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404 Sqn Beaufighters
‘Black Friday’& other Later Beaus

plus

Airframe Stencil / Data Series
Beaufighter (Part 1) Mks I / VI / X / XIC

Aviaeology, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number and Description:

Aviaeology Item Nos.
AOD72010 – 404 Sqn Beaufighters
AOD72S02 – Beaufighter Airframe Stencil/Data (Part 1)
AOD72010 Plus – 404 Sqn Beaufighters plus AOD72S02

Scale:

1/72 (also available in 1/48 & 1/32 scales)

Contents and Media:

AOD720190 - One sheet of waterslide decals, a 14-page monochrome colours & markings guide.

AOD72S02 - One sheet of waterslide decals, a 2-page monochrome colours & markings guide.

Note: Copies of both guides are e-mailed to purchasers as a colour PDF with extremely high resolution graphics.

Price:

Available online from:

Aviaeology: available through either their ebay store or website e-shop (being overhauled at time of writing):

Hannants:

Click for currency conversion

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

The 404 Sqn colours and markings guide is a great resource with thoroughly researched information and superbly rendered drawings, which combined with quality decals makes for a great value package.

The enlargeable stencil data guide with its precise placement information is far better than many stencil placement guides.

Disadvantages:

None noted

Conclusion:

Aviaeology is in a class of its own when it comes to the wealth of information provided by their colours and markings guides. Added to this are superb quality drawings that can be enlarged almost limitlessly without any loss of fidelity. Superbly well printed decals complete the package.

I highly recommend both of these sets of decals.

Reviewed by Mark Davies


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

F i r s t L o o k

 

The decal set reviewed here covers twelve Beaufighter TF.Xs of 404 Squadron (RCAF), in service with RAF Coastal Command during WW2. It covers the frantic period of intensive operations against enemy shipping in Norwegian coastal waters throughout the winter and early spring of 1945 while the squadron was one of four in the Dallachy Strike Wing (18 Group).

The set is also available in 1/48 and 1/32 scale editions (the 1/32 scale edition is split into Parts 1 & 2 of six subjects each). The Beaufighter Airframe Stencil/Data set is likewise available in 1/48 and 1/32 scales.
At first glance the review samples could be mistaken for a fairly run of the mill decal set. The decals come in the usual plastic zip-lock bag with some rather ordinary-looking monochrome instructions. However, once the instructions are opened it soon becomes apparent that Aviaeology’s products are far from ordinary.

Aviaeology* decals have the most thorough and informative colours and markings guides that I can recall (and I get to see a lot of decals). Moreover, their customers get to download the highly detailed guide as full colour PDF, where the illustrations can be enlarged by several thousand percent whilst maintaining full clarity.

*    Aviaeology is the house-brand of SkyGrid Studio, who undertake research and create illustrations, model decal sets, full-sized markings replicas, and publications for a diverse community of aviation history enthusiasts. Their worldwide clientele includes scale model builders, R/C model builders, vintage aircraft restorers, museums, specialty publishers, model/hobby manufacturers, and historians (both “armchair” and professional.) Whereas SkyGrid Studio provides these services for clients on a contract basis, the Aviaeology imprint is their exclusive in-house product range. Currently this encompasses a growing line of books, model decals, and profile prints.



404 Sqn Beaufighters Colours & Markings Guide

You get the simple monochrome copy of the colours & markings guide I mentioned earlier with the decal pack. But a far superior colour copy is sent via e-mail to purchasers as a printable colour PDF. The documentation includes decal placement and painting instructions for all subject aircraft variations, reference photographs, extracts from period service manuals, and so on.

The 14-page guide is almost worth the package price without the decals, so replete is it with interesting and useful information. In fact, the review sample’s guide and those of several sets can be purchased as a document only without the decals. The guide does not confine itself to aspects of individual aircraft histories as you might expect, but gives much more information concerning late-mark Beaufighters in general. Just a few examples are provided below:

  • An almost “mini-article” about colour schemes and finishes applied to Coastal Command Beaufighters. It also covers weathering patterns and red dope patches etc. For example, there it notes how the wing root fillets usually had doped fabric tape over them to prevent their screws coming lose whenever the cannons were fired. This was either painted in the upper surface colour or clear doped.

  • Another mini article dealing with code letters and distinctive markings.

  • A detailed full-page article covering the late-war rocket projectile (R/P) set-up used by these aircraft throughout 1945, complete with related scale drawings, paint and finishing notes.

  • A very detailed two-pages of notes, drawings, and photos covering the salient features of late-service TF.X’s. Included are the progressive array of features introduced on the Beaufighter TF.X by both the manufacturer and at unit level; from aerial particulars, to Mk.XII wings, and Hercules Mk.XVIII engines.

  • Plenty of information in the form of maintenance manual excerpts, plans, and drawings detailing the modified tailplane and elevator set-up, as retrofitted to a number of late-war Beaufighters and introduced to the production line.

  • A table of modellers notes covering each subject.


 

404 Sqn Beaufighter - Decals

So finally on to the decals from the 404 Sqn set, AOD72010, which enable any one of twelve different aircraft to be modelled.

 

  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Aviaeology 1/72 Beaufighter Decals Review by Mark Davies: Image
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There are enough national insignia for just one complete model; but obviously, the remainder of the sheet’s codes and serial numbers can be used if you have spare national insignia decals from elsewhere. The subjects covered are all Beaufighter TF.X’s of 404 Squadron RCAF, RAF Coastal Command, Dallachy, Scotland, 1945:

  • NE339 / EO-U. Shot down 24 March 1945 on the Squadron's final Beaufighter combat operation of the war when flown by F/L Aljoe and F/S Orser. Flown by the crew of S/L Christison, DFC, and F/L Toon (RAF), DFC, on Black Friday, 9 February 1945.

  • NE669 / EO-A. Flown by the crew of P/O Ramsden and WO Rumble on Black Friday, 9 February 1945.

  • NE686 / EO-T. Flown by the crew of F/O Flynn and P/O Michael on Black Friday, 9 February 1945.

  • NE825 / EO-G. Flown by the crew of F/L Stewart and F/O Johnston on Black Friday, 9 February 1945.

  • NT916 / EO-S. This aircraft was converted and had the modified tailplane with enlarged elevator and enhanced balance system during most of its 1945 ops. Flown by the crew of F/O Nelson and WO Gracie on Black Friday, 9 February 1945.

  • NV177 / EO-Z "Zooperman". Flown by the crew of F/O Flynn, and P/O Michael on several operations in March, including the Squadron's final Beaufighter combat operation of the war 24 March 1945.  Also flown on a 12 March anti-lighthouse combat op by the crew of W/C Pierce (the squadron OC) and F/L Corder (RAF), CGM, CdeG.

  • NV291 / EO-H. Flown by a number of crews on combat operations throughout 1945.

  • NV416 / EO-J "Jezebel". Flown by F/O Savard when written off in an emergency landing not far from Dallachy on 22 January 1945. Savard was shot down in a different aircraft on Black Friday, 9 February 1945, survived and became a POW until liberated. "Jezebel" was his regular mount prior to her loss.

  • NV427 / EO-L "Looie IV". Shot down during combat operations on 8 March 1945, with the loss of the crew of F/O Ridge and P/O McCartney.

  • RD136 / EO-Q1. This aircraft had the modified tailplane with enlarged elevator and enhanced balance system, as well as the Mk.XII wing with its different tips and fuel system modifications – one of the earliest production TF.X's to have these features. Shot down during combat operations on Black Friday, 9 February 1945, with the loss of the crew of F/O Smook and WO Duckworth.

  • RD421 / EO-V. This aircraft had the modified tailplane with enlarged elevator and enhanced balance system, the Mk.XII wing with its different tips and fuel system modifications, the dorsal fin extension, the ASV.XII radar (with thimble nose), F.46 "roof" strike camera, and the Hercules XVIII engines. RD421 was the most probably the second TF.X to incorporate these features right from the production line. Retrograded with the removal of some of these new features, apparently by the Maintenance Unit, before delivery to 404 Squadron. An attrition replacement for the losses incurred on Black Friday, 9 February 1945, this aircraft participated in the squadron's final Beau combat op on 24 March 1945, with the crew of Bundy and Wright successfully completing the mission.

  • RD427 / EO-O. This aircraft had the modified tailplane with enlarged elevator and enhanced balance system, the Mk.XII wing with its different tips and fuel system modifications, the dorsal fin extension, the ASV.XII radar (with thimble nose), F.46 "roof" strike camera, and the Hercules XVIII engines. RD427 was one of the earliest TF.Xs to incorporate these features right from the production line. Retrograded with the removal of some of these new features, apparently by the Maintenance Unit, before delivery to 404 Squadron. An attrition replacement for the losses incurred on Black Friday, 9 February 1945, this aircraft participated in the squadron's final Beau combat op on 24 March 1945, with the crew of Coyne and Landry successfully completing the mission.

The decals are printed on a single sheet and appear superb in terms of registration and opacity.

 

 

A separate page provides comprehensive notes and guidance on applying the decals, advice to use milder brands of decal softener if you choose to use such products, and other general information to get best results.


 

Beaufighter Airframe Stencil/Data – Placement Guide & Decals

The second set reviewed here, AOD72S02, provides Beaufighter Airframe Stencil/Data markings. It too is available in 1/48 and 1/32 scales like the 404 Sqn set reviewed above. It provides sufficient decals for one complete airframe, with multiple variations included for many of the individual markings elements. It is applicable to all Beaufighter variants with the exception of early-service overall Night (matt black) finished Beaufighter Mk.Is.

 

 

Packaging and presentation is as described for the 404 Sqn set, and includes a downloadable coloured PDF version of the very thorough and clear 2-page placement guide. The decals are printed on a single sheet, and again appear superb in terms of registration and opacity, and include the same detailed application guide mentioned earlier.

 

 

This set can be purchased combined with the 404 Sqn set as AOD72010 Plus, with the benefit of $1.00 (Canadian) saving on the combined price in the case of the 1/72 scale sets, with savings also applicable to other scale “Plus” sets.


 

Distribution Channels

Aviaeology decals are available through three sources; these being the e-shop at Aviaeology’s website, Aviaeology’s ebay store, and retail stockists. The e-shop is undergoing an extensive overhaul at the time of writing, so the ebay store is more up to date regarding stockholdings etc; particularly in the case of recent releases.

Purchasing from either of Aviaeology’s own outlets automatically updates their customer database and emails a copy of the colours & markings guide to the buyer. Purchases from a third party stockist include a chit in the decal bag advising the buyer to email Aviaeology to be added to their database and receive their emailed guide.

 

 

C o n c l u s i o n

 

Aviaeology is in a class of its own when it comes to the wealth of information provided by their colours and markings guides. Added to this are superb quality drawings that can be enlarged almost limitlessly without any loss of fidelity.  Superbly well printed decals complete the package.

I highly recommend both sets of decals.

Thanks to Aviaeology for this sample


 

Review Text and Images Copyright 2015 by Mark Davies
This Page Created on 21 June, 2015
Last updated 21 June, 2015

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