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English Electric
Canberra PR.9

Airfix, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Airfix Kit No. A10103 - English Electric Canberra PR.9
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 128 parts in grey coloured plastic; 8 clear plastic parts; decal sheet covering four marking options
Price: From GBP£23.82 plus shipping available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High quality mouding; crisp and consistent recessed panel lines; separate control surfaces; useful selection of options; positionable canopy; varied markings; greatly improved decal presentation; stout packaging.
Disadvantages: Deep recessed lines on rudder; some half-hearted and bomber-oriented elements in the cockpit; thick vortex generators; a number of large sprue attachment points
Conclusion: Nice detail, straightforward to build and excellent value for money - this new 1/48 scale Airfix Canberra PR.9 will suit both superdetailers and the less experienced modeller.


Reviewed by Brett Green


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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.

Perhaps more than any other aircraft model in the same period, the English Electric Canberra has gone from zero to hero in the last two years. In early 2006, there was not a single injection moulded kit in current release. In that short time we now have the Canberra B.2, T.17, TT.18 and B-57 from Classic Airframes in 1/48 scale, the Canberra B(I).8 from Airfix in 1/48 scale and the Xtrakit 1/72 scale PR.9.

Airfix continues its new production push with a new 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9. Despite the flurry of recent Canberra releases, this is the first time that a 1/48 scale injection moulded kit of the PR.9 has been available.

Airfix's 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 comprises 128 parts in grey coloured plastic, 21 clear plastic parts and a large decal sheet covering three markings options for four aircraft from 1963 to 2006.

  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 Review by Brett Green: Image
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Moulding quality is up to the same high standard as Airfix's recent Canberra B(I).8.

The plastic parts are smooth, with crispy recessed panel lines throughout and no sink marks to be seen anywhere. Ejector pin marks on major and minor parts have mainly been thoughtfully positioned to be hidden when the model is built. The only exception that I can find are the interiors of the main gear doors, which do have a couple of faint circles, but these should be covered by the undercarriage legs. Some of the sprue attachment points are very thick though, so care will be required when removing parts and cleaning up the waste to avoid gouging the plastic.

Detail appears to be a little soft on the wheels, but they look fine after careful painting. The deep engraved surface detail seen on the rudder of the earlier Airfix Canberra is still found on this model, but this is easy enough to fill and sand. A replacement is also now available from Cammetts.

Exterior detail is good, with the newly tooled parts (including revised fuselage halves, the camera bay covers, all-new wings and other specific details) matching the high standard of the earlier kits. The only really obvious issue is the very thick vortex generators.

The model features positionable flaps, elevators and rudder, plus boxed-in wheel wells.

Cockpit detail is a bit basic and relates to the bomber version, not this PR.9 variant. The seats and instrument panels will benefit from repoisitioning, detailing or replacement. If you choose to buils the kit straight from the box, though, little will be visible inside the black-painted cockpit anyway, so you could probably get away with bringing the co-pilot's seat closer in line with the pilot. Three crew figures are supplied in typical Airfix style (in other words, good).

There will be plenty of room in the solid nose for weight to keep the front wheels on the ground.

 

 

Clear parts include the canopy (supplied in two clear pieces and one grey), nose cone (not used in this version) various windows and wing tip navigation lights. Unlike the B(I).8, the PR.9 canopy may be posed open.

The transparencies are nice and clear.

Optional parts include alternate photo-bay inserts for early or late version PR.9 variants, wing tip drop tanks (not often carried, so you'll have some correctly sized spares for your Classic Airframes Canberras) and missiles.

 

 

Instructions are supplied in a 12 page stapled A4 booklet. Construction is covered in 39 illustrated steps. A separate full-colour foldout sheet is provided for stencil placement and four-views of each of the three marking options.

The three marking options are:

  • Canberra PR.9, 39 Sqn RAF, Marham UK, July 2006. This aircraft is finished in the recent scheme of Hemp over Light Aircraft Grey.

  • Canberra PR.9, No.1 PRU RAF, Wyton UK, November 1985, finished in Dark Sea Grey and Dark Green over Light Aircraft Grey.

  • Canberra PR.9, Grupo 2, 2nd Air Brigade, Chilean Air Force, Los Cerrillos Air Base, Chile, 1983. Finished as above.

  • Canberra PR.9, 58 Sqn. RAF, Wyton UK, September 1963. Finished in overall High Speed Silver.

 

 

The decal sheet is large and very glossy. It is a noticeable improvement over previous efforts. Saturation of the colours looks good. The dot-screen effect has been eliminated this time around.



 

Conclusion

 

This 1/48 scale Canberra PR.9 is a welcome addition to Airfix's growing range of new generation kits.

The model will be impressively large, offers good exterior detail and plenty of useful options covering more than four decades of service.

Despite its size, this kit is quite conventional and simple in its parts breakdown. It should not present a challenge to modellers with a few kits under their belt. I certainly found the Airfix Canberra B(I).8 quite straightforward when building it earlier this year.

If you are a fan of Cold War or modern British aviation, and you have a bit of space on your display shelves, the new Airfix 1/48 scale will be an attractive choice.

And if you are purchasing outside the UK, £23.82 is stunningly good value with the current state of the exchange rate (around USD$35.52!)

Thanks to Hannants for the sample


Review Text and Images Copyright 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 22 December, 2008
Last updated 22 December, 2008

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