The Bristol Beaufighter was a British long-range heavy fighter, developed from the Beaufort torpedo bomber and first flown in July 1939. It became an efficient fighter and also night-fighter, employing the then novel AI radar. The Beaufighter was a two-seat (three seats in later TF Mk.Xs), twin engine, all-metal mid-wing cantilever monoplane, fitted with a retractable undercarriage. It was powered by two Hercules radial engines and the armament consisted of four cannons in the nose, four guns in the starboard wing and another two guns in the port wing. Following the first fighter variants – Mk.I and VI (designated the ‘F’ and ‘C’ for Fighter Command and Coastal Command, respectively), of which some 2,750 were produced, a dedicated torpedo-carrying version for CC appeared in mid-1942. Known as the ‘Torbeau’, the initial 80 aircraft were designated the Beaufighter Mk.VI (ITF), with ‘ITF’ standing for Interim Torpedo Fighter. Installation of more powerful Hercules engines enabled to produce a new version – the TF Mk.X, which became the main production Mark of the Beaufighter. In total, 2,200 aeroplanes were built and they were fitted with a dihedral tailplane with increased span and longer carburettor air scoops above the engines; the later production models featured a dorsal fin. The late series TF Mk.X aircraft were also fitted with an AI Mk.VIII centimetric radar installed in a “thimble-nose” radome.
The Beaufighter had a long career and served in almost all theatres of war during the WWII, at first as a night fighter, then as a fighter-bomber and eventually being used as a torpedo-bomber.
Colour schemes included in the kit:
1) Bristol Beaufighter Mk.VIC (ITF), JL832, Grey A, No.144 Sq., RAF, Tain airfield, Scotland, May 1943
2) Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk.X, RD351, Black QM-F, No.254 Sq., RAF, North Coates airfield, early 1945
3) Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk.X, KW393, Red W, No.27 Sq., RAF, Chiringa airfield, India, early 1945
4) Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk.X, D-171 (ex-RD135), Israeli Air Force, Transport Squadron, Ramat David Air Base, autumn 1948