Airfix 1/48 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk1

  • Built: 2019
         Enhancements :  Eduard Interior and exterior details
  •                                    Landing Flaps: Eduard. 
  •                                    Gun barrels; Master Model
  •                                    Wheels; Barracuda Studios 
  •                                    Exhausts: Quickboost    
  •                                    Paint:  Gunze
    ​                                   Decals: Ropasmodels 
Airfix’s 1/48 Defiant, released in 2016, and purchased by myself soon after is what we have now come to expect from Airfix’s new line of kits.   Evocative box art, soft grey plastic, sharply printed decals and well illustrated  clear instructions outlining the different  ways you can complete your defiant, in flight, or wheels down, separate control surfaces, choice of open or closed canopy, this also extends to the turret, which can be modelled with the doors open, and raised or lowered turtledeck  (why are they called turtle decks?)
Neither the now obsolete Classic Airframes or Trumpeter kit offered that.

I decided that wasn’t enough for me though, so added Eduard’s flap set.  My search of defiant photos revealed a few on the ground with flaps cracked open, certainly not fully open as I have depicted, but that’s how I pictured I wanted the completed model to look.
Construction was fairly painless, fit being almost excellent.  I needed to trim the cockpit floor on one side as the wing assembly did not not quite close up snugly underneath the fuselage on one side.  The cowling also needed a bit of clamping, as again on one side I had a bit of a gap underneath the oil tank cover.  I can only surmise I had the floor slightly out of alignment.  The eduard set added the colour printed instrument panel and some side console detail plus the seat straps for pilot and gunner.  I have read some on line reviews bemoaning the simplified cockpit, to me, what you get in the box is fine, especially when dressed with the eduard PE.  The wheel wells also get a helping of PE around their walls which brings them to life.  The model built up quickly, the smallest amount of filler being needed around the tailplanes and the rear underside join of the power wings to the fuselage.  The PE flaps were folded up without difficulty (surprisingly for me) and offered up to the previously cut out kit flaps.  Some shimming was needed to spread the open areas of the rear wing to ensure the rear wall of the brass flap bay sat at the same level as the underside of the wing.  I should have taken my time a bit more here ensuring a better fit, and cutting out the slots for the flap actuators which I completely missed.
The machine gun barrels were cut off and the breeches drilled to take the sublime master Models barrels. I fit these wherever possible as they really add to the look of the model.  It would be icing on the cake if they came pre blackened!  The kit pitot tube was also replaced with Albion Alloys tubing.  Although there is nothing wrong with the kit wheels, being moulded as they are, weighted and with separate hubs, I had a set of Barracuda wheels in the box, so these were duly added.  Waste not, want not. The landing lights were not the best fit, so were fitted at this time, so they could be faired in prior to painting.

The turret popped into place without all the fuss, some other online and magazine builds report, but I was surprised to have trouble pushing the clear dome down onto the base, thinned white glue being required to fill the resultant small gap.

Painting was made easy using a set of camouflage masks from Mal Mayfield.  From the decal sheet, I had decided on an early war scheme with the black and white undersides and A type fuselage roundel to push home the early war use of this aircraft.  The decal manufacturer was new to me, I ended up using the kit roundels and codes and Ropos’  roundels looked a little bright, whilst the codes looked too pale.  The “T” was sourced from an Extradecal Medium Sea Grey RAF Codes sheet, as  With the multitude of decal sheets on the market, these generic sheets are not as probably as handy as they once were, but to me, they are still a must have in my decal bank for this very reason.  The only decals I used from were the serials and these performed fine, being quite thin.  No stencilling was applied to the underside as they would have all been overpainted when the undersides were done. AK panel line wash for brown/green aircraft was used as  a wash on the top surfaces.  Chipping was added using vallejo silver, whilst highly thinned tamely black was used for the exhaust stains.  Emboldened by watching Plasmo use his dremel to  surgically cut parts out, I set forth with my dremel to open up the kit exhausts.  30 seconds later, I was ordering quickboost  exhausts from BNA Modelworld. Rather than displaying the same skill as Plasmo, my exhausts looked like Dexter, the serial killer had gone to work on them.  You will need to cut off one of the locating tabs  in order to fit them into the airfoil slots.  Whilst you are ordering your exhausts, also order a set of landing gear covers, as the kit ones are overly thick and simplified, and do not portray the real ones very well.

Final assembly involved adding the undercarriage which fitted snugly into their respective sockets.  I was expecting a fight with the flaps and their tiny actuators, but was pleasantly surprised how easy they were to place.  In reality the actuators should fir in their respective slots, but I failed to cut out the ones on the bottom wing and clogged the flap ones with a thick coat of future I had applied to also act as a glue.  Therefore my actuators are a butt fit to wing and flap which is not correct for the real machine.
An  aerial line from EZ line  and a bit of sprue and punched plastic disc to represent the extended gunners footstep bought my first build for 2019 to a close. 

Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.1 264 SQN Royal Air Force. Biggin Hill. February 1940

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