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LTD 1/48 scale Commonwealth Boomerang

Kit: No. 9806
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: LTD, distributed by Military Model Distributors, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 214-242-8663
Price: $24.95
Comments: Injection molded, 52 parts (6 vacuum formed, 1 resin), decals.

AUSTRALIA ENTERED the Pacific War without modern interceptors. With no imports available from Britain or the United States, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation produced a homespun "panic fighter" in only 14 weeks from Wirraway trainer components. When married to a Pratt-Whitney Twin Wasp engine, the most powerful available, it created a remarkably rugged and agile fighter. Still, the Boomerang proved too slow for air-to-air combat -- but it excelled in close-support duties during the fierce fighting ahead.

LTD's 1/48 scale version of the main-production CA-13 Boomerang features clean, low-pressure injection-molded parts that can be cut, sanded, and glued easily. And the kit's sole resin casting -- a beautiful flame-damper exhaust -- requires no cleanup.

As with most limited-run kits, LTD's Boomerang demands extra attention preparing the parts and fitting subassemblies. The fine recessed panel lines are so subtle that heavy coats of paint may obscure them.

Nice touches include a spare vacuum-formed canopy and bulged, flattened tires. Note, though, that late-production Boomerangs carried treaded P-38 tires. The instructions feature six pages of historical, assembly, and color notes.

If you find removing the crusty flash around the delicate details too daunting, remember that Boomerangs sprang from the North American T-6 Texan/Harvard family -- so Monogram's Texan is an excellent source for cockpit and landing-gear components. Spares-box scroungers may want to replace the kit engine with the R-1830 Twin Wasp in Hobbycraft's P-35 kit.

The fit is average. The carburetor air scoop on top of the cowl is split with the fuselage halves. Insert the ill-fitting scoop floor between the halves while trapping the engine and fire wall. It's nearly impossible to clean up those seams. The propeller blades are molded with the back plate of the spinner, making this another cleanup hurdle.

LTD set the starboard main gear locating hole farther forward than the correctly positioned port-side slot. The pitot in step 4 is shown going in backward to the leading edge of the wing. Be careful with the canopy! It's precisely sized to the cockpit opening, so dry-fit and adjust before eliminating the flash around the cockpit. The resin exhaust is never mentioned in the instructions, but its location is obvious.

Carefully check your reference photos while assembling the kit. Many Boomerangs had simple ring-and-bead sights, and some featured antenna masts; but none of those are included in the kit. It's also easy to confuse earlier CA-12s and later CA-19s with the CA-13 LTD's kit represents. Some useful publications are Profile 178, the February 1972 Air Enthusiast (now Air International), the March 1988 Air Forces International, and Air Enthusiast 61.

I painted my model with the new Australian colors in the Polly Scale line. The decals provide markings for three Boomerangs: "Hep Cat," "Phooey," and "Recce Robin." Although nicely printed, the wing roundels are too small, gray codes too dark, and serials incorrectly styled. No Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation rudder logos are provided, so I substituted markings from AeroMaster sheet 48-153.

I enjoyed building LTD's Boomerang. It took 20 hours to finish, about average for a limited-run kit, and it fills an important gap in collections of
Down Under aircraft.

David L. Veres

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