Kit: Blue Max (1:48)
BRISTOL M.1C, R.A.F., No. 150 Squadron, Salonika, Macedonia; July 1918.
This is the Blue Max kit (#115) manufactured in England in 2001. It is composed of soft injection molded plastic and white metal. I finished this short-run Blue Max kit back in August of 2009 and it was my first major dealing with white metal. The BM plastic is very soft and easy to work with, but one must take care not to be an over-zealous sander. I chose these particular markings so I could highlight the beautiful white metal 110 HP LeRhone engine (a kit in itself). Many Bristol M.1C planes stationed in this local during WWI had there spinner removed to aid in cooling. The cockpit cage was all white metal and looks great thanks to the pictures since it is otherwise well hidden inside the small opening. Homemade instrument decals were added.
For the main paint scheme I used MisterKit Acrylic WWI British PC-12, Polly Scale Acrylic (PSA) Azure Blue and Testors ModelMaster Enamel Flint Gray. Wood effects were simulated with PSA Flesh brush painted and un-thinned, followed by various combinations of Winsor & Newton Oils: Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & Brown Madder Alizarin. Finished with Tamiya Acrylic Clear Orange, Clear Yellow or Future. I removed the elevator and rudder. The ailerons were already removed. Drilled holes and used short lengths of 0.019" brass straight wire for "hinges" and repositioned all to simulate functionality. Rigging was done with Small Parts Stainless Steel 304V straight wire (0.006"). Decals were a big problem. The kit supplied ones fell apart. This was a used kit off eBay so I don’t know how they were treated before I bought the kit. For the roundels the only ones that I had which were the correct size were from a Roden Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. However, (as we all know) these can be a problem. They did not respond to any kind of setting solution and actually tended to elevate off the surface. I airbrushed the rudder which took endless attempts to match the roundel colors. Probably should have replaced the white metal undercarriage since between the white metal engine and cockpit cage the front-end is extremely heavy. However, so far it has been able to withstand the weight.
Overall, a bit of a brain teaser to build and finish. It required a lot of planning and was certainly a "builder" not an "assembler", which I have a tendency to prefer. I am very happy with the final product and look forward to more Blue Max kits that are in my own personal basement "Hobby Shop."
References:1. Bristol M.1 (1995) Windsock Datafile #52. by J.M. Bruce. Albatros Publications, England.2. World War I Modeling Page (other modelers builds) and great photos taken of M.1C-4994 located at RAF Museum and M.1C-4918 located at Shuttleworth.3. Online build on Internet Modeler of Blue Max Bristol M.1C (April 2004) by Ken Schmitt; http://www.internetmodeler.com/2004/april/aviation/bristol.php