes to pass the rigging.
A major black point to this kit is the massive amount of ejector marks that can be found everywhere, especially on the inner hull parts. I had always wondered why I had never seen these kits at events, in fact I think I ever only saw one of them but the kit provided me the answer to that question during its construction.

Stage 1: Wing construction.

Each wing comes in 2 parts, an upper and lower part. After reading the different articles on the building of this model in the above-mentioned magazines, it became clear that sanding these wings is an absolute must. Airfix tried to represent the wing ribs but everybody who has ever seen a fabric-covered wing knows that this fabric is so stretched it is hard and flat.
And here is the first reason for not seeing these kits that often: the sanding. It’s almost necessary to sand the complete upper side of the wings, they should almost be flat.
leaving a little bit of the wing structure so that it still looked like it was there; its good for the eye of the believer.

I also read that the main wings could be folded backwards to save place when the aircraft was stored or needed repairs. Wanting to represent this meant that parts of each upper and lower wing, where they join, had to be cut away so that they could be replaced by a canvas look-alike in a later stage. Make sure that all cut away parts are in the same angle on each wing.

The main wing supports also need to be checked out because they too show ejector marks.
Once finished we can start gluing the upper part of the lower wing, the wing supports and the lower part of the upper wing together. Once dry, work can start on drilling new holes for a part of the rigging that has been forgotten by the manufacturer, the X between the main wing supports standing behind each other.
This wing part will than receive its rigging

Rigging

The rigging plan is very simple and very easy to do. I used nylon fishing wire that has the advantage of being stretched very easily and to have a high breaking resistance. Each time a piece of wire crosses a part of the wing, it is fixed with a piece of Tamiya tape and superglue. Once the main rigging done, the same procedure is followed with the X’s between the wing supports.

Stage 2: Cabin floor plate and windows

Handley-Page 0/400This stage looks very easy but the reality is different. The inner sides of both hull sides show a lot of ejection marks and they all need to be cut or sanded away, an other time consuming work. I painted the canvas sides of the interior Clear Doped Linen and used a dark colour wood for the supports. The reproduced internal strengthening cables are painted gunmetal.
The wooden floor plate that will serve as base for cockpit and nose needs some adjusting. The bomb aimer receives a separate hatch and some flat pieces must be added on the bottom. I used Tamiya tape and painted it in the same dark wood colour. The windows are very thick, were discarded and replaced by clear plastic sheet.

Stage 3: Cockpit.

Some extra detail is highly appreciated. The first thing to do is to add a second seat to the cockpit. The bomb aimer took his seat next to the pilot on take-off and landing, did his job during flight and also acted as nose gunner when needed.
The pilot’s seat is reduced in size so that a second one made scratch or found in the spares box can be added next and a bit lower to it; both receive seat belts. The right hand side of the cockpit receives a few cables and a handle found in an Airwaves WW1 set. The dashboard got bezels from Reheat Models.
A small door between cockpit and gun position is also added.

Stage 4: Fuel tanks and bomb bay.

Two fuel tanks are provided and these will not be seen after positioning but they are very important regarding the strength of the kit. The hull is formed of for flat plates and not of two body halves as on other aircraft models. These fuel tanks do not only provide the correct width of the body, they provide it strength.
A bomb rack is fitted beneath these fuel tanks and eight bombs are provided in the kit. You can position them hanging from the rack unless you want to build the other version with the spectacular looking big bomb. This bomb was slung underneath the body of the aircraft but its tail and connecting points are not correct. The bomb rack is painted in a dark wood colour, bombs in gunmetal.

Stage 5: Rear gunner's position

No problems in its construction, painted in dark wood colour.

Stage 6: Assembling the hull

I decommissioned the crew temporarily and hope to use it later.
The construction plan suggests fixing the bottom plates to the right body side before putting the other sides together. I tried it but was not pleased with the result and so I glued the left side to the fuel tanks already mounted on the right side. That way, the exact body width was kept and the floor plates were supported both sides. The nose demands a little attention, a bit filling and some sanding. It was left to dry overnight before the top body plate was fixed. Once done the hull is easily inspected and adjusted where needed.

Stage 7: Lower tail plane

Take care to ensure the tail plane is mounted horizontal. A piece of clear plastic representing the rear positioning lights has to be mounted in the tail. I left it behind and will fix it later

Stage 8: Tail.

Handley-Page 0/400Once again a lot of cleaning up to be done on the struts and do take the time to let it all dry. We start with piece 72 fixed in the centre of the tail. Left and right from this piece are mounted struts 73 to 76, in a nice vertical position. Both ends of the tail plane receive struts 77 and 78 as well as the outer rudders 79 and 80. I left it to dry overnight before fixing the upper tail plane.
The construction plan does not mention any form of rigging at the tail but it is an absolute must. First to form are two X’s between the small struts 73 – 74 and 75 – 76 in length way of the aircraft. Next couple of X’s are starting at the top and bottom of the outer struts 77 and 78 to the top of 73 and 75 but not to their base; they run into the lower tail plane just in front of the struts.
The same procedure is done departing from the rudders 79 and 80 to struts 74 and 76. The ailerons on the upper tail plane receive a few fixing points for cables running from the tail plane to the ailerons and a cable running between the ailerons on upper and lower tail plane. Sounds complicated, is not simple and time consuming but fairly logical on biplanes.

Stage 9: Central wing parts

This starts with the construction of the cockpit protection, both wind generators, handrails and underside hatch. Al these parts will be fixed once the central wing parts are mounted. The lower central wing part consists of one part including the bomb bay opening and the lower wings. It is extremely important to position this part in a correct way because the correct alignment of the wings will depend on it. Take care to have the bombs hanging in the bomb bay openings. I only needed a small adjustment to be done.

The upper wing parts have pre-drilled holes so that rigging can be put through it. The nylon wire is fixed the same way as on the wings, with Tamiya tape and superglue. Once done, they can be positioned and adjusted so that they make a nice unit with the hull. When all this was done, the other parts except for the cockpit protection, could be mounted.

Stage 10: Engines.

Handley-Page 0/400Two rules to follow: clean up and take time to let dry. Two engine halves and two rear pieces, one of them provided with what looks like cooling openings, form each engine. The radiator needs good cleaning and adjusting. I opted not to fix the propellers and left away parts 99 and 100. Both engines receive exhaust pipes both sides, drilled at the end and painted rust

The engines are “floating” between the wings; they do not make part of a wing. Each engine received five supports connecting it to the lower wing (2), hull (2) and upper wing. The upper wing connection is provided with some kind of horizontal ladder hanging above the engine. This acted as a kind of platform for the mechanics and will later receive separate rigging. Again not an easy task but it is advised not to hurry and to painting the engines before fixing them to the wings.

Stage 11: Fixing the engines.

Hull and lower wing have location holes in which the supports can be fixed. Those on the lower wing are a bit tricky because they are located just at the wing’s edge. The most rear support on each wing needs also to share its location with the last wing support. Leave to dry overnight before continuing
Two main wing supports in a reversed V-shape are mounted on top of the hull. They receive rigging (not shown on the plan) and a scratch build horizontal piece connecting both legs. The front reversed V also receives fuel lines made from fine metal wire

Stage 12: Fixing central wing parts.

When dry, the lower part of the central wing can be glued onto the struts on the hull and those above the engine and behind of it. Take care of the correct alignment and leave to dry. Do not fix the rigging until the unit has dried and has its correct alignment because, when stretching the wires, you risk twisting the lower wing part so that it does not keep its alignment. Wiring is secured according the same principle of Tamiya tape and superglue (cyanoacrylate) so that the wires are fixed stretched. When good, the upper part can be cemented and adjusted.

Stage 13: Fixing the wings to the body.

I opted to spray paint both wings and the hull assembly before starting to fix the main wings. That way, I could handle smaller parts when spraying. On the other hand, I knew from before that repainting the wing joins would be necessary.

Fitting both wings did not bring many problems except for a few small adjustments but the main thing to look for is that both wing ends must be fixed in an up going angle; they can not stay horizontal. Once dry, it became time to replace the wing parts that had been cut in stage 1. I drilled two small holes in each cutout triangle at the wing join and inserted two pieces of metal wire, one facing left the other facing right. Next, I cut triangular pieces out of a paper napkin and glued them onto the wing and the metal wire using diluted white glue. When satisfied with the result, I painted it the same colour as the rest.

Stage 14: Landing gear.

Be careful when cutting these pieces from the sprue. The plan does not show clearly that the main supports have a C shape at the bottom. When both supports are joined together you get an O shape in which parts 143 or 148 must be fixed. Tyres are painted dark grey, the landing gear itself is painted RFC Green. The tailskid can be inserted on a trolley, also provided in the kit.

Stage 15: Machine guns

I left these behind until the finishing touch.

Stage 16: Trolley.

Cleaning up is necessary. Tyres in dark grey, the complete trolley in RFC Green with a light wash. Take care not to cement the skid support.

Painting

Rather simple, only one colour, RFC Green, a colour that has been discarded from the Humbrol range. I was lucky enough getting my hands on the last ones available in my local hobby shop. RFC Green is a khaki colour with a brown tint in the green.Tyres are painted dark grey and the cockpit protection in leather. Plans and pictures show different ways to paint the propellers, some texts even stating that these were partially canvas covered. I stayed with wood brown and painted them entirely that colour with steel propeller disks. Machine guns in gunmetal.

Decals

Only two options are provided in the kit; one wartime and one post war. I opted for the WW1 version with the two-tone cockades. The aircraft represented in the various articles showed some shining from the decal film. I first prepared the surfaces with a coat of gloss varnish, than cut them out as much as possible and fixed them using Humbrol decal Cote 1 & 2. Once dry, they were sealed with a coat of matt varnish.

Eindafwerking - Finishing Touch

Handley-Page 0/400First of all: control, repair and (re) positioning of the rigging where needed. Next is the construction of balances on the under and upper sides of the big upper wing flaps. These balances are not provided in the kit; they are made from Evergreen profiles and are connected with wing and flap using fine copper wire. These big balances are often neglected or forgotten and they are hardly seen or observed in pictures of this aircraft but they do give it a special look.

Engines receive a light dry-brush at vents and radiator. I mentioned in stage 10 that each engine had some kind of working platform above it. This platform was secured by cables. I added two cables using fine copper wire running from each side of the platform to the top of the support running from the engine to the wing. The front of these platform are secured by a much more complicated construction. It apparently consisted of a construction made from springs to prevent the platform being lifted by the airflow when in flight. Each engine receives, right under the end of each platform, two small lengths of fine copper wire. They may not be longer than half the height between engine cover and platform. On top of these small upright standing wires comes a small horizontal wire as wide as the platform. In the middle of this horizontal piece comes another small piece of wire standing upright in the middle and joining the platform. Each of these upright standing pieces of wire probably was a spring. I know it sound very complicated and it is not an easy job regarding the small size of the pieces and the use of superglue but the result may be seen.

A pitot tube finds its place on the bottom of the nose; it is drilled and receives some wiring. The bomb aimers hatch is mounted as well as the armament. I dare to say that those Lewis guns are the best items the kit has to offer, they are very fine and fragile and there is almost no cleaning-up needed. The forward gun post receives a gun ring that can be refined. The two front machine guns are mounted side by side and connected at the barrels with a piece of copper wire.

Next I added the cockpit protection and the two windscreens. Two small pieces of sprue representing the fuel gauges are glued on top of the upper wing, in the middle and parallel to each other. The complete aircraft is than ready to receive a coat of matt varnish.

In conclusion

This HP certainly is not an easy kit to build unless the fact that the rigging of the main wings can be described as rather easy; I would only recommend it to modellers with experience in rigging, building and detailing WW1 biplane models.
The kit shows its age and demands quite some attention, sanding and time to dry but I think the result is quite worth it. I had the luck of collecting some articles on the build of this kit through the years and that has been the reason why I tried to add that little bit more but I am convinced that other modellers wanting to spend more time in the construction can obtain an even better result.
I also could not find much documentation on this aircraft but here I must admit I do not posses the Cross and Cockades book. I however did posses an open drawing on this aircraft but this could not solve some problems, amongst them the exact location of the control cables running from the main body to (somewhere) on the tail. This is the reason why I left them behind on my model but, as soon as their exact location will be found, I will add them.

The HP 0/400 is an eye catcher and this not only by its size comparison with a WW1 fighter. A mirror placed under the aircraft shows the bomb bay and the bombs. I am glad I finally dared to build this aircraft and I do hope that it will attract many modellers and photographers when showed on the club stand.

Keep ‘m building

Erwin Bovyn
IPMS Gent


 

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