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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.

12 responses to Bristol Blenheim Mk IV 1:48

  1. Very nice dio Miha, well done!

  2. Fantastic diorama. Which model is that Blenheim? I like it a lot

  3. Visually pleasing scene, sir….nice work.

  4. Hello Miha,
    I just enjoyed looking at your diorama.
    It looks great. You can almost feel the heat from the air frame.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  5. Beautiful work – I especially love the weathering and detail on the Blenheim.

  6. Overall this is a great diorama, and impressive. I particularly enjoy your weathering work, especially the nice chipping effects. Truly a great build!

  7. Having done this kit, I know how @#$#@!! hard it is to get anything looking good, which is why I am so impressed with your beauty here. And I particularly like the diorama, with all elements done to the same level, and a “story” very obviously told. One could put caption balloons over the figures easily.

    One eensy-weensy minor point: in 1940, the RAF had yet to paint their airplanes in “desert” camouflage, but in the fall of 1941, this would be spot on. An easy fix to the label.

    • Hi Tom!
      As usual one step ahead in background knowledge. But in this case I might have some arguments to show to the contrary and it might as well be, that Blenheims were in desert colors as early as autumn 1940. There exist a bunch of excellent photographs, made by sgt. Stanley W. Lee, a gunner on one of the Blenheims from 113 squadron. He served in Egypt from summer 1940 and in disastrous campaign in Greece in march-may 1941. There is at least one photo of Blenheim Mk I in desert livery from Africa and another of two Blenheims from 30 Squadron from april 11 in Greece. You can find them (and others) in the book by Chaz Boyer, Bristol Blenheim (1984), p. 73, 74. The planes were probably painted over in Africa, as there was considerably less chance for that in Greece during the tense months awaiting German invasion. Also the picture of my particular plane, made by German pilots, would suggest lighter colours of middle stone and dark earth.
      It is a very interesting question though and would definitely deserve some additional research. Cheers

  8. Miha, lovely diorama! Love the figures! I’m hoping that Airfix does release a 48th Blenheim this year. Yours turned out beautifully.

  9. Really well done, Miha.

  10. Great build, but the mk 1 ugly? Never!

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