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Shar2

Bristol F-2B Fighter, Post War. 1:32

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Bristol F-2B Fighter, Post War
Wingnut Wings 1:32

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The Bristol F.2 Fighter was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War flown by the Royal Flying Corps. It is often simply called the Bristol Fighter or popularly the "Brisfit" or "Biff". Despite being a two-seater, the F.2B proved to be an agile aircraft that was able to hold its own against opposing single-seat fighters. Having overcome a disastrous start to its career, the F.2B's solid design ensured that it remained in military service into the 1930s, and surplus aircraft were popular in civil aviation. Post-war developments of the F.2B included the Type 14 F.2B Mk II, a two-seat army co-operation biplane, fitted with desert equipment and a tropical cooling system, which first flew in December 1919. 435 were built. The Type 96 Fighter Mk III and Type 96A Fighter Mk VI were structurally strengthened aircraft, of which 50 were built in 1926–1927.

The Bristol fighter's basic design stemmed from design studies by Frank Barnwell in March 1916 for an aircraft intended, like the R.E.8 and the F.K.8, as possible replacements for the B.E.2c – the Type 9 R.2A with the 160 hp Beardmore engine and the R.2B, powered by the 150 hp Hispano Suiza. Neither type was built, as the new 190 hp (142 kW) Rolls-Royce Falcon inline engine became available, and Barnwell designed a new aircraft around the Rolls-Royce engine. This, the Type 12 F.2A was a more compact design, intended from the outset as a replacement for the F.E.2d and Sopwith 1½ Strutter two-seat fighters: it first flew on 9 September 1916. The F.2A was armed in what had by then become the standard manner for a British two-seater: one synchronised fixed, forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun, and one flexible .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun mounted on a Scarff ring in the observer's rear cockpit. This remained the standard armament.

Only 52 F.2As were produced before production switched to what became the definitive Bristol Fighter, the Bristol Type 14 F.2B which had first flown on 25 October 1916. The first 150 or so were powered by the Falcon I or Falcon II engine but the remainder were equipped with the 275 hp (205 kW) Falcon III engine and could reach a maximum speed of 123 mph (198 km/h). The F.2B was over 10 mph (16 km/h) faster than the F.2A and was three minutes faster at reaching 10,000 ft (3,000 m).

F.2Bs often carried a second Lewis gun on the rear cockpit mounting, although observers found the weight of the twin Lewis gun mounting difficult to handle in the high altitudes at which combat increasingly took place in the last year of the war. A number of attempts were made to add forward firing Lewis guns on a Foster mounting or similar on the upper wing - either instead of, or in addition to the Vickers gun. Unfortunately this caused interference with the pilot's compass, which was mounted on the trailing edge of the upper wing. Some F.2Bs were fitted with a Lewis gun offset to starboard to minimise this effect.

The Model
Don’t think I need to say anything here, other than it’s a Wingnut Wings kit, there you go, that’s all you need to know. Seriously though, and for those who have to yet to experience the loveliness that is a WNW kit then I will elucidate further. This kit is for the post-war version, WNW having released the WW1 version back in 2009, and this release is an extension of it with new parts. The kit comes in the usual WNW top opening box, very a nicely printed artistic impression of a pair of Bristol Fighters flying over the Pyramids near Cairo. Inside, you will find 8 sprues of light grey styrene, a small sprue of clear styrene, a small etch sheet and a large decal sheet. The booklet style instructions are probably some of the best you will come across. They are beautifully printed and not only include very clear diagrams of the build process but also photographs of each particular area for those who would like a detailed view of what the parts should look like. The styrene parts are superbly moulded, with exquisite detail throughout. There is absolutely no sign of flash or other imperfections and only a few moulding pips.

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The build process begins with the assembly of the 2 part 19 gallon rear fuel tank, onto which the pilots seat is attached. The seat is a masterpiece of moulding with the wicker work precisely depicted. The cockpit floor is fitted with the joystick, rudder bar and gunners control column, followed by the seat/tank assembly. The synchronising system grease pump is fitted forward of the pilots position, whilst the hand leaver for adjusting the tailplane incidence is fitted to the right side of the tank. Both cockpit side frames have three machine gun magazines glued to each side, the port side also having the hand pump for the petrol pressurisation. The frames are then glued to the cockpit floor with the gunners sear fitted between the two. The forward bulkhead/firewall, is moulded complete with the Vickers ammunition magazines onto which the instrument panel is attached and detailed with the decal instruments, which would be further enhanced with a drop of Kear or Aqua Gloss to act as the glass face. The single Vickers machine gun breech is fitted to the centre of the instrument panel, between the magazines, and detailed with the mounting handle, PE cocking handle. The completed assembly is then glued to the front of the cockpit, between the side frames. The cockpit is finished off with the fitting of the rear mounted PE screen which has the spent ammunition pockets included and will need some careful bending, and the PE seatbelts. The instructions do provide clear diagrams for the rigging of the cockpit structure so if you’re up for the rigging challenge then this is a good place to start practicing.

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Moving onto the fuselage, the four PE control line brackets are fitted to the rear fuselage. The fuselage is then closed up and the cockpit assembly is slid in from the underside. The engine mounts are then glued to the forward bulkhead, the tail skid added, along with the bottom fin. The forward underside of the fuselage is then fitted with the control column linkage elevator control horns, and four struts for the attachment of the lower wing. The undercarriage sub-assembly is then built up, using the two V struts, axle and spreader bar, a pair of wheels and their separate outer hubs. The assembly is finished off with the fitting of the Rotherham air pump propeller.

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Before fitting the wings, several holes need to be opened up for the Holt flares and lights. The centre section of the lower wing is then glued to the struts fitted earlier, followed by the undercarriage assembly, making sure of a proper alignment. The lower outer wing panels are then glued to the centre section. The modeller has a choice of whether to fit the centre bomb rack and its four bombs at this point, but it might be easier to fit after painting. Moving aft, there is a choice of tail fin and rudder to be used, depending on the scheme you’re intending to build. Forward, the fuselage mounted cabane struts are attached, along with the pilots windscreen. The interplane struts are then glued to the lower wing, after which the upper centre section is fitted to the cabane struts, followed by the upper out wing panels to the centre section and the interplane struts. The four ailerons are then attached, as are the elevators.

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The engine is a little masterpiece and a model in its own right. The two engine block halves are joined together, after which the gear housing, with propshaft fitted, is glued to the front. The two banks of cylinders, each of two halves are joined together and fitted to the block, followed by the four carb intakes. The two, twin carbs are fitted with the air filters, then fitted to the front and rear of the engine, attaching to the carb intakes. The cylinder heads are then glued into position, along with the ancillary gearbox/timing mechanism, the two magnetos, water pump, water pipes, oil pipes, and oil pump. The completed engine is then fitted to its bearers, as is the oil tank and the front radiator, which is made up from two styrene parts and a very nicely etched PE part. There are a choice of exhaust pipes which run from the engine down each side of the fuselage and will depend on the scheme being modelled. The auxiliary radiator, attached to only two schemes, is fitted to a panel that fits under the engine and detailed with the inlet and outlet pipes. The four engine panels are attached, with the two parts that make up the top panel requiring the seam to be filled. The build is finished, (well, apart from the rigging), with eth fitting of the gunners scarff ring, which is a complex mix of styrene and PE parts and will probably be the most taxing part of the build. The single Vickers machine gun is fitted to the elevating section, (although the accompanying photograph does show a twin gun layout, something for the scratch builders to do then), and the complete ring fitted to the gunners cockpit surround.

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Decals
The large decal sheet is, as usual, beautifully produced, designed by WNW and printed by Cartograf. They are in perfect register, with good opacity and very little carrier film. The decals are quite thin and should settle down well over the ribs etc, without the need for softening solution. There are markings for five aircraft:-

  • Bristol F.2B Fighter Mk.II, F4392, “B2”, Aboukir, Egypt, 1926
  • Bristol F.2B Fighter Mk.II, F4435, 208Sqn, Ismailia, Egypt, 1925
  • Bristol F.2B Fighter Mk.II, J6647, “K”, Gerad Combe, 31Sqn, Dardoni, India, 1923
  • Bristol F.2B Fighter Mk.II, “19”, Irish Free State Air Corp, 1925
  • Bristol F.2B Fighter Mk.III, 7122, New Zealand Permanent Air Force, 1930s

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Conclusion
Wingnut Wings don’t seem to put a foot wrong, with excellent research, design, and a full control on the moulding of their kits, they have to be at least near the top of the best kit manufacturers currently in business. This kit is just superb, with great moulding, wonderfully clear instructions and a level of detail that means that it can be built straight from the box without the real need for any aftermarket gear. Very highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of
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Well those sprues just look ... well .. begin with fan.. and end with...astic*. Ultimate mouldings. (*Was going to use another word, but decided it was inappropriate :hypnotised: for a family forum )

BillyD

Ps ... shame WNW don't include crew figures !!!

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Cracking review Dave!

Have to agree that WNW don't seem to put a foot wrong, they just keep on producing 'boxes of delight' for us to build :thumbsup:

Cheers

John

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Christ! Over £100 on hannants, great kit but I can't spend that much on it! Nice review, nevertheless. :)

Sam

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It is for us poor pensioners. I would love one but not enough to justify it.

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I've got the original F2B release, I know I'll never make two of them but I'm tempted by this just for the box art....gorgeous!

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