Classic Airframes 1/48 Fairey Battle Trainer
The history of the Fairey Battle is described in the Fairey Battle Mk.I build-up review elsewhere in this issue. Needless to say, the Battle continued its service to satisfy a variety of utility needs - one of these was to fulfill a trainer requirement. As new pilots entered the RAF training pipeline from around the world, they needed to advance into more complex aircraft (retractable gear, variable pitch propellers, increased horsepower, etc.). The Battle satisfied all of these requirements, and had the advantage of familiarizing the student with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine that powered so many of the RAF's fleet.
The Classic Airframes Battle is comprised of injected plastic parts, resin details, vacuformed canopies, and Microscale decals. The primary airframe pieces are molded in plastic, whilst the cockpit tubs and other details are cast in resin. And in Classic Airframes trademark fashion, two vac canopies are provided, one to build and one 'just in case.'
As with any limited production kit, the fit is not as precise or as tight as those from the major producers, but the Battle fits together as nicely as I've seen limited run kits. Care must be taken to trim off the injector pin stubs and to take your time in assembling this kit. As I described in the other Battle review, doing a good job of dry-fitting and filing/trimming will assure a good fit of the major subassemblies.
The two main injection plastic part trees are identical to the original Battle Mk.I kit. One additional 'mini-tree' is provided for the revised turtledeck that houses the second cockpit. The resin parts are likewise revised to provide duplicate sidewalls, instrument panel, etc., for the second cockpit. My example had three pair of vacuformed canopies.
Pay close attention to the bulkheads in the wheel wells. Good placement of the angled interior bulkhead will ensure a good mechanical fit of the landing gear. Likewise, close attention to the fit of the wing halves around the wheel wells will also help ensure a great fit when the wings are joined to the fuselage.
Markings are provided for two different Battle trainer examples: one from 304 Sqn (Poland), and the other from 1 SFTS, RAF. The RAF example wears the standard Battle camouflage scheme of RAF Dark Earth and RAF Dark Green uppers, though the underside Night is replaced with RAF ID Yellow. As with the combat example, the lower color demarcation line is very low on the fuselage. The 304 Sqn example, however, while wearing the same colors as the 1 SFTS machine, carries the underside color demarcation line at mid-fuselage, making for a more 'colorful' subject.
If you're looking for an unusual subject, this kit is for you. You will need to be skilled with building models that have resin parts, but the result is well worth it. This kit will stand out on the contest table against the sea of Mustangs, Spitfires and Bf109s. I recommend this kit to any experienced modeler and RAF enthusiast. My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample.
Hasegawa 1/48 T-4