Classic Airframes 1/48 Blenheim IV






Two  aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Multimedia short run kit


For all the early history of the aircraft, I'll let you read Tom Cleaver's preview of the Mk.I. The Mk.IV was an improvement over the earlier Mk.I and started entering service in early 1939 with 90 Sq. Among the improvements were a larger nose for the navigator and after the first 80 aircraft, additional fuel tanks in the wings to improve range. As the war progressed, other improvements like armor plating, an under-nose gun position and twin-gun turrets were added. An attempt at making it a night fighter was done adding a gun pack to the belly for four .303 machine guns, but it was not as successful as hoped. The first Mk.IVFs equipped 25 Squadron on 30 August, 1939.

A Mk.IV, N6215 from 139 Sq was the first British aircraft to cross the German border during WWII on 3 Sept, 1939 during a recce mission. 107 and 110 Sq bombers made the first British bombing raid of the war on the German fleet the next day. The Mk.IV went on to serve in a number of units both at home and overseas in the far east and in the desert. However, the Blenheim was pretty much a sitting duck without fighter escort unless flying where there were no enemy aircraft!  There were even attempts at making the Blenheim a ground attack aircraft, however it was just too slow for the task. The final home based Bomber Command mission was flown in late 1942, when they were replaced with Bostons and Mosquitos.

Overseas, they continued for a longer period until eventually replaced with more modern types. There are still several airframes extant, one of them being with the RAF collection, and the other with the Canadian AF collection. There is one flying version in the Duxford collection. Thanks to Andrew Johnson for that piece of information.


Again, I'll refer you back to Tom's review of the Mk.I as most of the parts are the same. Really, only the nose is that much different between the two types. Sure, there are some detail changes, but for the most part, they are the same kit. This one allows you to do both a bomber and night fighter. All of the interior parts as well as the engines are in resin. All the resin pieces, including heavy bits such as the wheel wells and engines are in one small bag and it is not unusual that several of the more delicate parts were broken off during shipment. Not sure what to say about this as it is something that Classic Airframes has always done. Guess it is a cost-cutting measure, but you'd think that they'd segregate the pieces into several bags. Of course it doesn't help that they are all in the box together and free to float around. All multimedia kit producers should take a lesson from Astrokit, who have an insert in the box to keep the different bags of bits from contact with each other.

Anyway, I have an image of the major differences to the right. As you can see, the transparences are completely different on this kit. The entire nose is a clear piece and is separated into left and right pieces. This does make molding a rather easy thing, but makes hiding the seam a bit more difficult than usual. Of course, I'm just happy that it isn't a vacuformed piece! There is one vac bit and that is the lower nose turret. There is a second type included in the kit, but it isn't for either of the decal options.

As you can see, there is also new resin nose bits and a resin gun pack for the night fighter. All the resin pieces have blocks that must be removed. Some of these blocks are rather large and will take time to cut away.

The instruction sheet is 8 small pages and gives 20 construction steps. The construction sequence is very straight forward with all needed colors shown in each step. As with all short run kits, the builder will have to do some work to ensure that all the bits fit without any real problem. One thing that CA continues to do that I personally don't like is to have a separate prop hub and blades. Frankly, I have never liked this feature and is only offers me an additional way to screw things up!

OK, now, what about the markings given. You get two aircraft to choose from. One is a Bomber Command aircraft from 105 Sq in colors for operating over the oceans of Extra Dark Sea Grey and Slate Grey over sky. The other is a night fighter from 68 squadron in overall night. Both are from the 1941 time period when the Blenheim IV was still in wide-spread use.

It should build into a very nice kit. Tom really liked his Mk.Is and Airway Graphics is coming out with a new sheet for the Blenheim that will surely include schemes for the Mk.IV.

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!

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