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Monday, March 21, 2011

Xtrakit BAC Canberra PR9

Before Airfix produced their new set of 1:72 Canberras, Xtrakit was the first out of the gate with a newly tooled version of this classic British Cold War jet bomber. Actually, this is the reconnaissance version with the modified wings and the camera inserts in the lower fuselage. I have built the Airfix bomber version as well, and can say that it is a much easier construction job. The Xtrakit version isn’t bad, exactly, but it does exhibit all the issues that embody the phrase “short run kit”. Now, I say this having been in the hobby for a number of years, so I readily acknowledge that short run kits have improved exponentially over the last two decades. (I’m working on a first generation MPM McDonnell FH-1, so I know whereof I speak). But as long as you know what you’re getting into, the Xtrakit Canberra PR9 is a decent enough molding job. It was done, I believe, by Sword, after Hannants’ recent falling out with MPM over the Meteor F8.

The biggest problem I had was on the wing/fuselage joint. I just couldn’t seem to eliminate the gap during construction, so I had to do a bit of putty work to seal things up. The canopy was fine and clear (and not a vacuform, thankfully). The wheel wells were a challenge, with a huge ejector mark right in the middle of the raised structure.

The markings are from Model Alliance. This was a special commemorative marking when the PR9 was being retired from active duty. Colors are Hemp over Light Aircraft Grey, with an MSG tail. The MA sheet does not provide any stenciling, so that has to come from the Xtrakit decals. I’m a diehard sucker for special schemes, especially on a type (the PR9) that isn’t really known for interesting markings.

Even though I added fishing weights into the nose, I clearly didn’t add enough as the model is a tail-sitter. So ignore the scale 200-gallon industrial tub of Xtracolor paint that mysteriously appears in the photos below.

Incidentally, also ignore that nasty question-mark shaped thing that has snuck into the photo. It appears to be something on the camera’s sensor, since it does not appear in any picture that isn’t taken at a high f-stop (thereby increasing the depth of field enough to pick it up within the focus field). I’ve got a new cleaning kit on the way from Amazon, but wanted to get this article posted. I told you I was impatient.

This is completed model #349, finished in March of 2011.

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