Airfix Bristol Beaufighter: 489 Squadron RNZAF ETO

Two things attracted me to the Airfix Bristol Beaufighter kit, the first is the price, $NZ12:00! *Bristol Beaufighter Box: Close up

The second is that it wont take much to make this kit look one helluva lot better!! Not that I’m not a rivet counter or badly affected by A.M.S. (Advanced Modelers Syndrome).

When assembled it’ll look like a Beaufighter, but most of all it’ll look like a Beaufighter from 489 New Zealand Squadron when I’m done!!

* To get your own copy of this kit take a look at our Airfix Bristol Beaufighter page

489 Squadron RNZAF and the Bristol Beaufighter

The main issue is research on the Squadron to find markings for the aircraft and information on how the Beaufighters were set up in practice. Fortunately there is an excellent resource at the Canterbury Public Library, namely an operations Record of the squadron, which initially started out with Hampden Torpedo bombers.

Now I’ve been waiting for a large scale kit of the Hampden, 1/48 preferably before I attempt to make one of 489’s early aircraft! The Major difference is a bulged bomb bay which should be easier to create and build in 1/48. (At least that’s the theory)

Operationally 489 worked in conjunction with 466 RAAF with one squadron armed with torpedo’s and the other canon and rockets. The canon and rocket armed Beau’s would suppress flak and enemy fighters while the Torbeaus (as they were called) would attack the shipping. An effective arrangement that usually bore fruit. Assuming targets could be found!

Airfix Bristol Beaufighter Overview

Now to the kit, as you can see fairly simple no major flash issues (not bad for a kit of it’s age) and raised panel and rivet detail, again an indicator of it’s age!! I will let you know what I plan to do to make the cockpit and radio/Gunner’s position look better, but probably keep it simple and add just the floor and the walls and a seat as we seem to be missing both! I’ll probably replace the pilot and gunners figures with something a little more modern and natural looking. The engines are problematic the kit supplied nacelles are poor to say the least, the Blenheim uses the same engines but i can’t see the point in cannibalizing this kit to make this one better. I could use resin aftermarket engines but the the price you pay for them you’d be better off buying a Hasegwawa or Tamiya one and I’m working to a tight budget!!

The next steps are to decide how I want to flesh out the interior of the fuselage. First up I remove the two tabs that comprise the seats to place your pilot and gunner figures on and clean up the ejector pin marks. I then open up the canon ports and add blast tubes from evergreen tube. To open up the canon ports I use a pin-vice (a handy piece of kit) to drill holes in your model, whether to add bomb racks etc or to open up canon ports or breather inlets.

The choice is yours as to how far your willing to take it. And scale will dictate just what you can and can not represent.

Photos of the Airfix Bristol Beaufighter kit can be found in the Model Airplane Gallery

Further Reading…

Airfix Bristol Beaufighter at the National Museum of Flight


Avid WW2 aviation enthusiast and modeller. Been making model kits since age nine and I now model mostly ww2 model airplanes. (my wife is an understanding one!)

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  1. […] relationship with RNZAF 489 Squadron of World War 2 in the ETO, here is a link to that article Airfix Bristol Beaufighter 489 Squadron RNZAF ETO. This is an Airfix kit I have recently purchased and have begun to […]