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  1. Ahoy there, Lads. There's probably a thing or two more i could do on it, but i'm calling the Buccaneer Done and Dusted. Let me start off with the executive summary, in classic "Navy Bird" Gillman fashion... Kit: Airfix Buccaneer S. Mk. 2C. Kit No. A06021. Markings: Serial No. XN977, 801 Squadron, HMS VICTORIOUS, 1965. Scale: 1/72nd. It's British! What other scale would it be? Aftermarket Products Used: Eduard BRASSIN Wheel and Brake set. MASTER turned metal pitot boom, Airfix Buccaneer S. Mk. 2B Air Brake Cones, CMK resin ejection seats, Eduard photo etched face curtain pull rings and canopy breakers. Paints: Mr Color, (Lacquer) Humbrol (Enamel), Tamiya (Acrylic AND Lacquer), Testor's Model Master Metalizers (Lacquer). All thinned into oblivion with Mr Leveling Thinner. Decals: Airfix (National Insignia and stencils) Modeldecal (Squadron markings), Xtradecal (where i screwed up the Buzz Numbers). Construction Details: This is the first 72nd scale jet I've completed since i rescued my Fujimi F-14A from the Shelf of Doom in 2008, and the first 72nd scale FAA subject i've finished since my Fujimi F-4K from 1988 (Those of you who have followed me over the years know that i've been struggling with a Corsair and Tomcat addiction. I'm still in therapy). Overall, very pleased with how this kit came out. I was familiar with the other Buccaneers extant before this release but was turned off by the amount of work they require to bring them to contemporary standards. This kit really presents the Buccaneer in a positive light, and it gives the type the respect it deserves. The kit is very intensively engineered, with a lot of parts in the box (explains the large box). Construction of the model largely mirrors that of the real aircraft, which is built up around 4 significant bulkheads. The forward fuselage splices to the centre section at the aft cockpit bulkhead, the aft fuselage mating roughly abeam the exhausts. Two substantial spars provide rigidity of the wings for building it with wings spread; a folded wing option is also offered. The air brakes can be depicted open (seen here) or closed. Weapons bay can be depicted open or closed (seen here). This model was intended first and foremost as a practice round to test and evaluate the Mr Color H333 Extra Dark Sea Grey and evaluate various kinds of Flat White primers and Gloss White finish coats. It was also an opportunity to finally use an old Modeldecal sheet which pre dated the Falklands campaign. Extra Dark Sea Grey is an elusive colour; depending on lighting conditions it can have a very bluish cast, or really none at all. Gloss White was used on many aircraft types as a protective measure against nuclear flash (over the shoulder bombing, you know), and i was skeptical about a gloss white being able to cover the bluish-grey Airfix plastic. Building up a sufficiently opaque coverage with flat white primer was aggravating because try as i might, there were always rough patches in hard to reach areas that required sanding down . I used mostly Mr Color Mr Base White 1000 as an undercoat, over which i applied Mr Color Gloss White. There were several sanding iterations with 3000 and 4000 grit, and at the very end i applied multiple coats of Mr Color Super Clear to lock everything down and prevent chipping. The Semigloss Extra Dark Sea Grey dried more to a flat finish. It took several coats of clear to give the model the degree of shine i wanted, and that caused its own set of problems; it behaved like a fingerprint magnet. Switching to Mr Color Clear Semigloss turned out to be a good move, though i had my doubts at the time. I depicted the aircraft with the speed brakes open. They add visual interest to the model, and they were opened up as a space-saving measure. Airfix does a commendable job at depicting this complicated assembly, but it did present challenges during its construction, and it forced me to paint certain parts and assemble others out of my normal "build it first, then paint it" sequence. The way the flat portion nests into the concave airbrake cones results in some out-of-scale joints, which would have required obliterating the raised kit details in order to apply some sort of photo etched brass overlay. I didn't want to make this build any more complicated than it needed to be. However, it all goes together and attaches onto the rear fuselage with no fuss. Curiously, Airfix included the later style air brake cones with the very pronounced "boilerplate" reinforcements in this kit. The later S. Mk. 2B Boxing incorporates the earlier style, "smooth" cones. So, i bought an S. Mk. 2B kit mainly for the cones, but also for the excellent stencils on the decal sheet. The end result looks pretty good. The Horizontal tailplane presented something of a construction challenge. I wanted to depict an early Buccaneer S. Mk. 2C which involved carving and sanding away a lot of the mods that were added to the plane over its lifespan. One of these required that the cone at the back of the stab assembly be reduced in with, with an attendant narrowing of the top of the vertical fin which the tailplane sits on. The Buccaneer had a variable-incidence stabilizer. The way Airfix designed the kit requires the modeler to attach the stab before painting can begin, which means it gets in the way of the build process and it requires a lot of tricky masking during the painting phase to get a clean, crisp result. You can't add it on at the end, like on say, an F-104 Starfighter. Creating an integrated tailplane that could rest on top of the fin and fit over it like a glove with a realistic scale thickness is probably beyond the limits of the state of the art right now, so i suspect Airfix had little choice but to go this way. The "Bullet" on the front end nests into a 90-degree corner and it took some work getting that to fit into place and get cleaned up. Airfix did a commendable job at re creating the distinctive "Trailing Link" design of the undercarriage; the outer fork on each strut combines an integrated brake stack that has a key to hold the tyre in perfect alignment to that the flat spot hits the ground in the right place. The downside to this though, is the struts are split into left and right halves, forcing the modeler to install the wheel into the strut before the halves are assembled and cleaned up. The end result is a rather involved assembly that can only be painted at the very end. I was worried about losing tread detail during the cleanup process, so I glued the strut halves together, sawed off the brake stacks, cleaned up all of the seams (mostly), painted the struts after the fact and installed Eduard Brassin tyres and brakes at the very end after painting them. The main wheels are anchored in place by axles made from small diameter brass rod. While its not obvious here, the intakes are very well rendered in this kit, featuring trunking from the intake lip back to the compressors molded into the number one bulkhead. Inlets are attached to either side of the forward fuselage, and the inlet lip extended to the inside with a well defined butt edge that the intake trunk abuts to. The end result is a realistic intake throat all the way to the engines, which if cleaned up and painted properly will pass the judges "penlight test". I only covered my intakes because late in the build it became obvious the the lateral seams on the intake trunks would be self evident if you looked in at just the right angle. So, i cheated..... HA!! *Intake covers on the Buccaneer, BTW are rather complex affairs and while i was able to eventually figure out an approximation of the front ones...i kind of gave up on depicting the ones in the back. The cockpit wound up being a combination of kit parts, kit decals for the panels and side consoles and resin aftermarket ejection seats with some Eduard Photo etch details added to the seats to disguise the fact that they're not....exactly....correct for an *early* Buccaneer. The seats themselves painted up beautifully. They sat a bit low in the cockpit, so i put some risers on the bottoms the raise their height to a more practical level.....perhaps too much? While i used the MASTER pitot boom, i avoided the IFR probe tip. Centering a pilot hole on the probe mast, given the relatively soft plastic just seemed too much of a risk. The kit probe painted up just fine, although i did incorporate a brass pin at the base to make a stronger attachment. Polystyrene is good for a lot of things, but re fuelling probes and antenna masts are not it. The kit pitot and TAT probes were used as patterns for making replacements using plastic strip and rod, since the kit parts were virtually impossible to clean up adequately to be made presentable. The scratch-built replacements look just fine once painted and given a wash to create some shadowing. I started this model last November, pretty much intended as a simple, "Slam Build", but this is not a simple matter like a MiG-15 or an F9F Panther. This is a big, substantial model, with a lot going on with it. In case you haven't seen it, all the build details, plus a sampling of my night club comedy material can be found here.... The Buccaneer is a curvy , complex, and nuanced shape; Airfix has done a great job capturing the character of the Mighty Buccaneer. You can tell they brought their "A Game" to this one. I'd wager it's better than their 48th scale efforts. It's not what i would call a quick build; it's not hard, but it's not fast either. If a modeler is willing to put in the time, he/ she will be rewarded with an awesome replica of Blackburns' proudest moment in Naval aviation history. Now, apparently somebody has released a model of something called a "Phantom". In case anybody is looking for me, i'll be investigating this. As always, Keep your Knots Up and your Powder Dry. Fly Navy!!
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