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Airfix 1/48 scale Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C/D plastic model kit review

Expect to spend about as much time on paint and decals as on building
Kit:A12012 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$99.99
Airfix (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Good parts fit; several options that don’t make the kit more complex to build
Tail parts don’t fit together well; no color chart
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 291 parts; decals
If there is only one thing you remember from this review, it should be, “Do not glue anything to the underside of the wing until after painting and decaling.” But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Blackburn Aircraft designed the Buccaneer in the 1950s to serve aboard British Royal Navy aircraft carriers. Capable of delivering nuclear payloads, the aircraft entered service in the 1960s, was later adopted by the Royal Air Force, and was retired in 1994 after seeing combat in the first Gulf War.

Airfix had done away with its super-soft, light blue plastic and the deep trenches that served as panel lines. The company’s new Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C/D plastic model kit has 291 detailed, gray plastic parts with beautifully recessed surface detail. Four decal options with full stencils are included for overall Extra Dark Sea Gray aircraft.

Building choices abound, including multiple weapons payloads, folded wings, an open engine bay, split speed brakes, an open canopy, boarding ladders, and FOD engine intake and exhaust covers. Two seated pilot figures are included.

I started by creating a paint chart because the 36-page instruction book didn’t include one. Only Humbrol paint callouts are scattered throughout the 171 construction steps. Next, I chose the payload and markings, which, in turn, dictated other build choices as the build went on. At this point, be sure to open the appropriate holes in the lower wings.

I appreciate Airfix providing detail-painting and decal instructions for the cockpit panels before the construction steps began. The drop-in panels fit well, and the level of cockpit detail is impressive. Airfix provides decal seat belts rather than photo-etched metal parts.

The kit contains a cone, in which you can seal the 15 grams of weight needed to prevent the finished model from sitting on its tail.

To keep it simple, I left the engine bay closed. But Airfix did provide an extra part to use as a paint mask if you choose to model it open. I went with the option for extended wings, and the support structure aligns everything nicely. Be sure to eliminate the raised ejector-pin marks on the mating surfaces.

The three fuselage sections (nose/cockpit, center/engine/wing, and tail cone) fit together without issues. The multipart “T” tail, however, did not. Repeated test-fitting and adjustment were needed.

I continued to keep things simple and modeled the speed brakes closed. These also needed repeated test-fitting and some filler.

Leave the landing gear off until after painting; it’s easily added later. Most of the antennas needed a touch of filler. An optional canopy is included, which I used to mask the cockpit. After adding the pylons for the Matra Rocket Launchers, I painted the Buccaneer in a patchy application of Mr. Color Extra Dark Sea Gray (No. C333).

As I started decaling, I realized that anything attached to the underside of the wings will interfere with the large call numbers. This meant the pylons needed to come off, and it was lucky I hadn’t added the slipper tanks. I carefully removed the pylons, and luck was again on my side because the call numbers for the aircraft I had chosen did not have to go over the pitot.

Adding the decals and stencils took nearly as long as construction. As it happens, that amounts to 25 hours building the Airfix 1/48 scale Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C/D and close to another 20 painting and decaling over the course of 16 days. Airfix has delivered a beautifully detailed model that fits well, with a couple of exceptions, is a fun build, and a great starting point for superdetailing.
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