AIR: Review - Airfix 1/48 scale Battle of Britain Gift Set - Ready for Battle

Kit Review: Airfix 1/48 scale kit No. A50172; Battle of Britain - Ready For Battle Gift Set; 466 parts(419 in grey styrene, 26 in clear styrene, 1 len
gth of black vinyl hose, 2 tubes of Humbrol cement, 2 paint brushes, 16 tub s of acrylic paint); retail price US$41.99
Advantages: Diorama in a box!
Disadvantages: few noted (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Battle of Britain and softskin vehicle fans buildin g in 1/48 scale
    Forty-six years ago I heard of a new film which, as a fervent 1/72 scale a ircraft modeler at that time, that I really needed to see. The film was "Ba ttle of Britain" in which Albert "Cubby" Broccoli had gone out of his way t o make the most accurate war film of the day with nearly 110 original (more or less!) aircraft and a superb cast of "A" list British actors and an equ ally good German cast. While the film did stretch a few points, it was rela tively faithful to its subject and still has the best RAF vs. Luftwaffe sce nes from any film, period. I saw it seven times in between attending Vietna mese language classes.
    The best British pattern kits of the day were those from Airfix, and they were producing very good kits at that time such as their Stirling and Hampd en bombers and a number of other interesting kits like fuel bowser and airf ield support vehicle sets. I built all of them (alas, the aircraft melted i n my car during an inspection due to El Paso Texas having 100+ degree tempe ratures in the summer!) and still fondly remember them today.
    Over the years Airfix has had its ups and downs but right now their 1/48 a ircraft in particular mark a major upswing in quality and accuracy. And rig ht in time for the 75th Anniversary of the Battle they are releasing some n ice new kits, of which this gift set is a real gem.
    This single point of purchase set includes a very well done Hawker Hurrica ne Mark I, an Albion 3-Point Fueller (petrol bowser), a Bedford MWD light t ruck, an oil bowser, a Trolley Accumulator (starter cart), an ammunition ca rt, wheel chocks, accessories, and a set of ten figures - two pilots and ei ght ground crew (plus another pilot in the Hurricane) and even a dog. As it seems to be oriented at the casual hobbyist the box is nearly complete as it also provides two small tubes of Humbrol Poly Cement, a large and small paint brush, and 16 10cc tubs of Humbrol acrylic paint in various appropria te colors. All of this is covered in a very thick and complete 42-page inst ruction manual. Color is used for the painting sections as well as highligh ting some subassemblies.
    The Hurricane I consists of 128 parts and provides a large number of optio ns such as wheels extended or retracted, two different styles of propeller and spinner, optional parts for a Sea Hurricane I and a sand filter (not us ed in this kit), closed or open cockpit, and closed or open gun bays with e ight .303 gun breeches. The modeler must cut open the gun bay doors and rem ove them but scribed lines are provided inside the wing for their removal, and a complete set of replacement door sections come on the parts sprues.
    A relatively complete interior (at least from what is visible through the canopy and wheel wells) is provided and is very nicely done. The model also permits posing all of the control surfaces as the modeler desires. (I do t hink as an inside joke someone has shown the pilot figure wearing glasses!)
    Only one set of markings is provided - P3522 serving as GZ-V of 32 Squadro n at RAF Biggin Hill in July 1940. This is shown in the dark green/dark ear th/sky pattern of the day.
    The Bedford MWD kit consists of 95 parts and also comes with several optio ns for assembly to include open, cab roof, or full tilt with two different attachment schemes to tie the tilt to the body. It includes a basic engine of two parts, full driveline, and "flattened" tactical tires. It does provi de pedals and shifter inside the cab and a rifle rack too.
    There is an inspection panel inside the body which may be displayed open a nd the hood (bonnet) may be shown either closed or open. Several different light/bridging plate options are available for the grille.
    There are two different tailgates - one up and one down - and both are dif ferent so much be chosen to match the builder's wishes. A rear flap may be installed down or furled as well. Canvas doors and folding windscreens comp lete the build.
    The MWD is shown in two color camo of dark green over khaki with dun color canvas.
    The Albion consists of 114 parts and also provides various options for con struction. It too comes with an engine and full driveline but "street" tire s with civilian tread pattern (and unflattened). This vehicle has a decal f or the dash panel and some interior detailing as well. The offside door is able to be either opened or closed, but the driver's side is provided only in the closed position.
    The fuel tank section comes with a pump and control section and fittings f or three separate fuelling booms with hoses. The pump section may be closed up or shown with the doors open. Each boom has a hose attached to it (one was broken in my kit but both sections were present) and they may be instal led pointing in three different directions.
    The Albion is also shown as dark green over khaki (light olive in the dire ctions).
    The ground crew figures all come with separate arms and some with separate legs and most have two heads - either one in sidecap or in "tin hats". The y include a mechanic with tool box, three fuellers, two armorers with .303 belts, two figures moving - one in coveralls and one in blue uniform, and t wo pilots in "scramble' mode with one with flight helmet and one bareheaded . A dog is provided but of all the figures looks more like a miniature moos e than a spaniel! Some care and careful painting may give him a better look .
    The oil bowser consists of nine parts and comes with the "pub tap" type of pump handle.
    The trolley accumulator comes with an option of either batteries alone (se aled) or with a "donkey engine" on top for starter power. It consists of 15 parts.
    The ammunition trolley consists of 19 parts and comes with a pair of "flim sies", two thermos like items, two spare .303 machine guns, and two ammo ch ests.
    The last items in the kit are four single wheel chocks and a pair of linke d chocks.
    Overall this kit is quite impressive and while aimed at the casual "Hey, I 'll give this a go!" modeler there is plenty here for the more advanced mod eler as well. Well done Airfix!
Cookie Sewell
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