A48039 1/48 RAAF Mk 20 Canberra - silver and camouflage

First look review by David Harvey


The Canberra was of importance to the RAAF in that it provided the main jet powered strike capability for over two decades. The 48 aircraft was delivered in 1953 and 1958 and served in many different areas and jobs. It participated in the 'Great Air Race' in October 1953 with various modifications to the aircraft involved as well as going to war later in it's life.

The war record of the Canberra in RAAF service started in 1958 when it was sent to Butterworth and employed against the terrorists soon after arrival. The Canberra's arrived in Viet Nam in Apr 1967 under the command of Wing Commander Rolf Aronsen and based at Phan Rang. Whilst in Viet nam they were modified to carry bombs externally due to the shortage of short bodied bombs that would fit in the bomb bay. The Canberra made an impressive record in Viet Nam with 11963 sorties flown, 76389 bombs dropped for a total of 26.8 million kilograms bombs and the loss of only two aircraft whilst on operations. Unfortunately one of the aircraft that was lost and it's crew has never been found.

The Canberra continued in the RAAF until June 1982 when the last of them was retired from service.

The decals

This set comes in a non-resealable plastic bag with two sheets of decals (almost a full A4 page in total) and one double sided sheet of instructions. The aircraft covered are:

  • Canberra Mk 20 A84-220, 6 SQN, RAAF Base Pearce WA, 1955. Overall aluminium scheme;
  • Canberra Mk 20 A84-210, 1 SQN, RAAF Base Amberley QLD. Overall aluminium scheme;
  • Canberra Mk 20 A84-246, 2 SQN, RAAF Base Butterworth Malaya. Overall aluminium scheme; and
  • Canberra Mk 20 A84-246, 2 SQN RAAF, Phan Rang Viet Nam, 1967. Extra Dark Sea Grey and Olive Drab scheme.

These schemes cover a vast time frame of the Canberra and include three colour roundels as well as the Roo centred roundels for the Viet Nam based aircraft.

I compared this set to the High Planes Models (HPM) set covering the Canberra for quality and general accuracy of printing. This set covers an area that the HPM set doesn't and as such has different markings etc. On looking closely at the Aussie Decals set they are let down by the printing process as some areas are not quite right in colour and clarity. By that I mean the yellow markings are an odd yellow and not printing out properly as a result of the ALPS printing process. The HPM set has a solid, brighter yellow for the lightning bolt as well as the yellow stencil marks. Unfortunately this printing problem also carries onto the Australian National Flags and Unit Crests included. The yellow stencil data has been printed over a white background to enable the yellow to stand out more but it is not quite square on the white. All other areas on the sheets are printed well it's just these few areas that the ALPS printing lets the set down.

The instructions

The instructions are a double sided A4 page that cover the positioning of all decals as well as giving a template to enable the modeller to mask off the engines for the painting of the oxford blue markings. You are also given a list of the FS colours for the schemes and a guide for the placement of the canopy and rear hatch 'cut lines'. The instructions fail to give a left hand view of the camouflage aircraft but this is able to be worked out from a quick bit of research on the web or in the Stewart Wilson book. For the other aircraft it is quite simple with overall Aluminium scheme that they are in.


This set covers an area not done by HPM but unfortunately it is a victim of it's printing process with the problems outlined above. To do an early 1 SQN aircraft you would require to combine the HPM set for the yellow lightning bolt and then use the Aussie Decals set. To that end, I cannot fully recommend this set but if you wish to model an early Canberra it's the only game in town, you will just need to mix and match with the HPM set.

Review set courtesy of Damian Casey of Aussie Decals.

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