Warrior Models 1/48 Blackburn Roc
|PRICE:||$44.95 when first released|
|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with metal and vacuform parts|
The layout of the dive bomber was retained with the exception of the wings which had two additional degrees of dihedral to do away with the up-turned wing tips of the Skua. The power operated turret was situated just aft of the pilot’s cabin and the decking fore and aft of it was made to lower down into the fuselage to allow better travel and fire area all around, except forward. The fixed wing guns were retained.
The performance of the Roc was found to be lower than calculated owing to the greater weight and turret drag. Operational service of the Roc Mk.1 began in 1939. The Rocs fought with the 800th and 801st FAA over Norway and over Belgium in May 1940. As with the Defiant however, and after a brief service the realities of war soon exposed its short comings and the Roc was relegated to second line FAA duties as target towing and air – sea rescue role, and to second-line FAA units where they served, with the turret removed, as trainers. By the middle of 1940 the Fulmar came into the scene and with the arrival of the Sea Hurricane all remaining Rocs went to the breakers.
It is doubtful if the Roc had ever been aboard a flight deck of a carrier during its short career. One example was fitted with floats to specification 0.20/37 but the design did not proceed further than the prototype stage. It is however of interest to the modeler who wants to build something really exotic.
There are two known kits of the Roc to the scale of 1/48. There is the Special Hobby one and the Warrior Models Roc both of which come in decals L3114 ‘E’of 759 squadron. This review concerns the Warrior Models Roc which is a multi media resin kit. The tan colored resin Roc appears to be developed from their earlier release kit of the Skua. The resin appears generally free from pores, having smooth finish and has good surface detail. Paintwork however did reveal small clusters of pores at two areas over the wings. The kit contains very clear vac formed cockpit and turret canopies which also include a spare set; there are two pairs of short metal tube wing guns; and white metal browning guns for the Boulton Paul turret; tail and main wheels complete with legs that contain detail; wing aerial and dorsal antenna mast; cockpit aiming site; arrestor hook and a huge three bladed propeller. The rest of the kit parts are in resin.
The kit comes with a decal sheet for Roc L-3114 which appeared to be of good quality with correct colors and register. More on decal later. There is ample of intricate detail to go inside the cockpit which include side panels complete with ample of side instruments and gadgets, there is a compass, detailed control column and rear side tanks, central fuel tank that fit at the rear of cockpit bulkhead, and an aiming site. Other resin parts cater for the B P turret. No crew figures are provided but I normally add one which gives indication of scale of the aircraft and also the kit can be pictured in flying configuration. I managed to dig out the type of figure for the Roc out of my spares box.
The instructions depict every single kit part and place where it goes on the kit however, careful planning and dry assembly is encouraged as this will show where and which part needs cleaning or minor adjustment to ensure perfect fit. In doing so one will estimate the amount of excess resin that needs to be removed off the riser block area. To preserve the surface fine engraving I also masked areas close to where there was to be filling up with small amount of filler followed by subsequent smooth sanding. The cockpit floor and central ‘A’ bulkhead required to remove 1/16” from width in order to allow fuselage halves to close.
I found that the fuselage section was thick enough to allow scraping off resin on the inside so that the rear cockpit bulkhead could fit inside as well as fitting the Boulton Paul lower turret inside the fuselage. One simply requires a good pointed exacto blade to scrape away excessive resin as required.
Beng a resin kit the mating parts have no locating pins or dowels and there has to be some form of guides when fixing the parts together as cyanoacrylate glue do not give a second chance to relocate the parts if incorrectly mated. I have added plastic tabs on the inside of the fuselage that self aligned the halves when glueing together.
Before closing the fuselage halves, the cockpit office and detail parts inside are assembled. The rear top decking was also fixed in lowered position so that the rotating turret could have nothing in its view when sighted towards the rear. The lower part of the turret was also inserted before the fuselage was closed. The turret clear part had two slot openings cut an exacto saw. These slots allowed correct fitting of the guns and the slots were long enough to allow gun vertical travel. The metal guns appeared to contain good surface detail when closely examined. I have made the gun arrangement to swivel by adding a metal pivot in form of a tube which fits to the side gun gears and a hole drilled inside the gun fitting block so that the tube is free ti rotate inside allowing the guns to be swung at a different angle. This appeared to be beneficial when placing the clear gun turret piece as the guns could be rotated almost vertically allowing easy insertion through the open ports. A pilot crew figure was added inside the cockpit from spares box. This was painted in FAA drab gear.
Coming to the wing parts there was absence of wheel well detail and this is where I added internal wing spars that could be viewed from the well apertures. These were made from narrow strips of plastic card that are stuck running parallel along the length of the wings. The wings come in four parts, requiring little cleaning at the periphery. On one wing part it was 1/8” shorter at the root and this was corrected by inserting a piece of plastic strip.
The wings and tail planes again required some form of guide when it comes to glue to the fuselage. I have achieved this by drilling 1mm diameter holes to fuselage at wing section and inserted corresponding guide metal pins to the wing root. In doing so they ensured correct placement of the wing parts to the fuselage. Very little filler was required at the roots. Port and starboard wing tip lights were made from solid clear plastic parts. The wing leading edge landing light was also treated in same fashion.
The engine cowling and gills were fixed together and attached to the fuselage front. The radial engine was then slid inside the cowling half round core print followed by the cowling front ring fixed in place. The long exhaust pipe was then fixed to the lower starboard side of the cowling. Three pieces of metal wire in the shape of a triangle were added detail to the front of radial engine inside the cowling.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
All interiors were cockpit green, the radial engine was mainly silver with light grey central caps. Model was airbrushed in extra dark sea grey and dark slate grey on all upper surfaces while lower surfaces were sky grey. I have noticed through experience that the dark, and the light slate grey in particular had many shade variations. This causes a dilemma among modelers in shade variations arising from weathering conditions. Fortunately I happened to have samples acquired from ‘Ministry of Supply’ for the standard colours, gloss and smoothness. These are FS595a equivalents for the Fleet Air Arm. The dark slate grey is FS34096 and the extra dark sea grey is FS36099. The underside sky grey is FS36463. I have used fresh tins of Compucolor paints which ran smooth during airbrushing in spite that they were bought 30 years ago. Accompanying photo shows true standard samples and the variation of slate grey variety between one supplier to the British ministry and another. This is not taking consideration on how the slate green in particular could fade in the extreme hot weather in the Mediterranean where many of FAA aircraft also operated.
Model was given a coat of Klear and the decals were applied on the model. As for the decals I could only use the seral number and letter ‘E’ from the kit decal and also the fuselage roundel but the wing roundels were grossly oversize. I used replacement roundels from my spare decal box. Finally the model was given an overall coat of semi gloss Model Master lacquer. The cowling ring and exhaust pipe were in bronze color giving the burnt metal texture mixed with other shades of brown.
The kit is accurate and should appeal to those keen on FAA aircraft types. It was fun building this Roc in spite that the type lacked popularity due to its poor performance during the war and utilized on training duties during most of the war years. It is a resin model and required some skill in putting it together and therefore recommended to experienced modelers.
Carmel J. Attard
Thanks to Brian Watkins of N J for the kit.
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