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Airfix released their new-tool Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I in 2015. A nice kit, and we see Airfix building upon their success with finer panel lines while still providing nice wheelwells and cockpit components. Assembly is also straight forward and the kit is well engineered. The unusual configuration of this subjects leads to a few traps for the unwary, but these are easily avoided with a little planning.
The cockpit is well appointed and goes together without difficulty. Either on this build, or Airfix’s Spitfire, or Hurricane I had no issues with fitting cockpit components or over-sized cockpits spreading the fuselage sides. There is one issue to mention at this point however – the turret gun ring must be installed before the fuselage halves are joined or it will be difficult (impossible?) to insert without damage later.
Here is the interior all painted up, washed with black and drybrushed with silver. The instrument decal is a bit basic but adequate, superdetailers will want an aftermarket substitute here. Seatbelts are Eduard PE, and I scratchbuilt a leather seat cushion for the pilot.
I thought the landing gear covers were too thick, so I cut replacements from plastic stock using the kit pieces as patterns. This is a simple fix which adds a lot to the model. Check out the depth of those wheelwells, one of Airfix’s strengths and much appreciated.
The landing light lenses are installed at this point with copious amounts of superglue, and the navigation lights on the wingtips get the same treatment with bits of clear sprue. I should also mention that the trailing edges of the wings are much too thick and need filing down before joining.
The transparencies on the wings are filed down and polished smooth to restore clarity in this view. They will be masked off before painting.
The camouflage pattern is masked off with poster putty. Eduard masks were used for the canopies, highly recommended on this kit due to the complexity of the gun turret framing. Airfix gives the modeler three option for the canopy on this kit – open, closed with the rear section up, and closed with the rear section down so the turret can be traversed. Likewise, the turtledeck behind the turret can be modeled up or down. I had intended to build my model with an open canopy, but the sliding portions did not fit well so I went with the closed canopy and lowered turtledeck. Also my kit had the dreaded Airfix flow lines in some of the clear parts, so inspect your parts before deciding which option you want to build.
Painting went without difficulty. Markings are from the Xtradecal sheet X72117 for the Battle of Britain. The camouflage pattern on this particular aircraft was not completely standard as it appears to have received some replacement engine panels.
I replaced the gun barrels with brass parts from Master. These are remarkably detailed and much, much more rugged than the Airfix soft plastic barrels. The pitot tube was also replaced with Albion Alloy tube and bronze rod as I am quite capable of ham-fistedness and would likely break it off if not replaced.