Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jeff Selesky's Airfix 1/72 Beaufighter Build

Airfix Series 2, Pattern 283, Bristol Beaufighter T.F.X. coded MB*T. I will do it in USAAF markings using a scheme found in Colour and Markings with an O.D. tail unit, 416th NFS Italy. I built this kit many years ago and remember it to a good build. I always felt the cowl rings seemed a little mis-shapened, maybe too flat, but I'm not really sure.

The reference material.

I hope it will kinda look like this, only smaller.

I started by gluing the wings, wheels, and generally anything in two halves together.
The engine nacelles received a filing down of the cowl flaps so they don't look so much like bumps in the plastic. You will notice on the port wing that I got sloppy with the Tenex 7R and had to clean that mess up.

While trimming the edges of the wings, I began to use a round file to clean up the intakes.

The horizontal stabilizers have a rather nasty knock out tab mark that will need attention.

My decals are sourced out from an old Micro Scale sheet. I didn't notice until looking at the photograph that one has a run in the blue color.

I pulled out the trusty razor saw and removed the position lights and landing lights from the wing. This space is now packed with clear sprue and awaits filing to shape. I really did not want to go overboard with this project but it should really look OK when done. Before gluing in the clear sprue, small holes were drilled to simulate light bulbs. The holes received a spot of red and green paint. Also I filled and sanded the marks on the horizontal stabs and cleaned up the landing gear a little.

I filed down the clear sprues and have everything roughed in. Now the progressively fine grit treatment. The landing light has two bulb/filaments and when masked for painting, the two lens will appear.

After a comment by SIG member Bruce Grayson, I decided to correct landing light in the front of the wing. Here is the new landing light. My camera has created a little distortion. The dimple type holes were drilled in the back of the clear sprue and dabbed with silver paint. Not perfect but better than the pin holes I originally started with.

The general airframe together with the test fitting of the canopy. I must say that over all it is a well fitting kit. The was a tiny step at the wing/fuselage joint but over all, considering the age of the kit, it is all good. I did add a pilots seat. Holes will now be drilled to accommodate the radar antennas. I did give thought to adding a new nose cone but the A1 radar was used in some of the USAAF Beaus.

Here are the engines. Nothing but kit part. Flat black with a silver pris-color pencil in lieu of dry brushing.

The clear parts are fixed in place and antenna holes drilled out. I counted 13 locations in all. The arrow antenna in the nose, two each on each leading edge of the wings, and two each both top and bottom of each wing. When the clear parts are set, I will begin masking for a primer coat.

The Beau is coming out of the paint shop with the usual scheme with a twist. This particular USAAF bird apparently had a replacement tail which was reportedly overall Olive Drab. The roundels were over-sprayed in preparation for the US stars and bars.

Painting and decaling is complete. Pulling the masks off, there was only a couple of touch-ups required.

When thinking it over about the landing gear doors, I elected to pull out my trusty rat tail file and went to work. With the front edge thinned down, the doors were attached. Also debated in my mind was the color I would use for the rings on the nacelles. I finally settled for a Metallizer color Burnt Exhaust as the USAAF received the Beau from RAF maintenance depots and to me that meant they had been around the block a few times and would not show a copper or brass/bronze look.

I noticed that the prop blades seemed to molded with the all the blades at a different pitch. I let that one slide.

The completed build. The radar aerials are short pieces of wire "super glued" in place. Any bets as to how long they stay on? The communication aerial is stretched sprue. Red decal material was used for the gun muzzle covers. I have to admit, it was done for a little splash of color.