by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History The Bristol F.2B Fighter, a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, had its roots in Frank Barnwell´s design studies, dating from March 1916. His task was to design an aircraft that would replace the B.E.2c.
Two studies were explored – the Type 9 R.2A which was intended to be powered by the 160 hp Beardmore engine, and the R.2B that was to be powered by the 150 hp Hispano Suiza. Neither of these types were built. In the meantime, the new 190 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon inline engine became available, and Barnwell designed a new aircraft around this engine. The new aircraft, known under designation Type 12 F.2A, was intended as a replacement for the F.E.2d and Sopwith 1½ Strutter two-seat fighters.
The new aircraft made its maiden flight on 9 September 1916. Only 52 F.2As were produced. The armament consisted of one synchronised, fixed, forward-firing 7,7mm Vickers machine gun, and one flexible 7.7 mm Lewis Gun, mounted on a Scarff ring in the observer's cockpit. The Bristol Type 14 F.2B flew for the first time on 25 October 1916. The initial batch of approximately 150 aircraft were powered by Falcon I and Falcon II engines. The rest of serial production aircraft by Bristol were equipped with the 275 hp Falcon III engine. The F.2B could reach a maximum speed of 198 km/h, and was more than 16 km/h faster than the F.2A.
F.2B armament was the same as the F.2A, but F.2Bs often carried a second Lewis gun on the rear cockpit mounting. The limited capability of the Bristol factory was the reason why the F.2B was manufactured under licence by Gloucestershire Aircraft Co. Ltd., Marshall & Sons, and National Aircraft Factory No. 3. Due to the shortage of Rolls Royce Falcons, these manufacturers mounted two other engines into the F.2B airframe – Hispano Suiza 8Ab (B, Ba later), and Sunbeam Arab I.
The Bristol F.2B Fighter was a manoeuvrable aircraft that was able to take on single-seat fighters in direct combat. It was flown by many Royal Flying Corps Squadrons, and remained in military service into the 1930s, and surplus aircraft were popular in the civil aviation world.
(i)Info from the Eduard instruction booklet(/i)
In the box Packed in Eduard's standard Profipack top opening box, the Bristol F.2B fighter kit comes with four dark grey sprues, one small clear acetate sheet for the windshield, one fret of photo etch, a set of masks, one decal sheet and a instruction booklet.
Even though this kit was first tooled in 2005 and has been released several times in different markings over the years, the moulds have remained quite crisp with no defects or flash found in my kit.
A few pin marks are found, but look to be in areas that will be hidden once built.
There is around 160 plastic parts in this kit, but several parts are not used. Although the amount of parts does seem rather daunting in a kit this size the build does look fairly easy and straightforward.
Detail for the twin cockpit is exceptional with a photo etch pilots seat and harness. The instrument panel, has a decal sheet for the few dials that are found on the panel. The interior is well packed with detail and unlike a few models there wont be a lot of need to add any scratch built details. Twin or single Lewis machine guns can be modelled depending on your
preference for the rear machine gun mount.
The weakest part of the kit is the Lewis machine guns, but as Eduard do a Brassin version you can always upgrade this part.
The engine is pretty much non existent, with two internal parts with some engine detail blanking out the openings along the cowling, and only the front radiator(?) showing along with the prop shaft, but most of where the engine sits is covered by the cowling and not seen anyway.
Two types of exhausts are supplied with a longer version for marking option C. Holes will need to be drilled out for this longer exhaust, as it sits along the outside of the fuselage.
A four and two blade prop are supplied in the kit, but only the two bladed propeller is used in this boxing.
External detail is exquisite with raised stitching along the fuselage. The wings and tail surfaces have subtle rib tape detail and position able control surfaces.
The wings are one piece each for the lower and upper wings and have the dihedral moulded into them which should help with lining the wings up when connecting the 12 spars up.
Two types of undercarriage struts are given, which depend on which marking option you are going to model.
External stores for this kit are two large bombs, or eight smaller bombs carried under the lower wing. The pylons have photo etch and plastic parts, and look very detailed.
Instructions and Decals The instruction booklet is in a folded A4 size gloss booklet. The build sequence is pretty easy to follow with any P.E or optional parts highlighted. A few holes need to be drilled out and these are highlighted in red. Internal colours are given throughout the build for the Mr Color and Aqueous paints.
A very handy rigging guide can be found on the last page of the build.
The one thing I did notice about the instructions is how small the booklet is compared with other Eduard kits I have got, so much so I had to break out my optivisor to read some of the part numbers, the joys of getting old and the eyesight going lol.
Four marking options are supplied, which are -
1.F.2b, D8084, 139 Sqn, RFC, Aug 1918
2.F.2B, B1134, 34 Sqn, RFC, Feb 1918
3.F.2b, C4695, No.2 SAFG/No.4 ASAG, England, 1918
4.F.2b, C4619, 62 Sqn, RFC, early 1918
The decals are printed by Eduard and look to be in register and are in a glossy finish.
A set of masks are supplied with this boxing. Most of the masks are used for the first marking option, which has a red area on the upper wing. masks for the wheel hubs are also supplied.
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