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Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV

 

Classic Airframes, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 4138 - Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 57 parts in gray styrene, 66 parts in cream colored resin, 5 clear injection molded parts and 2 vac-formed clear parts. Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide for 5 aircraft.
Price: MSRP - USD$65.00  Available from Squadron Mail Order
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Crisply engraved and excellent surface detail; newly designed wheel wells and wheels.
Disadvantages: Some modeling experience is always helpful.  Very clear but brittle clear parts.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Blenheim Mk.IV is available online from Squadron

 

FirstLook

 

Itís baaaacck! 

But, this time there is nothing to fear. The most evil wheel wells from hell are dead; they are no more, and unlike Carrie or Freddy, they will not take revenge from beyond. 

Basically, this is the same Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV that Classic Airframes released seven years ago, and reviewed at the time here on Hyperscale. (...and I must say that Brettís photography has come a long, long way since then).  But while the contents are mostly the same, there have been some changes. 

The most obvious difference is the redesign of the wheel wells. In the previous incarnation, the molding block was on top and required careful cutting and sanding of the well, as well as scraping of the inside of the wing-top to get the well to fit between the wing halves.  The new well requires virtually no effort to fit between the wing halves.  You do not even need to remove the pour stub.  However, unlike the previous well and due to the new molding design, the new well is made up of three pieces. 

As I have shown in the accompanying pictures, I merely placed the well molding in the lower wing and put on the wing-top, taping the two together. (Iíd like to thank my assistant, Thing, for holding the wing while taking the picture)

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The other change is the inclusion of beautifully molded resin wheels, which scale out to 36 inches.  The undersized plastic wheels are not used and will be just an addition to the parts box. 

 

 

Those who have the older kit will also notice the styrene is not the same.  It is now the darker gray type that you will also find in the newer MPM kits.  It is less brittle than the plastic in the previously issued kit. 

You will also notice that the clear parts are much clearer and thinner than before.  On the down side, the clear parts appear to be quite brittle, similar to the clear parts in the MPM Fulmar and Special Hobby Skua. So care should be exercised in holding them. 

As with the initial issue, there is a good array of armament included in the kit.  These include both early (Plexiglas) and late Frazer Nash FN-54 turrets for under the nose.  It also includes the belly four-gun pack for the Mk. IVF.  There is also a Vickers K and a pair of Browning .303 machine guns.



Markings

There are markings for five different aircraft, two of which were included in the original kit.  The decals are well printed by Cartograph of Italy.  While the center dot for the roundels is not printed separately, all the roundels appear to be in good register. 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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  • GB*X, V6374,105 Squadron, 105 Squadron, Lossiemouth, circa late 1941.  This aircraft is in the Costal Command scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey, (Dark?) Slate Grey and Sky. 

  • WM*Z, Z5722, 68 Squadron, High Ercall, 1941.  This is a Mk. IVF (fighter) with the four-gun belly pack.  The aircraft is in overall black. 

  • White 14, Z9583, Groupe Lorraine, Free French Air Force, Egypt, circa 1941.  This aircraft is in Dark Earth and Middle Stone with Azure undersides.  The Middle Stone was painted over the original Dark Green, therefore the serial number was left on a Dark Green background.  The kit includes Cross-of-Lorraine marking for six positions.  While it is clear from photographs that they were carried on the fuselage and under the wings, there is not much documentation as to whether they were also applied to the top of the wing.  One other point is that the blue, white and red French colors may have been applied using the darker RAF colors.  But, it is unclear from the photographs.  This aircraft most likely had the late style Frazer Nash chin turret, even though the painting guide appears to show the early style. 

  • X, T2249, 84 Squadron, Aqir, Palestine, circa April 1941.  This aircraft is in Dark Green, Dark Earth and Sky.

  • BL-129, Finnish Air Force, 1942.  There are some issue with the identification, construction and camouflage with regard BL-129.  The instructions indicate that it was with LeLv 42.  But, it was never with that unit.  At the time of the applicable markings it was with Photoflight/LeLv 48.  The aircraft did not have an under-nose turret.  Rather, where the turret would have been was a circular opening for the camera.  It appears the bombsight was left in place.  Also, the shape of the camouflage scheme was slightly different from that shown on the paining guide.  This aircraft carried out 95 missions and photographed 40950 km2 by the beginning of winter 1942.  If you want to do BL-129, I would recommend that you obtain Suomen Ilamvoiment Historia (Finnish Air Force History) #10, Bristol Blenheim, which has an excellent series of photographs of BL-129.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a great kit to have back in production.  Even better now that the wheel wells have been redesigned and new wheels are included.  I built the original issue of the Mk. I when it came out, and while the clear nose to fuselage join requires careful work, the model is not all that difficult. 

This is a reissue that I believe many will appreciate, especially as Classic Airframes responded to the requests of many a modeler. At the moment, and for the immediate future, this appears to be the only model of this famous British bomber.   One can wait for the perfect wave, but having built one long ago, I find that there is much satisfaction in have the old war horse Blenheim as part of oneís collection. 

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.


Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com


Review and Images Copyright © 2007 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 17 September, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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