Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paul Bradley's 1/72 English Electric A.1

The Canberra prototype was known as the A.1 and was distinctly different in its initial form from the production Canberra. Most noticeably, the rudder was taller and rounded, and there was a dorsal strake. The nosecone was solid, as it was intended to fit bombing radar to the nose. The A.1 also featured a single “porthole” above the navigator’s position, rather than the later two rectangular windows; the window on the port side was also not fitted to this aircraft. Finally, the canopy did not feature the distinctive rear failing that was added to combat aerodynamic difficulties.

I used Airfix’s old Canberra B(I).6 kit for this conversion. The additions to the tail were made using plastic card, the nose was reshaped, shortened and painted over, and I modified the kit’s clear parts as necessary. The interior was more fully detailed and I used Aeroclub white metal seats to replace the kit’s “lounge chairs.” I took the opportunity to box in and detail the undercarriage and their bays – although not fully accurate, these are better than the gaping holes that were previously there! The final correction was to cut back the intake bullets, as these were shorter on the earlier aircraft.

The A.1 was painted in a shade referred to as “Petter Blue,” after the designer – apparently, this was patterned after the color of his car at the time! I couldn’t establish what kind of car he drove, nor could I find a color photo of the A.1, so I tried to match the color based on black and white photos. What I ended up using was ModelMaster’s Middle Blue with a touch of their Light Blue. Now that it is dry, I think it is a bit dark, but I’d love to be proved wrong…! Decals were rustled up from my spares box, and the model was complete. Not perfect by any means, but a nice representation of the start of a legend.