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Blackburn Roc Mk. IArt.No.: 100-SH72141 Product number: 8594071081607
|Era||Word War II|
To fulfill Specification O.35/35, calling for a two seat carrier borne fighter, the Air Ministry ordered this type of aircraft from Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. in 1935. Similar to the land based Defiant fighter, the new fighter’s armament was to be concentrated within a manned turret. The Blackburn’s chief designer G.E.Petty delivered the so-called B.25 design that was closely linked to the previous B.24 design also known as the Skua Mk.II. The design was that of an all-metal low wing monoplane with folding wings and retractable undercarriage. The fuselage was taken from the Skua including the Perseus XII engine. The only modification was the widening of the fuselage behind the pilot’s cockpit to accomodate the revolving Boulton Paul Mk.II turret equipped with four machine guns. Production of 136 aircraft was ordered on 28 April 1937, long before the first flight of the prototype. The first prototype took off on 23 December 1938. The prototype was tested without the turret fitted which was mounted on the following prototype L3058. Due to Blackburn’s Skua commitment, and preparing for production of the Botha bomber, production of the Roc was handed over to Boulton Paul which built 133 production aircraft designated the Roc Mk.I. The first aircraft was produced at the beginning of 1939 and from April, the aircraft were being delivered to No.800 and No.803 squadrons of the FAA. Later on, No. 801 and No. 806 squadrons were re-equipped with Rocs as well. Nevertheless, none of the above mentioned squadrons were equipped exclusively with the Roc, which always only supplemented the more capable Skua Mk.II type. Some Rocs were delivered, but even before the outbreak of the war they were modified and transferred to training and target towing units. Their performance was unsatisfactory due to the machine gun turret, the Roc was 300kg heavier than the already underpowered Skua. When the war broke out, three Rocs attached to both No. 801 and No. 803 squadrons saw service aboard Ark Royal and later flew from Hatson airbase in the Orkneys. Later on, in 1940, No.801 and No.806 squadron Rocs were deployed over Western Europe. Only one success and operational loss occured during this period. A Roc, serial numbered L3065, together with two Skuas probably shot down a Ju 88. In June 1940, the Roc began to be withdrawn from combat units and transferred to second line, training and target towing units. Because Stalin’s Soviet Union attacked Finland, it was decided in 1940 to sell 30 aircraft toFinland in accordance with a policy of extending help to that country. The aircraft received Finnish national insignia and serial numbers in preparation for delivery. They hadn’t been delivered by the end of the Winter War, and later there was no further interest in the type. Evidence indicates that these aircraft flew in Finnish colours in Great Britain only with the Finnish insignia obscured.
The Roc kit comes on three sprues of grey styrene and one clear plastic sprue. This content is accompanied by a set of resin parts of the engine and other small items as well as by a fret of photo etches. The camouflage options cater for four machines, one in bare metal, two with camouflage (one of which, machine L6R was one of the very few Rocs to have ever seen any action). The fourth machine also bears a FAA camouflage scheme but its national insignias are of Finland as this is the machine from the batch intended for theWinter War military aid programme.