Revell’s Shackleton MR.3 kit comes on 12 injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 178 parts. Another 22 clear parts come on two sprues. The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 72 steps. Markings for two airplanes are included:
- Shackleton MR.3 Phase 2, No.206 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Kinloss, Scotland, 1965
- Shackleton MR.3 Phase 3, No.42 Squadron, Royal Air Force, St. Mawgan, Cornwall, 1970
Strengths: The Shackleton has long been a neglected subject. Revell’s principle competition is the new tool 1:72 scale Airfix kit. That kit is very well done (and see our review of the Airfix Shackleton AEW.2 kit HERE) but I think there may be even more to like with the Revell kit.
The quality of the Revell kit is overall quite high. The molding looks great, and here’s one area where this Shackleton beats out the Airfix kit: exterior surface detail. The Airfix kit has fairly large (wide for the scale) recessed panel lines and no rivet detail to speak of. The Revell kit has gorgeous and very rich surface details, with panel lines that are more appropriately narrow and in-scale. The Revell kit also has eye-watering rivet/fastener detail. Also, I test fit the wings and fuselage and found a virtually airtight fit. There are also two main wing spars that extend out from the mid-fuselage and will help ensure proper wing alignment and a strong support for the large wings themselves.
Construction options include positionable flaps, ailerons, elevators, and rudders. Bomb bay doors can be open or closed, and the aft crew door can be opened or closed. Parts for the standard engines of the Viper powerplant-equipped MR.3 Phase 3 are provided, and optional parts are provided for open or closed engine cowling doors.
The Revell Shackleton cockpit is overall really nicely done for 1:72 scale, and the instrument panel may be painted or is represented by an optional decal. The midsection interior is absent, and the interior picks up with the aft fuselage station. Even though very little of that interior will be visible in the completed model, it is rather well done as injection molded parts.
Turning back to the exterior, the props, engines, and engine cowlings look good, and the main gear wells, main gear, and bomb bays are very well done. The major details are all there, and the builder certainly can add any plumbing and wiring if they wish. The kit also supplies parts to replicate the veritable farm of antennas that can be found from nose to tail.
The two markings options are similar. The Shackleton never carried particularly high-visibility colors, and both markings options feature an overall dark sea gray scheme with a white upper fuselage. The first markings option is however the most colorful, and the decals provide some color to contrast with that canvass, from roundels to underwing ID numbers and the very complete and colorful airframe stencils/walkway markings. The second option is more subdued. The decals themselves look to have been printed by Zanchetti and are about perfectly printed. The carrier film is quite thin.
Weaknesses: I cannot offer any substantive critiques of this kit. Only a few minor observations come to mind. Crew seats have belts represented by decals (reflecting my own personal bias on belts, decals are never good for the task). One look at the completed model suggests to me that it could be a tail-sitter, but the instructions do not seem to suggest adding weight to the nose. Adding some weight could be a good idea. A little ordnance for the bomb bay could have added a nice touch, but no weapons are included in the kit. Also, keep an eye out for some ejection pin markings on the fuselage and gear well interiors.
Perhaps my biggest gripe is the box. Revell has long had an affinity for these thin-walled, side-opening boxes. By virtue of their design, they are mechanically weak. The shipping box took at least one bad hit while on its way to me, and the Shackleton kit box was both crushed and torn on the sides. Fortunately, the plastic was fine, and the decal sheet was only badly bent. Still, a different type of box could have prevented this kind of crush damage.