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  1. ICM is to release a 1/48th Bristol Beaufort Mk.1 kit - ref. 48310 Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48310 V.P.
  2. Beaufighter Mk.I/VI Main Wheels Early (7481 for Airfix) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Kit wheels are generally in two halves, which means you have the resultant joins to deal with, possible mould-slip issues on single part wheels, and sometimes less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the tread department. That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument. They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are usually a drop-in replacement. This set is just that, containing two main wheels that are drop-in replacements once removed from their casting block, which is conveniently placed on the slightly flattened contact patch that just needs flattening off once removed. The tyres have the early block tread pattern, and the hubs are similarly early versions with five-spoked fronts and solid rears. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Beaufort Mk.I Cockpit & Dinghy Upgrade Sets (7506 & 7508 for Airfix) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby Airfix’s recent Beaufighter has been around for a year now, and it has been well-received and many have doubtless been built already. Special Hobby’s designers have now completed a number of resin upgrade sets to improve on the detail that the kit provides, on the basis that resin can perform some casting tasks that would be difficult or impossible in injection moulded styrene. As usual with CMK's resin sets, they arrive in the familiar clear vacformed box, with the resin parts safely inside, and the instructions sandwiched between the header card at the rear. Decals and Photo-Etch (PE) when included is separated from the resin parts by a clear piece of acetate to prevent scratching and damage during transit. Interior Set (7506) This set includes twenty-seven resin parts on nine casting blocks, a small fret of PE parts, and a small slip of clear acetate with printed dials for the instrument panel. The first act is to add the wafer-thin inserts into the forward fuselage after sanding off the moulded-in details, using three to cover the area. The cockpit is based upon the kit floor and the bulkhead/wing spar, although heavily augmented with new parts. The bulkhead first has a closed section removed, then has a new resin replacement placed over it along with three angled add-ons, and an additional box and cylinder applied to the new bulkhead skin. The cockpit floor has thin resin panels added at the front, the leftmost of which has the well-detailed pilot’s seat placed on top after building it from four resin parts and with four PE seatbelt sections, plus a two-part resin/PE control column in front of it. To the pilot’s side, a console, twin throttle quadrant with a total of eight PE levers, and the instrument panel, which is laminated up from two pieces of film, three of PE, and a resin backing layer, to which PE rudder pedals are glued. At the front of the floor a pair of seat parts are glued to the semi-circular front bulkhead, and on the port fuselage, a side console with two additional resin parts hanging from it are fixed to the sill. Dinghy & Bay (7508) This set holds just three parts, and requires a panel to be removed from the port wing, into which the bay is glued, with the packed dinghy placed within after painting. The bay cover is supplied as a separate part to replace the section of the skin previously removed from the upper wing, so you don’t have to be unduly careful with the removal process until you get toward the panel lines and begin testing for fit. Conclusion A pair of excellent new sets to add more detail and interest to your model, setting it apart from the others out there. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Bristol Blenheim Mk.I 1:48 Airfix (A09190) At the time of its first flight in April 1935, the Bristol Blenheim was one of the most advanced aircraft of its type. It's fully metal, stressed skin construction, powered flaps, retractable landing gear and variable pitch propellers all helped it stand out from the biplanes then in service with the RAF. Powered by two Bristol Mercury radial engines, the Type 142 as it was originally know, was a very fast aircraft for its time. Such was the pace of aeronautical development in the 1930s though, that by the time war broke out in 1939, the Blenheim was dangerously outclassed by the modern fighters of the Luftwaffe. During the early stages of the War, Blenheims were used for some of the first raids on Germany and they continued to be deployed in raids on German occupied airfields during the Battle of Britain. Some notable successes were achieved, although arguably more a result of the heroism of the pilots than the capabilities of the aircraft; losses were unacceptably high. The Blenheim was outmatched as a fighter too, but as with many similar aircraft, it enjoyed more success when adapted for night fighting, at least until the more heavily armed Beaufighter entered service. The Blenheim saw action in the Far East as well, and a number of aircraft were exported to Finland before the outbreak of war. The Kit This is a new tool from Airfix which follows their 2018 Mk,1F. The kit arrives on six main sprues along with a clear sprue. The quality of the parts is excellent throughout. For a kit with large clear parts these are very well done and perfectly clear. Disappointingly for fans of modelling clichés, construction begins not with the cockpit but with the bomb bay behind it, this also incorporates the spars for the wings. The doors can be open or closed for this, but if you want them closed you will have to cut the door off to reposition them. Once this is made up then we can get to work on the cockpit starting with the pilots seat and its supporting framework. These parts are highly detailed and replicate the real thing, the control column goes in front of the seat. The seat attaches to the front of the bomb bay and the whole structure is slid into the left fuselage half. Details for the bomb aimers position then go in the nose with hs fold away seat going next to the pilots seat; to finish off here the main instrument panel is fitted. Continuing on in the left fuselage half at the rear the support for the tail wheel is added, then continuing forward the boards under the upper turret are added. Holes must be drilled for the rear mounted bomb racks. To the right fuselage half the the rear mounted radios are added and at the front another fold down seat in the nose. The fuselage halves can then be joined and the top insert added along with the upper escape hatch. With the fuselage buttoned up, attention turns to the wings. The inserts for the landing lights are added into the wing leading edge. Next up on the lower wings the lower engine nacelles go on. Into these fits the landing gear. Here like all of their models Airfix provide different parts for the gear up or down. More simplified parts being provided for the raised option. If doing the gear down then internal bulkheads need to be added in followed by construction of the complicated landing gear. This seems to accurately depict the complex gear in both its looks and multipart construction. The gear fits between the rear part which represent s the main spar and the front engine firewall. Once the gear is securely in each lower wing the rear part for the flap bay is added. Now the upper and lower wings can be assembled, and the wings added to the fuselage. Small inserts between the trailing edge and the fuselage finish this part of the build. Next up its time to look at the flying control surfaces. The tailplanes are built up. The fixed parts are split upper & lower and these trap in the single part control surface when they go together. Once built they can be added to the fuselage followed by the rudder. We can now move to the construction of the engines. Again these are quite detailed. While not a full engine it will appear so when viewed from the front. The front cylinder bank goes onto the main backing plate with additional engine parts and the hub going on the front. The exhausts then go onto the engine. Collector stubs are attached to the front single part of the collector ring which then mounts to the front of the engine. The structure behind this is then built up with one main lower part and left/right upper parts. A choice of open or closed cowl flaps is then provided for the rear. once the intakes are added the completed engines can be mounted to the wings. Now the flaps can be added to the main wings. These can be open or closed, however if the modeller wants to close them up they will have to remove some of the moulded in structure to enable them to close. Outboard of the flaps the single part ailerons are added, this finishes off the wings. The next major part to be constructed is the upper turret. Again this is quite a complicated structure like the real thing. To aid construction Airfix have proved a jig to get everything aligned correctly. The vertical assembly is at this point constructed horizontally, care will be needed with the instructions here to understand how it all fits. Once the structure is together and solid it can be removed from the jig and the glazing added. The complete assembly then slides down into the fuselage. We are now on the home straight. The wheels and front doors to the landing gear are added, followed by the tail wheel. A single part cover is provided if the bomb bay is to be closed up. If not then the outer doors are added followed by the bomb load. Additional smaller bombs and their racks are added to the rear fuselage (hopefully you opened up those holes at the beginning!) . Before fitting the cockpit glazing a pilot figure is provided if you want to use him. There are four parts of the large glazed area; left & right main parts, with two top parts. The last one can be placed in the closed position, or slid back into the open position. To finally finish off the landing lights area added along with the propellers, aerial mast and pitot tube. Decals The sheet is by Cartograf which guarantees quality with no issues. Two marking options are provided. No. 211 Sqn RAF, Menidi, Greece 1941 (As seen on the box art) No. 90 Sqn RAF, RAF Bicester, Autumn 1938. Conclusion This kit continues Airfix's rich vein of form. It is a beautifully made, high quality kit which is packed with detail and options. The accurate shape and fine surface detail makes this kit a real winner, with the slightly complex breakdown of parts the only real challenge. Highly recommended for fans of pre/early-war British aircraft. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Beaufort Mk.I Löök (674001 for Airfix) 1:72 Eduard This set contains a combination of pre-printed resin and PE parts to quickly and efficiently detail up your cockpit. There is a single resin part that replicates the instrument panel in front of the pilot, with glossy faced dials already painted for you on detailed black resin. The fidelity of the printing at this size and scale has to be seen to be appreciated, and stands up well even under 2.5x magnification. Additionally, the PE set of four-point belts for the pilot, plus a Y-shaped part that you fold in half to replicate a lever found on the right of the instrument panel. Review sample courtesy of
  6. AviS is to release 1/72nd Bristol Bullfinch kits - ref. BX72052 - Bristol Bullfinch I Source: https://hobbyterra.com/product/plastic-model-1-72-bristol-bullfinch-i-avis-72052.html - ref. BX72053 - Bristol Bullfinch II Source: https://hobbyterra.com/product/plastic-model-1-72-bristol-bullfinch-ii-avis-72053.html V.P.
  7. Beaufighter Mk.II Late Conversion Set (7490 for Airfix Mk.X) 1:72 CMK by Special Hobby When Bristol were developing the Beaufighter from their own Beaufort light bomber, there were concerns that the proposed Hercules power plants could be in short supply, as at the time the new Stirling heavy bomber took priority. As a stop-gap measure in case those concerns materialised, the Mk.II Beaufighter was developed to mount a pair of Merlin XX engines in streamlined nacelles that were designed by Rolls-Royce, and bear a family resemblance to the later Lancaster bomber with good reason. Of the 330 airframes built with Merlins on the wings, around a third were lost in accidents due to the aggressive torque steer of the twin Merlins on take-off and landing. Unbelievably, the type was also considered to be underpowered when compared to the Hercules equipped airframes, which is especially confusing when comparing the performance of the Stirling with the Lancaster. The Conversion This is a resin conversion set that is designed to be applied to the Airfix Beaufighter Mk.X kit, and arrives in a large cardboard box that has thirty-six resin parts inside, plus a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a decal sheet, all packed into two Ziploc bags and protected by the folded instruction booklet. Some of the resin parts are large, the biggest being the inner wing panels and engine nacelle fairings, which also incorporates the gear bays, both of which are filled with detail, and have panel lines in a style matching those of the kit. Construction begins with removal of the kit’s inner wing panels and the intakes for the oil coolers, which should be sanded back to the profile of the leading edge, filling any depressions where needed. The remaining outer wings are then joined with the resin inners, with a deep plug projecting into the outer panel to give a strong join. The nacelles, their exhaust stubs and PE flash hiders are mated to the bulkheads, with small intakes on the cheeks, and a small upstand at the rear of the nacelle fairing. The props consist of a back-plate, three keyed blades, and hollow spinner that are made up as a pair to be glued to the front of the nacelles after painting. The kit landing gear is made up and inserted into the new bays, taking your cues from the Airfix instructions, then the bays are bracketed by new resin doors, plus an exhaust flap under the engines, set in the open or closed position at your choice, using two PE struts to support them at each side. On my example, the flaps had detached from their casting block, but were otherwise undamaged. The wings have PE radar aerials drilled into the leading edges, with distances from the nacelles given to assist you. Another arrow-shaped antenna is fixed into the centre of the nose cone, and a towel-rail antenna attached to the underside of the fuselage, offset to one side slightly. The last aerial is just behind the astrodome on the fuselage spine, and the last resin parts are the elevators, which are fixed to the fuselage at right-angles to the unfilleted tail fin. Markings There are a generous five markings options on the decal sheet, including day and night schemes. From the box you can build one of the following: Mk.II EW-U/T3048, No.307 (Polish) Sqn. RAF, Exeter, 1942 Mk.II ZJ-M/T3415, No.96 Sqn. RAF, S/L Dickie Haine, Wrexham Base, England, May 1942 Mk.II RX-B/T3017, No.456 Sqn. RAF, S/L Charles G C Olive, CBE DFC, Valley Base, Anglesey, Wales, 1942* Mk.II KP-K/T3145, No.409 (Canadian) Sqn. RAF, Coleby Grange, late 1941 Mk.II, LI-P/T3223 No.798 Sqn. FAA, Lee-on-Solent, 1944 * Note that the instructions have spelt Valley and Anglesey incorrectly. The decals are well-printed, sharp and with good register to allow you to build one of the options above. Conclusion If I was a 1:72 builder I’d be building this right now, as it’s a pretty cool conversion. The resin is well-cast, the build should be relatively easy, and the instructions are comprehensive. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Beaufighter Mk.VI Wheels (648754 for Tamiya) 1:48 Eduard Brassin Kit wheels are generally in two halves, which means you have the resultant joins to deal with, possible mould-slip issues on single part wheels, and sometimes less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the tread department. That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument. They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are usually a drop-in replacement. This set contains three resin wheels, four outer hubs to give you a choice of two styles, a replacement tail-wheel strut in tougher white resin, and a sheet of kabuki-tape masks. The smooth-tread main wheels are cut from their casting blocks at the bottom, where the slight weighting can be seen, with the balloon tail-wheel similarly prepared and slotted between the two legs of the new resin yoke. Each wheel is a drop-in replacement for the kit parts, and as mentioned are supplied with pre-cut masks from the Kabuki-tape sheet (not pictured) inside the package to make the job even easier. The detail is exceptional as we’ve come to expect from Eduard’s wheels, especially around the maker’s details, and it has to be seen to be believed. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. So recently i got hold of one of my favourite world war 2 aircraft. The bristol blenheim was an aircraft which was both a bomber and a fighter but lacked improving technology along with other aircraft. By the 1940s it was considered the blenheim to be too outdated and was too slow against enemy fighters. Pilots and crew were awarded medals just for flying in the aircraft. So onto the kit and to begin with there is a very nice box art. And also a choice of day or night fighter included. And also some very well produced details, which is common in airfix new tooled models. As expected the parts are very well made... To begin with the undercarriage bulkheads where fitted into place and the main frames were fitted into place also. A small bit of detail will be required but already a good start. Next the main fuselage was joined together. Work then began on the cockpit sections. Including pilots seat bombardiers position and interior components. With a basecoat of green down weathering will be done with a wash and details picked out. To finish off the evening i fitted all the parts together with a dry fit to see how well the fitments are. Details and wash will be done next before fitting everything into place. And i am also looking for referances if for addimg details and other parts. Thanks for looking.
  10. Fly is to release a new tool 1/72nd Bristol 170 Freighter kit - ref.72030 Source: http://www.fly814.cz/pripravujeme-preparing/ V.P.
  11. In 2020 Airfix is to release a new tool 1/72nd Bristol Beaufort Mk.1 kit - ref. A04021 https://uk.airfix.com/products/bristol-beaufort-mk1-a04021 3D render V.P.
  12. Airfix is to release in 2015 a new tool 1/72nd Bristol Beaufighter Mk.X kit - ref.A04019 Expected July 2015. Source: http://www.airfix.com/catalog/product/view/id/8398/category/15/ V.P.
  13. I'll sneak in with this one, if I may - the Airfix Bristol Blenheim Mk IV in the 'red stripe' boxing and 'all action' artwork. Look at that sky blue plastic!!! There were a couple of extra clear parts in the box and there is an 'empty' spot on the trees - might be a bit missing. Locate and cement.....
  14. Beaufighter Mk.I/VI Mainwheels Early/Smooth (4436) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby Kit wheels are generally in two halves, which means you have the resultant joins to deal with, possible mould-slip issues on single part wheels, and sometimes less than stellar detail due to the moulding limitations of styrene injection technology, especially in the tread department. That's where replacement resin wheels come in, with their lack of seamline and superior detail making a compelling argument. They are also usually available at a reasonable price, and can be an easy introduction to aftermarket and resin handling, as they are usually a drop-in replacement. This set from CMK is suitable for the Revell kits in 1:48, but would probably work equally as well for the older Tamiya kit. The set arrives in the usual yellow-themed CMK blister pack, with the instructions sandwiched between the resin parts and the header card. Inside are six resin parts on four casting blocks, consisting of two wheels and four hub parts for each side of the wheels. The wheels are all attached to their blocks on their contact patches, with additional wisps of resin supporting the wheel further and helping to reduce the likelihood of air bubbles within the moulds. These are easily removed with a razor saw and a swipe with a sanding stick that should leave all the smooth contact surface intact. The hubs are all cast flat against their blocks, so will need to be sawn or sanded off, taking the usual precautions when handling resin. When liberated from their blocks, they slip into the sockets locating on a small nub within. They’re a much better detailed drop-in replacement for the kit parts from thereon in. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. One Man Model has 1/48th & 1/72nd Bristol Brabazon projects. But don't be in a hurry, release is expected in about 5 years! Source: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1654258058103852&id=100005590215920 V.P.
  16. Beaufighter Hedgehog Exhausts – British/Australian (Q48386 & Q48387 for Revell) 1:48 CMK by Special Hobby The Beaufighter was used extensively as a night fighter due to its heavy centreline concentrated armament and capability to carry a dedicated radar operator in a cramped compartment in the fuselage, so damping any flames coming from the exhausts was important for two reasons. It was crucial for the pilot to retain his night vision during flight, as any bright lights could spoil his sight for up to 20 minutes, leaving the aircraft vulnerable and the chances of them finding a target reduced. It was also imperative that the aircraft was effectively invisible to both the bombers they were hunting and other enemy night fighters that may have accompanied the bombers, for obvious reasons. Hedgehog flame dampers got their nickname because of the small triangular spikes that covered the length of the extension, reminiscent of a hedgehog’s quills (vaguely). The extension contained the exhaust gases until they were out of the pilot’s eyeline, and dissipated them through various exits allowing them to cool sufficiently so that there was little if any flame coming from the rear. The Beau and many other types wore this style of exhaust, and they differed slightly between variants. British Type (Q48386 for Revell) The British exhausts were simply extensions to the exhaust stub, and are a drop-in fit to the aft of the cowlings, with a tapering tube facing toward the tail, ending in a point. They attach to their pour stubs on the inner face, so any mistakes removing them for the single block won’t matter much. Beaufighter Mk.21 – Australian type (Q48387 for Revell/others) Each damper on this set is supplied on a separate casting block with ancillary parts included that give you two options. They fit into the back of the cowlings as per the set above, but they are cylindrical and have stoppers at the rear for one version, or a stopper plus two feed pipes back into the cowling for the other option. Again, the parts are coupled to their blocks via the backside, and removal from their stubs is easy, even with a few passes from a sharp blade, which I tried successfully out of curiosity. Review sample courtesy of
  17. S&M Models is to release in June 2016 a 1/72nd Bristol Type 171 Sycamore kit. Source: http://sandmmodels.co.uk/misc-news/first-ever/ - ref.SMK72-36 - Bristol Sycamore British & Australian Issue - http://sandmmodels.co.uk/product/bristol-sycamore-british-australian-issue/ - ref.SMK 72-37 - Bristol Sycamore German & Belgium Issue - http://sandmmodels.co.uk/product/bristol-sycamore-german-belgium-issue-2/ - ref.SMK 72-38 - Bristol Sycamore Civil Issue - http://sandmmodels.co.uk/product/bristol-sycamore-civil-issue/ V.P.
  18. Bristol Beaufighter TF.X 1:72 Airfix A04019A The Beaufighter was originally developed as a fighter variant of the Beaufort, aiming to utilise as many components from the light bomber as possible to speed development, construction and minimise tooling costs. It didn't quite work out that simply, as it needed additional power that could only be provided by the new Hercules engines that was in development, as even a Merlin engine would leave it underpowered as they later found out. This meant a mid-wing mount had to be created so that the props had sufficient ground clearance, and a skinnier fuselage was used to reduce weight and drag. It was still fairly quick to reach production, and although it wasn't as amazing as the Mosquito, it turned out to be a good multirole aircraft, able to assume roles for which it was never intended for. The TF.X was a later mark that was adapted to carry a torpedo slung under its belly, and mounted two Hercules XVII engines that had been tuned for low-altitude performance to improve the crew's chances of survival during an attack. Over 2,000 were built, and they were colloquially referred to as the Torbeau. The Kit The kit is a re-release of Airfix's new tool kit from 2015. The smaller parts dont seem to suffer from the softness I have seen in other Airfix 1/72 kits, though will be needed to remove them from the sprues. Construction starts with the internal structure in that the wing spars for the kit are first attached to the cabin floor. In the cockpit the pilots seat and the flying controls then go in. A pilot figure is supplied if the modeller wishes to use it. Then in the rear compartment the seat also goes in there on its mounting. Again a figure is supplied if the modeller wishes to use it. Moving onto the fuselage halves up front the side consoles fro the cockpit go in. At the rear the tail wheel assembly goes in, different one are supplied if a wheels up kit is to be made. Again at the front the instrument panel goes in with the instruments provided as decals. The fuselage can then be closed up and added to the cabin floor. Underneath this goes the lower fuselage part remembering to open up holes for the torpedo and any stand you are going to be using. We now move onto constructing the wings. These are conventional left/right & upper/lower in construction. For this version the instructions indicate there are a couple of small bumps which will need to filed off. The complete wings then slide over the spars installed right at the beginning. Separate ailerons are provided for the wings. We now move to the tail. Depending on the decal option used there are different horizontal tail planes and inserts to be used. The tail plane is a single part so no worrying about getting the angles correct. This then attaches to the tail and the vertical fin can go on, followed by the rudder. We now move back to the main wings and those engines. Each has a double bank of cylinders outside of which goes a 3 part cowling. The exhaust collector ring goes onto the front of this and hedgehog exhausts down the side (these looking pretty good for this scale in injection plastic). The completed engines can then be fitted to the wings and the intakes are then fitted to the top. Note that these are different depending on the decal option chosen, as again is the nose cone with the Portuguese aircraft being fitted with a radar nose. Now we move to the landing gear. If doing an inflight model then Airfix again provide a seperate set of closed doors for this. The main legs and their retraction struts go in with the wheels going on followed by the gear bay doors. If you then want to add any armament now is your chance. Under the fuselage goes the Torpedo and under the wings four 60Lb rockets each side. The rockets and their racks fit to a plate. The instructions indicate these were only fitted to the RCAF Aircraft. To finish off the wingtip lights are added along with the landing lights. the canopies are fitted along with the rear gun; also the props and sinners are added. Last up there is the dorsal aerial, and for the Portuguese aircraft a largish intake just behind the pilots canopy. Decals The sheet here is from Cartograf who seem to be doing all of Airfix's decals so there should be no issues with it. Two options are provided; NE355, No.404 Sqn Royal Canadian Air Force, RAF Davidstowe, Cornwall June 1944 (If using invasion stripes these will need to be painted) BF17, Squadrilla B, Aviacao Maritima, Portela de Sacavem, Lisbon, Portugal 1946 Conclusion This is a great kit re-issued and with decals for an overseas operator. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. After my recent Brigand build you would have thought I'd learned my lesson, but 'the boys' have encouraged me to do this next: so apparently not. First flown in 1935 the Bombay was introduced in 1939 and retired in 1944. Wikipedia here and, as usual, no colour photos for reference so your guess is as good as mine. Luckily I build OOB and follow the instructions so I'm not too bothered - it's the build that's fun, IMHO (although not in my recent experience). Sprue shots: Three plastic, two clear, two PE (oh joy), IP film and resin engines. Decals for two schemes: - L5838, 216 Sqn RAF, Aldergrove, Northern Ireland 1939 and - my choice, L5813, 271 Sqn RAF, crashed 11.5.1940 in Betheniville, France, stalled on approach to the airfield and crashed killing four and injuring twelve. The usual picture only instructions on folded A5 pamphlet, which I won't bore you with but here's the first few steps: Looks like an interesting cockpit, good. Notice the inset panel in step 2 for attachment of PE. No, it's not clearer 'in the flesh'* Bit worried about this bent training edge: but this will no doubt add to the jeopardy and keep people interested. Hopefully. * Dbl-E, score 1, fnaar fnaar. Off to a good start, with the double entendres at least.
  20. Beaufighter 1F Nightfighter (03854) 1:48 Revell The Beaufighter was originally developed as a fighter variant of the Beaufort, aiming to utilise as many components from the light bomber as possible to speed development, construction and minimise tooling costs. It didn't quite work out that simply, as it needed additional power that could only be provided by the new Hercules engines that was in development, as even a Merlin engine would leave it underpowered as they later found out. This meant a mid-wing mount had to be created so that the props had sufficient ground clearance, and a skinnier fuselage was used to reduce weight and drag. It was still fairly quick to reach production, and although it wasn't as amazing as the Mosquito, it turned out to be a good multirole aircraft once it had matured sufficiently, able to assume roles for which it was never intended for. The initial Mk.1 wasn’t a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination, and some were converted to Nightfighter specification to gauge their performance against the incoming enemy bombers that were attacking London and the rest of England every night by that time. After a few quieter sorties, the 1F began to show promise, downing a number of bombers, the first of which was a Do.17. It was able to carry the bulky early radar equipment without serious penalties, so was a natural for the task where speed wasn’t quite so crucial in the dark. The Kit This is a minor retool of the TF.X from Revell, one of the first to be released from the newly reinvigorated company, and the first new tooling of a Beaufighter for a long time, so it’s good to see them following through with new versions. It arrives in one of their chunky end-opening boxes (think 1:48 Tornado), and inside are sixteen dark grey sprues with a slight sparkle which is a little odd. A trio of small clear sprues, the decal sheet and new-style colour instruction booklet with the obligatory safety warning sheet tucked inside. There are 163 parts in total, and when you pull the wing sprue out of the box you realise that the Beau was quite a large aircraft. Surface detail of the aircraft's skin is restrained, with lots of fine engraved panel lines, and even what appears to be an attempt at replicating the unevenness of the skin of the aircraft around the fuselage sides and on the nose cones, a few of which you won't use. You get a full-length floor inside the fuselage with plenty of interior details, which also includes the wing roots as seen from the inside, the equipment in the back and the radar Op's seat base. The differences are around the cowlings, which are smoother than the TF.X, the original flat elevator parts and the lack of rocket pack trays and thimble-nose that came later. Construction begins with the cockpit, which is stuffed into the very tip of the internal floor, with a portion of the forward spar at the rear, cockpit bracing structure and a three-sided console in front, onto which the instrument panel is fixed, and a decal can be added if you don't fancy painting it yourself. Rudder pedals are moulded-in, and a control column drops into a slot in the centre of the floor, with the seat with moulded-in belts placed hard up against the spar. The rear spar forms the box, and this is full height, with moulded-in doors into the rear compartment, and two ammo drums behind that feed the belly cannons. Behind that is the base for the radar operator's chair, which also has lap belts moulded-in, another framework bulkhead that has a central equipment rack in it. Behind that is an empty space with the tail-wheel well at the rear, which is moulded into the floor as a curved box, and can accept the tail wheel in either deployed or stowed positions by using a different strut on the same wheel. The fuselage can then be closed around the assembly, after de-flashing some holes along the top seam for later use. The nose cone is separate, and you have a choice of two, but we use the original sleek nose that gives the Beau such a nice line. The canopy is fitted next, and has an apron in front of the windscreen moulded-in to make fitting it easier, and a separate top panel for the pilot's exit. My example had taken a hit to the top roll-over bar, causing it to snap off, but as it was a clean break, I was able to glue it back with small dots of super glue. The gun-sight is also clear, and needs partially painting before installation, which would look more realistic if you add some clear green to the edges of the glazing to simulate thickness. The new rear crew member's dome is able to be fitted open or closed, with no machine gun this time around. Now for the wings. The lower wing is a full width piece, and includes a short length of the lower fuselage to give it a strong join. Four small holes must be opened up in this area before proceeding, after which the gear bays are constructed in the lower half of the "power egg" from individual panels and a front bulkhead. Behind them the flap bay is completed by the addition of an upstand part that spans the gap between lower and upper skins. This is of course repeated in both sides, and the upper wings are glued in place once this step is completed, then the flush landing light, the supercharger intakes and wingtip lights can be added along with the inner and outer sections of the flaps, which can be posed open or closed, by adjusting the leading-edge tabs that are present. The ailerons are each two parts and these fit on pins and can be left loose or posed how you see fit. Before mating the fuselage to the wings, the lower hatch is installed in either open or closed positions. Next up are the engines, and these are depicted fully with two banks of pistons and plenty of nice detail. The exhaust collector ring and the forward cooling vanes are all there, although a little bit of wiring will be needed to complete the look. The three new smooth cowling sections are all build up around the front ring, and then you have a choice of adding open or closed cooling flaps, by using one or other of the sets provided glued to the aft of the cowling. This is done twice of course, and the engines aren't handed, so the exhausts are on the same side, as are the hedgehog flame hiders that trail along the nacelles, which have glare shields over them to protect the pilot's night vision. A choice of large or small intakes are fitted to the top of the cowlings, and the tiny rear tip of the nacelle under the wing finishes off that section. The tail of the Beau is noticeably cranked upward with quite a large dihedral on later variants, but this early one has flat fins with a single two-part elevator running across the full width with trim actuators added below. The tail fin isn't moulded into the fuselage, but this early fillet-less version fits into a slot on the top of the elevator assembly, and separate rudder parts allowing you to pose the rudder deflected if you wish. The main landing gear can be left off totally if you are posing your model in flight, with the single piece gear bay doors dropped into the aperture in the bottom of the nacelles. If you are building the landing gear down, you will need to construct the H-shaped legs in stages, sandwiching the two-part wheels between the legs as you go, and this completed assembly is attached to a small section of the spar for ease and strength of attachment. This is glued into the front of the bay, with another set of retraction jacks fitted diagonally from the bay rear into the lower section of the leg. The single door panel is split lengthways with a blade or fine saw and added half to each side of the bay, then the prop is fixed to the front, either with or without a spinner, which has a backplate for completeness. Then it's a case of fitting a pitot under the wing, aerial on the fuselage, and radar antennae on the leading edges of the wings to complete the model, and some wire/thread for the aerial if you're feeling brave. Markings There are two decal options provided on the sheet, and if you thought they were going to be anything other than black, there’s some bad news coming. They’re both black, but with different coloured fuselage codes to differentiate. From the box you can build one of the following: Beaufighter Mk.1F No.604 Sqn. RAF, Middle Wallop, England, April 1941 Beaufighter Mk.1F No.68 Sqn. RAF, High Ercall, England, Late 1941 Decals are by Zanetti, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion I liked the TF.X and I like the Mk.1F just as well – I love Beaufighters (and an awful lot of other aircraft too, for completeness). It’s a well-detailed model that ticks a lot of boxes for the modeller, whether they’re of the out-of-box, or advanced flavour. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  21. In the churchyard of St Edmunds or St James, Blunham, Bedfordshire, is a heavily worn gravestone. These days it is barely legible but back in 2005, it was much easier to read. We were hosting an American friend in November of that year and she was eager to take some photos in the churchyard. She got to one gravestone and said, "Oh, he died in the war!" I looked, and amongst the many names on the stone was a Pilot Officer Alan Dunn Hopkin, who died on the 10th July 1940. I have to confess that it was several years later when I thought of the young man whose name was carved into the gravestone. I remembered the date. The first day of the Battle Of Britain. I wondered how he was lost. Research revealed that he was with No. 59 Squadron, flying Bristol Blenheims from Thorney Island, West Sussex. At 22.20 hrs on the night of the 9th July 1940, Hopkin, along with Sgt T.J Rowles (observer) and Sgt J.W. Falconer (WAG) took off on a Hach patrol (anti-invasion reconnaissance) to Cherbourg. Another Blenheim, R3881 left for a separate patrol a couple of hours later. For some reason, both aircraft appeared to get lost on the return journey, both being plotted by RDF but neither acknowledging the calls from the plotters. At 3am R3637 exploded over Cardiff. None of the bodies were recovered. It has been suggested that Hopkin and his crew may have been the victims of friendly AA fire. The other Blenheim, R3881, flew into an electricity pylon near Cleehill, Shropshire, with the loss of all on board. These six men must have been among the first to lose their lives during the Battle Of Britain. I decided that I had to build Hopkin's aircraft as a way of commemorating one of my Village's fallen sons. I had the serial number, but precious little else. It took several years of digging before I finally found the individual aircraft letter on the 59 Squadron website. Photos of contemporary 59 Sqn machines gave me a good idea of how the aircraft would most likely have looked like and study of photos revealed that R3637 almost certainly would have worn the B scheme. I chose the new Airfix 1/72 kit to represent R3637. Mine was the bomber boxing and this was moulded in the UK. Although the plastic "felt" a little strange, it was much, much nicer to work with than the awful, soft but still brittle, made in India plastic and the fit was markedly better than I anticipated. It was only the bomb bay area that really let the kit down. Otherwise, the build was straightforward. Paints were Colourcoats and Humbrol, whilst decals were a mixture of Xtradecal, Modeldecal and Aeromaster, plus a few of the kit's stencils. The code letters were from an Aeromaster sheet and were the only ones in my stash that replicated the style seen on other 59 Sqn machines at the time. I also used some Peewit paint masks for the glazed areas. While they were a bit cheaper than the equivalent Eduard product, I felt that they weren't as precise as the Eduard masks I've used so far and the edges curled up after a relatively short amount of time, meaning a fair bit of overspray had to be removed. The retracted turret option was only used as the extended one was ropey to say the least, covered in deep gouges and having several moulding flaws. I'm sure I have heard others report that they encountered the same issue. I have to apologise for the quality of the photos but I only just finished the model in time. I am actually away from home at the moment and had to take the photos last Friday, the night before I left. My SLR is unserviceable at the moment, so I had to make do with my phone camera. So, my first completed build in years. I say completed, but it isn't *quite*. There's a not quite finished decal repair on the starboard side (hence no photos) and I haven't added the wireless aerial as yet either. Once done, I'll try to take some better pictures but otherwise, thanks for looking. Cheers, Mark. This model is humbly dedicated to P/O Hopkin, Sgt Rowles and Sgt Falconer.
  22. Hello all, I have had this kit in my stash for about 6 months now and I've been trying not to scratch a constant itch that demands I build it …. but now I have to give in …. as it's driving me mad! These WnW kits are sheer quality, with some beautifully moulded parts, loads and loads of detail and a superb instruction booklet to ease construction. As soon as you open the box and see one in the flesh, you just know that you've bought a quality kit and regardless of the higher bracket prices that they demand, these kits are definitely worth every penny - money well spent! I normally like to scratch-build bits and super-detail my models (it's just a habit I have) but this kit will be built mostly OOB with very little added detail other than maybe some ignition leads on the engine which don't appear to be included. To be honest it doesn't very much else! Kit and contents in the photos below: This is the scheme I will be using in my build, which is the same as the box art: Thanks for looking in on my build, all comments and criticisms welcomed! Kev.
  23. AviS is to release 1/72nd Bristol M.1C & M.1D kits - ref. 72032 & 72033 Source: https://www.modelforum.cz/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=95825&start=6960 Box art V.P.
  24. Quick question for the experten here. Im looking at possibly doing a plane for the RAF 100 Anniversary group build coming up in April. Im debating one of three options ? Im normally a WW2/Coldwar builder but im thinking of expanding into 1930’s types. For the build i was thinking either Bristol bulldog ? Hawker Fury ? Or if i stay WW2 an eagle squadron from the early years. I know there are airfix furies and bulldogs would these be good options to start with a 1930’s bi-plane ? Dennis
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