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Mike

Shorts Tucano T.1 Current RAF & 2010 Display

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Shorts Tucano T.1 Current RAF & 2010 Display



1:48 Alley Cat Resin from A2Zee Models

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boxtop2.jpg

The Tucano is the RAF's basic trainer, license built from Embraer, Brazil's successful aerospace company. It is a 2-seat turbo-prop and replaced the much-loved Jet Provost in the late 1980s. The airframe is much improved from the basic Embraer design, and has a Hawk facsimile cockpit as well as Martin-Baker 8LC ejector seats, all of which help with transition to the next stage for the pilots.

A 1:48 kit has been a long time coming with much bemoaning of that fact over the years, but apart from one other company releasing a kit some while ago, this is the first kit that should be easy for us to obtain in the UK. This new kit from Alley Cat Resin is available in two flavours. Either the familiar gloss black scheme of the current RAF trainers, or the Green/brown Battle of Britain scheme worn by the 2010 RAF Display aircraft.

The kit is true multi-media, consisting of resin parts, white metal and Photo-Etched (PE) components, but don't let that put you off. On opening the white cardboard box, you are greeted by a bubblewrap envelope containing the main parts, two bags of smaller parts, three bags of white metal parts (two containing nose weights), a bag of clear cast resin parts, and another bag containing 2 sheets of decals, PE parts and some handy vinyl canopy masks. As I said - quite a package for £45, and knowing how expensive resin and RTV rubber is, that makes this a very good deal, so hats off to Ali for the fair price.

The main parts in the bubblewrap bag are the fuselage and wings. The fuselage is cast in one piece up to the engine firewall, with an opening top and bottom for the canopy and wings respectively. The wings are a single casting with plenty of wheel well detail and cut-outs for the flaps and wingtip lights. Cleanup is minimal, consisting of a thin casting plug on the tail, some flash on the underside of the cockpit (an aid to casting), and a plug at the rear fuselage mating point on the wings. One solitary bubble is evident on the trim tab of the port aileron.

fuselage.jpg

The rudder, flaps, and horizontal tail are all separate parts allowing you to pose the aircraft in a more informal configuration, and two sets of flaps are provided, each cast to make posing the flaps up or down easier for the modeller. Again, clean and crisp is the order of the day, with very tidy casting plugs on the hinge-edges minimising clean-up.

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The final bag of resin contains 6 "sprues" of parts for the cockpit, wheels, spinner, exhausts and gear bay doors, plus the basic cockpit tub and two Martin Baker ejector seats. These parts are all well cast with plenty of detail - the instrument panels with their built-in coamings have raised and recessed detail, although no decals are provided for the instrument faces. That small gripe aside, a little careful painting or a sheet of generic cockpit decals should see you right, and the instructions helpfully include pictures of the real panels. A few PE parts are used here to depict some levers in the cockpit, but the seatbelts are moulded into the seats. I say "but", but they're very nicely done, so unless you have a irrational hatred of moulded in belts, you won't need to fix what isn't broken!

cockpit.jpg

The bag of white metal parts is very crisply moulded and is some of the nicest work of its kind I have seen. The four prop blades, twin joysticks and landing gear parts are all here, and their location is well documented in the instructions. The aforementioned bay doors are handed, and the casting plug has P and S to ensure you get them on the right sides. If you have a poor memory like me, I remember that "port" has the same number of letters as "left"... works for me!

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The clear parts are bagged separately, and the small parts are within their own smaller bag to avoid damage to the large clear resin canopy. This is (I think) the first resin canopy I have studied in detail, and it looks good. Framing detail is portrayed by recessed lines, and the prominent riveting around the edge is also there. Clarity is good, and should improve again after a dip in Klear/Future, and the fact that it is resin will please those that aren't big fans of cutting vacformed canopies to size. There is moulding excess all around the canopy to ensure the part wasn't short-shot, which is best removed with either a razor saw or aggressive grade sanding sticks.

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NOTE: Very fine dust is not good for you if it gets deep within your lungs, so please wear a respirator or close-fitting dust mask if you are planning on sanding or cutting any of the resin parts.

The decal sheet will vary depending on which boxing you go for, and I'll update this review with 2010 display sheet when I have it to hand. Color density is good, the decals are very crisp, and registration is good. The white appears to be out of register by a truly miniscule amount, which is only really noticeable under magnification, so shouldn't show under normal circumstances.

decals.jpg

You can build one of 6 options from the current RAF all-over black scheme, as follows:

XF140 of 207® squadron, Linton-on-Ouse, 2010

XF294 of 207® squadron, Linton-on-Ouse, 2010

XF169 "Makesi" of 72® Squadron, Linton-on-Ouse, 2006

XF349 "Lewis & Harris Fighter" of 72® Squadron, Linton-on-Ouse, 2004

XF172 DP.D, "Dorothy" of 72® Squadron, Linton-on-Ouse, 2007

XF239 DP.T, "Topsy" of 72® Squadron, Linton-on-Ouse, 2007

The 2010 Display Scheme boxing allows you build one of the following:

XF317 "QJ.F", Linton-on-Ouse, 2010

XF317 "LZ.R", Linton-on-Ouse, 2010

Both of which are painted in BoB Dark Green and Dark Earth over Sky. This is the one that I will be building shortly.

Conclusion

It's a cracker of a model at a fair price in this reviewer's opinion. A much loved and much neglected aircraft in 1:48 scale that can now be bought from a reputable trader in the UK for around the same price as an injection styrene model if one existed.

Don't be put off by the "multi-media kit" title, as once the casting blocks are removed it builds very simply. All you need is to remember to use Super Glue (CA) or epoxy glue instead of your usual styrene glue. The instructions recommend you use CA or Milliput to fill any seams, and I'd agree with that wholeheartedly. Other than that, you just need to wash all of the parts in warm soapy water to remove the mould release agent.

I've updated this review with a picture of the finished model and a link to the build thread here.

complete3.jpg

Recommended to all but the total novice, and a great introduction to resin and Photo-Etch.

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Review sample courtesy of Ali at logo.gif

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I have to agree and say it does look a very nice kit. I had the chance to have a look at one 'in the flesh' recently and can say a dry run/fit of the nose to the main fuselage is good. Might well be tempted to make one. :thumbsup2:

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Now I really want to get one of these, great review, and now I've seen what you get in the package

I'll think I'll treat myself :frantic:

Dan

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You might as well guys... it's reet nice. I've been fiddling with it a little already (ooer!), and it looks like it won't be a difficult build :)

The other thing is - it's a comprehensive package, even down to the nose weight. You don't need any aftermarket to make a complete model :thumbsup:

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I may go with one, when funds allow. Although I'm (perhaps) just above a novice, I'm prepared for the challenge of an unfamiliar media.

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Certainly does look very nice. Not normally my genre, but will definitely be getting one.

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I have got this kit and wholoeheartedly concur with the review - it is VERY nice! I have also got the Aconcagua kit so it will be interesting to compare the two. Well done A2Z!

John

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If you have a poor memory like me, I remember that "port" has the same number of letters as "left"...

I always remembered it because Right has an 'R' in it and so does Starboard... Until someone told me, well you can guess the rest... :doh:

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That looks absolutely superb!

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It looks far less cranky than the Aconagua kit; I have a partially-built Aconagua and that has been the most difficult resin build I have done so far.

Andy

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Really want one of these my order will be going in next weekend for sure now

Dave

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