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Mike

Bristol Beaufighter TF.X (03943) 1:48

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Bristol Beaufighter TF.X (03943)

1:48 Revell

 

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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

This is a completely new tool from Revell, and one of the first to be released from the newly reinvigorated company, and the first new tooling of a Beaufighter for a long time.  It arrives in one of their chunky end-opening boxes (think 1:48 Tornado), and inside are a lot of sprues in pale grey styrene, nineteen in all, with 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 188 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, some 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 observer's seat base.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, which is placed at the front (shocker!) of the internal floor, with a portion of the forward spar at the rear, 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 comfortable-looking seat (with moulded-in belts) 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 feeding the belly cannons.  Behind that is the base for the observer's chair, which also has lap belts moulded-in, another bulkhead behind that, which can either contain a pair of doors in a smooth bulkhead, or a framework that has a central equipment rack in it.  Behind that door is an empty space with the tail wheel well at the end, 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 lower access hatch is fixed to the hole in the floor, and the fuselage can then be closed around it, after de-flashing some holes along the top seam.  The nose cone is separate, and you have a choice of the large thimble-nosed one with radar, or 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.  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 rear crew member's dome is able to be fitted open or closed, and a machine gun mount can be put in place in either position, with the closed dome having a small hole in the rear to admit the gun barrel.

 

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 good fit.  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.

 

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 exhaust section section the three cowling sections 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 this variant, and here you have a choice of two styles, one of which has a straight line fit of the elevators, the other is stepped, requiring a complete set of parts for each.  The trim actuators are shared parts, and the elevators are separate and can be posed to taste if you wish.  The tail fin isn't moulded into the fuselage, but fits into a slot on the top of the elevator assembly, with a choice of a fin with a fillet or without, using the same rudder parts, and again allowing you to pose the rudder deflected if you wish.  The filleted part needs a hole cutting in the top of the fuselage to stabilise the fillet, so make careful measurements to find the flashed over slot if you didn't open it up previously.

 

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 halves as you go, and this completed assembly is attached to a small section of the spar for ease 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, and the door closing mechanism running along the lip of the bays.  The single door panel is split lengthways and added half to each side of the bay, and 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 the main build is complete.  All that remains is to build up the torpedo from two halves plus a large H-tail, fit it to two C-shaped attachment points, and it's finished.

 

Markings

There are two options on the decal sheet, which span two pages each due to the generous sizing of the profiles.  As you might guess, one option has the fin fillet, and the other doesn't.  The fillet-less machine does have a fetching set of D-Day stripes however, which always prove popular, but you'll be masking and painting them yourself, as they aren't provided as decals, which shouldn't be seen as a negative in my experience, as getting large decals to settle on curved surfaces can be a pain at times.

 

  • S/N. NE429 "P6-S" No.489 (NZ) Squadron, RAF Langham, England, July 1944
  • S/N. RD467 "QM.J" No.254 Squadron, RAF North Coates, England May 1945

 

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

Whilst the other manufacturer's offering in this scale is well liked, it's good to have a choice, and this is a very detailed modern tooling that includes plenty of parts, and will be readily available due to Revell's large distribution network.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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So Revell didn't mold a separate exhaust collector ring for the front of the engine cowling ? Well, that's a fail. Now the modeller will have to carefully cement these together and try to remove the 3 seam lines. A separate piece, like almost every other kit manufacturer has done, would be a better choice.

 

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Chris

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2 hours ago, dogsbody said:

So Revell didn't mold a separate exhaust collector ring for the front of the engine cowling ? Well, that's a fail.

In fairness to Revell the cowling was not designed to be posed open, so calling it a fail because there will be 3 very small seams to deal with might be a bit OTT.  Cowlings that are posed open need to be in-scale (or at least nearer) on any model really if you're going for realism, and we all know that injected styrene just can't do that.  If I were going to open up the engines on mine, I'd either wait for Eduard to release a resin set, or get ready for some scratch-building.  Cutting the collector ring along that panel line seems like a pretty easy job to me, and then make up some cowling panels in metal using the cast-offs as a template and finding out what's on the other side to detail it.  Not simple, but doing something well never is :)

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I have had mine for a week or so and I like it.  I'll maybe add another couple to the stash in due course.  

 

One thing Mike did not mention is that, very possibly following on from research by Terry Higgins of Aviaeology (Canada) although no Credit is given, the cannon troughs in the kit are offset to stbd.  This, it seems, was because the cannon themselves were not handed and needed to be to one side for installation and re-arming.

 

Eduard have already listed a future release for internal cockpit details for this kit, as well as the current bits for the Tamiya one.  I hope that they include a full radar scope set for the rear Navs position.

 

A very nice kit.  I will be finding out pretty soon how well it builds,

 

Dennis

 

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3 hours ago, dogsbody said:

. A separate piece, like almost every other kit manufacturer has done, would be a better choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Chris

Have to say I agree with you there.

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3 hours ago, Mike said:

In fairness to Revell the cowling was not designed to be posed open, so calling it a fail because there will be 3 very small seams to deal with might be a bit OTT.  Cowlings that are posed open need to be in-scale (or at least nearer) on any model really if you're going for realism, and we all know that injected styrene just can't do that.  If I were going to open up the engines on mine, I'd either wait for Eduard to release a resin set, or get ready for some scratch-building.  Cutting the collector ring along that panel line seems like a pretty easy job to me, and then make up some cowling panels in metal using the cast-offs as a template and finding out what's on the other side to detail it.  Not simple, but doing something well never is :)

I'm not talking about open cowl panels. I just think the ring should be a separate piece. Revell's 1/72 Halifax B.III has the whole cowling in two halves, leaving two seams for the modeller to try to sand away while leaving the shape of the ring intact. In 1/48 scale, this just seems sloppy mould making. Why not follow reality as close as possible. Not everyone who will build this Beau kit may not be as skilled as some of the masters on this forum ( this ham-fisted, semi-sighted old git is definitely NOT on that list! ).

 

It just seems a bit poultry excrement-like to me.

 

 

Chris

Edited by dogsbody

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I was hoping this would have the strike camera behind the cockpit, but it doesn't seem to. Perhaps someone like Quickboost will give us one.

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13 hours ago, dogsbody said:

this ham-fisted, semi-sighted old git is definitely NOT on that list!

You sound like me! :) I'm not overly bothered by the collector ring being integrated with the cowling.  I have a feeling the fit will be good, and if you squeeze the glue out of the seams, the clean-up will be minimal.  With things like the Ultimate Thinny Sticks (other sanding sticks are available, but are they thinner?), you can sand easily in small areas ;)

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Thanks for the review and tempting pics.

 

I so want to support the new Revell but will hold off until there's a regular RAD/NAV bubble canopy hood in a later NF boxing. 

NF radar set displays were either rear facing (A I Mk IV) or on the right hand array of black boxology (A I Mk VIII) and I could scratch these, and have a host of unused Beau decals, but the bubble hood is essential for me to part with cash.

 

Looking forward to that moment.

 

Tony

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3 minutes ago, tony.t said:

Looking forward to that moment.

We'll also be looking forward to it, and will try to get it online just as soon as we can :)

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I've also noticed that Revell didn't include the 3 collector ring supports. Airfix did it in 1/72 scale.

 

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Chris

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, tony.t said:

Thanks for the review and tempting pics.

 

I so want to support the new Revell but will hold off until there's a regular RAD/NAV bubble canopy hood in a later NF boxing. 

NF radar set displays were either rear facing (A I Mk IV) or on the right hand array of black boxology (A I Mk VIII) and I could scratch these, and have a host of unused Beau decals, but the bubble hood is essential for me to part with cash.

 

Looking forward to that moment.

 

Tony

Looks like there are some NF aerials on the sprues tho. So maybe..........

3 hours ago, dogsbody said:

I've also noticed that Revell didn't include the 3 collector ring supports. Airfix did it in 1/72 scale.

Chris

Thats not good

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5 hours ago, dogsbody said:

I've also noticed that Revell didn't include the 3 collector ring supports. Airfix did it in 1/72 scale.

Chris

 

Damn it all!!!!!. Another unbuildable kit.  :rofl2: What is the world coming to?

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4 minutes ago, stringbag said:

Damn it all!!!!!. Another unbuildable kit.  :rofl2: What is the world coming to?

I know!😵

 

 

Chris

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2 hours ago, Julien said:

Looks like there are some NF aerials on the sprues tho. So maybe..........

 

I noticed the presumably unused "bow and arrow" A I Mk IV radar aerials and the kit has the nose thimble used by the A I Mk VIII too.

Here's hoping Revell follow through with an NF boxing with the bubble hood and retain the thimble nose as the goal here is to do a Beau VI.f night fighter from 46 or 600 Sqns from late 1944. 

 

Looks like a very nice kit.

 

Tony

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