Pyro 1/48 Bristol Bulldog




$1.00 when new in the 60's


One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The Bristol Bulldog was the epitome of British fighters when it appeared in the early 1930s. As with many successful aircraft, it went through a variety of modifications, mostly having to do with the powerplant. Typical of the day, it was a steel tube construction, fabric covered with aluminum panels around the forward section of the fuselage. On the the Bulldog IIA, the engine was a Bristol Jupiter VIIF of 490 hp which allowed the aircraft to reach a top speed of 174 mph. Not fast by later standards, but perfectly adequate for the early '30s.

It carried a short wave radio set, which was most unusual for small aircraft. Armament was two Vickers .303 machine guns and it could also carry for 20 lb bombs should the need arise. The type was exported to a number of countries, most airframes being modified for specific engine types to meet local needs. A few were still around when WWII started, but by that time they were woefully obsolete and in second line units.



Though it may be difficult to believe, these old Pyro kits are still able to hold their own in today's modeling world. Much of that has to do with the fact that they are the only ones available in this scale. That is particularly true of the Bulldog. Of the usual raised panel lines, that isn't that much of a problem with these biplane kits as many of the 'panel lines' were actually areas where the fabric was sewn together. The fabric representation is the usual 'hills and valleys' but nothing too radical that a few minutes with some sandpaper won't fix. This particular kit has little flash,  a few sink areas and quite a few ejector pin marks to deal with.

The cockpit is quite minimal because it is supposed to be filled with the pilot figure. However it does have a seat, floor, control stick and instrument panel. Probably the fussiest part of the build will be the engine. Not only because it has no Townend ring cowling, but because all the little 'speed fairings' behind the cylinders are separate.

Instructions consist of an exploded view of the kit and the pieces. A written construction sequence is provided as well as a rigging sequence. Decals are large and rather well printed, though I'd hesitate to validate their viability after being around for 25 or so years!  Markings are for 32 Sq (thanks for the input, folks), which last I heard was running VIP birds out of Northolt. One thing you do get with this kit that is not usually provided nowadays is a display stand.



This kit has been reboxed by LifeLike and by Lindberg (who currently owns the molds), so it isn't impossible to find. With its relatively simple construct, it should be a welcome addition to anyone whose interests are in aircraft of the '30s.

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