The CAC Boomerang was a fighter aircraft designed and manufactured in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation between 1942 and 1945. Approved for production shortly following the Empire of Japan's entry into the Second World War, the Boomerang was rapidly designed as to meet the urgent demands for fighter aircraft to equip the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The type holds the distinction of being the first combat aircraft to be both designed and constructed in Australia.
Different variants of the Boomerang were manufactured under a series of corresponding production contract numbers CA-12, CA-13, CA-14 and CA-19, the aircraft supplied under each subsequent contract would incorporate various modifications, typically aimed at improving the aircraft's performance. The effectiveness of the Boomerang has been contested, the aircraft proving to be slower than contemporary fighter aircraft and thus rarely engaging in aerial combat. During early wartime operations, the Boomerang was mainly dispatched to equip home-based squadrons, freeing up other fighters for use elsewhere overseas. In later service, the Boomerang would commonly be used for ground support duties, cooperating with Allied army units, in addition to secondary roles such as aerial reconnaissance and air sea rescue.
History adapted from Wikipedia
This is another of Special Hobby's excellent 'short run' kits. The outsides of the plastic parts appear to be quite glossy, although they are very slightly rough to touch. The insides feel very much like shark skin, but this will have no effect on the build. There is not a lot of flash, the injection pin marks are small, and with the exception of the ones in the wings, shouldn't need to be bothered with. Excellent use of the strengths of injection plastic, resin and photo-etch make the detail parts particularly effective. The instruction booklet is printed in colour, and each detail part has been printed in an indication of its actual colour. This serves as a nice planning aid for detail painting.
The fuselage is moulded in left and right halves including the cowling, with separate cowl flaps to insert into cutouts on either side. The cockpit is nice and busy, with sharp detail. The modeller first builds the cockpit framework, then populates it with detail parts to make an accurate office. This issue includes a correction for the pilot's armour plate; it must be cut and straightened. I'm not familiar enough with the Boomerang to know whether this is a detail difference between the previously issued CA-12 and the current issue CA-13, or whether Special Hobby did their sums incorrectly and caught it later, but the correction is there, and not difficult to perform. Seat belts are provided on the brass etched fret. The many tiny separate parts render this kit one for a modeller with plenty of experience. Build reports of previous issues of this kit reveal the need to shim the upper seam by 1mm from the nose to the cockpit, with a corresponding tapered shim from cockpit to fin to make the cowling opening round instead of oval.
The wings are provided in the traditional one piece bottom and separate tops, with a nice wheel well to insert into the inner leading edge. It is properly unroofed, allowing a view up into the engine mounts and accessory section. The ailerons are moulded into the wings. Their outlines are no more deep than the panel line engraving, so they could benefit from some scribing to make them stand out. They may also be cut away and posed, but to do so would take some extra work.
The engine is moulded in resin, with separate cylinders. The induction tubes and exhaust pipes are moulded in plastic. Some reports claim that it is difficult to build correctly in that the pipes will not properly fit the cylinders as moulded. There is a very complete accessory section and engine mount due to the fact that this area may be seen through the open top of the wheel well. The plastic exhaust manifold has some flash and will benefit from a careful cleanup.
The elevators are made from top and bottom halves, with the elevators moulded in place. Photos of parked Boomerangs are rare, but they seem to be evenly divided between having the elevators slightly drooped, or in the neutral position. It would be a small task to cut them away and pose them. The rudder is made from two halves, and as moulded may be posed as desired. Don't forget to pose the joystick and rudder pedals if you decide to animate your model's control surfaces.
The main wheels are available in either plastic or resin. The resin wheels have some nice block tread detail while the plastic wheels have smooth tread. The oleo strut links are made from two pieces, so should be mounted carefully.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like a Boomerang.
Decals and Markings
This issue has 4 options:
- 1. A46-199 “Home James” of 4 Sqn, flown primarily by F/LT Jack Archer. The aircraft is in forest green and earth brown camouflage over sky blue undersurfaces and white identification markings covering the spinner, wing leading edges and tailplane. The aircraft has a replacement left aileron in white and right stabiliser in overall forest green. This is definitely the most colourful option in the kit;
- 2. A46-154 “Wanda Lust” of 83 Sqn flown by Graham Richardson. The aircraft is again in forest green and earth brown over sky blue, but without the white identification markings;
- 3. A46-193 “Struth” of 4 Sqn in overall forest green;
- 4. A46-194 “The Grim Reaper” of 4 Sqn, again in overall forest green.
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