The Bristol Britannia arose from the Brabazon Committee's “Type III” specification, which called for a large medium-range airliner, capable of making multi-stop trips throughout the British Empire.
Although Bristol's Brabazon (intended to meet the “Type I” transatlantic specification) was a spectacular failure, many of the lessons learned during its development were immediately applied to the Britannia.
The Design was nearly killed off by the selection of the Proteus engine; it's “reverse intake” airflow was extremely succeptable to icing, and many thousands of engineering hours had to be spent to cure the problem, which delayed the Britannia's service entry for several years. The Comet crashes in 1954 also affected the intruduction of the Britannia, as the British Government insisted on stringent safety tests, causing further delays. Had it entered service as initially intended, the Britannia would likely have altered the course of aviation history. As it was, the design was effective but the introduction of jet aircraft in1959 relegated it to premature obscurity.
The Britannia was further developed by Canadair into the Swing-tail CL-44 freighter, and the massively modified Argus anti-submarine aircraft, which pioneered the use of airliner-derivitive ASW platforms.
This kit is very nicely moulded in Roden's familiar slightly brownish plastic. The parts breakdown is entirely conventional, apart from the exhaust pipes, which are split horixontally with the lower halves moulded into the upper wing surface. This appears to be a quite effective method of portraying the Britannia's oval exhaust contours.
There is a modicum of flash evident, and also ejector pin towers betryaing this kit's limited run nautre.
The fuselage is two pieces nose to tail with a separate Heller-style cockpit cap. There is no interior detail, but it is very unlikely that any would be seen through the small windows. The fuselage windows have clear inserts which appear to fit very well. Don't forget to paint the interior black. Nose weight will be required, and Roden's instructions call for 20 grams.
Each wing is comprised of an upper and lower half with integral nacelles. The Britannia's characteristic upswept wingtips are nicely captured.
The tailplanes are two piece mouldings. Very large ejector pin towers foul the mating surface. These must be completely removed before construction can commence. The elevators are moulded in the neutral position. Since photos of parked Britannias with deflected control surfaces are rare, this will be acceptable.
The engines and cowlings are moulded separately, as are the upper halves of the exhausts. The propellers are moulded as a unit rather than as separate blades which plagued the DC-7
The landing gear struts and wheels have adequate detail for the scale. They will need only a good painting before they can be glued in place. Some reports state that the nose wheel attachment points are too small for the wheels. A tiny bit of epoxy putty can solve this problem.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a Britannia.
Decals and markings
The decal sheet has markings for G-AOVB of BOAC in the late 1950s. Early issues of this kit had registration for G-ANBE, which was a -100 series and therefore inaccurate for the kit as moulded. If you have an early issue, Roden will replace the decals, or you can use an aftermarket sheet.
No window decals are provided. Windows from any aftermarket sheet can be used if desired. There are many aftermarket sheets available if this option does not appeal.
Finally an injection-moulded Britannia in 1/144!
The real thing
Sister ship G-AOVT
on final approach.
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