ALLEY CAT


AC48010C 1/48 Replacement Canberra B.2(Mk.20)/B.6 Canopy for Airfix kit


First look review by Nathan Bradford


Review Type
First Look
Scale:
1/48
Price:
£6.75 GBP
Contents and Media:
1 Clear resin Canopy and 1 clear resin Bombardiers glazing.
Advantages:
Easy replacement of kit parts with a little cutting involved. Replaces the Nav’s windows as well.
Disadvantages:
Small amount of marks on the inside of the canopy. Some small casting flaws.
Recommendation:
Highly Recommended

 

Introduction

The Canberra for the RAAF was brought into service in 1951 commencing Australia’s first jet bomber operations. The Australian variant of the English Electric (EE) Canberra was based on the British B.2 version but was changed to suit Australia’s needs. This included increasing the engine power by 1000 lbs (6,500 – 7,500 lbs), increasing the internal fuel load, and reducing the crew from three to two. The resulting version of the Canberra was designated simply the Mk.20 and was manufactured at Fishermans Bend by GAF. The Mk.20 Canberra served with 1,2 and 6 Squadrons and saw action in Vietnam with 2 Squadron. Later a trainer version followed designated the Mk.21. The Mk 21 was principally used by 1 OCU for training of Canberra Aircrew for 2 Sqn in Vietnam.


With the release of the Airfix Canberra's, finally there was a main stream injection moulded and reasonably priced Canberra kit available. The Airfix kit, although very good, was not without problems in the accuracy department. Alley Cat models of the UK come to the rescue with their resin Canopies.

 

The set

The Alley cat canopy, although made for a B.2/B.6 version of the English Canberra, is suitable for the Aussie Mk.20. The kit canopy has a slightly “flattened” appearance, also is moulded with two Direct Vision lenses ala the Mk.21 trainer variant of the Canberra. This is incorrect for the Mk.20. These errors are corrected by the Alley cat canopy.
The Alley cat canopy is very clear. This being the first time I have seen a clear resin canopy, I was pleasantly surprised. There were some (very) small marks in the canopy that would easily be removed by dipping the canopy in future or by polishing. The new part replaces a large chunk of the upper forward part of the kit and requires some cutting of the kit parts to fit. This allows the incorporation of the Navigators windows into the part which is a nice touch. The resin appears to be about the same thickness as the original kit part, but is obviously a massive improvement in shape and detail.



There are two vertical strips on the inside of the canopy that were present in the B.2/B.6 versions of the Canberra. These strips were present on some RAAF machines, but not in all. Check your references. These should be able to be sanded and polished out if so desired.

The replacement fuselage parts are finely engraved and with a little sanding should be a good match for the kit panel lines. My example had a small casting flaw on the aft edge of the fuselage parts, however this could be easily rectified with a little sanding after fitment to the kit. This does not affect the windowed areas of the part.
The other included clear part is the Bombardiers glazing for the nose. This is of the same standard as the main canopy and is very clear with only a small amount of “Wavyness” on the curved area, possibly due to the casting process and/or the shape of the part.


If building a Mk.21 please note that the Mk.21 varies slightly with two Direct Vision (DV) lenses on the canopy instead of the Mk.20’s one along with the addition of a Pitot probe on the flattened part of the Bombardiers glazing. The Alley Cat version reviewed would need the addition of a second DV lens on the starboard side, and the Pitot probe on the nose glazing.

Packaging and Instructions

The Ally Cat canopy comes packed in a sturdy cardboard box in a plastic zip lock bag. My copy came with no packing or shipping damage at all. The included instructions are printed on an A4 sheet with both written instructions and colour photos showing the cutting involved to fit the new canopy. These are easy to read and the pictures show exactly what needs to be done.

 

Recommendation

I whole heartedly recommend these parts for those looking to get that next Airfix Canberra “Just Right”. We are very luck to have such a healthy cottage industry that these kind of kits are so readily available. Thanks Ally Cat.


Review items kindly supplied by “My Wallet” Inc. They are available from the A2ZEE website.


 

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