BN islander / defender model in 1/72 scale
The Britten Norman Islander BN 2 was designed as a light utility transport. The cabin could accommodate 9 passengers and a pilot. It was capable to fly from tiny airfields. First flight was June 1965. A military version is called the Defender with some additional equipment for search and rescue and counter-insurgency.
Initial the BN-2 aircraft were manufactured at Britten-Norman's factory in Bembridge, Isle of Wight, UK. After Fairey Aviation acquired the Britten-Norman company, its Islanders and Trislander aircraft were built in Romania, then shipped to Avions Fairey in Belgium for finishing before being flown to the UK for flight certification. The Islander has been in production for more than 50 years.
In 1972 Airfix released a nice little 1/72 kit of the Islander.
There are about 80 parts in soft plastic and that includes a few Defender fuel drop tanks, special pods and pylons. Raised rivets are all over the parts, sanding these a bit thinner is a good idea.
The kit got several releases, this kit #03067 released in 2006 has good decals for 3 schemes:
-A- Aurigny Air Services, Guernsey, UK, 1971
-B- Philippine Navy, 1978
-C- Milford Sound Flightseeing, Queenstown, New Zealand, 2005
| This Islander kit will be made and finished in another scheme: of the Suriname Air Force.
Their first Islander aircraft in 1982 had apparently a "Vietnam" style camouflage but later on got colours of white and blue. This scheme was choosen. These BN-2B had registrations SAF-001 to -004.
The model has nice cabin windows, so the fuselage halves were airbrushed at the window openings first to avoid to much masking work. Note that the wing parts may be warped/ bended. Use a piece of wood and use clamps to get a straight wing while glueing.
So a matt white base coat was airbrushed with Revell Aqua White 05 acrylic. Than followed Gunze Sangyo H1 acrylic gloss white over the base coat.
The cabin has nice interior parts and got after painting some extra detail from scrap. The cabin door is a separate part and will be set open.
Note that the cabin window outside areas were already airbrushed earlier. The fuselage halves were joined.
Some putty and sanding was needed. I sanding a bit thinner the raised rivets but did not completely removed these as the real Islander has a lot of those. The wing and fuselage were airbrushed again white, note the masking tape set inside at the window openings.
Masking was done at lower wing nacelle areas and the blue using Gunze Sangyo H25 acrylic was airbrushed. Also, the fuselage areas were masked and airbrushed blue.
Note that this particular tropical aircraft had no de-icing boots.
After I removed the masking tapes, there were some irregularities. First, corrections of overspray can be done with a cotton swab and some wind screen fluid.
The clear cabin windows were installed, take care here to avoid spills. Kristal Klear can also act as glue. The windows' fit was not bad.
The wing and fuselage were joined and the stabilizer set. Some white glue closed gaps and when dried were painted white with a brush.
This particular aircraft has a search radar whereas the Airfix kit has a pointy nose. With a razor saw a nose section was cut off. In the spares box I found a bit with correct diameter for the search radar dome, I think it was a nose from a large 1/32 Maverick missile. This was cut to size, installed and painted matt black.
NOTE: I forgot to add enough nose weight to avoid tail sitting so a "pogo stick" was set later on below the rear cabin.
The paint scheme edges themselves if necessary can be made very nicely with small cut sections of the spare blue decal that were previously also airbrushed in the colours.
The landing gear (with faired main gear legs) was installed. The wing lights needed a bit trimming to fit.
The Surinam markings were just black registrations. I picked the Islander coded SAF-004, maybe designated BN-2B Defender. The home designed decals were custom laser printed in black colour on decal sheet. These were applied after cutting out each decal.
|A few antennas were made from thin card and long antenna wires from fishing line.
The propellers were painted black with yellow tips (though that is not entirely clear) and with a silver spinner. Propellers were fixed with white glue at their nacelles.
A final airbrushed thin coat of gloss Johnson Future/ Pledge varnish completed this nice model that has a big wing span.
[ area: 163,800 km2 | population: 575,000 | capital: Paramaribo | GDP 6,500 US per capita nominal ]
Suriname is located in the north of South America and is bordered to the east by French Guiana, to the south by Brazil, and to the west by (former British) Guiana. The region was from 1667 a Dutch Colony but Suriname became independent November 25, 1975.
For more information about this Suriname air force, look at the Alouette page here...
In 1982 an Islander was confiscated in Surinam after a jungle drug transport aircraft made an emergency landing. Later came another 3 BN-2B Islanders. The small fleet had large maintenance problems and a shortage of spare parts. They were mostly grounded, some Cessna's were used instead from the local airfield Zorg en Hoop at Paramaribo.
Islander/ BN-2B Defender, Surinam Air Force, SAF-004
... at Zorg en Hoop airfield at Paramaribo
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- none! Read my article in the IPMS NL magazine MIP 2022-1 (in Dutch)
WIKI Britten Norman BN-2 Islander page
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Created this page
March 5, 2023