Airfix 1/48 B-57G Canberra Build Review
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||November 2019||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||A10104||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Unique subject||Cons||Needs lots of help to get it right|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (BP)||OOP|
For a look at this kit out of the box, look here.
The B-57G is probably my favorite Canberra variant. Not because it is pretty but because it is not! It was very purpose-built, and it had an interesting history and a bumpy development. There is a great account of its development at AFD-110323-015.pdf. There are a lot of details in this historical account and report (published in 1978). All the things that are happening today with acquisition with delays and overruns are described exactly in the same manner (just add bell-bottom jeans and tie-dyes)!
Airfix released a family of USAF Canberras under the Hornby umbrella providing parts for a B, an RB-57B, and a G. The kit is very soft on detail and not very accurate at all. I am focusing on the G which is OK for a toy but not for a modern design. I went ahead and used a bunch of aftermarket stuff. The most important addition is the DMold forward fuselage that makes the model look like a G. Airfix totally missed the mark. Instead of cutting the fuselage behind the cockpit and providing a proper G forward fuselage they kept the cockpit intact and gave us a ridiculous forward plug that looks like a hot dog. The problem with the DMold conversion is that it is elegant and has all the discrete panel lines in the right places and makes the rest of the model look like a toy. There are many areas in the kit that need to be thrown away, like the rudder, the Paveways, the control surfaces, the intakes and in the end, you wind up needing a new kit.
I started the build with the forward fuselage resin corrections set. I dipped the fuselage parts in boiling water for a few seconds so the resin memory could set them back in their original shape. Resin in baggies usually warps a bit in shipping and with storage. All the resin parts fit pretty good. Dark Gull Gray FS36231 was used and flat black for the cockpit. The DMold set includes all the relevant instrument panel detail that the Airfix kit missed but does not include the Douglas Escapac IC6 ejection seats so the generic Airfix kit seats had to be spruced up based on photos I found here. The forward fuselage was eventually adjusted and fitted to the plastic main fuselage with cyanoacrylate glue. The bomb bay was bowed in and the rotary cover would not fit. Spacers needed to be inserted to counteract the bow-in effect.
Work continued with the tail area. What a disaster. The rudder is a joke, in today's internet world this is the best they could come up with? I had two alternates. The Two Bobs ruder is OK but misses the tab and had too many mold defects. The DMold rudder was very good with all the correct panel lines, trim tab and lighter weight resin.
The horizontal stabilizers from the Airfix kit have no panel lines whatsoever. The Two Bobs stabs include the wing roots and go all the way to the fuselage and have the correct panel lines, but they had too many mold defects again and are heavy. I used them as a reference and scribed the Airfix stabs. Of course, I had to sand clean the wing/fuselage joints and continue the scribe lines from the wings all the way to the fuselage.
The intakes and exhausts were done next. I left the exhausts alone, but I had to add the cartridge starter ports. Too characteristic of a Canberra to miss.
My forward resin fuselage graft worked OK and some plastic panel lines were reworked to match the resin panel lines.
Next, I worked the "mystery" area: the sensor package on the front of the nose had a Westinghouse FLIR and night light amplification packages. I never found much detail in photos on the web, so very little was known to me. I had only one grainy black and white photo from the front of the plane that showed some of the sensors. I used that and created a sensor suite that will look okay behind the glass cover which I will tint a bit anyway.
I think the main stuff is done and painting will follow next.