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Canberra B.6

by Jon Freeman

 

English Electric Canberra B.6

 


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Introduction

 

Aeroclub's long awaited 1/48 scale Canberra B.6 is the first of what will be a long family including (I presume) the PR3, T4, B(I)8, PR9, T17 and the myriad of trial radar nosed variants.

The way John Adams of Aeroclub will achieve this is suggested the moulding techniques he has employed. The cockpit cabin area is moulded in short run injection plastic, thus allowing Aeroclub to just re-mould the nose area for each mark change (excluding the different PR.Mk.9 wing).

 

 

Aeroclub's Canberra B.6 In The Box



Aeroclub's 1/48 scale Canberra B.6 is a genuine multi-media offering.

The rear fuselage and wings are all formed from good quality vac form sheets with only the tailplanes, some internal rear cockpit parts, crew access door undercarriage interiors /doors, cannon pack, wing tip tanks and two rudder halves being injection plastic items.

A decent stash of resin is provided, including the nicely cast engine intakes and exhaust areas along with the main wheel tyres.

A heavy bag of white metal parts include the two wheel hub options (early and late), three 2CA1 ejector seats (7 parts each!), cockpit intrument panels, throttle quadrants, nose wheels, wheel well interior parts, engine compressor blades/ fans, weapons pylons and wheel gear actuators plus plenty of other parts to be added to the cockpit .

There are enough duplicate parts supplied for the cockpit interior that a T.4 could be easily made for the impatient modellers out there!

Two vac formed clear 'fish bowl' canopies are provided along with two bomber nose glazings and two plain nose glazings.

Some thin plastic card strips and a length of plastic rod was also supplied.

All the panel lines are nicely engraved but in my opinion a few will need to be re-scribed.

Construction and markings are called out over three A3 guide pamphlets. One A5 decal sheet completes the package.

 

 

Construction

 

Main Component Construction

Construction is straightforward but requires the modeller to have some degree of experience with vac-form kits. It helps dramatically if you aquire an Aeroclub Tee-Al sanding block and a Flexi-File to help minimise those boring hours sanding whilst the missus is watching the early evening soaps on TV!

Once sanded down the parts fitted excellently but do add strengthening strips along the fuselage interior across the internal mating edges. I thought that the wing and fuselage components felt a little flimsy at first but using this technique created a strong kit not unlike an injection moulded one!

The resin engine intake and exhaust parts mated up to the wings beautifully with only a small amount of Squadron filler being required. Alas I happened to attach the intakes upside down but by the time I realised it was too late, so my apologies to all... DOH!!

 



Next up was the undercarriage interior.

This is made up of nine white metal parts for each wing. Although this assembly does not portray the actual curved structural members inside a real Canberra, it does look acceptable (with scope for the superdetailers I think).

The parts are engineered really well and provides plenty of strength to the undercarriage legs. A rectangular hole needs to be cut out of the fuselage halves for the main wing spar to pass through. The two sets of undercarriage bay parts attach securely to this spar.

The completed wings can now be slid onto the box structure and superglued to the fuselage. I had to use a touch of filler to fair in the wing root join.

The tail area sees us cementing the two tailplane halves together for each side and doing likewise for the separate rudder. The rudder can offset but you will need to add thin plasticard to fill the gaps at the top and bottom of the rudder post. Once again a main spar was passed through pre-cut slots onto which the tailplanes were slid. Filler was required here at the root too.


 

Cockpit Construction


It seems such a shame that the real Canberra cockpits were black inside as there are approximately fisty white metal parts to be added, not counting the duplicate T.4 parts!

All were nicely cast with only a minute degree of flash but it is advised to prime all the parts first. The cockpit looks VERY full once built and will really look "the biz" with the addition of pipework and wiring.

The ejector seats have the seatbelts moulded on but the only thing I personally added was a modified firing handle loop from a defunct F-4 Phantom. I disregarded one of the ejector seats as it would be unseen and I found that the navigators' table just got in the way so I did likewise. Once airbrushed Satin Black everything needed a drybrushing of Dark Grey (RLM 66) to accentuate the detail.

 



The front nose gear bay was attached in place and utilises the back of the pressure bulkhead for stability. A whole nose wheel well box has to be constructed which was made up of four parts along with the white metal retraction gear. CA glue secured everything in place nicely and the Canberra was coming on nicely!

The forward fuselage halves can now be cemented together and later the component was superglued (CA) into the rear fuselage. Luckily Aeroclub have pre-chamfered the cockpit module and the fit into the vac-formed fuselage was excellent!


 

Minor Component Construction


The resin main tyres were cleaned up and after priming were painted Tyre Black along with the nose tyres. The nose tyres have the characteristic mudguards moulded onto them so care will be needed in painting them Black later.

The engine intakes were painted dirty Silver as were the exhaust fan blades and engine intake shock cones. I built up the wing tip tanks but on offering them up to the wing tips the fit wasn't too good so I duly left them off. Perhaps the fit would be improved with plenty of filler!

The wheel hubs were left unpainted in their white metal state but seeing as I was modelling the later mark I utilised the 'holed' hubs (if you can call them that). The last thing I added were the wing pylons once again with CA glue.

Onto the best part...

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The kit comes supplied with two markings for the B.Mk.6 Canberra these are printed by Fantasy Printshop UK and the clarity and opacity is very good.
.
Option 1 is an early B.Mk.6 WT369 of 139 Sqn RAF which has an overall Silver finish with a diagonal Red triangle flash on the fin with Black serials along with the post war national markings (Red White and Blue) in four positions 84" dia on wings and 36" dia on fuselage sides. On the undersurfaces of the wings the serials are 48" high and the fuselage serials are 24" high.

Option 2 can be either an early or late marking B.I.Mk.6 WT307 of 213 Sqn RAF which has the uppersurface camouflage scheme of Dark Green/ Dark Sea Grey over Silver (early) or Light Aircraft Grey (late) undersides. The fin has a large wasp emblem on the fin with Black serials along with the post war national markings (Red White and Blue) in four positions 84" dia on wings and 36" dia on fuselage sides. On the undersurfaces of the wings the serials are 48" high and the fuselage serials are 24" high.

I personally chose a late scheme B.I.Mk.6 and applied first of all a primer base coat to check for blemishes faults etc.

Once dry I airbrushed the whole kit in Xtracolour Light Aircraft Grey and later followed it up (after careful masking of wheel wells/cockpits etc) with the Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey from the same manufacturer, but do note that the camouflage schemes on the Canberras had mostly if not all hard edged demarcation lines.

Seeing as Xtracolour enamels are 'decal ready' I could proceed onto the decalling stage after a week of drying time.

All the decals conformed nicely to the kit but I advise not to use any decal softener as they are very thin. (not as bad as Propagteam!!) Stencils are also provided.

Once the masking was removed and little errors tidied up the whole kit was varnished with Polly Scale Satin Varnish which helped seal in the decals.

All the wheel wells were airbrushed (after careful masking) Satin Black to depict the original 'Eggshell Black' along with the undercarriage legs and interiors of the wheel gear doors.


 

"On Finals"


The last items to add were the completed wheels, wheel well doors, canopies and engine compressor fan parts. Don't forget to add the pitot to the front glazing and the white metal direct vision panel. Paint the exhaust areas Aluminium and the tail bumber Black and hey presto, the first truly buildable 1/48 Canberra (sorry Falcon but your kit is hard work!!)

 

 

Conclusion

 

Would I buy another?....of course yes. A T.17 or a PR.Mk.9 would be grand but where do you store them?

This kit was a joy to build and to say that I have been anxiously waiting a good five years for a buildable quarter scale Canberra would be an understatement. For the 47.00 or so I paid for it it was well worth it and I can heartily recommend it to all. Well done John Adams for making this particular modeller very happy and sorry about the earlier problems!

Jon Freeman C/O Scale Aircraft Modelling UK

P.S Wouldn't a B-57 look nice too!

 

 

References

 

  • English Electric Canberra by Ken Delve, Peter Green and John Clemons (the bible!)

  • Scale Aircraft Modelling Vol 13 No.1 Oct 1990 by Terence Marriot (walkaround)

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Article Copyright 2001 by Jon Freeman
Page Created 17 December 2001
Last updated 04 June 2007

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