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GWH 1/144 scale R.A.F. TSR.2

Kit:L1003 // Scale:1/144 // Price:$36.95
Finely scribed surface detail; separate gear doors; stand for in-flight display
Minor fit issues; weak connection between the main gear bogies and struts
Injection-molded, 94 parts, decals

In the history of modern aviation, there are a few “what-if” aircraft that evoke an emotional response among aficionados because they were cancelled mainly for political reasons. For Canadians, it’s the Avro CF-105 interceptor; for Americans, the Boeing SST supersonic transport; and for the British, the TSR.2 strike bomber. If it were in service today, the TSR.2 would look right at home on the flight line — even though it first flew fifty years ago.

Following its excellent Vulcan kits, GWH has released a 1/144 scale model of this sleek bomber. Molded in white plastic with finely scribed surface detail, the 94 parts include a stand and crew figures. You can model it with landing gear retracted or extended; bomb bay doors open or closed; canopies open or closed; and with or without external stores. The decal sheet has markings to build any one of the three original prototypes. As with its earlier models, GWH’s instructions are written in Chinese. But the diagrams are pretty clear.

Before assembling the upper and lower fuselage halves, I added some ballast (even though it’s not mentioned in the instructions). Almost immediately, I deviated from the suggested sequence by not attaching the wings as recommended. Doing so would make installing the intakes and main gear bays more difficult. I added those parts to the fuselage first, then the wings. I left off all the stabilizers and the exhaust until the end of the build. Overall fit was good, though I did have to thin down the forward edge of the flaps so they fit flush with the top of the wings. 

Two areas needed attention. The clear parts did not match up with each other in the closed position, so I displayed them opened. The windscreen needs some sanding to fit, too.

My biggest challenge with this kit was the main gear. The wheel bogie attaches to the main strut at a single point, offering little purchase for the bond. The wheels should be perpendicular to the ground, but those on the model angle inward and forward. I opened the “half moon” hole on the bogies so they could rest parallel to the ground, but the joint was still flimsy. I would suggest you add a small brass pin to connect the strut and the boogie.

Painting is simple — it’s white. To break up the monotone, I spayed some off-white and light gray in various bays and panels. I chose to depict aircraft 219, since it was the only prototype to fly, flew many missions, and was quite weathered. I’ve had problems with GWH decals silvering on other builds, so I made sure I had a good gloss coat laid down. This and the white background definitely helped. I used pastels to depict wear on the model. The canopies’ clear portions are gold and almost opaque.

This is a great little kit, but the engineering of the main gear is a problem. You can display the model on the kit-supplied stand, and this might be a good choice if you do not want to deal with the landing gear challenges.

I spent about 15 hours on this kit. Beginners with a few kits behind them will be able to produce a great replica of this historic aircraft. I hope GWH has a Victor bomber in the works.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2014 FineScale Modeler.


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