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Dynavector's 1/48 scale

by "Bondo" Phil Brandt



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Perhaps the most serious blow, ever, to the proud British aircraft industry was dealt by the Labor government in 1965 when the powers-that-be cancelled the high performance “tactical strike and reconnaissance” program that was well (and successfully) underway. This centerpiece of British aircraft development, while exceeding many performance criteria, ran afoul of significant cost escalation and uncertainties as to what the eventual price would be. The Labor government instead opted for the purchase of F-111Ks, another plan which never came into fruition, although twenty-five years of tweaking by the USAF resulted in a proven all-weather strike weapon system that was of serious concern to “Evil Empire” defense planners right up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Bondo has always liked the long lines and performance potential of the TSR.2, and this past November he was privileged to stand right next to the beautifully-maintained real thing at Cosford.


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The Kit

The talented Taro Tominari released the big TSR.2 vacuform years ago in the U.K., and, as with other Dynavector kits, this one featured sharp molding, exquisite engraving, decent cast metal cockpit and landing gear and proper decals for the all-white test articles.




Things got underway typically for a high quality vac kit. The only tricky part was in accurately cutting plastic strengthening beams which are glued athwartship to insure stiffness and proper mating of the top and bottom fuselage halves; this curmudgeon still needed to break out the Blue Acryl to hide the long join line.

Two modifications were added: the aftermarket Heritage Aviation (U.K.) resin avionics compartment, and scratchbuilt speedbrakes. The Heritage avionics compartment interferes with the nosegear well, but grinding and clipping off one side of the metal nose strut enabled the assembly to slip in beside the intruding box.

(Suggest 026, 040, 041)

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The open speedbrakes add busy-ness to large expanses of white airframe. First, a slab of epoxy putty was laid into the fuselage interior (insulated from the vac’ed plastic by a sheet of Cling-Wrap). When cured, this conformal piece was then removed and the areas under the speedbrakes was filed off flat to give depth to the wells. Next, the speedbrake doors were cut out, and inner layers added to the doors to give depth. The doors and wells received various structural components. Actuators were scratchbuilt. Afterburner sections were deepened.


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Instead of building wing spars, Taro-san specifies gluing plastic strips spanwise to strengthen the otherwise unsupported wing halves. Some depression still occurred (on top) and, again, it was Blue Acryl and block sanding that saved the day.


The cockpit cast metal components were free from flash and, by themselves, would have provided an acceptable interior, especially if the canopies were posed shut. It was most fortunate that the TSR.2 was built over a period of years because serendipity appeared courtesy of Airwaves who produced very nice resin seats for this specific application. Said seats are sharply cast and feature a veritable rats nest of belts and harnesses, the way Bondo likes ‘em! Some detailing was added to the otherwise plain front and rear bulkheads. Resin side panels were cloned from a Black Box F-4 set.

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Canopies and Windscreens

Because of the nice Airwave seats, it was decided to go with open canopies. A second set of canopies furnished by Dynavector was sacrificed to be used as patterns for laminating inner canopy panels to give a more realistic appearance. The unusual tint on the windows was achieved with amber and orange clearcoats.

Fitting and blending a windscreen to a vac fuselage can be exasperating, and this build was no exception. After gluing the windscreen with R/C 500 white glue, the prepainted unit was masked off around the fuselage join line, and Blue Acryl applied in a thin strip around the periphery. After some exacting wet sanding, the area was primed.

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Landing Gear

One nice thing about Taro-san’s use of heavy cast metal gear is that the weight makes balance in a lightweight vac airframe no problemo; the TSR.2 sits firmly on it’s gear.

Building the nose gear was perfunctory; the more complicated tandem main assemblies are a bit more problematic (some struts needed “adjusting”). Since the main gear splays outward and sweeps backward, alignment of the struts to the slanted floor of the gear wells was accomplished while 5-minute epoxy cured (I’ve found that fifteen minutes is a more realistic figure). It’s more of an art than a science, sports fans! Gear doors were enhanced with beveled edge inner panels which give a more realistic thickened look.

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Slabs and Vertical Fin

The slabs are attached through 1/8" brass rods which slip into brass tubing glued into the empennage. There was some internal interference with the exhausts tubes.



Painting and Markings


Bondo thought long and hard about whether to be a purist and go all-white as in the test articles, or to go with an imagined operational scheme–a kind Brit modeler at Telford contributed a data sheet which shows a typical-for-the-time arrangement of green and gray cammo on top, with anti-flash white on the undersurfaces–but opted in the end for the overall white. Perhaps if what’s-their names had brought out a 1/48 “what if” sheet to match the 1/72 sheet I viewed at Hannants in November, Bondo would’ve gone the fantasy route.

I didn’t want to try to cover such a large airframe surface using the ol’ Iwata, especially in white, so it was Spraycan City. Multiple coats of very finegrained Tamiya white lacquer primer–this is GOOD stuff!--were shot from the can, and the extremely smooth coat produced almost made topcoating unnecessary. Only the many decals that had to be applied convinced this builder to go with a totally glossy color coat. Tamiya “True White” (TS-26) lacquer was shot, also out of the can, and the spray is so even and fine that it’s like shooting a 1:1 car with my big Binks gun. Masking (Tamiya yellow tape) over the “dried” Tamiya lacquer twenty-four hours later gave Bondo an unexpected adrenalin check; when removed just twenty minutes later after Alclad II was applied to small areas, the tape left an ever so slightly “marred” surface in the white lacquer. Wetsanding with 8000 MicroMesh got rid of most of the unsightly areas. Funny thing, when other areas were masked a week later, no marring occurred; lesson learned! After decal and Solvaset application, semigloss clear Testor’s water-based acrylic was substantially thinned, and light dusting coats with the airbrush (30 psi) achieved the desired opacity.


In the past, Dynavector decals have been problem-free for this modeler, but negatory zees time! The decals clung tenaciously to the sheet even after prolonged soaking and had to be nudged with a knife blade to get ‘em starting to move. The decals were very delicate and often cracked, especially during the excruciating application of the plentiful walkway stripes. This curmudgeon felt as if he was performing neurosurgery.





Yeah, yeah, I know; Airfix just released the 1/72 TSR.2, and this curmudgeon’s sure it’s nice, having seen the prototype at Telford. I know of the traditional British fascination for 1/72, but for many of us road-less-traveled modelers, size does matter.

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Phil Brandt
Page Created 27 February, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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