1/72 Italeri Short Sunderland III – Build Log

18th June 2014

I’ve managed to make a start on the Sunderland…

Have also been reading a bit about them too, and the more I read the weirder these beasts of the sea and sky seem.

It hadn’t occurred to me that once they unmoored these things they were very difficult to manoeuvre, unlike a normal aeroplane you can’t stick the brakes on and park, you’re basically at the mercy of the tide and wind which attempts to take you wherever it may meander to.  Steering during taxying is purely down to throttling the engines as there won’t be enough airflow over the rudder at low speed to have any effect, and if you do need to stop you’re only option is to weigh anchor (yes the kit includes the anchor and that’s what the length of thread is for).

As if taxying wasn’t tricky enough, apparently the Sunderland pilots favoured a rough sea to take off from. A glassy smooth sea would see you stuck to the surface unable to break free, and a swell could see you momentarily airborne in a trough only to plough nose first into a peak.

Before I get onto the modelling, another fact I read which made me grin was that on one mission they flew in Norway (I think it was), the Sunderland landed on the sea and taxied 4 miles to it’s destination! I though that was great, you land somewhere in the vicinity and drive the rest of the way 🙂


Anyway, back to business… I started with the upstairs (this aircraft has the internals of a small house). First of all the instrument panel. You get two options for this, either a full decal to go over the raised detail, or you can sand it off, use a different decal and use the supplied Photo Etch (PE).

Unless of course I’ve read it wrong and you’re supposed to apply Decal 4, then scrape if off with a knife and then apply decal 5 along with the PE 😉




But with a PE instrument panel this nice it’d be a shame not to use it.




Here’s all the parts for the front of house, upstairs where the pilots go and downstairs (where they keep the anchor).

Maybe I should start learning the correct Navy terminology, I used to get shouted at back in the day when I was a civvy working on T-Boats for saying things like “I’m going downstairs to get my adjustable spanner.”. The phrases “Blunt end” and “Pointy end”  were right out.

Overall it looks pretty good so far, not mind blowingly good but better than the junk I’ve been working on recently. The parts are a bit flashy here and there and locating tabs seem to need a little bit of persuasion with a sanding stick, but not too bad.



I go the first batch of parts painted up. Tamiya Cockpit Green (XF-71) for the green parts – then a drop of flat white added to the mix to bleach in some wear in the walkway areas.

The black parts are Tamiya Rubber Black (XF-85).



Before I go too much further I really need to do some dry fitting of the fuselage and interior so that I can work out which internals will be seen and which won’t. Some of the internals are riddled with ejector pin marks so I’ll need to know whether they will need filling.


Until next time here’s a great bit of old film of Sunderlands (and Catelinas) at work. You have to try to ignore the counter in the middle, but it’s well worth a watch!

Thanks for visiting!

I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich

3 comments on “1/72 Italeri Short Sunderland III – Build Log
  1. Alan Willoughby says:

    Hi – Interesting build log – a few comments. The “Windlass” is actually a winch, and the anchor is only used when away from normal base. Normally a chain runs from the winch through the mooring bollard out to the buoy link.

    The seat belts on the Sunderland were white, you can see them draped over the back of the 1st pilots seat

    The Mk III Sunderland didn’t have three portholes in the rear fuselage it only had two, so you don’t need to open up the closed up ones in the kit -this is a MK V but basic same fuselage as the Mk III.
    The one porthole that Italeri did forget was a tenth porthole on the lower Starboard side forward of the first porthole on the model kit.

    As always after you add paint, the lower section of the Sunderland was a “Silver” finish from the stairwell back to the inner rear wall of the bomb bay. Upperdeck from section behind wireless ops position to area just forward of the upper turret. This is the Airfix kit pianted up

    Hope that helps?



    • Richard says:

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for the detailed info and picture links. I’d never have guessed they used white seatbelts, couldn’t be more opposite than the black that Italeri call for 😉

      Cheers – Rich

  2. il kit e fantastico vorrei sapere se èdisponibile è il suo prezzo grazie

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