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1970 - Canberra PR.9 'NATO’s Mediterranean Photo Bomber'


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'Bout time this GB's host actually did some modelling don't you think? 

Apologies folks, I'm kinda torn between this and the 'extended' Frog GB, then there's that four letter word 'Work', so hadly had any decent time to do any proper modelling of late. What has happened though is that my initial choice of GB subject (Kinetic 1/48 Mirage IIIO) has turned a little sour. I won't shelve it for good, however it's best I park it for a while as to be honest, it's quite a horrid kit and after a few modelling sessions left me hating it and everything else close by. So to save my sanity and marriage (?) I've decided to tackle a good old Matchbox kit in the shape of their PR.9 Canberra - now you know I've really gone mad! 

 

Introduction

Matchbox's 1978 Canberra kit was a welcome addition to all 'Cranberry' fans, although on closer examination it did reveal a few significant errors that spoil an otherwise clean and basic kit. To my knowledge the major errors are -

 

  • Nose Cone - too long and pointy
  • Hori Stabs - way too broad and wrong shape
  • Engines - intakes too small and has a mid wing waste which is not accurate (not sure if I'll fix these?)

 

Now it probably would have been better to start with the new-ish Airfix or Xtrakit models, however I don't have them and like my Frog GB Canberra B(I)12, I prefer to start with a clean airframe. The Airfix kit is spoiled by deep recess panel lines that are not seen on the real Canberra and I love working with Matchbox plastic, so overall this kit ticks a few boxes. Now funnily enough this was my third choice for this GB as I've ordered the new Revell MR.3 Shackleton, however it's taking an age to arrive. For family descendent reasons, I was thinking of building a Malta based 203 Squadron Shack, but then thought that during 1970 both 13 & 39 Squadrons also operated PR.9's from Luqa as part of NATO's active Southern area, so this is what I've now chosen to build. I'm still sourcing decals (my kit's ones are shot) and although I'd prefer to do a 39 Sqn. bird, may need to opt for 13 Squadron if things don't transpire. Besides a tail badge, they both look exactly the same either way so I can proceed as far as I need to before deciding on an actual serial. 

 

So after all that waffle, heres my small progress so far. Some plastic strip applied to the shallow nose wheel well and I've taken the knife to those large hori stabs. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

 

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Left - Correct size Frog Hori Stab // Right - Matchbox's parts! 

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Some surgery 

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Great Caesar's Ghost! How could Matchbox have made the horizontal tail planes so much bigger? Were those taken from a planned 1/48th scale Canberra? Best of luck on the build - the PR.9 may be my favourite variant of the Canberra.

 

Regards,

 

Jason

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Hi Dave,

 

Built this shortly after it came out and may still have it somewhere in my roof. Never realised the tail was so wrong - hope my "new" Airfix one is better, trenches or no trenches.

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Yes Pete, your new Airfix PR.9 kit is a much better starting platform than this old thing, however it was a case of what I had in the stash and a somewhat craving to play with a Matchbox kit! The Hori stabs are probably not that noticeable once built, however you could never hide this fact if it was parked next to another Canberra kit. I hope to correct it in some regard, however will most probably leave the engine errors as they look to be too much work. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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Update #1 - Hori Stab Correction 

 

Besides getting close to finalising my Frog Canberra, I thought I'd do a quick update to show what progress I've made to the oversized Matchbox kit's Horizontal Stabilisers. To button up the fuselage I've used Tamiya's new-ish Quick Set Thin Cement which performed quite well. This product is a lot like their normal Extra Thin cement, however has a bit more bite and reacts faster - so far, so good. You can see where I've trimmed the kit's hori stab parts and once they set hard I will overfill the join gaps with CA.  In hindsight, I should have filled the inside of the fuselage with more CA, however I'm trusting that Matchbox have provided enough plastic here to allow me to blend in the additional plastic to match the rear fuselages smooth surface.  If I succeed, that will be shown the next update. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

 

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I'd somehow managed go forget Matchbox's multi coloured plastic in there kits, never worked out why...

 

Improvements look good, will see where you go with this.

 

Geoff 

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Update #2 - the kit corrections continue

 

I was fortunate to spend the best part of a day on and off this build yesterday. All in all some good progress on the three worse areas of this kit - the oversized Hori stabs are now all faired in, the too long and pointed nose cone has been cut back and replaced with a spare 1/48 Mustang spinner and I've made a start to (hopefully?) beefing up those tiny engine intakes with the addition of a pair of spare 1/72 Special Hobby large bore engine intakes. Photos below with some additional captions. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

 

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Original Matchbox Nose Cone - a little too pointy 

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Left - cut Matchbox kit nose piece. // Middle - sawn off nose tip // Right - Mustang 1/48 Spinner cap(from the Tamiya kit)

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Still a little long, but much better than what's provided 

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Left - Original Matchbox kit piece // Right -the beefing up experiment starts 

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Cut pieces of small plastic strips and a good douse of CA are applied to the back end of the larger ring. Then it's sand and fill until I reach a happy conclusion!  

48742165528_26f90376e1_b.jpg

 

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That looks like a lot of fettling for one day - all worthwhile improvements I reckon. 😀 

Possibly less work than filling the Airfix kit's trenches as well...

 

What will you do for the panel lines when the time comes?

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1 hour ago, Jinxman said:

What will you do for the panel lines when the time comes?

Good thing the Canberra is a pretty smooth aircraft! Might do a little rescribing however not overly keen to do too much. I'll see how things go? 

Cheers.. Dave 

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1 hour ago, Natter said:

Not one of Matchboxes finest then?  Nice work bringing it in to line Dave.

No, I can name plenty of Matchbox kits that are better, however its still a bit of fun so we’ll see how far I get. 

 

59 minutes ago, Foghorn Leghorn said:

:popcorn:

Hope you’ve got a big bag.. I’m not the quickest modeller! 

 

Cheers and thanks.. Dave 

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The corrections look great. It’s not often that you see kit manufacturers making things too large (*) but it’s easier to correct I suppose.

 

Regards,

Adrian

 

(*) Off the top of my head, all too narrow: Airfix IL-2, old He111, Battle, FROG Oxford, Skua, Gloster Whittle, plus the Beaufort cowlings...

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