The TSR-2 was Britain's great “might-have-been” aircraft of the 1960s. It was developed as a low-level tactical strike aircraft to survive in the then-current Cold War environment. The TSR-2 was cancelled in 1964 after the first prototype had flown and two more were almost ready for flight.
The kit comes securely packed in a large box, with the fuselage and wing sprues taped to a card inside a plastic bag and sitting on a divider. Under the divider are the remaining sprues, instructions, stand and decals. The moulding is very crisp and very detailed for the scale.
The fuselage is moulded in upper and lower halves. The lower half is smaller than the upper, consisting of the bottom of the fuselage only. The upper half is very deep, and includes some detail in both the nose gear well and bomb bay. More details are added in the form of intake sides, engine inlet mouldings which form the roofs of the main landing gear bays, bomb bay test gear and nose wheel bay ceiling, gear and bomb bay doors and separate speed brakes which may be posed open or closed. The cockpits are provided with separate bang seats and crew figures. They're not fantastically detailed, but the small windows won't provide much of a look inside unless the canopies are left open.
The wing is made of an upper and lower half which sits on top of the fuselage moulding. The instructions would have you glue the lower wing in place before securing the intake sides, but reports from modellers who have already tackled the kit suggest that the intakes should be glued first to prevent fit problems. Separate control surfaces are provided which make for nice thin trailing edges. They would need a bit of surgery to be posed deflected but the TSR-2 was rarely seen with deflected control surfaces on the ground.
Each of the tail surfaces are a one piece moulding. The instructions direct the modeller not to apply glue; presumably they're intended to be poseable. Once again, pictures of aircraft with deflected surfaces are fairly rare.
The engine exhausts are moulded into a portion of the rear fuselage. They're almost a centimetre deep, with a representation of the reheat flame holders at the bottom. All they'll need is a good painting. The intakes are blocked off about 5mm in which is a trifle shallow but a large locating pin prevents them from being any deeper. Once the shock cones are in place, looking up the inlets will be fairly difficult anyway.
The landing gear struts and wheels share the general level of detail of the rest of the kit and will look commendably busy once they're in place. They might benefit from hydraulic lines. The instructions would have the main gear doors posed open but contemporary photos of the TSR-2s show that only the door over the strut was open with the main doors sitting closed except when the gear was in transit. The larger nose gear doors should also be closed.
A Red Beard
shape is provided to hang in the bomb bay (even though the TSR-2 was eventually not cleared to carry Red Beard; its weapon was to be the WE.177
instead). Four Martel missiles and pylons are provided to hang under the wings for a “what if” model. A bulged bomb bay ferry fuel tank fairing is also provided. Flashed-over holes are provided in the wings. If you intend to mount the pylons they'll need to be drilled out before gluing on the upper wing half. These are not mentioned in the instructions, suggesting the possibility of a “operational” boxing for later release.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a TSR-2
Decals and Markings
The decal sheet provides markings for XR219 (the only TSR-2 to fly) and the surviving XR 220 and 222. All 3 aircraft are in the over anti-flash white with pale blue and pink roundels. A small selection of red and pale blue stencils is provided, and the decal sheet is completed with the black markings which outlined the upper surfaces of the wing's trailing edges. Strangely, the black markings on the lower wings are expected to be painted.
The decal sheet is quite small, but the markings are crisply printed and in good register. The TSR-2 prototypes didn't carry much in the way of markings, so what you get is perfectly adequate to complete the model.
The real thing
XR219 in flight
where it belonged.
XR222 on display
at the RAF Museum, Cosford.
XR 220 At the Imperial War Museum
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