Airfix 1/48 Blenheim Mk.1F Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2018||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||9186||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detail||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$45.98|
The Type 142M Blenheim was a a light bomber design adapted from the Type 142 airliner and developed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company located in, well, Bristol, UK. When it first flew in 1935, it was faster than most fighter aircraft of the day, but by the start of World War II, the Blenheim Mk.I was already obsolete. Production had already started on the Blenheim Mk.IV, and while that version was also outclassed by the Luftwaffe, RAF crews used the aircraft that they had available to combat the Germans. A number of Mk.Is were modified into long-range fighters designated as Mk.IF and while they were vulnerable to the Luftwaffe during the day, these aircraft would find their niche as night fighters. Some of the Mk.IFs would receive the first radar sets and became the RAF's first radar-equipped interceptors.
It is still hard for me to realize that today's Airfix is not the one I grew up with over the decades. After they emerged from receivership (bankruptcy) in 2007, the company began a long and steady process of rebuilding their catalog. While they started by reissuings kits from tooling they owned, they also started development of newly-tooled kits, some of new subjects or subjects in new scales, while others replaced older tooling altogether. Here we are over a decade later and this isn't the same Airfix anymore. The state of the art of their CAD design and kit production is on par with anyone else on the planet.
Enter Airfix's latest new-tool kit, the Bristol Blenheim Mk.1F in 1/48 scale. While Airfix previously released new-tool Blenheim variants in 1/72 several years ago, this is the first new-tooled Blenheim we've had in 1/48 in over a decade. Until now, the only other option for the aircraft was produced by Classic Airframes back in 2007. While the Classic Airframes kit had lots of nice details, those details were cast in resin with the overall airframe shell molded in low-pressure styrene. If you have the Classic Airframes kit, you won't need any of those resin parts to dress up the Airfix kit as you'll find the kit parts are significantly better than the resin of old.
This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees (duplicate tree not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and option in this kit:
- Beautifully detailed cockpit
- Observer seats in cockpit and nose compartment
- Optional seated pilot figure
- Positionable cockpit overhead hatch
- Radio racks in rear compartment
- Ventral gun pack mounted over closed bomb bay doors
- Ventral entry door molded in clear for rear ventral window
- Very detailed main landing gear and wells
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable flaps
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable elevators
- Positionable rudder
- Nicely detailed engines
- Choice of open or closed cowl flaps
- Choice of port engine cowl flaps (depending on subvariant)
- Positionable cowl panels
- Beautifully detailed dorsal gun turret
- Radar antennas for night fighter version
The kit provides marking options for two subjects:
- Mk.1F, L6739, 23 Sqn/RAF, YP-Q, RAF Wittering, UK, 1940
- Mk.1F, K7159, 54 OTU, YX-N, RAF Church Fenton, UK, 1940
The instructions are also noteworthy as they use CAD drawings for parts placement and shade parts installed in the previous step in red for better situational awareness.
If you like RAF subjects, this new Blenheim kit is an excellent addition to your quarter-scale flight line.