Eduard 1/48 Bristol F.2B Fighter

 

A skim of history

Bristol’s chief designer, Frank Barnwell, added the final touches to the design of a two-seat reconnaissance aircraft which, in competition with the RAF RE.8, would be the long overdue replacement for the B.E.2 in March 1916.

Initially designed as the R.2A (Type 9) with a 120hp Beardmore engine and again as the R.2B (Type 9A) with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza, the F.2A (Type 12) would be the first prototype when the excellent 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon I became available. Designed as a two-seat reconnaissance machine, the compact F.2A was armed with a single, synchronised forward-firing .303in Vickers and a single .303in Lewis mounted on a Scarff ring in the rear observer’s cockpit. The main production version, the F.2B (Type 14) featured a number of modifications including a larger fuel tank and bigger ammunition boxes. Early production F.2Bs were powered by the Falcon I although the bulk were fitted with the 275hp Falcon III.

The F.2C (Type 22) was used for testing an experimental range of engines while the F.2B Mk II, first flown in December 1919, was built for army co-operation duties in tropical climates. A structurally strengthened version, the Fighter Mk III (Type 96) was also produced as late as 1926. The Fighter MK IV (Type 96A) was a conversion of the Mk III airframe with further improved strength.

The prototype F.2A, A3303, first flew from Filton on September 9, 1916. The type entered service in February 1917 with 48 Squadron. It had an inauspicious entry into combat when, in April 1917, a patrol of six aircraft was reduced to two survivors when they encountered Richthofen’s Jasta 11. The losses were no fault of the aircraft but were due to the poor tactics employed and, with the introduction of the definitive F.2B Fighter it was realised that ‘Brisfit’ could be thrown around like many of its contemporary fighters. With a higher-powered Falcon engine than the F.2A, the F.2B was more than 10mph faster with a maximum speed of 123 mph and could reach 10,000ft three minutes more quickly than its predecessor. Making full use of the fixed-forward firing machine-gun instead of relying upon the gunner in the rear cockpit made the ‘Brisfit’ a tough opponent to any German fighter right up to the end of the First World War. 

The F.2B remained in RAF service right up to 1932 and also saw service in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Greece, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and Spain. A total of 5,329 ‘Brisfits’ were built by the Bristol & Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd. at Filton and by a host of sub-contractors.

Total production of the F.2 Fighter family of aircraft was 5,308 aircraft built by Bristol at Filton and Brislington. Sub-contractors were Angus Sanderson, Armstrong Whitworth, Austin Motors, Cunard Steamship, Gloucestershire, Harris & Sheldon, Standard Motors in Britain and Curtiss, Dayton-Wright and Engineering Division – Bureau of Aircraft Production in the USA.

 

The Kit

This is a 2017 rebox of the Eduard 2005 original and all I can see that is different is slightly improved and expanded decals. That said, there is always room in the cabinet for another ‘Brisfit’ and this example in 1/48, is a ‘Weekend Edition’ so it should not be to taxing a build. As usual with WW1 and early biplanes, the biggest challenge will be the rigging and this is really a self-inflicted issue which can be avoided if you don’t really fancy it. It is made easier by a good rigging guide on page 10 of the A5 full colour instruction booklet so this machine, in a decent scale would be a good opportunity to expand this skill.

The 110 grey plastic parts are held on four sprues and appear to be the original 2005 moulds which is no bad thing but some are beginning to show their age and will require a little more cleaning up than the more recent Eduard produced components. Despite being a Weekend Edition, which traditionally provides the basic parts needed to complete, there are a few options such as a four-blade rather than a two-blade propeller, different exhaust pipes and single or twin-mounted Lewis machine guns which are dependent on which of the two final machines you decide to build. These are either a 139 Sqn machine based in Italy in September 1918 or a slightly more interesting 1 Squadron, AFC aircraft operating in Palestine in May 1918.  

As always you could spent a bit more and gather some PE together but I think for under £20 this will produce a lovely example of one of the greatest aircraft of WW1 and well beyond.

Thanks very much to Eduard for our sample which is available from all major outlets and online model stores. 

 

Product: Construction kit

Ref: 8489

Scale: 1/48

Parts: 110

Price: Approx £20

Manufacturer: Eduard

Website: www.eduard.com