Steve's 1/72 Boulton Paul Defiant

stona

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I've decided to try and squeeze another model into this GB. There's no chance of finishing a large scale effort, so I've gone with another 1/72 kit, which gives me at least a fighting chance.

IMG_2380.JPG

The box says you need to be 8+ years old, so I'm well in there, and that the kit is skill level 1, so I've got a chance there too!
 

beowulf

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its a nice kit, i enjoyed doing mine
 

papa 695

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If it's anything like there 1/48 offering Steve, it should be a good build.
 

Murfie

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I've just acquired an Airfix 1/48 version of the Defiant and have an MPM 1/72 kit in the stash, so I will enjoy observing your efforts on this one, Steve. It's an aircraft that seems to have had it's reputation diminished post war, and whose actual performance was far better than the current reputation suggests. I've recently bought a couple of books on the Defiant which make for interesting reading.
 

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As Beowulf said it is a nice little kit and went together with no issues when I built it last year.
 

stona

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I'll check out your builds, any tips gratefully received :smiling3:

I'm going to do this one on the ground, assuming the undercarriage looks up to it. It will vaguely be based on this picture, as far as the position of the fairings and guns go (he said optimistically!)

Defiant_ground.jpg

There are the rather basic Airfix figures for a pilot and a gunner included, but I'll save them to serve somewhere else.

At least with the undercarriage down that aerial at the back retracted, one less thing to knock off :smiling3:
 

adt70hk

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Will be following this one with interest Steve.

Out of interest was there any link between Hawker and Bolton Paul?

I have always thought that they bore a very close resemblance to the Hurricane (turret accepted of course!!).

ATB

Andrew
 

stona

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The only connection between Hawker and Boulton Paul that I can think of is that BP had been sub-contracted to build the Demon.

Hawker also designed a turret fighter to F.9/35, the Hawker Hotspur (which had some components in common with the Hurricane), but for one reason or another the B P Defiant eventually won out.

The resemblance is largely coincidental, more a reflection of the fact that none of these aircraft were designed in a vacuum than anything else.

If you take the turret out of a Defiant you end up with something even more like a Hurricane.

p94-1.jpg

I actually toyed with the idea of taking a swing at this, but discretion got the better part of valour!
 

adt70hk

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The only connection between Hawker and Boulton Paul that I can think of is that BP had been sub-contracted to build the Demon.

Hawker also designed a turret fighter to F.9/35, the Hawker Hotspur (which had some components in common with the Hurricane), but for one reason or another the B P Defiant eventually won out.

The resemblance is largely coincidental, more a reflection of the fact that none of these aircraft were designed in a vacuum than anything else.

If you take the turret out of a Defiant you end up with something even more like a Hurricane.

View attachment 401135

I actually toyed with the idea of taking a swing at this, but discretion got the better part of valour!
Thanks Steve. A quick glance and you would mistake it for a Hurricane!

I dare you to have a go at a turret-less version next time!

ATB

Andrew
 

Tim Marlow

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Best thing about the BP Defiant was that it wasn’t a Blackburn Roc......always had a soft spot for it though...looking forward to this Steve.
 

stona

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Best thing about the BP Defiant was that it wasn’t a Blackburn Roc......always had a soft spot for it though...looking forward to this Steve.
It was better than that. The concept was not in itself flawed. When the turret fighter specification(s) were issued and even after the Defiant first flew nobody, absolutely nobody, foresaw the Fall of France. We often forget that France was regarded as continental Europe's pre-eminent military power in the 1930s.
It meant that the bombers arriving in UK airspace were escorted by S/E fighters, based quite literally just across the Channel. The Defiant was supposed to provide a formation of fighters, each equipped with a heavy battery of guns which it could bring to bear on the enemy bomber formations. It was the presence of enemy fighters that put paid to that.
 

Allen Dewire

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Hi Steve,

I have always like planes with a rear turret like the BP and the TBF Avenger. When I see a model of one, I immediately think of the scene in Indiana Jones 3 where Sean Connery mans the twin MGs and proceeds to shoot his own tail rudder to bits. I have often wondered if this could have happened in real life combat or in the BOB...

I would tend to think it could because in the heat of battle and with a 109 coming around behind you, your only thought is to shoot him down. If this did happen and your pilot was lucky enough to land back at the airfield, I think one would have to lie about what really happened up there. Maybe "There were so many Jerries shooting at us from all directions....Man, we were lucky to get away with this amount of damage to our BP. Of course if the truth did come out, one would definitely get the "Squadron Idiot of the Month" award as well as a few angry words from the commander...

Just thinking out loud here and I'm in for your build too.........

Prost
Allen
 

stona

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Some turrets had rails which acted as cams, preventing the guns from firing when aimed at parts of their own aircraft. The mid-upper turret of the Lancaster and Halifax are examples.
I don't know whether such a system was used on the Defiant. I've just discovered that the fairings were retracted automatically, pneumatically, by a cam actuated system when the guns approached them, so an interrupter system would not have been impossible.

Defiant fairings.jpg
 

rtfoe

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Hi Steve, looks like the new mold you'll be building with. You will definitely enjoy it rather than struggling with the older kit which I had to go through. I suspect they will give you proper undercarriage legs not like the one rod structure I had to deal with. :smiling6:

Will post my build some time later as I noticed I hadn't featured it in this forum. The Defiant is weird but odd as it is it's a nice plane to have in the collection as it played a small but disastrous part in the early days of BoB

Cheers,
Richard
 

stona

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I've been flicking through 'the library' finding all possible pictures of Defiants. One thing has become clear, you really can't pose the gun turret fairings wrong. They appear in all possible configurations, both in the air and on the ground!

I did find evidence of a trial flown by Squadron Leader Phillip Huntley, the second man to command No 264 Squadron, the results of which certainly surprised me.
To investigate how the Defiant could be handled against Luftwaffe fighters, Hunter arranged to fly a steady course between Northolt and White Waltham, while Fl. Off. Robert Stanford Tuck of No. 65 Squadron would attack how and when he liked in his Hurricane. In a turning fight which lasted ten minutes, Tuck did not use any of his cine-gun film, because he was never able to bring his guns to bear, but Hunter’s gunner used all of his, able to fire across the arc of a turn, and on one occasion Hunter was even able to get behind Tuck, and slightly below, so his gunner could fire forward and up into the Hurricane’s belly.

It seems many Defiant crews, even after a couple of defeats at the hands of the Luftwaffe, felt that the withdrawal of the Defiant was premature and that it could hold its own, even in contested skies.
 

dave

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From what I have read quite a few Bf109 pilots had a nasty shock mistaking them for Hurricanes and attacking from above and behind early in the BoB.
 

stillp

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I've often wondered if the Defiant would have been more successful with a couple of forward-firing guns.
Pete
 

rtfoe

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In those days a couple of added pounds created performance issues to the aircraft. The powerplants and design of aircraft were always at their limits so added guns and ammo perhaps were equated in and left out due to these deficiencies.

Cheers,
Richard
 

stona

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They never seriously considered armament in the wing(s) of the Defiant. The turret could fire forwards with the weapons fired by the pilot, but obviously the propeller got in the way. The angle at which the guns could fire was not far off that required for 'no allowance' shooting, something that had been something of an obsession for the Air Staff in the '20s and '30s.

The proposed successor to the Defiant would have had a turret equipped with four 20mm cannon (F.18/36 and then F.11/37) and they would have been able to fire directly forward, but this aircraft would have been a two-engined machine. For some reason Dowding wanted this aircraft to have a single forward firing machine gun "as some means of engaging a single low flying aircraft". Why the turret armament couldn't do this was not discussed.

Later F.9/37 was issued to Gloster for another type of turret fighter. This would have been a twin with a nose mounted cannon set up for 'no allowance' shooting and a four gun midships turret. The turret was deleted from this specification before the prototype was completed.

The Air Ministry enjoyed something of a love affair with the two concepts illustrated in F.9/37, 'no allowance' shooting and turret fighters. Both were a reflection of the perceived need to bring adequate firepower from enough aircraft to bear simultaneously on enemy bomber formations. A 1938 Air Staff review of 'Air Defence Fighter Tactics' reasoned that fixed gun single seat fighters could only attack from astern (!), would not be able to surprise the enemy who would only need rear defensive armament. Only one or two fighters could attack simultaneously. On the other hand,

"The moveable gun fighter, by flying on a parallel course to the bomber, can attack it from any direction and so overcome all these disadvantages."

It also argued that in air superiority fighting, where the aim was the destruction of the enemy's fighters, a moveable gun fighter could act offensively as well as defensively. In early 1939 another specification for a turret fighter was drawn up. This never really got off the drawing board, but was initially to have a nose turret with four 20mm cannon. Later it was decided that "the upper turret of B.1/39 [a bomber specification] may be suitable for this aircraft", which definitely implies a midships turret.

The fixed gun fighter, particularly with the very heavy armament for the mid '30s of six or eight machine guns, was by no means the front runner in much of the Air Ministry planning. It's probably going too far to say that we were lucky to have them, but there was a distinct possibility that we might never have had enough of them.
 
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stona

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In other news, I've made a start on the Defiant, sticking together and painting the rather basic interior. I suppose that at this scale not much of this will be seen, even without a pilot, and what's there does give a decent impression of a Defiant cockpit.

IMG_2381.JPG

I'd like to add that I don't mind diversions and chat about other aspects of the Defiant, turret fighters, Air Ministry policy etc. at all. It's all part of our history and one of the reasons I took up model making again after the customary long lay off for, well, life :smiling3:
It's all good fun, and if someone ineptly sticking a few bits of plastic together can stimulate an interesting discussion, so much the better.
 
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