Modelcraft/Frog 1/72 Blackburn Shark

KIT #: 72-004
PRICE: cheap
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Frog tooling


The Blackburn Shark was a British carrier-borne torpedo bomber built by the Blackburn Aircraft company in England. It first flew on 24 August 1933 and went into service with the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Canadian Air Force, Portuguese Navy, and the British Air Observers' School, but was already obsolescent by 1937 and in the following year, replacement by the Fairey Swordfish began.

The RCAF purchased seven Blackburn Shark II (760 hp/570 kW Tiger VI) in 1936 for service with No 6 (TB) Squadron, later operating as No 6 (BR) Sqn on shipping patrols off the Canadian west coast. Two Blackburn Shark IIIs (800 hp/600 kW Pegasus III) were supplied to RCAF by Blackburn in 1939 as forerunners of 17 similar aircraft built by Boeing Aircraft of Canada at Vancouver, with 840 hp (630 kW) Pegasus IX and used by Nos 6 and 4 (BR) Squadrons. RCAF Blackburn Sharks, some of which operated as floatplanes, were withdrawn from service in August 1944 and five were then transferred to the RN Air Observers' School in Trinidad.

Modelcraft is a Canadian company that, for the most part, has reboxed other people's kits. This is not a bad thing and often it allows locals the chance to get kits they may not have readily available. They also tend to concentrate on subjects that have seen Canadian service.

This is a fairly complex kit with a fair number of parts. Cockpit is simply generic seats and crew members. Engine is a simple face trapped between upper and lower cowling pieces with the attendant seam to try to remove. Wings are upper and lower halves with separate ailerons. Same goes for the horizontal stabs and tailplanes. You are provided with a separate rudder as well.

One of the options is to be able to build the kit with the wings folded. As such the center section of the upper and lower wings have alternate tabs. Wing fabric representation is the usual 'hills and valleys of older kits. The wings have fairly major strut work, but it all appears to be pretty sturdy stuff. You are offered either wheels or floats and again, the floats have a lot of struts.

Instructions are a copy of the Frog version with the Modelcraft name stuck where the Frog name used to be. A separate markings guide is provided. You can either do an operational Royal Navy version, a Canadian plane or one of the Portuguese aircraft. Both planes are in ADC Grey (FS16473) with black anti glare areas. Decals are nicely printed, however, my copy has been folded several times so its viability is questionable.


Not sure if anyone has done a more modern version of this one so this kit may be the only game in town. My copy had been ridden hard and put away wet with nearly all the parts departing the sprues. The previous owner had simply wrapped everything in what looks like a dry cleaning bag, though it looks like all the bits are there. Not a kit for weak willed, and finding replacement markings will be difficult at best. Experienced modelers only on this one.


October 2020

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