Airfix 1/72 Canberra PR.9
KIT #: A05039
PRICE: $21.95 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit


Rather than go into the history of the Canberra (of which most are aware), here is a bit on the PR.9 derivative. The PR.9 was a photo-reconnaissance version based on B(I) 8 with fuselage stretched to 68 ft (27.72 m), wingspan increased by 4 ft (1.22 m), and Avon R.A.27 (Avon 206) engines with 10,030 lbf (44.6 kN) of thrust. It had the offset canopy of the B(I)8 with a hinged nose to allow fitment of an ejection seat for the navigator. A total of 23 were built by Short Brothers & Harland with three transferred to Chile after the Falklands War.

Actually, those three Chilean PR.9s were used to covertly photograph Argentine air bases during the Falklands/Malvinas War. They were then left to the Chilean A.F. as payment. The PR.9 was the last Canberra type to be used by the RAF, finally retiring in 2006, some 40 plus years after having been built.

This is the second release of Airfix's 1/72 Canberras. Previously, the only other kitting of this variant was by Matchbox, and while it is still a nice kit, it falls far behind in terms of detailing when compared to this new Airfix offering.

Molded in the usual grey we have come to expect from Airfix, there are six grey and one clear sprue. The panel lines are fine, though perhaps a tad large. One thing I did notice was a number of shallow sink areas opposite the alignment pins. This is most obvious on the wings so prepare for some filler work to level those out. The kit has a lot going for it. There is a full cockpit and nose interior section. Molding here is quite good and will satisfy most modelers. The seats even have belt detail molded in place. Crew figures are provided if you wish to use them. There are resin upgrades for those who want a bit more detail in this area. To keep it from tail sitting, you'll need to add 45 grams behind the cockpit section. This is quite a bit of weight for most models.

The kit has separate wheel well inserts as well as separate control surfaces. These control surfaces are curved are as the attaching points so you can model them deflected if you wish. You also have separate flap sections and can show those deployed as well.  Landing gear are very nicely detailed with the proper thick doors and very positive attachment lugs. The doors have to be cut apart (a normal way to reduce molding expenses). Nose gear includes separate debris shields for each nose tire. The bomb bay has two different camera placement options.

For the things under wings we start with the wing tip drop tanks. These are optional so one will have to open holes for the tanks. It was more common to see the plane without them. For the rest of the wings there are slots that can be used to mount pylons on which ESM pods are mounted. Again, most of the time the plane flew without these pods or pylons. 

Instructions are well done and have as the cover image, the box art from the 1/48 kit. All paints are Humbrol numbers only with no clue as to what the actual colors are. I'll repeat that this is a lame way of doing paint as not all modelers have access to Humbrol paints. A large full color painting and markings chart is provided, also only giving Humbrol paint numbers.

There are four schemes available. Going by the image to the right, the first is with 1 PRU during 1985. The next is a Chilean version during 1983. Both are in the green/grey/light grey scheme. In the Hemp scheme is a 39 Squadron aircraft when the type retired. This one is currently on display at Kemble airport in the UK and is apparently still in flying condition.Finally, from the early days of the PR.9 is this silver painted version from 58 Squadron in 1963.

The decal sheet provides all the markings and data information. It is superbly printed and as good looking as any aftermarket sheet. I'm sure this is a result of Hornby's take-over of the company as one thing Hornby does well is to improve what it buys.


If you like Canberras, toss your Matchbox kit to the kids and pick this one up. Best of all is that it isn't $60, but a super reasonable price so you have NO excuse!


Thanks to me for being willing to lay out the loot for this one.

June 2010

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