ICM 1/48 Beaufort IA w' tropical filters
KIT #: 48311
PRICE: $65.00 delivered from Poland
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2022 release


Developed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber began to enter service with the RAF Coastal Command in late 1939. The aircraft was actively used to perform various tasks, and its peak production was up to 30 machines per month. Later the Bristol Beaufort was improved, the composition of armament and equipment changed. Most notably the US of Pratt & Whitney engines on later marks which came about thanks to Australian production, the Aussies unable to get British engines. Eventually British production started using them as well as they were more reliable.

The Mk.IA modification had a new machine gun turret, similar to the one installed on the Bristol Blenheim bomber. Also, ASV radars began to be installed on torpedo bombers, which were used to search for surface targets.

The type was widely used in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Here their targets were convoys of transport ships and warships of the Axis countries. They were also operated out of India against Japanese targets around Burma. Operation in high temperature conditions led to the use of modified carburetor air intakes on Beaufort engines, creating the Mk.IA.

This is ICM's second boxing of their recent Beaufort I kit, depicting the IA with the larger carb intakes. I'm not sure if the sprues are identical to the initial Mk.I boxing, but I'd be surprised if they were not. One does need to do a bit of planning, for if one wants to have things closed up (such as the bomb bay), then there are parts and steps that can be skipped. There are also pieces that are specific to the different camo options so for that reason alone, one really needs to be prepped beforehand (which means actually reading through the instructions before starting. This would be especially true if using aftermarket decals.

Some of the options are the use of the torpedo or not, the installation of the radar, and different flaps. While none of the options call for the undernose turret, that item is available and the instructions show it. Also different in some options is a dual nose machine gun. The kit provides separate exhaust pieces for the engines. If you are going to model the cowling closed, you can leave off these fussy items. The kit shows the flaps lowered, though all but one period photo that I found (and that one was under power), showed the flaps raised while on the ground.

As you'd expect, the interior is very nicely detailed and while the area behind the cockpit will be pretty much invisible when the kit is done, the cockpit won't so it is worth building up all the bits. There are short wing spars provided to help with aligning the wings.

Instructions are very good and use ICM, Revell, and Tamiya paint numbers. There are four options in a variety of camo schemes. The box art plane from an RAF training unit in Egypt is in dark earth and middlestone over azur blue. Another desert scheme plane, but with blue-grey undersides is from the India theater. There is one in dark blue and grey-blue over azure blue based in the Med during 1942 and the last one is in extra dark green and dark grey over azure blue with 217 squadron on Malta. I'd take some of these color choices with a grain of salt and do more research if the colors seem odd. The decal sheet is nicely done and in register.


This is an excellent kit. Those who have built one have been singing its praises. I appreciate that they provide a template for making your own canopy masks, though I'm not willing to go through the work of doing that and will wait for a commercially available set.

February 2023

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