Valom 1/72 Brigand Mk.1
KIT #: 72030
PRICE: 35.99 Sterling
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Short run with resin and photo etch parts

HISTORY

The history in detail of the Brigand in RAF service has already appeared in part of the Preview of this kit by Scott Van Aken and also earlier in the history part of the kit build that I have compiled when I built the Brigand in vac form. However it may be of benefit to recall part of its history. The
Bristol Brigand was a twin-engine, 3-seat mid wing aircraft. It was powered by two radial engines 18 cylinder radial piston engines, Bristol Centaurus 57 of 2,470 Horse Power each. It carried an armament of four fixed 20 mm caliber machine guns in the nose. It also carried eight unguided rockets under the wings or a total of two 1,000 lb bombs. 147 Brigands were produced, including prototypes until production ceased in spring 1949. It was taken out of operational service in March 1958 when the OCU No 238 was disbanded. It remains known for its role in Malayan Emergency of the 1950s and it also served in the Middle East and Ceylon.
THE KIT

 

This is the first time that the Brigand appeared in injection-molded form in 1/72 scale as the previous form that it existed was as a vac-form kit. Valom has now produced yet another interesting subject with an impressive, nice looking twin-engine combat aircraft. The open-ended box contains 3 full size sprues in gray plastic with parts having nicely molded surface detail. There is one clear sprue for the canopies and wing tip lights. A photo brass etch fret contains tiny detail parts as instruments for the console, aerials and seat belts for the three crew seats besides other items and a separate bag has resin detail parts as intake scoops and radial engine rows of pistons. Of the two clear canopies that come with the kit only one is the correct type for use on the B Mk1. This is easily recognizable from the other which apparently caters for a different version that caries a rear gunner and comes in a different packing.

 

The instructions come on three folded and double-sided A4 sheets. A very clear picture of the Brigand appears on the open-ended box cover, which proved to be very useful when it came to detailing the model. The instructions also contain a short history of the type in both Czech and English, a detail sequence of construction in 25 stages and there is a decal guide for the two schemes offered in full color. There are also three reference black and white clear photos including those of the cockpit and the engines. One sheet of the instructions is devoted to color equivalents of 5 different call-outs that include Model Master and Humbrol.

 

My only reservations with the instructions, in spite that they are so comprehensive, is that it lacked  the exact placement  of certain items as the rocket rails and undercarriage detail parts inside the wheel well. Opposed to this I like the fine engraved panel lines and flush rivets on the surface of parts and also the parts have thin sprue attachments which is not so common on short run kits. The resin parts are also flawlessly molded and very well done.
CONSTRUCTION

Construction begins with the interior of cockpit, which consists of side instrument panel plastic parts, photo etch for main instrument panel, seat belts and control column, rudder foot pedals, crew seats. These are all inserted in their respective place. There is a cockpit floor, bulkhead and position for the three-crew seat arrangement making a complete interior layout under a one-piece canopy.  The interior is painted cockpit green and instruments in black, seats in dark gray and seat belts light khaki. The tail wheel well detail part was glued in place and the fuselage is closed. The next stage is assembling the wings. These are split into lower and upper halves with precise fitting of the separate bulky engine nacelles. There are no locating pins and some care is required when fitting the nacelle parts together, otherwise these align very well and no filler is needed at the joint. The beautifully molded resin engines that are fixed on a firewall and they slid nicely when inserted inside the cowlings making them look so realistic. The resin engine had a hole drilled to take the shaft of the propeller. For a more authentic look a frontal cooling fan is added. I cut two clear round Perspex pieces the size of a Eurocent with a hole in center. This had radial lines scribed on it, which are filled with black ink. One was fitted inside each of the cowlings. Being a clear piece this did not hide the wealth of detail on the engines. The spinner could then be put in place.

 

The landing gear also has ample of detail and adequate wheel track but looking hindsight I should have added a 1mm thick central piece to widen the wheels and make them fit snugly. I had to drill a hole and fit a shaft that allows it to fit between the landing gear oleo. Turning to the nose area I also found that it was convenient to fit the gun tubes inside the nose after the fuselage was complete with the cockpit floor etc cemented and closed. When the tubes were secure in place I then drilled two adjacent 1mm holes, one next to the other forming the ports for all four machine guns. The rest of assembly went on smoothly including fitting the detailed twin fin and rudders. Close study of photos I had and also the superb artwork on box cover revealed several fiddly bits. The top of nacelle had two small outlet scoops and the ailerons also had two actuator fairings. These I added to both wing tops using scrap plastic shaped accordingly. The rear of wing tips and middle of tail fin had protruding lights bits. I also added antennae and aerials and under wing pitot tube from thin wire and metal pins I found that these could stand handling without bending or breaking. These conformed in size to the ones represented on the brass etch fret. In the end I fitted the 8 under wing rocket rails.
COLORS & MARKINGS

There are two markings options.  Both have black undersurfaces. The main difference is that one has white upper surfaces and the other medium gray upper. The kit states it is extra dark sea gray which in my opinion will be too dark for this type. The aircraft VS584 G is also depicted on the box cover and belongs to 84 Squadron in Malaya. The former option is RH764 B from 8 Squadron in Aden. It has the low demarcation line of the white/black color scheme differs from the other and makes it attractive too. I did not choose to do this one as it has the same markings as the vac-form kit I made some time ago. I first applied the gloss black using Humbrol brand. When this was dry another smooth coat was applied, the under surfaces and the canopy were then masked and all upper surfaces airbrushed in medium gray Tamiya XF-21. Printing and quality of decals is nicely done. I applied decals using the conventional method, i.e. slide the wet decal into place, blot away excess water and apply setting solution as needed. When the decal is dry Klear liquid was applied to seal it in place. As I have already fixed the under wing rocket rails I had to carefully slice the white serial number to fit in between the rails. One can place the decals first and then fit the rails afterwards. The kit was finally given an overall coat of semi matt Mode Master varnish. The 8 rockets were carefully glued in place as a last resort.
CONCLUSIONS

 

I enjoyed the building process and the look of the finished Brigand. It made a great pair when placed on the shelf next to the other Brigand I made, alternatively one can place it next to a Beaufighter from which it has evolved. Well-done Valom, a nice fitting kit with highly detailed parts. 

Carmel J. Attard

December 2009

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