The Fairey Battle was a British single-engine light bomber built by the Fairey Aviation Company in the late 1930s for the Royal Air Force. The Battle was powered by the same Rolls-Royce Merlin piston engine that gave contemporary British fighters high performance; however, the Battle was weighed down with a three-man crew and a bomb load of up to 1500 lb. Despite being a great improvement on the aircraft that preceded it, by the time it saw action it was slow, limited in range and highly vulnerable to both anti-aircraft fire and fighters. Especially as the defencive armament was limited to a single fixed 0.303 in the right wing, and a manually aimed 0.303 covering the rear. After recieving a serious mauling as part of the BEF in France in the spring of 1940, where the type had more than 50 % losses per mission, the Battle was withdrawn from front-line service, and repurposed for use in training aircrews and as a target-tug.
All in all 2185 Battles was built between 1936 and 1940.
This is a newly tooled (2014) kit from Russian manufacturer Zvezda. It is nominally part of their wargaming-line, but I assume there's not a coincident that the aircraft in that line is in the familiar 1:144 scale, so they are interesting also for collectors like yours truly. Now, is the quality sufficient for non-wargamers?
Well, the kit comes in a small, end-opening box with a colorful painting on the front, and with pictures of the finished, unpainted model on the back.
One single sandy coloured sprue contains the 10 parts (including parts for either retracted or deployed landing gear). Then there is the clear part for the cockpit hood, a to part black flight stand, a small decal sheet, a small black and white building instruction and a playing card ostensibly for Zvezdas game system.
The plastic is a bit softer than normal styrene, but the details are not too soft, and the fit is excellent, Zvezda has tooled the kit so it can be snapped together, but suggest you use glue for durability. I used normal Tamiya liquid cement, with no adverse effects.
A few years ago I built another of Zvezdas offerings in this scale, the Ju87. There the decals where limited to generic German crosses and a set of black numbers. But this time around they supply a small colorful decal-sheet, for 2 profiles. HA-B and HA-J from 218. sqn. Puzzlingly they identify them as “France 1940” and “England 1938” respectively, even though a quick search on Google leads you to Wikipedia and a wartime photo of the two aircraft flying in formation in “France, c.1940”. It makes sense from a wargaming perspective to use to profiles from the same squadron. On the other hand, as far as I know the theme for their wargaming system in Operation Barbarossa, and I'm pretty sure there where no Fairey Battles on the Eastern front!
What Zvezda has not seen fit to do is supply you with a painting guide for the camouflage, so you'll have to resort to trusty old Google again. That will tell you that both profiles are in standard Dark Green/Dark Earth over Night(black).
The kit goes together well, and the only minor niggle is the lack of any kind of cockpit interior. There is just a flat base, which I decided to just paint black. Now, if you intend to model the kit in-flight on the flight base, I would suggest to add some representation of the heads of the aircrew.
I glued my kit, except the propeller and clear part, together in about an hour, and used about the same on painting and decals the next day. After toiling for over a month with another kit who at the end was more putty than plastic, this hit the spot!
Off course you can get more detailed kits in this scale, but as far as I know this is the only Battle tooled in 1:144. Add to that a low price, and I think Zvezda has made a fun little kit who will appeal both to wargamers and kitbuilders.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale.
Highs: Low price, Unique subject in this scale, Easy buildLows: No cockpit detail, no painting guide.Verdict: You can get more detailed kits in this scale, but as far as I know this is the only Battle tooled in 1:144. Add to that a low price, and I think Zvezda has made a fun little kit who will appeal both to wargamers and kitbuilders.
About Eirik Sandaas (SuperSandaas) FROM: SøR-TRøNDELAG, NORWAY
Started at an early age building Tamiya tanks and Matchbox planes Then I moved onto miniature games for many years. Started building kits again in earnest in 2011.
Mostly b1:144, 1:72 and 1:48 planes and 1:72 and 1:48 AFVs from the 1930s to post-korean war.