MONTEX'S BIG BOOMER


1/32 Montex CA-12/13/19 Boomerang


Review by Patrick Sprau
Images by Jay Laverty and Darek Korczynski


Introduction

Beware: a lengthy review of Montex’ 1/32 scale resin Boomerang kit!

The summer of 1993 was an eventful one – for me at least. Over that summer, I picked up a couple of model kits that made it into my personal modelling history, amongst them Airfix’ 1/72 scale Boomerang. And I had my first close encounter with a girl. Why I put this into a model review, you may ask? Well, I believe whilst holding the girl (and thinking about the Airfix Boomerang), or whilst fondling the kit (and thinking about the girl), my brain must have blown some synapses, as whenever I think about Boomerangs now, it gives me this enormous feeling of falling in love again. And this explains why I knew I had to get the new Montex 1/32 scale resin Boomerang when I read about its impending release. And I fell in love again – with Montex’ latest offering!

What’s in the box?

The kit comes in a very appealing card-board box of very unusual dimensions: 30cm x 14.5cm x 10cm! Already the box-art makes you take a closer look, showing a side-view of Boomerang A46-128 ‘U-Beat-2’, with a map of Australia in the background. Upon opening the box by pulling on one of the long sides, the lid unfolds (a bit like a pirate’s treasure) and reveals cleverly packed kit parts. Once you get to the bottom of the box, after gently putting aside the resin parts (contained in zip-loc bags which again are wrapped in blister material) you will find a nicely done instruction booklet, one fret of photo-etched parts, pre-cut masks for the markings and canopy, plus a CD with reference material. The nice box-art, the flawless colour-print diagrams of the marking options on the instruction sheet and the CD, stuffed to the top with excellent reference shots, make for a nice start into the Boomerang adventure.

The kit basically consists of:

  1. 167 light grey resin parts (I had only two broken pieces thanks to A+-packaging),
  2. 7 clear resin parts,
  3. 5 vacuum-formed parts (3 are on the same sheet) and
  4. 2 white-metal landing gear legs.

These major kit components are supplemented by

  1. 1 fret of photo-etch (mostly for the ‘front office’),
  2. 3 sheets of self-adhesive masks (for the canopy and most of the markings) and
  3. 2 decals for one of the marking options (for the nose-art A46-128).

All these components are fabulously manufactured, and it made me think of the whole kit more as a piece of art than as a model kit: there is only limited flash and very few sink marks, and the kit parts overflow with details. There are a couple of air bubbles trapped into the resin, but these didn’t ‘break through’ onto the kit surface, and might therefore disappear completely under a coat of primer. I dry-fitted the major components and they fit very well; no major gaps or steps to be seen.
The finesse of detail is superb, with many tiny cast structures that are not even 1mm thin, and you really wonder how the Montex guys did it without losing all the detail in the casting process.

Thanks to Jay Laverty from Large Scale Planes, you are – despite my lack of photographic skill - able to take a closer look at the kit parts, as Jay was kind enough to allow me the use of his very inspiring preview pictures of the Montex kit!

So is your seat belt buckled to maximum fastness? Okay, chocks away, off we go!

The cockpit

The Boomerang’s fuselage frame was basically constructed from connecting metal rods, and really gives the impression of a cage when viewed without the aircraft’s skin applied. The Montex kit captures this look, and again I can only marvel at the fact that all these tubes and rods were completely cast without major loss of structure of the parts concerned. Mind you, these parts need a bit of clean-up, which might be a tedious task, as you want to make sure you get all the seam lines off without the tubes breaking or developing flat spots due to vigorous sanding. This will however be well worth the effort, as you’ll end up with one fine cockpit frame.

The cockpit framework really comes to life by adding the seat (beautifully cast) with its excellent PE seatbelts, and by putting the stick, the side-consoles, the pedals and the instrument panel into place. The correctly ‘kinked’ stick comes with the typical circle-shaped grip, with the two firing buttons for the guns and cannons well distinguishable. The instrument panel is not only nice from the front, but also from the back, as the back-sides of the instruments are represented, too. Add some wiring, and you’re done! There is a piece of PE for the panel, with the obligatory black & clear film dials to glue behind it; if however you prefer for some reason to use after-market punch & die dials, no problem, as the resin piece (onto which the PE can be glued) is suitably detailed and comes with recessed areas into which the punched-out dials can be dropped. It’s your choice really!

As said, the seat looks really cosy already, but more so does the leather padding on the head rest. Well, it’s resin really, but albeit the kit leather padding coming as one part with the rear armament plate, it has a slight crease at the attachment point, making it stand out as different part. Again, play away with your paints, that’s all you’ll really need for a convincing look!
Once the cockpit is assembled it needs to be positioned into the fuselage halves. The inner fuselage halves come with internal detail, correctly representing the wooden stringers of the real aircraft. Nice touch! There is, however, no representation of the fuselage fuel tank. From what I can see on my reference pictures, this tank probably is visible on the real plane when looking into the cockpit towards the rear. In the end the tank is just a big box, so some plastic card will come to the rescue for those that intend to fuel up the Boomerang once it’s finished.

Comparing the kit parts with my reference material, I found only a couple of other gizmos that seemed not to be present amongst the kit parts. No big deal, all what you need for a convincing cockpit is there, and if those one or two missing switches or dials conjure up sleepless nights for you, just add them from scratch.

Last point: the canopy. This comes as one clear vac-formed piece, and you will have to cut out the three single parts for the windscreen, the sliding portion and the rear view window section, which also makes up the first part of the fuselage spine. The sections are not directly adjoining on the sheet, so you have some safety margin for each piece. The clear plastic is, however, not free of blemishes: here and there some dots can be seen, little plastic pimples which are probably solid. In that case, you could polish them out, but if then they do turn out to be hollow (I did not try!), then you are done for. There is only one set of canopy pieces, so you either live with it or take your chances.
Whatever you may try to spoil the nice clear canopy, careless painting won’t be one of the options, as long as you use the provided pre-cut masks. Most of these come as doubles, so you do get a virtual reset button if something goes wrong with the masking process.

The propulsion unit

The Pratt & Whitney R-1830 ‘Twin Wasp’ engine is well captured, and as others would say, really is ‘a kit within the kit’. The cylinders are separately and expertly cast, as is the crank case. Also all the piping for the exhaust arrangement is depicted. Makes you wonder if including a filled fuselage tank and then throwing a switch in the cockpit might not just make this little gem cough into life! In that case, to prevent over-heating, don’t forget to open the PE cooling flaps.

You may wish not to use the provided PE as spark plug wiring though, as actual wire will probably look better in that scale, bringing in that 3D-factor that PE just can’t provide.

The propeller unit comes as six parts: the three blades, the hub, the backing plate and the spinner. This is a good thing, as with a tiny amount of extra effort you can represent the propeller without the spinner in place, showing off more of the engine. This may be appropriate in a maintenance situation, or even mandatory when your model represents an early Boomerang, as these in the beginning flew without spinners.
The propeller blades, with very thin edges, are keyed and fit nicely into the hub.

The spinner is my only concern with the Boomerang’s business end; to me, it appears a bit too pointed. This is hard to prove though, and when judging this aspect one must take into consideration that things may look different once the spinner is cleaned of its seams and sits in place on the finished model. In any case, better too tapered than too blunt, as you can always glue the spinner onto a rod, chuck it into your motor tool and (carefully!) grind away, making your Boomerang look a bit more snub-nosed.

Two styles of exhaust pipes are provided, both the plain style and the ‘hedgehog’ pipe, making modelling any production variant of the Boomerang possible. The end of the plain pipe is made of two half-round pieces; where these pieces meet there should actually be a welding seam, which however is not moulded onto the parts. To address this problem, just add a piece of plastic rod previously soaked in plastic glue, and then dab some texture into it with an old bristle brush.
Oh, and don’t burn your fingers on the hedgehog pipe, it looks absolutely hot! And although full of pricks, I am sure no hedgehogs were harmed during the making of this resin piece! For the hyper-realist amongst you, yes, you could still hollow out each ‘prick’ a bit more, but I don’t think it’s necessary. There are recesses on every single ‘prick’, and suitably painted this pipe will make the Boomerang really stand out. It’s a nice piece of resin!

The outer fuselage

The Montex Boomerang features the classic two-fuselage-halves layout, with the engine cowling already being part of each half. The fuselage halves have a bit of texture to them and appear oily to the eye – but they aren’t. As a nice feature, some of the panels (where the rear fuselage leads into the horizontal stabilizers, and also in the exhaust area) actually overlap. This is really interesting, as I have never seen this done before, but it actually accurately represents the outer skin of many aircraft, including the T-6 and the Boomerang: their panels don’t butt-join, but overlap. On old model kits, this phenomenon is replicated by raised panel lines, on newer kits this is tried with recessed panel lines. None is 100 % accurate. 100% accuracy is only obtained with a raised edge (not a raised line!). Impossible to do in 1/72 or 1/48 scale, and none of the Big Guys of the hobby industry has tried this yet in mammoth scale. But Montex did it! Impressive!

Two small points aside: Montex decided to represent the fuel filler cap in the left upper fuselage closed. This is definitely okay, but on many wartime photographs you see that the cap was on, however without the round fairing in place. No issue for someone who can use a drill and plastic sheet, if you desire to model a Boomerang without the fairing.
A minor issue though is that none of the navigation/formation lights are in clear resin, except for the three in the lower wing centre section. All the other navigation lights are cast onto the kit. This is a bit tricky, as most lights are teardrop-shaped, which will be hard to replicate from scratch.

The wings

The wing assembly consists of seven parts and comes with fine recessed detail. The outer upper and lower wing panels have locating pins helping to obtain a perfect match when gluing. The same goes for the outer lower panels on the joint to the lower wing centre section: locating pins help you align the parts for a seamless fit. The remaining two pieces are the upper wing joints of the wing centre section: once you have the other wing parts in place, these items should fall into place without trouble.

The details of the flap retraction mechanism are partly cast onto the upper wing section, and of course onto the actual flaps, which come as separate pieces. Very detailed landing lights are included, which consist of a resin reflector and light bulb, clear resin lenses and clear, vac-formed wing fairings. Self-adhesive masks for making the painting process easier are also included.

Again, two caveats for nit-pickers like me: the ailerons come as two separate parts, one for each wing. They appear to represent the fabric-covered type as used on the CA-12 series. The later models had metal-covered ailerons (and also wooden wingtips instead of metal ones). I couldn’t find a picture of CA-13/-19 metal ailerons in my reference library, so I can’t say in how far these would look different to the fabric ones. The Montex offering gives you ailerons with a wavy appearance, with the ribs ‘showing through’, which on metal ailerons assumingly wouldn’t be the case. Check it for yourselves, but I reckon that for a late-model Boomerang these ailerons would need some additional attention.
Also very picky, but of less concern is that the gun camera opening (outboard of the port wing landing light fairing) comes without clear resin to cover the opening. As the opening is already cast into the wing, a dot of black paint and some clear filler will settle the issue.

The wheel wells & landing gear

The landing gear consists mainly of two white metal gear struts, lots of resin and a bit of PE. The gear struts will need a bit of the usual treatment with brake line imitations and some other bits and pieces. Same for the gear bay, which will only need some wires in addition to the provided PE and resin parts. The gear covers look like they are hot-washed Boomerang parts, and again make you shake your head in amazement at the abilities of the pattern maker.

The tyres gave me a bit of a headache: they come in two variations, one set with a diamond tread pattern, the other with smooth tyres. The smooth ones still have a tiny trace of the diamond pattern on them (I guess the diamond-pattern master was sanded smooth and re-used a master for the smooth tyres), and both styles of tyres will benefit from flash removal – nothing beyond the scope of the average modeller.
According to my references, the most common type of Boomerang tyres was, however, in block tread pattern. This style is not catered for in the kit, so some scratch-building will be in order.

The wheels themselves are a different matter: I checked carefully with my references, and I believe that Montex incorrectly depicted one side of the wheel brake cover as recessed, whereas it should actually be raised. The other side of the wheel/brake cover has similar issues. This is hard to fix on the actual kit part, but manufacturing your on brake covers should be easy enough, considering that we are talking about perfectly circular shapes here. Cetainly no catastrophe that you will pay for with your sanity. (By the way, there might be T-6 wheels available as aftermarket parts, which should be a suitable replacement. Also, a P-38 Lightning nose-wheel might come in handy, as Lightning tyres were fitted to all CA-19 airframes - and sometimes retro-fitted to CA-13 Boomerangs - at a later stage in the war.)

Kit armament

Still with me, fellows? Good, because here comes the killer-part of the kit: the armament! Be careful when handling these bits of the kit, as the guns really look like they might go off if touched at the wrong place! Both 20mm Hispano cannons plus all four .303 wing guns come as super-detailed pieces, including ammo belts for the guns. Not so for the cannons, as they are drum-fed. The drums of course are included, and you even get to use some PE on them to make them look all the more realistic. Some of the structure of the gun bays is also cast into the wings, and it really looks the part. The typical conical cannon barrel fairings are naturally included in the kit, and the canvas protection is nicely moulded.
I definitely thought the gun bays would benefit from additional scratch-building, and I held high hopes that at least the ammo belts would need some TLC – nope, it’s nearly perfect: if you look closely, you’ll see that the rounds in the feeding belts are actually pointed at one end. Like life rounds! Scary stuff!
And yeah, for you rivet-counters: the hexagonal nut at the end of the cannon fairing is not depicted, so some hexagonal punch & die set would be of use here. Or scavenge two nuts from a Hasegawa Spitfire (and turn the Spitfire into a recce plane…).

Dress code

Oh my, I could go on at length about the details of this excellent kit, like for example the fabulous gun sight or all that lovely engine detail! But we do need to round this review off, at some point. But I did not tell you about the marking options yet.

Well, these are kind of classic really, and the coloured box-art plus the faultless colour prints on the instruction booklet should help you get the paintjob right. Montex offers limited advice on the internal colours throughout the construction process, but gives you two printed paint chips as references for Zinc Chromate and Light Green as the interior colours. The camouflage colours are correctly given as Foliage Green (FG), Earth Brown (EB) and Sky Blue (SB). In this case, both printed paint chips and Federal Standard codes are given to help you find the right paint jar, respectively FS 24092 for Foliage Green, FS 20099 for Earth Brown and FS 25550 for Sky Blue. Now giving FS code references for RAAF WWII colours shouldn’t be done without your Flak jacket at hand – nor should a kit be thrown upon the market without painting instructions! This really is a Catch 22 for Montex, so I wish to stress that I appreciate them giving pointers to the modeller. Whoever buys and builds this kit is (hopefully!) experienced enough to either have his own opinion about the matches for the colours in question, or is wise enough to consult the collective wisdom of internet fora like AMI!

So, once you have crossed this minefield of preliminary issues, you get to painting one of the following options:

  1. CA-12 Boomerang Mk. I, s/n A46-9, of No. 2 O.T.U., based in Mildura, Australia, in 1943. This Boomerang comes in FG and EB over SB, with a yellow ‘9’ on the fuselage.
  2. CA-13 Boomerang Mk. II ‘U-Beat-2’, s/n A46-128, tail code BF o N, of No. 5 Sqn. According to instructions this aircraft was stationed in Mareeba, Australia in 1944. This aircraft also comes in the three colours of FG and EB over SB and features nose-art: Some guy sporting a top-hat and a smoking seems to be in a real hurry, perhaps feeling the itch to get to the mess and have a Victorian Bitter. Whatever the reason for the jogging, the nose-art comes as two decals, the first one being the white background which after application gets covered by the second decal, the coloured parts of the art-work.

This aircraft is pictured several times in Stewart Wilson’s top-notch book on the Boomerang, and also features in the SAMI issue of March 2000, both as a photo and as art-work. On one picture, Wilson names Flt Lt D. Goode as the pilot of A46-128, whereas SAMI, having printed the same photograph, says it’s Sqn Ldr Cook at the controls. Hmmm…

No issue for those who just wish to paint the model, you say. Well, don’t get bored, here’s another brain-shaker for you: Richard Caruana adorns his SAMI colour profile of A46-128 with a green spinner, whereas on a painting Shigeo Koike gives this puzzle a different spin, by making it red! Too much for you? Fed up with all this? You want relieve?! Then choose marking option

  1. CA-19 Boomerang Mk. II, s/n A46-211, tail code BF o H, of No. 5 Sqn. There are no details given on this airframe, but according to Wilson it was delivered in July 1944 and damaged in a landing accident at Piva Strip a year later. This aircraft comes in the late-war camouflage pattern of overall FG, with white theatre markings on the tail and the wing leading edges. The toughest part with this camouflage  pattern will be for you to figure out what paint to use for Foliage Green…

Except for the nose-art of A46-128, no decals are provided, apart from the CAC ‘speed bird’ logos that go onto the rudder. Depending what your mantra is, you may wish to consider purchasing Boomerang servicing stencils as offered by Red Roo. Without further digging into the subject, none of the three marking options sports field-applied camouflage, as the first two are evidently in the early three-tone camouflage, and the third, A46-211, was delivered after overall Foliage green became the standard camouflage pattern, so may never have worn three-tone camouflage and thus should have stencils on the overall foliage green paintjob.

With all these options, you will have to determine whether to use a radio antenna mast, a rear view mirror and aftermarket stencils. You’ll also need to make matching choices for the exhaust pipe, the ailerons and the tyres. The last 39 aircraft of the CA-19 batch had a single F.24 camera installed in the lower rear fuselage, so this would include A-46-211. I have no reference picture of this feature, so can’t comment on the exact appearance of the camera arrangement, but it should be represented when building the CA-19 option of the kit.

If you still have the itch to further modify the already awesome Montex offering, you may wish to consider altering the height of the left side console by 1.5625mm, after determining whether the cockpit layout of the kit depicts a CA-12 or a CA-13/-19 design! (The CA-13/-19 design of the left console was 50mm higher.)


Conclusion

Now is this the end of this review or what?! Well, yes, it is. What remains there to say? I turned the kit parts in all possible directions and did all sorts of things with them, but couldn’t find any major issues. I compared the kit parts more to pictures than to drawings, as for the Boomerang there are no plans out there that will get the approval of die-hard Boomerang lovers. I did connect the wing panels on a flat surface though, and thus measured the wingspan. I also determined the fuselage length (by putting the rudder in place), and achieved the following results:

A wingspan of 34.6cm, where 34.29cm would have been appropriate;
and a length (cowling ring to rudder tip) of 24.0cm, where 23.57cm were required.

And no, I don’t assume I, armed with a ruler and a pencil, will measure more precisely than 21st century’s technology, so if you ask me, this kit is

  1. in scale, and
  2. dead-on accurate concerning the details.

None of the flaws of the kit - if they are flaws – can’t be corrected with some average modelling skills, and considering that this kit is made for the discerning modeller, I don’t expect any unhappy buyers.

Images courtesy of Darek Korczynski of Montex

Final words

This kit is an outstanding masterpiece really, and is a must-have for Boomerang lovers! This Boomerang kit surpasses the previous 1/32 scale offering by FM Models, which was an excellent vac-form kit at its time, but just can’t match the possibilities that first-rate resin castings offer. It scores sky-high in the detail- and high in the accuracy-field. Although no resin kit is intended for Little Johnny, his slightly older sister Lisa, who already has some limited-run kits on her shelf, should be able to get this kit together without major hick-ups. At this price, it’s unlikely that any of these kits will wind up in unexperienced hands, but let’s face it, if you buy a mainstream kit and invest into a resin engine, a PE fret, self-adhesive masks and a reference CD, you are already in the same price range as this kit.

Also, it is sad to say, Dave Thompson of U.M.I., who had his own 1/32 scale Boomerang project on his assembly line, passed away a couple of weeks ago, and it’s therefore highly unlikely to see another 1/32 scale Boomerang land on the modelling market in the near future.

I would love to see more from Montex (next up seems to be a 1/32 scale Gloster Gamecock), and as someone with a profound interest in the Pacific Campaign, I would suggest a Dutch Curtiss Wright CW-21B from the troubled days of early 1942… *please!*

And I do hope many aftermarket producers take up the challenge and produce decals for all those colourful Boomerangs of No. 4 and No. 5 Squadron, cigarette-smoking crew members, slouch-hatted ‘erks’ to busy up the tarmac, and and and…

Folks, if you love the Boomerang or are into large-scale resin kits, this one’s for you! Get one (or two, or three) of these Boomerangs, build them as cut-away, make a New Guinea Boomer Boy, or place one of No. 5 Squadron’s ‘Smokey Joes’ next to a Kiwi rendition of Trumpeter’s Corsair!
Trust me, your stash will look empty without one! You get the drift…

References

The CD provided with the kit covers already many aspects of technical detail questions. In fact it is divided into different folders (cockpit, engine, fuselage,…), with the first picture in a folder always showing the kit parts that constitute the subassemblies concerned. Neat! There are also a couple of pictures which show famous Boomerang restorer Richard Hourigan in action – a Richard Hourigan figure is, however, not provided in the kit.

The airframes used for reference shots include A46-30 from Point Cook, and what I presume is Richard Hourigan’s A46-249. A46-122 (restored to airworthiness by Matt Denning) and A46-205 (just until recently in the possession of Mrs. Zuccholi) were not invited to the picture party, which is fair dinkum, seeing that both are flying examples (with the latter relying heavily on T-6 parts), that feature equipment not appropriate for war-time Boomerangs.

Printed references include:

“Wirraway, Boomerang & CA-15 in Australian Service” by Stewart Wilson, Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd;

“Classic Warbirds N° 7”, Ventura Publications;

Scale Aviation Modeller International, March 2000 issue.

If you need visual inspiration, check out

http://www.boomerang-flight.com/

and

http://images.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ne.jp/asahi/airplane/museum/cl-pln8/images18/BOOMERANG.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.ne.jp/asahi/airplane/museum/cl-pln8/CA13.html&h=682&w=870&sz=98&hl=de&start=10&tbnid=3c3US0G7CthB5M:&tbnh=114&tbnw=145&prev=/images%3Fq%3DCA-13%2BBoomerang%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Dde.

 

Available from

Cammett in the UK
Adlen House
Eardisland
Leominster
Herefordshire
HR6 9BD
United Kingdom
phone: 01544 388514
email: cammettco@btinternet.com
Web: www.cammett.co.uk 

Design & Marketing Int'l
9791 Westheimer PMB # 526
Houston,Texas 77042-3960
United States
phone: 281.491.5108/Fax: 281.491.0381
Web: www.design-marketingintl.com

  Modellbau Knuell
Inh.: Wolfgang Eyring
Haus Windecke
D-34639 Schwarzenborn
Germany
phone: (0 56 86) 17 28
fax: (0 56 86) 93 04 60

email: info@modellbau-knuell.de

Addendum

The photographs of the kit parts were used with the kind permission of Jay Laverty from Large Scale Planes. Thanks a lot, Jay! Make sure you also read Jay’s opinion on the kit: http://www.largescaleplanes.com/reviews/Kits/WW2/Montex/Boomerang/Boomerang.html.

The pictures of the marking options and the instruction sheet were used with the kind permission of Montex (www.montex-mask.com). The pictures of the built-up Montex Boomerang where provided by Montex’ own Darek Korczynski. Thank you very much, Darek, and hats off to you for this outstanding model kit!

The kit sample used for the review was purchased courtesy of my wallet, and I am not associated with Montex in any way.

Special thanks go to Roger Lambert, who selflessly supplied - free of charge - the sample of “Classic Warbirds N° 7”, which was invaluable in writing this review. I still owe you that beer, Roger!

 

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