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Blenheim Mk.I

Classic Airframes 1/48 Blenheim Mk.I/Mk.IF Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2007 Manufacturer Classic Airframes
Subject Blenheim Mk.I/Mk.IF Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4137 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Nice detailing, especially with the resin castings Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Blenheim Mk.I
Blenheim Mk.I
Blenheim Mk.I
Blenheim Mk.I
Blenheim Mk.I
Blenheim Mk.I
Blenheim Mk.I

The Bristol Blenheim started its existence as the Type 142, a six-seat executive aircraft built for Lord Rothermere, owner of the newspaper Daily Mail. A strong proponent of aviation, Lord Rothermere wanted to prove that Britain could build an aircraft as effective as Douglas' new DC-1. When the Type 142 first flew in April 1935, the twin-engined aircraft was 50 mph faster than Britain's newest fighter prototype.

The RAF seized on the design, and the resulting Type 142M became the now-famous Bristol Blenheim Mk.I. The Mk.I was powered by two Bristol Mercury VIII engines rated at 840 hp each.

Longer range requirements led to a longer-nosed version with increased internal fuel capacity, strengthened landing gear, and powered by the Mercury XV engine of 920 hp. This new version was initially designated Bolingbroke Mk.I, but became instead the Blenheim Mk.IV.

When the fighting began with Nazi Germany, the RAF had already replaced the Blenheim Mk.Is in its front-line units with the Mk.IV. Mk.Is soldiered on in allied air forces as well as with British forces in North Africa.

Blenheim Mk.IF and Mk.IVF versions became nightfighters, carrying a bellypack of four fixed, forward-firing Browning machine guns. These aircraft would also become test and operational platforms for early airborne radar as well.

When Classic Airframes first released this kit, it represented a great example of the continuous improvement the company has applied to its kit design and manufacturing processes. Since this kit has been out of production for a while, you might expect that the kit would be the same as before and not up to current practice, right? Wrong!

While the plastic is still the same, Classic Airframes has improved this model based on current practices and your feedback. The two major improvements in this kit are:

  1. The clear parts are thinner and clearer
  2. The resin wheel wells that were such a pain to trim and install have been redone and should be more of a drop-in fit

Classic Airframes reissued both the Mk.I and Mk.IV/F versions of the kit, both with the same improvements. If you own one or more of the earlier releases, sorry, but you cannot request the new parts to update your existing kit(s).

The decals in this kit provide markings for five examples:

  • Blenheim Mk.IF, L1336, 248 Sqn, WR-E, RAF, Hendon, 1939
  • Blenheim Mk.I, K7107, 30 Sqn, VT-B, RAF, Ismailia, Egypt, 1940
  • Blenheim Mk.I, L1134, 62 Sqn, PT-F, RAF, Alor Star, Malaya, 1941
  • Blenheim Mk.I, BL-136, 2/LeLv 42, Luonetjarvi, Heinakuum Finland, 1941
  • Blenheim Mk.I, 17, Rumanian AF, 1941

I'm glad to see this kit back out again, and especially with the updated canopy and wheel wells! This kit is still a natural to be sitting next to the Tamiya Mosquito and Beaufighter on your shelf.

I highly recommended this kit to intermediate/advanced modelers.

My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!