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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Airfix Bristol Blenheim

We now come to the sad tale of the Airfix Blenheim.

Since I do like early war aircraft, I was glad to see the recent Airfix releases of the Do-17, ragwing Hurricane, and Blenheim, especially given the overall quality of the last few Airfix kits that I had built. So it wasn't too long after I acquired the beastie that it found a place in my production queue.

And here my troubles began. I believe the origin was in my creation of the pilot seat. It is in multiple pieces, and (IMO) is not very well explained in the instructions. So of course I got it wrong, leading to the seat itself being too wide. There is so little room in the cockpit that such an error pushes other bits out of proper alignment. This lack of internal alignment exponentially increases the main difficulty of the kit: the canopy is in 3 pieces that don't really want to cooperate with each other. Even if they did, getting a good bond between all those clear bits is extremely difficult without glue damaging the clear panes. Then, as a final insult, once you get the cockpit enclosure together, it really does not want to fit onto the rest of the fuselage. Worse, the multipart nacelles and the engines - especially the forward exhaust ring - just don't want to cooperate either. 

I can fess up to many of these failings being my own. I have seen the kit built by better modellers (one actually won Best Aircraft at the recent IPMS-Seattle Spring Show) and those skilled fellows can turn it into a show-stopper. But for me it was practically a construction-stopper with a short sharp shock and a trip to a local landfill.

But my credo for this blog is to finish what I started, so I labored on to the end of the process. It is definitely a model that will be assigned a dark corner of the display cabinet. To put a bitter coda on the experience, I still had only semigloss sealer at the time this one was finished, so the model ended up being too glossy as well.

Time to concentrate on Hurricanes (which is a wonderully engineered little beauty), though this does make me suspicious of the Do-17.

This is completed aircraft #462 (#29 for the year), finished in April of 2016.


  1. agreed..terrible kit.. this doesn't look too bad a result. As for the engines they build up OK if the cowl is constructed first, engine inserted afterwards - then the surgery doesn't really notice!

  2. I know I did something wonky with the engine nacelles. But by that point I was about 30 seconds away from lighting it on fire.