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P177K Kit

Freightdog Models 1/72 Saunder-Roe P177K Export Fighter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2007 Manufacturer Freightdog Models
Subject Saunder-Roe P177K Export Fighter Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72003 Primary Media Resin
Pros Beautiful casting, nice test-fit, even nicer detail Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (BP) £33.00

First Look

P177K Kit
P177K Kit
P177K Kit

The Saunders-Roe company was given the contract in 1952 to develop a small rocket powered interceptor that could dash to its target, unleash 50 unguided rockets, then glide back to base (similar to the German's Bachem Natter). This contract was altered to make the aircraft mixed power - a jet and rocket engine for power.

The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy were both interested in this new Mach 2.3 interceptor. The aircraft was to be powered with the Gyron Junior turbojet and boosted by the Spectre rocket engine. West Germany was also showing interest in this new fighter, but the Defence White Paper of April 1957 that restructured the entire UK defence industry as well as the priorities for new weapons systems development.

Numerous aircraft projects were cancelled and only those companies that re-structured in compliance with the white paper would have a shot at the only surviving aircraft program, the TSR-2 (which itself would later be cancelled). The only aircraft that survived the scuttling of the UK defence industry was the English Electric Lightning, and only because it was production ready.

There's a new model company in town - Freightdog Models. Actually, they're based in the UK, but in this day of the internet, they are right next door. Their first offering is the Saunders-Roe compound fighter, the model 177. They are offering this kit in three versions, the P177R for the RAF version, the P177N for the Royal Navy version, and this P177K for the export version. Aside from box art, the main difference between these three kits is the decal sheet.

Take a look at the first image. That packaging looks mighty familiar - this looks like an Anigrand Craftswork-produced model. Anigrand does produce resin kits for other companies as well as for their own line-up. The second image confirms the observation - this is another example of the fine engineering done by Anigrand.

The kit is simple in layout with 28 parts cast in tan resin plus two vacuformed canopies. The instrument panel, control stick, and ejection seat drop into the hollow-cast cockpit. The chin intake with integral nosegear well mounts under the assembled fuselage halves. The tailcone fairing also mounts the two engine nozzles. The wings, T-tail, and landing gear round out the project.

You're given two canopies in vacuform, one for the project and one spare (just in case). External options include a pair of underwing fuel tanks and a pair of wingtip guided missiles.

Markings are provided for four notional export color schemes, one Luftwaffe, one German Navy, and two JASDF aircraft.

It would have been interesting to see what this aircraft might of done if it had made it into flight test, but it was cancelled before the Americans discovered the principal of area rule. While the rocket motor might have made the SR177 supersonic, to paraphrase Vice Admiral Thomas Connolly's assessment of the F-111B, there wasn't enough thrust in all Christendom to get the SR177 to Mach 2.3.

Nevertheless, I like to see 'what-if' projects produced in kit form, especially with the quality that Anigrand Craftwork has provided in this project. While this may not be the cup of tea for the historical modeler, this will be fun for everyone else.

My sincere thanks to Freightdog Models for this review sample!