"Dog Fight Doubles" Bristol Beaufighter TF.X and Focke Wulf FW 190 A-8

Published: March 3rd, 2016     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Ned Ricks - IPMS# 36013
Scale: 1/72
Company: Airfix
Price: $29.99
Product / Stock #: A50171
Product provided by: Airfix

The short version - I liked the kits. The new molds that the current Airfix products have shown are on display here. These were pleasing to build.

Now, the details.

History

The pairing in the set is based upon an air battle that took place on the 9th of February 1945. A force of thirty one Bristol Beaufighter long range fighter bombers took off from their bases in Scotland to attack the German Narvik-class Destroyer Z33 at anchor in a Norwegian fjord. The attacking force and its escorts of Mustang fighters was also intercepted by twelve Fw-190s of Jg5. Over 50 aircraft were involved making it the largest air battle over Norwegian skies during the Second World War.

This is a Doubles Set, which means that the modeler gets two, related aircraft kits in one box. A great idea, in my opinion. I can recall being drawn by the great box art of the Revell kits of the early 1960s, and this great box art is also very engaging. The instruction sheet of 18 pages covers both aircraft in the set. There are big pictures, including painting and decal pages with color call outs for the provided paints. As this is an internationally marketed item, instruction sheet starts with some information in several languages and then is very visual rather than verbal in assembly directions.

The decal sheet represents one specific squadron per aircraft, which I guess is in keeping with the theme of the set representing an actual encounter. The decals have several of the "No Step" variety including balance marks, reminders of where and how much petroleum products are to filled, at least the ones I could read in English. The national insignia are hefty enough to handle without fear of disintegration. I found that the bigger ones, especially, settled on the surface quickly and responded to setting solution well. If you need to maneuver them after sliding off the backing paper, use your water solution as I discovered that setting solution grabs them right away.

Acrylic Humbrol paints in ten, labeled, small plastic snap-cap pots are included along with two brushes, #0 and #4. No thinner and no instructions for use of acrylics comes with it -- a modeler at Skill Level 2 should know this? But, not me.... (Most websites say that this kit cannot be shipped by air.) Two tubes of styrene glue are also in the box, which is way more than needed unless you apply glue as we all did when we were nine years old. After consulting with a modeling website and with other IPMS members, I tried thinning acrylics with 91% alcohol for airbrushing and with another brand of acrylic thinner for hand brushing and got good results with those.

FW 190 A-8

In spite of my tendency to not usually do "America's enemies" topics, I resolved to do my duty on the Luftwaffe FW 190. Actually, I found this to be a very nice kit in and of itself. The plastic is light gray in color and holds the excellently molded panel lines, access doors and other details very well. The A4 size instruction booklet is very visual in that directions are represented by symbols (explained on opening pages) and color call outs. The call outs are for the Humbrol paints that come with the kit. The acrylic numbers parallel the numbers of the same color in the famous enamel tins, so one of the issued pots is #33 flat black , and the enamel flat black is also #33. is If the modeler chooses to not use those acrylics, the numbers also correspond to Humbrol's enamels line. For other paint manufacturers, one could employ a conversion chart.

The cockpit has some good, not great, molding and decals for instruments. Basic, one piece, pilot provided if you want your FW to "fly." No seat belts nor harness are in this kit if the pilot figure is not used.

You have your choice of gear up or down, including tail gear and the pilot's extending step can be posed retracted for in-flight. The "gear up" option has gear doors and gear together, an attraction if the various parts (and level stance) of airplane models is an issue for you. There is a stand provided, and both planes can be posed simultaneously. If you will use the stand, note that step 4 shows where to drill the holes for the mount.

Drill holes on the upper wing segments as directed in step 4, as I later discovered this is not optional. Also, the lower wing section has two openings that call for parts to be inserted in step 7. Do this as instructed before cementing the two segments together....

Two canopies are provided. The clear parts feel like a good compromise between sturdy plastic for handling and thin enough to be plausible. Instruction sheet shows choices of poses, open or closed.

I had some trouble with step 16 in putting on the engine and cowling part. There were notches and tabs that should have made this a straight forward operation, but they didn't seem to match up.

Beaufighter TF.X

The Beaufighter was a twin engined heavy fighter developed from the Beaufort Bomber by using the Beaufort's wings and developing a new slimmer and smaller fuselage. "It tended to suffer a similar fate as the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt Bf 110s in that while being fast, they were not maneuverable enough to take on single seat fighters in their own right."

Like the FW, this kit is molded in nice, light gray plastic. There are many fine details such as engraved panel lines, inspection plates with visible screws, rivets and the rest. When I need to trim a part the styrene behaved well without shattering or crumbling.

I chose to try the in-flight option. The stand is provided, which I have not seen since the early 1960s. It also simplified the build in having the gear retracted. A separate kit part is molded for the closed gear doors. In spite of the in-flight option, I did not use the crew member parts. No seat harnesses were included in the kit. The instructions call for the entire interior of each fuselage half to be painted, but only a portion can be seen.

The wings are a positive fit and line up on the fuselage by struts, resulting in good firm alignment. There are two sets of empennage surfaces with pre-set dihedral. I don't know when the other would be employed; the one called for set in firmly.

There is an impressive array of weapons molded on the sprues -- torpedo, wing mounted rockets, etc -- but none are called for in the instructions. There are gun openings under the nose cone and what appear to be shell ejection ports under the wings. However, the wing parts have no opening for gun barrels.

The resulting model of the Beaufighter is one I have wished to have for some time. I am glad Airfix created this well done example.

My thanks to Hornby Airfix for providing the kit and to IPMS for the opportunity to review it.

  • Dual Kits
    Dual Kits
  • Beaufighter
    Beaufighter
  • Beaufighter
    Beaufighter
  • Beaufighter wing detail
    Beaufighter wing detail
  • FW-190a-8
    FW-190a-8
  • FW-190a-8
    FW-190a-8

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