I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m on a short run kick. I just recently finished a P-66 from Sword. I’ve picked up a P-43 from Pavla, and two Spitfires- a Mk. XI and a Mk. XVIII- from MPM.
And today, fresh from it’s recent appearance on Ebay (I bid victoriously!), LTD’s 1/48 Commonwealth Boomerang arrived in good order.
I’m not sure why I’m on such a kick. While short run kits are not really too difficult to build for a modeler with a few kits completed on the shelf, they do require some work. They typically have quite a bit of flash, require a fair degree of parts cleanup, and careful test fitting and patience are required.
They also really stretch your modeling muscles, and generally the subjects kitted are fairly rare. So they do have a nice upside.
Of course, tucked inside the box of most short run kits is also my nemesis and arch enemy, Mr. Vacform Canopy. The Red Baron to my Snoopy. The Dr. Evil to my Austin Powers. The Super Bowl Ring to my Dan Marino. (Ok, that was uncalled for, I know……) Still, I press on.
What were we talking about? Oh yeah- the Boomerang kit!
The Boomerang was built in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. Based on the Wirraway trainer, the Boomerang was designed to fill the gap in sorely needed fighters for Australia. Small and maneuverable, the Boomerang saw it’s greatest role played as a close air support aircraft in the Pacific Theater, in support of ANZAC and US troops.
LTD’s Commonwealth Boomerang is made in the Czech Republic, though packaged in the USA. The address on the side of the box is Carollton, Texas, so I’m guessing Squadron.com distributed this kit, which is no longer in production, as far as I know.
The kit consists of 47 short run injection parts, 1 resin part, and 5 clear vacform parts, plus spares- always a nice and appreciated touch. All of the injected parts are cast in a light gray, fairly rough plastic that has almost a sandpaper like feel to it. Despite quite a bit of flash- common to this type of kit- the parts are well cast and look quite good. Panel lines are very petite and recessed, so petite that for someone like me who prefers slightly exaggerated panel lines, I’ll probably break out the scribing tool and deepen them a bit.
The interior of the Boomerang was a steel tube arrangement, and it was “floorless”. The kit oversimplifies this a bit, with a floor provided to mount the cockpit parts on, and only very basic tubing cast into the fuselage walls. I don’t really say that as a gripe- the cockpit can be built OOB quite nicely, with a reasonable amount of detail included. I point it out because I’m looking at it contemplating a fair amount of scratch building just for fun, to see if I can produce something a little closer to the original.
The seat and armor panel are simple but look nice. Adding some P/E belts to the seat will do nicely as an added touch. The instrument panel is basic- a flat panel with some recessed dials, void of detail. Some instrument panel decals would really look nice, and be a simple addition to make the interior really stand out.
The engine is two pieces, a front and rear bank of cylinders. Detail is a bit “thick”, though the cast detail is adequate for a nice OOB build. Both weighted and un-weighted tires are provided, a very nice touch. Oddly, the un-weighted tires are two piece, while the weighted are one piece. Care will have to be used in cleaning up the weighted tires. While they have nice tread detail, they have a fairly prominent seam line around the outer edge which will requite cleanup.
The fuselage halves have a nice degree of recessed detail, and look very good. Though no locating pins are in the halves, my experience with a couple of other kits like this has been that with careful planning, and a few rubber bands, aligning the fuselage halves for gluing is not a problem at all. Looking at these parts makes me feel they’ll go together quite well.
The wings are a 5 piece assembly, with a center underside section, and upper and lower outer sections. Alignment tabs are provided for the lower pieces. A rear spar and a center beam give some wheel well detail, and a “roof” for the wheel wells is also provided to cover up the underside of the cockpit. Again, the detail, while minimal, is perfectly acceptable for OOB, and for the more adventurous modeler, it screams “scratchbuild!”
The rest of the parts are well cast, with plenty of the aforementioned flash, but not enough to mar the parts. Plent yof time put into parts cleanup wil pay in the long run. The landing gear are basic but reasonably cast, with small scissor joints provided as a separate piece. Again- while these parts are fine OOB, some scratch build replacements would look quite nice. Or if you have a spare set of P/E parts in the spares box- even better!
The one resin piece is an interesting looking exhaust, which mounts along the right side of the fuselage. Oddly, no mention is made of the exhaust in the instructions, but it’s placement is fairly obvious. If you’re not sure, Google Image search can show the way! The exhaust used on the Boomerang was an odd looking critter, appropriately called a “hedgehog” exhaust. The part is very nicely cast, so well done in fact that I wish LTD would have cast a few more of the parts in resin, especially the engine.
My arch-enemy and nemesis, Mr. Vacform Canopy, is one of the more nicely cast examples of this breed of frustatius tormentius, the Latin name for such parts. (Really, would I make that up?) Thankfully, two canopies are provided, as well as duplicates of the side windows. I’m fairly hopeful that these will turn out better than my past attempts, as the cutting lines appear to be very obvious. Time, and some careful cutting, will tell.
Markings are provided for 3 aircraft, two birds from 4 Squadron RAAF in all foliage green, and one from 5 Squadron RAAF in earth brown and foliage green with sky blue undersurfaces. The decals look to be very high quality, with very closely trimmed carrier film and good color and detail.
The parts are not numbered, and the instructions, while certainly clear enough for assembly, do not go into a lot of detail. Color call outs for the interior do not quite jive with research I’ve been doing on this aircraft, but then again how many people will know what the interior of a Boomerang looks like in the first place. (A nicely researched and restored example, Suzy Q, is a great reference to use, if you are so inclined.)
As with all short run kits, there are some warts in the box. Still, most appear to be easily manageable with some basic modeling skills, and I am quite sure that in the end, LTD’s Boomerang will build into a very nice model of a fairly little known, but historically significant and interesting aircraft. Thought the kit is out of production, I saw several currently available on Ebay.