Beaufighter Mk 1c


Tamiya 1/48 Beaufighter Mk 1c, A19-54, 30 SQN RAAF


by David Harvey

 

Serial No

A19-54

A/C type

Beafighter Mk 1c

Based at

30 SQN RAAF, New Guinea 1943

History

 

Scheme

Temperate Sea Scheme (TSS)

Kit

1/48 Tamiya Beaufighter MkVI with Red Roo flat tail planes and DKDecals Markings (DKD48001)

Reference

AWM, Britmodeller Forum and Decal instructions sheet.

 

Introduction

Prior to WWII Australia put out a requirement for a high performance fighter which resulted in an order for 18 for the RAAF dependant on the performance of the prototype as the order was placed on just seeing the plans. With the fall of France causing an embargo of exports from the UK this order ended up not arriving. In May 1941 after a visit from the Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, the British gave an undertaking to give direct aid to Australia. This undertaking then led to an order for 54 Beaufighter Mk 1c's being placed, 12 to be delivered by the end of that year and the remainder in batched by May 1942.

The Beaufighters form the British production were allocated the Australian serial numbers of A19-1 to 218 with A19-105 not actually arriving as the aircraft crashed in the UK and was not delivered. The locally produced Beaufighter were allocated the serial numbers starting with A8-1 onwards.

30 Squadron was the first RAAF operational Beaufighter Squadron when it took charge of it's first Beaufighters at Richmond NSW on 15 June 1942. The SQN moved to North Queensland in preparation for the move to Port Morsebey in September 1942 and then to the operational area from there. Prior to the whole Squadron arriving a detatchment of three aircraft were sent to assist in the closing battles of Milne Bay in support of the RAAF Kittyhawks, Hudson and Beaufort Squadrons already there. These aircraft were A19-13, -49 and -53. From there the SQN went on to continue the battle across the Pacific to assist in the defeat of the Japanese.

By early 1943 the first of the Beaufighter VIC's were starting to replace the 1c's.

The build

The Tamiya kit is a very nice kit that goes together easily and is quickly built. The only changes made to the kit were:

While I used the kit porcupine exhaust this is in fact incorrect as the early Beaufighters used an exhaust pipe as displayed in this image.

For the rest of the detail and positioning of the markings I used the images shown below of A19-54 after it had an incident when it went a little low and took out a Japanese flag pole during an attack.

 

I wanted to put on the antenna wires and this caused a bit of confusion as the references I have say that the wires should have one wire from the top of the tail to the top of the fuselage and then some wires from the tail planes to the side of the fuselage. On looking at the various images of this aircraft and other Mk 1c's of the time it appears that there were two wires from the tail with two locations on the top of the fuselage. I chose to go by my interpretation of the images and drilled out a hole behind the observers canopy large enough for some hollow plastic tube to go in. When the kit was painted and ready I used Ez-Line to replicate the antenna wire and glued it on with Super Glue. The antenna behind the observer had the Ez-Line glued in to some hollow plastic tube then that was glued in to the fuselage and the hole filled and painted up.

Paint Scheme

I have always like the Temperate Sea Scheme (TSS) and when I selected the decals for the Beaufighter I had this scheme in mind. When I started looking a bit deeper in to the schemes used on the 1c's it turned out to be a minefield of contradictory information over which aircraft was in what scheme ie TSS or Temperate Land Scheme (TLS). I read a thread on Britmodeller covering this very topic and ended up no better on a definitive answer on what scheme -54 was actually painted. I made the decision based on some of the discussions that this specific aircraft could have been either schemes and the images above pushed me toward it being TSS. To read the thread on RAAF Beaufighter colours go HERE.

I painted the model using Humbrol enamels Hu224 Extra Dark Sea Gray and Hu117 Dark Slate Gray on top with Hu 90 Sky underneath. After painting I used One GO to seal it and applied the decals followed by another sealing coat of One Go. The weathering was then added by using thinned black enamel brushed on over the panel lines, left to dry for a minute or two then wiped off in the direction of the wind flow to highlight the panel lines and dirty the model up a bit. I then sealed it again and then airbrushed Humbrol Hu49 Matt varnish on it. The exhaust and firing residue where dark gray or black paint dry brushed on to the relevant areas.

The exhaust collectors on the cowls were painted with a combination of Hu 53 Gun Metal and some bronze giving a slightly coppery look to the dark gray.

Decals

The decals were applied using Microsol and Microset which resulted in nicely flat markings. The tail flash on this aircraft is backwards but that is correct for this specific aircraft as for some reason it was originally put on incorrectly.

For the build log click on this LINK.

The Images

 

References:

Australian War Memorial

Britmodeller Forum

DK Decals instruction sheet

ADF Serial Numbers website