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Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C

Scale: 1/72nd
Manufacturer: Airfix
Ref No: A06021
Material: IM

Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C
Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C
Kit Review
I will admit from the start that I am not a 1/72nd scale modeller, I am at an age now where the eyesight has limited what I can do and the smaller scales are, by and large, verboten to me! That said, I enjoyed building the new-tooled Harrier series in 1/72nd scale from Airfix and when Xtradecals did a sheet with a Boscombe Down airframe on it, it was the incentive I needed.

This is a brand-new tooling and follows the new Airfix ethos of making the kit in much the same manner as the real thing was constructed. The interior is nicely detailed and in this scale you really only need paint and the supplied decals for the side consoles and instrument panels really, Those with steadier hands and better eyesight (e.g. under say 45), may want to go further and there are already good upgrade sets for the interior of this kit. I found everything fitted well and the separate nose section was built up pretty quickly. You will have to add some weight to the nose, but I found there was enough room there to get the specified 15g. From stage 14 you have to decide if you want the wings extended or folded, I went with the former. The way in which the wheel wells are created with the exhausts running through them is very good and everything fitted, so far! The joint inside the two latter sections of the exhausts (C1 & C2) is a bit annoying, but inevitable unless you want the costs of seriously expensive tooling to do it as one piece. I got all the way to stage 30, fitting the outer upper wing panel, before the fit issues arose. First of all the upper wing halves (A11 & A12) do not fit that well, the gaps along the leading edge regions are not snug with the lower section moulded with the fuselage. The clear tips are an inspired idea, but masking off the tiny lights, come on! Stages 34 and 36 were the first real stumbling block, as whilst on one side the exhausts lined up perfectly, the other side was nowhere near it. The same happened with intakes in stages 38 and 39. I also found the fit of the upper vertical fin section (E20) in stage 41 and the front and rear caps (E1/E2 & E13) in stage 42 and 43 were vague to say the least, with a prominent gap all around the underside of the tailplane (A17). I went with the tail airbrake being closed, but again found the overall fit was less than perfect, you could line up one side, then the other would be below the level of the corresponding fuselage skin? By this stage I was a little downhearted, so maybe that is why I did not take heed of the Xtradecals instructions and fitted the bullets (D50/D51) at mid-span to the leading edge of each wing, as the option I was going to create did not have these. 
Colour & Markings
Once the bulk of the airframe was built I masked off all the openings (cockpit, wheel wells, intake and exhausts), then primed the model with a medium grey paint and polished it back a little to make it all smooth. A few engraved details had been lost in the various bouts of filling and sanding around the nose, intake and exhaust joints, so these were reinstated as best as I could. I dispensed with both the options in the kit, instead opting for a very colourful option on the new Xtradecal sheet X72308. This depicted XS986 used by A&AEE Boscombe Down in 1974 and as I grew up not that far from Boscombe, it was a natural choice. The scheme is complex, so I had to think about how to break it down into a sequence of colours. Knowing the rule that you always start with the lightest colour I sprayed the model overall with white, then lightly polished it and masked off those areas that would remain in that colour. Next was yellow, the instructions state Xtracolor X11, but I had none so went with H413 (RLM 04) thinned with Mr Levelling Thinners and once dry had all areas that remained in that colour masked off. The last main colour was Dark Green, although in this instance I used Mr Aqueous Color (H73). The final colour was to apply red to part of the port aileron and the starboard elevator, now I knew that red does not have good colour density, so these areas were initially masked off after the white was applied. They now had the masking removed and the red (Tamiya X7) was applied in a couple of thin coats. The final details were to paint the anti-dazzle panel matt black and to pick out the lip of each intake in a bright metal colour. Once all that was done and my sanity had completely left the model-room, I removed the mass of masking tape, swore a bit, and set about doing any touch-ups. With everything looking OK I sealed the model with a couple of thin coats of Tamiya clear (X-22) and once that was dry, set about applying the markings.
Those from the Xtradecal sheet behaved perfectly and settled down with some Micro Set and Sol solutions. Really all the numerous stencils from the kit's decal sheet should also be applied, but my eyesight would not survive that, so only a select few were applied. Once everything was dry the whole lot was sealed with more Tamiya X-22 and once that had fully cured, an oil wash was applied to highlight all the engraved detail. The model was finally finished with a couple of fine coats of an acrylic satin varnish.
Final Details
The undercarriage parts all assembled well and the moulded detail came out with a quick oil wash. The location of the main oleo legs into each wing is also very secure and precise. The kit comes with tanks, SNEB launchers and bombs, but the machine I was depicted did not carry any of them so they were all consigned to the spares box. The canopies were masked and painted with the main airframe, so they now had the masks removed and the windscreen was secured in place; the main canopy is just dropped into place. I must say I did not do the seals on the canopy at all well, so aftermarket pre-cut masks are probably the best option there. The final details included the blade antenna and anti-collision beacon on the dorsal spine and that was it... And yes, before you all tell me, I know I omitted the washing line antenna offset under the port side of the nose.

I cannot in all honesty say I enjoyed making this kit, I felt it was a mish-mash of good and bad and in many respects a backwards step in comparison with the Harriers. It is on the shelf now and I like the scheme, but would I recommend it, I am afraid not. Would I do another, well when the RAF S.2B comes out with the bulged bomb bay and inflight refuelling probe there is an Operation Granby option on the Xtradecal sheet, so who knows, the paint schemes easy after all!

Paints used
Alclad II
White Aluminium

Gunze Mr Hobby Aqueous Hobby Color acrylic:
H73 Dark Earth
H332 RAF Light Aircraft Grey
H413 RLM 04 Yellow

Tamiya Color acrylic:
X-1 Gloss Black
X-2 Gloss White
X-7 Gloss Red
X-22 Gloss Clear
XF-85 Rubber Black