RED ROO MODELS


RRR72137 RAAF Target Towing Beaufighter conversion (for Hasegawa Kit)


by David Edwards

 

Review Type

First Look

Scale:

1/72

Price:

$25.30 AUD from Red Roo

Contents and Media:

1 x Razor saw with fine and regular saw blades

Advantages:

Very fine castings and comprehensive instructions

Disadvantages:

Some small bubbles in some components

Recommendation:

Highly Recommended

 

Introduction

The Beaufighter Mk 21 target tug is an unusual and attractive subject given the colour schemes used and the status of being the last Beaufighter in RAAF service.

I've had the ADS decal sheet in my collection for a while, but with little information to go on hadn't seriously thought about modelling a Beau target tug just yet.

I was very pleased to receive Red Roo's 1/72 conversion for a review build(see HERE for in box review), and even more pleased that one of the aircraft featured in the choice of decals is AARG's sole survivor.

The build

On opening the box, I was greeted with some photo etch sheets, a quite thick instruction book (in colour!) resin bits and decals.

As Red Roo points out, the conversion is designed for the Hasegawa Mk21 kit.  While this is not unobtainable, I didn't have one on hand and so made use of the old Frog kit plus some aftermarket bits.  After my experience with using this old timer as a subject, I am confident that the conversion would also work with the Highplanes Mk21, which seems a little more plentiful.  However, if you want a nicely detailed, minimum fuss build I heartily recommend tracking down the Hasegawa kit.

Before I began construction, I had a good read of the instruction booklet and checked my supplies of drill bits, fine razor saws and measuring implements.  These tools got plenty of use during my build.

Construction began with fitting the "zero length" rocket stubs.  These are tiny bits of resin moulded around wire locating pins, and are a true work of resin moulder's art.  Careful clean up of these small parts is required.  Red Roo provides a paper template to aid in drilling the sixteen location holes that are required.  Even with this my clumsiness meant redoing one wings' worth of holes.  When the rocket stubs are glued in place they're a little fragile, and I would be tempted to leave them off until after painting next time.  Super detailers could consider adding the rocket mounting lugs to each stub, but I wasn't quite brave enough.  Fitting the rocket stubs did show up a small issue with the Hasegawa kit – the cut-out for the landing light lens goes deeper into the underside of the leading edge than it should.

The next stage dealt with the photo etched parts for the tailplane cable guards.  While small and delicate, they're straightforward to fit and Red Roo provides spares.  There's a small error in the part labelling that's easily worked out.

Onto adding the fuselage plate for the winch arm.  More careful measuring and following of sensible instructions here.  Red Roo suggests leaving the arm itself off until final stages, which I did.

The underside requires a drogue chute and winch housing.  A length of brass is provided for the chute, but I chose to substitute a section of drinking straw out of laziness.  I struggled a little with the instructions for the winch post and pulley; still not sure I got it right.  With more time I'm sure a query to the Red Roo team would have cleared things up.

Red Roo's instructions are full of details that are unique to Australian Mk21s and that are missed by the Hasegawa kit – fuselage bulkhead, machine gun blast tubes, navigation lights and detail colours, among other things.  These are easily incorporated into the build and do add a great deal to the model's accuracy.

With most of the fiddly bits done, it was off to the paint shop.  I applied a coat of Mr Surfacer first with some remedial sanding and filling.  For the trainer yellow colour, I used a 50/50 mix of the two Humbrol Matt yellows.  Black stripes came next, and I did one of the few smart things that I managed with this model.  I enlarged the painting drawing to 1/72 and used it as a template to place Tamiya tape over the required areas.  Even with care, I managed to get a little bleed of the subsequent black coat under the masking.  This generated a belated tip from a fellow club member – after masking, a light coat of the base colour will reduce such bleeds.  I'll know for next time!

Another masking job to prepare for the silver top coat.  Minor disaster, I ran out of my favourite Gunze rattle can and had to switch to Tamiya mid stream.  Bad idea, with a subsequent reaction between the two, some special words and two rounds of rubbing back and recoating.

Once I was slightly happy with the paint job I modified the observer's blister as shown in the instructions.  Rather than use a piece of clear plastic, I tried some Testor's clear parts cement and was happy with the result.

Decals time and as usual for Red Roo they went on like a charm. 

With just a few bits to go, it was back to the tailplanes to add the rest of the photetch bits.  With a little trimming these fitted well and proved surprisingly durable. Red Roo provides some metalised thread for the cable, but this looked a bit over scale for 1/72 to my eye.  I used invisible thread for this and the radio antennae, and was happy with the result.

Every 1/72 Beaufighter kit misses the supporting rods for the exhaust collector rings.  Red Roo provides a photo etch part for each engine, which simply fits over the nose of the reduction gear housing.  Being photo etch, it is of course flat.  I chose to use it as a template to fit some stretched sprue of appropriate diameter.

The final job was to fit the winch arm and propeller to the fuselage side and touch up the paintwork.  All done, and another aircraft for my RAAF collection was ready for the cabinet.  Now to build the RFD winged target to go with it!  Red Roo does provide instructions for building a drogue target in their usual thoughtful manner.

 

Recommendation

This conversion was a good "skills builder" for me that I thoroughly enjoyed.  If you want a Beaufighter Mk21 target tug in your collection you really need this conversion to get you there.

Many thanks to Red Roo for the review sample and to Mr Harvey for forwarding it on.