Unicraft 1/72 Martin-Baker Tankbuster
|NOTES:||Short run resin kit|
Conceived by Sir James Martin, the Tankbuster was a paper design. Powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffon and armed with an anti-tank gun, it would have been a formidable ground attack aircraft. The gun proposed was the Ordnance QF-6 6 pound anti-tank gun, 57mm bore, also produced in the U.S. as the M1. A later modification of the GF-6 was the Mollins gun as used in the Tse-Tse Mosquito.
It was intended to include 4900 lbs of ½ inch armour plate. The aircraft was a conceptual forerunner of the A-10.
Coming in a very small top opening box,
there are 23 cream coloured resin parts and a single vac-formed canopy. The
decal sheet had markings for one RAF aircraft. An interesting additional
part is a resin mould of the canopy, so another could be smash or vacuum
The parts are full of bubbles, there are plenty that will need attention. I counted 41 in an 8mm diameter circle on the fuselage. There is a warning about brittle resin and they are not kidding.
I then added the port front fuselage
half, fit was not to bad, but it will need quite a bit of filling. I found a
review on another site which confirmed my thought that this would be a
tail-sitter, so I filled the forward fuselage with lead shot (No.8
Winchester) and superglue.
I then added the one piece wing, a lot of preparation needed, as it had a pouring lug down most of the leading edge, As I removed this more and more bubbles appeared. It was also covered in little resin lumps, especially in the panel lines and the aileron hinge lines, most of these revealed another bubble as I cut them off. The wing fitted, sort off. Good fit at the trailing edge, about 2mm gaps at the roots, and a canyon at the leading edge.
Added the tail booms and the tailplane, always a tricky operation on twin boom aircraft. The booms were a good deal smaller than the stubs mounted on the wing as a result of the step removal, I lined them up with the upper surface and left a step underneath. It ended up a little out of square, but so was everything else on this model! From most angles it looks OK.
I decided to go with the box art desert air force scheme. First another coat of all-surfaces automotive primer, whoops, more bubbles and other glitches to fix. I painted the underside light blue, and did the topside light and dark brown.
Like the gun, the supplied resin blades were not too good. The spinner was OK, so I used a cuffed Hamilton Standard propeller, left over from a recent Mustang build. These blades where much nicer looking and close to the right diameter. I joined the spinner to the prop, and added a disc of plasticard to the front, then filled the void around the hub.
A Hobbyboss Tempest kit donated 8 rockets and rails, which I installed under the wings.
I had to touch up a few spots, then I then gave it a coat of floor polish to help the decals. I used the supplied kit decals which were ALPS style with a continuous carrier film. The colours were a little bright and shiny, and registration was not the best, with a white line along the edges of the roundels and fin flashes. They worked OK with a little Mr Mark Setter.
Another small touch up paint here and there, including going over the edges of the roundels and flashes to hide the white line and shiny carrier. Then a I gave it a coat of floor polish with some added Tamiya buff to seal and dull the decals. A final spray of dull coat and call it done.
A rather difficult build of a concept ground attack aircraft. Only a few parts, but fit issues and those bubbles meant a lot of work and not much fun. I had a real struggle to remain motivated enough to finish it, but resisted temptation to abandon it. It looks much better finished than I expected.
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