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Everything posted by maltadefender

  1. Aoshima - are they rare?

    Hi everyone, I've just been alerted to a kit made some years back by Aoshima. I know of Tamiya and Arii but are Aoshima well known/available? Many thanks
  2. Aoshima - are they rare?

    Thank you all. I have got one coming from Japan via a friend of a friend in Japan who was happy to buy one of the kits for not much money and send it on at cost. Hooray!
  3. Malta Hurricanes

    Just heard back from the RAF Museum regarding colours used on Hurris... now getting bamboozled! So far I've got: Malta Air Museum: states that all aircraft were delivered in 1940-41 with Dark Green/Dark Earth upper surfaces and and repainted on an ad hoc basis (e.g. the 'Bosun Blue' and PRU Pink Mk.Is of 69 Squadron or the partial/all-black night fighters). RAF Museum: states that Hurricane Mk.Is were delivered in Dark Green/Dark Earth until August 1940 when Dark Earth/Mid-Stone/Sky Blue (pre-war) became standard. The museum also states that 185 Squadron was operating Hurricane Mk.IIs in Dark Green/Mid-Stone/Sky Blue during May 1941... although this conflicts with the squadron diary (below). Tom Neil: states in Onward to Malta and in discussions with Michael Turner for the cover art that when he arrived in Malta with 249 Squadron in May 1941 it was with Hurricane Mk.Is in Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky and that there were no Mk.IIs until the June deliveries. The majority of the Hurricanes flown in by 249 left for North Africa the next morning, leaving the newcomers with clapped-out aircraft abandoned by 261 squadron until Mk.IIs were delivered in June 1941. As a result Turner's painting Malta Defenders shows Neil flying Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky Hurricane Mk.IIa Z4048 during the summer of 1941 - although according to our resident Hurricane expert, Diamant, Z4048 was shipped to Iceland in July 1941 - so something's amiss! The 185 Squadron diary shows in late May 1941 there was a shared pool of 30 Hurricanes - two being Mk.IIs - dispersed at Hal Far and Takali to be shared by 185 and 249 Squadrons (the two units operating from each airfield on alternate days). All photos indicate that these were painted Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky. After these were reduced to 15 serviceable aircraft 30 Mk.IIb and IIc Hurricanes were delivered at the end of June and thus allowed the units to re-form as individual entities - with photos from Ark Royal showing a mix of aircraft including Z2593 with Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky with Sky fuselage bands and spinner - this becoming S/Ldr Rabagliati's mount at 46 Squadron. Malta: The Hurricane Years shows the vast majority of Hurricanes in what can only be Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky including the April 1941 delivery of Mk.IIa's, of which several have Sky tail bands and spinners, and several others have the 'wibbly-wobbly' divide between upper and lower surfaces on the leading edge and cowling. It also has a photograph of 249 Squadron 'at readiness, Summer 1941' with what looks like Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky colours as per Tom Neil's recollection. Osprey's Hurricane Aces 1941-45 shows the vast majority of Hurricanes in all theatres wearing Dark Green/Dark Earth/Sky and being repainted on an ad-hoc basis, which ties in with the Malta Air Museum. All in all... I'm still a long way from getting anywhere close to the bottom of this lot!
  4. Aoshima - are they rare?

    Thanks all for your replies. It's the Mitsubishi Starion that I'm after - I had no idea that there was one. A friend told me about the kit and sure enough one exists - looks like it was from a Japanese TV show as it has gulping doors. Anyway, my Dad was involved with the Starion and I'd love to build one. It doesn't look all that great a kit, the roof seems a bit low, but I'm pretty excited about the fact that there is one!
  5. Upholder (P37) Camouflage

    Evening all, Does anyone have a clear idea of what the paint scheme would have been on Upholder in her pomp please? I've seen/heard that green over green is possible, also blue over red or all over one shade of blue-grey. I would very much like to pop my little U-class in for the current Mediterranean GB but have never reached a conclusive answer on her appearance. Many thanks in advance for any thoughts!
  6. Haynes manuals for modelling

    Hi all, I've seen some thoughts for and against how useful Haynes manuals are for modellers. Has anyone tried the new Sopwith Camel book, and is there anything specific that you would want to see in a future manual? All thoughts welcome...
  7. Haynes manuals for modelling

    I just received my copies. I know that I'm biased but this is the first book to be printed by a new supplier... Malaysian I believe... and it's about a zillion times nicer in the hand than the Ferrari book I did last year. That one was printed in Nashville. Here's couple of shots - including AndrewE's gorgeous WNW build, which sits opposite King Kong.
  8. Upholder (P37) Camouflage

    Thank you 73north that would be brilliant
  9. MD's 2016 builds

    I've finished a few long-standing hangar queens this year and built a few from scratch. One or two more to complete before the year is out, but surprisingly productive! First up is my Eduard 1/48 'Weekend Edition' Fokker Dr.I in the celebrated scheme of Leutnant Friedrich Kempf. It's an aeroplane I'd wanted to build for years and this kit is pretty stat-of-the-art so the mistakes were all mine to make! I think really it's just a couple of mis-glues on the rigging wires, which look a bit messy in close-up pics but it all looks nice enough on the shelf. Camo was done with a base coat of Tamiya Buff, then dry brushing Tamiya Olive and finally deepening the scrubbed-in sections with Tamiya Olive Drab. This was the kit that broke my modeller's block and got me back into the painting and gluing business. My other half is overjoyed (!?)
  10. MTO GB Chat

    I'm afraid Christmas sort of got in the way of Upholder. She'll be finished before New Year. Still in a bit of a funk about the Gladiator but very pleased with the two I completed and very proud to be sharing the gallery with such fine builds from everyone else. Well done, all. And the best of the season to you.
  11. Well here's a hoary old subject for a winter's build! A Malta-based Sea Gladiator of the Hal Far Fighter Flight. The story is well worn and a bit tatty around the edges. When Italy declared war on Britain and France in June 1940, there were only a handful of Gloster Sea Gladiators available to defend Malta from the attentions of the Regia Aeronautica. These had been among 24 Gladiators that had been stored at the Kalafrana seaplane base during 1939 for onward transit to the carriers Eagle and Glorious. Six were sent elsewhere, the Eagle received her complement of eight but the ten bound for the Glorious remained unclaimed, and these were reassigned to form the Hal Far Fighter Flight. An appeal for volunteers to fly them brought forth eight pilots, led by staff officer George Burges, but then the Navy decided that actually it wanted its Sea Gladiators aboard the Eagle and ordered them to be dismantled and prepared for transit. A last minute change of heart saw only three of these Gladiators removed and remaining seven were left on the Island to be erected and flown from Hal Far. The arrester hook and naval gubbins were removed, armour plate fitted behind the pilot's seat and an intensive period of training began. Given the paucity of aeroplanes and spares it was decided to organise the pilots into two flights of four, working a rotation, and no more than two aeroplanes could be in the air at one time. When the Italian bombardment of Malta began, this was initially increased to three aeroplanes but practical reasons brought this back down to two after a couple of days. The sight of the Gladiators flying out to engage incoming fighters and bombers was a significant morale booster, and almost immediately the Hal Far Fighter Flight became enshrined in myth. Who first used the term 'Faith, Hope and Charity' is unclear: it may have been a devout and thankful Maltese, it might have been an LAC remembering his mother's locket, it may have been a member of Churchill's propaganda team. Whosoever may have coined the phrase did little to describe the realities of the Gladiators' battle but did give Malta a talisman. The Gladiators and their pilots gave as good an account of themselves as could be hoped for a handful of hopelessly outdated machines. They weren't fast enough to get their teeth into the bombers but their presence and persistence caused some disarray among the Italian formations. On 22 April, George Burges happened to spot an Italian reconnaissance aircraft below him and dived on it over the capital, Valletta, shooting the port engine off and causing it to crash into the sea. The following day, Burges was attacked by a Macchi C.200 which tried to follow the little Gladiator when it went into a defensive turn. When it overshot its target, Burges duly fired and hit the Italian fighter, which promptly caught fire and crashed. These victories brought enormous cheer to Malta and celebrity status to Burges and the Gladiators. In total, the Gladiators were credited with nine enemy aircraft destroyed and five damaged. By that time, the first Hawker Hurricanes had arrived from an overland crossing via France and would soon take over the lion's share of the defence. Nevertheless, the Gladiators remained in service thanks to the ingenuity of the ground staff. When two Gladiators were written off in landing accidents on successive days, they were cobbled together into one functioning aeroplane. A six-gun Gladiator was built, with additional Brownings located under the upper wing. Famously, worn-out engines were replaced with those taken from wrecked Blenheims, and jury-rigged to operate their three-blade variable pitch props. Burges was awarded the DFC on 19 July for being credited with three enemy aircraft destroyed and three more damaged. On 31 July the Gladiator N5519 was shot down, with its pilot suffering severe burns. On 2 August, Operation HURRY brought another 12 Hurricanes launched from the carrier HMS Argus and all the Island's fighters were amalgamated as 261 Squadron. The Gladiators remained on strength until January 1941, when there were sufficient Hurricanes for them to be retired from front-line duty. In 1941, the remaining Gladiators were officially on the strength of 806 Squadron, Royal Navy, making Meteorology flights. One by one they gradually disappeared either from lack of spares or bomb damage. As with so many old airframes, the broken Gladiators were dumped into an old quarry near Luqa airfield and forgotten about until 1943, when one skeletal fuselage purporting to be that of N5520 was presented to the Maltese to mark the lifting of the siege. To this day it remains in the Malta War Museum in the old sea fort in Valletta, and is the subject of much debate between the various historians and organisations on the Island. I love the Gladiator, it's just about my favourite aeroplane and has been so since the age of five, when I was first taken to the Shuttleworth Collection and came away with a postcard of their glamorous silver machine. There's a fleet of 1/72 Gladiators in the stash - mainly the new tool Airfix - a but for this GB I'll be doing the bigger Roden kit. My plan is to build it in original June 1940 trim, with the 2-blade prop and no arrester hook. The decal options for Malta in the kit cover N5519 in her June-July appearance and N5520 as she appeared in the summer of 1941, but I'll make the final decision on markings further down the line. To get us started, here's a rather charming little film that someone has done about the legend of 'Faith, Hope and Charity'. It's littered with errors of all kinds but rather enjoyable nonetheless:
  12. I'm sorry to report that we lost the patient with this one. I just could not get the struts to hold no matter what. In desperation I went for superglue. That set them but they were 3-4mm off mating with the holes in the upper wing. Snapped two interplane struts and two cabane struts. The paint's a mess and it's all going in the recycling bin. Not great for someone with a passion for biplanes that I can't actually build the darn things.
  13. MD's 2016 builds

    Thanks, Cliff!
  14. Haynes manuals for modelling

    No - would be a fun one! It's the Bristol Fighter. So plenty of post-war Empire policing as well as its wartime career. As Rob Millinship, Shuttleworth pilot, put it: The Camel's for a posthumous VC, the S.E.5 for scoring victories and the Bristol if you want to live to see peace. I think that the Fokker Dr.I is going to appear before the Biff. Snipe could be quite a hard sell to the people who sign off on the budgets!
  15. Haynes manuals for modelling

    Nope - not enough wings!
  16. Haynes manuals for modelling

    Many thanks, Beardie! The publisher's pretty happy. In fact I've now got another one to do. Any guesses on the subject matter???
  17. MTO GB Chat

    Upholder still in dock awaiting etch pieces, looking like the more likely of my two remaining builds to get to the finish. Tonight will be make-or-break on the Gladiator. I'll let you know how I get on with it...
  18. Apologies for going quiet on you, chaps. Work is continuing at nothing like the sort of pace I would hope but she's looking a bit like a Gladiator. I've decided to do the generic early camo as in the photo in my last post - no identification of any sort by the looks of things, and night/white on the lower wings only. She'll have a two-blade prop and no weathering. The more I look at this kit, the easier it is to see the heritage of the Gladiator - it's basically a bigger radial-engined S.E.5. Designed by the same bloke, different aerofoil (RAF-28 as opposed to RAF-15), but if you take the canopy off it's still very S.E.5ish, which is rather nice. Here are the pics after the first round of painting and before the really sweary bit for me of trying to fit the interplant struts and upper wing. I'll worry about the little runs around the cowling lumps and bumps and tidying up the camo once the wings are all in place and aligned. It's very seriously doubtful now that this one will make the finish line by Sunday. We'll see. I've still got a bit to do un Upholder as well, and it's all getting rather festive with the kids around all day hollering at me. As you can see, I'm making her all closed up. Paints are all Xtracolor - Slate Grey and Sea Grey on the lower wing, EDSG and DSG on the fuselage and upper wing. Hopefully she'll look rather different next time you see her. Canopy is Klear-ed and everything is about set for mounting the top wing once I make sure that my rigging holes are all clear of paint. See you on the other side of the madness!
  19. Many thanks Tony. Not so sure about cutting that triangle out - the fuselage is hardly determined to go together in the first place! I'll see how brave I'm feeling once I've convinced the two halves to hold shape with some degree of symmetry. No locating pins and fuselage halves like a cucumber. See earlier rant about Roden! Intrigued by the armoured screen. I'm aiming for a freshly-erected look from around May-June with the 2-blade prop. Do you think they had the armoured screens when the Gladiators were dropped off and stored in 1939 or was that something that arrived on a Sunderland once they were in action? Similarly I'm hoping that the actual early setup was with the two-blade prop as it looks so much nicer, even if it's all in black. Will make that call when I have to. I've always taken the pic below to be an early one - none of the wear on the paint that's seen on N5519 when she's got the three-blade prop and the codes and registrations aren't on yet so the camo follows its natural line behind the fuselage roundel rather than being pushed up to accommodate the lettering. Are you 100% sure that the fuselages were black/white underneath? This pic clearly has black/white on the wings but the rest of the underside is hard to tell. Equally hard to tell when that shot was taken, of course. Orders were, I think, night and white wings only, which was often carried over to the full underside at squadron level whether in error or eagerness... I'm tempted to keep a bit more Sky Grey on there but open to suggestions! I have taken a few more progress pics. Will post them in the morning.
  20. Roden really doesn't like modellers, does it? I'm not even off the first page of the instructions yet. The engine cowling needs to be made from three parts that have no desire to stick together let alone form a circular shape once joined. Then the engine... wow... let's make it too big to fit inside the non-circular ill-fitting cowl, shall we? That'll be a laugh! And the 18 separate pipes? Let's make them impossible to align in the correct position. To my mind, the objective of a model kit company is to sell your customers something that gives them the best possible chance of building a representation of the vehicle/figure/diorama that they desire. That way, they'll be happy. They'll come back and spend more money with you and they might even come on forums like this and tell other modellers how good your products are. This is not going well. At all. Somebody from Roden should really talk to the people at Tamiya, or Wingnut... or just buy a knackered old tool Airfix Gladiator and learn how to make parts properly. Rant over. As you were.
  21. Hello everyone, apologies for my delayed start on this GB. SO much loveliness being built! Between now and Christmas there's a couple of builds I'd like to do but I'm going to start with something of a later vintage than I'm accustomed to: a 23 Squadron Mosquito NF.II based on Malta in 1942-43. The squadron had been flying intruder missions over France before it was withdrawn at short notice, re-equipped and flew to from the UK to Luqa, with a five-day stop in Gibraltar, in December 1942. It was equipped with Mosquito NF.IIs and stayed on the Island until October 1943. The decal sheet has markings for DZ230/YP-A, which was flown by the C.O., Wg Cdr Peter Wykeham-Barnes. He was credited with downing two Ju88s in this aeroplane and it was written off in a landing accident in mid-1943. The squadron's primary roles were intruding over Sicily and mainland Italy, shooting down a Junkers Ju52/3 over Castel Vetrano for its first Maltese 'kill' (Wykeham-Barnes recording that it 'took evasive action by blowing up into a thousand pieces'). As well as air-to-air intruding over Italy, the squadron was also tasked with ground attack operations over North Africa, many of which involved harassing axis troop movements around Tripoli. During the German evacuation, the squadron's Mosquitos were able to block the road over a length of about 15 miles, and subsequently flew up and down the jam strafing targets revealed by burning transports. Attrition was quite high and the squadron faced many logistical issues, not the least of which being a complete absence of replacement Merlin XXI engines. A lot of cannibalism took place among the wrecks that littered the Island, with replacement Merlins being pulled out of Hurricanes and Wellingtons that had no further need of them. In 1943 a review of the squadron's situation stated that the primary concerns in descending order were replacement airframes, replacement spares, replacement crews and overheating. The kit will be the Tamiya 1/72 NF.II / FB.VI and the decals will be from the Xtradecal set X72091 23 Squadron RAF 1940-1990. I'd originally intended to build this in the 2013 Mossie GB but my first (Airfix) NF.II went horribly wrong and I started a new job. Having now finally got off the pot and made my decision to have another stab at it in this GB, I'll post pictures of the kit and decals tomorrow.
  22. MD's 2016 builds

    Thanks John. Rigging is a challenge no doubt. I tend to find mounting the top wing to be my biggest problem. Getting the struts in, straight and at the correct angle of stagger and then getting the top wing on while the struts are still malleable enough to locate them properly without then collapsing like a bad soufflé is a bit of a trial but well worth persevering with!
  23. Nimrod54's Modelling Year

    That Herald is outstanding work... and the 1/144s are little crackers too.
  24. MD's 2016 builds

    Here are my MTO GB entries so far. The 1/72 Tamiya Mosquito built as the NF.II of 23 Sqn CO Peter Wykeham-Barnes: And the 112 Sqn P-40B of Neville 'Bowks' Bowker in original Temperate Land Scheme:
  25. MD's 2016 builds

    Thanks PlaStix. Still to finish: Tamiya 1/72 Mossie with Paragon conversion to prototype W4050 (just decals now), Revell 1/72 S.E.5a x 2 (props and detailing), and my MTO GB entries. Seven more before the New Year!