Build Review – Airfix 1/48 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF
This article is part of a series:
Building the Airfix Blenheim does not differ from any other aircraft – construction starts with the cockpit. So instead of walking through the whole routine I will focus on what my particular experience and thoughts are.
There are a couple of areas requiring extra care, so let’s walk through them one by one:
The cockpit is an intricate assembly, but goes together without difficulties.
The same goes for the rear gun turret, just make sure to not glue the parts to the jig provided in the kit 😀
The fuselage joint is okay for the most part, although you might encounter a small step in the front section. There are also some shallow sink marks you might want to fill.
The engine nacelles on my sample were a mixed bag. The left one fit very well, and a quick pass with AK Interactive putty and a wet cotton bud produced a perfect joint.
The right one on the other hand…
I can say for sure this was not user error; the whole thing was just a touch too narrow for its recess.
The main landing gear goes together flawlessly and is in my opinion the best part of the kit.
The bomb bay cover and the clear part immediately behind it don’t look to pretty without sanding.
The clear parts for the position lights and the landing light need to be faired in a bit to conform to the wing’s shape. I suggest masking them before you start sanding and filling to protect these parts.
The engine cowlings consist of four parts each – the front ring, to which three curved parts are attached to make up the whole cowling. As the actual radial engine needs to be attached to the front ring first, it can interfere with the curved parts – I had to sand of a bit from the engine’s cylinders here and there to get everything to fit.
The engines themselves are good enough for kit parts, but I am sure someone will release resin replacements sooner or later.
Finally, the wing roots. Fit here is surprisingly good, just take your time, test fit and shave off tiny amounts of plastic from the wings if necessary.
Also, the hole you see in the last picture, where the wing meets the wing root, should not be there. Which leads to the most annoying part of this kit…
My sample of this kit suffered from (in no particular order of WTF-ness):
- A major short shot on the right wing’s trailing edge,
- short shots on both wing root fillets,
- a missing part which lead to me having to order a replacement,
- a broken antenna mast and clear parts broken off their sprue.
Combine that with short shot-issues I had with their Gloster Meteor and their Bf 109 E-3, and the fiesta that was their initial release of the Hawker Sea Fury, and it makes you scratch your head what is going on with Airfix’ Quality Control. I really, really want them to succeed as they bring lots of interesting subjects to the market - but come on, get it together…
The box gives you everything you need, with the exception of seat belts. With the Blenheim’s cockpit area being a proper greenhouse, its interior is very visible, so I would definitely recommend using Eduard’s PE seat belts.
Another aftermarket set I would use again is Eduard’s “T-Face” canopy mask set (No. EX627). This set includes masks for the insides of all the transparent parts, which I think makes a huge difference in the cockpit’s appearance.
That’s going to be a short one – they are great. I applied them directly onto the Gunze paint job without a gloss clear coat (what a pleb I am!) and used Revell Decalsoft as setting solution (which makes me a level 3000 pleb I guess).
A for subject choice, B- for effort. Surface detail can still be improved - but what I have seen from test shots of the upcoming Spitfire Mk.XIV, Airfix is already stepping it up. The quality issues are frankly annoying, but there’s always hope, right?
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.