Blenheim Mk I Detail Set

Published: August 12th, 2015     
Product Image
Big Ed
Reviewed by: 
Ron Bell, IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard
Price: $64.95
Product / Stock #: BIG7291

The Aircraft

The Bristol Blenheim was a fast day bomber designed for the RAF in the early to mid thirties. In its day, it was a fast, excellent aircraft. Unfortunately, its day was past when WWIl broke out. It was hopelessly outclassed by most modern fighters and was shot down in droves when un-escorted. It was quickly relegated to night intruder and naval strike missions and usage in less threatening environments. Despite attempts to upgrade it with new engines and other changes, it's performance remained sub-par and it was phased out as soon as was practicable.

The Set

This is one of Eduard's "Big Ed" sets that bundle all their PE sets and masks for a given kit in one package. In this case it consists of their exterior, interior, landing flaps and bomb bay PE sets as well as the mask set for the clear parts. If you bought them separately, they would cost a total of around $90, so you do save $25 buying them this way.

There are a myriad of parts, some so small that even with magnification and tweezers they were difficult to handle. Parts that needed to be folded had score lines that worked well. If you use all of the parts, you'll have one heck of a detailed Blenheim. The mask set is a god-send as the all glass nose and top turrent would be tedious to mask otherwise. They fit well.

The instructions, however, are another story. They, being international, use only symbols and shading. This leads to parts floating into place over vaguely colored areas that are suppose to represent parts you removed. Folding instructions for many parts are just not given. It tells you to fold them, but not how. You need to study their illustrations of the parts very carefully to make sure you have orientations correct as to fold a part wrong might be its death knell as refolding may cause the part to split. For a set with as many parts as this one has, having to constantly refer back and forth between instructions, part and the kit to make sure you've got every thing right gets tiring after a while.

The Build

To use these sets, you've got to plan ahead carefully. You can't just do all the flap parts, and then the interior, etc. as the assembly order for the kit parts may be different. Many parts require you to remove kit plastic and you have got to be both accurate and precise when you do so for two reasons. Eduard made their parts to fit in certain spaces and if you don't provide that space, they won't fit. In addition, these new Airfix kits have very close tolerances and fit very well, so if you cut too much or too little off, the kit itself may not fit anymore. None of this is helped by the vague shading on the instruction sheets.

Make sure you have magnification and a good set of tweezers available as you will use them and with the number of parts in these sets, you'll feel like you've been living in your optivisor.

The cockpit space looks very complete when done. The instrument panels are pre-painted and stand out well. The flaps, although quite delicate, fold easily and build up into nice looking pieces. The bomb bay cannot even be compared to the kit part as it is so far above what comes in the kit as to not bear comparison. However, they do not provide replacements for the kit's bomb bay doors. This seems odd as they are so obsessed with scale thickness, yet you are left with what looks like armor plated bomb bay doors. The landing gear areas are quite intricate, are excellently done and look very convincing. A host of small inspection plates and other do-hickies that go on the outside of the airframe are provided, but the engine detail is minimal.

However, you can see very little of that cockpit area detail through the glass as there is a complex system of framing blocking the view. The top flaps don't fit, period. They are a full 1/4 inch too long. (See photos). If you cut away the kit flap as shown in the instructions, you can't mount the flap as it runs into the wing/fuselage fairing. I looked at this and studied their not very clear instructions for a few days and just couldn't figure it out. It wasn't helped in that from view to view they don't tell you if you're looking at the bottom or top wing. You need to figure that out from whatever visual cues you can get from the instructions. And though the replacement parts do look good, it's up to the modeler as to whether they are worth all the extra work. The kit's flaps are quite good and with a little work could look very good. As to the landing gear parts, here as well, the instructions are a bid fuzzy and you need to make sure some parts go in before others or the later parts won't fit. They don't tell you which ones, so study the instructions and the kit.

Finally, there are problems with the kit parts call out numbers. In some cases, Airfix got them wrong in their instructions and Eduard just copied these mistakes. In other cases, Eduard got some numbers reverse or left out. The moral is, check and double check the look of the part, not just it's sprue/number. You may find Eduard calls for kit part E76, when it should be C76.

Summary

  • Pros - The set provides you with just about everything you need to detail a Blenheim Mk I. In addition, if you want it all, it saves you significantly.
  • Cons - The instructions are vague and have many call out number errors. The top flaps don't fit. Many parts can't be seen. Working with all those teeny tiny parts can be very tedious. You've got to be very careful when removing kit plastic to make sure you don't ruin the fit.

I want to thank IPMS/USA for the chance to take on this project and Eduard for supplying the kit for review.

  • Big Ed Set
    Big Ed Set
  • Blenheim
    Blenheim
  • PE
    PE
  • PE
    PE
  • Photo etch
    Photo etch
  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • Interior
    Interior
  • Flaps
    Flaps
  • Flap fit issue
    Flap fit issue
  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • Cockpit
    Cockpit
  • bombay
    bombay
  • Masks
    Masks
  • Tail fins
    Tail fins
  • Gear detail
    Gear detail
  • Gear detail
    Gear detail