FROG F191, Bristol Beaufighter Mk.If/Mk.1/F.VIc/TF.X, Rovex industries ltd, 1969
NEW AND IN VIEW
NEW AIRCRAFT KITS
FROG. Bristol Beaufighter. 1/72 scale. Price 6|- (U.K.)
It is surprising that up to now the Beaufighter has been represented by but one kit. It is one of the best-known of all W.W.I I aircraft, and is surely familiar to even the youngest of modellers.
Frog's new kit fills this gap worthily on the whole, though it is not faultless. Alternative parts, including tailplanes, are included to enable the modeller to assemble any version of the Beaufighter, except for the ultimate T.F. Mk.10 with dorsal fin and thimble nose, while alternative armament is provided in the shape of rockets and a torpedo. Few kits offer so many alternatives — an excellent feature.
The main fault in Frog's Beaufighter is that the cowlings are too narrow. Unfortunately, there are few aircraft on which this particular error would be more apparent — the Beaufighter's whole appearance is dominated by those massive radials. As the diameter of the kits cowlings is too small by no less than 1/16" and as the gills are also inaccurate, it is best to replace the kit engines altogether by those from an Airfix Halifax or Stirling. If these are not available a great improvement in the kit cowlings can be made by wrapping two layers of .010" Plasticard around them, fairing this in at the front, and then opening out their forward ends and fitting new engines from the spares box. The kit's undercarriage is 1/16" too long, but this is readily remedied by shortening the legs at the top. The lower line of the rudder is also not quite right, but most modellers will ignore this minor error. In all other respects the model is accurate in outline.
Surface detail is excellent, the panel lines being very fine. The parts fit together well, except that some filling is required round the wing and tailplane root joints.
The transparancies are thin and clear; alternative dorsal enclosures are provided.
As usual with Frog kits, the decals are first-class. Alternative markings for three aircraft are provided, a Mk.1 night fighter of 604 squadron. They are well printed, matt finished, and adhere well.
Despite its faults this a very good kit, and well worth its price. With accurate cowlings it would have been first-class.
The IPMS magazine, AUGUST 1969 VOL. 6 No.8
Both the Airfix and Frog Beaufighter kits have slight faults. The Airfix version's forward fuselage is too square in section and its nose slightly short and incorrectly shaped; the wings are also a little wide at the root. Its cowlings are also inaccurate, a fault shared by the otherwise excellent Frog model. The cowlings of both kits are best replaced by those from either Airfix Stirling or Halifax kits, but if these are not available the kit cowlings may be improved a follows; wrap .010"plasticard twice round the cowling, making the butt joint along the line of the exhaust. Use liquid cement for attachment and fair in at front end. Drill out front of cowling and engine detail and replace with suitable engines from the spares box, also add new cooling gills made from plasticard. (These may be included with the outer layer of wrapping). Fourteen small bumps, one over each cylinder head, should also appear on the outside of the cowlings, but these are so small that all but the purist may ignore them. The undercarriages of both kits are about 1/16" too long, and need to be shortened. Profile No.137 contains many photographs which are an excellent guide for revising the cowlings and undercarriage.
The early Costal Command Beaufighters were in Dark Green/Dark Earth with Sky undersides (actually a Duck Egg Green shade). In 1941 these finishes changed to Dark Green/Dark Sea Grey/Sky or Dark Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey/Sky. Unfortunately, the shades of greys used on these aircraft are rather poorly recorded. In 1944 the upper surfaces of Mk.VIC's and Mk.X's were changed to one colour of grey — usually Ocean Grey-with Sky Type S undersides as shown in our drawing pages. At the end of the War and just afterwards many Beaufighters were seen in an Ocean Grey/White gloss finish. Aircraft so finished were of the last production batch with dorsal fins and thimble noses Unequal width red-white-blue roundels appeared above the wings and serial numbers (but no roundels) below. Two such aircraft were NT913 and SR919. Neither carried codes or unit insignia.
Night Fighter Beaufighters appeared initially in RDM 2 black matt overall, with off-white codes and serials (possibly Light Slate Grey). In 1941 the codes and serials were changed to dull red, many Beaufighter 1's being seen with mixed off-white codes and red serials and vice-versa. In 1942, with the introduction of the Mk. Vl's the general scheme was changed to overall Sea Grey Medium with Dark Green applied to a fized pattern over upper surfaces only, the undersides being Sea Grey Medium. On this finish red codes were retained and serials were seen in either dull red or matt black. Beaufighter night fighters in the Dark Gree/Sea Grey medium camouflage finish were used by the U.S.A.A.F. from bases in North Africa and Italy. Apart from the replacement of the R.A.F. roundels with the standard four-position stars and. bars, they retained R.A.F. colouring and serials. Their only squadron identification marking appears to have been a small number on the tip of the rudder as shown on our drawing. These were usually in white.
The Beaufighter carried a variety of external stores, including rockets or bombs and torpedoes, belly-mounted drop tanks on S.E.A.C. machines (not as far as we can ascertain used in Europe) and Target Towing equipment. Note that on the T.T. versions a small wire guard was fitted below the extreme rear fuselage (see our drawing of T.T.10), which can be made from heated stretched sprue.
The thimble-type centimetric nose radar is best represented by carving from wood though odd bits may be found in the spares box, such as a 1/48 scale spinner, which can be used as a basis on which body putty can be built up in layers. Other radar equipment, for example that on Mk.i's with the arrowhead radar in the nose with aerials in the leading edges of the wing and also sprouting from the top and bottom of the wing, can be made from heated stretched sprue.
The internal finish of the cockpits was usually medium green, though one or two all-black Mk.Vs had the cockpit interior similarly finished in matt black, as were the insides of the wheel wells. Later aircraft in the camouflaged greys and greens usually had the wheel door interiors painted to match the external undersurface paint but again variations on these were recorded, some being medium green and others in dull metal. Wheel hubs were usually dull metal and oleo legs either painted to match the undersides or in the case of Mk.1 N.F.'s, matt black with the moving oleo appear polished silver. '
The Beaufighter had a very characteristic 'sit', and it is essential to study photographs carefully to get the 'attitude' exactly right. The cowlings and undercarriage seem to be the most important focal points, and if these are suitably doctored a delightful model will result from either kit.
M.J.F. Bowyer's 'Fighting Colours' series of articles in Airfix Magazine are very useful for colour and general marking detail and these articles also contain many photographs and drawings. The December 1967 issue 'Fighters Overseas' covers early Beaufighters in the Mediterranean etc. May 1968's 'Night Fighters Supreme' features the Coastal Coastal Command variants.
The IPMS magazine, AUGUST 1969 VOL. 6 No.8
by James Goulding
FROG's long-awaited Beaufighter has now been released and although it is not without faults, it is the best Beau yet. Why avoidable errors are made in a kit of such a well-documented aeroplane is puzzling, but fortunately all can be rectified easily.
The worst fault concerns the engine cowlings, which are rather small in diameter. The standard Bristol Hercules power unit, which was produced as a complete assembly including cowlings, had an overall diameter of 53.4in—which in l/72nd scale is 0.74in (or close to Jin). In the Frog kit the cowlings are also tapered to provide a draw angle on the mould, yet Airfix has successfully used almost parallel sides in its kit.
Fortunately, when fitted to the model they do not look too incorrect, but a better solution is to use some of the engines from a cannibalised Airfix Halifax or Stirling kit. These fit very easily to the existing nacelles. Another idea is to use Revell or Airfix Lancaster Merlins to produce a Mkll conversion—although both of these require some modification to correct inherent faults. On the engines in the kit the cooling gills are shown slightly open, but I would rather see them closed. Kit manufacturers often do mould the gills in the open position, but this configuration was usually only seen during ground running or taxying.
The lower part of the rudder curves up too much, but can be improved by adding area with body putty. Another fault is that the undercarriage legs appear to be in the fully-extended position, without any load on them. They look somewhat stilty but can be shortened quite easily.
Now to survey the kit as a whole. Parts are provided to enable modellers produce one of three alternative versions of the Beau—an NF Mkl with small horizontal tailplane, an F MkVIC. and a TF MkX. Both of the last two types have the larger, dihedralled. tailplane. The later versions of the TF MkX had a large dorsal extension to the fin. This has not been included, but can easily be made from Plasti-card. Some TF MkXs had ailerons of increased area which produced a kink in the line of the trailing edge of the wing, but this would be rather difficult to model.
Two versions of the glazing over the observer's cockpit are provided, plus the moveable gun for the armed type. Torpedo and rocket installations are included. A delightful early radar aerial is provided for the NF Mkl, but I was sorry that the aerial arrays used on the wing leading edge were not also produced in the kit. The di-poles used, attached to the wing, can easily be made from bamboo.
Transfers are supplied for the three possible versions which can be made from the kit—an NF Mkl flown by (then) Fit Lt John Cunningham of 604 (F) Squadron, and F MkVIC from 277 Squadron in Malta, and a TF MkX from 235 Squadron, Coastal Command. There is unfortunately inconsistency in the colour guide on the back of the box, concerning John Cunningham's "Beau". The transfers are correct in showing Grey code letters with a type Al roundel, and Grey serials. The colour guide, however, shows Grey codes and serials, but with a Cl type roundel. When the types С and Cl roundels were introduced in late spring of 1942, all code letters and serials were also changed to Dull Red on bombers and night fighters as a general measure to make markings less conspicuous. If a type Cl roundel is used on the model, the transfer code letters and serials should be overpainted in Dull Red. On these colour guides it would be helpful to modellers, I feel, if the colours used were stated. In this case, the NF Mkl has a Night (black) or RDM2 (soot black) finish, the MkVIC Mid Stone and Dark Earth upper surfaces, with Azure Blue undersides, and the TF MkX the Temperate Sea scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey, with Sky undersides. I remember visiting Aston Down, near Stroud, Glos, and having a close look at one of John Cunningham's Beau-fighters. It had landed there for some unknown reason and was fully armed ready for combat. This Beau had the crude, sooty, RDM2 finish. If my memory serves me correctly, it also had a diamond-shaped mustard gas indicator panel on top of the fuselage just forward of the fin. The colour of this was a dirty yellowish shade. John Cunningham was already becoming well-known at that time as a night fighter pilot, and the ground crew at Aston Down were obviously excited about having the aeroplane there.
This then is a kit which can, in spite of its faults, be made into an excellent l/72nd model of this fine, rugged, fighter. Considering what is included in this kit, it is remarkable value at 6s.
AIRCRAFT Illustrated, October 1969
NEW to YOU?
MONTHLY REVIEW OF NEW PRODUCTS CONDUCTED BY BOB JONES OF I.P.M.S.
Bristol Beaufighter by Frog to 1/72nd scale. The kit includes optional parts, such as short and wide span horizontal and angled tail-planes, together with the two types of rear cupola common to the early and later Marks of the type.
Scale Models No.3 1969 DECEMBER Vol.1 No.3
RECENTLY ISSUED KITS
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Air Enthusiast 1971-07 vol.01 no.02
Aviation News Vol 2 Num 3 22 June-05 July 1973
Frog have recently started to follow the example set by Airfix several years ago by putting two kits in one box and including a combined display stand. The new offerings are called 'Combat Series' and the first three contain the Ju 88 and Spitfire 1A, the Bf 109F and Beaufort, and the Fwl90A and Beaufighter.
The twin-engined types in each box have the 'Spin-a-prop' motor and the box art is meant to be inserted into the plastic frame provided.
This series will, in the main, appeal more to the younger modeller as the aircraft kits are the standards from the Frog range. However, the Beaufighter, Beaufort and the three fighters can be made info reasonable replicas of the real thing and the latter trio is no better or worse than other manufacturers' attempts to capture the shape of the best-known wartime interceptors. We doubt, though, if many serious modellers will, unless they have not built either type in a given box, pay 99p for all the extra bits and pieces that will probably go straight into the spares box.
Frog are now marketing six of the popular types in their 1:72 scale range as the Combat Series. Shown is the Ju 88 and Spitfire.
Aviation News Vol 2 Num 3 22 June-05 July 1973