Defiance Two: 1/48th Classic Airframes Defiant
I will keep this 1/48th Classic Airframes Defiant review short, as the new (2016) Airfix and Trumpeter releases will certainly eclipse this 1995 kit. This is a short-run multi-media kit, which can be built into a nice display, however it does take some work. (The 2004 Classic Airframes releases were improved versions over the originals.)
Notable Kit Features:
Nicely detailed resin cockpit
Good turret detail
Fine recessed panel lines
Photo-etch details included
Thin acetate canopy
By 1941 the Defiant squadrons were relegated to the night-fighter roles, being outmatched as a day-fighter with its odd format of no forward firing guns, a heavy turret with a second crew member (being a bit much for a single seat fighter). DZ-Z of 151 Sqn. was in use in this role, however by late 1941, the Defiants were replaced by DH Mosquitos and this aircraft was allocated to No.10 Air Gunners School at Walney Island. The aircraft suffered a crash on a ferry flight on October 24th 1942, killing the sole occupant, Flight Sgt. Goulter, who was buried in Barrow-on-Furness. Parts of this aircraft were excavated and recovered in 2002.
For decades the only 1/48 scale Defiant was the old Classic Airframes mixed-media kit. However, Airfix, and Trumpeter, both released new kits in 2016. This first release (1995) of Classic Airframes Defiant (95-404) has a few issues, including some shape issues. The latter (2004) releases, (there are two versions the Mk. I & Mk. II) not only correct the shape issues, more details were added in the cockpit, turret ring, and the main wheel wells. Improvements were also made to Classic Airframes' finely scribed panel lines and details. Unfortunately the canopy glass was heavier, and still a single piece, so little detail in the improved cockpit can be seen. Oddly, it seems the photo-etch is not present in the later Mk. I kit release.
Clean-up of parts & careful dry-fitting is a must with this kit
Little detail in the wheel wells
Turret sits too high above the canopy (requires sanding down of glass and resin part to fit properly)
Once piece canopy (So that cockpit won't be seen too well)
Landing light lenses are larger than their openings (never got around to resolving this - ideally you should expand the light recess in the wing to fit the glass covers)
Main undercarriage legs don't fit well into resin wheel wells
No locator positions for gear retractor arms (so check your references)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Kit was built out of the box
At least the paint job was relatively simple, as it consisted of night-fighter black. The tones of black were varied during airbrushing to present a weathered look. Exhaust staining was achieved with dry Tempera black brushed on. Kit decals were used.
The After-Build Report:
Construction of a multi-media kit is still more challenging than a typical mainstream injection molded kit, however, nothing beyond the talents of an experienced modeller, who is willing to take the time to properly prepare the parts and test fit. Having said that, Airfix's or Trumpeter's relatively new release seems the better kit offering and I recommend either of these kits over the Classic Airframes version (unless you already have it in your stash and have some patience to build it.)
Completed build #132 - May 2011 using the 1/48th scale Classic Airframes #95-404 3995 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 suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers