Hasegawa 1/72 Beaufighter Mk. VI


CP 13 (51213




Two  aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Before and during WW2, the Bristol aircraft company in England was well known for it's twin-engined light-medium bomber aircraft. It all started with the Blenheim in the late 1930s. When that airframe was obviously too slow and lightly defended to be effective, the company took the basic wings and tailpanes of the aircraft, and developed the Beaufort. This aircraft was  more successful as a torpedo and light-medium bomber. However it wasn't right yet. A further development of the Beaufort, still using the basic wings and tail of the Blenheim, was developed even further into the subject of this kit, the Beaufighter. The final development of the type was the much changed Brigand that was known for it's lack of success more than anything else

All of these improvements and changing fuselages were accompanied by more and more powerful radial engines. It wasn't until the Brigand that the wings and tailplane were altered. The Beaufighter itself was able to see some use as a night fighter around the time of the Battle of Britain. It was with Coastal Command that the Beaufighter really came into its own. As a replacement to the older and slower Beaufort, the faster Beaufighter was able to carry an array of weapons in addition to its 4 20mm and 6 .303 guns. The most used were underwing rockets and the TF.X was a very capable torpedo bomber. 

The Mk.VI was also had a night fighting variant that was relatively successful. The kit allows one to built either the night fighter or standard Coastal Command version. The latter version had the benefit of a rear gunner not found in the night fighter.



Though the Beaufighter has been out for a number of years, it just hasn't gotten the press that other Hasegawa kits have. In fact, I have not seen this kit at any shows. For some reason, the 1/72 version just isn't that popular. Of course, it could also be that not many people are willing to fork out the bucks for it for it isn't cheap. However, you do get quite a lot for your money. 10 sprues worth of plastic is nothing to sneeze at!

Those of you who are quick will say "but there are only 7 sprues shown!" That is true, however those with the little yellow stars have duplicates of them not shown. There is also the clear sprue shown to the right.

The kit is the usual excellent molding one has come to expect from Hasegawa. It also has those neat little plastic washers for the props. Options include either the night fighter or coastal command version. The night fighter has the extra antenna and no rear gunner, while the coastal command version has a rear gunner, no radar antenna, an extra suite of antennas under a clear dome just aft of the cockpit, and four rockets under each wing.

Some of the highlights of the kit are a full cockpit  with decals for the instruments and no seat belts on the seats. The wheels are one piece and are flattened on the bottom. Full wheel wells, with some detail, but no hoses or boxes in there. You can spruce that up later, if you wish.

Decals are for two aircraft, both in the Mediterranean Theatre and with upper colors of dark earth and middlestone. The night fighter is with 89 Squadron in North Africa during 1942/43. It has a black underside as befits the type. The Coastal Command version is with 272 Squadron on Malta in the dark days of 1942. The underside color is given as a mix of paints, but is probably Azure Blue. There is a rather famous color photo of a Beaufighter at Malta, and I would bet that this is that aircraft. If you have any current books on the Beaufighter, you should be able to find that photo. Unit markings are limited to just an aircraft number, so the decal sheet isn't very big. Undoubtedly you can find an aftermarket sheet if you want something different.

The Hasegawa instructions are all you would expect with clear steps showing the different parts to add to which type. This difference start in the first step so you need to know which version you want to build right away.

Frankly, it looks like a great aircraft kit. One that more people should buy and build.

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!

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