Coastal Command Crusader: 1/48th Tamiya Beaufighter Mk.VI
Tamiya released their 1/48th scale Beaufighter duo starting in 1997 with the Mk.VI and adding the TF.X later. This offering has pretty much been it (aside form the Vacuformed Falcon kit) in 1/48th scale, for a couple of decades. The fit and detail are quite good so model makers of any skill level can get a nice kit display from the box.
Notable Kit Features:
Nicely detailed cockpit and upper gun /station
Finely engraved panel lines
Well fitting parts
I purchased another excellent decal set from Aviaeology, "RCAF Beaufighters Canadians in Coastal Command#1" for this project. I had a Tamiya Mk.VI in the stash (although the TF.X would have been ideal) As usual these decals come with excellent references and photos to build several iterations of this aircraft through its career with RCAF 404 Squadron.
Through its four years of wartime service RCAF 404 squadron faced many challenges, such as 18 base moves, while excelling in its duties, such as protecting the west flank of the D-Day invasion by taking on three deadly destroyers. The squadron also suffered greatly, Black Friday's loss of 6 of 11 aircraft during a mission on Friday February 9, 1945 was its worst day. During WWII, 404 Squadron's "Roll of Honour includes 116 names, commemorating those killed in action. Awards include two Distinguished Service Orders (DSO), one George Medal (GM), sixty Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC) and ten Distinguished Flying Medals (DFM).
My model of this Beaufighter aircraft is in the markings during the period from May 1944 to September 1944 when the squadron was based at RAF Davidstow Moor in Cornwall, England in support of D-Day and subsequent operations.
The elevator trim tab actuators are solid triangles and are a bit off in their placement (they should be replaced however I missed this modification in my build)
Select this link for one of the best Beaufighter builds I have seen.
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Filled in wing gun ports as well as shell ejector chutes on wings
Filled in landing lights on wings as these were overpainted by D-Day stripes
Scratch built cockpit air intake scoop on nose
Replaced exhaust inlet tubes (due to damaged parts)
Used Aviaeology decals www.aviaeology.com
I started the paint job with an undercoat of aluminum paint (for a check on how well the joins were filled as well as potential weathering to this base). Next the A.E.A.F (D-Day) stripes were painted as well as the front cowls. The underside colour was sprayed followed by the upper tone of Extra Dark Sea Gray, which was lightened to dark Sea Gray as this colour tended to fade during operations. In turn the paint tone would darken around filler and de-icer application areas (E.g. aft of the cockpit). As usual i used varied shades of the colour I was spraying to gain a weathering effect. Chipping of paint was done on some of the leading edges to reveal the under coat of aluminum. My standard gloss coat of Klear followed the paint process to ready the model for decal application and panel line washes. After I had all that set a final coat of matt was used to dull everything down and seal in the decals. The final details were added to get the kit shelf ready as part of my D-Day collection.
The After-Build Report:
The 1/48th scale Tamiya Beaufighter kit has been a welcome kit of this somewhat under-sung hero of WWII. It has very few assembly problems and offers typical good fit with a respectable level of detail in the parts. The more current 1/48th release of the Beaufighter by Revell bests this kit in a few areas related to details (but possibly not in fit) and offers model makers a choice of products to obtain their Beaufighter.
Completed build #224 - September 2019 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #61053 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers