Bristol Beaufighter VI
AeroMaster, Humbrol, & Testors
AeroMaster AN48341, Whispering Death Part II
References: Beaufighter in Action, SS1153, Squadron/Signal
Beaufighter, Warpaint #1, HB0001, Hall Park Publications,
No Copyright Date.
Remarks: See Below
For many years, the Bristol
Beaufighter was somewhat ignored by
the model companies. There were some
elderly injection molded 1/72nd scale
kits from both Airfix and Frog/Novo
issued during the 1960s, and later a
1/72 scale kit issued by Matchbox during
the 1970s. Revell issued a 1/32nd scale
kit which is still available. But, what
of 1/48th scale? Modelers were limited
to a vacuform kit from a company whose
name escapes me... must have been a
Accurate Miniatures, a small, but excellent
manufacturer of 1/48th scale kits, announced
the future release of three new Beaufighters.
Not to be outdone, Tamiya announced
a Beaufighter Mk VI - apparently as
a surprise to everyone - and issued
it a few months later.
Tamiya Beaufighter Mk VI consists of
six sprues of gray plastic, one clear
sprue, a decal sheet with markings for
three different aircraft, and a ten
page instruction booklet. This is NOT
a weekend project. Tamiya has broken
out the parts for different variants.
Some of these variants have already
been issued in the form of a Beaufighter
Mk VI Night Fighter (TM61064) and a
Beaufighter TF.X Torpedo Bomber (TM61067).
starts with a fairly complete and well-detailed
cockpit. I followed the kit instructions
in painting the interior RAF Interior
Green, and then painted the instrument
panels and electrical boxes flat or
semi-gloss black. I used a white Prismacolor
pencil and a drop of clear gloss to
pick out the instruments. You do not
have to spend a lot of extra time detailing
crews entered the aircraft through a
pair of hatches in the belly of the
aircraft. These hatches were also their
primary means of escape in an emergency.
Consequently, there are no opening canopies
through which to view the interior.
Tamiya has provided
the upper escape panel in the
pilot's canopy as a separate part,
but it's fairly small and only
allows a limited view.
wing construction went quickly.
The fit was excellent (which I've
come to expect on Tamiya kits).
I found it easier to lightly clamp
the fuselage and wings components
together and then apply Tenax
7 cement with a ruling pen. The
Tenax 7 cement runs through joins
creating a strong welded, bond
and dries fast; I was able to
remove the clamps in 10 to 15
were ready for a light sanding
within two hours. The only areas
that required putty were the two
oil cooler intakes flanking the
engine nacelles. I used superglue
to join the wingtip light covers
to the wings. After 15 minutes,
I used gap filling superglue and
a fine sanding stick to fill in
the small gaps. I polished out
the light covers with a Tri-Grit
sanding Stick (SQ30505). This
effectively removed the scratches
and restored a clear gloss look
to the clear plastic.
that there is some spurious detail
on the kit in the form of raised
panels on the wings. It was pointed
out that these were patches over
some battle damage on the aircraft
used to master the kit. Tamiya
faithfully reproduced the patches.
Well, maybe If it's battle damage,
it's awfully symmetrical, since
the patches appear in the same
spots on both wings.
One other concern
I had is the accuracy of the wing
gun bay panels. The kit gun bay
panels are also symmetrical, but
it has been pointed out that the
panels over the left wing should
be half the size of those on the
right wing. The reasoning is that
the left wing only carries two
.303 caliber machine guns versus
the four carried in the right
wing. A landing light takes up
the additional space in the left
wing. The picture gets a bit fuzzier
if you start modeling an Australian-built
Beaufighter Mk 21. Further research
The main landing gear
components were built and painted separately.
The wheel, strut, wheel well can be plugged
into the nacelles after the kit has been
Fine brass rod was used
for the cowl braces. The exhaust collector
ring around the front of the cowl was
painted a mixture of dark brown and gunmetal.
One item I did have to
fix was the trim tab actuators on the
upper elevator surfaces. Upper actuators
seem to be correct for a few Beaufighters,
however, actuators on this aircraft,
indeed most Mk VIs, were placed on the
underside of the elevators. The kit
actuators were sliced off and new ones
were made out of Sheet Styrene and thin
brass rod. This operation took no more
than 10 minutes.
After the airframe
was complete, I turned my attention
to the landing gear. You can paint and
assemble the landing gear as separate
sub assemblies and leave them out of
the model until it's finished. The kit
wheels represent the late pattern solid
wheel hub. Early wheels had a five-spoked
wheel on the outside.
I painted the engine
cylinders gunmetal, applied a black-brown
oil paint wash, and then dry brushed
the cylinders with flat aluminum. I
left the engines out of the cowlings
until after the airframe was painted,
decaled, and weathered.
Tamiya provides markings
for three different Beaufighter Mk VIs:
a desert scheme in Midstone and Dark
Earth; a scheme of Dark Green and Ocean
Grey, and a night fighter scheme in
overall flat black.
I wanted something
different, so I turned to the two 'Whispering
Death' decal sheets from AeroMaster.
I selected the Dark Green and Dark Earth
over Sky camouflage of an Australian
Beaufighter. I used AeroMaster painted
for all three camouflage colors. I kept
a soft edge between the two upper colors,
but masked off the demarcation line
between the upper and lower colors.
I sprayed a lighter tint of each color
into the middle of each panel,
stopping just short of a panel line
or another color. This is a fairly common
fade-and-shade technique for those modelers
that like the look.
I applied the decals
over a gloss coat and then applied a
clear flat over the decals to seal them.
I sprayed a thin coat of Medium Sea
Grey over the decals to tone them down.
The mix is about 10% paint to 90% thinner.
I used AeroMaster's thinner to thin
the paint. I painted the exhaust collector
rings on the front of the cowl a mix
of dark brown and gunmetal. This gives
the collector rings a rich, burnt metal
Now comes the fun
part - weathering. I sprayed a thin
mixture of black and dark brown over
the engine nacelles and wings and picked
out the main panel lines and control
surfaces with black-brown watercolor.
Next, I pulled off
the cowlings and added the engines.
I decided to add the cowl braces using
thin brass rod. These braces radiate
from the engine crankcases out to the
exhaust collector rings. I've seen photos
and read descriptions that indicate
anywhere from three to five braces were
used - and they weren't always symmetrically
placed. I didn't add the exhaust manifolds
leading from the engine cylinders to
the collector ring.
I added the landing
gear and propellers next. The props
were painted Tire Black and dry brushed
with gray. I dry brushed the outer third
of the propeller blades' rear faces
with flat aluminum.
I broke out an assortment
of black, gray, green, tan, and brown
chalk pastels to further weather the
model. I concentrated on maintenance
access panels and areas stained by the
engines, guns, or dripping oils.
This is an excellent
kit. Its large size, combined with an
assortment of after market decals, also
makes it a striking addition to your
display cabinet. I think I'll tackle
a desert camouflaged Beau next. And
this time, I'll stay in the modeling
tunnel a bit longer.
Two different shades
of the upper surface camouflage colors
were used to simulate a worn and faded
finish. The decals were toned down with
a thin coat of Medium Sea Grey.
The kit elevator trim
tab actuators were removed and replaced
by new actuators made from Sheet Styrene
and brass rod. This touch of "accurizing"
took only minutes.
In my opinion weathering
takes a model one step closer to the look
a miniature airplane and a step further
away from being a model. I've heard casual
observers exclaim, "How real it looks".
When looking at nicely weathered model.