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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Valom Bristol Brigand B1

Now here is one that I really had a great deal of fun with. I was not expecting to, because Valom has got something of a rep for mediocre fit. I know that I’ve put the X8B back into the stash because it looked a bit daunting. But when I found one of these at a good price during the Great Models sale prior to the Sprue Bros takeover, I couldn’t resist. It is the Bristol Brigand, a large twin engine aircraft intended to replace the Beaufighter.

Now, what I really wanted was a Brigand B1, so I could put it into the stylish Black and MSG color scheme. Unfortunately, all that was available was a T4. But if Valom followed their usual style, I figured that the plastic would be the same in both boxes, and if I paid attention I could produce a B1 from any of the boxings (except for the Buckmaster, which has a different fuselage altogether). I had the Warpaint book and a decal set from Freightdog which had the markings I was interested in, so I dived in.

I think the biggest challenges on the build were getting the fuselage to close up around the cockpit and the nacelles around the engines. Still, this really just amounts to application of traditional modelling skills, so I shouldn’t complain. Everything else fit admirably, and even though I assembled the landing gear after the nacelles and wheel wells were done (the instructions want you to install the gear while putting together the wing) it was obvious enough that no problems were encountered. When I started the kit I wasn’t totally convinced that the indented riveting was going to work, but after a coat of paint I thought it looked very good indeed. If this kit represents the advance of skill that it appears to, then I am ready for the Bombay and Harrow when they finally appear. And I may just pull that X8B down again.

The Freightdog sheet is 72004S “Brits Abroad Pt 2”. Besides the Brigand, you get a Mosquito FB6, Beaufighter TF10, later Spits (PR19 and FR18), Tempest, and Sabre F4. The Brigand is from 84 Squadron RAF, stationed in Malaya in 1948. As always, the Freightdog decals performed well, not needing any setting solution.

Though my enthusiasm level for completed models can vary considerably, I was rather happy with how this one turned out. The color scheme, the troublefree building process, the unusual shape. And of course it fit into one of my main programmes, of postwar RAF aircraft.

This is completed model #403 (#28 for the year), finished in June of 2012.

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