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Doug

Airfix 1/72 Boulton Paul Defiant

39 posts in this topic

Hi All,

Before I get started can we please avoid phrases such as "Don't do it", "Throw it in the bin" and "Life's to short to tackle such a project", for which I would be extremely grateful! Lol.

So is there anyone out there who can give me some hints and tips on what is best to tackle and what is probably best left alone. I have done a search and found virtually zero when it comes to resin updates and PE sets for this kit so assume most of the work will need to be scratch-built. I also have copies of the following books, mushroom model manual, warpaint and profile publications all covering the Defiant and a copy of Crowood press, The Turret Fighters.

I have built this kit half a dozen times in the past and never finished it to my satisfaction and would really like to have yet another go to see how far my skills have progressed. I am aware that the kit is pretty dreadful, but have seen some examples that look quite good and I would like to add one to my growing collection of night fighters. So if you think you can help I would like to hear from you. In case you are wondering one of the tasks I will be undertaking will be to remove the seriously overdone rivet detail and scribe panel lines.

Doug.

Edited by Doug

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From memory, you need to replace/ build up the nose (there was a resin one at one point in the 80s - DB or Airwaves perhaps?), replace the fin/rudder. There was a Scale Models article, I may have it somewhere

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I have(had?) that resin nose, which might have dried out by now. I've seen a Spitfire nose used, which gives some idea of the changes required. The turret is too small, you can use a replacement from an Airfix Halifax but it does need fuselage surgery to fit. I've a feeling that not only the fin and rudder, but also the tailplane and wings are too small.

I'm sure that it is possible to make a nice model from this kit, but making an accurate Defiant is simply not worth the bother when better kits are available.

Just a reminder that Mk.II Defiants are 4in longer to take the Merlin XX with its extra gearbox, and have a bigger fin/rudder.

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Airwaves did a very good replacement resin nose and a PE sheet designed for the Airfix kit - the latter showing as "Sold Out" at Hannants but they do get re-released from time to time. Aeroclub do a replacement prop.

Another very good book, often overlooked, is Air Britain's "The Defiant File" which, apart from anything else, is a refeshing re-appraisal of the type.

Ray Rimmell built one for his classic Battle of Britain series in the old Scale Models magazine (June 1980 and the whole series re-published twice since in book format) and it would still be worth getting a copy of this because it also contains comprehensive 1/72 plans by Pat McCaffrey and a cutaway drawing. He "hacked" the Airfix kit using an old Heller Spitfire Vb nose, replaced the whole tail assembly (fin, rudder and tailplanes) with plastic card substitutes and also replaced the retractable rear decking and ailerons with plastic card.

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Yep, the resin nose was originally by DB, then Airwaves. Includes spinner, and prop IIRC. The etch set by Airwaves will also add a lot of missing detail.

Falcon Clearvax do a set of RAF WWII fighter canopies which includes cockpit canopy and turret intended for the Airfix kit.

Quickboost do sets of Lancaster gun barrels, with either round or oval perforations, which would be suitable for the turret guns of the Defiant. Can't remember off-hand if Defiants had round or oval perfs though.

IIRC, the wheels and tyres should be similar or identical to either Spitfire or Hurricane wheels, so you might be able to replace the kit ones with a set for either.

Obi-Jiff :fish:

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I'm quite sure my resin nose was earlier than the one from DB. The Clearvax people spring to mind, but that's not necessarily reliable.

The Falcon parts are designed to fit the kit, so although the thickness and clarity is far superior, the size of the turret isn't.

Given the problems with the kit, choosing between oval or round perforations on the gun barrels is not so much gilding the lily as sticking lipstick on the pig. An interesting point, yes, but low priority.

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I'm quite sure my resin nose was earlier than the one from DB. The Clearvax people spring to mind, but that's not necessarily reliable.

Canovax? The Marshes, Brian and Brenda (or was it Marshall)? I do recall something like that as well

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Yes, Canovax is who I was thinking of, but can't be (quite) 100% sure the nose was their's. A particularly noxious black resin that stayed sticky for months/years.

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Have to say i did find a build report on another forum that suggests using the Airfix spitfire Vb nose as a replacement and then filling the remaining gaps with plastic card and putty. this build also recommended extending the leading edges of both the vertical fin and rudder and the rear stabilisers. A lot of good advice there and from your good selves. the general consensus is that a reasonable replica can be built but perhaps not a good scale model! Well that would suit me I have to say this was never going to be a case of a silk purse from a sows ear!

Thanks for your comments, please feel free to add yours if you haven't already.

Doug.

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I've a mould for a resin fin somwhere. Don't know which kit it's been taken from (possibly the Pegasus Defiant TT) as the mould was given to me. PM me with your address and I'll run one off when I do some casting next.

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You can always regard it as a suitable project for testing different techniques. For example: one wing you could extend the chord by placing plasticard between the two halves, and then sanding down. On the other you could file flat the trailing edge, glue some microrod, fill and file sharp. Find which worked best for you. You could use the Wooksta's fin, or you could make a new one from plasticard, or you could extend the kit one. There's no shortage of suitable places for experimenting with different techniques on this kit.

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There was an article in an old IPMS magazine which I have scanned for someone. PM me an email address and I'll forward it to you,

Ross

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Thanks very much for all your help, lots of really good advice, hints and tips. I will take as much on board as I can and start building at some point in the near future. I will use a note book and jot all the suggestions down and then try to make a build plan to follow. I think the most important area of work is the nose and I see no reason to build anything else until I have sorted out this area. Wooksta if you do cast the tail area I would be very grateful, but I would like to have a go at either extending the kit area or scratch-building from card first as I would hate for you to waste some resin, I know how expensive it is, seriously thanks for offering all the same.

Graham, great advice as always and I will certainly try out several of the techniques you mention along with others, I think this is definitely going to have to be a long term project and hopefully an enjoyable one over all.

As I said thank you to everyone for your responses I will bare all of your posts in mind as the build progresses. If you would like to contribute more, please fell free to do so as all comments gratefully accepted.

Doug.

Edited by Doug

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Probably the first conversion I ever did! I used the Airwaves replacement resin nose, the Aeroclub prop and spinner, the Falcon Clearvax canopy and turret (guns robbed from a Frog Blenheim), Airwaves etched brass set (heavily butchered to make anything fit) and scratchbuilt fin/rudder and rear decking.

Not the best pic in the world, but for my sins, here it is:

airfix-defiant-mk-I-1.jpg

At the time, it was pretty much the only option. Now I have several MPM kits, along with a Pavla and CMK example. I'm not sure the cost and effort is worth it these days. That said, I still have an Airfix Defiant lying about somewhere, and if I ever find the necessary parts for cheap, I may well be tempted to try to do better. I've certainly learnt a lot since doing that kitbash!

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Doug. i have the Airwaves resin nose and the Scale models 1980 mag regarding the Defiant , yours if you want em.

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I have an old Airfix Defiant sitting in the stash. My sons want to start building models and methinks I might donate the Defiant to them. Good practice!

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Doug. i have the Airwaves resin nose and the Scale models 1980 mag regarding the Defiant , yours if you want em.

Hi Keith,

Thanks for the generous offer, but can I just ask you to hold fire for a short time whilst I decide which route to take I am at present looking at a converted Spitfire Mk V nose.

Doug.

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I have an old Airfix Defiant sitting in the stash. My sons want to start building models and methinks I might donate the Defiant to them. Good practice!

If they can make it, I have just seen the kit parts and some of them have some very weird shapes, the fuselage halves look like bananas and I don't think they are bending the same way!!!!

Just checked, yep they are bending the same way which is fine for one side but not so good for the other, some warm water treatment needed me thinks!!!

Doug

Edited by Doug

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Probably the first conversion I ever did! I used the Airwaves replacement resin nose, the Aeroclub prop and spinner, the Falcon Clearvax canopy and turret (guns robbed from a Frog Blenheim), Airwaves etched brass set (heavily butchered to make anything fit) and scratchbuilt fin/rudder and rear decking.

From this angle, it seems to me that you've worked wonders and transformed that Airfix misfit into something that, to my eyes, actually looks like a Defiant! Very well done indeed.

I must admit to having a tender spot for the Defiant. Whatever were they thinking – two crew and a four gun turret, pulled by the same engine as the Hurricane? I seem to remember that the idea was that it would fly in an orderly manner underneath or parallel to the bombers and hose the poor unsuspecting buggers with those four guns. Of course, reality turned out a bit different.

Every time I spend time pondering at the RAF Museum machine from the gallery, I get an intense feeling for how it must have felt climbing into that turret.

/rant

Nice conversion!

Best,

Joachim

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Go on - take the challenge! If I'm honest, mine was more than a bit of a putty-fest, but dodgy decals aside, it looks the part and it was fun:

FredT :)

P6230414.jpg

Nose spacer:

2588278634_e42bd3a0fa.jpg

Putty too:

P6180391.jpg

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Hmmm

wonder if Airfix will retire the old kit soon and pop a new tool onto the market

couple of nice builds there chaps!

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Hmmm

wonder if Airfix will retire the old kit soon and pop a new tool onto the market

They would be as well re-popping the MPM kit, like they did with the Pucara/Meteor etc - the MPM kit is nice.

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I remember Les Whitehouse (of the BP Museum and that Defiant article fame) telling me that one Czech Defiant Mk.II was wrong because they had followed the manual dimensions and so made it the same length as the Mk.I. He knew that another Czech company was going to do a Defiant Mk.II to the correct length. I no longer recall which company...... If anyone has both marks from MPM/SH perhaps he could let us know how the length compares?

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Probably the first conversion I ever did! I used the Airwaves replacement resin nose, the Aeroclub prop and spinner, the Falcon Clearvax canopy and turret (guns robbed from a Frog Blenheim), Airwaves etched brass set (heavily butchered to make anything fit) and scratchbuilt fin/rudder and rear decking.

Not the best pic in the world, but for my sins, here it is:

airfix-defiant-mk-I-1.jpg

At the time, it was pretty much the only option. Now I have several MPM kits, along with a Pavla and CMK example. I'm not sure the cost and effort is worth it these days. That said, I still have an Airfix Defiant lying about somewhere, and if I ever find the necessary parts for cheap, I may well be tempted to try to do better. I've certainly learnt a lot since doing that kitbash!

I like the look of your colours very much - and the overall finish. Very convincing. And at the end of the day it is an excellent result with an Airfix classic.

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I remember Les Whitehouse (of the BP Museum and that Defiant article fame) telling me that one Czech Defiant Mk.II was wrong because they had followed the manual dimensions and so made it the same length as the Mk.I. He knew that another Czech company was going to do a Defiant Mk.II to the correct length. I no longer recall which company...... If anyone has both marks from MPM/SH perhaps he could let us know how the length compares?

CMK did a resin Defiant and then Pavla followed with one of their ill fitting horrors*, so i suspect he meant that one. MPM brought out their superb kit after that and did a mk II which had a different fuselage. I suspect theirs is more accurate, especially as they have several people here in the UK doing research for them.

Lasemonkey, that is top notch. Looks bang on and I would never have guessed it was the Airfix kit had you not sad so.

*I was given one of these part built - largely complete but sans u/c, prop and exhausts. Still tempted to finish it in Bomber Command colours as a gunnery trainer with one of the Lancaster squadrons.

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