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Bluebird K7 – 1/43rd Scale Touchwood Kit

Kit / Model  

Bluebird K7



Item Code  





Having more than a passing interest in Motor Racing both as a sport and a model builder for over 25 years I have built more than my fair share of kits. However the one vehicle outside of Motor Sport that has always fascinated me has been the Bluebird K7 jet hydroplane boat, piloted by Donald Campbell.

Models of K7 have been far and few between with most just being mass produced die-casts sold around the Coniston area, the exceptions being the kits produced by Record Models and Replicast although the detail on these is not very good. The only other version is the vacform kit in 1/24th scale by Speedline and I have to admit that I still find vacform kits some what of a black art.

It was with great anticipation that whilst trawling the internet I came across an announcement that a company called Touchwood Models was about to release a 1/43rd kit of Bluebird K7. Another quick search found the website for Touchwood and an e-mail to Stuart confirmed that the kits were almost ready for release once he had put the finishing touches to the instructions.

The range consisted of 6 hand built versions plus a multi-version kit allowing for 6 versions to be built. I placed my order for the kit and waited for the parcel to arrive.

Within a few days the box was delivered and I eagerly opened it up, to say I was impressed with the contents would be an understatement. The kit consisted of very well cast resin parts for the body, sponsons, cockpit and tail fins, white metal parts for exhaust, dash and rudder, vacform for canopy and spray shields, photo etch for lifting eyes, steering wheel and various brackets and wires for aerials.

I opted to build the last version of K7, the one in which Campbell lost his life on Coniston Water in January 1967. It might be a bit morbid but having not been born until March 1967 it was the version I can’t say I remember but the one that I know the most about. The instructions highlighted which of the many parts were needed and I set aside the rest of the parts to go into the spares box.

The ’67 version parts consisted of 6 resin, 6 white metal, 7 photo-etch, 1 vacform and a wooden base. There are 2 sheets of decals, one containing strips of rivets and one with all the boat’s stickers on, a small piece of bare metal foil and 3 pieces of wire.

All the resin parts needed little cleaning up before washing to remove any release agent still on. The main body is cast with brass rods to make the location of the sponsons easier and the tail fin locates in a slot on the back of the main body. The other resin parts are for the bottom of the boat and the seat. Once dry the various lifting eyes and pitot tubes were added to the main body and all the resin parts were primed using Halfords Grey Primer.

Once dry the main parts were given several coats of Ford XXX Blue, again using Halfords cans. Whilst these dried the remaining parts were primed and painted, these consisted of steering wheel, dash board, rudder, exhaust, seat and canopy.

Other than the quality of the castings there were two other things that surprised me about the kit, one was the decals for the rivets, I have to admit I was not sure how these would look, the other was the wooden base with the kit. The base consists of a rectangular piece of wood with routed edges and a white metal stand, I decided to varnish the wood and using my mini drill I polished the white metal stand.

The next thing to do was to mask off and paint the metal planing areas on the sponsons, once dry it was time to add the decals. As I said I was not sure about the rivet detail being decals but once applied I think they look fine. There are plenty on the sheet and the instructions make it clear where to put them. The other decals were added to the main body and sponsons as well as adding the instruments to the dash.

Having looked at several photos of Bluebird I decided that a full gloss finish would not be appropriate so once all the decals had dried off it was time to start the final construction. The sponsons were added to the main body, followed by the dash and steering wheel. The seat was fixed to the floor and this then added to the main body. The rear end accessories were added and then the ariel. The splash guards at the side of the cockpit are made from clear plastic sheet provided in the kit. The canopy was the last thing to go one and I decided to display it open so the cockpit could be seen better. On the decal sheet there is a decal for each of the version that can be built so this was added to the base before the whole boat was fixed to the base and stand using the screw provided.

The final built model looks good and represents Bluebird K7 very well, the fact that there are 6 versions within the kit is good and at £65.00 the kit is definitely value for money. I did buy a 1/48th scale pilot to go in cockpit but decided that the model did not need it. With it on the stand it looked strange, as part of a diorama it might work.

The final verdict, a very well executed kit of a subject that needed doing, well done Touchwood. The next step is to tackle the 1/12 GRP kit that Touchwood have of Bluebird K7.

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Comments for this showroom

by: Nicholas Hazelton (Nicholas.hazelton) on 2012-12-15 - 22:02

Yes, I have build my bluebird K 7 kit from Touchwood from Lakeland Motor Museum in Cumbria on last Spring, as I was holiday for short break in Keswick. I see this1/1 scale Bluebird K7 in museum. I brought it. I have my Bluebird K7 for competition in Scale Model World 2012, and I won my gold medal for Bluebird K7 and You can see this bluebird K7 at scale model world 2012 gallery online

I have proud my Bluebird K 7, and I will plan my next WWSR Blue bird K4 kit on further.

by: Tom ( on 2010-02-13 - 18:33

What color pait did you use. I can't find anything to match. Help!!! I am building the Merrit kit and instructions do not include paint color.

by: Joe McAdory ( on 2009-02-06 - 13:23

I was wondering if anybody knew where I could find just a decal sheet for this model. I am building a Bluebird model car from the Daytona Speed Trials, but would love to have the flags in place before she actually competes.
Thank you.

by: Warren Monks ( on 2007-11-16 - 10:18


It is 1/43rd Scale, 200mm long, 75mm wide and 65mm high.

I have the 1/12th kit which when bult is about 700mm long.

There is a lot more "real modelling" to do on the 1/12th kit.

by: Mario Covalski (marioc) on 2007-11-14 - 07:19

Fantastic, looks bigger, which is its size?