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Kyle Koppos
24 articles

Boulton, Paul, Thorn, and Barker.

November 7, 2020 · in Aviation · · 10 · 2K

Welcome to the Whipple Special (named after a notorious contest attendee who built nothing unless he could build at least two of them) of the and (newer) Defiants. As we live in the Golden Age of Modeling, kits are seemingly constantly being made obsolete, with newer and newer versions coming out. Airfix released a new version of this misunderstood interceptor, and while I usually sell my obsolete kits, my CA version was already tampered with and missing parts, so here we go:

The Airfix version was done as the most successful of them all, L7006/PS-X, with its crews being credited with 15 aerial victories on the machine. The first team, Flt Lt Nicholas Cooke and air gunner Cpl Albert Lippett claimed a dozen victories in a little over two weeks over the beaches of Dunkirk. On the extraordinary day of 29 May, the duo was credited with 10 victories; 1 Me 110, 2 Bf 109, 5 Ju 87,
and 2 Ju88s.

After Cooke and Lippett went missing on 31 May (in L6975), L7006 was manned by Sgt Ted Thorn and
air gunner LAC Fred Barker. On 26 August, 1940, damaged earlier in an engagement by
escorting 109s, Thorn was bringing L7006 in for a crash landing. Another 109 moved in to finish off
the crippled fighter, but Barker shot it down with his remaining ammunition. PS-X may have been
returned to flying status but would be shot down with a different crew on the 28th. Thorn and Barker
would continue flying Defiants as night fighters, claiming 12 victories on the type. Barker would
become the most successful air gunner of the Second World War, something I did not know the Defiant claimed before building these models.

The CA kit was done as a Defiant Mk.II, specifically AA420, which supposedly on the night of 17/18 April 1942 was used to destroy the type's last victory. The gunner was supposedly Flt Lt Mervyn Maggs DFC, who flew Camels in WWI and scored two gunnery kills in WWII. This aircraft is a bit more unclear. Thorough searching only reveals it to be "AA420" of the 264th squadron. Details are thin and no photos.

The Airfix kit is a dream. Not much to say other than it's the best kit of the type. It's a bit tight on the fit, but if you dry and test fit it'll be fine. Added brake lines, seatbelts, and not much else. In fact, a lot of spare parts were used in the CA kit.

The newer CA kit is not bad, just outclassed. It fits fine but it's clunky: thick parts, thick edges, just overall a thicc boi. It has its inaccuracies, that makes it completely irrelevant by the Airfix kit. Be mindful of the inaccurate windscreen (it doesn't have that lower frame), landing gear legs too tall (oleos molded completely extended), and overall not-as-good shapes and lines of the real thing. Oh, and the turret sits too tall, I had to grind down the ring to get it to fall in. Not as abysmal as the Flashback kit (egads), but there is no reason now to buy the CA when the Airfix exists (it's even cheaper). The Air-Intercept radar aerials were a pain in the a*s, each PE part being separate and I had to scratch build the mounts.

Keen-sighted observers will note AA420 is missing it's individual aircraft code. That is correct. There are no known photos of this aircraft or other records I could find. This sat on my shelf at the decal phase for a year before I said screw it, I'll finish it without the code. If I ever find the code, I will paint it on after the fact. It also has no guns, as I am lazy and wanted to get the photos done now.

TL:DR; The Defiant is misunderstood. Airfix good, (newer) CA eh. Thanks for looking.

Reader reactions:
10  Awesome

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Nicely done! I did the Airfix1/72 awhile back,it was a gem of a kit.

  2. Notorious? Oh man, I hope Eric sees this.
    Those are two nice lookin' models. Really worked magic on the CA, I LOVE the exhaust stains with the rain streaks on the black. Perfect. White panel lines done just so. The Airfix is very sharp. See what can be done with a cheap Chinese airbrush? And the decals look painted on. What did you use for flatcoat?
    3 Babs beats 2 Defiants.

    • Whatever gets paint on there without spitting out orange peel or water is fine with me. The decals on the Airfix were great, the CA not so much. Wrinkles needed sanding and touch up when done. Flat coat was decanded Tamiya rattle can.

      The Babses are next, canopies are cut.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  3. Nice work on both kits. With the Airfix kit available why anyone would bother with the Classic kit is beyond me.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  4. Great looking combination, Kyle.
    Just finished a Defiant myself, posted two days ago.
    Seems like this Airfix kit is getting more and more populer.
    Your paint and weathering looks fantastic on both builds.

  5. Those are two amazing builds, Kyle @kopperhed!

    Excellent allaround, painting and very consisted weathering definitely included.

    I loved your choice of markings and the thoughts behind them - thanks for the short stories too!

    I also liked the fact that you tackled the - now - obslolete CA kit, even if you really had no choice, but to go on with it: I love tackling "old, basic and obsolete" kits; kind of giving them "a chance". But, again, this is absolutely personal...

    Well done on your duel! They both look magnificent!

  6. I've always had a soft spot for the Defiant since building the original Airfix 1/72 kit when I was still in short trousers, we lived near a Boulton and Paul factory at the time, and I always imagined that that was where the Defiant was built. Both of these models are in a different world to my original effort, and it's great to see Airfix coming good again. Terrific post, definitely liked.

  7. Lovely pair of Defiants!

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