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Record Models 1/72 Bluebird K7

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Ordered this the other day from A2Zee and it arrived today. This is a primarily resin kit of Donald Campbell's ill-fated Bluebird K7 in its final configuration as of January 1967.


It's a small kit - think how big an Airfix Gnat is - and the resin parts make up the main hull, sponsons, planing shoes, jetpipe and the various gubbins that attach to the rear of the hull (rudder, stabilising fin, water brake), canopy (in clear resin) and a stand. All finely cast with restrained recessed panel lines. The spray deflectors either side of the cockpit are supplied in clear plastic card, and the sponson fins are etched brass. A length of brass rod is provided to be cut up into lengths for the pitot tube, the tiny intakes on top of the hull and the spray deflector struts. Brass rod is also embedded in the rear spars which will help with keeping the sponsons rigid. Finishing off the package is a small decal sheet providing the BSEL and Bluebird logos, DO NOT STAND stencils and the flags on the nose and fin along with some tiny gauges on the starboard side - nice touch.


Sadly the cockpit is non-existent - it's just a solid wall with a solid clear canopy to go on top - so there is some scope for drilling the pit out and populating it - though you'll probably find ready reference material for this area is difficult to find. Neil Sheppane's book This Rather Stony Path, due out later this year, should help in this regard.

The instructions are minimal but frankly you don't need much - it's a simple kit. The painting instructions have a few errors - I've let A2Zee know and hopefully they'll update them.

Overall impression is that it looks the part (the only shape issue I can see is that the rear deck is a bit thick at the aft end, easily scraped/sanded to a more scale thickness) and lots of little details that aren't immediately obvious in many photos of the real thing are correctly represented. A nice package - I'm amazed nobody has done it before!

Airfix take note, I think this would be a best selling subject as an injection moulded kit - though I'd say it really needs to be in a larger scale, e.g. 1/32 or perhaps even 1/24.

This one's on my workbench as soon as I finish my Airfix Sea Vixen so I'll do a build review when I get to it!

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Sorry chaps, life intruded...

Back on the workbench...


The main parts just fly together, though I found the forward spars very fragile and one snapped while being held in place waiting for the ever-useless superglue to dry.

1 - scrape scrape scrape on the transom top and undersides to better match the shape of the real thing

2 - I wasn't happy with the fairing running along the fin base either so scraped that out of existence - it was a little too small, went too far forward and was wrongly angled with respect to the fuselage/hull


3 - after failing to find any semi-circular section plastic rod I decided the best way to proceed would be to carefully cut a slot...


4 - ...and insert a plastic rod. I've also cut a small slot below the aft end of this fairing, where the fin meets the hull. Angle still not quite right but too late now!

Next a coat of primer to see where the filler needs to go.

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A little more progress. Primer, filler, sanding and more primer and sanding...


The various gubbins on the back unfortunately all turned out to be incorrectly sized:


6 - rudder. This is too tall, and would extend above the transom deck and below the hull if just stuck on blindly. I cut out a good proportion of the cylindrical bit in the middle, and also lopped a bit off the bottom of the rudder itself.

7 - water brake housing. This is too small, and the housing should extend up higher. I'll fix this later with a chunk of plastic.

8 - stabilising fin. This is too large; I've attempted to fix it by similar surgery as used on the rudder but it has not worked well and I think I may have to hack it all off and build it from plastic card

Now, moving on to the cockpit...


...well, as previously mentioned, there isn't one, and the canopy is a solid chunk of clear resin. If it had been vacform I could have been tempted to drill out the cockpit area and populate it from scratch but I decided I'd fake it instead.

9 - as I'd already drawn a detailed set of profile drawings of K7 for a book (Neil Sheppard's Donald Campbell, Bluebird and the Final Record Attempt - out now and well worth getting for a brilliant account of DMC's last few months on this earth as well as loads of K7 reference photos), I simply isolated the cockpit area of the drawing and printed it at the correct size, then glued it to the resin canopy. I've included the drawing at top left if anybody else wants to do the same. Print at 300 DPI and it should be 7mm high.

Also there is my drawing of the rear face of the engine - the jetpipe provided has some detail but I preferred my drawing.

The flash and magnification of the resin canopy has shown up the dithering effect used by my laser printer - it would be better to use an inket on decal film I think, but it'll have to do for now!


10 - the sponson's stabilising fins are provided as etched brass; however, they're the wrong shape and too large, so I've replaced them with plastic card cut to shape. Inset piccy at top left is the lower half of the port sponson recovered after the accident - it shows the fin shape well I think.

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  • 8 years later...
(late 2011) Finally got time to do some sanding and give the thing a coat of blue paint (Tamiya XF-8 as it was the nearest acrylic blue I could find to the correct RAL 5009 - I think I'll try X4 with a dab of green for the final coat)... unfortunately wearing a 'near enough' shade of blue reveals that there are some shape issues which at this point I'm just going to live with.
11 - the cooling intake is scribed as a panel, and in the wrong place - I've drilled a hole a little further aft, squared it off with a file and will fill the panel line in due course. 
12 - shape issue #1 - the hull isn't bulged enough here - the real thing has a bit of a hump-back appearance, but the model does not. This also affects the intakes, which are a bit too small as a result - it makes the model look a bit more like the "K777" Bluebird replica than the real thing.
13 - shape issue #2 - the nose shape is off. The nose is much more blunt and wide on the real thing - the badge shows this up as it is on a nearly vertical surface on the real thing, but sloped backwards on the model
Both issues could be fixed with liberal application of Milliput and sanding but getting that done to a good - and symmetrical - standard isn't my idea of fun so I'm just going to leave it. Next job - a few more bits of filler and sanding.
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Well, I kinda lost the mojo on this one as the shape issues became more and more apparent whilst building, so it ended up going back in its box and being forgotten about for nearly 8 years. Until today - finally finished the beast off. New water deflectors scratch built from clear plastic sheet (the kit ones being not even remotely accurate), radio aerial and pitot from metal wire. Decals a mish-mash of good and bad but life has moved on and I'll live with them!
From these angles the shape problems don't look too bad but basically the nose is too thin, too curved but also too pointy, the intakes too small, the fuselage not bulged enough, the sponsons too straight and smaller than they should be, and I had already corrected the underside, rudder & water brake and sponson stabilising fins. The kit looked so promising in the box but alas, no cigars. One final annoyance was the texture of the resin, which had a finely dimpled effect overall - despite lots of priming and sanding and paint and more sanding and varnish, it still has a naff rough appearance. Anyway, hardly matters, the kit is long since OOP and pretty much impossible to find now.
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