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ICM 1:48 Bristol Beaufort Mk. I - WWII British Dominions Air Force


Fran

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1:48

BRISTOL BEAUFORT Mk. I

“WWII British Dominions Air Force”

ICM

Catalogue n.º 48132

 

€ 54,20 – in Art Scale Kit

 

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 In 1935 the Air Ministry had issued two specifications, M.15/35 and G.24/35, which detailed requirements for a torpedo-bomber and a general reconnaissance/ bomber respectively. The latter was required to replace the Avro Anson in service for this role and. as mentioned in the Bristol Blenheim entry, was to be met by the Bristol Type 149 which was built in Canada as the Bolingbroke. To meet the first requirement, for a torpedo-bomber, Bristol began by considering an adaptation of the Blenheim, identifying its design as the Type 150. This proposal, which was concerned primarily with a change in fuselage design to provide accommodation for a torpedo and the installation of more powerful engines, was submitted to the Air Ministry in November 1935.

After sending off these details of the Type 150, the Bristol design team came to the conclusion that it would be possible to meet both of the Air Ministry's specifications by a single aircraft evolved from the Blenheim, and immediately prepared a new design outline, the Type 152. By comparison with the Blenheim Mk IV, the new design was increased slightly in length to allow for the carriage of a torpedo in a semi-exposed position, provided a navigation station, and seated pilot and navigator side-by-side. Behind them were radio and camera positions which would be manned by a gunner/camera/radio operator. The Type 152 was more attractive to the Air Ministry, but it was considered that a crew of four was essential, and the accommodation was redesigned to this end. The resulting high roofline, which continued unbroken to the dorsal turret, became a distinguishing feature of this new aircraft, built to Air Ministry Specification 10/36, and subsequently named Beaufort.

Detail design was initiated immediately, but early analysis and estimates showed that the intended powerplant of two Bristol Perseus engines would provide insufficient power to cater for the increase of almost 25 per cent in gross weight without a serious loss of performance. Instead, the newly developed twin-row Taurus sleeve-valve engine was selected for the Beaufort, the only concern being whether it would be cleared for production in time to coincide with the construction of the new airframe. The initial contract, for 78 aircraft, was placed in August 1936, but the first prototype did not fly until just over two years later, on 15 October 1938. There had been a number of reasons for this long period of labour, one being overheating problems with the powerplant, and another the need to disperse the Blenheim production line to shadow factories before the Beaufort could be built.

Test flying of the prototype revealed a number of shortcomings, leading to the provision of doors to enclose the main landing gear units when retracted, repositioning of the engine exhausts, and an increase to two machine-guns in the dorsal turret. These and other items, added to continuing teething problems with the new engine, delayed the entry into service of the Beaufort Mk Is, these first equipping No. 22 Squadron of Coastal Command in January 1940. It was this unit, which on the night of 15-16 April 1940, began the Beaufort's operational career by laying mines in enemy coastal waters, but in the following month all in-service aircraft were grounded until engine modifications could be carried out.

 

Earlier, the Australian government had shown interest in the Beaufort, and following the visit of a British Air Mission in early 1939, it was decided that railway and industrial workshops could be adapted to produce these aircraft, resulting in the establishment of two final assembly plants (at Fishermen's Bend, Melbourne, and at Mascot, Sydney) with the production backing of railways workshops at Chullora, Islington and Newport. Twenty sets of airframe parts and the eighth Bristol built Beaufort Mk I (L4448, which became A9-1001) was imported for trials, but at an early stage the Australians decided they did not want the Taurus powerplant. Accordingly, they had obtained a licence from Pratt & Whitney to build the Twin Wasp (already being licence built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in Australia), and these were to power all Australian-built Beauforts, which eventually totalled 700. As from May 1941, several notable long distance flights were carried out by this experimental prototype and all expectations were exceeded. The first DAP Beaufort was tested in August 1941, and was one of a batch of 180 ordered by the RAF for use in the Far East.

 

Australian production began in 1940, the first Australian Beaufort Mk V making its initial flight in May 1941. Apart from the change in engines, these were generally similar to their British counterparts except for an increase in fin area to improve stability with the powerful Twin Wasp engine. In fact, engine and propeller changes accounted for most of the different variants produced by the Australian factories. These included the Beaufort V (50) and Beaufort VA (30), both with licence-built Twin Wasp S3C4-G engines; Beaufort VI (40 with Curtiss propellers) and Beaufort VII (60 with Hamilton propellers), all 100 being powered by imported SlC3-G Twin Wasps due to insufficient licence production; and the Beaufort VIII with licence-built S3C4-Gs. This last mark was the definitive production version, of which 520 were built, and had additional fuel tankage, Loran navigation system and variations in armament, with production ending in August 1944. Some 46 of the last production batch were subsequently converted to serve as unarmed transports; designated Beaufort IX, this variant had the dorsal turret removed and the resulting aperture faired in. The powerplant rating of all the Australian versions was 1,200 hp (895 kW). The Beaufort was used extensively by the Royal Australian Air Force in the Pacific theatre, serving from the summer of 1942 until the end of World War II.

 

The early trials of the Australian Beaufort V with Twin Wasp engines induced the Air Ministry to specify this powerplant for the next contract, and a prototype with these American engines was flown in November 1940. The first production Beaufort Mk II flew in September 1941, and by comparison with the Beaufort Mk I revealed much improved take-off performance. However, because of a shortage of Twin Wasps in the UK, only 164 production Mk IIs were built before Mk Is with improved Taurus XII engines were reintroduced on the line. In addition to the powerplant change, this version had structural strengthening, a changed gun turret, and ASV radar with Yagi aerials. When production of this version ended in 1944, well over 1,200 Beauforts had been built in Britain.

 

The final two Beaufort designations, Mk III and Mk IV, related respectively to a version with Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engines of which none were built, and a version with two 1,250 hp (932 kW) Taurus XX engines of which only a prototype was built.

 

Beauforts were the standard torpedo-bomber in service with Coastal Command during 1940-43, equipping Nos. 22, 42, 86, 217, 415 and 489 Squadrons in home waters, and Nos. 39, 47 and 213 in the Middle East. They were to acquit themselves well until superseded by the Beaufighter, involved in many of the early and bloody attacks against the German battle cruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, three vessels that often seemed to be invincible, at least to aircraft carrying conventional weapons.-

-       Historical entry by - http://www.pilotfriend.com/photo_albums/timeline/ww2/Bristol%20Beaufort.htm

 Now a little history in video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEEtbTBmuPE

 

Let`s take a look at the ICM Bristol Beaufort.

I confess that it is the first time I see this particularly kit in flesh, even thought this is a rebox of the original release last year.

ICM boxes are quite sturdy, as the art design is just a cover top for a top-opening box, quite sturdy and resistance. It is a nice solution, and I believe probably a lower cost one.

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Inside of the box, eight gray plastic sprue and one large clear part sprue.

 

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The gray plastic is easy to work with no being to brittle or not to soft.

The Fuselage has all the internal ribbing, in the cockpit area and tail wheel bay.

 

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One very good thing that you see in all latest models is the internal frame fro the fuselage clear that it will assure you a good and sturdy fit.

A few injection marks but probably only one will be visible, and in fact is very soft so no problem in removing it.

 The wings. The come in two halfs, as usual. The surface detail is limited to panel lines that are very well defined and clean and a few raised panels.

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The wheels pit as no detail at all, being that reserved to the gondola halves, that have some internal detail.

Inside the wings, in the fuselage connection theres the ICM usual connection strudy system to help the modellers in having a quite easy fit between fuselage and wings.

 

All these big parts have connections points and I was curious to see how it all fit and I give I a go…

 

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All dryfit and very good fit even without a single glue. The wings jugs are essential

 

In sprue C, we have some cockpit detail, engine – Wheels bay gondolas, flaps, tail fin and wings jigs, rudder.

 

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The wings jigs have internal detail as they work also give interior detail with nacelles fuselage.

Some cockpit and internal floors and a nice engraved and raised detail instrument panel. If you do not want to spend more money, with this detail instrument and the instruments bezels in decal in box, with a little work you could get a very good result.

 

 Sprue D

Keeping all the main parts in this sprue that give the tailwheel, several interior parts with very nice detail for pilot cockpit and radio compartment, tail wings, engine bonnet, all with nice and clean surface detail.

 

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Unfortunally, it takes a lot of surgery to get the engine open to show their full detail and the cooling flaps are also close.

 Sprue E (x2)

So, now a duplicate sprue as it deals with engine, wheels, propeller, landing gear and defensive armament.

 

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All the parts are very delicated and with a very good detail. I`m in fact impressed with the detail that ICM can get from injection modeling.

 

The wheels are in two halfs.. I really don’t like wheels in two halves but I got to give to ICM… Thse are a very good looking wheels with very good rims detail.

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The Taurus Engine. ICM gives us two well-detailed banks of cylinders with a circular collector ring attached to the centre by three stators, plus a complex system of tubes installed around the circumference in between the cylinders.

The detail of the engine straight from the box is very good and that why I think that a engine bay open would be a great option.

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Sprue F

 

Constains the parts from the turret with inner carriage.

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Sprue extra: WWII British Torpedo Trailer

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Well, this is a kit itself. You don’t get only a detail torpedo but you also get the trailer. Very good addiction to help with a diorama. Very nice touch ICM.

 

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The clear parts

 

All the clear parts, and there are quite a few, are made with very good frame detail and they are in fact clear.

 

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The decal sheet

 One single almost A5 size sheet, with all the markings, insignias, instruments and several stencils.

 

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The colour and pigmentation looks quite good. I think that they are ICM productions and they usually work well.

 

Options given:

 

1.    Bristol Beaufort Mk. I N1089 or N1106 P, No.489 Sqn. RNZAF, Fall, 1941

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2.    Bristol Beaufort Mk. I L9802 GX-S, No.415 Sqn. RCAF, Thorney Island, November 1941

 

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3.    Bristol Beaufort Mk. I 753 O, 36 Coastal Flight SAAF, Wingfield, Capetown, Spring 1942

 

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4.    Bristol Beaufort Mk. I 761 W, 27 Coastal Flight SAAF, Spring 1942

 

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5.    Bristol Beaufort Mk. I N1030, No.149 Sqn. RCAF, British Columbia, June 1943

 

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Instructions:

It’s a booklet with 23 pages each the first 3 and the last 3 are in glossy paper and the remains one in normal paper. I do like the touch of glossy paper but for workbench (to take notes, to risk parts) I prefer the normal mate paper.

A very short historical note is given.

The drawings are quite easy to understand and very comphenensive, so it will be easy to follow even to the novice modeler.

 

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The colour indication of the interior parts could be a more clear one with a little more color indications.

About the colour to use, ICM give a table chart only with ICM colors, which is comprehensive as they launch their own colours… It would be nice to have the British Standard Colors indication.

 

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For the experience modeler, that lack of info is not a problem but for the others modelers that don’t have another colour manufacture reference or British Standard Colors, must get ICM colours. I think that is the ICM goal. I have no idea how those colour work however so I cant help with that.

 

A final really nice touch: masking template.

 

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While not a masking set, it`s an easy systm to get your canopy masked, better than make your own masking using the clear parts as guide with all the danger of ruin the clear parts.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Well, what a really nice kit.

 

As you can see, the cleaning parts are reduce to minimum, the fit (at least the dryfit of the main parts) is excellent and the surface detail is quite good and damn, its really looks like a Beaufort. Ther`s a lots of decals options in the market today if you don’t want a British dominions marking.

So you can get a really nice model straight from the box with the well-known high current ICM quality, even without any extra parts (resin or PE)

 

So, just go and get one and built it! You will enjoy.

 

My sincere thanks to ICM for the review sample.

You can get your ICM model kit on Art Scale Kit  - https://www.artscale.eu/

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