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Trumpeter Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale plastic model aircraft kit
Until a year ago, the only 1/48 scale Defiant was the two-decade-old Classic Airframes mixed-media kit. However, Airfix, and now Trumpeter, have released new kits.

The kit has 76 plastic parts, with petite recessed panel lines and rivets — a whole lot of rivets — and a small fret of photo-etched (PE) brass. No seat belts are provided.

Cockpit detail is clean and crisp, yet sparse for this scale. I was impressed with the dovetail locators that attach the sides and floor. The instrument panel has raised dials and bezels with decal gauges that fit perfectly.

The airframe components built quickly and needed filler only for the fuselage seams.

There are two holes on each horizontal stabilizer that appear to have no purpose, so I filled them with Vallejo putty and wiped the excess off with a damp finger so I wouldn’t damage the rivet detail. Now they look like inspection panels. Two more mysterious holes mark the port fuselage half near the wing root.

The PE radiator does little to eliminate the see-through effect; you may want to add some more detail in this area.

I painted the airframe with Tamiya gloss black before adding landing gear and antennas. To minimize the risk of damaging the paint with decal solvent, I used a hairdryer to settle the marking. A few rivets silvered, but a sharp pin and just a touch of setting solution took care of that. A few of the decals, notably the shark’s teeth, were slightly out of register. I sealed the markings with Testors Dullcote. 

Several of the locating holes for the landing gear and antennas had to be enlarged. I had a tough time getting the port gear leg in place, and the alignment may still not be correct.

Be patient when building the turret, and double-check the parts’ alignment. The instructions could have been clearer on the orientation of part PE1 — the grooves should be on the outside and run horizontal, parallel to the turret ring. I left the guns and the clear dome off until I coaxed the turret into place. It was a tight fit. I then placed the guns on their mounting pins without glue and added the dome. Once the dome was glued down, it held the guns in place.

The spinner backing plate has a disk on it that produced a gap between the fuselage and the prop. You could cut the shaft off and sand down the disk, but I opened the mounting hole with a drill and a cone-shaped sanding bit on my motor tool.

There are holes in the back of the clear wingtip parts that represent light bulbs. I added a drop of paint — red for port and green for starboard — to each. I had to sand the landing light lenses for fit. The windscreen and canopy fit to each other, but both are tall and left a small gap at the fuselage.

I spent 25 enjoyable hours on Trumpeter’s Defiant. An aftermarket canopy mask would probably cut that down by 10%. It’s a simple and straightforward kit that any modeler with a little experience should be able to easily add to their collection.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2017 issue.
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