Saturday, November 14, 2015

British Air Support

I am currently expanding my British forces from German East Africa for use in Back of Beyond gaming as well.  The first part of said expansion is a bit of air support for my ground troops.  This particular plane is Bristol F.2B fighter, which replaced the RAF No. 31 Squadron's B.E.2Cs in 1919.

The kit I selected was an out of production Eduard's Weekend Edition I picked up on eBay for approximately $20US with the shipping. I had built some 1/72 Eduard aircraft before, and really enjoyed the kits.  With this being a "weekend" kit, I assumed it would be a quick and simple build, but I was sorely wrong.  The guiding principle the kit designer seemed to be following was why produce just one piece for a part, when five would be even better. He also believed thin parts were ideal, because who wants major support pegs having a thickness of more than 1mm.

As you can guess, building this monster was an absolute nightmare, and I came close to throwing the kit out on multiple occasions.  The supports that connect the lower wing to the fuselage were very weak and twisted as the glue dried, causing the fuselage to tilt to one side. The upper wing assembly is also crooked, as each strut had to be assembled separately using those 1mm pegs I mentioned, with more than half the pegs snapping off during assembly. 

 I went ahead and wired the wings up using some plastic line I picked up years ago in a Japanese hobby shop (it's similar to fishing line, but dark grey). You might think this was overkill, but I assure you the wings on this kit would never hold up without it.

I wanted  to use the plane both on the ground and in the air, so I drilled a hole in the bottom to accept a bit of brass rod.  The rod isn't glued in, but instead slides into a sleeve of washers glued in under the rear gunner.

The stand is made from a basswood oval (picked up at the craft store), with another washer sleeve to help support the brass rod. Pennies were added to the base for additional weight, and then everything was covered with texture gel and rock. 

The kit did not include any figures, so I ordered a pilot set from Copplestone.  They fit quite nicely in the plane and really have a lot of character. The pack also included some full pilot figures as well, which will make great objectives if a plane goes down during our battles.

 At the end of the day I've ended up with aircraft that is going to look decent on the table, but I'd never recommend this kit unless your are a complete hobby masochist.


  1. Sorry the kit was such a hassle, but you did a fantastic job despite the obstacles. It really looks great.

  2. You would never have guessed all the trouble you went through to put this together - absolutely superb!

  3. The plane looks superb as do the figs! Great stuff!

  4. That looks really splendid.

    Next time, have a look for old Aurora kits from the 60's...they are much, much stronger and easier to build.

  5. Thanks everyone! Glad to hear all the flaws fall into the background when other people look at it. I'll keep Aurora in mind when I start looking for Chinese aircraft.

  6. Aurora did a fantastic Breguet XIV's enormous but looks amazing! They pop up on ebay now and again, so worth looking for.

  7. That is a fantastic looking plane. I hear you about the terrible design of the kit, but clearly your patience and skill paid off.

    With the rules you use, will it play out as an effective unit of fire support, or more like the planes on the old Maj Gen Tremorden page, will it be a menace to friend and foe alike?

    1. We’ve tried one game with Contemptible Little Armies, where the planes tend to function as roving machine gun units that show up on an appropriate dice roll. However, we’re also going to try out Setting the East Ablaze and I have no idea how they function with those rules.

  8. Despite the kit beeing a nightmare to assemble you've certainly managed to create an outstanding center piece for any game.