LIST OF KITS AVAILABLE OF THE BLACKBURN ROC.
If you are building a model of the Roc then please refer to my webpage:
"NOTES ON MODELLING THE SKUA AND ROC" (click link)
It contains lots of information that is also relevant to the Roc, especially concerning the undercarriage. You can also find more information in my document:
Blackburn Skua (MkII) and Roc: A guide for panel lines, access panels and errors in published plans.
SPECIAL HOBBY 1/48 AND 1/72 INJECTION MOULDED
Special Hobbies released the Blackburn Roc in both 1/48 and 1/72 scale limited edition injection moulded kits with resin and photo-etched parts, early in the millennium. These are currently the best Roc models available, and accurate in outline and with amazingly detailed resin engines. There is one issue with the kits in both scales; they both have twin, side-by-side fuel tanks behind the pilot. This was true for the Blackburn Skua but the Roc had a single fuel tank that spanned the fuselage behind the pilot to allow the gunner to slip into a small compartment to adjust the radio equipment or use the escape hatch in the floor. No photographs of this compartment are known to exist and only an outline diagram from the Roc maintenance manual (AP1571A) shows the layout (see diagram on <this page>). This area is going to be hard to see once assembled. The 1/72 scale version has two inspection panels moulded onto both sides of the fuselage that just did not exist on the real aircraft (although they are mistakenly featured on most published plans). The shape of the flaps is wrong on both kits. To represent either model as close to the original as possible see my guide to panel lines and access panels document.
Both the 1/72 and 1/48th scale kits have the same four decal selections. A camouflaged Roc of 759 Squadron at Donibristle, a camouflaged Roc of 809 Squadron at Hatston, a silver Roc of 778 Squadron and a Roc painted for delivery to Finland at Dyce.
The Special Hobby kits are limited production run kits, designed for more experienced modellers. However, they are much easier to build than the Pavla, Modelland, Smodel and Warrior kits detailed below.
Box art being used to advertise Special Hobbies Roc.
Below are two photos of an exellent example of the Special Hobby 1/48 kit, built by Tony O'toole.
Tony O'tooles example of Special Hobby's 1/48th scale Blackburn Roc.
Paul Thompson's excellent model of the Blackburn Roc.
Alley Cat Models produce a nice resin wing-fold detail set for the 1/48 scale Special Hobby kit, details at <this link>. It is advertised as being for either the Skua or Roc, but it has the (inaccurate) bomb-recess for the Skua which is not present on the Roc and it does not accurately reflect the Roc's "flat bottom" and the hatch in the floor for the gunner to use. - So a little work would need to be done if incorporating this set into a 1/48 scale Roc.
PAVLA (Octopus) 1/72 INJECTION MOULDED
There was a limited run injected plastic kit with photoetched accessories in 1/72 scale made by Pavla models in the Czech Republic. When compared with the available plans the overall dimensions of the model are spot on. The amount of interior cockpit detail is impressive and the inclusion of two sets of the vac-formed canopies is welcome. The panel lines are recessed but inaccurate (see below). When this model was first released there were no other injection-moulded models of the Roc and it was very welcome. Three decal options are provided; L3075 of 806 Squadron at Hatston in the Orkney Islands in 1940, L3114 of 759 Sqdn Eastleigh 1939 and L3086 of 775 Squadron in Egypt 1942 (a target tug without turret).
There are a few problems with the model, however...
1. The arrestor hook is represented as a single member, whereas it was in the form of a "V". each side of this "V" ran into the furrow formed by the wing fillet and the hinge was at the line indicated by the prominent lug on the outside of the wing fillet. You have to scratch-build this modification.
2. The brass etched undercarriage doors are flat. On the Skua and Roc, the part of the door behind the undercarriage leg was curved and there was an extra bulge behind and above the wheel.
3. The set of propeller blades on the Pavla model is such that the engine would have to rotate in the opposite direction to what it actually did. (The Perseus engine rotated the propeller in a clockwise direction when viewed from the front). So simply drill through the centre and mount it the other way around.
4. Pavla have duplicated the twin fuel-tank layout of the Skua behind the pilot, one on either side (like the later Special-Hobby kits). The Roc had only a single fuel tank in this area, spanning the fuselage, directly behind the pilot. See diagram on <this page>. It is going to be very difficult to see this area once the model is assembled anyway.
5. Some of the panel line positions are wrong. The removable oval panel for the forward fuel tank should only be on the port side, whereas the model has it on both sides. and the smaller oval inspection panel, which should be on the starboard side, is missing altogether. The panel in front of the windscreen has been overdone in a thick raised line (easily sanded down). There is a panel inscribed on the rear starboard fuselage that was not there. See this document for plans.
6. There is no landing light on the port wing.
7. The twin strakes under each wing, to which a bomb-carrier could be fitted, are missing.
The area under the fuselage between the wing fillets is represented as a flat area; analysis of photos shows this to be correct. The Roc did indeed have a "flat bottom" in this area, which incorporated an escape hatch for the gunner (the Skua was curved in this area).
It must be stressed that the Pavla Roc is a limited-production kit and modellers used to more modern mainstream kits will find it a challenging build. The fit of parts can be problematic and a lot of finishing up of parts is required. In particular, there are a lot of mould ejector lugs to file away. This all sounds a bit negative but I've got to stress just how welcome the Pavla kit was when first released. Until then modellers wanting to make a Roc had to modify the old Frog Skua kit, with all its faults.
Pavla models no longer seem to be operating but its kits can often be found on eBay.
MODELLAND 1/72 VACUFORM
A Vacuform kit of the Roc was available from Modelland of Poland. It has some very nice resin parts (propeller, engine, wheels and cockpit detail) . It certainly appears accurate in outline. One welcome feature of its construction is the way that the fuselage sits on top of the moulding for the lower section of the wing. This would seem to ensure a very good fit of parts.
The Modelland vacuum-formed Roc comes on two sheets together with resin parts. Although there are engine, wheel and propeller blade mouldings on the sheets the kits originally came with some nice resin parts for these.
Roc model being built (below).
Above is an example of the Modelland Vacform Roc built to perfection by Bernard Le Guenno.
SMODEL 1/72 RESIN
The Polish Smodel company issued two versions in 1/72 of the Roc. The first, (Smodel catalogue number 72005) was a vac-form model with resin detail parts. The second, (Smodel catalogue number 72007) was an all-resin model.
Matthew Willis has been kind enough to send me these photos of the box art and main components for the resin version.
WARRIOR MODELS 1/48 RESIN
Warrior models in Poland had a 1/48 scale resin kit of the Roc It was based on their Skua kit. It is accurate in outline and is a fantastic attempt to recreate the Roc in resin model form. When it was released in the late 1990s it was at the cutting edge of what could be done with resin models. The early release had unsatisfactory decals, but Warrior then issued an excellent replacement set (bought separately: cat No D 48001). An excellent build of it by Tom Cleaver can be found on the modelling madness website at <this link>.
Anyone considering making a model of the floatplane version of the Roc in 1/72 scale will find a nice pair of the correct floats in the old Frog/Novo/Eastern Express kit of the Blackburn Shark. If you make the Shark as the landplane option in the kit you are left with the floats which are exactly the same as those used on the Roc. The Blackburn Shark kit was most recently reissued by Eastern Express. If you build a model of the Blackburn Shark can I thoroughly recommend Matt Willis' book from the Mushroom publishing range (Casemate) as an outstanding reference on this sadly neglected aircraft - See <this link>.
If you are building a model of the Roc then please refer to my "NOTES ON MODELLING THE SKUA AND ROC" (click link)
It contains lots of information that is also relevant to the Roc. There is also my "GUIDE TO PANEL LINES AND ACCESS PANELS" (click the link) with further details.