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Radar Aerials AI Mk III

Owl Decals, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description
and Item No.:

Owl Decals PE Set No. OWLPE 72006 - Radar Aerials AI Mk III

Contents and Media:

8 photoetch parts and 1 printed acetate film

Price:

108 Kcs (89.26 Kcs Export) plus postage from Owl e-shop

Scale:

1/72

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

High quality photo-etched parts.

Disadvantages:

Flat as distinct from 3-dimensional.

Recommendation:

Adds a high level of detail to a Blenheim 1F nightfighter

Highly Recommended.

Reviewed by Ed Russell



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Introduction

 

Background

The developmental Airborne Interception (AI) radars Mark I and II were unreliable and primitive even when they worked. As the scientists, ground crew and aircrew learned on the job the units improved.

The next model (AI Mark III) was an improvement and did give nightfighter crews some chance of an interception, despite its limited range. The original sets were fitted into Bristol Blenheims, which were able to carry the bulky load, but were too slow and poorly armed to be very effective. However around midnight on 22 July 1940 an AI Mk III equpped  Blenheim 1F nightfighter of the Fighter Interception Unit flown by FO Glyn Ashfield was vectored towards a raider. It was a Dornier 17 of 2/KG 3. Ashfield’s crew detected it on AI and visually. He fired two bursts and shot it down in flames - the first successful RDF guided night fighter interception in the Battle of Britain.

The AI system consisted of 3 sets of aerials on the nose, upper and lower port wing and next to the port engine. The radar equipment itself was housed over the main spar and an oscilloscope viewer in the forward cockpit.

 

 

Because this technology was cutting edge and very secret in 1940, photographs are rare. However enough exist to make accurate models.

This is an AI Mk IV oscilloscope but the details are similar.

 

 

 

FirstLook

 

Since 2002, the Czech accessory manufacturer, Owl, have specialised in decals, resin and photoetch with a constant theme of nightfighters. Initially in 1/72 scale, they have moved into 1/48 and 1/32. Their products have been well researched and produced.

This offering provides mainly PE parts for the aerials but there is also a PE box and  acetate viewer for the oscilloscope unit.

The instructions are easy to follow.



Their research is quite up to date as details of the turretless Blenheim 1F nightfighters are quite recent.
http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/64591-blenheim-if-night-fighters-new-pictures/

Owl has also made decals for these aircraft and they will be reviewed soon.

The observant modeller will see that most aerials associated with AI are rods and that PE is flat. Even in 1/72 scale this is noticeable particularly on the egg-shaped holders for the wing antennas. One remedy I have seen suggested is a judicious application of Mr Surfacer or similar to the flats. I will try this out and report back.

 

 

Conclusion

 

A highly specialised but useful accessory.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Owl Decals for these samples.


Text and Images Copyright 2017 by Ed Russell
Page Created 26 June, 2017
Last updated 26 June, 2017

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