AP-3C Orion  A9 Series

LS (A731) 1/144 Lockheed AP-3C Orion, 10 SQN RAAF Edinburgh circa 2005

By Alfred Stolfa


Serial No

A9 Series – Typical of RAAF AP-3C Orion fleet (circa 2005)

A/C type

Lockheed AP-3C Orion 

Based at

10 SQN, Royal Australian Air Force, RAAF Edinburgh


FS26375 overall. External markings (decals) are a close match to FS25237


1/144 LS (A731) Lockheed P-3C Orion kit (also Arii & Micro Ace boxings)
Scratchbuilt details from styrene and polyurethane resin castings

Base from lacquered wood, acrylic rod & felt


Custom inkjet printed decals


Personal library, including workfiles; www.airliners.net; modelling and former work colleagues



This is my build of a RAAF AP-3C Orion from the LS kit of the P‑3C Orion in 1/144 scale.  It represents a standard 10 SQN line aircraft as configured around the 2005 period. This was built in 2005 as a display model for a former AP-3C aircrew member.

The build

Based on the customer’s requirement, I elected to focus on the external details, which make the RAAF AP-3C Orion visually distinct (up-close) from other nations’ similarly employed P-3C Orions. The aircraft’s configuration incorporates the obvious external features which reflect the post PA5140 ESM Upgrade, PA5276 Sea Sentinel Upgrade and Aircraft Survivability Equipment configurations.

As the model was to be mounted on a base, the mounting location in the lower wing centre section was prepared before the fuselage halves were mated with the lower wing.

In assembling the kit parts, I found that the engine nacelles (consisting of three parts) required a fair bit of filing/sanding to achieve a reasonably neat form when assembled and mated to the wing. I ended up taking a mould of them to save me the effort on possible future builds of this kit. Otherwise, assembly of the kit went reasonably well.

It came time to start scratch building and installing the various external protuberances. The key to such a task is to have studied your photographic references (or other more authoritative data if you have access to it) and to produce sketches against which you can monitor the progress of your scratch built items. I did this for the wingtips, the various blade antennas, radomes, etc. Most of these details were made from styrene sheet or large diameter sprue, while I created masters for the wingtips, which were subsequently cast in resin.


Painting and decaling

After much filling, fettling and sanding, I had something that I was reasonably happy with, it was time for undercoat and paint. Model Master enamels were used, with a satin finish being achieved (after decal application) using a brew of Testors Dullcote and Glosscote.

Speaking of decals, the roundels and key external markings were provided by a fellow modeller (nice work Ray). These were colour inkjet printed onto decal paper. I sealed them before application. I produced the 10 SQN chimera silhouette (vertical fin marking) myself using similar methods.

Finishing touches were applied to the kit by installing the HF antennas using E-Z Line elastic thread.

The base

I had been working on the mounting base in parallel. I purchased the finished lacquered base from the local trophy shop. I designed the artwork for the plaque using a reasonably high resolution copy of the 10 SQN crest, and added the titles myself, composing it in MS Word. Printed on gloss photo paper on my colour inkjet printer and sealed, it looked a treat.


What was the biggest treat for me was when it was handed over to the recipient. It was great to see Michael’s response of pleasure. I just hope he looks after it, alongside the models of the other aircraft he’s flown during his RAAF career.

Acknowledgements to Ray Seppala for providing me with some of the essential decals in the appropriate scale, Jason O’Toole for a CD of images of the aircraft, and one particular work colleague (Abe) who confirmed those rusty bits of my memory from the days when we worked together on PA5140.