Tamiya's Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk. X
Reviewed by Kursad Albayrak
Tamiya's 1/48 Beaufighter kits were greeted with enthusiasm when they were first released about several years back. These kits were superbly designed and executed in typical Tamiya fashion. A new kit of the one of the more important Beaufighter types, the TF. Mk.X, followed in 1999, and this kit is no exception, either.
The Beaufighter TF. Mk.X(or "Torbeau" as it was called) was primarily used by RAF Coastal Command in daring anti-shipping attacks on the European coast. Along with other aircraft operated by the Command, Beaufighters inflicted heavy losses on Axis shipping and Kriegsmarine submarines, strained German shipping industry, and tied up Luftwaffe resources that could have been used elsewhere.
The kit is molded in typical Tamiya grey plastic. Several of the sprues are identical to other Tamiya Beaufighter kits, and the parts specific to the TF. Mk.X like the 18-inch torpedo and extended dorsal fin are provided in a new sprue. Attention to surface detail is excellent throughout, and all navigation lights are provided on the clear sprue along with canopy parts.
In contrast to Tamiya's superb Mosquito in the same scale, the Beaufighter kit does not have any "superdetailed" parts like the gun bay or bomb bay of the former. The cockpit detail is adequate, but seat belts are supplied in only decal form, and this area will probably benefit from either resin or photo-etched aftermarket sets.
I particularly liked the way Tamiya simplified the landing gear construction; and the detail here is excellent, as elsewhere in the kit. The faces of the large Hercules radial engines are also very nicely detailed. Optional parts include the thimble-nose radome for the later ASV Mk.VIII radar and the extended dorsal fin introduced in later Torbeaus to solve stability problems induced by the new radome.
Armament consists of a single 18-inch torpedo, and eight 3-inch rocket rails with rockets. As an alternative to the torpedo, two 500lb. bombs are also supplied. The wooden "Monotane Air Tail" fins commonly used with these torpedoes is not included, but the interested modeler can easily scratchbuild these.
The nicely printed decals in the kit allow the modeler to depict a Beaufighter TF Mk.X of either the 236 Sqn(with invasion stripes) or the 254 Sqn. Of the RAF Coastal Command.
Overall, the 1/48 Tamiya Beaufighter TF Mk.X is easily the best kit of the Torbeau in any scale. Highly recommended to all Beaufighter and Coastal Command fans!
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