LTD 1/48 CAC Boomerang

KIT #: 9806
PRICE: $25.00 when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: Short run kit


The origins of the Boomerang can be traced in late 1941, when Lawrence Wackett, manager and chief designer of Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) examined the possibility of designing and building a new fighter aircraft, a first for Australia’s aviation industry. To minimize risks and speed things up, Wackett implemented elements of the domestically produced Wirraways for the airframe (themselves based on the North American NA-16) and Bristol Beauforts for the powerplant (Australian-made Beauforts used license-built R-1830 Twin Wasps).

The emerging design, designated as CA-12, used the wing, tail assembly, undercarriage, and center section of the Wirraway in combination with a new forward fuselage to house the larger Twin Wasp engine, which gave it a stubby appearance. It had a new cockpit with a sliding hood and carried an armament of two 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannons along with four .303 machine guns.

The proposal was presented to the Australian Government, which promptly gave its approval, authorizing an immediate order for 105 “Boomerangs” (as they were named shortly thereafter). The fact that the order was fixed before even any prototype had been constructed could be due to a combination of reasons, including, among others, urgency of demand due to war, insurance against delay or cancellation of the RAAF’s P-40 order and the expectedly low risk of the project itself, as it would use many readily available components (although the latter finally materialized to a lesser degree than originally envisaged).

Though the engine's performance was adequate at low altitudes, it fell rapidly above 15000 ft, so, the fact that the plane rarely engaged in aerial combat came as no surprise. Attempts to fit the R-2600 power plant did not come to fruition due to non-availability, whereas the locally manufactured R-2800 would practically stress the landing gear beyond acceptable limits if fitted.

As it stood, the Boomerang was agile, easy to fly, with good range, sufficient armament and could withstand significant battle damage. While it might have never been recorded as having destroyed any enemy aircraft, it performed well in the light ground attack role, used by Army co-operation squadrons, often replacing the lightly armed Wirraway.  It was also used for artillery spotting, aerial supply drops, tactical reconnaissance, and anti-malarial spraying. In total, 250 examples were built.

RAAF No. 5 Squadron flew Boomerangs in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Borneo Campaign, also in the close support role, with marked success. Flying in pairs (one to observe the ground, the other to observe the air around them), their tasks included bombing, strafing, close infantry support and artillery spotting. They often operated in conjunction with larger aircraft, where they would get in close to confirm the identity of the target and mark it with a 20 lb smoke bomb, with the cooperating larger aircraft delivering the major ordnance from a safer distance. A partnership between No. 5 Squadron Boomerangs and Royal New Zealand Air Force Corsair fighter-bombers during the Bougainville Campaign was said to be particularly successful.


LTD was an American limited run kit company that had its molds made in the Czech Republic. Their 1/48 Boomerang came out in 1996 and it is a typical limited run representative of  the era. The specific copy was discovered forgotten on a shelf of an Athens hobby shop back in 2002, carrying a price tag that sounded reasonable. having a soft spot on rare subjects, I grabbed it immediately.

The kit came in a flimsy and partly beaten-up side opening box, carrying a nice box art depicting RAAF’s 4 Squadron bird “Hep Cat” during a strafing attack. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 47 light gray styrene parts, arranged in three sprues. Molding is typical low-pressure/limited-run of the past with thick sprue gates and lots of flash that has to be cleaned off. Panel lines are recessed but soft and shallow, with most of them probably going to disappear after the inevitable sanding, due to the pebbly and somehow uneven surfaces. Fabric representation is good. Regarding overall accuracy, the fuselage is shorter than it should, emphasizing even further the plane's stubby looks.
Cockpit is adequately represented, but you will need to beef it up should you go for an open canopy. The R-1830 engine looks good, as does the prop. The exhaust is of the  "hedgehog" flame damper type and is nicely casted in resin. Landing gear is also sufficiently done with bulged wheels optionally offered (with the bulge somehow overdone for my taste).

Transparencies are vac formed and quite sharply done, however their base material is of the type that goes yellow after many years, which is the case here. Instructions come in the form of a 6-page leaflet, containing a short history of the type, with the construction spread in four steps, the last two being quite dense in information, needing some extra study, something easily tackled by the experienced modeler to whom the kit is definitely aimed at. Color callouts are given throughout in both FS numbers and in generic form.

Three schemes are provided, all having light blue undersides, the first two featuring foliage green topsides with the third one done in foliage green/earth brown. Decals are nicely printed by Superscale, seemingly enduring time well.

The first two steps of the instructions want you to assemble the engine/prop and cockpit respectively, then, in the third step, the aforementioned subassemblies have to be trapped between the fuselage halves, along with the rear-view windows’ inner plates and the air intake bottom. The tail planes are next, followed by assembly and installation of the main wing, landing gear, optional belly tank, transparencies and final small bits, ending a build which, though on paper seems not too complicated, will definitely pose a certain degree of complexity due to the limited nature of the kit.


First thing I did was to remove all parts from the sprues and clean-off the significant amount of flash present. Willing not to take extra risks, I performed the radical act of reading and, for the most part, following the instructions, starting with assembling and fitting the engine to its firewall. The crankcase was painted light gray, the cylinders were painted black, then heavily dry brushed with silver, whereas the firewall itself was painted zinc chromate.

Cockpit assembly was next, where, foreseeing fit issues, I chose to attach the floor, rear bulkhead and instrument panel to the right fuselage half and, before glue curing on the cockpit elements, dry fit the left fuselage half and align parts. Upon glue curing, I attached the seat, stick and rudder pedals. The inner plates of the rear view windows were next attached, followed by the lower part of the front air intake. The fuselage halves were then glued together, trapping also the assembled engine in between.

Basic cockpit color was Hu226 Interior Green, with the instrument panel, gun sight base and stick grip painted black. The raised instruments were dry brushed with silver and some red and white knobs were “pinned” with like paints. The head cushion was painted “brown leather” and seat belts were added from masking tape. Cowling innards were painted zinc chromate.

The wings were next assembled and, after gluing the upper bay wall to the fuselage, they were attached underneath, followed by the tail planes. I decided to use the belly tank, which was assembled and attached in place, concluding basic model assembly.

Overall fit, as expected, was of the “test fit three times before applying glue” kind, with the majority of parts needing various degrees of trimming in order to fit. This was expected from this kind of limited run kits of that era and, truth be told, assembly proved easier than initially envisaged. After a few rounds of filling and sanding, I blanked the engine and cockpit openings with wet tissue and took the bird to the paint shop!


I first gave all undersides, including doors, a coat of Hu65 Light Blue, then masked it off. For the topside foliage green, I chose Hu149 Dark Green, whereas for the earth brown I chose Hu110 Wood. These shades were the closest (from the ones I had available…) to what my perception of the RAAF foliage green and brown was, so no shade accuracy is claimed whatsoever. A coat of Future prepared the bird for decals.

I used the kit decals, in order to represent 5 Sqn’s “BF-R”, #A46-179, named “Recce Robin”, flown by Pilot Officer C. Rasmussen. The Superscale decals behaved very well, adding a feeling of satisfaction after the challenging build. A coat of Future sealed the decals.


The main landing gear legs were assembled and attached in position, followed by the rear wheel/strut assembly, then the main wheels (I chose the bulged ones, but lightly filed their sides, as the effect was overdone) and finally , the doors. Landing gear legs and rims were painted steel, oleos were painted chrome, tires were painted black and, finally, bays and door innards were painted zinc chromate.

The prop was assembled and attached in position. It had dark brown spinner, black blades and yellow tips, with some silver dry brushing applied to the leading edges towards the tips area, to simulate wear. The two Hispano-suiza cannons were attached in position. Their bodies were painted per the surrounding camo, their covers brown leather and their tips gunmetal, with the latter color used for the starboard located pitot.

The distinctive hedgehog style exhaust was painted testors Burned Metal and attached (its placement is neither depicted nor mentioned at the instructions, but it’s easy to figure out where it goes). Falsely assuming that its rear section would be hollow, to my dismay, I cut-off the final angled tube and drilled-out the opening, only to realize that I should have just left it as it was…nevertheless, a suitably sized styrene piece was bent to shape and attached, somehow restoring the exhaust’s original shape.

I decided to apply an amount of weathering, in order to represent the harsh conditions this bird was operating in. I first gave the engine, landing gear area and all undersides a black wash. Next I airbrushed some exhaust and gun smokes towards the direction of the airflow (where I certainly overdid it, especially with the gun smokes). Finally dark brown and black pastels were applied at places where dirt or grime would reside, with a satin coat giving the bird its final hue.

I decided to use the vac clear parts despite having yellowed over time. The canopy had its quite well defined frames hand painted and attached, followed by the rear view windows. Fit of the latter was average, with the gaps treated with white glue. To keep my sanity I omitted using the vac wing mounted landing light covers, but, instead, I filled the cutouts with white glue that dried semi-transparently.

The fin-mounted white light was replicated by “pinning” a fine tip silver pen onto the corresponding bulges, whereas the wingtip lights were represented by tiny blobs of red and green clear paint. The aiming ring and bead were not provided by the kit, so they were made from stretched sprue, painted black and attached in the positions shown at net available pics. Two pieces of stretched sprue were run from the fin towards two suitably drilled holes onto the fuselage top to represent the aerial wire, before calling the Boomerang done!


Special Hobby came in 2008 with their quarter scale Boomerangs, which, though still limited run in nature, are accurate and very well detailed. If you want an excellent 1/48 Boomerang, the Special Hobby kit is clearly the way to go.

This elderly LTD kit, apart from the short fuselage, offers a decent representation of the Boomerang with acceptable level of detail. Despite its very short run nature, it is buildable with some extra effort. The transparencies will most likely have yellowed over time and this must be taken into account. Scarce to find nowadays, this kit is reminiscent of the past heroic modeling days. If you resist the temptation to keep it as a collectors item and go on building it, a very nice Boomerang will emerge.

Happy Modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

8 March 2024

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