Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

B-57B Canberra

 

Classic Airframes, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 4130 - B-57B Canberra
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 91 parts in grey styrene; 22 parts in grey colored resin; 7 clear injection molded parts; instructions; decal sheet and painting guide for two aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$69.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: First time available as an injection-moulded kit; large and impressive; excellent surface detail including crisply recessed panel lines, very high quality plastic moulding; corrected (enlarged) wing tip tanks; impressively detailed resin parts; generally very good fit; interesting marking choices.
Disadvantages: Some modelling experience helpful for preparing resin parts; a little extra time required for alignment and perfect fit; DIY hardpoint drilling.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale B-57 Canberra is available online from Squadron

 

Background

 

The English Electric Canberra was a groundbreaking aircraft when it entered service in the early 1950s. The Canberra set and held many altitude, distance and speed records in its early years. In addition to widespread and long service with the Royal Air Force, the English Electric Canberra was exported to many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, France, West Germany, India, Pakistan, Rhodesia, Ethiopia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The Canberra's service record was remarkable in its longevity, spanning from the Suez crisis to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. In fact, the final Canberra PR.9s in RAF service only retired earlier this year.

The B-57B was the first specific American variant. Differences included a revised tandem cockpit with a distinct longer cockpit, more powerful engines and substantial increase in ordnance with the addition of four hard points under the wings. The B-57 first entered USAF service in August 1953, with production continuing until 1957. 403 B-57s were built during this period. The American Canberra performed its role nobly, but suffered a high attrition rate during the Vietnam War resulting in its withdrawal from front line service by the end of the 1960s. Canberra variants continued in service with Air National Guard units until the late 1970s.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale B-57 Canberra kit may, at first glance, appear to have a lot in common with the earlier releases, but in fact it is a substantially new kit. The B-57 kit includes an all new nose section, revised rear fuselage halves (with the supplementary air brakes scribed in place), wings with revised engine nacelles and provision for hard points, ample stores and weapons, plus mostly new resin parts.

The complete kit comprises 91 parts in grey styrene; 22 parts in grey colored resin; seven clear injection molded parts; instructions; plus a decal sheet and painting guide for four aircraft.

Plastic parts are presented to a very high standard. Moulding quality is excellent, and the highly polished finish does not reveal any moulding imperfections on the exterior surfaces. Panel lines are crisply recessed, consistent and very fine.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The long fuselage is split into two halves for the main section and another two for the nose. The slab-like wings are supplied in two halves (upper and lower) each.

Some of the new plastic parts include the wing hard points, bombs, drop tanks and various external aerials. The locating positions for the wing hard points are indicated by indents. These should be drilled out before installing the hard points.

It is pleasing to see that the wing tip tanks, which were apparently too small in earlier releases, have been completely replaced with larger units.

Although there are no locating pins on the main parts, the wings are reinforced with two plastic spars. This will add rigidity and ensure the correct dihedral. There are a few tall ejector pins on the inside surfaces of the wings that should be sliced off prior to assembly, but the remaining scars will not be visible after assembly. The inner lip of the intakes also have ejector pin marks. These need a bit more time and care in cleaning up.

Resin parts are very nicely detailed. The bulk of these details are for the cockpit, including the main tub positively bristling with switches and fuses, plus two lovely ejection seats. Construction of the more conventional B-57 cockpit will be simpler than the British variants, and there should be plenty of space for nose weight.

 

 

The undercarriage bays, wheels and intake fans / starter bullets (newly tooled) are also supplied in resin. The gear bays are immaculately detailed with structural features and wiring. It is just a shame that so little of this detail will be seen under the low-slung Canberra airframe. The front wheels are all new.

 

 

Some of the parts are cast onto stout blocks so a combination of a good razor saw and caution will be required when preparing these resin components.

Clear parts are well moulded and relatively distortion free. The long canopy is supplied with a separate windscreen, so the cockpit may easily be displayed if desired.

 

 

The shape of the model looks accurate compared to published plans and contemporary photographs.



Markings

Four marking options are offered on the decal sheets. These are good representations of the schemes used during the B-57B's service life:

  • B-57B 13th TBS, 35th TFW, Vietnam 1966, finished in typical four-colour SEA camouflage.

  • EB-57B, 117 DSES, 190 DSEG, Air National Guard circa June 1978, finished in overall light grey with Dayglo Orange panels.

  • B-57B, 498th BS, 345th BW, circa 1957, finished in overall Gloss Black

  • B-57B, 501st BG, 345th BW, Kangley AFB, circa 1954, finished in overall natural metal.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Decals are printed in perfect register, and colours look good.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale B-57B Canberra is a big, impressively detailed, accurately shaped kit. With a recommended price of USD$69.00, it is good value too, especially considering the extensive resin included.

The relatively small parts count reflects the simple design of the airframe, but does not compromise detail. It certainly does speed construction though!

Granted, this model will need a little more cleanup and preparation of parts than a long-run release from Tamiya or Hasegawa. Also, the lack of locating pins will call for extra care and dry-fitting. In other words, modelling skills are required, but anyone who has already built a Classic Airframes kit should not have any trouble coming up with a great result straight from the box.

I have already built Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Canberra B.2 and T.17 kits, and I can confirm that fit is generally very good. You can follow this link to see construction comments and progress photos of the B.2 kit. With  a little extra time spent on preparation and alignment, both kits were a real pleasure to work on. 

If you want one of these kits though, you'd better not dawdle. The earlier Canberra releases have sold out quickly and being limited run offerings, once they're gone, they are gone.

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers.
 

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.


Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com


Review and Images Copyright 2006 by Brett Green
Page Created 14 December, 2006
Last updated 21 February, 2007

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page