<-- **** DONE: 1/48 Beaufighter TF X - Twin Engined Aircraft of WWII

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Nov 16, 2008
Username: Crimea River
First name: Andy
Category: Judge – Non-competing
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Model Type: Beaufighter Mk VI
Aftermarket addons: Decals by Aviaeology

This build will depict long serving Beaufighter TF X LZ451 of 404 Squadron RCAF. The following profile and caption are copied from an article by Terry Higgins of Aviaeology Decals from this article at Vintage Wings of Canada.


Beaufighter TF.X LZ451 as EE•M of 404 Squadron as flown by S/L Christison DFC, and others, circa late October 1944. Earlier, this aircraft became the mount of former squadron commander W/C Ken Gatward DSO, DFC and Bar. He flew it often through the summer of 1944 before leaving the squadron in late August. The aircraft remained to soldier on into late February. The unofficial Buffalo emblem was most probably applied in late May or early June and the command pennant a little later, possibly July. The French tricolour is believed to have been added after Gatward, flying LZ451, landed in France on 7 August 1944, claiming a first for Coastal Command. Some say that it may also commemorate his "show the flag" flight over occupied Paris in 1942 when he was with another Beaufighter squadron, but that seems a stretch. The "The Ancient Mariner" inscription may have been applied shortly after Gatward posted out, in recognition of either the aircraft itself (the 2nd or 3rd oldest on 404 strength at the time) or its two-tour veteran former pilot. Interestingly, the command pennant remained into 1945 although the new commander never flew this aircraft.Artwork by the author (available in model decal form at www.aviaeology.com)

The history of 404 Squadron RCAF and, in particular its role in D-Day and with the Banff and Dallachy Strike Wings, is an interesting one and I will try to place some anecdotes throughout my build updates.
404 Squadron RCAF carried a number of different marking styles and squadron codes during WW2 and LZ451, having been among the first batch of Beaufighters received by the squadron to replace their Blenheim Mk IVs in September 1943, saw a number of facelifts in its long service up to the point at which the squadron converted to Mosquitos in April 1945. Below are a few pictures of this aircraft showing the variety of schemes that it carried, though it was always identified through it's life as aircraft "M".

LZ451 just after D-Day when the squadron code was "2".


In July1944, the squadron codes changed to "EE" and LZ451 was repainted accordingly. The AEAF stripes were retained on the fuselage through February 1945, though, in the latter stages, only on the lower half. The wing stripes were overpainted around the time of the squadron's move to Banff in September 1944. The below pic is taken at Strubby while the squadron was supporting invasion operations in 16 Group in July/August 1944.


In September 1944, 404 Squadron moved to Banff, where it was based for 7 weeks. It then moved north to Dallachy as part of that Strike Wing and, at that time, the large codes were overpainted on the AEAF stripes and moved further up the fuselage over the wing per the profile above and the pic below. In the whole 18 months that the aircraft served with 404, it retained its original camouflage scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey uppers and Sky lower surfaces, the former showing increasing signs of wear over the course of the aircraft's life. This, coupled with liberal use of red primer patches in the wing roots and around the cannon fairings should make this a challenging and interesting subject to finish.

Good choice Andy. I'm sure you've got everything covered here. The Beaufighter is one of the aircraft I am sorely lacking info on though I do have some
Thanks everyone. Geo, yes I'm pretty well sorted for this build but thanks for the offer.
Work has started with the usual assembly of the cockpit and interior components and a rudimentary coat of cockpit green. I will keep things relatively simple here and will not go adding details to areas that will not be seen. The Navigator's position, in particular, will hardly be seen through the small clear blister and past the seat so the work here will be limited to detailing the seat and any immediate surroundings. The cockpit will get a bit more attention as the large, clear canopy will reveal much of what goes on here.

As I stated in the intro, there are some interesting aspects of 404 Squadron RCAF so I will try to highlight some of the notable achievements, stories, and people of the squadron with some info interspersed between my build updates. I'll start with a quick overview pulled from Wiki and elsewhere:

404 Squadron RCAF was formed at Thorney Island in Sussex, Englandon 15 April 1941 under Royal Air Force operational control. Tasked with coastal patrol and attack, the squadron flew the Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV & later the Beaufighter. From May 1944 to September 1944 the squadron was based at RAF Davidstow Moor in Cornwall, England in support of D-Day and subsequent operations.

The squadron moved to Banff, Scotland for 7 weeks in September 1944 and then on to Dalachy where it was attached to the RAF Dallachy Strike Wing in 18 Group Coastal Command. 404 Squadron, together with 3 other Beaufighter squadrons of the Wing (144 Squadron RAF, 455 Squadron RAAF, and 489 Squadron RNZAF) operated against heavily defended coastal shipping through the remainder of the war in Europe. The squadron disbanded on 25 May 1945.

The squadron was reformed on April 30, 1951, at RCAF Station Greenwood as 404 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron. On 17 July 1956, 404 Squadron was redesignated as a Maritime Patrol squadron, and when the CP-140 Aurora came into service, the title was changed again to 404 Maritime Patrol and Training Squadron. The current title is 404 Long Range Patrol and Training (LRP&T) Squadron. 404 Sqn continues to serve today as the Operational Training Unit (OTU) for Aircrew and Maintenance personnel who work on the CP140 Aurora and CP140/A Arcturus aircraft.
Already painting??? Nice quick start Andy!

Just the base colours John. More parts will be added yet, as seen below.

Great subject and start Andy!

Long time Cory. Good of you to stop by.

Here's the progress made since Thursday. I started by filling the slot at the top of the instrument panel. This is for the gun sight which Tamiya would have you incorrectly install as an attachment to this point. In reality, the gun sight was mounted to a swivel bracket on the coaming.


As a good part of the innards will be seen through the large glazed area, I'll spend a bit of time detailing this area. The below pic shows the starting point of this area.


As you can see below, the indentations for the wings have been filled in with styrene card cut to shape. I also enhanced the first two ribs as these were much too shallow. These were built up using styrene bar sections, though I noticed in a reference after the fact that the rib behind the canopy was much thicker, so I'll go back over this one.


I went and detailed the cockpit and didn't stop to take shots of the steps involved. Below you can see the result. The asbestos covering on the heater tube was drybrushed in white over the light grey I originally painted to simulate the dirty fabric. Clamps were drawn on with a black felt tipped pen. The box on the right side behind the compass received an aileron trim tab control added from styrene rods and the throttle handle was similarly enhanced. On the pilot's left panel, I scammed some left over PE levers and added them to represent the port (red) and starboard (green) carburetor and supercharger controls. I also scratch built the fuels shut off buttons at the pilot's left elbow. The instrument panel, also shown, has the individual decals cut out and placed in the bezels and everything has been painted with a fine brush.


Another view from the rear quarter, with the IP now installed. The seatbelts are left over from my Eduard Spitfire IX. They were the wrong type for that model but will do nicely here.


Here we have some braces installed, seen in some reference pics and cutaways. The compass has received a blob of Testors Clear Parts Cement that has not yet dried.


And finally, just to add variety, I assembled the landing gear:


Thanks for looking in.
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