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Navy Bird

1:72 English Electric Canberra PR.9 "End of an Era" - Finished!

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For my next project I've chosen the English Electric Canberra PR.9, specifically XH134 in her retirement scheme (not the operational scheme shown on the Airfix box). It's a lovely scheme designed by Ashley Keates of RAF Marham. I found a bunch of stuff in my stash that I can use for this project, and I suspect this will end up being another bit of a kitbash. Let's have a look at the inventory - first, I have the Airfix kit, one of the early new tooling efforts from Hornby. Unfortunately, it's not one of their best. In addition to the overdone panel lines, the blend of the tail into the fuselage is misshapen, and the rudder is off as well. Nevertheless, it may be the basis for this build.

 

On the aftermarket side, I have a beautiful cockpit and open nose from Pavla, highly detailed wheel wells from Pavla, a very nice tyre set from CMK, some Eduard colour photoetch, flaps from CMK, and a proper rudder from SBS. I also have some photoetch and resin flaps from Heritage (not shown) so I'll have to figure out which set I like. 

 

IMG_1082

 

The Pavla cockpit looks quite nice, but I think the detail painting might be a bit of a chore!

 

C72087_1

 

And the Pavla wheel wells and doors are considerably more detailed than what comes with the Airfix kit.

 

72-113_1

 

Here is XH134 in her retirement scheme, isn't she a beauty?

 

XH134-01

 

XH134-03

 

Model Alliance provide these markings, although I was a bit flummoxed after paying full price for an aftermarket decal sheet and finding only these two small bits in the package. Stencils and other markings will need to come from the kit.

 

IMG_1083

 

Now, here is where my little dilemma comes in. I've also got this kit in the stash:

 

IMG_1084

 

Comparing the two kits, I would say that the Xtrakit model (which appears to have been moulded by Sword) has much nicer surface detail, but has no vortex generators on the wings (really - they're supplied as decals) and a suspect cockpit opening (at least it's very different than Airfix). However, the tail and rudder seem to be reasonably good. 

 

I'm going to take some time and see if the aftermarket stuff will fit the Xtrakit model. If it does, then I have to decide if I like decals instead of actual three dimensional vortex generators. I suspect I won't, but I really prefer the other surface detail on the Xtrakit offering compared to the Airfix kit. Ugh - a man who has one watch knows what time it is. A man who has two is never quite sure.

 

To be honest, I know next to nothing about the Canberra. I'm hoping that @canberra kid will stop by and make sure I stay on the righteous path. He may be able to tell me some things about these two kits that will guide my decisions. 

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Bill I'm on stand by! What you've said about the two kits is about right, I would have to compare the two again to refresh my memory about the pro's and con's, nether kit will give you XH134  out of the box, you need to mod the wing tips which is the most obvious thing. I guess you are aware of the PR.9 albums on my site? 

PR.9 album

PR.9 cockpit late

There is also the general seat and other detail albums. 

 

John

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21 minutes ago, canberra kid said:

Bill I'm on stand by! What you've said about the two kits is about right, I would have to compare the two again to refresh my memory about the pro's and con's, nether kit will give you XH134  out of the box, you need to mod the wing tips which is the most obvious thing. I guess you are aware of the PR.9 albums on my site? 

PR.9 album

PR.9 cockpit late

There is also the general seat and other detail albums. 

 

John

 

Thanks John! I have your site bookmarked, and I've been studying it. Great stuff - thanks for putting all of this in one place for easy access. Rather a labour of love isn't it?    :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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I stand to be corrected but there is a nagging doubt at the back of my mind that at the time the Xtrakit PR9 was released there was some question in reviews as to the cross section of the kit's fuselage.

 

Martian

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This will do admirably.:thumbsup2:

Tony

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Bunch up everyone. I want a seat in the front for this!

 

Bill, would you consider mixing and Matching the two kits? Airfix wings with Xtrakit fuselage and Airfix nose? I've no idea if all that would fit though, but sitting in my armchair it's easy to be an 'expert'!

 

Trevor

 

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Right. I'll be watching this on the large screen whilst up the bar.

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Very good, still one of the prettiest aircraft to fly in the RAF.

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On 2/2/2017 at 4:08 PM, Martian Hale said:

I stand to be corrected but there is a nagging doubt at the back of my mind that at the time the Xtrakit PR9 was released there was some question in reviews as to the cross section of the kit's fuselage.

 

Hmm...have to check that out. Thanks for pointing it out. I can at least compare the Airfix and Xtrakit fuselages and see if they're different. Which one is closest to reality would require information that I don't have at the moment. If you happen to remember where you read that, or find a link you might have bookmarked, please pass it on. I found this link, which compares Airfix to Xtrakit and makes an attempt to "score" each to find a winner, but I don't know how useful it is.

 

On 2/2/2017 at 4:40 PM, Max Headroom said:

Bunch up everyone. I want a seat in the front for this!

 

Bill, would you consider mixing and Matching the two kits? Airfix wings with Xtrakit fuselage and Airfix nose? I've no idea if all that would fit though, but sitting in my armchair it's easy to be an 'expert'!

 

Plenty of seats, no need to push! I always rent the entire hall. Bring your own popcorn.  :)

 

Putting the Airfix wings on the Xtrakit fuselage was one of the things I pondered this afternoon. Not easy to do, I'm afraid as the Airfix wings attach to a wing root that protrudes from the fuselage. The Xtrakit wings go into a pocket in the fuselage. To use the Airfix wings on the Xtrakit fuselage would require me to scratch build the wing root. Ugh.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Max Headroom beat me to the mix/match suggestion, but why not just substitute the tail/rudder off the Xtrakit one for the poor Airfix offering and use the majority of the Airfix kit thus keeping the vortex generators (decals just won't cut it! And you already know it ;) )

 

Put plenty nose weight in it too, and I mean plenty. I built the Airfix kit from the box and it needs it.

 

Eng

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OK, some comparisons between the two fuselage sets. First, I taped the two together and visually I thought the Xtrakit looked a tad fatter near the tail. I got out my digital calipers and measured the fuselage width at the rear of the wing root as follows:

 

Airfix 24.8 mm     Xtrakit 25.6 mm

 

At the front of the wing root:

 

Airfix 27.5 mm     Xtrakit 27.7 mm

 

Pretty good agreement at the front of the wing, and a small difference of less than a mm at the rear. Not bad at all. Placing the Xtrakit fuselage against Airfix, and aligning the rear tail fin, I find that the nose gear opening is also aligned, but the Airfix fuselage protrudes an additional 3-4 mm in the front. Both kits break the nose off where it opens.

 

I don't know if Airfix is long or Xtrakit is short at this point. However, if I can believe on-line sources, and John can correct me if they're wrong, the PR.9 has an overall length of 20.36 m. That translates to 282.8 mm in 1:72 scale. If I add up the length of the nose, fuselage, and the tail cone, the overall length for Airfix is 282 mm, pretty much right on the money. The Xtrakit is 279 mm, or 3.8 mm too short and it seems to be up front (nose gear well, wing roots, and tail align well between the two makes). 

 

Martin, if there is a cross-sectional error on the Xtrakit, it's not obvious to me when comparing with Airfix. Both seem quite circular.

 

At this point, it looks like we'll proceed with the Airfix kit. It should be easy to fix the filet radius where the fin blends into the fuselage, and the resin rudder from SBS will replace the poorly designed one in the kit. We'll have to live with the horizontal tailplane root, a known Airfix issue.

 

Enough with all this stuff, let's build the model!   :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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At the time the Xtrakit was released, I would have been reading SAM or SAMI for reviews. Check the fit of the canopy as I seem to remember that the reviewer had to add a shim of Plastic card to the front fuselage to get the canopy to fit properly. I do remember that as a result of reviews of this kit, I sold it on pretty quickly.

 

Martian

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Lovely looking subject Bill. I'll pull up a chair and prepare my notebook Sir... "I suspect this will end up being another bit of a kit bash" eh? Can't wait... :) 

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8 minutes ago, SovereignHobbies said:

How about brass vortex generators?

Here's a variation on the wing swap idea. Wotabout the Xtrakit upper wing outboard of the engine nacelle being grafted onto the rest of the Airfix wing?

 

Modelling by committee!

 

Trevor

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12 hours ago, Tomoshenko said:

Right. I'll be watching this on the large screen whilst up the bar.

 

Good idea, what'll you have?

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I'll sit in too if you don't mind?

 

  Roger

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It's already getting crowdy in here .... Bill, where do I get a season ticket, please? :D

 

:popcorn:  :popcorn:

 

Ciao

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On 2/2/2017 at 21:58, Martian Hale said:

At the time the Xtrakit was released, I would have been reading SAM or SAMI for reviews. Check the fit of the canopy as I seem to remember that the reviewer had to add a shim of Plastic card to the front fuselage to get the canopy to fit properly. I do remember that as a result of reviews of this kit, I sold it on pretty quickly.

 

On my copy, the canopy fits quite well. There was a bit of flash that had to be removed, but once that was done it conforms to the fuselage contours quite nicely.

 

IMG_1085

 

The only issue I see is that the canopy is just barely wide enough to cover the cockpit opening. Remember that this is a short run kit, though, so it's possible that something was wrong with the review copy that was the subject of the magazine article. Or perhaps the tool was reworked - that happens occasionally as well.

 

I think I know why the Xtrakit looked a bit fatter, even though it really isn't. It's because it's too short. Perception is a strange thing. See the nice panel line and surface detail on this kit though? Miles beyond what is on the Airfix kit. 

 

I found this build of the Xtrakit PR.9 by Brett Green. He did a nice job! It's even in the markings I want to do.

 

On 2/3/2017 at 02:40, CedB said:

Lovely looking subject Bill. I'll pull up a chair and prepare my notebook Sir... "I suspect this will end up being another bit of a kit bash" eh? Can't wait... :) 

 

Or maybe I should just build them both.   :) 

 

On 2/3/2017 at 05:12, SovereignHobbies said:

How about brass vortex generators?

 

I didn't know that anyone made those in 1:72 scale. Are they attached individually? Yikes. 

 

On 2/3/2017 at 05:23, Max Headroom said:

Here's a variation on the wing swap idea. Wotabout the Xtrakit upper wing outboard of the engine nacelle being grafted onto the rest of the Airfix wing?

 

Modelling by committee!

 

That would remove the vortex generators. I think you mean the other way around? Graft the outboard upper Airfix panels on the Xtrakit wings?

 

On 2/3/2017 at 05:27, keefr22 said:

Good idea, what'll you have?

 

We only serve single malt here, none of that blended crap.   :) 

 

On 2/3/2017 at 06:41, giemme said:

It's already getting crowdy in here .... Bill, where do I get a season ticket, please? :D

 

:popcorn:  :popcorn:

 

Ciao

 

Season tickets are automatically granted to Gold members who contribute to the BM server fund. (Was that OK, Mike?)   :)

 

Today I'll start working on the cockpit. The Pavla resin cockpit is incredibly detailed, but I'm afraid it's all going to be lost due to everything being black. I'll use a dark grey instead of black, but even still everything will be difficult to see. I'll try to bring out as much detail as I can. I plan on having the nose open, and you'll be able to see inside with a small torch. This brings up an interesting question - the Pavla resin cockpit and Xtrakit have the navigator/radar operator seat up front in the nose. The Airfix kit has the seat for the second crewman alongside the pilot, but lower. Airfix also have what looks like a small table up front that the second crewman could reach by crawling into the nose. Who is correct? The Airfix arrangement is very similar to that used in their 1:48 Canberra B(I).8 kit. 

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Hi Bill

I've had a look over the dimensions of both kits, they are both quite close in the key measurements give or take a wee bit, it depends how close you want it to be, if you want I can can give the figures. The Xtrakit is better on panel detail, on the fuselage at least, I've not looked over the wings yet. Unfortunately the Airfix kit is quite bad in this respect I've highlighted some of the bad points, the black lines are where the panels should be the red is where they are. THe thing bothe kits fail on is the rear fuselage strengthening plate again, I've marked out the correct position in black and the kit placement in red, I hope this helps and it's not too confusing?

IMG_1671_zpsjuzbug3u.jpg

And on the Xtrakit the same problem with the fuselage strengthening plate, also the local strengthening for the ladder, which is a bit on the heavy side, not a big issue.

IMG_1670_zpstwa7te0h.jpg

 

John

     

 

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