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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Canberra Critic: 1/48th Airfix B-57B / B-57G / RB-57E

There haven't been many manufacturers take on the Canberra in 1/48th scale to say the least. Airfix's releases from 2008-2019 gave us several types of this aircraft however the model's overdone panel lines, fit and detail are reminiscent of much earlier kits.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Basic level of detail in the cockpit

  • Option to build B-57B, RB-57B or B-57G

  • Positionable flaps, speed brakes, elevators and rudder

  • Weapons load includes bombs & LGB

  • Two piece canopy which can be displayed open

  • Three crew members provided

Build Inspiration: This kit build was initiated as I was already building several aircraft that would require the application of the USAF TAC Jungle camouflage and figured I may as well get this one in the mix too. As a late-comer to the party it was built out of the box without much reference material, a bit of a side show to the other builds. I really should try and avoid letting the "group builds" get too far ranging as one kit or another tends to suffer. After the build, when I did come across a bit of reference material for the B-57G, I discovered the additional faults of the kit (regarding its shape). A part of model making is the continuing learning (and re-learning) experience, that hopefully you carry onto your next build.

Heads-Up Report: (Relative for building the G version)

  • The forward fuselage on this kit is just wrong for a G. The nose is oversize / lacking detail and the chin equipment pod is a poor fit (DMold makes a resin correction set, if you want a G) ...or just make a B type instead

  • As mentioned, the panel lines appear as more wide grooves (especially on the fuselage). For the most part, panel lines don't show on the Canberra when viewed at any distance. (The placement of some of the panel lines don't appear accurate either.)

  • Poor fitting bomb bay

  • The vertical rudder has a series of horizontal groves on it that don't exist on the real aircraft - These need to be filled and sanded smooth

  • Missing tab on vertical tail plane as well as tail antennas

  • No surface panel lines exist on the kit's horizontal tail planes (which should have some)

  • Horizontal tail planes are incorrect shape where they meet the fuselage (They should meet at an angle not at the near 90 degrees the fuselage portion depicts (plus they don't fit well)

  • Engine fit will require some sheet styrene, filler and sanding especially at the exhaust ends

  • Main gear wheels are reportedly incorrect for a G

  • Poor fitting wingtip lights

  • The bombs do not appear to be USAF variants and the Laser Guided ones are clunky and should be replaced

  • Missing various antennas and details (The antennas provided are oversize so you are better off producing ones from plastic cardstock)

  • Decals are poor, being a bit transparent and incorrect in colour

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Added seatbelts (although the kit showed them in the instructions, they weren't there)


I got into this build and it quickly degenerated into a "what am I doing here" mindset. I managed to press on and finish building it (instead of binning it) however, what I should have done was switch to building the B-57B variant in night camouflage for starters. I also should have filled-in the panel lines (for the most part), fixed the tail plane to fuselage shape, added some details, and used after-market decals. All these changes would have netted a better-looking model in the end. (Who knows I may get ambitious and strip this one down for a remake and remodel one of these days.)

End Result: Paint camouflage was weathered by spraying variations of the paint tones (typically darker along the panel lines and 'patched areas). After allowing the paint to dry for at least 24 hours, a gloss coat was achieved by spraying Pledge /Future floor finish over all surfaces. Decals were later applied with disappointing results, as they appear washed out (and not in a good way, as the white tail markings appear to have a reddish? speckle though them ). Dark washes were used to highlight the panels (what was I thinking here?) The final matt coat was sprayed, using Model Master, to seal everything and complete the finish.

The After-Build Report: While the Airfix B-57 kit could be built into a decent looking B-57B Canberra The build will require a fair bit of extra effort to get a nice looking model kit (instead of an old relic of a model or toy). If you want a Canberra in your collection this is probably the easiest route, (although I wonder at times if the Classic Airframes version would produce a better end result - if you could find one of those CA kits).

Completed build #208 - October 2017 using the 1/48th scale Airfix #A10104 kit. Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers


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