Special Hobby 1/48 CA-13 Boomerang
|NOTES:||Limited run with resin parts|
Thus was born the “Boomerang,” the only indigenous Australian fighter design to ever see production and combat. Born of desperation, the Boomerang was perhaps the best improvisation to ever take flight.
On May 29, 1942, a mere 16 weeks after being given the directive to commence design work, the first CA-12 completed taxying trials and made its first flight. Test pilot Ken Fruin was elated by the performance of the new airplane. It was highly maneuverable, with a climb rate better than the P-40, Hurricane I or Spitfire I. The airplane exhibited no problems, with its only minus being a top speed only slightly in excess of 300 m.p.h. In June, mock combats between the Boomerang and a P-40E and P-39D were held, which revealed that at 10,000 feet the Boomerang could turn inside both American fighters and outclimb both. Even with a speed advantage and an ability to dive faster initially, the P-40E could not evade the Boomerang. The P-39 could dictate the terms of combat, but the Boomerang could always outmaneuver the Airacobra. The Boomerang was a winner, and was ordered into production, armed with two locally-produced 20mm Oerlikon cannon (the prototype for which was a war trophy brought back from North Africa by an Australian Army Sergeant), and four .303 Browning machine guns.
In late 1942 and early 1943, 83 and 85 Squadrons RAAF became
operational with their Boomerangs, with 83 Squadron at
In late 1943, 4 Squadron began to operate Boomerangs alongside their
Wirraways in the close support role in
There have been two other 1/48 kits of the Boomerang released in the
early 1990s, one very early, very primitive limited-run kit from Kiwi Aviation
Models, and one a less-primitive kit by
This new release by Special Hobby makes all the other 1/48 kits obsolete. The kit is accurate in shape and dimensions, and has one of the best detailed OOB cockpits Special Hobby has ever put in a release. Surface detail is petite and sharp.
The kit comes on four sprues of grey plastic, with a detailed resin engine. The clear canopy can be posed open. Decals are provided for four different aircraft.
This kit differs from Special Hobby’s previous CA-12, in that it provides a resin “hedgehog” exhaust, and the elevators do not have fabric effect, these being the primary visual difference between the two variants.
As with all MPM products, the kit is “fiddly” and definitely short-run. Test-fit three times before gluing once.
The very detailed cockpit would fit into the model more easily if one sanded the fuselage sides so they were thinner. I didn’t do this because I was concerned about sanding off the interior surface detail, but in the final result the cockpit is tight enough you can’t see that anyway, so my recommendation is sand away and get that area around the cockpit about half the thickness it is to start with.
There is a lot of fiddly detail with the engine accessories, which can be seen through the open wheel well. I decided that since the model was unlikely to be picked up very often, that I would only do the major items, the other very small things looking like more trouble than value. However, if you are building this to enter in a contest, you may want to take the time to do all this.
Several other reviewers have claimed the cowling is too small for the engine and resorted to shims to widen it enough to go around the engine. This is nonsense. Once inside the tight cowling, the outer edges of the pistons cannot be seen anyway. Sand the engine down to fit the cowling, because the cowling is right to fit to the fuselage.
I sanded the trailing edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizers from the inside before gluing them together, to get thinner, more accurate-looking trailing edges. The separate rudder is also in two halves and needs the same treatment.
With careful fitting of the wing sub-assembly to the fuselage, you will not need much putty on the joints, but you can’t get away with not using it. I also puttied the fuselage centerline to get it smooth, then went over all the joints with Tamiya Grey Surfacer to get everything nice and smooth.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Checking in with Gary Byk at Red Roo Models, I found that a close approximation of the Australian colors of “Dark Earth,” “Foliage Green” and “Sky Blue” can be obtained by using Tamiya “Red-Brown” for “Dark Earth,” “Black Green” for “Foliage Green,” and “Light Blue” (i.e., RLM65) for the lower surfaces. After first painting the tail and wing leading edges with Tamiya “Flat White” and masking them off, I applied the camouflage pattern freehand and faded the paint to imitate the tropic experience.
I have always liked the Boomerang, and am very glad to see it finally kitted by a company that’s gotten things right. I hope MPM/Special Hobby might give some thought to releasing this in 1/32 scale. This kit and the CA-12 are definitely the best Boomerang kits on the market. Highly recommended.
Thanks to HLJ for the review kit. Order yours at www.hlj.com
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