100 Years of the RAF, No. 264 Squadron, circa July 1940, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England 1/48 Airfix BP Defiant
This article is part of a series:
- 100 Years of the RAF, 73 Squadron circa 1938 Hawker Hurricane Mk I “early”, Classic Airframes 1/48
- 100 Years of the RAF, 56 Squadron mid 1939, Hawker Hurricane Mk I, 1/48 Airfix new tool
- 100 Years of the RAF, No. 264 Squadron, circa July 1940, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England 1/48 Airfix BP Defiant
Here’s another completed project from the 100 Years of the RAF group build.
This one also happens to be the monthly random kit award that I received from Martin and his staff a while ago. As promised, I wrote a kit review on the model, and then completed a work in progress build journal.
This is a great kit ! I had a lot of fun building it. The fit was very good and it comes with a nicely detailed cockpit and turret.
The only thing I thought was a little weak was the main wheels. Mine had a large recessed dimple in the center of the main wheel hub. So I opted to order a set of aftermarket resin wheels that were made by a company called “Barracuda Cast”.
This was a worthwhile upgrade, and the wheels came with the tire company name “DUNLOP” molded into the sidewall of the tire.
I tried something new when building this model. I used some “Ultra Bright” Bare Metal Foil and covered the front of the landing lights. This made them look better than if they were just painted. This picture doesn’t do the lights any justice, as it actually looks better in person.
This model was built out of the box other than the additions I mentioned above. I even used the kit supplied decals.
There is a lot of tiny stencil decals that come with the kit. I took my time and added each one… They’re legible and you can make out what is written in the stencils. I however have to use a magnifier since my up close vision isn’t what it used to be !
One very nice option Airfix has provided is the control surfaces are separate. You can pose them in any position you like. The instructions even give you the correct angles of deflection for each surface in degrees ! If you look close, you will see how I set the rudder offset to the Starboard side. The tail wheel is also offset in the same direction.
This Defiant was painted using Model Master enamels. I used the colors “Dark Earth”, “Dark Green” and ANA 610 RAF Sky Type S. Sadly these colors are no longer being produced and sold by Model Master every since the Rustoleum Paint company took over.
Once the paint was sprayed on, I gave the entire model a coat of Future to help keep the decals from silvering.
Once the decals were applied, I went back over the plane using my mixture of Tamiya X-21 “Flat Base”.
This sealed in the decals and knocked down the shine to what you see here. I like how this stuff works, but you need to be careful with it and not use it straight from the bottle. It’s not meant to work like that.
I wrote how I mix the Tamiya X-21 together with medical rubbing alcohol and clear acrylic “Future” in my current Spitfire build journal.
The Defiant was manufactured by the Boulton Paul company. The type was intended to be used as a heavy fighter. The turret was it’s only means of defense.
The idea was to fly alongside the plane and the gunner would use the four .303 caliber MG’s to inflict damage on the enemy aircraft. Originally the Germans thought this was a Hawker Hurricane when they first encountered it.
The turret came as a nasty surprise. Quickly it was discovered that the Defiant was vulnerable to a head on attack, since it had no forward firing weapons. Once this happened, the type was relegated to night time use, and eventually used as a target tug.
264 Squadron was originally formed in “The Great War” and was formed from two former Royal Naval Air Service flights, No. 439 and No. 440, on 27 September 1918 at Souda Bay, Crete.
It performed anti-submarine patrols with the Short 184 floatplanes, over the Aegean.
264 Squadron was disbanded, following the end of the war, on 1 March 1919.
On 8 December 1939 it was re-formed at RAF Station Martlesham Heath to bring the Boulton Paul Defiant fighter into service. Operations began in March 1940 when the squadron started convoy patrols.
I chose to build mine as a plane that flew from Martlesham Heath for a reason. I once had a friend named Ed Malo who flew P-47’s from there during 1944… but that’s another story.
At the end of May 1940 the squadron was withdrawn from day fighting operations and began to train in the night fighter role. It was called into action again in day fighting at the height of the Battle of Britain, but again suffered losses and returned to night fighting.
During May of 1942, the squadron moved to RAF Colerne to operate the de Havilland Mosquito II, later trading them in for the later Mark VI. The Mosquitos were operated as night fighters in the west of England, and on day patrols in the Bay of Biscay and western approaches.
In 1943, after concentrating on night intruder missions, the squadron operated in support of the Bomber Command, defending bomber formations against enemy night-fighters. In 1944 it re-equipped with the newer Mosquito XIII and returned to defensive roles.
In June it carried out patrols over the Normandy beaches, until returning to night patrols from western England in the western approaches. As the Allied forces advanced, the squadron became part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force providing night patrols.
By the end of the war it was carrying out patrols over Berlin from its airfield at Twente in the Netherlands. It was disbanded at Twente on 25 August 1945. The squadron was re-formed again on 20 November 1945 at RAF Church Fenton when 125 Squadron was renumbered. It operated the de Havilland Mosquito NF30 and NF36 in the night fighter role as part of the peacetime Fighter Command. By 1951 the squadron was posted to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, where that November its Mosquitos were replaced by the Gloster Meteor NF11, and in October 1954 by the Gloster Meteor NF14. From February 1957 the squadron was based at RAF Middleton St George until 30 September 1957, when it was disbanded after being re-numbered 33 Squadron at RAF Leeming.
This Squadron history was copied from Wikipedia.
This is the picture that made me decide to build the turret with the entry doors open…you’re looking at a very brave man here. More often than not, the rear gunner could not get out of the turret when he really needed to. Many went down inside their planes…
When it came to locating pictures to document this build, I was very fortunate and found these online. Here they are in case you decide to build one up too…
Thanks for reading the history behind 264 Squadron. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did building it.
Many thanks go out to Martin and his staff for providing this model, and to Paul Barber for coming up with the brilliant idea for the 100 Years of the RAF group build. Paul was there every step of the way and led from the front.
“Comments are encouraged”.