Bristol F.2B

On the Workbench: 1/48 Eduard Bristol F.2B The Crocodile by Tony Adams 

The other build articles that appear on this site have been written “after the fact” when the model in question has been completed. With this build I intend to do something a little different. This page will be updated in “near” real time as I complete the model, you should get a warts and all account of this model build, fingers crossed.

I need a model to enter in Romsey Modellers’ St George competition on 15th July which is just under 6 weeks away. My original intension was to enter my Dambuster Lancaster but recent events make completion in time highly unlikely, so it is time to find plan B. This model has been in my stash for about a 6 months, I purchased at the Middle Wallop show for around £20, it has been high on my build list but somehow it felt like a project for next year (or the next). The lack of real quality British subjects in my loft collection(I’m not doing my TSR2 as I know I would be up against Richard’s TRS2) brought this to the fore, as did my recent drooling over the Bristol F2B recently released by WingNuts ( I have promised myself that if I make a good job of this kit, I can purchase one!).

I have two F2Bs by Eduard , the standard day fighter kit and a so called limited availability kit depicting “The Crocodile” a F2B in red and white checkerboard and a rather impressive warhawk like grin! As its for a competition I’m going for the more attractive scheme – this could be a mistake as the paintwork will certainly be more challenging.

Right before I start here are my initial impressions of the kit.

The Kit : A walkaround

The kit is packaged to Eduard’s high standard with a very attractive drawing of the subject on the front of the box. The kit consists of four sprues in “Eduard WWI brown”, a painted photo etch fret, a small decal sheet and an large mask sheet. The majority of the mask sheet consists of the checkerboard pattern for the fuselage and bottom wing.

The instruction sheet consists of 16 pages in A5 booklet format.

There is only one option available which is not surprising as this is a limited edition kit of the subject , if you want to model a “standard” F2B buy the cheaper kit!

The F2B has always been a favourite of mine since I built several examples of the Airfix kit as a lad, the aircraft seemed far more substantial than its contemporaries, a fact born out by the sprues which dwarf the Nieuport 17 I built recently.

Day 1 : 2nd June 2009

First things first , off to the kitchen to dip the sprues in some soapy water to get rid of any mould release. After washing off any soap with clear water , the sprues where hung out to dry.

After 15 mins I lost patience and started cutting the large parts from the sprues ( upper and lower wing and fuselage halves). This was done with electrical cutters (well way from the sprue – model join , followed by trimming with a scalpel and finally a brief run down with a sanding stick. The wings were Ok but the fuselage sprue joints do not look too great and will probably require filling when it comes to join the fuselage halves. A few other olds and ends were also tidied up before I called it a night and came and wrote this…

Day 2 : 4th June 2009

Well day 3 really, but yesterday I only got to spend a hour or so researching the model on the internet and down loading techniques for rigging. I think I will try something a little different on this build, but I won’t let on yet.

Today I ordered some Gunze Sangyo “Sail colour” for the various areas of doped linen on the kit as I didn’t have anything close, I hope MDC deliver soon else it will hold me up.

Engine and Lewis Gun ammo Cockpit Floor and fuel tank


While I’m waiting I can get on a assemble and paint some of the cockpit components. The cockpit floor was sprayed Tamiya XF-57 and the oil tank and engine bay wall XF-66. The engine is supplied as two panels, little of which will be visible through the exhaust cowlings, these were sprayed XF-56 and the cylinders painted X10. Both these parts will get some weathering later.

My final act tonight was to cut off the handles on top of the Lewis gun ammo cases (these will be replaced with photo etch) and then spray them semi gloss black. These will get some more attention tomorrow.

That’s enough for tonight…

Day 3: 8th June

I haven’t done much over the last few days as I had a trip away over the weekend (and had to watch the final of The Apprentice last night).

I received my delivery of paint today (excellent service from MDC ) so the first job was to paint the inside of the fuselage with Gunze Sangyo H85, unfortunately in my hurry I missed two ejector marks just inside the cowl which were visible from outside. Once the paint had dried sufficiently I filled with Squadron putty , rubbed down and re-sprayed.

Seat and instrument panel before painting Painted pilot seat


I sprayed the instrument panel XF55 (Deck Tan) as a base for a wood effect, once this was dry I painted it with Burnt Umber oil paint thinned with a little Liquin. I then used a cocktail stick to break up the oils to create wood grain.

The kit has a very impressive photo etch wicker chair for the pilot. The back of the seat is formed from two pieces of etch glued back to back, this was then bent using my scalpel handle as a former. The top of the seat back was then glued to the etch. The seat back was sprayed Gunze Sangyo H66 (Sandy Brown) and the seat base XF64 (Red Brown), once dry I dry brushed each piece with the other’s main colour giving quite a pleasing effect.

The Lewis ammo was dry-brushed with silver and the handling strap of photo etch painted XF64 was glued in place (I managed to loose one!).

A few of the other cockpit items were painted and glued in place. The final act of this evening was to paint the wooden fuselage structure inside the cockpit using H66 and dry-brushing the bracing wires with medium gray.

More work on the Lewis Gun Ammo Cockpit sides


Day 4: 9th June

Further attention was required on the instrument panel. The instrument dials were supplied in etch ( decals were also available) , these were cut out and glued in place. I managed to drop one but somehow found it on the carpet. Once dry a small bead of Klear was applied to the dials to simulate glass.

The other cockpit items were now painted and glued in place. The Browning machine gun was painted semi gloss black , then dry brushed with silver and gun metal. I a just about ready to close the fuselage but before I did I sprayed a very light coat of Promodeller dark over the inside to get rid of the “factory fresh look” making the office look suitably worked in.

Just about ready to close the fuselage Instrument Panel

Day 5: 11th June

There a few odds and end to do before I was ready to close the fuselage. The floor along with the instrument panel  where glues to the port side. I had forgotten to paint the rear cockpit bulk head so this was given a quick spray and when dry a little promodellers.

The kit comes with some lovely pre painted seat belts, these were bent in to shape and draped over the pilot’s seat ( looks as if the gunner didn’t get any!). Just time to take some photos.



Right, time to put it together… A little Tamiya thin adhesive was applied as the two halves came together. This called for a bit of careful alignment as there are no lugs in either part. I has had to use tweezers to pull the seat stringers and gun support into the correct location hole on the starboard side. I used a clamp for the front when needed a bit of “squeezing” to get the two parts to mate.



While I waited for the fuselage to set , I built the tail plane and added the gun ring and glued them in place. The last task for the day was to run a little Mr Surfacer 500 along the seams.

Day 6: 12th June 2009

Spent the half hour I had available rubbing down the fuselage seams. This is a job I hate! I never seem to get them 100% smooth. This kit is easier than normal as the majority of the top and bottom surfaces are flat with no panel lines, so you can rub away to your hearts content without fear of wrecking the surface detail. A tiny bit of Squadron filler was added to close the gap between the gun ring and the top surface.

Day 7: 14th June 2009

The first job today was to mask the cockpit and any “orifices” which was achieved with Tamiya tape and blue tack. The wing ailerons where attached slightly “left hand down”, as I was about to prime I noticed I had got the left and right one swapped on the top wing ( there is the wire attachment on the top surface) , so these had to be carefully removed and replaced.

I have had nightmares with primer recently, either with it going on to thick (using Halfords primer from the can) or pealing off (Alcad primer). This time I decanted Halford’s white primer into a jar and after waiting 24 hours ( I did this yesterday) for it to “gas” I sprayed it with my airbrush. At first it came out quite “stringy” but this was solved by increasing the pressure (35 psi). It dried very rapidly so I was able to give it a light rub down with 6000 grit Micromesh almost straight away. The finish doesn’t look too shoddy so I may get to paint the main colours tomorrow.

Day 8: 15th June

First thing top do was to re-scribe a couple of panel line over the front cowling , achieved with a piece of “Dyno tape” as a guide and a Tamiya scriber. I then used Tamiya X7 with a little black to pre-shade the panel lines. This was to give the impression of the wooden framework showing through the doped linen.

The first main colour to be sprayed was X-26 dark green on the engine cowling. I sprayed in very light coats slowly building up the depth of colour while maintaining some of the pres shade.



The bottom of the top wing is the only surface to be unpainted linen. I used Gunze Sangyo H85 well thinned , spraying lightly over the surface , once again gradually building up the colour. By the lime I’d finished I was really happy with the result. I hope the white goes on as well tomorrow.

Day 9: 16th June

The white did indeed go on quite well. I once again used Gunze Sangyo (I’m getting to like the smell – baby!). I used it well thinned with Gunze Sangyo thinners. Originally I thought I had over done the pre-shade as after two coats it was hardly diminished. However the third and fourth coats started to deepen the colour and I was able to control how much of the pre-shade showed through.

Day 10: 18th June

Bugger Bugger Bugger Bugger…..

I decided to “just add a little more paint” and ended up tipping the paint pot over the end of one of the wings, which as it was full of thinners stripped the paint back to the plastic. I decided to sulk for the rest of the night…

Day 11: 20th June

Rubbed down the wing and gave the effected area a coat of white, when dry I rubbed it down with micromesh to blend it in to the existing paint. I then pre-shaded the area and gave it a top coat of white. By the end of the evening the wing was back to A1 standard.

Day 12: 21st June

I firstly painted some of the ancillary parts, wing  and landing gear struts. I gave the propeller a coat of H85 which will act as a base for a wood effect later.

I then set about adding the mask to create the checkerboard pattern. I had expected the mask to be a single piece that you laid over the surface and had the unpleasant surprise that each square had to be placed individually , all 100 of them per wing surface!

After half an hour I had completed the top surface of the upper wing. It was then that I noticed I had placed the mask where I should paint and vice versa. I decide to let sleeping dogs lie – no one will notice unless I tell them of course!

Day 13: 22nd June

Another hour spent placing 9mm square pieces of mask on the model and I still haven’t finished.

Day 14: 23rd June

After another 1 1/2 hours of sticking little piece of mask onto the model I have finally got it done. I quick bit of maths says there are 180 x 9mm2 , 60 x 6mm2 and 56 x 4mm2 pieces of mask – why did I choose this scheme?

I burnished the mask with the side of a cocktail stick , hopefully this will stop paint sneaking under the mask. A little liquid mask was applied to close small gaps between masking piece on different faces, I was now ready for the paint!

Considering how long the masking took the paint flew on , I used Tamiya X7 Gloss Red thinned by 50% with Tamiya thinners. Now I have to wait to tomorrow to see if I have something special or whether it will go in the bin.

Day 15: 24th June

I was so excited about what lay under the mask that I woke up early this morning, and had an extra few minutes before work to start removing the mask that I had so painstakingly located. Still I was very pleased with the result. When I got home I proceeded to remove the rest which took well over an hour. Once done I was very happy , the checkerboard looked very impressive.

I did a bit more work to the ancillary parts , painting the wheels and cementing the engine cowl. I had to do a little touch up on the green cowling which I did free hand with my airbrush ( that’s something I wouldn’t have dared with my old Premair brush but with my new Iwata TR1 it was a breeze).

I gave all the main assemblies a good coat of Klear ready for decaling which I plan to do next then it’s on the the final assembly…

Any body guess what this photo is of?

Day 16  25th June

I decided that I would rig the main wings using 0.18mm fishing line. I drilled a .25 mm location hole for the wires in the top wing taking care not to drill all the way through. I had considered gluing the cables to their location on the bottom wing and then using a heat source to tension the cables but I was worried that I would end up melting the fishing line. Instead I decided to drill straight through the lower wing in order to thread the line through, tension it from below and then glue it in place. ( I will describe this better when I actually do it).

Consequently I carefully drilled all the way through the bottom wing. Fortunately all the cabling comes through “red” areas on the wing which will be much easier to patch up later.

I painted the exhaust pipes red brown and then gave them a coat of MIG pigments rust before giving them a coat of matt varnish. 

Day 17  28th June

After a few days break where I was busy buying a house I got back to the project. It was time for a bit of decaling.  I had just received a bottle of Mr  Mark Settler and Mr Mark Softener which I was keen to try. The obvious advantage of these products is the sturdy square bottles which won’t tip over (unlike MicroSol which I once managed to spill all over a decal sheet rendering it u/s), also they come with brushes in the lids which stops the confusion over what brush has what solution on it.

The first decals to tackle were the crocodile teeth on the cowling, these were very thin and needed careful alignment to repair a couple of rips that appeared during handling. After a good 30 mins swearing they went in place ok. There is a decal for the slating covering the radiator which needed plenty of softener to sit down nicely.

I added the roundels to the top wing ( I immediately regretted not masking the area before I added the red as the check pattern showed through the thin white decal). I almost made the mistake of locating on the roundels on the lower wing which would have covered up the holes I had drilled for the rigging.

Day 18 29th JuneWith most of the decals on I sealed them with a coat of Klear and then when dry gave the fuselage a dust of dark Pro modellers wash. This dirtied up the plane nicely  especially around the engine.

Day 19 30th June

I gave the fuselage and the top of the lower wing a coat of matt varnish ( there are still decals to go on the upper and underside of the lower wing so these were left gloss for now)  and when dry I glued the lower wing to the fuselage. It’s really starting to look like a plane now. 

I created a wood effect on the wing struts using oil paint over acrylic “sand”. A few small parts were then glued in place.

I may be ready to fasten the upper wing in place tomorrow, or at least start work on a jig to achieve this.

Day 20: 1st July

Before the upper wing went on there the pilots gun slights  in photo etch needed to be glued to the underside of the wing and the cowl. It would be a miracle if I managed to keep these intact but I couldn’t see how I would be assemble them latter.

I then made a jig to align the struts , this was just a off-cut of plastic card that I cut to the wing profile and then drew guidelines from measurements of the drawings of the instructions to align the struts. I then glued the struts to the lower wing using the card as a guide. The fuselage struts (these have a special name that escapes me at the moment)were then glued in place on the cowling

After test fitting the wing seemed to line up ok. There then followed almost two hours of swearing as I tried to glue the upper wing. I tried to glue the centre struts first before easing the wing struts into place. I soon found that nothing lined up. I could get the centre struts glued and some of the wing struts but not every thing at the same time. I found myself going round in circles as I twisted the wing to get the port outer wing struts glued only to find that the starboard ones had “popped” and vice versa. I almost had it and then the whole wing came away in my hand. I finished the night with the wing in place held with masking tape attached by approx half the struts.

Day 21: 2nd July

With some trepidation I resumed the struggle. Leaving the glue to set overnight seemed to help and along with a lower frustration level I managed to get the remaining struts in place. The wing did have a slight twist when viewed from above so I used clamps to straighten it out. I the left it overnight.

Day 22: 4th July

I didn’t have the time or the inclination to start the rigging so I contented myself in building the Lewis gun mount and gun. The tail skid was painted and given the wood effect treatment and the exhausts were glued in place.

Day 23: 5th July

I built the under carriage, which fitted through the lower wing to glue to the fuselage. once complete the model seemed to stand very high. I went and got on with some other jobs around the house still troubled,. After about an hours I returned to take another look at the instructions only to find I had glued the whole assembly on back to front!

Careful breaking of the glue joint and reassembly followed, giving a much improved (and troubling( result.

Day 24: 6th July

I have been putting this off as I knew the rigging would make or break this model. However I now only have 8 days before the competition so I better crack on.

I used 0.18mm fishing line for the wing rigging, which looks to scale. The first job was to colour it with a black indelible marker which I achieved by putting the pen on top of the line and the drawing the line through.

Starting at the outer wing struts I tied the line to the top of the strut holding in place with a little cyno. The two ends were then fed to the bottom of the next strut and fed through the hole in the lower wing. This was repeated for all the rigging in the outer wing. Once I had fed all the lines through the holes I used a pair of surgical clamps to tension the line while I dropped a drop of glue in the hole (along with some cyno accelerator). The process was repeated for the other wing outer and then the inner pair of rigging sets. Once completed (after about two hours) I had a very impressive ,neat and taught set of rigging lines.

Day 25: 7th July

I cleaned up the rigging holes on the underside of the wing . This was not to easy as the marker pen black had run a bit into the glue and was not easy to cover with white paint. After a few coats I was reasonably happy (as long as nobody picks the model up to have a close look all will be fine). I applied the roundels to the underside of the wing which conveniently covered up some of the holes.

I then completed the majority of the tail rigging lines.


Day 26: 9th July

Finished off the gunners Lewis machine gun , with a brush with Tamiya gunmetal powder and build the gun mount ( with the excellent photo etch elevation ratchets). Painted the wheels (using the supplied masks) , the hubs being Sand and the tyres X-54 Medium Gray.

Day 27: 10th July

The wheels and tail skid were glued in place before a heavy wash of promodellers black ( which seems to have congealed into a thick paste in the bottle) and brown. I made the user sides fairly dirty as the aircraft would be operating from a grass (and mud field). Once dry I removed the excess wash with a q-tip. I then added a bit more wash where required  (repeat n times). When I was happy I gave the whole aircraft a coat of matt varnish ( Tamiya clear with a good helping of flat base).

The propeller was given a coat of Sand and when dry sealed with Klear.

Day 28: 11th July

I masked off the propeller with thin strip of Tamiya tape in order to try and create a laminated effect. I then painted the exposed areas with Burnt Umber oil paint ( with a little Liquin) , as this was drying I used a stiff brush to create the wood effect. I was running out of things to do , so I tied my work bench!

Day 29: 12th July

I was not particularly happy when I removed the mask , the light wood areas were too light and the prop didn’t loot natural. So I decided to paint the light areas with oils, again using burnt umber but this time adding a little yellow. This was left to dry (with my fingers well and truly crossed)

Day 31: 13th July

The prop turned out very well !!! Happy days… It was given a coat of Klear to create a varnished look. The was boss painted Alcad chrome. When dry it was glued to the airframe.  I had a quick inspection of the instructions and found I had missed attaching a small impeller to the landing gear (Airspeed indicator?), when it was attached I was done!

The model is now ready for the club competition tomorrow night, (talk about cutting it fine).

I am going to make a diorama base for the model, which I may get around to detailing here…

One Reply to “Bristol F.2B”

  1. Dear Tony;
    This was my introduction to the Romseys. I’m very impressed. I will be starting soon
    on the “Crocodile” but gave up immediately on the masking and cussed substatially as
    to why Eduard didn’t provide decals – it would be so sensible. So the ill wind blew much good as I found a decal supplier on the web. I did the checkered patterns on an
    Excel spreadsheet and am waing now as a write for them to arrive. Wish me luck.

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