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Bristol Blenheim Mk.V

Classic Airframes

 

 


Classic Airframes' Bristol Blenheim Mk. V is available online from Squadron.com

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 437
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Low-pressure injection plastic - 66 grey styrene and 5 clear styrene part. Around 70 parts in pale cream-coloured resin. 4 parts in clear vacform. Decal sheet with three marking options. 8 pages of instructions, letter-sized colour marking guide, two supplementary marking guides in black-and-white.
Price: Approx. US$55
Review Type: In-box
Advantages: Another interesting subject otherwise unavailable in this scale; nice surface details; injection moulded clear canopy (with corrected windscreen rake) and turret parts; excellent resin parts; good quality decals; clear instructions
Disadvantages: Some modelling skills required - parts need cleanup and test-fitting; landing lights not supplied as clear parts.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for experienced modellers who are fans of early WWII British aircraft.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

Background

 

The Bristol Blenheim was already outclassed at the very beginning of WWII. 

By the time the Blenheim Mk.V entered service in mid 1942, it was hopelessly underpowered compared to its adversaries in the Mediterranean and Far East theatres. Despite retaining the powerplants of its predecessor, the "new" Blenheim gained 17 percent in gross weight.

Even so, 940 Blenheim Vs were built and saw front-line service with 10 Squadrons. Its service record and high attrition reflected its outdated design and poor performance.

 

 

In the Box

 

The Blenheim Mk.V may have been a failure in Squadron service, but its rakish nose, hedgehog exhausts, bulged turret and variety of colour schemes makes it an attractive subject for modellers. 

Classic Airframes' Blenheim Mk.V is their third variant and fourth packaging of this significant but tragic aircraft. Also available are the Blenheim I in two boxings and Blenheim IV.  

This model shares the majority of parts with last years' Blenheim V. A detailed review of Classic Airframes' Blenheim IV/IVF can be found by following this link. This is not a criticism. The real aircraft shared most of its components with the Mk.IV too. Fortunately, Classic Airframes have engineered the kit to be adapted to the final Blenheim variant with a minimum of surgery, and have supplied additional parts in resin and styrene to finish an accurate Mk. V.

The Blenheim V is packed in Classic Airframe' familiar box with attractive artwork by Don Greer depicting a Royal Hellenic Air Force machine

As is the usual case with Classic Airframes kits, the main parts of the kit are produced in low-pressure injection plastic. There are only 66 parts in grey styrene. A handful of these parts are not required for this version. Plastic is smooth and shiny, while surface detail is impressive. Engraved panel lines are crisp and fine, and raised detail is present where appropriate. Fabric surfaces look great. 

The new parts for the Mk. V comprise the bulged gear doors, spinner caps (although they are not applicable for any of the kit's marking options), ventral gun pack and a new insert for the bulged turret.

 

 

Sprue gates are reasonably narrow for a short-run kit. Flash is not too bad on my sample, although this will likely vary from kit to kit. Be prepared to spend some time cleaning up smaller parts in particular. Ejector pins are present on the inside surface of larger parts. The modeller can easily remove these if they interfere with fit. There is one big sink mark on the underside of the trailing starboard wing root. This should be filled and sanded before assembly.

Some thought has gone into the location of sprue attachment points for the major parts. The trailing edges of the wings are free of attachment points, and are quite acceptably thin. Four narrow attachment points run along the bottom of the fuselage, with a single attachment at the tip of the rudder..  

All control surfaces are moulded in the neutral position and cowl flaps are closed. As per the earlier kits, the prominent landing lights in the leading edge of the port wing are moulded solid with no option for a clear lens cover in the kit.

 

 

The main clear parts are injection-moulded. They are crisp and very clear, and supplied separately in a ziplock bag. The long nose looks right, and I was pleased to see that the rake of the windscreen had been corrected on this version. The bulged turret is supplied in two pieces. The join is along a frame line, but extreme care will be required when securing these parts. 

The resin parts are gorgeous. Many of these parts are brand new, reflecting the detail changes to the final variant. New parts include the sidewalls for the long nose, beautiful hedgehog exhausts, DF loop and more. The plastic parts for the main exhausts as supplied in earlier kits have been replaced with finer and more subtly shaed resin parts. Most of the original resin is retained too, including two lovely Bristol Mercury engines, gear wells, a detailed cockpit, an array of guns, propeller hubs and other fine details. The resin is crisp and seems particularly lightweight. This should make it easier to remove some of the blocks from major parts.

 

 

Resin highlights include the structural detail inside the wheel wells, the drilled-out gun barrels, and the fine engine detail. A few tiny parts were broken in transit.

Two vacform parts are supplied for the DF loop housing. The best news about this is that the two spares can easily be adapted for use as blisters on the side of the canopy. These blisters are otherwise not supplied as part of the kit.

The decal sheet includes three marking options. These are printed by Microscale. The decals appear quite thin and opaque, and they are in perfect register. One aircraft is a Hellenic Air Force machine finished in Extra Dark Sea Grey, Slate Grey and Sky. The second machine is a Free French Blenheim in desert scheme, and the final option (my favourite) is an aircraft with No. 34 Squadron in Dark Earth, Dark Green and Sky with the red missing from roundels and fin flashes as a concession to SEA marking requirements.

Click the thumbnails below to view images full-sized:

               

 

8 pages of instructions include a parts breakdown and 21 construction steps described in illustrations and helpful captions. 

The general outline of the aircraft looks good. Two of the shortcomings of the earlier kit have been addressed with the correction of the windscreen angle and the inclusion of blisters for the side windows (yes, I know, that is not their intent, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth - its easier than vac-forming your own). 

The contour of the fuselage bottom is still a smooth, shallow curve on the kit, but displays more of a discernible angle on the real aircraft. This should not be a serious concern for most modellers.

Engineering is basic but thoughtful. Parts are not fitted with locating pins, but the major components are quite rigid. This will assist alignment. The recessed section in the fuselage to accommodate the completed wing assemblies is also a welcome feature that will help set the correct dihedral and create a strong bond.

Take note of any comments and warnings in the instructions. There are some important notes about parts that may need excess material removed, or alternate construction suggestions. 

As with most Classic Airframes kits, careful preparation and plenty of test fitting should deliver a rewarding result for any modeller with some experience of limited run kits.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Blenheim V is a logical choice to round out Classic Airframes' Blenheim family.

It is nice to see that the detail differences have been addressed with new styrene and resin parts, and that a couple of shortcomings of the earlier version have been addressed.

The kit instructions state clearly that this kit is intended for experienced modellers and that additional time and effort is required. Even so, thanks to the injection-moulded clear parts and improved engineering, the Blenheim V will be within the capabilities of many HyperScale readers looking for a challenge.

Highly Recommended.


Thanks to Jules Bringuier of Classic Airframes for the review sample. Classic Airframes kits are available in Australia via JB Wholesalers and worldwide through hobby retailers.


Review and Images Copyright 2001 by Brett Green
Page Created 20 May, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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