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Reviews : British Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2015 - 23:52:06

Blackburn Buccaneer. 1/48. Airfix
By Calum Gibson -
Aug 25, 2006, 17:16

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Calum Gibson
I had heard many bad things about the Airfix 1/48 Buccaneer, but it's the only option in this scale so I had no choice. , I want to do the 3 major UK jets that took part in Operation Granby so I thought I'd have a go at the Buccaneer first. I picked this one up along with the Neomega cockpit on Trademe (NZ's version of Ebay) and then instructed my parents it was my birthday present :-). The kit cockpit is average at best, so getting the Neomega set with the kit was a bonus as I would have had to fork out about $50 AUD to buy it. The kit cockpit has decals for the instruments so it would be ok, particularly if you put the pilots and closed the canopy

As usual I started with the cockpit. However I had no instructions for the cockpit set. Some kind person on the ARC forums answered my call and e-mailed me a copy of the sheet. Even it is pretty basic, with no painting instructions but is slightly better than nothing.

Calum Gibson

I found a few cockpit pictures on the web which gave me the basic colours. The Neomega resin set is really nice but if I had to pay $50 AUD, I'd really expect some instructions. This web site and it's web master is an invaluable reference if you want to build a Buccaneer. I also recommend Ted's Modelworks for some tips on the kit itself.

The resin cockpit didn't have the correct layout as far as I could tell for the later model Buccaneers so I had to build the additional Display unit which goes between the navigators legs. Not much legroom down there.

The kit wasn't quite as bad as I'd been led to believe but it certainly wasn't as easy a build as a Tamyia or Hasegawa kit, but it wasn't impossible. I've only been back into modeling for about 3 years so I'm no expert, this kit just took (quite a bit) of patience.

Getting the resin cockpit to fit was a bit of a struggle, in fact it's not quite right but I'm not telling where. The cockpit set didn't come with a HUD glass so some clear card was used with some wire as the supports. I had heard this kit suffers from a wrapped fuselage. Not sure which way it is supposed to be warped but mine didn't look too bad. A bit of filler was used to along the fuselage joins which are horizontal rather than vertically as usual. I also used a lot of filler around the intakes and the exhausts. I re-scribed the bomb bay as it had raised detail. I decided early on not to do the airbrakes open or the wings folded. I also opened a slot for the canopy to slide along on he upper fuselage as per Ted's Modelworks . The wheel well is pretty basic but I just couldn't be bothered trying to add any detail in there. Plus I figured no one would be looking in there except me.

Trying to get a good match for the colour took a bit of heartache. The recommended paint, Humbrol paint Desert Pink (250) was way to pink, even lighted up. perhaps that was how they looked straight from the paint shop but none of Gulf War aircraft (of any type) looked pink in any of the pictures I had seen (and I looked at a lot) In the end I used a mixture of Humbrol Satin Ok (71) with a drop of red and D some Desert Sand (63) I mixed up 3 batches of this during the painting process, the trick being not to overdo the red. the slight differences in colour didn't worry me as all the pictures of Operation Granby Buccaneers I had seen showed them very dirty. I also decided not to do the standard configuration I'd seen all other models. I decided I'd hang some CPU-123/B 'Paveway II, LGB's on my aircraft. I picked these up from AMRAAM lines. My configuration would be 2 X CPU-123/B Paveway II, 1 X Pave Spike and 1 X AN/ALQ-100 ECM Pod.

Originally I had intended to do the aircraft supplied in the box, but unfortunately Airfix had ch0sen one of the more un exciting aircraft with nose art. Thankfully Santa noticed that the Australian Museum of Flight had the Model Alliance Gulf War Buccaneer decal set and delivered them to me :-). The reminder of this set is now for sale if anyone's interested.

The aircraft was now assembled into it's major bits and painted, Now I had choose which aircraft I wanted to do I chose XW547 Guinness Girl as I loved the nose art, and I had a couple of photos of it. This was to turn out to be a bit of bad decision. I applied the decals as normal as per the instructions on the sheet.

I contacted the webmaster of to ask some questions, he pointed some bit of his site that were either new or I hadn't explored. In particular the pages for each aircraft that flew in Operation Granby. I was now I found out this was the ONLY aircraft that retained the original wingtips, my proposed configuration was incorrect and that the deal sheet had the roundels in the wrong place. Being a bit anal about these things, (if you listen to my wife I'm more than a bit), off came the small wingtips all the other aircraft had, (had to saw them off), on went the large wingtips, on went the starboard slipper tank, off came the roundels, (thankfully Model alliance give a you a spare sets. Also he pointed out that the forward wing hinges are exposed, not covered as Airfix had them. I scratch built the hinges as best I could from the one photo I had.

A few more questions revealed that flare dispensers needed to fitted to the inner of the outboard station, there were scratch built out of the spares box and square plastic stock. I also found a heap of new photos of Guinness Girl, some of her in Bahrain itself, these were valuable. Also she is one of the aircraft preserved in the RAF Museum Hendon, so there are a few of pictures of her there, she is a lot cleaner but still carries some of the stains of combat.

The kit was then touched up in places where it needed it an recoated in Kleer. A enamel was applied and then a coat of Gunze Flat applied. Next artists chalks were used to add all the dirt/sand that covered these aircraft during their stay in Bahrain. The stores were fitted and all the little antennas, pitot tubes etc fitted.

I wanted to do this one as it would be on the ground so with some more help from Andy (webmaster of ) I set about building all the blanks etc. The pitot tube blanks are rolled up tape, the intake blanks were made from plastic card, with handles made from wire. The exhaust blanks were made from the end of the tubes my scalpel blades came in, they were nearly a perfect size. The intake and exhaust blacks serve 2 purposes hide the average intakes and exhausts that come with the kit and look the part with all he other blanks etc. The attaching straps are just tape. The remove before fight tags were attached and one last coat of Gunze Flat applied.

The areas that looked glossy were then brush painted with Humbrol Clear gloss, The base is a tile painted with grey paint. The drum at the rear of the aircraft is a McDonalds' drinking straw and the chocks built from plastic tube stock. I tried to paint the MDC on the canopy but just couldn't, so I left it.

Some minor criticisms of the aftermarket stuff are, the AMRAAM Lines bomb needed a bit of work as the tips were poorly formed, the model alliance decals seem a bit small compared to the real thing and the roundels are shown in the wrong place and the Neomega cockpit set has no decent instructions. These are minor though.

Overall I'm very happy with the way this one turned out, particularly as I have heard that this was a dog of a kit and although it took me nearly 5 months to complete. I'm not sure I'd ever build another Airfix Buccaneer though, If I did I'd do it in the air. I'm that happy with it that I'm considering it being my first entry in the local modeling competition.

Calum Gibson

Calum Gibson

Calum Gibson

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