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Blenheim over Africa - Free French Bristol Blenheim Mk IV desert scheme - 1/72 - Airfix


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After a few single engine fighters, I'm building my first two-engine, Airfix's Bristol Blenheim Mk IV in 1/72.  I remember building a Blenheim as a kid and it went very badly, so this is a second chance! I began this some months ago and so far it's coming along nicely, I think. At first I wasn't so sure about the kit, but I've begun to appreciate it and I love this desert camo scheme and the Free French markings.

 

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First up was the cockpit; not especially detailed, but I liked it nonetheless.  Here it is after painting (Tamiya cockpit green is what I'm using for the interior) with some panel liner applied liberally.

 

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Then some dry brushed silver, and my first go at some seat belts for the pilot.

 

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I didn't like those seat belts (which were made from wine bottle foil), and switched to ones from tape. Still not great, but I moved on. I created a "map" for the navigator/bomber desk--maybe a little much, but I had fun with it.

 

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Edited by ModelingEdmontonian
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Hi ME,

 

You've made a great start! If you don't mind, I'll pull up a chair and come along for the ride! I've heard varying reports of this kit but you seem to have it well under control!

 

Like you, I built the old Airfix kit as a youngster, probably around 1978. Actually, I built two! The second was a replacement for the first, both had a step between the fuselage halves where the bomb bay is! The first one, I seem to recall, I mixed some random colours for the camouflage based on the boxtop! And made a complete muck of the decals! The second one was significantly better.

 

Anyway, brilliant start and looking forward to seeing your progress!

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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This is looking good.  I've got a real thing about the Blenheim at the moment and am planning a build or two.  I'll watch this closely, as so far it's looking really smart.

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8 hours ago, dogsbody said:

Chair pulled up and a fresh beer opened!

 

49705970606_7a41d676d9_b.jpg

 

 

 

Chris

That looks rather nice!

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Thanks for all the support!

 

I determined that basically this model can be broken into two parts that I will assemble more or less separately until close to the very end: the cockpit part of the fuselage, and the rest.  The reason I am taking this approach is that I want to avoid having to mask the canopy. Even though I am brush painting, I am still gloss and matt clear coating with spray cans. So, after the interior cockpit was complete, I moved to working on the various canopy pieces and exterior.  Working on this canopy provided good lessons for me (this is just my fourth model as an adult, and I have never dealt with a canopy like this one!).  My first lesson: I have never painted the interior of a canopy before, but with this one I am somewhat wishing I had.  I feel it would have stretched my patience, but you can see inside the cockpit somewhat, and it would be better to have it be consistently interior green inside.  The second lesson: acrylic paint is not as easy to chip off of canopies as some YouTube videos led me to believe! I made a real mess of this one that took hours to clean up.

 

Anyway, pretty close to all together (there are two or three more small pieces to attach after the whole thing is together) here is how the front fuselage looks.  The photos leave something to be desired (sorry about that), and considering how long it took me, I wish it looked better than this, but I definitely got to the point where good enough was good enough!

 

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y4mkoG7WG4jDl7og0shZhVq45JyNwjxFb_nuKWTA

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If you want to strip acrylic paint, just dunk it in Simple Green for 10 minutes or so.

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Have you tried dampening a round wooden toothpick in thinner or Isopropyl alcohol and using that to help remove the paint on the canopy?

 

So far, this build is looking good.

 

 

 

 

Chris

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1 hour ago, dogsbody said:

Have you tried dampening a round wooden toothpick in thinner or Isopropyl alcohol and using that to help remove the paint on the canopy?

 

So far, this build is looking good.

 

 

 

 

Chris

I ended up using a cotton swab dipped in thinner. It did work for the most part. I'd never heard of Simple Green before, but that intrigues me.

 

As I think about canopies on other two engine bombers, I'm not sure anything would quite compare to the Blenheim Mk IV, so perhaps I was overly ambitious tackling it without a little more experience! As a kid I don't think I even bothered painting canopies...

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Looking good,...... I built this same kit in the same scheme and eally enjoyed it,....... re the canopy,...... you should be able to clean those frame lines up using a toothpick. If you are struggling,..... run a blade along the frame lines and then try again, maybe with a touch of water,...... it usually works for me.  

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Ah. I missed this version /issue of this kit. I look forward to seeing the end result.   Must try and source one as I have a scheme to finish it in.

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Posted (edited)

Rear fuselage and wings glued, and painting well underway. All brush for me--Tamiya XF59 (desert yellow) and Humbrol 29 (dark earth) on top, Model Color 70.902 (azure) underside.

 

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Up to this point everything's going together nicely, with minimal sanding/filler required.  Once these two pieces were glued, however, the wing roots on top proved to require a lot of work, as did the outer wings underneath.

 

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They both cleaned up to my satisfaction, however:

 

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After a couple gloss coats, decals went on smoothly except for on the tail, where several coats of Microsol, some airhole popping, and white paint touch-ups were required.

 

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Here's the underside with the front fuselage "dry" fitted after the engines were attached too.

 

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And the port side. I cut a piece of decal to make the gun port cover. First time I did this and I'm happy with it.

 

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Edited by ModelingEdmontonian
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Just to let you know, Airfix made a booboo on the painting instructions, regarding the engine gear casing colour. They say to paint it 56 Aluminum, when it should be 85 Semi-matt Black.

They have done that on a few of their kits that have Bristol radial engines.

 

 

 

Chris

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30 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

Just to let you know, Airfix made a booboo on the painting instructions, regarding the engine gear casing colour. They say to paint it 56 Aluminum, when it should be 85 Semi-matt Black.

They have done that on a few of their kits that have Bristol radial engines.

 

 

 

Chris

Thanks for telling me now! I should still be able to correct it... I also realize after some googling that those trumpet things seem to be air intakes so may benefit from an attempt at drilling them out. Any insight on those, Chris? Also, I found a photo in which they were black too.

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The oil cooler intake trumpets could be black, but they could be aluminum. It varied, especially on later production.

 

I would have mentioned the gear casing earlier, but you hadn't posted any photos of them.

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205259261

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208837

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208471

 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208673

 

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Chris

 

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I'm impressed at what I'm seeing here, you might think your modelling skills need a buff up, not that I'm seeing it. :) but your problem solving skills are top shelf, so well done on this, I'm anticipating great things to come. 👍

Steve.

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  • ModelingEdmontonian changed the title to Blenheim over Africa - Free French Bristol Blenheim Mk IV desert scheme - 1/72 - Airfix
Posted (edited)

Engine casings corrected (thanks, Chris!), and I managed to pull out the trumpets and drill holes. They are far from perfect, but I do think they look better than before.

 

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Meanwhile, I've done some weathering and a matt coat.

 

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Edited by ModelingEdmontonian
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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Alright, she's done. I feel like I bit off more than I could chew with this one, and if I did it again I'm sure I would do some things differently. I am glad I drilled out the engine "trumpets," but there are other areas I could have done some drilling, and I just painted the navigation lights silver.  But, all told I am fairly pleased--she's in one piece on three legs and I do love the scheme and the free French markings!

 

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Edited by ModelingEdmontonian
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Looking good to me! Great result and agreed that the Free French camouflage looks outstanding.

 

Cheers,

Mark

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Looking nice!

 

What made you decide to paint the prop hubs silver?

 

 

 

Chris

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15 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

Looking nice!

 

What made you decide to paint the prop hubs silver?

 

 

 

Chris

Good question! I don't think I paid it much thought, but a quick Google search tells me it was a strange choice.  That said, I did find some examples where they are aluminum, so probably won't bother correcting.

 

https://www.baesystems.com/en/heritage/bristol-149-blenheim-iv--and-bolingbroke-

https://www.asisbiz.com/il2/Blenheim/FAF/pages/Bristol-Blenheim-I-FAF-LeLv42-BL143-with-the-axis-camouflage-scheme-Sep-1941-14.html

http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/bristol_blenheim.php

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