by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Airfix's 1:72 Canberra PR.9 is a very nice kit - clearly, in many ways, scaled down from its quarterscale predecessor. However, the detail provided is a little soft, and Canberra experts have raised concerns that the cockpit interior is really only appropriate to bomber versions. Eduard has answered calls for more detail, both internal and external, with a series of upgrades for the kit. (Note: The accompanying shots of the parts fitted to the kit are of Eduard's own prototypes - hence the copper and brass colours, and no pre-painted details.)
73352 - Canberra PR.9 details - $29.95By far the most elaborate of the sets, #73352 arrives on two frets, one of which is pre-painted and self adhesive, and comprises 260 new etched parts to both completely transform the kit's interior and add plenty of detail elswhere on the aircraft. The sheer number of parts should make it clear that this isn't a beginners' set, and some of the metal pieces are so tiny that they will challenge even seasoned "photo-etchers". But if you've got the experience to use all the parts, the level of detail will make the Airfix kit into a real show-stopper.
Both the pilot's and navigator's "offices" get a complete overhaul. Included are delicately pre-painted instrument panels, consoles, seat harnesses and other details for the ejector seats. There's a new radar equipment for the nose which can be swung open, plus an escape hatch to allow more of the nose compartment to be seen. The quality of the pre-painting is superb, with detail far finer than most of us could hope to match. One point to note; Eduard have used a very dark grey for the panels and consoles - presumably as a "scale black" and to allow the actual instrument faces (which are full black) to stand out.
Turning to the exterior, there are plenty of extras for the undercarriage, wheel wells and doors, plus a plethora or aerials and sensors. Lastly, there's a pair of covers for the jet intakes.
While the set is outstanding in its own right, for me, the real fun will come in combining the etched precision of Eduard's parts with Pavla Models' replacement cockpits and wheel wells. The latter are so much better detailed than the original Airfix parts, adding Eduard's intricate metal items should look astounding in this scale.
72502 - Canberra PR.9 Landng Flaps - $ 24.95The Airfix kit comes with separate flaps, but they still cry out for extra detail, so they make an ideal candidate for Eduard's delicate etched alternatives.
58 new parts look more daunting than they really are; so long as you follow the instructions closely and don't rush things, Eduard's metal flaps are reasonably straightforward to assemble and use. The crucial thing is to thin the areas of the kit where the flaps attach sufficiently to fit them. Once installed, they provide a level of intricacy that no plastic kit parts can hope to achieve.
72506 - Canberra PR.9 Ladder - $ 12.95If you superdetail the Canberra's cockpit, you're really going to want to pose the canopy open to show it off - and if you do that, it's the perfect excuse to go one step further and add an extra bit of eye-candy - a dainty little etched boarding ladder!
There are only 5 parts to it, so it's really just an excercise in careful folding, and some may question the price which seems a little steep. The parts are obviously flat, but in this scale there should be no concerns about any "2-deminsionality", particularly after a coat or two of paint.
InstructionsAll the sets are backed up by well illustrated instructions that break assembly down into manageable stages. They are supplied printed in black and white, but colour-shaded versions are available on Eduard's website and these really do make it clearer where modifications are needed to the original kit parts. Whichever version you use, the one weakness with the instructions - and this applies particularly to the interior details - is that no colour notes are provided, so you'll need to find your own painting references.
ConclusionEduard's etched additions to the Airfix Canberra will lift it from the "very good" to "competition" level in one fell swoop. But, as stated above, these upgrades are definitely not suitable for inexperienced modellers. However, for anyone used to working with etched upgrades they will provide a very satisfying modelling challenge. Recommended.
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