by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History The Barracuda was a shoulder-wing aircraft fitted with a set of large Youngman wing flaps mounted at the wing trailing edge and featured also rather unusually looking L-shaped undercarriage legs. The aircraft was capable of anti-shipping torpedo attacks, level and dive (up to 70 degrees angle) bombing and was also used for long range reconnaissance duties.
Its electronic equipment consisted of an ASV IIN radar set.
Although the Barracuda had primarily been designed as a torpedo bomber, the number of actual attack missions with this weapon was rather low and these took place only in Norwegian waters.
The Barracuda was most of the time used in a dive bomber role, saw action during the Allied landing in Italy, carried out attack against German battleship Tirpitz (some of the planes being equipped with ex-US 1600 pound AP bombs) and also, taking off from either land bases or aircraft carriers, flew missions against German maritime traffic off Norwegian shore and patrolled the sea against German U-boats.
Info from Special Hobby
In the box The kit comes in an attractive top opening box, with a beautifully painted picture of a Barracuda in flight with a couple of aircraft carriers in the background.
Inside the box, you will find three grey plastic sprues, one clear sprue , a set of decals and the instruction booklet.
There are around 142 grey parts of which 5 are not used, and 14 clear parts.
Moulding is good with very little clean up on my sample, although some of the sprue gates are quite large, so some careful removing and clean up will need to be done.
The kit features engraved panel lines which are quite restrained and the fabric covered control surfaces are nicely done and not over sagged.
The wings have several clear parts for landing lights and navigation lights, and windows for the air gunner in the wing roots.
Two wing fences are fitted which helped the airflow over the ailerons when external stores were carried. Two large flaps are also fitted underneath the wings. Two YAGI antennas are placed on the top of the wings, and are pretty well done considering these are injected plastic. Photo etch antennas would have been nice.
The main control surfaces are moulded in the neutral position, so surgery would be required to position them off center.
The wings are butt fitted to the fuselage, so dry fitting before cementing in place is a must.
The radiator is made up of three parts with an air splitter sandwiched in the middle of the "mouth" and radiator panel, which has a nice restrained mesh effect moulded onto it.
The four bladed propeller is made up of four blades, with each blade having a flat surface at the base to cement into the correct location on the spinner base, so the correct angle can be modelled.
The kit has a nice level of detail, with the cockpit taking 10 stages of the 25 stage build.
The instrument panel has raised dials for detail, but no decals, so you will have to resort too the age old method of painting.
Two of the three seats are made up of three parts each with the third made of one piece, but none of them have any harness's supplied.
The cockpit although lacking in some respects still looks nice and busy.
Before closing the fuselage up, the arrestor hook A-frame panel and the torpedo/centre-bomb shackle parts need to be fitted.
The main wheel wells have moulded on detail for the floor, and a four parts each for the sidewalls, which should look fairly good once built.
The main undercarriage looks rather simple and looks quite sturdy as the legs are made up of two parts each, with two gear doors for each bay.
Now we come to the main wheels which according to Roy Sutherland of Barracuda Studios has found the kits wheels are undersized. A new correct size set has been produced by Barracuda Studios if you wish to replace this part of the kit.
The non-retractable tail wheel is one piece and fits on to a pre drilled hole on the aft fuselage.
Bomb shackles or the wings are supplied but no bombs are in the box, but Special Hobby do produce three sets of AM bombs.
For the center line weapon station you have a choice of 1600lb armour piercing bomb or 18” Mk.XIIB torpedo with an optional air-tail which helped stabilize the torpedo in flight.
The clear parts are thin and blemish free, with the majority of the side windows being able to fit on the fuselage from the outside, which will help painting.
The main canopy is one piece and is moulded in the closed position unfortunately.
Some serious masking will need to be done, as the canopy has the green house look to it, but the framing is quite raised which should help.
Instructions, markings and decals The instruction is a full colour A4 size stapled booklet, with the build taking place over 25 steps.
The build looks fairly easy to do, but due to Special Hobby's, short run nature, no locating tabs are found on the kit, so test fitting is the key to success.
Internal and external paints are given throughout for the Gunze Aqueous, Mr. Color, and three Alclad II paint-codes.
The decal sheet is printed by Eduard, so I would not expect any problems with them. The decals are in a stain finish. Look to be in register and have minimal carrier film.
Two marking options are supplied, which are -
LS550 or LS556 of 829 Naval Air Squadron, aboard HMS Victorious, May 1944.
BV937 of 830 Naval Air Squadron, aboard HMS Furious, 3 April 1944. This is one of the aircraft of Operation Tungsten aimed against the German battleship Tirpitz.
Both aircraft have the Sky lowers with Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey uppers.
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