Roden 1/72 Bristol F2B 'Brisfit'




$8.98  ($7.96 at Squadron)


six aircraft


Scott Van Aken




"The R.A.F. BE2c was the principal two-seat reconnaissance plane of the Royal Flying Corps, and its specifications seemed sufficient for the military authorities in the early part of WWI. However, the obsolescence of its design and the appearance of new machines in the adversary's air fleet made its replacement urgent. The unfavorable military situation, in which Britain had lost its initiative in the skies of the Western Front, forced the military command to look for support among private firms. One of them, the Bristol Aeroplane Company, had a project for the construction of a two-seat general-purpose aircraft, which could be, used both ways: as a reconnaissance plane, and also in the tight maneuvers of air battles.

The prototype F2A with a Rolls-Royce Falcon engine made its first flight in September 1916. By the end of the same year, 50 planes were transferred to 48 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. To start with, the F2A was used as a regular two-seat fighter plane and this led to fatal consequences: during the first operational flight four planes out of six were lost.

In spite of this initial failure, the Bristol Company obtained a new order - this time for 200 machines. After some minor design changes, the F2B appeared, receiving a simple name: "Fighter".

Along with the appearance of the F2B, the use of the plane changed - now it was flown according to the tactics developed for single-seat planes. However, the strength of its construction and its ability to defend the rear hemisphere were indisputable advantages of the design.

The F2B quickly became popular among its pilots who nicknamed this plane 'Brisfit'. The quantity of new machines was growing rapidly - soon these planes were delivered not only to Front Line units, but also to Home Defence.
However, numerous problems with the engine seriously held back attempts to increase production of the type. The Bristol Company was forced to look for a substitute for the Falcon. Attempts to fit Hispano Suiza, Puma and Sunbeam Arab engines all failed (only the last one of them was built as a series modification). For this reason most F2B Fighters had a Rolls-Royce Falcon engine.

Apart from on the Western Front, the Bristol Fighter was widely used in other theaters of war; in Italy and Palestine. Aircraft serving with Home Defence managed to shoot down at least two German Gotha G.V strategic bombers.

The most successful pilot to fly the Bristol F2B Fighter was the Canadian Andrew Edward McKeever - all of his 30 victories were won solely with this type. Another famous Canadian ace William Barker also flew the F2B. By the end of WWI the Bristol Company had received orders for 5,500 of these planes, 3,101 of which were transferred to combat units. After the Armistice, the additional contracts were cancelled. Altogether, taking into account later modifications and experimental examples, the total of machines built reached 4,747.

Apart from Great Britain, the Bristol F2B Fighter was used by the Air Forces of several other countries - Ireland, Poland, Belgium, Spain and Greece. Such British dominions as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the South African Union used the Bristol F2B Fighter in their air fleets.
Some of these planes remained in service until 1939. Thus, the Bristol F2B Fighter, designed during the WWI, faced another major world conflict, but this was a time for aircraft belonging to a new generation."

Thanks to Roden for the historical background.


The kit is molded in the usual light grey plastic. As is typical of Roden kits, there are a number of optional parts. The most amazing one is that you can build it with the engine cowlings removed. That is because it offers a full engine, complete with engine mounts and other framework. Those who wish to wimp out on this task, can still build it with a closed cowling. This will save on construction time as you obviously won't be needing all of the bits and pieces, just the main block to hold the exhaust and prop.

Other options for the kit are on the type of rear machine gun, exhaust, and prop. Of course, of the six markings options provided, some of them will require certain pieces to be most accurate. The aircraft also has a myriad of struts to install. I fear that the F2B is not exactly builder friendly in this regard as there is no really easy way to mold the struts except as separate items. Though a new kit, there is a touch of flash on some of the sprues, though it should be pretty easy to clean up. I saw no real problem with ejector pin marks or sink areas. Many of the parts are quite petite so care will need to be taken when removing them from the sprue.

Instructions are typically excellent showing all the needed modifications and choices for the specific version being modeled. One thing missing from this one is a rigging diagram. The box art and other references will have to suffice for this purpose. There are markings for six aircraft, most of them in matte green upper with linen lower flight surfaces. The engine area is in aluminum. Planes painted in this fashion are from 48 Sq, 11 Sq, 141 Sq (with nightfighter roundels), and 139 Sq. The aircraft with 1 Sq, Australian Flying Corps were based in Palestine so they have matte white fuselages. they also have a rather odd pattern of white on the upper wings. One has the lower left and upper right wing in white while the other has the lower left wing and the upper ailerons in white. Different to say the least! Decals are very well printed and appear to be quite thin. There is a full color markings and painting guide on the back of the box, which will be a huge help.


I'm sure that WWI aircraft fans will be very pleased with this kit. There have been kits of this plane done before by Airfix and Pegasus. However, those were all short run kits and while this one is by no means a simple kit (thanks to all the small parts) it will be a superior model when finished.

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