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Revell 1/32 Bristol Beaufighter


224 Peter
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Back in 1974 I attended an IPMS AGM at the RAF Museum in Hendon. There I bought the then new Revell 1/32 Beaufighter, made a desultory start and left it in its box...until now! 

This is the kit, laid out in all its glory...

 

Beaufighter.jpg

 

Notice the lack of decals... oh well, that means an after market set. As this kit has non dihedral tailplanes choice is limited, but I've ordered a sheet from Techmodel, and will do one from 307 Squadron RAF, Winter 1943 in the overall grey with dark green disruptive pattern on the upper surfaces. I couldn't face such a massive black model!  

 

There is a review of the kit from 2014 here:

 

My initial impression is of a very simple kit, with limited detail and some major design simplifications, for example the wheel well liners are set so shallow that it would be impossible for the wheels to retract!

There are some errors in the interior details, for example built from the box the radar operator would be unable to exit his position.  As re-loading the 4 cannon was a part of his work on the early Beaus that represents a bit of a problem. 

 

More photos to follow: this will be mostly a "Build from the Box" with a few corrections and additions. 

Edited by 224 Peter
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This was going to be a simple “build from the box” report.

 

But things started to conspire against me… starting the transfers which had disappeared over the years. New Transfers from Hannants were ordered: there isn’t a lot of choice for an early, flat tail, Beaufighter.

Techmods have a couple of sheets, I will finish the aircraft as EW R, X8005 from 302 Squadron, January 1943. The aircraft is overall sea grey with dark green camouflage over. Makes a change from overall matt black…!

 

Then as I began to fit the interior I realised that not only was the Radar Operators position the wrong way around, something I corrected 40 odd years go, but the pilots armoured bulkhead was in the wrong place.

 

Revell would have you fit it immediately behind the pilot’s seat. In fact, it should be immediately behind the crew entry hatch. Behind the pilot’s seat is the front wing spar and the armoured bulkhead is in front of the rear main spar. So, I moved the bulkhead, giving about 30 seconds thought to opening the doors in the bulkhead, before dismissing the idea!   

 

The Revell cockpit is dire, in every way, but I couldn’t find a resin alternative and anyway wasn’t going to spend much on this one.

 

All the bulkheads needed significant fitting, otherwise getting the two halves of the fuselage together would be impossible. Then with the bulkheads roughly where they should be and a test fit, I wasn’t happy with the view forward from the R. O. position: there is a floor and between the bulkhead and Radar Operators position, with the cannons under and 4 large ammunition boxes above on the floor. The boxes are largely invisible, but I felt the floor was essential, so a bit of scratch building came into play to fit the floor.

I’ll perhaps make the rear pair of boxes, all that can possibly be seen from the RO’s position.

 

This is the view with everything in one side. 

The Transfer layouts for the various options in the foreground.

 

Beaufighter-1.jpg

 

Next step will be to join the two halves, and fit the lower centre section, detail the crew entry hatch and press on with the engines. 

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This looks interesting and I’ll tag along if I may.

 

There are a couple of 1/48 Tamiya builds current which may give you a steer on detailing if you wish.

 

This is Mark SH’s build

 

 

.....and this is mine

 

Trevor

 

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I have this very same kit. My kit however is badly warped. Started making bulkheads to straighten it out. That was 30+ years ago. Haven't touched it since.

Ron VanDerwarker

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Trevor, 

 

I've been following the two builds, some great inspiration there. 

The Revel kit, in comparison to the Tamiya,  has crude and only superficial interior detail, I'll make it a bit better but will not go even half way! 

 

One question: U/C leg colour. I've seen reference to grey green, as per the interior, and also silver. Any thoughts?

 

Peter

 

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Just had a quick rummage through my sparse reference books on the Beaufighter and looking at photos I have seen silver, black and what appears to be Sky undercarriage legs, there is a colour photo of a Beaufighter with Sky undersides and Sky legs (see link below), so it maybe depends on the aircraft underside colours that it wore from the factory.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1258048891/Beaufighter+landing+gear+colour--

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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27 minutes ago, spitfire said:

Just had a quick rummage through my sparse reference books on the Beaufighter and looking at photos I have seen silver, black and what appears to be Sky undercarriage legs, there is a colour photo of a Beaufighter with Sky undersides and Sky legs (see link below), so it maybe depends on the aircraft underside colours that it wore from the factory.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1258048891/Beaufighter+landing+gear+colour--

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

That looks more like a colourised picture rather than a colour film picture.

 

 

Chris

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Just googled Beaufighter undercarriage and most of the photos are of the handful of preserved examples so may not be typical. 

 

However this ohoto suggests a light colour, or natural metal.

 

200px-Royal_Air_Force_Radar,_1939-1945_C

 

Ditto this

 

https://postimg.cc/image/7t625zol7/

 

.....and this factory shot suggests natural metal

 

Women_on_the_Home_Front_1939_-_1945_CH13

 

Hope this helps.

 

Trevor

 

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A lot more browsing, including the Aircraft Walk-rounds on this site, show quite clearly......

It depends! 

The Hendon ones are black, the Duxford restoration are interior green upper part and silver lower and from other photos some are interior green....

So, my model will have silver legs, because without clear photos of a 307 Squadron A/C on the ground during the winter of 1941/42 it is impossible to be certain! 

 

The next tasks is the forward entry hatch and ladder. Does the ladder extend up the inside face of the hatch?? 

 

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And even more time searching and I have the answer....

 

This is a drawing that explains how the front hatch works. 

 

Beaufighter-Entry.jpg

 

The ladder detail isn't shown, I want a photo showing the ladder down and looking up forward, inside the aircraft from the rear.  

Does anyone have one....????

 

Other photos show just how badly the R.O.s position has been "created" by Revell, including a rear bulkhead that doesn't exist!!  

Too late to change it. 

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1 hour ago, neil5208 said:

where have Revell put the bulkhead?  There should be one behind the pilot just forward of the 20mm ammo tins running over the rear main wing spar, it has a sliding door  in it to allow movement forwards/rearwards

 

I'm not sure what sort of research Revell did...:lalala:

 

They put one immediately behind the pilots seat....where there is no bulkhead. So I moved it to its correct place. It even has the door markings on it. 

Then another one in front of the RO's seat, with the Radar details on it, and another one behind the ROs seat..where there isn't one! 

The Radar scopes are mounted aft of the RO's seat and on racks, not in a bulkhead... so I removed the scope details, cut most of the bulkhead away so the RO could actually move out of his seat to get to the guns!! 

On very early Beaus, according to S.L. Brandons book "Night Fighter" the cannons were drum fed, the RO had to change drums, which weighted about 40kg each....not fun in a moving aircraft!  

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The major structure is completed, with a lot of adjustment to get the wing to fit to the body. It is essential that the complete wing structure is assembled first as Revell cleverly designed a series of interlocking tabs which only work one way..

The fuselage sides didn't line up well, so it was a case of glue a few inches, tape up, and so on until it was all together. 

Once dry and set there was still a lot of filling, much more than is expected today, these photos show the amount of filler needed. 

 

Underside, showing the cut out boarding hatch and ladder recess and drilled out gun ports. 

Beaufighter-2.jpg

 

Upper-side, showing the corrected cockpit bulkhead. 
Beaufighter-3.jpg

 

I've also filed out the cooling gills, as moulded the trailing edgees of the gills would be about 2inches thick, if scaled up! 

 

After sanding it all down it will be a coat of primer and then re-visit any filling needed. 

As the aircraft is medium sea grey overall, with dark green pattern on the upper I'll spray the MSG with a rattle can, my airbrush isn't up to the job...and then do the green with the airbrush: it will be my first sprayed kit!!  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Time for an update on the build. I thought this would be a good model to start finding out about spraying and airbrushing… so what have I learnt?

 

First, spraying requires much more care in joint filling and surface preparation than when brush painting, I suspect that spray paint is thinner! The kit needed a lot of work on the wing/fuselage joint: one tail plane was a perfect fit, the other needed work, the previous post shows the first stage in filling, there was more to come as priming with Humbrol acrylic spray primer revealed more filling was needed on the underside wing/fuselage and the nacelle/cowling joints. So, a couple of further primer sprays followed by spraying overall with Humbrol Sea Grey Medium.

 

With the joints all invisible I airbrushed the Dark Green areas with Humbrol HX1 (Now 163): this resulted in a far too soft separation line, also I confused the green and grey areas on the tail, so had to start again there. Why use 163 and not 30? I’m convinced that 163 is far closer to the result achieved with 30 back in the 60s and 70s. To my eyes the new 30 is far too blue, not nearly olive enough.

 

But not happy with the way the green and grey separated I masked off the green areas, as this photo shows.

 

Beaufighter-Masked-2.jpg

 

The masking was tedious and not very enjoyable, but when the SGM had been re-sprayed and the masking removed the result is pleasing.

 

Beaufighter-Painted-1.jpg

 

On reflection I think I’d rather have brush painted the dark green!

 

All that now remains is to fit the U/C, exhaust collector rings, RADAR antenna and other aerials and finally the transparencies.

 

The aircraft will be finished as EI 154, from 307 (Polish) Squadron with the codes EW – Z: the plan is to get it finished by the end of March!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Time for an update....

 

The model has wheels, exhaust collector rings with porcupine exhausts. 

Fitting the exhaust collector rings wasn't fun, it would have been easier to fit them when fitting the cowl segments and worry later about painting. A bit of filling and re- finishing needed. 

I temporarily fitted the props, they still need yellow tips and also put the transparencies in place. 

 

I'm not at all sure about the RO's transparency is right, it seems very tall with an upright front to me.

Could I reduce its height without destroying it? 

 

The next job is to fit the U/C doors, they are not nice. A scale 2" thick and if fitted as Revel intend, would hit the U/C legs....

They will need the lugs modifying and I'm almost tempted to try vac forming new ones to scale thickness. 

 

Here it is, looking like a real aeroplane now.....

 

Beaufighter-Painted-2.jpg

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That's coming on nicely, just needs the decals to bring it to life, I never got that far with mine, it's still in the loft. The aft transparency does look a bit tall at the front but I'd have to check the drawings to be sure.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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Looking good so far. The propeller hubs should not be metallic but black, the same as the prop blades. Don't forget the yellow tips on the prop blades, too.

 

 

Chris

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14 hours ago, gunpowder17 said:

That looks really nice. I remember getting one of these sent to me COD by Mil Slides. Remember them?!

Mil Slides.. a name from the past. 

I have plastic modelling magazines from the 60s through to today and the change in advertisers is interesting. 

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Lord help me- shuffling through this thread makes me want to go look at my example again.  Half-tempted to have gear up and hang it from the ceiling.  We do get the occasional bat, so a patrolling night fighter might not be a bad thing.  (Actually, we've always taken great pains to get the poor bats safely back outside.)

 

Great to see one of these dinosaurs escape from a stash/ shelf of doom!

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