Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |

Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF

Airfix 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Description and Catalogue Number: Airfix Kit No. A09186 – Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media:

196 parts in grey injection moulded plastic; 16 parts in clear plastic; markings for two aircraft

Price:

£36.99 EU Price (£30.83 Export Price) plus shipping available online from Hannants

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Crisp and fine surface textures, high level of detail; useful options.
Disadvantages:

Some care will be required when joining the clear nose halves.

Conclusion:

Airfix has delivered another sweet kit on the RAF theme with their new 1/48 scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.I. Detail is good, surface textures are crisp, options are useful and parts breakdown is modeller friendly. It would be great to see a similar new-tooled 1/48 scale Airfix Fairey Battle and Beaufort some time soon. Well done Airfix. You’re on a roll!

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Airfix's 1/48 scale Blenheim Mk.IF will be available online from Squadron.com

Background

 

The Bristol Blenheim was a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the early days of the Second World War.

It was adapted as an interim long-range and night fighter, pending the availability of the Beaufighter. It was one of the first British aircraft to have all-metal stressed-skin construction, to utilise retractable landing gear, flaps, a powered gun turret and variable pitch propellers. A Canadian-built variant named the Bolingbroke was used as an anti-submarine and training aircraft.

The Blenheim Mk.I outshone most biplane fighters in the late 1930s but stood little chance against the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 during daylight operations, although it proved successful as a night fighter. The Mark IV variant was equally unsuccessful in its daylight bombing role, suffering major losses in the early stages of the war.

 

 

The Blenheim Mk.I was powered by two 840 hp (630 kW) Bristol Mercury VIII radial piston engines, armed with a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun in the port wing, plus a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K gun in the dorsal turret, with a maximum bombload 1,000 lb (450 kg). 1,552 were built.


 

The Bristol Blenheim in 1/48 scale

Classic Airframes released a 1/48 scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.I way back in 2000 (oh my, doesn't time fly).

In 2007, the kit was reissued with new decals and a few improvements that had been added to their Blenheim Mk.IV kit, and a further reissue, exclusive to Hannants, was offered in 2014.

This was a typical Classic Airframes kit of its time, which means to say a high level of detail thanks to resin parts, short-run plastic parts without some of the usual little luxuries (no locating pins, tabs etc)., but nice crisp, fine surface textures.

With proper preparation, some modelling experience and patience, a good result could be achieved.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Airfix has expanded their 1/48 scale RAF family the scene with a mainstream injection moulded kit of the Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF. As far as I am aware, the only difference between a Mk.IF fighter and the Mk.I bomber is the bolt-on belly gun pack, so you should be able to build this as a Mk.I with a closed bomb bay without any modification (although some of the bomb bay components and the bombs themselves are included on the sprues).*

This all-new Airfix 1/48 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF comprises 196 parts in light bluish-grey plastic and 16 in clear. The model is packed in a cardboard box with a separate lid – a small detail perhaps but certainly preferable to end-opening.

 

  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A09186  Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF Review by Brett Green: Image
Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading

 

The plastic is smooth and a little softer than the material used by Japanese manufacturers. This makes the plastic easy to clean up, but you also need to be careful not to take chunks out of the pieces when removing them from the sprues.

Moulding quality appears to be better than some earlier releases. There is no flash to clean up and my parts are all fully formed (i.e. no short shots).

Surface details are crisp. The wings are particularly good in this regard with recessed panel lines being noticeably finer than the fuselage. Lines of rivets, both raised and recessed, also contribute to the surface textures.

 

 

The cockpit looks very complete and detailed - just add harness straps. Eduard has already released their colour photo-etched set, so you might decide to enhance the already nice interior cockpit with pre-painted instrument panels too.

 

 

A nicely detailed pilot figure is included but the rest of the crew appears to have missed the flight.

 

 

The kit is a Mk.IF fighter version, although bombs are also included on the sprues. The gun pack, radar and OTU cowl flaps are provided on a dedicated Mk.IF sprue.

Presumably a Mk.I will be released in the future with an open bomb bay option.

 

 

The wheel wells are very well detailed, with deep legs extending to the top of the nacelles, intricate retraction mechanism and integrated oil tanks. The tyres of the main wheels are subtly bulged and flattened.

Kit engineering is conventional. The wings are broken down into separate port and starboard sides, top and bottom. Reinforcement and dihedral is offered by two wing spars.

The control surfaces are all supplied as separate parts, including the landing flaps. These include internal rib detail on the wing and flap parts. Stretched fabric texture on the ailerons, elevators and rudder is particularly subtle and convincing.

 

 

The engines are simple in terms of part numbers – only six per side plus nacelle parts – but the moulded detail is good and they should look the part once they are painted and installed. Airfix offers the option of open or closed cowl flaps (each one part per side), and alternative port-side cowl flaps (one with a cutout for the OTU option).

 

 

The chisel-shaped clear nose is supplied in four parts – two halves, a top forward piece and the sliding upper hatch, which may be posed open or closed. The two large halves are joined along the centreline. As scary as this looks, it seemed to work okay on the 1/72 scale Airfix kit. The all-clear port side bomber nose is also included on the sprues.

 

 

The outline of the kit appears to be accurate. The upper plan shape of the engine nacelle fairings have been corrected compared to the overly rounded fairings on the 1/72 scale kit.


 

Markings

Markings are offered for two aircraft:

  • YP-Q, serial L6739, No. 23 Sqn RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire, February 1940. This aircraft is finished in Dark Earth and Dark Green upper surfaces, with Night below.
  • YX-N, No. 54 OTU, RAF Church Fenton, North Yorkshire, December 1940. Finished in overall Night.

 

 

The decals are flat in finish, with good colour saturation and registration.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Airfix has delivered another sweet kit on the RAF theme with their new 1/48 scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.I.

Detail is very good, surface textures are generally restrained and crisp, options are useful and parts breakdown is modeller-friendly.

It would be great to see a similar new-tooled 1/48 scale Airfix Fairey Battle and Beaufort some time soon.

Well done Airfix. You’re on a roll!

* Thanks to Steven Eisenman for the Mk.I / Mk.IF information.

Purchased by the reviewer from Hannants


Text and Images Copyright © 2018 by Brett Green
Page Created 6 December, 2018
Last updated 6 December, 2018

Back to HyperScale Main Page