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Revell 1/32 Beaufighter Mk.IF Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review April 2009 Manufacturer Revell
Subject Beaufighter Mk.IF Scale 1/32
Kit Number H251 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice, large and easy built British heavy night fighter Cons Raised panel lines may not please some modelers
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The Bristol Beaufighter actually began as a hybrid development of an earlier Bristol bomber, the Beaufort. Designed as a private venture, the Beaufighter was to be a large, cannon-armed fighter which could be built on the Beaufort jigs. The short, blunted nose of the new fighter was necessary because of the large diameter (12’ 9”) of the propellers, but this resulted in an excellent forward view for the pilot.

The prototype Beaufighter made it’s maiden flight on July 17th, 1939, and initial deliveries to the Royal Air Force began a year later. The Battle of Britain was at its peak when the Beaufighter arrived on the scene. The big fighter rapidly gained popularity among its pilots for it’s fighting abilities, although it did display some tricky characteristics during take-offs. Demand for the fighter was so great that many of the planes were assembled by Fairey in addition to Bristol.

An interesting feature of the Beaufighter was the system for emergency exit from the plane. Two hatches were located in the belly of the fuselage which balanced and pivoted horizontally. A quick-release opened the hatches and the slipstream locked them in place creating a dead-air zone through which the two crewmen could safely drop at speeds up to 400 mph.

Six machine guns were mounted in the wings, four in the right wing and two in the left. In addition, four 20mm cannon were carried under the nose giving a combined firepower of 780lbs of bullets per minute, thus making the Beaufighter the most heavily armed fighter in the world at that time.

This kit is from Revell of Japan and has a copyright date of 1974. It comes in a long, sturdy tray and lid type box.

The boxart shows two Beaufighters flying over the white cliffs of Dover. The aircraft in the foreground is the mount of Group Captain John Cunningham (fuselage code NG roundel R). It is in overall jet black with the tricolor tail flash, white forward cowl rings and the number 3 in white on the sides of the cowlings. However, it is mentioned in the instructions that this number was not carried on the plane when Cunningham later flew it. The fuselage letters are in gray. The Beaufighter in the background is also jet black and carries the fuselage code NG roundel B. Although the letters on the decal sheet can be assembled for this one in the background, there is NO tail serial number provided for it.

A side-panel of the box has 5 color walk-around shots of the model made up, next to a 2 paragraph history of the Beaufighter, the copyright date of 1974-75 and that the kit was made in Japan. Features of the kit are listed here also: highly detailed instrument panel, two detailed Bristol Hercules engines with removable cowlings, two crew figures in authentic flight gear, movable propellers and wheels, clear cockpit canopy and lights, rear bubble canopy with radio operator, radar antenna and official markings of Flt/Lt. John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham, RAF.

The other side-panel has color boxarts of 4 other 1/32nd scale aircraft kits that Revell marketed: a Messerschmitt Bf-110C-4/C-4B, a F-4E Phantom, a Mirage III and a Harrier (kit no’s. are not given for these).

Inside the box are 8 trees of jet black parts in 2 sealed cello bags. There is one clear parts tree, the decal sheet and 2 sets of instructions (one in English and one in all Japanese).

The English instructions consist of eight pages in 8 ½” x 11” format, printed on one side only each and then stapled together in one corner.

Page one of this set of instructions has the history of the Beaufighter next to a 2 view (top and side) line drawing of Cunningham’s Beaufighter, along with a color listing for parts of the aircraft that were not all black. These colors are called out with FS numbers and the address of the General Services Administration is provided to go to and get a FS number listing (FS=Federal Standard).

Page two begins with BEFORE YOU BEGIN instructions that have small illustrations of assembly methods and HELPFUL MODELING HINTS. This is followed by the first two assembly step drawings.

Pages three through eight give a balance of a total of nine assembly step drawings. In step nine, decal application is also shown. Part number names are provided in each step along with written sequential instructions of how to assemble the parts. Good move  Revell! Colors are called out in each step also.

The all Japanese instructions consists of a HUGE staple bound booklet of 16 ½” x 11 ¾” page format. Printed partially in color (the title page).

The title page has a very inky picture of the model made up, above a side profile of Cunningham’s aircraft. Here there is a conflict. It shows the fuselage letter code on the starboard (right) side of the fuselage as being R roundel NG. The black and white line drawing on the English instructions has it as being NG roundel R on that side. The boxart shows it as NG roundel R on the port (left) side??? Makes one wonder which is correct??

Page two of the all Japanese giant instructions begins with a black and white actual photo of a Beaufighter sitting on a runway. It is in daytime camouflage of a wave pattern of 2 colors above (not sure WHAT COLORS) over a light colored bottom. You can only make out the first letter of the fuselage code. It is W roundel ?, and the serial number is R2153. This is not on the decal sheet in the kit. Below this photo is the history of the Beaufighter in Japanese only.

Page three has a 4 view drawing of a Beaufighter in daytime camouflage. It has the fuselage code PN roundel B on the port side and B roundel PN on the starboard side. It’s serial number is R2192. This marking is on the decal sheet. Since the labels on these drawings are all in Japanese, I cannot tell what colors are being mentioned.

Page four through page seven has a total of 8 assembly step drawings. Each are titled as what part of the aircraft is being assembled. Example: WING ASSEMBLY.

The bottom of page seven has a black and white photo of Revell’s Bf-110G-4 made up next to a black and white photo of this Beaufighter kit completed in Cunningham’s scheme.

Page eight is the parts tree illustrations, with the part names called out in Japanese below the illustrations. Parts are numbered in these illustrations and on the trees. However, the trees are not alphabetized. This means searching each tree for the part number needed. An extra step, that would have been not needed if the trees were alphabetized.

The interior has some nice rudimentary detail, but those of us with AMS will probably want to add more. Wires and plumbing added to the engine cylinders would also enhance detail there too.

The largest black tree of parts holds: the propellers, wheels, engine cylinders, landing gear struts, instrument panel, bulkhead, cowling parts etc. (51 parts)

The next black tree has two outer wing panel halves on it.

The second largest black tree has the parts of the horizontal tail surfaces, ruder, tail wheel, radar antenna, cowling fronts etc. (29 parts)

Next is the tree with the two fuselage halves on it.

This is followed by the black tree with the cockpit floor, crew figures and cowling parts on it. (11 parts)

The next two black trees hold the upper and lower halves of the center wing sections. One of these trees also holds some cowl parts. (5 parts) The other tree just has two parts on it.

The final black tree holds the other upper and lower outer wing halves.

The clear tree holds the cockpit transparency, the radar operators blister canopy and wing lights. (7 Parts)

The large decal sheet completes the kits contents.

The detail on this kit is mostly of the raised panel line variety. The kit is currently out of production in this boxart and decal options. However, Revell of Germany markets a 1/32nd scale Beaufighter Mk.1C/NF.1 as kit no REV04756.