by: Tim Hatton [ ]
If I was only allowed to build one type of aircraft for the rest of my days I would choose the Buccaneer without a shadow of a doubt. The aircraft is not only a beautiful shape, but it, as well as the company that built it originally, Blackburn, both share an interesting history. The whole Buccaneer programme was one of determination and confidence in their product. I would recommend highly reading about the development, building and service life of the Buccaneer, to much to go into here. Originally rejected by the RAF but served with distinction with the Royal Navy, the Buccaneer would eventually find favour with the RAF when the TSR 2 and the purchase of F-111 was canceled. Blackburn itself had to develop it's own milling machines for the airframe and the skin of the aircraft. As Blackburn did not have a suitable airfield, aircraft had to be towed to a suitable airfield by road to be tested. As I say it is well worth your while to do a bit of reading.
In 1986 the full Avionics Upgrade Programme, ASR 1012 was initiated. This involved Buccaneers being released from front line service and flown to Bae Woodford in Cheshire for an extensive upgrade package. This consisted of:
-Installation of a new flight control system.
-Incorporation of the Ferranti FIN 1063 Inertial Navigation System.
-The fitting of TRACOR AN/ALE-40 chaff and flare dispensers.
-The modification of the radar warning receivers to Sky Guardian 200, these were fitted, where the wing mounted wide band homer aerial pods were fitted.
-Full sidewinder capability so that the AIM-9G and AIM-9L could be carried.
-Cockpit changes to allow the crew to fly wearing full AR5 NBC suites.
Although 60 aircraft were scheduled to be upgraded, rising costs and major finicial cut backs during the 1987 defence review, only 42 Buccaneer S.Mk2B's were eventually modified.
On the 7th February 1980 during Exercise Red Flag Buccaneer S.Mk2B, XV345 crashed during a violent manoeuvre, killing both the pilot Sqn. Ldr. KJ Tait and navigator Flt. Lt CR Rushton. The crash was caused by the catastrophic failure of the starboard wing and subsequent investigations identified that the front spar had developed fatigue cracks. As a result of the crash and analysis of other Buccaneers, the whole fleet with the exception of a few Quick Reaction Alert Buccaneers were grounded for six months. The cause of the fatigue problems was found to be the introduction of a enlarged triangular wing tip on the Rolls Royce Spey powered Buccaneer S Mk 2. Oddly the new wing arrangement had never been fatigue tested. From August 1989, Mod. 1736 was initiated, which saw the replacement of the wingtip with an adapted version of the original S Mk1 wingtip.
Source: Andy White.
This kit from CMR comes in a very strong box that has a top opening lid. All the resin parts are in two bags with eight plastic cells, the two fuselage halves are packed separately. For added safety there are lots of foam peanuts stopping things from rattling and moving around. The resin is a rather interesting green colour and unlike some resin models I have had in the past, the resin has no smell. The water slide decals, vac formed parts, PE parts and masks are individually wrapped.
-A number of resin parts.
-2 x sheets of PE parts, produced by Eduard.
-2 x vac formed canopies.
-2 x vac formed blast screens.
-2 x decal sheets plus a errata for a aircraft no.
-1 x sheet of paint mask for the canopy.
-17 pages of instructions and paint guides.
- 6 page walkaround including black and white photographic references.
-2 pages of information on the Buccaneer S Mk 2B.
This kit from CMR gives you several options to display your Buccaneer:
-Open or closed air brakes.
-Open bomb bay.
-Optional flap positions.
-Extended or retracted tail hook and skid.
-Bomb bay door fuel tank.
-Canopy open or closed.
Cockpit has a one piece tub for both pilot and navigator. There are low relief details on the side consoles and likewise on the pilots instrument panel. I particularly like the monitors in the navigators position, the monitor for the Martel missiles sits between the navigators legs. If you don't fancy highlighting the raised detail there is a lovely set of pre-coloured PE parts for the instruments by Eduard. If you go for this option it will be necessary for you to sand down the raised detail. There are two resin MB Mk6 ejection seats that are livened up with PE pre-coloured parts including seat harnesses. CMR have accurately depicted the way the seats are located slightly either side of the centre line. This was to allow the navigator a better view forward. The one piece canopy will need to be cut if you want to depict the canopy open. Fear not there are two vac formed canopies included. There are also a couple of vac formed blast screens for the navigator. There is a resin frame to fit to the canopy between the two crews positions. There is also a couple of PE parts to glue to the canopy that represent the distinctive looking detonating cords.
Fuselage is split horizontally, with the inner wing integrally part of the fuselage. The beautifully curvaceous body, with cross sections designed in accordance with the area rule, looks very, very good. The mating surfaces will need a little attention with wet and dry to ensure a good fit. The one piece vertical tail is separate. There are some very fine and sharp panel lines on the whole of the aircraft. The nose wheel bay is cast integrally with the lower fuselage. Unfortunately there is a lack of detail in there. A pity as the photo by Andy Robinson showing this area reveals a good amount of detail. The separate main undercarriage bays need to be fixed in place before joining the fuselage halves. There is some nice detailing in there, but not quite as much as seen in the photo included in the walkaround. The two jet exhaust pipes are beautifully thin and are blanked off giving about a 1 cm depth to the pipes. These need to be installed before joining the fuselage halves. The two one piece air intakes are very nicely done. They are also blanked off and the primary compressor is fitted onto the blanking plate. The open areas, such as the area where the main landing gear and the cockpit are is covered by a thin film of resin. Should be no trouble at all removing it. There is a little flash here and there on some items, but nothing that can't be easily cleaned up.
CMR provide the choice of two bomb bay doors. One is the standard door and the other is with the integral fuel tank, that gives the distinctive bulged look to the bomb bay. CMR have cleverly designed the inside of the standard bomb bay door to act as the ceiling of the bomb bay. The reason why this is possible is that the bomb bay doors rotate into the fuselage so are not visible when open. The inside of the bomb bay of the Buccaneer is festooned with cables and ducts, but these are not represented in the bomb bay.
This being an aircraft designed for the Royal Navy, there are plenty of bits that fold to allow the aircraft to be as compact as possible. Folding or hinged parts include:
-Nose cone, which hinged back.
-Open or closed rear air brakes.
The separate nose cone shape is superbly captured by CMR. I do like the inclusion of resin and PE parts for both sides of the open nose cone. The one piece outer wings with the revised wing tips looks very accurate, and has the wing fold details integrally cast. As do the inner wings, the hinge mechanism is cast on the upper wing. The parts that represent the folding mechanism look as if they will provide a positive fit. CMR provide two types of airbrake depending on which aircraft you model. If you want the brakes closed then there are four components. If you want the brakes open, then the component count goes up to seven. I like the detail on the inner faces of the airbrakes and also the detail for the airbrake mechanism.
Tail surfacesThe tail is nicely shaped, with some very fine engraved panel lines and access panels. The inlet part way up the leading edge of the fin is hollow with very thin walls. There is a good sized stub for locating the horizontal tail on top of the fin. The horizontal tail surface is in one piece with generous slot to place the stub on top of the fin into. The horizontal tail surface has the correct slightly angled down look of the real thing.
UndercarriageThe rather robust undercarriage is very nicely represented. The main legs are made up of two parts that fit around the wheels. The same goes for the front undercarriage but there is an extra part that represents the hydraulic ram. The landing light is cast onto the front leg. The gear doors look very convincing, particularly the main wheel doors. The wheels are very well done with low relief spokes and nuts. While on the subject of things that retract, there is a tail skid that can be displayed up or down and the same for the arrestor hook. I like the representation of the spring on the arrestor hook, good attention to detail.
Payload CMR have been very generous with things to hang from your Buccaneer and they include:
-1 x AIM-9 Sidewinder acquisition round.
-1 x AIM-9G, with PE fins.
-1 x AIM-9L, with PE fins.
-1 x AN/AVQ-23E Pave Spike laser designation pod.
-1 x AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod.
-2 x AS 37 AR acquisition rounds / AS 37 Anti Radar Martel Missile with resin fins cast in place.
-4 x Sea Eagle Missile or acquisition rounds with PE fins.
-4 x 1000lb bombs, high explosive substitutes [HES], with fins cast on.
-1 x Paveway II 1000lb HES bomb, fully cast with fins and guidance warhead.
-2 x CBLS 100 practice bomb carriers.
-4 x 28lb practice bombs.
-2 x 250 gallon slipper tanks, cast as one piece.
-2 x AN/ALE-40 Chaff dispensers.
Also included are universal and dedicated weapon pylons. Included with the PE parts are two jigs to aid the location of the PE fins for the Sidewinder and the Sea Eagle missiles.
Markings: CMR provide markings for five aircraft in overall disruptive pattern of dark green and dark sea grey and five aircraft in two tone grey. Aircraft are based at RAF Lossiemouth and come from 12 Sqn and 208 Sqn RAF. All the camouflage colours have FS numbers. The paint guides are very good, but do be aware that some of the disruptive schemes are slightly different from the standard scheme depending on which aircraft you are building. So pay close attention to the schemes provided by CMR.
Decals are on two small sheets plus a tiny errata sheet. Roundels and fin flashes are red and blue for the disruptive camouflage scheme and pale blue and pink for the two tone grey. There are stencils supplied as well as squadron badges. The quality of the decals look very good with good colour depth.
Instruction: The graphics by Ben Dyer are excellent. The diagrams are exploded black line with very helpful written details. It includes the names of and the use of certain parts such as the 'violet picture' radio homing aerials, rain clearance duct, etc. Great stuff. The instruction provide the dimensions to place the weapon pylons accurately if you choose to use them, and with the weapons choice provided, you would have to be slightly mad not too. The ten schemes provided are according to CMR historically accurate and are sequenced from A to J. This is important as these schemes are linked to the payload each individual aircraft carried on a particular date. I really like the guide for applying the smoke stains from the engines along the rear fuselage, nice touch. For each scheme CMR provide port and starboard views of the aircraft and also a upper and lower plan view of the two styles of camouflage. I particularly enjoyed the historical overview of the Buccaneer S Mk 2B by Andy [Mr Buccaneer]White.
This is a quality release from CMR and a look at the number of versions of the Buccaneer released by them suggest a massive appreciation of the type. I am hugely impressed with the components, the instructions and information. This has to be one of the best 1/72 scale Buccaneers I have ever seen. I have made the Airfix and Matchbox kits and this is light years ahead. I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail in the wheel and bomb bays, but that in no way detracts from this superb release. The amount of things to hang from the wings and the bomb bay is amazing and as you can't use them all, there are plenty for the spares box. Nice one CMR.
Many thanks to Petr Buchar from CMR for this review sample.