Author Topic: Kit Review - 1/72 Special Hobby CAC CA-19 Boomerang "Jungle Scouts"  (Read 282 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

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Special Hobby 1/72 CAC CA-19 Boomerang “Jungle Scouts”
Reviewed by Brad Cancian




Item: SH72426
scale: 1/72
Price: 17.70 Euros, direct from Special Hobby


Review kit kindly provided by Special Hobby at https://www.specialhobby.eu/en/our-own-production/special-hobby/cac-ca-19-boomerang-jungle-scouts.html

The Home-Grown Aussie

The CAC Boomerang was a fighter aircraft designed and manufactured in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) between 1942 and 1945. Approved for production shortly following Japan's entry into the Second World War, the Boomerang was rapidly designed as to meet the urgent demands for fighter aircraft to equip the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It was the first combat aircraft designed and constructed in Australia.

The aircraft design was heavily influenced by the CAC Wirraway, a single-engine armed advanced trainer aircraft which was a licence-built version of the North American NA-16. Indeed, the Boomerang shared the same outer wing, tail assembly, undercarriage, and centre section of the Wirraway in combination with a new forward fuselage, which housed the larger Twin Wasp engine.

Different variants of the Boomerang were manufactured under a series of corresponding production contract numbers, CA-12, CA-13, CA-14 and CA-19. The aircraft supplied under each subsequent contract would incorporate various modifications, typically aimed at improving the aircraft's performance. The Boomerang was handicapped by the available engine variant, which gave low power at altitude and resulted in the aircraft proving to be slower than contemporary fighter aircraft. During early wartime operations, the Boomerang was mainly dispatched to equip home-based squadrons, freeing up other fighters for use overseas. In later service, the Boomerang would commonly be used for ground support duties, cooperating with Allied army units, in addition to secondary roles such as aerial reconnaissance and air sea rescue. A total of 250 aircraft were built. The final version, the CAC-19, was a tactical reconnaissance version with a single vertical camera in the fuselage (49 of this variant were built).

While RAAF records show that the Boomerang was never recorded as having destroyed any enemy aircraft, the type proved to be more useful in its capacity as a light ground attack aircraft used by Army co-operation squadrons, often replacing the lightly armed Wirraway in this role. In this vital mission, the Boomerang directly contributed to the extensive ground war in the jungles of the South West Pacific theatre, which was often characterised by widely dispersed, small unit actions, which typically fought at close quarters and with uncertain front lines. In addition to strafing Japanese ground forces with cannon and machine gun fire, Boomerangs would often deploy smoke bombs to mark valuable targets for other units to attack. The aircraft was also used for artillery spotting, aerial supply drops, tactical reconnaissance, and anti-malarial spraying. No. 4 Squadron and No. 5 Squadron RAAF flew Boomerangs in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands Campaign and Borneo Campaign, also in the close support role, with marked success. Flying in pairs (one to observe the ground, the other to observe the air around them), their tasks included bombing, strafing, close infantry support and artillery spotting. When attacking larger enemy formations, Boomerangs often operated in conjunction with larger aircraft. In this role, the Boomerang would get in close to confirm the identity of the target and mark it with a 20 lb (9 kg) smoke bomb with the "cooperating" aircraft delivering the major ordnance from a safer distance. A partnership between No. 5 Squadron Boomerangs and Royal New Zealand Air Force Corsair fighter bombers during the Bougainville Campaign was said to be particularly effective (this relationship is actually nicely reflected in the box art of this kit).

The Kit

Special Hobby released their first 1/72 Boomerang back in 2011, firstly in the CA-12 guise, then as a CA-13 in 2012. The CA-19 variant was released some years later, in 2020.

The kit is moulded in a single sprue of grey plastic, a clear sprue, and four resin parts. No etch or masks are provided.

The main plastic sprue is well moulded, with a little flash here and there that will need removal. Panel lines are nicely recessed in the main parts. Mould release pins are tucked away in places that won’t be noticeable. Control surfaces and flaps are moulded in place. Fine parts, such as the cockpit frames, will be fragile and will require some care when removing from sprues and cleaning up. The engine is reasonable enough for this scale; not much will be able to be seen in the cowl beyond the first cylinder bank in any case. Otherwise, based on my limited knowledge of this aircraft, the parts look nicely done and comprehensive. I’ll let the plastic do the talking:









The resin parts provide the main wheels, tail wheel, and the ‘porcupine’ exhaust. These parts are a very nicely done, and capture the complexities of the block tread on the tyres, and the ‘spikeyness’ of the exhaust. These would have been very difficult to do in plastic, so their inclusion in resin is a real bonus.



The clear sprue contains the canopy, landing lights, and clear cover for the camera under the fuselage. The canopy is moulded closed; careful surgery or an aftermarket canopy will be needed if you wish to show off the cockpit detail.



Instructions

Special Hobby’s Instructions are provided in their modern, high-quality booklet. Presented in 9 glossy pages, the instructions are comprehensive, with a parts layout, clear instruction and paint call outs, and full colour four angle painting profiles.








Three colour schemes are presented, all of them effectively variations of the RAAF ‘foliage green’ overall scheme applied to these later aircraft.

1.   CA-19 A46-217 “Hep Cat”, 4 SQN RAAF “QE-G”, FLTLT L Burghard, Cape Hoskins, New Britain, February 1945. The cat cartoon, with its blue and white striped jersey, likely refers to the Geelong Cats Australian Rules Football (AFL) club, the second oldest club in Australia (and the reviewer’s favourite AFL team, I might add!).
2.   CA-19 A46-222 “Glamour Girl’, 5 SQN RAAF “BF-K”, FLTLT I C Curtis, Bougainville, early 1945.
3.   CA-19 A46-209 “Bachelor’s Son”, 4 SQN RAAF “QE-J”, FLGOFF I. Federson, Labuan, North Borneo, August 1945.





Decals

The decals, like all recent Special Hobby releases, are crisply printed with solid colour and excellent register. Interestingly, these appear to have been printed by Eduard. There is a correction set for the serial colours, should the modeler choose to use them. Sadly, no decals are provided for seat belts, so the modeler will be left to their own devices here. The decal film looks nice and thin.



Accuracy and Buildability:


Not having any detailed publications on this aircraft, and not being a particular expert as to this aircraft, I can’t comment conclusively about accuracy, however it looks to scale well based on dimensions and general arrangement drawings that I can find. I dare say though that due to the repeat use of the sprues for the different variants, that there will be differences not accounted for in the plastic. As such, I’d recommend you check your references if you are worried about such things. The canopy looks perhaps a little ‘squished’ when viewed front on, so perhaps the fuselage is a touch wide.

Given the conventional parts layout, relative simplicity of the aircraft itself, and relatively small parts count, this should be straightforward build. I have read in a couple of places that care is needed to squeeze the interior into the kit, and that there will be some challenges with fit of some of the larger components. Remember that this kit’s moulds were produced while Special Hobby was still considered a semi-limited run manufacturer, so none of this should be too much of a surprise or a concern. As always, plenty of dry fitting and perhaps a little filler here and there should see you through.

Conclusions

Another lovely package of a relatively rare but important piece of Australian aviation history. Special Hobby are to be commended for tackling such a subject, and presenting a package that is of solid quality. Whilst there is no etch of masks provided, the kit should build up very nicely out of the box. There will be some minor things to watch out for in construction, but again, nothing that can’t be handled by someone with a little bit of experience.

Highly recommended!

Our very sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample!

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Kit Review - 1/72 Special Hobby CAC CA-19 Boomerang "Jungle Scouts"
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2022, 12:56:31 PM »
Boomerangs is cool! Great review Brad, it's nice to see they've reissued this kit. I'll have to pick one up sometime as it looks like a fun, accurate little model.