Though we have already seen both the Mk.I and Mk.IV variants appearing within their 1/72 collection, seeing it in this larger scale, is as pleasing as it is impressive.
Arguably one of the most significant aircraft of the Inter-War years, the Bristol Blenheim can trace its lineage back to a privately funded venture and a determination to place Britain at the head of the aviation world. Frustrated by a succession of aviation records achieved by overseas manufacturers, Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail Newspaper and keen observer of the aviation scene, invited Britain’s leading aircraft manufacturers to do something about the situation. Resolved to capture the civilian aircraft world speed record for Britain, he offered to fund the development of an aircraft capable of achieving this feat, which eventually resulted in the Bristol Type 142 taking to the air. This sleek, twin engined design was both beautiful to look at and extremely fast in the air, easily managing to capture a new world speed record for a civilian passenger aircraft. Setting a new mark of 307 mph, the new Bristol design gave Lord Rothermere what he had been desperately hoping for and he christened the spectacular new aircraft ‘Britain First’.
In widespread service with the Royal Air Force at the start of WWII, the Bristol Blenheim and its brave crews would be asked to shoulder a heavy burden in the months that followed, with a Blenheim mounting Britain’s first sortie of the war just 63 minutes after war was declared against Germany. Living up to the name ‘Britain First’ Lord Rothermere bestowed on his spectacular Bristol Type 142 civilian transport and inspiration for the Blenheim, these aircraft went into combat determined to show Britain’s defiance and determination to prevail in this second global conflict. Significantly, the pace of aviation development in the 1930s continued to increase and whilst the Blenheim was a ground-breaking aircraft design when it first entered RAF service, it was quickly outclassed by the latest breed of fast monoplane fighters. With relatively light defensive armament and weighed down with the equipment of war, gallant Blenheim crews would suffer terrible losses at the hands of the Luftwaffe, particularly during the early months of WWII. (Airfix)
Though overshadowed by the more glamorous fighters, the Blenheim is an important part of the history of the RAF and thus its inclusion within Airfix’ 1:48 range is more than welcome. Though we have already seen both the Mk.I and Mk.IV variants appearing within their 1/72 collection, seeing it in this larger scale with the heightened levels of detail that 1/48 can offer, is as pleasing as it is impressive, now that the kit is finally to hand.
Comprising 216 finely-moulded plastic parts, this new kit replicates the blunt-nosed Mk.1F heavy fighter, with its underfuselage machine gun palette and single-gun upper turret. Decals are supplied for two different aircraft, one in standard night colours of Dark Earth, Dark Green and black and the second in overall matt black.
From the moment you open the kit’s box, you become aware that Airfix have taken considerable trouble to create as detailed a replica as possible. From the superbly appointed cockpit, through the complex undercarriage and on to the two complete engines and their delicate cowlings, you know that from the box this will be a superb replica of this important aircraft; add detail and it will be a show-stopper.
First stop on the journey is the cockpit. Detail within this part of the model is superb and I can see very little that could, or should be added, other than seat straps. Of course with all of that glazing to peer through everything will be on show, so careful construction and painting will almost be mandatory if the illusion of realism is to be maintained. Though the kit offers raised details throughout, the instruments are further embellished with decal faces which is a nice touch. Though a single pilot figure is included, there is no gunner which is more than understandable given the difficulty that that would pose trying to either squeeze him around the detail in the turret, or design him to part of it from the ground up. Detail within the turret incidentally is every bit as fine as the cockpit and thanks to the ultra-clear glazing, is all on show.
This is a very fine kit, simple as that. When announced and the CAD files started to roll in, the prospect of a highly-detailed replica became more than apparent; now that we have kit to hand, that promise has been fully realised. Modellers will find that this is an engrossing project that will result in a stunning replica of this important aircraft — just how stunning, will be seen in a future issue of Model Airplane International.
Thanks to Airfix for the review sample looked at in this feature.
For More Information…
…On this kit and how you can get hold of one in its current Mk.I guise, please visit the Airfix Website: