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About maltadefender

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    Very Obsessed Member
  • Birthday 26/02/1973

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    World War 1: German Air Service, Zeppelins, SE5s
    World War 2: BoB, Malta, Bomber Command, Eighth Air Force, Burma
    Jets: Phantoms and Buccaneers

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  1. Still haven't made it up to the attic yet - I have to go through the kids' bedroom ceiling and they're asleep when ! get home! - but dug out the photo album. Here's the best shot of Fort Saint Elmo from the seaplane tour we took, with Grand Harbour to the top left of shot, where the Hurricane came down, and Sliema Creek in the bottom right of the shot, where the submarines were based. The cemetery in which P/O Southwell lies alongside many other airmen and sailors is out of shot to the bottom left quarter, behind Nelson's old docks. The wooden lift for pulling wounded sailors off the decks and up to the hospital is still in place. This next shot illustrates quite well I think that Temperate Land Scheme was pretty appropriate for Malta most of the year. Aside from the sea at least! Admittedly a lot of the greenery would have been blasted away by bombs but it's certainly no 'desert isle'. This view is of Għajn Tuffieħa on the western coast, taken in early April so a fairly good analogue. The beach is about 15 mins drive from what was Takali airfield. In wartime it was where pilots and submariners would go when off-duty and there's the ruin of the old hotel which used to hold rooftop dances at night, at least during the early days of the siege. Being on the Island for only a week, I very much doubt if the subject of my build ever visited either the beach or the hotel. Here's the grave of John Sidney Southwell. In common with a lot of the graves in this cemetery there are two names per headstone. I've just realised that he was a Flying Officer according to the CWGC but the RAF sites I've been to list him as a P/O. Walk on about a cricket pitch's length and you find Alex Mackie, whose final moments were described in the opening pages of James Holland's Fortress Malta. For those who haven't read it, Mackie was 'bounced' by 109s shortly after take-off in a Hurricane Mk.IIb night fighter when setting out on an intruder flight over Sicily. The panel on top of the fuel tank of the Malta Aviation Museum's restored Hurricane actually came from Mackie's aeroplane. One more for luck... this was the view of Luqa, the bomber base in 1941-42 and today Malta's airport, when climbing away northwards on the way home. Again, TLS would have been pretty effective for aircraft on the ground were it not for most of the topsoil being blasted away. For all that, the rationale for later requesting that aircraft be painted in 'Sea Scheme' is also abundantly clear - that's one blue sea, whatever the time of year. There's not quite the same intensity of discussion about the colours worn by Hurricanes in Malta as there is with the 'blue' Spitfires (or even the single miscreant Gladiator photographed in 1941). But there is some. For my money I always lean towards TLS in the first instance. Some of the late-1940 deliveries arrived with Mid-Stone/Dark-Earth upper surfaces, as did the Mk.IIcs that were flown out from Egypt as reinforcements in early 1942. But for the most part it was Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky and any repainting (such as Sky Blue/Light Mediterranean Blue undersides and, in the case of 249 Sqn, spinners in flight colours) was carried out in the summer lull long after the Luftwaffe had departed for Russia. Anyway, that's enough of my prattle. Thanks for sticking with me. Next time I do solemnly swear to have a box full of plastic to inspect and my first faltering steps towards building a Hurricane!
  2. Hi all, I've yet to get into the attic to retrieve my kit so for starters here is a little on the subject matter. I'm going to build the latest Hurricane Mk.I Trop kit from Airfix and attempt to do so in the colours of my wife's great-uncle, Pilot Officer John Sidney Southwell, who was killed in Malta early in 1941 at the height of the first Luftwaffe onslaught on the Island between the 'Illustrious Blitz' and the departure of the Germans in readiness for Operation Barbarossa. Having joined the RAF in February 1939, Southwell served with 245 Sqn in France during the 'Phoney War' and he was shot down near Brussels on 17 May, making his way back rather promptly from the forced landing. He shared a probable Do-17z over Dunkirk and remained with 245 Sqn throughout the Battle of Britain. He was next assigned to 274 Sqn in the Western Desert and I am using these photos taken at the right period to base my build upon. These are shots of 274 Sqn aircraft in Temperate Land Scheme during the winter of 1940-41: On 17th March 1941 a flight of the squadron was detached to Malta to reinforce 261 Squadron. On 22nd March eight Hurricanes of 261 took off to meet ten Ju88's approaching Grand Harbour with a Me109 escort. In the ensuing engagement, five of the Hurricanes were shot down, including V7799 flown by Southwell. All five pilots were lost. I knew that my father-in-law had three uncles in the RAF and I think they all flew fighters. We went to Malta on honeymoon in early 2010 and only found a grave marked Southwell by accident when I was looking for Alex Mackie in Capuccini Naval Cemetery - sure enough, this was the brother who did not come back. I'll dig out the photos from Capuccini as well when I have a moment. The 274 Sqn aircraft were dispatched in haste and there certainly wouldn't have been an opportunity to repaint them under the sort of bombardment that the Island was under at the time. We know that the serial of the Hurricane that P/O Southwell was shot down in was V7799 (whether or not this was a 274 or 261 aeroplane originally is a moot point for which any pointers would be welcome). Either way, I think it's safest to stick with TLS and a Night port wing without any squadron codes or identifying letters. A bit of weathering down below but fairly light touch on top by the looks of things and it won't be far wrong. Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to the build.
  3. Hawker (Siddeley) GB Chat

    Hello everyone, I just squeaked my two builds for the Matchbox GB under the time limit and have a bucketful of Hurricanes to get built. I'd like to start with my wife's great-uncle's aeroplane... or at least something which will hopefully be as close as educated guesswork allows. A full bio can be found here so what I've got to do is interpret what V7799 would have looked like in March 1941 and then build it using the Airfix 1/48 Hurricane Mk.I Trop (new tool). Both Pilot Officer Southwell and his aeroplane were from 274 Sqn in Egypt and dispatched to reinforce 261 Sqn at the height of the first Luftwaffe assault on the Island. My feeling is a pretty secondhand looking Temperate Land Scheme with Vokes, I'm not sure if there would have been time or will enough to overpaint Sky with Sky Blue on the undersides, as was generally preferred in Malta, given the gravity of the situation at that time. All thoughts welcome! Many thanks, MD
  4. Hawker Fury Mk.I

    I fixed her up and the results are in the Gallery - not quite as magically true as she was first time - and put the matt coat on where needed. Radio wires added. She's done. It's been an absolute pleasure to build both this kit and the Gladiator. Thank you all for your company and thanks to the hosts - it was a fun one!
  5. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    Sorry it all went a bit quiet. It's been a bit mad on all fronts with an ill wife, some interest in employing me and three kids on half term. I didn't quite manage to get the radio aerials done in time, but got her as finished as i could today and photographed her outdoors in moody winter twilight. Thanks for sticking with me and thanks to the guys for a very enjoyable GB. More in the gallery...
  6. Matchbox Gallery

    Matchbox PK-8 Gloster Gladiator Mk.I Completed from the Revell reboxing using the Pavla decal sheet markings for 87 Sqn 1938, with additional research on the colours by Rowan Broadbent at Pheon Decals. Brush painted using Tamiya flat aluminium as the base shade and flat blue for the rest of the airframe, rigged using drill'n'fill technique and EZ Line fine gauge. Still a cracking little kit with a lovely outcome. Made for idiots like me to get a reasonably straight and true biplane! Build thread is here.
  7. Matchbox Gallery

    Matchbox PK-1 Hawker Fury Mk.I Built straight from the Revell re-box using brush-painted Tamiya acrylics (mainly flat aluminium and chrome silver). Rigged using EZ Line (fine). Drill'n'fill technique. Build thread is here. A gem of a kit that's still really rewarding.
  8. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    The poll has closed on the choice of schemes and it's K8027 of 87 Squadron that's the winner by one vote, using decals from the Pavla set. Having confirmed with the Broadbents of Pheon renown, I'm going to follow their guidance on the colours as Rowan's research is excellent in these very matters. According to Rowan, after it became a Flight Commander's aeroplane, the blue areas of the scheme were increased onto the horizontal stabilisers and the 'hump' behind the cockpit glazing to make K8027 look like she does in the attached pic from the top of Pheon's excellent Gladiator decal set. So that's how mine will be too. My only deviation will be to retain the propeller from the kit with its nose cap securely in place. Thank you to all who voted and have taken the time to read this far in the thread.
  9. Hawker Fury Mk.I

    Disaster! Overnight we were awoken to a crash. A mirror had fallen off the wall and fortunately not smashed because it had a soft landing - on my Fury! It was only a small mirror but it took a lot of stuff down with it. In view of the carnage the little Fury got off relatively lightly but it's the troublesome undercarriage that bore the brunt. Fingers crossed I can get it repaired and photographed ASAP.
  10. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    I'm done for tonight. Wings are on and the cabane struts have rigging. The engine is done and awaiting its chance to go on. The habitual problem of having interplane struts joined together in a single piece is that you can see the 'cheat bar' in its recess in the wing. I thought that I had shaved enough off these ones but the camera is a cruel mistress, so that will be a job for tomorrow, shaving them down. All in all, though, it was a productive evening and I'm happy with it.
  11. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    A little update... Here's the top wing mounted and aligned using the cabane struts. I've now put a second coat of aluminium on around the guns and painted them as they're going to be behind a cars cradle of rigging soon. I've finished detailing the engine and started painting the prop. I'll get those bottom wings on soon.
  12. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    Good point, well made! Top wing's on and the centre section struts are rigged. I'll put the bottom wings on and touch the engine up while I'm at it.
  13. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    Thanks, Steves! Will see how the poll shakes down tomorrow. In the meantime I started work yesterday with the cockpit and pilot, painting the engine, the cockpit canopy, the radiator and the exhausts. I've also been drilling the holes for threading my rigging through - as a result of which I now have a hole in my right index finger from drilling with only a miniature bit! Should at least remind me to buy an appropriate drill for said bit in future! Not least because there are lots more holes on a Gladiator than on a Fury. Anyway, here are the pics so far: As per the Fury I shall put the centre section together first and put the top wing on there, then fit the bottom wings and interplane struts. There's been quite a bit of flash to get rid of and one small disaster when clearing excess from the chat-outs in the cost for the struts to go through. The silver plastic is very brittle and the rear corner just popped off with very little pressure. I'll have to use filler to cover up the hole before painting. So far it could be worse I think...
  14. PK-8 Gloster Gladiator - one week build!

    Thanks Dave - well there's the MTO and the Carrier GBs still to come. I hope to get three Malta Glads done this year!
  15. It's one of my all-time favourite aeroplanes and not one that I've ever managed to build properly - so why not try and do one in a week? Yes, it's the Gloster Gladiator as my second and final entry in this GB. My first attempt at a Gladiator was with the old tool Airfix kit. It went together OK but looked rather anorexic. My second attempt at a Gladiator was the 1/48 Roden Sea Gladiator which collapsed into a gluey blancmange. Third time lucky? Let's hope so with the old Matchbox kit repopped by Revell: If my Hawker Fury was anything to go by, I hope that this will be a confidence-building experience. I've got all manner of decals for Gladiators but given the time available I'm going to stick with an all-silver pre-war scheme. The question is: which one? All have their merits and all will be done at some point. As I've done the silver-and-yellow Fury I feel it would be quite nice to come up with something that complements it. I fell in love with the Gladiator as a small boy on my first visit to The Shuttleworth Collection when their example was in 72 Sqn colours, so that has appeal... ... but the 73 Sqn scheme of 'Cobber' Kain that Shuttleworth's Gladiator wears today is a lot more attractive to my eye, and I've got those decals in the new tool Airfix kit... ...and then there's the 87 Sqn scheme that is in my Pavla upgrades box... ...and as a final choice there's the 3 Sqn decals which come with the Revell kit. It's plain silver all over but I love the art deco '3' for the tail. So while I'm getting on with building a standard silver Gladiator I'm going to throw this one open to the floor with a poll. Which scheme would you like to see in the Gallery next weekend? All thoughts gratefully received.