Well, I have been waiting for this a while – the kit of the Blackburn Buccaneer S.2 has arrived!
I mean, even the new artwork is cool. This is a new tool kit – so they have started from scratch by laser scanning a real aircraft then doing some very clever 3D design and materials science to produce the model.
The box is bigger than the previous versions, mainly because there are so many more parts! Five main sprues of parts, a sprue of transparent plastic and a decal sheet for two aircraft – one each from 800NAS and 809NAS.
The first job is to construct the cockpit. This is considerably better than the last kit, with good detail. In particular I like the transparent heads-up display screen for the pilot. My main gripe is that Airfix keep using decals for the instrument clusters. It is not surprising that there are aftermarket detailing kits with instruments printed on photo-etch. Maybe Airfix could look at this for the future – maybe in a premium-priced ‘expert’ level version of the kits the produce? Anyway, the new one is a big improvement, so shouldn’t grumble…
Where you really notice a difference is in the engine and undercarriage section of the fuselage. This was essentially just blanked off in the past. Now there is very good modelling of the engine exhaust pipes and the interior of the engine bay.
Once finished and painted up it looks amazing. Likewise, the bomb bay can be shown open, with plenty of structures to highlight and dab with oil stains. Given the level of detail in the bomb bay, I’m surprised there isn’t the option for putting bombs in it. Perhaps a later ‘Airfix Club’ special? If not, there will be companies doing the interiors in resin really soon. Ultimately, I will get whatever comes along as I’d like the aircraft shown ‘bombed up’ and ready for action.
The new kit allows for folded wings and for the huge airbrakes to be shown deployed. There are also other oddities – the wing tips come as part of the transparencies, and there are two options. This pointy wingtip was used in the S.2. I think the transparency plastic is better for moulding a thin part very accurately. But then why supply the older rounded one as well? And there is more. Many of the defining features of the S.2 are included here as specific pieces. The shape of the top of the fin – easier to mould it in one piece so why in several pieces? I think this clearly shows that the current kit is the start of a line of Buccaneer variants. Maybe, JUST maybe, there will be a new Buccaneer S.1, the early one with the Gyron Junior engines, as that kit is ancient.
Anyway, let’s get on with the current plane. There was a bit of filling and cleaning needed, but mainly due to my model-making rather than errors in the kit, then a spray all over with primer. I used the bomb bay door supplied to cover up my previous work, and stuffed the gear wells with paper.
The wings can be dealt with separately as they get attached right at the end. A nice touch is that the decal for the serial number has small lines on to show you where to cut for folded wings. The decals need to go on before the stores pylons and the pitot tube.
The wing fold pieces – fillets for the ends of the wings and fuselage, feature a big tab that helps locate and set the wing in the correct angle. Very well thought-out.
Painting is straightforward as it is all one colour – Extra Dark Sea Grey. Then the decals. the stencils include some epically tiny things. Thank goodness the strip of dots forward of the ailerons comes as one piece and not dot by dot!
Some of the pieces are of lilliputian dimension too. Take this navigation light cover. IT is tiny. Very tricky to get off the sprue, to trim and then to put on the aircraft. Worse still, it goes on the underside, where no-one will ever see it! But, the decals have led me to plastic pedantry. There it should be so there it goes!
But it is all worth it for the final effect. What a beautiful kit to work with, and what a good result. I’m extremely happy.
Now all I need is for someone to do an alternative set of markings for the time when the S.2 was introduced, and I’ll buy another one of these astonishingly good kits.