The Bristol Blenheim was one of the most popular British aircraft at the beginning of World War II. It was a very versatile and modifiable machine, and therefore typical bomber, reconnaissance, and fighter (including night) versions were created.
Kagero’s Top Drawings series has covered many of the World’s leading combat aircraft and now it’s the turn of the Blenheim to receive the treatment. The book is card-covered and has 20 pages. Typical of the series, there is a solitary page of introductory text; the rest of the book is taken up with pages of plans and colour profiles. The plans in the book are to 1/72 scale, while 1/48 scale plans are included as separate fold-out sheets. The 1/72 plans include all-aspect views of the Mks.I, IV, and V, including Finnish variants. The pull-out 1/48 plans include all aspects of the Mks. I and IV, but as a bonus also include side view plans of the original Bristol 142 ‘Britain First’ aircraft that can be regarded as the Blenheim prototype. All have some nice exploded-detail drawings such as the engine and gun turrets.
In the middle of the book are four pages of nicely painted colour profiles, plus the back cover, that features two aircraft – a modified Mk.IV of the RAF and one of the Finnish AF, each in four views.
One thing about the Mk.IV drawings that immediately struck me was the angle of the windscreen. Comparing it to side-on photos of a preserved Mk.IV nose section in England – which is the only real way to judge given the way the engines and nacelles otherwise block a direct side view of the nose – the front of the windscreen of the drawings seems too upright and a little too tall, which throws off the shape of the canopy. This is unfortunate and might call into question the accuracy of the rest of the plans, though nothing else obvious jumped out at me. Personally, I use plans in conjunction with photos to gain an overall perspective on an aircraft, but others rely solely on plans.
In any case, the plans are well drawn, the package is nice, and it is a useful reference for the type for anyone building the new Airfix kits. The plans and Airfix’s 1/72 kit do agree in many regards; Airfix uses modern 3D LIDAR plotting to aid in their kit design, which renders basic shapes and geometries very accurately.
My thanks to Kagero and Casemate for the review sample.