Bristol Blenheim Mk IV 1:48
(Images created during 2018 Moson Model Show at the iModeler booth; additional images Aleš Doležal)
Ever since I was a kid I’ve liked Bristol Blenheim Mk IV (to be frank, Mk I is really an ugly bird compared to IV). When I was about 10, I collected the pictures of plains; you got them together with chewing gum. Many of the pictures were actually from covers of Airfix models from 1960-is. I still remember the famous picture of French Blenheim in desert colors with Lorraine crosses. So there was really no doubt which colors I will choose for my model.
It is a Classic Airframes kit, the only one existing in 1/48 scale (it was reissued last year). Since my return to modelling about ten years ago, I haven’t seen any of them made or shown on any competition. Anybody who ever worked with short run Classic Airframes kits knows it takes A LOT of input to make it shine. In fact it is a fairly decent kit, with nice recessed pannel lines and some usable resin parts (for cockpit, armament etc.). But much is missing though! Many panels needed to be made anew, ALL hatches and lights, some windows … Especially the reflectors on left wing with glass cover were a challenge, and the lights on the back of each wing tip as well (they are of irregular shape). To make the plane accurate you really need to be an experienced modeller. I had a bad luck to get the whole left part of cockpit windows broken in several pieces when I bought the kit (on E-Bay). So I decided to make them by myself from stirene and present them open, as well as the main entrance window above (originally it is all one transparent piece, all windows closed). So I had to make also the handle for closing the upper entrance/window, which is nicely seen on photo. I made also much of the internal »furniture« of cockpit and bombardier glass compartment. A real challenge were the engines – the base was aftermarket (Quickboost if I recall), but much of details are made from scratch, especially the prominent tubes, seen on all photos, collecting the exhausts from valves. Whole plane was hand-riveted; for the first time for me, but I am quite satisfied with the results. Considering the aftermarket additions, you really can’t get that much. I was lucky to be able to get the long sold out Moskit metal exhaust pipes, which are really excellent (the original plastic are horrible/unusable). The original wheels are also a disaster! But there is a gift from heaven, i.e. Barracuda studios resin wheels for Blenheim, which are outstanding – they even have the Dunlop name moulded on (thanks Roy Sutherland). The Wickers machine gun in the dorsal Turret is from Vector models (nice one) and the decals are Rafdec. There actually don’t exist any other decals (to my knowledge), if you decide to make a RAF model in desert colors.
Bristol Blenheim was almost obsolete even at the very start of the war. But it anyway served honorably on different fronts from Western Europe, Africa, Middle East to Burma. I chose the markings of the 113 squadron RAF, serving in Egypt from summer 1940. In march 1941 it was transferred to Greece, where it was totally decimated by Luftwaffe in april of that year. There exists an interesting photography of my particular plane, made by Germans and found with a dead German soldier (I include the photo).
Thanks to iModeller team for great pics! Enjoy.
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.