Beaufighter TF.X – Israeli Air Force

TF.X Bristol Beaufighter – Manufacturer: Airfix  /  Scale: 1/72

Israeli Air Force – 1948

Model by Scott Pfaff

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A brief history

Beaufighter Israel

The general history of the Beaufighter is fairly well known, so I won’t repeat it here. What is not so well known is the story of how the Israeli Air Force managed to acquire several of the type during that nation’s formative period in 1948.

The Beaufighter was ideal for the IAF – being rugged, heavily armed and coming with a proven combat record. At the time Israel was trying to buy combat aircraft, a number of war-surplus Beaufighters were also available for purchase. However, a British embargo on aircraft sales to Israel prevented them from being exported, and even attempting to fly them would have aroused suspicion and possible interception.

So instead the planes were bought via a front company, and a plan was devised to enable them to be flown – as part of a scene for a movie. A fake movie studio was set up and a script was hastily concocted – including a scene where the group of Beaufighters would take off together and head to battle. On the appointed day with a large crowd in attendance, the planes were started and, with cameras rolling, took off from the airfield and headed for the horizon – never to be seen again! By the time the British authorities figured out that something was amiss, the planes were in Italy, before being refueled and flown onward to Tel Aviv.

The Kit

Airfix has been on a roll of late, with ongoing releases of (at least for me) a number of desirable subjects and their 1/72nd Beaufighter is no exception. The kit goes together beautifully, with almost no sanding, let alone filler, required. beaufighter Airfix

I originally intended to build it as the out-of-the-box RAF-SEAC version, but after stumbling upon the story of the Israeli Airforce machines, I couldn’t resist depicting one. The kit was painted with Gunze acrylics, given an overall coat of Tamiya flat from a spray can, and then lightly weathered with a combination of Ammo of Mig “Streaking Rust Effects”, Humbrol polished steel metalizer and Tamiya black acrylic as a final wash.

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