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Blenheim Mk I, Finnish Air Force 1942

The 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 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 Blenheim Mk I, BL-143 from the | 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.


13 responses

  1. A fantastic result over the challenging CA kit, Bob!

  2. Nice work, Bob. I took the easy way out and built the Airfix kit.

  3. Great work on these , especially the CA kit , I don't know why these kits command such silly money prices when they come up for sale they are always poor in many ways , I wouldn't bother again with a CA so well done getting such a good result Bob.

  4. Well done for completing this, Bob, the spinning props look great. Good write-up as well.

  5. Really great work done, Bob @bobd56az
    Especially the spinning propellor picture looks amazing.
    In 2019, I was lucky to see an airworthy Blenheim in England, it is an absolute impressive aitcraft.

  6. Having built some Classic Airframes Blenheims, Bob, "Ah feel yo pain!" (but I just can't reach it 🙂 )

    Very nice result on this, definitely worth the effort.

    If you do the Airfix kit you'll find the battle much easier.

  7. Go Suomi ! Very nice

  8. Many thanks for the kind comments from modelers and men I respect. Your kind thoughts and patience with my efforts are truly appreciated, especially coming from some of the most accomplished modelers ever.

    You guys inspire me to do my best and to add value to this fine website. Thanks again.

    @bernardbedeur @inflames @tcinla @johnb @chinesegeorge @neil-foster @j-healy @fiveten

  9. Great work! Old kits gives fun too! I like Finnish Air Force!

    • Thanks, Lis!

      The Finnish Air Force give us much to work with because they were forced to use the aircraft of so many other countries. The Karelian Front had US-made planes fighting against British-made planes, etc. Buffaloes fighting against Hurricanes; P-36s fighting P-40s. There is a lot history that we can take advantage of.

      Have a great day!

  10. Looks great - nice project Bob.

  11. Thanks, Greg! I probably could have done 3 other models in the time it took for this one.

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