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Weathering Fun

Tamiya 1/48 Bristol Beaufighter

n by Frank Spahr

The pugnacious Beaufighter had a long career and served in almost all theatres of war, first as a night fighter, then as a strike fighter, and eventually replaced the Beaufort as a torpedo bomber. While initially designed for pure fighter role, the performance of the Beaufighter was found somewhat lacking, and even the newer versions of the Hercules engines failed to significantly improve the aircraft. The faster Mosquito took over in the night-fighter role on the British isles during 1942. The RAF went on to use the Beaufighter in anti-shipping or ground attack roles. Many were operated by a variety of other air forces, including the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and South African Air Force, and most notably, the Royal Australian Air Force. Powerfully armed, fast at low level and very quiet in flight, it was there the Beaufighter really excelled in the ground-attack role and, as has been claimed since, earned a grim nickname from the Japanese, who called it Whispering Death.

This Australian-built Beaufighter belonged to No.93 Squadron RAAF based in Labuan, Borneo in 1945. The Australian machines differed from its RAF Mk. Xs by inclusion of the Sperry Autopilot, hidden under a angular  blister in front of the cockpit. Wing armament comprised four 0.50 calibre Brownings rather than the .303’s used in British aircraft.

I finally got around to completing my 1/48 Bristol Beaufighter. While the kit in itself is the proverbial Tamiya wunderkit, I needed more time to install all that Eduard photoetched bits and to allow for my usual clumsiness with some back-and-forthing.

Although this was meant to be a quick project, I couldn't resist adding some
Eduard photoetched parts in the cockpit.

I am quite sure there are goofs and mistakes visible on the photos, but well, I did it to the limit of my resources, abilities, references and determination. Originally it was meant to be a quick in-between project that's not too fiddly.

I left the kit rockets as they were, just added ignition wiring to the rear of the projectiles. I also left the rear navigation lights as they were, neither adding coloured position lights nor fairing them over, after studying the somewhat meagre references in my possession.

The wheels were flattened on our Ceran cooking stove - not for the faint of heart, but they sank down very nicely. And I was able to remove all the styrene from the ceramic glass with a blade. Phew ...

Weathering Fun

My major fun in this project was playing around with shades of green, and there are a number of shades of green in this green! I pre- and postshaded, I washed,  polished, used a fibreglass pen, pastels, you name it.

Well, it was fun as long as it lasted! Now I shall return to things naval, but in between I think I'll squeeze-in the Airfix Anti-Pesto van. Still got to have the right yucky shade of colour mixed for that one!

Have fun.

Additional images, click to enlarge


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