by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Originally developed at a civil airliner, the Type 142, was designed to be the fastest commercial airline in Europe. So impressed with the performance, the RAF decided it would be a good aircraft for a bombing role. Being one of the first aircraft with an all metal construction, retractable landing gear, variable pitch prop, and a powered turret, the RAF began receiving delivers in 1937. Early variants were used as light bombers, but also put into use as a night fighter, the Mk.1F. Armed with a airborne interceptor radar and four ‘303’ machine guns mounted on the belly, the RAF converted about 200 aircraft to this roll. Not long lived though, the Blenheim’s were replaces by the more powerful Bristol Beaufighters in 1940.
Having not long ago released newly tooled variants of the Blenheim in 1/72 scale, Airfix has now released a newly tooled 1/48 scale version of the Blenheim Mk.1F.
7 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
Two-sided Painting and Marking Guide
While the kit has been available in the UK for a little bit, I jumped on the first chance to get one here in North America when it became available, and I am glad I did. Having two of the 1/72 scale kits from Airfix for the Blenheim, I was excited when the newly-tooled 1/48 scale kit was announced. And upon arrival I was eager to look in the box, and was definitely not disappointed.
The Blenheim Mk.1F kit from Airfix comes on seven sprues of typical Airfix grey plastic. A look at the sprues shows some very nice moldings, including nicely engraved panel lines and a nicely detailed interior surface. There are a couple of smaller ejector marks within the cockpit and within the landing gear wheel wells. The finer details also look good, with only just a bit of seam to clean up.
Inside the cockpit, it does look like it is well detailed. There is raised details on the instrument panel and rib detailing on the walls, and decals are included to complete the instrument panel details. The only thing missing is seat belt details, but this can easily done with aftermarket parts or couple small strips of masking tape. Also while is was nice they included a pilot figure, they only included one for a multi crewed aircraft. As mentioned before, there are also a couple small ejector marks that will need to be filled. The canopy parts look great as well, including a “hazed” effect on the non-window surfaces.
The interior detail is also included for the interior wall of the turret section, including the radio components. The turret basket is a multi-part assembly and includes some nice details, including framing, seat and machine gun. The turret looks to be designed so it can be added after assembly of both itself and the fuselage, so this should make painting much easier.
The landing gear bays are equally detailed, again multi-parts including airframe details. From the instructions the landing gear looks like it will need to be built and mounted prior to closing up the wings, but should be able to mask no problem for painting.
As for the engines, they do look decently detailed, with the rear set for pistons molded on a flat piece with raised details, but the front set are molded separately. There are is also pushrod details included, and once assembled and mounted with prop and cowling should look just fine.
The decal sheet includes marking for two aircraft, one in early camouflage and the other in solid black. The markings for the camouflaged variant are those from the restored aircraft at Duxford and stated to be that of the 23rd Squadron that flew out of Wittering, Cambridgeshire, 1940. The second set are for the 54th Operational Training Unit from Church Fenton, North Yorkshire, 1940. The decals themselves looks to be very well printed with great color, sharp, and all in register.
The instruction booklet is the typical Airfix, and should be easy to follow making assembly easy.
The new 1/48 scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.1F from Airfix does look to be a great looking kit. The moldings are very well done, and there is good details inside and out. The only drawback I can find in the kit is the lack of seatbelts or any photo-etched, but this is typical from Airfix. I am really looking forward to building this kit, matter of fact I have done some work already, and test fitting shows great fit. I would definitely recommend this kit.