Boly 9118: Canada’s sub-killer

Just finished a 1/72 Airfix kit of the Bristol Blenheim, painted up as a Canadian-built Bolingbroke (aka “Boly”).boly1

I’ve been getting kill-me-now bored of the standard dark earth/dark green/sky RAF paint scheme.  So wanted something different for this.  Found some pics, aftermarket decals, and an interesting story.  Who can pass that up?

Image by Vincent Bourguigon. See his great work at

This is the scheme I was shooting for, which is for a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) maritime patrol acft of 115 Sqdn, flying off British Columbia and Alaska in ’42-’45.  I didn’t get the colors matched exactly, but came fairly close.  Should have added a touch more brown.

Here she is, with aftermarket decals from ROP O.S. They were so good (very thin), that I almost couldn’t handle them. I kept getting them wrinkled, and ripped a few. Had to ‘reassemble’ a few while wet, so it got dicey. With much care, they turned out well.

boly2Also had a struggle with the greenhouse canopy. Still perfecting my techniques, and this kit’s clear parts were thick, somewhat ill-fitting. Will be fine for hanging, but I need to get better canopy skilz. Love those burned copper cowlings though. Makes it look like something Indiana Jones would fly in the 30s.

boly3Could have done better on the turret.  Apparently, the turret could retract to reduce drag in flight, and the Airfix kit is designed with it retracted. Looks better extended, IMO, so modified it so it would stick up more.  Also, I made gun barrels out of thin brass tubing, so they wouldn’t break easily.


boly4BTW, part of the complication with the decals was due to modifying them from serial ‘9140’ to ‘9118’.  Really wanted to portray the alleged sub-killer from the Battle of Annette Island. Pretty proud of myself there. Getting the tiny fuselage numbers modified was a real bear (patting self on back…)


boly5This problem held me up for a while.  I lost the clear part for the landing light.  Had to figure out what to do there.





boly6Decided to just make a replacement part.  Took a hunk of clear sprue, hacked it into the right shape, then sanded the hell out of it. I don’t have polishing compound yet, so used toothpaste at the end. Wound up only semi-clear, but good enough for this one.



Used both a wash, and then dry-brushed with pastels to bring out detail. Turned out pretty nice.  Special thanks to Kyle at ManCave Hobbies in Logan, UT.  Kyle gave me a good tip for the final dull coat, which was a 50/50 mix of Model Master flat clear lacquer finish & Model Master universal enamel thinner.  Worked great, with no ‘frosting’ at all.  ManCave Hobbies is also known online as Earl’s Hobby Hangar, so check out their offerings. Good guys to know. Thanks again Kyle!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUpdate: Found this interesting photo, with a Bolly cockpit on display. Note the sub victory marking. This can’t be 9118 (which blew up in a crash landing in Sep ’42). But clearly its a restoration project of the Canadian Aviation Heritage Musuem. Is there another sub story I’m unaware of?


boly9Anyway, with that example, I decided my 9118 needed a final touch. Admittedly, this is a bit of creative license, but just a bit.  Cut this out w a #11 blade and magnifying glass. Took me 3 tries.


Update: Just found out I’ve taken more than “a bit” of creative license.  Looks like the Bolingbrokes of 115 Sqdn were painted in the standard night-bomber scheme until 1943 (dark earth/dark green topside, black sides and bottom…yawn).  Also in ’42 9118 was sporting the squadron code BK-V on the fuselage.  The white-bottomed “anti-submarine” scheme wasn’t adopted until 1943, with the ‘P’ (must be for Patricia Bay) on the fuselage, and by that time 9118 had been destroyed in a crash. Found the data on this excellent resource by R. W. R. Walker.  He’s compiled data for every Canadian military aircraft ever made. Impressive!!

So, I guess what I’ve depicted is what 9118 would have looked like if it had survived until 1943.  Which is fine.  I really did NOT want to paint another DE/DG model.

9118 Bristol Fairchild Aircraft Ltd., Longueuil PQ Bolingbroke Mk. IV
  first date: 22 December 1941 – Taken on strength by Western Air Command
Reported as equipped with radio.  Taken on strength at Victoria, BC.  With No. 115 (F) Squadron at RCAF Station Patricia Bay BC, later No. 115 (BR) Squadron in Alaska as part of Y Wing,  coded “BK*V”.  Category C damage at Patricia Bay at 17:25 on 28 January 1942.  Destroyed by post crash fire at Annette Island, Alaska on 21 September 1942.  Port engine failed on lift off, fully loaded for operational patrol.  Jettisoned bombs, and stalled into tree tops.  Pilot W/O J.M Wallace received MID for rescue efforts after crash.  Had 30:40 logged time when written off.
last date: 2 April 1943 – Struck off, reduced to spares and produce

Here’s the data for serial# 9140, which was the aircraft from Vincent Bourguigon’s artwork, and the ROP O.S. decals.  Also with 115 Sqdn, but in the new scheme.

9140 Bristol Fairchild Aircraft Ltd., Longueuil PQ Bolingbroke Mk. IV
  first date: 7 February 1942 – Taken on strength by No. 1 Training Command
Assigned to No. 1 Training Command for use at No. 1 Bombing & Gunnery School at Jarvis, Ontario, on loan from Home War Establishment.  To No. 3 Training Command on 16 February 1942.  To Western Air Command on 14 April 1942.  With No. 115 (F) Squadron at RCAF Station Patricia Bay BC, and/or No. 115 (BR) Squadron, in Alaska as part of Y Wing, c.1942 to 1943.  At Patricia Bay on 19 August 1943, with white lower and side surfaces, coded “P”.  Used as target tug by No. 122 (K) Squadron, RCAF Station Patricia Bay, BC, c.1943.  To storage with No. 4 Training Command on 15 September 1943, reported on loan to BCATP on same date.  To No. 2 Air Command on 1 December 1944, still in storage.  Issued from storage on 23 March 1945, back to storage on 15 May 1945.  Pending disposal from 12 October 1945.  Later reported stored at MacDonald, Manitoba.
last date: 15 May 1946 – Struck off, to War Assets Corporation for disposal

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