Great Wall Hobby (GWH) has released a TSR.2 in 1/144 scale. This kit is actually an exact repackaging of the Pit Road TSR.2, which is evident from the “Pit Road” name molded on the sprues. The kit itself is very nice and it features engraved panel lines, optional position canopies, options to build it in-flight or on the ground, optional position speed breaks, and a plethora of weapons. Every sprue is packaged in its own bag. Decals are included for three anti-flash white RAF TSR.2s: XR219, XR220, and XR222 (XR219 was the only TSR.2 to fly). The decals are in good register with minimal carrier film.
The kit is molded in white plastic that is hard, but easy to work with. GWH did a good job of planning the tooling on this kit as the sprue attachment points are on the “inside” of the part, thereby leaving very little marring to the actual surface of the model. Although the TSR.2 had tinted main canopies, the rest of the windows were clear. Helpfully, GWH chose to mold the clear parts with no tint, thus allowing modelers to replicate this look as they see fit.
For the most part, I followed the kit instructions. The only deviation I made was to attach the landing gear, interior, intake, and side-of-fuselage parts to the main fuselage before attaching the wing. The kit’s wing is molded with the flaps separate. Although the instructions would have you simply attach the flaps in neutral position, with a little work you can attach them in the dropped position. I should mention that the fuselage is molded in top and bottom halves. The top fuselage half has the cockpit tub molded into it; all you have to do is drop the instrument panels and ejection seats in and your cockpit is done. The instrument panels have no detail on them, and I added seat harnesses from masking tape. However, after completing the model, you can’t really see into the cockpit anyways with the tinted canopies. To tint the canopies, I diluted Tamiya Clear Orange and airbrushed it onto them.
The majority of the kit goes together flawlessly. I only needed a little filler on one side of the fuselage due to my overzealous sprue cutting. I modeled my TSR.2 with the majority of the landing gear bays closed, as would be the case on the real aircraft. Even though the kit offers landing gear doors for opened and closed position, the closed position parts still required the attachment tabs to be cut off. This isn’t a big deal but is something to be aware of if you’re planning to build your TSR.2 in-flight.
As mentioned, the kit includes some weapons and external stores. For the bomb bay you can choose a tactical nuclear bomb (Red Beard?), an electronics package used on the test aircraft, or you can close the bay doors and mount a large external fuel tank. The kit includes four pylons for the wings, and from those pylons you can hang what look like AS-37 Martel air-to-surface missiles.
The decals laid down nicely over a gloss white surface. They reacted well to Micro Set and Micro Sol. After the decals had dried, I put a coat of Future on the model in preparation for weathering. I wanted to model my TSR.2 as XR219 after a flight, and photos show it to be rather dirty after flying. I used Ammo by Mig washes on the model. After they were dry, I attached the landing gear. The main gear is made up of five parts (including the wheels). It’s rather fragile and finicky to attach, but seems sturdy enough. The nose gear required a little trimming of the sides to get it to fit.
This is a great kit. I was able to assemble and paint it in just a few nights. The proportions look spot on and the build is hassle free. If you want a TSR.2 on your shelf but don’t have the room for the 1/72nd or 1/48th version, then I highly recommend this kit.
My sincere thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing the review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review the kit!