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Canberra PR.9

Xtrakit, 1/72 scale
 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Xtrakit 72004 - Canberra PR.9
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 66 parts in grey plastic; one resin part; 7 clear plastic parts; markings for two aircraft.
Price: From GBP14.46  available online from Hannants website
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Long awaited subject, crisply engraved panel lines, good level of interior detail; excellent quality clear parts including clear vertical camera panel; high quality decals.
   
Disadvantages: One big ejector pin in each main wheel well; one-piece canopy (cutting required to display canopy open).
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

FirstLook


The English Electric Canberra was a groundbreaking aircraft when it entered service in the early 1950s.

The Canberra set and held many altitude, distance and speed records in its early years. In addition to widespread and long service with the Royal Air Force, the English Electric Canberra was exported to many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, France, West Germany, India, Pakistan, Rhodesia, Ethiopia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The PR.9 was the photo reconnaissance version of the Canberra.

The Canberra's service record was remarkable in its longevity, spanning from the Suez crisis to Vietnam right through to Operation Telic in the Persian Gulf. The Canberra finally left RAF service when the the PR.9 was retired in 2006.

This is not the first Canberra PR.9 that we have seen in 1/72 scale. Matchbox released an early version of this variant three decades ago. That old kit had raised panel lines and fairly basic detail typical of the era.

Xtrakit has now released an all-new Canberra PR.9, representing the final version of this faithful reconnaissance stalwart. This model has nothing in common with the old Matchbox kit.

Xtrakit's 1/72 scale new Canberra PR.9 comprises 66 parts in grey plastic, two in grey resin, seven parts in clear and markings for two aircraft.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The plastic parts are manufactured to a very high standard. The grey styrene is cleanly moulded, glossy and well detailed with fine, crisp recessed panel lines and selected raised detail (e.g. vortex generators) as appropriate. The only imperfection on my sample is one large ejector pin in each main wheel well.

There are some raised ejector pins on the inner surfaces of some parts. These will not be visible on the finished model, but those on the mating surfaces of the wings and tailplanes will need to be sliced off so that they do not interfere with fit. There is a little flash (thin excess plastic) that needs to be removed from some parts.

 

 

Parts breakdown is quite conventional. Wings are supplied as full-span top and bottom halves. The wheel wells are separate parts that may be glued to the fuselage before the wings are fitted. If the wheel wells are left to dry on the fuselage, they should act as large and effective wing spars. I would recommend adding a short length of metal rod to reinforce the butt-join for the large horizontal tailplanes though.

The model will require extra weight up front to help the nose wheel stay on the ground, but there is plenty of space in the nose to allow this.

The nose is supplied as two separate halves (parts 58 and 59). The instructions advise that these should be glued together before adding the nose to the assembled fuselage, but I will be gluing each nose half to each main fuselage half before assembling the fuselage. This should help minimize any steps or gaps at the vertical join between the nose and the fuselage.

Cockpit detail is very good. The instrument panels and side consoles are moulded in injected plastic with raised and recessed details. These details should jump out with a careful paint job. I was pleased to see two resin seats included in this release, as the pilot's seat is likely to be the only feature visible in the Canberra's dark cockpit with its narrow opening.

 

 

Undercarriage detail is good too. I particularly like the nose wheel with the mud guard moulded to the tyre.

Engine fan and exhaust detail is also depicted.

Clear parts are very thin and free from distortion. They look a little cloudy on the sprue but they will shine after a bath in Future floor polish. The canopy is provided as a single part, so if you want to display the cockpit you will have to spend a few minutes carefully cutting the part open with a razor saw.

The inclusion of the ventral camera ports on a clear part is a nice touch. Small windows and wing tip navigation lights are included too.

 

 

Markings are supplied for two aircraft:

  • XH169 and

  • XH131

Both aircraft were based with 39 (1 PRU) Sqn RAF, Azraq Air Base in Jordan during Operation Telic in 2003, and are finished in the final scheme of RAF Hemp and Light Aircraft Grey. The "split" wing roundels on XH169 are particularly interesting.

Comprehensive low visibility stencil markings are included.

 

 

Decals are thin and nicely in register.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Xtrakit's late version Canberra PR.9 fills an important gap in the 1/72 scale model lineup. It is a very nice kit - well detailed, appears to be accurate and should be quite easy to build too, thanks to sensible parts breakdown and the minimal use of multi-media parts.

Being a limited run kit means that this Canberra has no locating pins, so extra time will be required to test fit and align parts before committing to glue. Make sure you clean up all the parts of any flash before assembly too.

If you make this small extra effort though, Xrarkit's 1/72 scale Canberra PR.9 should not be too much more of a challenge than most mainstream kits.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Hannants for the sample


Xtrakits, Xtraparts and Xtradecals are all available online from Hannants' website


Images Copyright 2007 by Hannants
This Page Created on 19 December, 2007
Last updated 27 December, 2007

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