16 years ago
I hit my local plastic emporium this morning to find the two latest
1/48 scale W.W.I aircraft issues from Roden on the shelf. First was a
variation of their Bristol F2B 2 seat fighter in it's Sunbeam Arab
engined version. Shortage of Rolls-Royce Falcon engines lead to this
version fitted with the Sunbeam Engine Company's Hispano-Suiza knock
off. Performance wasn't as good as the R-R engined ship but they were
issued to artillery spotting flights and recon units as their
performance was still better than the R.E.-8 aircraft they replaced.
The second kit is a rather esoteric bit of W.W.I history, a B.E.-12B.
The B.E.-12 was an attempt to create a single seat fighter to deal with
the Fokker Eindekker fighter using components of the B.E.-2 Corps
Reconnaissance aircraft. The B.E.-2 was the aircraft whose poor
defensive capabilities gave rise to the term "Fokker Fodder". The
B.E.-12 didn't fare much better over the Western Front and most ended up
being used as single seat bombing aircraft.
In an effort to find a quick answer to the Zeppelin and Gotha night
raiders attacking England a variation of the B.E.-12 re-engined with the
Hispano Suiza engine was created. Fitted with lighted instruments and
Holt Flare brackets and crude armament installations these went up into
the night sky to challenge the Zeppelins and Gotha bombers. And
occasionally they even got one!
Both kits are the kind of class moldings we have come to expect from
Roden. The Bristol kit includes all the parts from the original kit so
you can build a Rolls-Royce engined version if you happen to have some
left over "Brisfit" fighter decals around. There is a drawing for
rigging given and I would suggest a trained spider would be very handy
to have. :-)
The B.E.-12 kit suggests that kits of it's B.E.-2 forbears are also in
the works. Up to now the only kits available in 1/48 scale were the
Falcon Vac-u-form so this is a welcome kit.