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Valom 1/72 scale Bristol Brigand B.Mk.1

The Brigand replaced the Beaufighter as the Royal Air Force’s ground attack aircraft. The type served during the Malayan Emergency before being replaced by the Canberra.

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Valom’s Brigand features fine recessed exterior panel lines and rivet detail. Resin Centaurus engines and air scoops, a nice photoetched-metal detail fret, and a film instrument panel are also included. In my kit, a cylinder of one engine wasn’t fully molded; I replaced it with a piece of plastic rod.

There are few locating bosses, pins or tabs; most parts are butt-joined, so care is needed to align everything during assembly. The fit of parts varied but was generally pretty good; some putty was needed, mainly on the nacelles.

Main wheel-well detail is provided by inserts which also locate the gear struts; I may have installed these incorrectly, because dry-fitting the gear revealed they were too far aft in the wheel well. A little modification was needed to relocate the struts and actuators.

The instructions specify locating the large air scoops on the cowlings, but they should be mounted on the nacelle sides instead, just behind the cowlings, at 3 and 9 o’clock. The kit cowlings are slightly large compared to reference drawings and photos I found in Bristol Brigand, by Tony Butler, Warpaint Series No. 68 (Warpaint, ASIN B001IHJ0GE).

Though I couldn’t find mention of it, in the photos it looks like the close-cowled Centaurus engines had cowling fans, too, similar to the Fw 190.

The props are built up with separate blades, and the small mounting pins on the blade shanks make them a little fragile when they’re done; I used gap-filling super glue to attach them.

Clear parts include the canopy and wingtip lights, and should’ve also included the ADF “football” antenna; the rear part of the canopy in my sample had a pretty good-sized sink mark. The interior looks nice under that big greenhouse canopy. Eight rockets and launch rails are provided, which I omitted until I can find a scale drawing with their exact locations under the wings.

Instructions specify “extra dark sea gray” for the upper surfaces of the aircraft; my references say it should be medium sea gray instead.

Two markings options are provided. The decals for 84 Squadron, which I chose, had two minor errors: The individual flight marking on the fins, a spade, was red; it should have been black, so I ran the kit decals through my copier and printed my own black ones. The kit’s RAF serial, VS584, wasn’t a Brigand number, but VS854 was, and also was an 84 Squadron aircraft, so I just cut the numbers apart and transposed them. With the exception of one stubborn fuselage roundel, the decals were great and adhered well.

I really liked this kit. The vague kit instructions and lack of part locators probably limit it to more experienced builders – it takes a little elbow grease, and references are a big help – but it’s a fairly easy kit to build. I spent about 30 hours of enjoyable modeling on mine. Kudos to Valom for filling this niche in aviation history.


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