Boulton Paul Defiant

Published on
August 29, 2015
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Airfix - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Airfix - Website: Visit Site

Airfix. The name may have sent shudders down your spine and given you nightmares of bad fit, no cockpit, bad decals, and overly thick canopies, but fear no more. Airfix has jumped into the 21st century and has come out swinging with beautiful new kits. They are accurate in size and shape due to laser scanned 3d modeling of actual subjects. The plastic is soft but in a good way. Liquid and tube cement will make the seams all but disappear so that putty use is minimal if nonexistent. This review is about their new tool 1/72 scale Boulton Paul Defiant.

The Boulton Paul Defiant came out of a 1930s idea of having a fighter aircraft with a turret. It was thought that Brittan might have to fight against wave after wave of bombers from mainland Europe and thus the more firepower per plane to combat that the better. In reality this never materialized but the type was successful and was even better as a night fighter by coming up from below a flight of aircraft and opening up with the turret. The defiant was removed from front line active duty in 1942 and was used for training and gunnery practice through the end of the war.

The kit is one of Airfix’s new tool kits that started to appear in the past year. Along with the Blenheim mark 1 and Dornier do17z. These new kits are truly amazing. Airfix just keeps hitting homeruns and this is no exception.



The box is small but is filled with plastic. Full size instructions, three full sprues of gray and one clear, along with a fairly extensive decal sheet for a small kit, with two marking options (one day fighter and one night fighter along with many stencils). As with most kits construction starts in the Cockpit. It is fairly simple but in this scale not alot of detail is needed and most of it will be out of view anyway. I did add Tamiya tape seat belts just to give it a little extra pop. Painting wise the color callouts are in Humbrol enamels. I translated those into Tamyia Acrylics and used cockpit green, flat black, leather, and aluminum. The instrument panel is blank and a decal is provided. More on the decals later. After the cockpit is built it is installed into one half of the fuselage and then when that is dry the other side of the fuselage is attached. This was where I first realized how great the Airfix plastic seems to be. Once I started adding the Tamiya liquid cement and joined the fuselage halves I started to see the seams all but disappear. The only area I needed to add putty to was the forward upper fuselage join. I set the fuselage aside to dry and started on the wing.


The wing is made up of 4 pieces. A full bottom wing, two top halves and the main gear wheel well. Glue the wheel well onto the lower wing and then glue the two top halves down and set this aside to dry.

Fuselage Final Assembly

Once the wing was glued solid it was time to attach it to the fuselage. Airfix has done a masterful job in that when the wing was attached to the fuselage I needed no filler for the wing root. This almost never happens and it cemented into my mind just how great these new kits are. At this point it was time to choose the options for how I wanted to finish the build and how I wanted to position my aircraft. Airfix gives you the option of turret fairings raised or lowered and if you want to add a stand for the aircraft or not. I chose to do a raised turret fairing, which was glued in with no fuss, and to not add the hole for the stand in the lower rear air intake. This is also the time to decide which paint scheme you are going to do. I chose to do the night fighter scheme and thus I needed to paint the interior of the oil cooler and air intake black. I used Tamiya xf-1 flat black. Once the paint was dry I attached to the oil cooler and the air intake their respective screens and then attached the small sub-assemblies to the bottom of the aircraft. The final step of fuselage assembly is to attach the horizontal stabilizers and the rudder. These go on easily and with differing attachment points so you don’t have to worry about putting the wrong horizontal on the wrong side.

Landing Gear

The next major assembly sequence is the landing gear. The Defiant’s landing gear looks delicate but is actually quite robust. The first choice is if you want to display the gear up or gear down. I chose the gear down version but if you chose gear up, AIrix has given you two plugs to fill the main gear wells and they do look excellent. I first painted the main gear well aluminum, the directions call for flat black if doing the night fighter version but after doing some research it seems that the wheel wells were actually aluminum with black overspray . That’s how I painted it which actually adds a bit of color to an otherwise drab scheme. The next steps have you adding the main gear legs and support braces, then the wheels and finally the inner and outer gear doors. I held off adding the gear doors until final assembly so as to paint them the proper exterior color.

Turret and Canopy

The last major part of the build is to make the turret. It is made up of 4 steps and starts with building the gun assembly. The hardest part is making sure no glue gets into the elevation mechanism. If done correctly the guns will elevate and lower smoothly. Once that assembly is dry it is attached to the turret ring and the turret seat is attached to the lower part of the ring. I set this aside to dry and then tackled the canopy. Airfix gives you three options of canopy. One closed with the forward turret fairing raised and one closed with the turret fairing lowered. The third option is an open canopy. I chose the third option. The forward windscreen canopy and forward faring were all given a coat of future along with the turret glass and landing lights. Once the future was dry I used an Eduard mask set that I had purchased for the defiant to mask off all the many panels on the turret and canopy. All of this was then set aside for final assembly after painting.

Painting and Decaling

As stated previously airfix gives you two options for paint jobs. One is the Day fighter type “B” camouflage of dark earth and dark green with beige green undersides and a flat white prop spinner. The other is a night fighter scheme of overall matt black. I chose to do the night fighter scheme. The first step was taping off the interior and landing gear so as to not get black on them. After researching if matt black was the true color it was found that in fact the RAF color “Night” was actually more of a blue black and “Special Night” used in the early war was a greenish black painted over the “Night” color. I chose to do a version of that using a coat of Tamiya XF-1 flat back with a drop of XF-8 blue as a base, then Tamiya xf-69 “Nato Black” as the overall color of the aircraft. After spraying the fuselage those colors using my Pasche Airbursh, I sprayed the landing gear doors and then painted the canopies and turret, first giving them a coat of the interior color, i then gave them the same black on black treatment. Once the paint was dry I gave it two coats of Testors Gloss coat clear to start the decaling process.

The decals are the only area in which I could find any drawback. Color wise they are in register but they are a bit thick and the backing film has a bit of a haze to it. It took multiple coats of Testors decal set and solvent to get them to settle down into the nooks and crannies of the aircraft but once down they do look very good. There are a lot of decals for such a small aircraft. They give you many stencils along with the national markings. It took a good hour to get them all on and once they were sufficiently solved and set they looked good. i let them dry overnight and then added a cover coat of Gloss to try and take away any chance of silvering. It seemed to work as after that coat was dry I gave the plane two final coats of Testors Dull which gave the paint scheme the “Special Night” look that I was going for and there was no silvering of the decals to be seen.

Final Assembly

The final assembly begins with adding all the various small bits and pieces such as the tail wheel and ventral antennae. I then added the landing gear doors. Once those were on good and tight I flipped the aircraft over and added the exhaust stacks (painted burnt iron) and the prop sub assembly. The prop is a nice single piece unit that goes on only one way and the separate spinner fits snugly over the prop hub. The last thing I did was to add the canopies in and attach the turret. I removed the masks first then using Testors window glue added the front windscreen and forward turret fairing. The cockpit canopy then attaches over the forward fairing to give you an open cockpit. I then attached the turret to the turret ring. I waited until that was solid and then gently slid it into its housing in the fuselage. It went in smoothly and with very little fuss.

This build was wonderful. I can’t say enough how great these new Airfix kits are and this Defiant will be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

My sincere thanks to Airfix for the kit and to IPMS for allowing me to review this great kit!


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