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Boulton Paul Defiant
Mk. I Day Fighter &
Mk. II Night Fighter


Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 471 (Mk. I Day Fighter) & 481 (Mk. II Night Fighter)
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Kit 471 - 65 parts in gray styrene, 20 parts in gray colored resin and 5 clear injection molded parts. Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide for 3 aircraft.

Kit 481 - 65 parts in grey styrene, 20 parts in gray colored resin, 5 clear injection molded parts and etched metal. Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide for 2 aircraft.

Price: MSRP USD$50.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Nice to have the Defiant back in all new moldings.
Disadvantages: Poorly molded rudders.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale B.P. Defiant kits may be ordered online from Squadron




I must thank Classic Airframes for bringing out a completely new molding of the Boulton Paul Defiant. 

The first Defiant from CA came out in 1995, and I snapped one right up and immediately built it.  I certainly learnt a lot about vac-clear parts and resin from that kit.  Of course, I also soon learnt that the kit was a bit of a poor rendition of the Defiant, with its too, too round fuselage and nose in cross section. 



The new kit, hopefully, and in my opinion does, corrects a lot of the shape problems of the earlier kit.





The parts are nicely molded in gray styrene and have finely engraved panel lines.  The fabric detail on the control surfaces is also nicely done.  There are the usual injection port pins that must be cleaned up on the inner surfaces of the wings and fuselage.  The injection gates are small for a limited run kits, but there is a little intrusion of the sprue onto some of the parts. 

Each kit comes with all the parts necessary to do both versions, except for the nose, which is kit specific. So, you get two different spinners, two sets of props, narrow and broad chord, two different radiators, two sets of exhausts, ejection stack and fish-tail, and two different rudders. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The rudders are the only fly in this fine soup.  I cannot remember ever seeing this before on a CA kit, but the rudders in both kits molding flaws, the worst of which looks like someone stuck a finger in the soft plastic.  A bit of your favorite filler should smooth this out. 

The fuselage and nose are a significant improvement over the first Defiant.  No longer does the fuselage have the sausage shaped cross section.  The new Defiant reflects what is described as the flat taper of the rear fuselage.  The nose also loses its pudgy cheek look.  As for the nose, it is a separate piece from the fuselage.  Similar in design to the Hasegawa  1/48 Hurricane. 



I would suggest deviating from the instructions with respect to the nose. The instructions would have you put a fully assembled nose to a virtually fully finished fuselage with wings attached.  I would hate to deal with alignment and cleanup of the attachment at that point.  I believe most modelers will deal with the attachment of the nose, fuselage halves and wings in an early, single step. 

As to the movable rear decking, I have not done a test fit, but it appears that in order to change the height, you will need to sand the bottom.  You could also do some cutting of the rear decking base, setting the movable section lower in the fuselage. 

The resin parts are nicely done.  The two wheel wells will require a little work to get then to fit between the wing halves.  There is a small molding block on the top, which is easily removed with a razor saw or by sanding.  But an initial test fit indicates that a bit of the vertical well wall may need to be sanded down to fit within the wing. 



In the original kit, the machine guns were one piece resin breach and barrel.  But being resin, the barrel snapped off in the box.  In the new kit the breaches are molded as part of the turret mechanism and the barrels are finely done as separate resin pieces.  Even though they were packed in a separate plastic bag, two muzzle flash cones were broken off in one kit. 



One thing is clear, Classic Airframes listens.  They did pack the clear parts in separate bagging.  Okay, there was one bit of resin in with them, but this is a great improvement over the loose pack of previous kits.  Thanks for listening. 

Unlike the first Defiant, which had all vac-clear parts, the new Defiant has nice injection molded clear parts.  With some careful work, you could cut and lower the rear part of the canopy, if you chose to do so. 

The turret comes in a two piece, fore and aft, molding.  The challenge with this is that it creates a line across the top of the turret.  The actual turret had a “U” shaped bend in the frame that crossed the top.  Careful work will be required to eliminate the join line. 



Etched metal is included only in the Mk. II Night Fighter (Kit 481). 

The sheet includes harness for the pilot and turret gunner, and the radar antenna.  One item on the etched metal sheet has me scratching my head.  The rear set of wing antenna are etched as a parallelogram (vertical antenna are connected by a horizontal piece).  I cannot find a reference for this arrangement.  An easy fix, or even use fine wire instead. 

One other curious thing is that while there are enough etched metal parts for the fuselage mounted antenna on both sides, there is only one mounting post and the instruction only show it mounted on the left side.  I believe it was on both sides.  If I am wrong, please let me know.





Each kit comes with decals for stencils, wing walk line and gas detection patch.  There are no stencil instructions in the Night Fighter kit but it is not clear to what extent the stenciling was painted over. Most were likely covered with the black paint, although the gas detection patch may have been carried.


Kit 471 - Mk. I Day Fighter: 

  1. 141 Squadron, L7009 / TW*H; flown by Flt. Lt. D. G. Donald with gunner Plt. Off. A.C. Hamilton.  This aircraft was shot down by a Bf 109E near Dover on 19 July 1940.  It has rare, for the RAF, nose art depicting a rooster with the name “Cock o’ the North”.  Dark Green Dark Earth with Sky underside (One source refers to the underside as Duck Egg Green.  Your choice.). A1 roundels on the fuselage. 

  2. 307 Squadron (Polish – City of Lwow),  N3437 / EW*K, Kirton-in-Lindsey, September 1940.  Dark Green, Dark Earth with White and Night (black) underside split down the middle.  Other references indicate that the Polish checkerboard was carried on the left side also, but the CA decal only has one.  A1 roundels on the fuselage, no roundels under the wings. 

  3. 276 (ASR) Squadron, T3997 / AQ, Harrowbeer, 1942.  As an air sea rescue aircraft, it was painted in Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Gray.  The underside was Sky.  Codes were in dull red. C1 roundels on the fuselage. No underside roundels.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Kit 481 - Mk. II Night Fighter: 

  1. 151 Squadron, AA436 / DZ*V, 1941.  Smooth night finish.  Red code and serial.  Type C1 roundel on the fuselage. No underside roundels. 

  2. 125 Squadron, AA404 / VA*P.  Smooth night finish. Red code and serial.  A profile in one reference shows white serial.  C1 roundels on fuselage.  No underside roundels.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:





In spite of my criticisms, I highly recommend these limited run Defiant kits from Classic Airframes.  

The improvement in shape over the original issue is absolutely unmistakable.   

Construction certainly looks far more straightforward than the old kit, which seems to have frustrated many a modeler. But I would follow the instruction’s advice in this new kit in test fitting at every stage. And, experience with a limited run kit will probably be very helpful. 

No collection of Battle of Britain aircraft would be complete without a Defiant. It is that simple. 

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.





  • Boulton Paul Defiant, Warpaint Series No. 42, by Alan Hall.

  • The Boulton-Paul Defiant, by Richard J. Caruana, Scale Aviation Modeller International, April 2003.

  • Boulton Paul Defiant – Aircraft in Detail, by Alan Hall, Scale Aircraft Modelling, August 1996.

  • Aircraft Archive, Volume I – Fighters of World War Two, Argus Books Limited (OOP)

  • http://fly.to/Polishsquadrons

Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright © 2004 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 29 October, 2004
Last updated 07 November, 2004

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