Dornier Do 17z vs. Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1
On 26th of August 1940 during the Battle of Britain, the two aircraft represented in this kit met over the English coast, during which the Do-17z would fall victim to the guns of the Defiant, and the Defiant itself would fall victim to escorting Me 109s moments later. Two of the four German crew were lost in the encounter. The Defiant’s crew survived a crash landing. Fast forward to 2013 when an underwater survey revealed this very Do-17 in shallow sand off the English coast. In an extraordinary effort the RAF museum sponsored an expedition to raise the wreckage from its watery grave. (Click here for the Recovery article). It will eventually be placed in the RAF museums “Battle of Britain” hall to complete a collection of aircraft that took part in that battle. You can follow this continuing effort on the RAF museums website.
This is another of the “Dogfight Doubles” series from Airfix. The premise of these kits matches two wartime adversaries in the same box giving you the opportunity to recreate their encounter in miniature. The best part is these are new molds up to the standard of the best kits out there. I’ll start with the Do-17z kit. This is a tour de force of detail. It’s all here: a fully detailed interior including bomb bay, separate control surfaces, well done landing gear and great clear parts. You’re given several options of bomb loads or an extra fuel cell to fill up the bomb bay. The cockpit is so full of details its hard to fit it all in there.
The Boulton Paul Defiant kit is another great example of the new Airfix. Finely molded surface details are complemented by an interior with adequate detail for the scale and again nice clear parts. Keeping in theme with the “dogfight double” paradigm, the decal sheet provides only markings for the aircraft involved in the clash. As is the standard with these sets, Airfix also includes 12 acrylic paints pots, two brushes and tube cement. All this is enclosed in a stiff cardboard box with full color artwork and a photo of the finished models posed on the included stand.
The instructions have you start with the Do 17z. This is not a beginner’s kit. The interior of the fuselage is loaded with details that like the real thing are crammed into a very small cross section. All four crew positions are there including crew member figures. Moving to the bomb bay, the structure of this section is especially well represented as are numerous bomb load choices or a fuel cell/bomb load combination. The wing comes in a full length top section with split bottoms. Gear wells are fully detailed with structure. All control surfaces are separated for positioning including really nice flaps. Engines are made up of four parts that the nacelles slip over (very snugly). The landing gear is very fine and complicated but looks the part when its complete. I chose to use the smallest bombs on four racks and had some difficulty getting them in the bomb bay. The glazing requires a lot of masking and patience.
Next up is the Boulton Paul Defiant Mk1. This kit is simple to build and in no time you have an airframe ready for paint. I didn’t encounter any issues getting this kit together. I was impressed by the number of posing options included for the canopy. The turret is molded in the closed position.
I used a combination of paints to finish these kits. In my last review of the Airfix Battle of Britain anniversary set I reported a number of difficulties with the acrylic paints provided in the set. In order to avoid repeating that experience, I found most of the colors in the Model Master line at my local hobby shop with the exception of RLM 65 the light blue for the underside of the Do 17. Taking advice from some you-tubers I cut the paint with water and airbrushed it with much better results then I’d had before. The rest of the colors: RLM 70,71 and RAF Sky, Dark Earth, and Dark Green are Model Master enamels. I coated both with Aqua Gloss from Alclad to prep for decals. The paint brushes included in the set are a nice addition to anyone’s bench.
These decals went on the same as the last Airfix set I built, very well. I did use Solvaset on a few to settle them into panel lines. Stencils are included for both kits. One mystery on the Do 17, the box art and my sources show the walk limit lines on the upper wings in yellow but the decals sheet only has white or red. Also, as is standard these days, if you want the twisted crosses on the rudders of the Do 17z you’ll have to provide them. The same mounting system is provided for the stand as is used in the other multiple aircraft sets from Airfix. I think It provides a more interesting way to display the models.
OK, I feel I should explain the strange way I chose to display these models. If this was a real combat, I don’t think the Defiant would have the gear lowered, or the DO 17z would have its flaps down. I reviewed a number of aftermarket products for this set while the build was in progress including SAC metal gear for both, Aires tail surfaces and Quickboost (two types) exhausts, props (two types) with a tool for the Defiant. Those reviews were previously posted on the IPMS review section. The Defiant gear looked so good I couldn’t just pull it off and close the gear doors. As for Dornier’s the dropped flaps, I just couldn’t resist. This is yet another great product from Airfix. Two great models packed with some decent supplies and history to go with it. As for the age rating for this set of 8+, I would think the lower end of that age scale would have a tough time with the Do 17z model. There’s a lot of very small parts packed in a tight space that might frustrate a younger modeler. I’d rate this set a 9 out of 10 manly for the paints that as matter of personal preference I don’t care for.
Thank you to IPMS for this set and all the aftermarket goodies I got to add to them, and to Airfix who continue to impress this reviewer with the quality of their releases.