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Avro Shackleton WR963 Project Thread

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    Originally posted by richw_82 View Post

    Cheers! Told you we'd been busy. She looks loads better in the flesh. (HINT!)


    That was pretty much what we had heard too. The line of enquiry I'm chasing at the moment is through my contacts in the car trade, so far with little success.

    If anybody's got any info on UV resistant lacquers being used successfully, I'd be glad to hear it; otherwise I'm going to spend a lot of the coming years with a large polishing mop. I'm determined the paint's going to stay in good condition.


    Contact HMG paints (H Marcel Guests) of Collyhurst manchester they have been doing Paints,lacquers and finish's including dope since Noah was a lad and EVEN can match up WW1 Lozenge stuff. They are very Museum and preservation friendly and will help if they can.They did used toi have not sure if they still do a budget to help out worthy projects giving initial major discounts.
    Certainly a firm well worth contacting they also do Dope in 20 litre drums shrinking and none and in various colours to match what ever you want.

    Hope this helps.




      Thanks for that, I'll look them up! We've got a rather good deal with the current supplier, but if they give us trouble it may be worth looking elsewhere. HMG might know about what lacquer would be of use.

      The dope and thinners isn't a problem, as it and the ceconite are coming from LAS Aero, who so far have been top notch: to the point they rang me to apologise for something that was going to be a day late; when I wasn't expecting it that week!




        Just playing catch-up here - don't use UV varnishes!!

        They're not as good as it says on the tin! Very negative experiences on the Buccaneer and Lightning at NAM - the Lightning coating still has to be addressed!!
        Find out what's happening at
        Please help move Chinook ZA717 to Newark Air Museum


          Cheers for that! We'll stay away from them then. We'll just have to make sure she stays cleaned and polished.


            Saw this link online on how to report dodgy items on eBay, if it helps with regard to the MR.1 / T.4 Shack stuff from VP293's cockpit.

            Some naughty boy had been selling stuff stolen from St.Athan....

            Hope this helps,
            "I've never killed a man, but I've read many obituaries with a great deal of satisfaction" - Mark Twain


              Hi all,

              Another wet and wild Saturday working on the Shackleton! We went down there armed with paint and other supplies intending to cover a good portion of the upper surface with Medium Sea Grey... unfortunately this was not to be!

              Almost every time we got the kit out to get on with things the heavens would open and get everything wet. So we concentrated on other jobs.

              Here's the weather from the pilots seat. I was chasing water leaks from the ditching hatches, which I've still not managed to stop. I will have her leak free! I don't care how long it takes me.

              Here's a shot we took in a brief bit of sunlight. There's a little mound in the foreground... that is the last resting place of a Lockheed Constellation.

              Our chairman, John Cubberley has been taking away various engine cowling panels to spray white. He's doing a cracking job, and he keeps bringing a steady supply of them back for us to fit. Some new panels have been found; and apparently a couple of them were already white!

              Here's number four, almost fully dressed in its new colour. We just have to do the shutter doors, and the rear spinner.

              You can also see the new wood deicing strips in progress, thanks to our carpenter, Vic Marriot. He was showing me how they taper in three different dimensions, making them a bit of a pain to do... but he seems to make it look really easy.

              This shot:

     one for the anoraks. It's not just a gratuitous shot of the serial number. any guesses what we're looking at?

              I've had a few questions about the sealing strips so here's a bit further explanation and pictures.

              The green colour is a 3" wide ceconite (man made fibre) tape. It has pinked edges to stop it fraying and is sealed using thinned nitrate dope... that is what gives it the green colour. A layer of dope is painted onto the aircarft, a length of tape is then placed on top. More dope is then painted onto the tape using a stiff brush, soaking it through.

              As it dries, it shrinks slightly, tightening up over slight imperfections, and becoming watertight. The grey colour is a coat of primer we put over the lot to help the paint stick.

              We know where to put the tapes, by using this:

              Its more or less the equivalent of a Haynes manual fro a Shackleton. all the information you could ever want and more. It makes excellent bedtime reading too... trying to work out the CofG tables will make you sleep even if you dan't want to!

              We tried our best to get on with things, but we only managed to get a few more bits of sealing done on the tail.

              The current paint is steadily getting worse, so we definitely did the right thing starting a repaint. Under the edges of the fins, we found white paint! It's also cropped up in some other hard to reach locations - so she HAS been white before!

              But the rain kept coming down. That's why some of us were taking cover inside.

              At least, that's what he said he was doing...

              We had a surprising number of people visit us too... so if you feel like saying hello one Saturday, don't be put off by the scaffolding and the generator.

              That's all folks... see you next week!




                Excellent work, Rich. I'm sure the old boy was just having two minutes!!!
                Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                  He can't afford two minutes!! He can't claim he's one of the older members, and needs his rest on this project either.

                  When I took that picture, Dad was getting really frustrated as it was too wet to work and rumbling with thunder outside. We had nearly an inch deep water around the aircraft. and there were flash floods on the way home.

                  Still, if we get a bit of sun next week, we'll get some more paint on her.




                    If you need a new ditching hatch give Aeroventure a ring. I sold one (refurbished with tags) to somebody there. He might sell or trade.




                      Thanks for the pointer on where to find one, but latest orders from the boss are seal them up (roof ones, not wing exits.) Apparently there's no plan to put her down on water any time soon, so they won't be needed.

                      Unless it keeps raining..




                        In order not to detract from the excellent work being done on WR963, and as VP293 now has its own thread, I have binned a lot of the references to the theft of parts from the latter. Please feel free to continue debate on VP293 in its own thread.

                        Bruce (Moderator)


                          Sat 21st... today saw the start of the paint going on!

                          I'd already arranged that if the weather was too bad we weren't going to go - we've had more than a few false starts at trying to get the painting started. However, despite weather reports, looking out the window at 7am, it seemed as if it was going to hold for long enough.

                          Rounding up our little team (six people in total) we headed for Coventry with rollers brushes, gloves and other implements.

                          First thing to do was get those annoying ditching hatches sealed! New seconite was put on those by the two Air Cadets (Cadet Cpl Matt Weston, and Cadet Sgt Sam Rouse) who have decided against adversity to continue helping our group. These two lads are getting no real backing from their squadron. Due to the staff there being unwilling to do the necessary Health and Safety risk assessments, the lads have decided to come to work out of their own valuable spare time whenever they can. They have a real love for WR963 now.

                          So busy:

                          The guy with the roller on the wing is Dave Woods (my Dad). There is quite a bit of BS637 Medium Sea Grey going on. About 700 square foot worth by our reckoning...

                          We all had a go at some point, even me:

                          Resulting in happy faces! I wish I could show you more, but the camera started acting up. I'll get some better pictures off the cherry picker next weekend.

                          See the difference between old and new? Very nice. Other things happening around the aeroplane are more white cowling panels. finding the right ones for the right places is quite fun. Despite them all being supposedly the same shape on each engine, the years have made them not.

                          As a result the top bonnet had to come off number four again, and some new bits have gone on no's 2 and 3.

                          No 1 is being left alone, as the engineers are cracking on with the pre-oiling system... I'll try and get an update on it in the next few days for you all.

                          The anti glare panel got some attention too. Theres always a puddle of water just in front of the windscreen which makes it a pain to clean and paint, also it leaks in slightly This is another of the things that nneed tracing. We're slowing the water ingress bit by bit.

                          I like the last shot as you can really see the Lancaster lineage!

                          Our carpenter, Vic, has nearly finished the de-icers, and he's done it in record quick time. Work on the tailplane continues, we're hoping to get some white on the fins and rudders in the next few weeks. Rob Rouse was the man doing the work down here, doing a cracking job, despite having to endure constant jibes from the rest of us about riding on a big tail...

                          His hard work today meant we didn't have to stop, and could move straight on to painting the upper surfaces of the tail. We have agreed to stop teasing him, in exchange for him working even faster, and stopping singing Marty Robbins "El Paso" all day.

                          As is usual we had a constant stream of visitors, including a gent from St Mawgan, and a gent from Belgium on a UK tour of aviation museums (blue_2, he said he should be heading to Elvington via East Kirkby tomorrow.). The Belgian guy was happy as they come, as he got to sit in the pilots seat!

                          Visitors will also notice we have a nice little info board courtesy of AIRBASE.

                          Stay tuned for more updates next week...




                          Graffiti found in '963.

                          Done during service life (it's been painted round once, and is well hidden.), but I can't really post it. It would break rules. Sorry...

                          However... should you want to... linky thing is same as the other photos, but reference DSCF1089.
                          Last edited by richw_82; 22nd August 2010, 21:05.


                            Any updates Gents please?



                              How the Hell did I miss this update? Shame on me. Good work guys
                              Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                                Hi all,

                                Sorry for the lack of updates in the last week or so, I've been suffering computer troubles. While work computers let me be on this forum, I can't get to any of my photo's. If the gremlins let me I'll put up a couple of shots when I get home.

                                So, from the last two weeks...

                                Visitors to AIRBASE will immediately notice that the tailfins on the Shackleton are now white... hopefully in the next few weeks the fuselage will take on the same colour! Working on the fins uncovered the old "63" she used to carry during her 8 Sqn career. It's likely they won't see daylight for a good few years now, so they were photographed, as has any other markings we find. It's all part of the history of '963 and must be recorded!

                                For those of you interested in details, we have found a single shot of WR963 carrying the white colours, and her "B - M" 224 sqn colours, dated September 1957! So the new scheme should be fairly accurate, right down to the squadron crest carried above each fin flash.

                                The painting's continuing, we're learning a lot as we go. No 4 engine is now fully clothed in white, with the nacelle behind also in that colour. We're having to leave various panels off due to the installation of the pumps. The other engines have loads of panels waiting to go on too, all fresh in white. We're unable to do the undersides of the wings yet as there's still a lot of cleaning, degreasing, and freeing off of various access panels. It's not too much of a problem as you tend to have to work from the top down anyway, to minimise mess on what you've already painted.

                                Other from the constant painting (which is getting as repetitive as, well... watching paint dry really!) The pipework has been measured up, and the pumps are ready to go on, which is good news, and should eradicate the pre-oiling issues we had.

                                One task that should be happening before long is the build of the propellors for No 2, so I hope to get lots of photos of that for on here. I helped unload the tools for the task, along with various other heavy bits of kit this Saturday. It's something I'm looking forward to, as I've seen it done, but never had a crack at it (if I DO get a chance it will be under expert guidance and supervision.)

                                Last but not least, oour air bottles have been sent of for testing and checking. That should mean we can have the pneumatics operating properly; which is nice as they supply compressed air to things like the brakes!


                                Various people including a gent from BAe Woodford, another from Rolls Royce who used to work on the MR3 Viper installation, another gent who designs Flight Sim colour schemes, and one remarkable old man, who started a career in the RAF on Halifaxes, moving on to Lancasters and then Lincolns. Painting stopped for a little while as we became his audience... it saddened me that he couldn't make it over the spars, but his determination was impressive in that he had managed to get into the aircraft, just not all the way up front.

                                Also nice to finally meet was RPSmith from on here!

                                I think we're going to need a guestbook onboard '963 before long.



                                (photos as and when I can get them up)


                                  rich - it was good to meet you (and see Ben again) a couple of Saturdays ago. Sorry I didn't get to look inside her (would've felt a bit guilty about 'slacking' when supposed to be helping at Airbase) but will get in one of these weeks.

                                  I did have a bit of a wander outside and was intruiged by the two chaps working on replacing the wooden strips on the starboard wing leading edge. I think at the root there are four strips reducing down to one at the tip. What are they for - something to do with de-icing???

                                  Roger Smith.
                                  A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?



                                    No apology is needed just because you didn't have time - you had people to look after! An idea might be to pop on over just as you arrive or just before you leave one day, that way you aren't really slacking off. We're always there from around 10am.

                                    You are correct in that the wooden strips are the de-icer strips. They start out at four (or five - I can't remember offhand) and finish as one near the tip, and theres another little section between the two engines. They are held into a sintered metal backplate, with self tapping screws. They are tapered in all three dimensions, and caused our carpenter, Vic, a number of headaches! Originally he tried repairing the ones that were in, but replacement has proved to be the better option.

                                    From memory, the way they are meant to work, is de-icing fluid (alcohol based) is pumped behind them, soaking through the wood and from there over the leading edge of the wing. There's also similar bits on the tail, which are going to need looking at. I'll have to look at the relevant AP tonight now you've set me off!


                                    Last edited by richw_82; 6th September 2010, 13:29.


                                      As promised, some photos. The gremlins have let me play computers for a bit, so here goes!

                                      This is the progress on the starboard wing. After all the taping sealing and prep, it looks rather good don't you think? There's a few of us that are going to be watching for anybody scuffing the paint by walking about on there!

                                      We had the rear of the engine nacelle off for painting. It's not often you see it "in the nude" so we just had to get a picture! It's amazing to think in the MR3 they managed to stuff a Rolls Royce Viper in there too..

                                      This was the fin after taking the sanding pads to it. As well as the 63, various other slinging marks were also found and assembly stencils.

                                      The next two shots are of the white going on the fins. We were all holding our breath as it was the first large area done, and by roller rather than spray, but it went on great.

                                      In this shot you can see the strips Roger Smith mentioned, along the leading edge. The props look rather good now they're painted, and will have their yellow tips next week. The rear spinner and radiator shutters got painted too, but the battery failed on the camera before we could get the shot. All four engine cowlings have white bits on now, they're really progressing well.

                                      And the proof... WR963 in 1957, featured in the excellent book "Avro Shackleton: Avros Maritime Heavyweight by Chris Ashworth". This is the scheme we're going for. From the bits we've done, and the few good colour photos, she'll look stunning.




                                        bloody hell rich, she really did carry a mid upper! tbh i never really believed john there :P


                                          From memory (as I'm at work) Ben, I'm pretty sure all 1s & 2s were built with mid upper turrets, and many retained them into the all over dark sea grey scheme era. they seemed to have been replaced during the first phase update. Hopefully Mo or P.Mills will have the info.
                                          I thought people had seen that pic before being in the most authoritative Shackleton publication there is, or I would have flagged it up!
                                          I know where there is a turret but not for release unfortunately.