In-Box Review
Fairy Barracuda Mk. II/III

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Special Hobby have brought out a "Hi-tech version" of their 1/48 scale Fairey Barracuda. When I reviewed the original kit some months back, I bemoaned the fact that the it lacked any ordnance. Maybe someone at Special Hobby visits Armorama, because the new version includes options for either a topedo or bombs, along with a much larger fret of etched parts and new decal options.

The plastic parts are identical to the original release, so I'll refer anyone interested back to my earlier review and concentrate here on what's new.
resin parts
Along with the original resin parts, Special Hobby have included 43 new pieces, which are cleanly cast and feature excellent detail. The bulk of parts are for a torpedo (presumably a Mk. XIIB) and its mounts, plus a set of four bombs and racks. For a torpedo-equipped machine, new resin pieces replace the bottom of the fuselage and undercarriage struts.

The fuselage interior gets some addition detail, with a pair of excellent panels to line the navigator's position. This will definitely help, as the area is clearly visible through the large windows. Sadly the radio operator's office doesn't get the same treatment, so some work with plastic strip still won't go amiss.

A radome is included for a Mk III and a pair of resin undercarriage legs. The latter aren't shown in the instructions (they are on the parts list), but are much crisper than their plastic counterparts. It's a little odd that, having added some so many new parts, Special Hobby haven't included resin "weighted" wheels as well - but I guess we can't have everything.
Etched parts
The new metal fret is much larger than the original. Particularly nice to see are a new etched instrument panel with a film backing and debris guards for the cheek intakes.

The rest of the new parts are torpedo propellers and straps, plus tail fins and rings for the resin bombs. The latter will require careful assembly. Rather than trying to bend them as shown, I would suggest placing them on a hard surface and rolling them with a pencil (or similar) to curl them.
Instructions and decals
The instructions are basically the same as the originals, and herein lies a problem; Special Hobby have tried to squeeze all the new armament parts into the existing diagrams. The result is rather confusing and it's definitely worth studying the diagrams carefully to avoid mistakes.

Decals are included for 4 new subjects:

Scheme A: Mk. II MD690 of 826 Sqn.
Scheme B: Mk. II P9789 of 766 Sqn.
Scheme C: Mk. III (not Mk. II as shown) RJ903 of 744 Sqn.
Scheme D: Mk. II PH953 of 812 Sqn.

The decals are thin and well printed. The red used for the roundels looks rather bright for wartime aircraft.

Bearing in mind that this is a short-run model, this is an excellent release. The new parts tackle the few weaknesses in what was already a very fine kit. For just 2.49 more than the original release, this represents great value and is definitely the one to buy. Of course, if you have already bought the origiinal, you can do like I will and use the spare ordnance for both models.

The new parts tackle the few weaknesses in what was already a very fine kit. For just 2.49 more than the original release, this represents great value and is definitely the one to buy.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: SH48028
  Suggested Retail: 29.99
  Related Link: Fairey Barracuda review
  PUBLISHED: Jun 19, 2004
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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