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New 1/48th Scale Blenheim Announced by Airfix!!

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Source: https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/news/workbench/stunning-shars-and-blenheim-update-exclusive

 

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1/48th scale Blenheim test shots Exclusive

There is nothing we like more than bringing our readers the latest exclusive news and pictures from the most anticipated new tooling projects in the current Airfix range and do we have something special for you this time. In this Centenary year of the Royal Air Force, there can hardly be a more important aircraft in the development of a modern RAF than the beautiful Bristol Blenheim, which at the time it entered service as a light bomber in March 1937, was over 100 mph faster than the Hawker Hind it replaced. Indeed, the introduction of the Blenheim immediately presented the RAF a welcome increase in their offensive capability, as it was at that time, the fastest light/medium bomber in the world, able to outrun many front-line fighters of the day. Posting such outstanding performance statistics and representing the very latest in aircraft technology, the Blenheim was now the aircraft against which all other fighters would be judged and whilst it was undoubtedly an extremely capable aircraft at the time of its service introduction, its performance was now a benchmark for all future aircraft designs.

The incredible pace of aircraft development in the years preceding the Second World War ensured that the Blenheim did not receive the popular acclaim it deserved and is generally overlooked as one of Britain’s most significant aircraft, however despite this, we are certainly hoping that the release of our newly tooled 1/48th scale representation of the Blenheim Mk.IF will lead to more people looking into the history of the aircraft and the important position it holds in RAF history.

We are pleased to bring you the latest development update from the new Blenheim tooling, which marks an important stage in the production of any new Airfix model – the arrival of first test shots. For the Airfix design team, this must be a time both of great excitement and some trepidation, as they see the test frames from the new kit for the very first time and is the culmination of many hours of hard work - its arrival also heralds a further period of hectic activity, as every aspect of the kits component production and part assembly must be evaluated, which requires incredible concentration and attention to detail. This significant stage is where plastic is injected through the model tooling blocks for the first time, allowing the resultant component frames to be assessed by the Airfix design team and for test builds to be completed. At the end of this process, a full project review will take place and a report compiled which may include instructions for further alterations and refinements to the tooling block itself.

New Airfix 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Exclusive A09186

This series of images are exclusive to Workbench readers and show the test frames from the new 1/48th scale Blenheim Mk.IF tooling which have recently been reviewed by the Airfix team. The model is still at pre-production stage and the team will have already been assessing the tooling for accuracy and whilst these images may not represent the actual production kit components, they do allow modellers a fascinating insight into the work of the Airfix design team

New Airfix 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Exclusive A09186New Airfix 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Exclusive A09186

The arrival of the first test frames also allows the Airfix team to construct the Blenheim kit from its component pieces for the first time, evaluating the fit and finish of individual parts as they proceed. Again, this important stage in the development process may highlight the need for some tooling refinements before the model can proceed any further – the build process may also result in the need for additional detail requirements or a construction order change to be included on the instruction sheet itself, which at this stage will be quite advanced. Our talented illustrator is more than capable of incorporating any suggested changes to this important document without too much trouble – our previous review of Instruction booklet production affords a fascinating insight into this process.

The exclusive Blenheim test build images included below show this important first build much earlier in the development process than Airfix enthusiasts would usually have the opportunity to see any new tooling project and are still very much in a pre-production state. Indeed, if you look at the second image in the group below, you can clearly see comments and instructions marked directly on the upper wing of the model – really fascinating detail for modelling enthusiasts to see.

New Airfix 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Exclusive A09186

This series of images show one of the test models constructed from the first component frames from the new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim tooling, which is used by the Airfix team to assess every aspect of the kits construction, fit and finish

New Airfix 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Exclusive A09186New Airfix 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Exclusive A09186

It is already clear that the new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF is going to be an incredibly popular addition to the Airfix range and the sight of these fascinating test shot images show that the project is advancing as planned. The scheduled release date is November 2018 but as many of the recent new tooling releases have sold out within days of release, it would be advisable to reserve your example of this handsome new kit on the Airfix website or through your usual model supplier, if you are planning some quality Blenheim time. The next stage of the development process as far as Workbench readers are concerned will be to bring you pictures of a fully finished test model, which we look forward to doing in the near future, but until then, we hope you have enjoyed this exclusive Big Blenheim update.

 

V.P.

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Hey...would you look at that?  They've added the blast plate in front of the guns which was missing from the earlier CAD shots.  Maybe my email to Airfix last October had some positive contribution to this kit?  If so, thanks for listening, Airfix. 

 

This is right at the top of my "must buy" list! :)

Edited by mhaselden

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Also looks like they've moulded the window for the recce camera as a clear component.  AFAIK, that's the first time this has been included in any kit of the Blenheim. 

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They should fix that horizontal double frame on the canopies that results from having a full width frame on both the upper and two side parts where these meet.

Same error as the 1/72 kit

 

Otherwise it looks to become a great kit.

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34 minutes ago, occa said:

They should fix that horizontal double frame on the canopies that results from having a full width frame on both the upper and two side parts where these meet.

Same error as the 1/72 kit

 

Otherwise it looks to become a great kit.

Mail them please, it seems they are willing to listen .....

I like what i see at the moment :wink:

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Interesting that the fusalage sprue might be replaceable with a Mk IV fuselage? 

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Hopefully they won't raise their prices for the kit around Christmas time.

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53 minutes ago, Britman said:

Interesting that the fusalage sprue might be replaceable with a Mk IV fuselage? 

I's love to see a MkIV as well, but I am sure I've seen comment that there's something fundamentally different between the aircrafts' wings as well;  rear part of the engine nacelles rings a bell.  Something that can be ignored in the smaller scales but not 1/48th?  Really like to be proved wrong.

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On ‎13‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 1:16 PM, Tbolt said:

It's not a Beaufort but it does look nice, I'm interested.

 

On ‎13‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 2:43 PM, Kampartiger said:

I guess I am not going to see an Airfix Bristol Beaufort in my life time but the Blenheim will do!

Would it be to much to ask for a Beaufort? couldn't they just quickly run the LIDAR over the one at Hendon? Still the Blenheim does look good, definitely thinking of pre-ordering one!

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1 hour ago, Dave Batt said:

I's love to see a MkIV as well, but I am sure I've seen comment that there's something fundamentally different between the aircrafts' wings as well;  rear part of the engine nacelles rings a bell.  Something that can be ignored in the smaller scales but not 1/48th?  Really like to be proved wrong.

The difference is between British built MkI and MKIV and the Bolingbroke, which was essentially a Canadian built MkIV. The latter had a significantly different shape to the original nacelle design.

The currently airworthy MkI Blenheim at Duxford is rebuilt from a Bolingbroke, with the nacelles modified to be more bulbous than the Blenheim items, without being correct for the Bolingbroke.

This has been a major point of criticism of Airfix's 1/72 Blenheims, the Duxford example was copied and the difference is very noticeable in any scale...

 

They have made a point of acknowledging the difference with the 1/48 rendition, but those wings will be equally good for a MkIV,

 

Cheers,

Bill.

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Source: https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/news/workbench/three-years-of-airfix-exclusives

 

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An aircraft to put ‘Britain first’

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The latest Workbench exclusive includes a number of images taken of a beautiful test build of the new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF which has been causing such a stir over recent months.

 

Although not enjoying the same status as the Spitfires and Hurricanes which were in Royal Air Force service at the beginning of the Second World War, the Bristol Blenheim light bomber/night-fighter has to be regarded as one of the most important British aircraft of that period and was responsible for both stimulating a significant aviation expansion programme and leading Britain’s military response to Germany’s invasion of Poland. The original aircraft was not designed for, or ordered by the RAF, but was a project financed by wealthy newspaper owner Lord Rothermere, who was growing increasingly frustrated that Britain was lagging behind the rest of the world with regard to significant aviation achievements. He announced that he would fund a new aircraft project, but only if the resultant machine was the best in the world and put Britain firmly back on the world aviation map. The project proved to be a resounding success, with the Bristol Type 142 twin engined monoplane posting a top speed of 307mph, which was significantly faster than the current RAF front-line fighter of the day. Rothermere gifted his aircraft to the nation and flight trials soon convinced RAF officials to develop the aircraft into a new high speed light bomber for the air force.

 

As the the Second World War erupted in Europe, the Royal Air Force had more Bristol Blenheims in service than any other aircraft, in both fighter and bomber roles and they were to see extensive service during the battles to come. Significantly, just 63 minutes after Britain had declared war against Germany, a Blenheim of No.139 Squadron from RAF Wyton carried out the RAF’s first operational sortie of WWII, as it conducted a reconnaissance flight over the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven – the crew became the first British airmen to cross the German coast in WWII. The following day, Blenheims of Nos 107 and 110 Squadron attacked shipping at Wilhelmshaven but were forced to make their attack run from inland and flying out towards the vessels at sea. This was intended to avoid the possibility of inflicting unintentional civilian casualties on the local German population – the first wave had the element of surprise and was virtually unopposed, however as a second attack force approached the target minutes later, ground defenses and the Luftwaffe were now prepared and savaged the oncoming raiders. Five Blenheims and three Vickers Wellingtons were shot down during this operation, becoming the first RAF aircraft casualties of the war and unfortunately for Blenheim crews, a sign of challenging times to come.

 

The attractive design of the Bristol Blenheim and the significant place it occupies in the history of the Royal Air Force ensured that it has always been a popular aircraft in kit form and many Workbench readers will have fond memories of building the Airfix Blenheim in its light blue plastic during their formative years, a kit which always managed to produce pleasing results. Originally released back in 1968, the 1/72nd scale Blenheim kit received a much needed re-tooling upgrade in 2014, bringing this popular aircraft up to the standards modellers have now come to expect from the Airfix design team and even though this ensured the continued modelling legacy of this famous aircraft, there was even more to come. The announcement of a new 1/48th scale tooling of the Blenheim in October 2017 was received with much excitement and the sight of the prototype sample model on the Airfix stand at last year’s Telford show only served to increase our anticipation – the greater size of this new model helps to better illustrate the design and features of the Blenheim and produces an incredibly impressive scale representation of this important aircraft. With so many of you looking forward to adding this beauty to your future build schedules, we are pleased to bring you this exclusive series of build images, featuring advanced sample components which have been built and finished by one of our talented modelling supporters.

 

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Workbench readers are the first to see this collection of images featuring a fully completed sample of our new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim, which is scheduled for release this coming October.

 

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This magnificent build has been completed in a scheme which will not be supplied as one of the options included in the new kit, but certainly shows off the impressive lines of the Bristol Blenheim. This Mk.IF machine (L1426/RX-M) was on strength with RAF No.25 Squadron, based at Northolt in August 1939 and features both the four .303 machine gun pack in the belly of the aircraft and the striking black and white underside identification markings synonymous with this early period of the war, which you have to say looks extremely impressive on this larger model. This particular Blenheim was written off after being involved in an accident on 17th December 1939 – taking off from Northolt to perform an air test, one of the engines seized as it attempted to climb clear of the airfield boundary, forcing the pilot to make a wheels up landing in the first field he could see. L1426 suffered extensive damage and was later written off as being uneconomical to repair, however the crew were fortunate to escape the incident with relatively minor cuts and bruises.

 

As we bring you the latest information concerning this handsome new kit, let’s next take a look at the scheme options which will accompany the release of 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF A09186.

 

Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF - L6739/YP-Q, RAF No.23 Squadron, Wittering, Cambridgeshire, England, February 1940. This is the scheme currently applied to G-BPIV flying with the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford

 

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Full scheme details featuring the world’s only airworthy Bristol Blenhiem, which is operated by the Aircraft Restoration Company from their Duxford airfield site.

 

The Bristol Blenheim occupies a significant position in the history of British aviation, at one time being the most advanced aircraft of its type in the world, but by the beginning of its WWII combat introduction, was outclassed by the fighter aircraft which had entered service only months earlier. Over 4,400 Blenheims were produced during its production run, but with just a single example remaining in airworthy condition, this rare bird is without doubt one of the jewels in the crown of the UK historic aviation scene – it has, however, endured some difficult times in the past. Wearing the UK civil registration G-MKIV, the first Blenheim restoration only flew for a short but glorious four week period, before crashing during an Airshow appearance in June 1987. Thankfully, the team responsible for her restoration were determined not to let their efforts and expertise go to waste and a second restoration project began almost immediately, resulting in a second aircraft making its first post restoration flight just five years after the crash of the first Blenheim. This time carrying the new civil registration G-BPIV, the Blenheim would thankfully spend much more time delighting enthusiasts and veterans on the Airshow circuit, allowing younger audiences the opportunity to see one of these beautiful aircraft in the air, rather than in the aviation history books. Sadly, tragedy would strike the Blenheim team once again and the aircraft crash landed whilst returning to Duxford following its latest Airshow appearance, sustaining significant damage, though thankfully no loss of life. Had Britain lost her airworthy Blenheim for good this time?

 

The damage to G-BPIV was certainly significant, but not beyond repair and this proved to be all the encouragement the Blenheim team needed - a further restoration was undertaken, this time with something of an interesting aviation twist. The previous two restorations had been completed as long-nosed Mark IV versions of the Blenheim, however this latest attempt would aim to produce an early short-nosed IF fighter version of the aircraft, giving it a dramatically different appearance. The team had secured the nose section of Blenheim L6739, which had a rather interesting story behind it. Blenheim Mk.I L6739 was issued to No.23 Squadron at RAF Wittering following its construction, where it would serve as a night fighter throughout the period of the Battle of Britain. Struck off charge in December 1940, it went back to the manufacturers, where it was simply left to deteriorate in their scrapyard. After the war had ended, an innovative electrician by the name of Ralph Nelson who was working at Bristol's, was given permission to buy the nose of the aircraft, which he then went on to convert into an electric car. After mounting it to the chassis of an Austin 7 he fitted an electric motor of his own design and registered it as a 'Nelson' with the index JAD347. Ralph drove the car for 10 years before it suffered a fire which damaged the systems beyond repair, however, he had heard of the ongoing second Blenheim restoration at Duxford and donated the car to the project in 1992.

 

With the restored nose section now mated with the rest of the Blenheim airframe, L6739 made her first post restoration flight as a short nosed Mk.I at the end of May 2014 and has since gone on to be one of the most popular historic aircraft on the UK Airshow scene – a true aviation classic in this significant RAF centenary year.

 

Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF – K7159/YX-N, No.54 Operational Training Unit, RAF Church Fenton, North Yorkshire, England, December 1940.

 

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This beautiful black night fighter training aircraft will look extremely impressive in this new larger scale.

 

Equipping more RAF Squadrons than any other aircraft type at the outbreak of the Second World War, Blenheim crews would be called upon to perform many roles in defence of the nation, some of which were not initially apparent to them whilst engaged in their exhausting training schedule. Flying a great many practice sorties in formation with and in conjunction with RAF fighters as they prepared for war, Blenheim crews were also unwittingly helping to perfect the network of radar and Observer Corps stations across the country, as the British military prepared to repel the anticipated German attack which would surely come. Thinking they were helping fighter crews to develop their attack strategies, they were actually aiding radar ground controllers in detecting and vectoring Fighter Command’s response to simulated air raids, which would prove to be crucial in the battles soon to come. Blenheim night fighter units would also be called upon to help perfect the rather crude and unreliable early versions of airborne interception radar, which whilst initially proving to be of little help in stalking enemy raiders in the dark, were constantly fine-tuned, allowing the later Beaufighter and Mosquito nocturnal hunters to become much more effective in their role. Despite many initial challenges, it would be a Blenheim night fighter which would claim the first RAF victory over a German aircraft whilst equipped with airborne radar, yet another claim to fame for this magnificent aircraft.

 

This handsome black night fighter scheme presents Blenheim Mk.IF K7159, which was assigned to No.54 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Church Fenton during late 1940. Following their losses during the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe maintained their onslaught against Britain by mounting devastating night raids against cities, factories and airfields, clearly illustrating the need for an effective night defensive force of aircraft, capable of shooting down night raiders in significant numbers. Once again, the venerable Bristol Blenheim was pressed into service, not only in helping to perfect the technology of night warfare, but also in training the crews which would be required to fight this nocturnal game of cat and mouse. The airfield at Church Fenton, near Tadcaster was just far enough north to allow night fighter crews to train effectively without too much disruption from enemy action - although Luftwaffe bombers were still a constant threat and raids in the area were still mounted, they were at the extreme range of German operations and therefore relatively sporadic.

 

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The Blenheim built model sample caused quite a stir when it was spotted on the Airfix stand at the recent Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford.

In this new larger scale, the Blenheim looks mightily impressive and certainly allows a much greater appreciation of the virtues of this magnificent aircraft. Many Workbench readers will be very much looking forward to building one of these fabulous new kits and we will provide you with all the latest details as Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF A09186 speeds towards its October release date – the exciting box artwork reveal will be next folks!

 

V.P.

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I'm currently builidng the 1/72 version and thoroughly enjoying it, so one of these will definitely find its way into The Stash.

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That Blenheim looks lovely! Wish it was 1/32 scale though. The one main aircraft I'm missing from my 1/32 BoB collection.

 

Having said that, even though I don't do 1/48, I may have to buy this.

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I agree it does look absolutely gorgeous and early WW2 / BoB is an area of personal interest for me. I will get one, of course, but for the time being it may have to be consigned to the occasional furtive sprue fondle. My heart is promised to another beautiful lady from Airfix due to arrive this year in 1/48 - the Hawker Hunter. :wub:  She has so many outfits to think about as well - I think she will have my undivided attention. In fact the only thing that might turn my head would be were Airfix to produce a K2 tanker version of their fantastic Handley Page Victor... or maybe a Phantom FGR2... Oh, wait a minute... 🤔

 

This is truly a vintage year for Airfix! Well done guys long may you continue to keep those red boxes coming. :thumbsup:

 

Rich

Edited by RichG

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Where do I put my money to get one of these? :)

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What happened to L1426? The paint seems all patchy! I was rather excited to see this kit in those colours but I'm sorry to say it looks very odd to me.

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10 hours ago, k5054nz said:

What happened to L1426? The paint seems all patchy! I was rather excited to see this kit in those colours but I'm sorry to say it looks very odd to me.

Don't panic! I think they've used Humbrol paint equivalents for the main scheme which are both wrong colour and not very good paints. They've also gone with your signature finishing style according to a mate who looked at it over the weekend. Doesn't do them any favours though. 

 

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8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

Don't panic! I think they've used Humbrol paint equivalents for the main scheme which are both wrong colour and not very good paints. They've also gone with your signature finishing style according to a mate who looked at it over the weekend. Doesn't do them any favours though. 

 

 

Yes it's that hideous marble-like effect which bears no relation to reality. The all-black night fighter looks very good, though.

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On 11/11/2018 at 9:52 PM, k5054nz said:

What happened to L1426? The paint seems all patchy! I was rather excited to see this kit in those colours but I'm sorry to say it looks very odd to me.

Well, that's the current trend in weathering. Unrealistic in the extreme but it's what many modellers are doing and what would make it even more contemporary would be spraying the centre of every panel white. Nice looking model though, shame about the paint job.

 

Jeff

 

 

ps - I love the quote in your signature line....

Edited by pinky coffeeboat

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An email from Airfix tells me the Blenheims have arrived at the warehouse and pre-orders will be shipping.  Yippee!!!

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