Blenheim Mk I, Finnish Air Force 1942
The Blenheim MK I was modified from a civilian concept aircraft for a small high speed 6 passenger transport (Bristol Type 142) in 1935. The success of this concept impressed the RAF and they issued specification B.28/35 for prototypes of a bomber version; the Type 142M (M for military) during the summer of 1935. The Blenheim was a contemporary of the Gloster Gladiator and Fairey Battle, but the Blenheim was more advanced and more battleworthy. 4,422 were built in the UK, Canada and Finland. 97 flew for Finland, 55 of which were built in Finland.
On 10 March 1937, production deliveries to the RAF formally started; 114 Squadron became the first squadron to receive the Blenheim. The Blenheim proved more survivable than the Battle or Gladiator and served in the Mediterranean and CBI theater through 1943, and flew for Finland until 1958.
One of the highlights of the Blenheim's career was shooting down IJAAF Lt Col Tateo Kato, CO of the 64th Sentai, who was one of the most celebrated Japanese aces of the Nomonhan Incident and early WW2 battles. Blenheim IV Z9808 of 60 Sqdn fought off four Ki-43s after bombing the Japanese air base at Akyab, Burma and a resulting in a running battle over the Bay of Bengal, as it flew back to India. "The death of the charismatic leader (Kato) was a severe blow to the JAAF in particular, and to Japan as a whole" -- Henry Sakaida, Osprey Books.
My version is a Finnish Blenheim Mk I, BL-143 from the Classic Airframes | No. 439 | 1:48, released in 2003, with Finnish and Yugoslav decals. The kit is old, mixed media, and very hard to build. This is not a kit review of a 20 year old release, but if you have one in hand, be ready for a very hard time getting resin parts to fit inside the styrene parts.
As part of this project, I cleaned up my old Frog 1/72 Blenheim, which I originally completed in the 1990s (Frog kit No. F190 1:72) My new 1:48 Blenheim still has imperfections (most of them my fault), and the kit wore me down greatly, but I ended up liking the final result - and hope you will as well.
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.