The Bristol Blenheim is one of my least favorite planes of WWII. An late 30’s addition to the RAF, the Blenheim showed its mettle by participating in the first raid on Germany Sept. 4, 1939. Of the fifteen included in the attack, five failed to find the target and five were shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Three bombs struck the cruiser Emden, but failed to detonate. This is the Blenheim’s legacy.
Perhaps it’s the plane’s lines, which seem a bit like a panel truck. Not nearly so ridiculous as the Amiot 143 which looks like a moving van with with wings.
But there’s something ungainly about the plane that lacks the charm of a Wellesley, a Wellington, and a Hampden or the masculine ferocity of a Beaufighter.
But, they’re integral to the Malta campaign. Their participation in attacks on Italian airbases on Sicily and raids on trans-Mediterranean convoys to supply the Axis forces in North Africa were more than just nuisances. They drew the attention of Italian and German air forces that ultimately led to the two year siege of the little island.
I’ve painted eight fabulous Blenheims for my Malta campaign. I only meant to do six, but as I went through the treasures of Dave’s bounty I realized there were two Blenheim Mk 1’s and two Blenheim Mk. IV’s. The latter were used widely in the Mediterranean, the stubby Mk. 1’s not so much.
Never one to ignore a challenge, painted the Mk 1’s and ordered two Scotia Mk. IV’s and later, realizing I was two plane short, I added a pair of Raiden Mk. IV’s
The Mk. 1’s are painted Middlestone and Earth, the go to colors for the RAF. The undersides are painted black. Both planes are fully prepared to go drop their duds on the Scheer and Emden.
What to do with the remaining six? We usually play our bombers in groups of three, so the answer was easy. Some bombers based in Egypt, that also made their way to Malta were painted blue. Not a ton of photos of Blenheims in this configuration. I used a base coat of Vallejo IDF Blue with markings in Vallejo Dark Mediterranean Blue. It’s a pretty striking combo, that appears sort of green in the lousy light of my dining room. Undersides in Vallejo Sky Blue.
The remaining three planes were done in Middlestone and Vallejo Dark Green. They also have the sky blue undersides. But just a little more about these fellows. Two of these were Raiden planes and one was Scotia.
The Raiden Blenheims are among the finest 1/300 miniatures I’ve ever seen. The scribing top and bottom across the the entire wing is simply gorgeous. The canopy panels are superb, just great stuff. I thought it would be equivalent to the Scotia plane, but simply a quantum better.
Lots of projects competing for my time at this writing. I have a two-thirds completed Philippine Republican unit on my painting desk that needs completing. The Patriots and Rebels rules come out in January and I’ve agreed to work on an Enfilade project for those rules with David Sullivan.
But I have six Wellington bombers on my desk that need work, and the Malta project just needs completion, and it will take my time until it is finished. There are 42 planes to go, plus I’ve ordered a handful of 1/700 scale cargo vessels for convoy raids. I’m also committed to working on a Vietnam project, so I think for the next few months planes will be what I’m focused on.