Thursday, 11 October 2012

Airfix Blohm & Voss BV-141B in-box build review by Maj. Mike Cocke

Here’s my Airfix Blohm & Voss BV-141B finished mostly OOB as NC#RA (V10) from the Erprobungstelle at Rechlin in Germany in 1941.  I don’t have a lot of information on this particular aircraft.  The other kit option is for GK#GH from Wenzendorf, Germnay in early 1945.  As far as I can tell this one was found abandoned at the Blohm & Voss works at the end of the war.  Some have surmised that because the codes for this particular aircraft are out of sequence with the other BV-141’s, that it may have been the one used for operational trials.
This is pretty honest build.  It was tricky where you’d expect it to be tricky, but even then it wasn’t beyond what an average modeler could handle.  It was my first attempt at large scale rescribing.  I’m not too happy with the new panel lines, but does help the kit look a bit better.  Overall I found the build pretty straight forward.  Airfix has a smart parts breakdown, and the fit is generally good.  Probably the biggest area on the kit that could use some work is the cockpit.  With all the glazing up front a lot of the interior can be seen, and the kit as provided by Airfix is pretty sparse.  I added a few control boxes and an instrument panel up front.  It helps the cockpit look a little more full.  A proper scratch builder could have a field day with this kit.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the fit of all parts was quite good, particularly the canopy sections.  I only used a little filler around one wing join.  The instructions don’t mention it, but you should leave the bomb racks off until after the decals are applied.  If there ever was a kit for an aftermarket canopy this is it.  Don’t get me wrong, the Airfix canopies were fantastic, about as good as you can get from injection molding.  But a nice, thin vac formed canopy would show off the interior even better, and should be considered.  It’s also worth mentioning the small hole in the front of the main windscreen.  It appears that this was for one of the two fixed, forward firing machine guns.  It isn’t mentioned in the instructions at all.  I filled it with a left over .303 barrel, which did the trick. 

Airfix provides a few options for the kit.  As with most Airfix builds there’s a full crew, which is nice for those who want an inflight build.  It has two different tail gunner positions, which is nice.  But the instructions don’t explicitly state which position is for which version.  The open rear area is for the “operational” version while the closed solid cone is for the “non-operational” version.  Since the BV-141 was never truly operational, I assume the “operational” version refers to the aircraft used in operational trials.  If that is the case then it probably should be used on “GK#GH”, but again the instructions aren’t very clear.  As with most Airfix kits if you build carefully you can get the prop to spin.  The BV-141 also has optional parts for retracted landing gear.  That’s a nice touch since the gear doors have a large bend in them when they are extended.  Lastly of course there are the under wing bomb racks and bombs.  As with the open tail gun position, I assume these would be more used on the operational trials version.  Having said that I think they look good on the kit, and I’m glad I added them to the BV-141 from 1941.The decals went on with no problems at all.  They fit great and there was no silvering.  For a kit of this size there are very few decals, and it didn’t take long to complete.  I added the swastikas from the spares bin.  The two build options are really nice.  Airfix must really be commended for finding two different unique decal options for this kit, particularly when you consider how few BV-141s were actually built.  I am a sucker for the German splinter camouflage pattern, so I knew which version I had to choose.  The overall grey version is pretty cool too, I just am not as interested in that colour scheme.  Maybe if I get this kit again. . .The BV-141 is a great little kit.  It’s not easy, but it’s not all that hard either.  The fit is good, the markings are decent, and it adds a very unique aircraft to the display.  Overall two thumbs! Thanks Mike! ..and some hard-to-find detail views of the real machine