Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |

Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I

Airfix, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

Airfix Kit No. A02069 – Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media

61 grey and seven clear styrene parts, with decals for two colour schemes.

Price:

£6.66 (Export) or £7.99 (EU Price) plus shipping available online from Hannants

and numerous other stockists worldwide.

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

The best 1/72 Defiant by far, optional canopy and rear decking positions, good quality decals, attractively priced.

Disadvantages:

Crude instrument panel decal, the ailerons have thick trailing edges that are hard to remedy, and the main wheels are possibly a little undersized.

Conclusions:

I have raised a few nit-picking points, but overall this is an excellent kit and easily the best Defiant kit in “The One True Scale”. Its outline shape appears to be very good, and it has nice surface treatment with more than adequate interior detail (aside from the ugly instrument panel decal).

The engineering of ailerons makes correcting their overly thick trailing edges impossible to remedy without damaging their nice surface detail. Barracudacast, a brand I respect, indicate that the kit’s main wheels are undersized; for now I leave it to readers to decide.

There is always room to improve, but this latest release from Airfix shows that they are firmly on the right track. Their new tool Defiant is a fine kit, and clearly superior to MPM’s, plus great value too. I have no hesitation in highly recommending it.

Reviewed by Mark Davies


Airfix's 1/72 Hurricane Mk.I Fabric Wing is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

Background

The Boulton Paul Defiant was a British interceptor aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. The Defiant was designed and built by Boulton Paul Aircraft as a "turret fighter", without any forward-firing guns. It was a contemporary of the Royal Navy's Blackburn Roc. The concept of a turret fighter related directly to the successful First World War-era Bristol F.2 Fighter.

 

 

In practice, the Defiant was found to be reasonably effective as a bomber–destroyer, but vulnerable to the Luftwaffe's more agile, single-seat Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. Lack of forward armament proved to be a major weakness in daylight combat and its potential was only realized when it switched to night combat. It was supplanted in the night fighter role by the Bristol Beaufighter and de Havilland Mosquito. The Defiant found use in gunnery training, target towing, electronic countermeasures (ECM) and air-sea rescue. Among RAF pilots it had the nickname "Daffy".

Source: Wikipedia


 

Previous 1/72 Defiant Kits

There have been several Defiant kits over the years in “The One True Scale”:

  • Airfix 1960 tooling: Very much a product of its time in terms of fit and detail, its poor nose and control surface shape are the worst of it inaccuracies.

  • Pegasus: TT Mk.1 target tug, a true limited run kit with fine surface detail and quite well thought of in terms of accuracy.

  • Pavla: Mk.I, NF Mk.2 and TT Mk.1. A true limited run kit with some nice resin details; it is let down a by an overly rounded top section to the engine cowling, albeit fixable. It was quickly superseded by the superior and cheaper MPM kit.

  • MPM: Regarded as being the best Defiant kit in the 1/72 scale (until now at least), and is really a long-run kit with some limited run features such as no locating pins. I have built the kit some years ago and all went well, although MPM missed the tiny flared bulge in the fuselage where it meets the turret ring. The kit’s guns are definitely overly thick, the landing lights are undersized, and I am not convinced that the cockpit and turret proportions look quite right.

  • CMR: A resin kit dating from the late-1980’s, this kit provided a model comparable in accuracy and detail to the later MPM injected kit (I recall being told it was a little better in fact), but of course it cost more.

  • Final Touch: Resin kit (no further information).

  • S-Model: A vac-form that is apparently quite accurate and builds well according to an online review I read.

  • JWK: Vac-form (no further information).

  • Modelland: Vac-form (no further information).

 

 

FirstLook

 

On examining the sprues my first impressions were extremely positive. This kit ahs some of Airfix’s finest surface detail to date, with quite retrained engraved panel lines and engine cowl fasteners, and nicely done fabric effect on the control surfaces. The molding looks to be very crisp and clean, with some quite fine detail parts. 

 

  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Airfix Kit No. A02069  Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Review by Mark Davies: Image
Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading

 

Cockpit detail is more than adequate for the scale and limited view available through a closed canopy, provided you add a seat harness. I think Airfix should consider including a seat harness decal as Tamiya does, as these can be cut out with the backing paper kept in place to offer quite acceptable 3D belts. Integrally moulded sidewall detail captures the corrugated nature of the original well. Other detail includes a rear bulkhead, a seat that looks a bit short in the pan to me, control column, side consoles, rudder bar, and instrument panel.

The smooth instrument panel uses a decal to represent the instrument faces which has over-exaggerated white lines and is frankly a bit crude. I would prefer a 3D moulded panel, but if Airfix insists on using a decal then they should print a decent one with realistic instrument dials and colours where applicable. Unfortunately, the Defiant’s instrument panel is not hidden under any coaming, so the mediocre decal will be quite visible.

No less than three cockpit canopy choices are provided; these being closed with rear portion raised, closed with it lowered, or canopy slid open. Whilst all are clear, reasonably thin, and with acceptable framing, they are not quite as fine as some other brands. In a perfect world the canopies would be a little thinner with framing a tad less rounded and prominent in section. To some extent this is nit-picking, as the canopies will look okay painted up; it is just an area where Airfix can still improve if they wish to equal the quality of some of their rivals’ clear parts.

 

 

Turret detail is good for the scale and allowing for what will be visible. The guns are quite well done considering injection moulding limitations, but obviously Quickboost resin or Master machined brass replacements will improve appearances. The turret’s clear section is similar in quality to the pilot’s canopy. Unlike MPM’s kit, Airfix have correctly captured the small flared bulge just below the turret.

Two figures are provided should you wish to crew your finished model.

 

 

Airfix have tooled their Defiant with the option of the rear fuselage decking lowered. On the real aircraft this enabled the turret to rotate without the guns fouling fuselage structure. This is an important feature, and one that the MPM kit does not allow for.

Whilst discussing the fuselage, I should also mention a few other features. There are separate oil and cooler and radiator fairings, each with their respective matrix faces. A nice touch in the case of the radiator is that the two very similar faces are marked F & B for front and back respectively, this ensuring their correct fitment. The exhausts look good, as do the propeller and its spinner. There is a separate rudder, but the elevators are moulded in pace on the horizontal stabilisers.

 

 

The wings are split in two as would be expected give the conventional parts breakdown. However, the ailerons are moulded in their entirety with the lower wing. The disadvantage of this approach is that both the aileron and wing trailing edges are rather thick; so whereas the wing halves can be readily thinned down on their internal faces, the ailerons can only be thinned to match at the price of losing their nicely rendered fabric detail.

A nicely detailed wheel-well fits between the wing halves.

 

 

The kit undercarriage looks good, and captures the sturdy appearance of the original. The main wheels have weighted tyres and are keyed to fit at the correct orientation to the leg to account for this. Airfix also include correctly fitting closed undercarriage doors as separate parts. This is common to many Airfix kits, and is a real benefit to those wishing to build an in-flight model. It is something other many brands could do well to copy.

It seems that the wheels may be undersized as Barracudacast has manufactured replacements. If there is one thing Roy Sutherland likes to get right it is aircraft wheels. However, some photos of the main-wheels do show them as being quite a bit smaller than their doors, in which case Airfix’s may be OK. I am a bit undecided, as photos are hard to rely on, as are plans (although Mushroom Publications’ Defiant plans suggest that the kit’s wheels are a bit small).

The wings have clear landing lights, which unlike MPM’s are the correct size to fit their cut-outs in the wing leading edge. Unfortunately Airfix did not opt to include the wingtip navigation lights as clear parts too; a missed opportunity in my view.

Not much remains to mention; just the pitot and ventral antenna masts. The instructions point out to shorten the rearmost of the masts for wheels down model, as the real item retracted within the fuselage when the undercarriage was lowered.

From what I have read it seems this kit builds very well. HyperScale’s “What’s New?” for 18 March this year featured a build article by Roger Hardy.  His article provides useful insights and shows what a nice model can result from this new Airfix release. It is clear from seeing the finished model that Airfix have captured the Defiant’s lines very well indeed.


 

Colours & Markings

Two decal options are provided, these being aircraft of:

  • No 264 Squadron, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England, 1940; and

  • No 151 Squadron, RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire, England, February 1941.

 

 

The decals are by Cartograf, appear excellent in all respects, and include quite lot of stencilling.
If the kit options do not appeal Xtradecal offer an aftermarket sheet that Brett Green reviewed here on HyperScale recently.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I have raised a few nit-picking points, but overall this is an excellent kit and easily the best Defiant in “The One True Scale”. Its outline shape appears to be very good, and it has nice surface treatment with more than adequate interior detail (aside from the ugly instrument panel decal).

The engineering of ailerons makes correcting their overly thick trailing edges impossible to remedy without damaging their nice surface detail. Barracudacast, a brand I respect, indicate that the kit’s main wheels are undersized; for now I leave it to readers to decide.

There is always room to improve, but this latest release from Airfix shows that they are firmly on the right track. Their new tool Defiant is a fine kit, and clearly superior to MPM’s, plus great value too. I have no hesitation in highly recommending it.

Purchased online from Hannants


Review Text Copyright © 2015 by Mark Davies
Images Copyright © 2015 by Brett Green
Page Created 16 April, 2015
Last updated 16 April, 2015

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page