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Posts posted by TallBlondJohn

  1. Airfix 1/72 Folland Gnat T.1 in Yellowjacks (No. 4 Flying Training School display team) scheme, 1965.




    I won't go into the history but here's good links:





    _XR992 take off

    _XR992 take off model


    Airfix’s neat little Folland Gnat was tooled 2012 I believe. Just £5 from Lidl in starter set boxing and built in a record time for me of only four weeks! It’s a very nice model, some builders have reported flash but mine had none. Panel lines might be a bit big – think 2010s Airfix – but they fill up with all that paint to look nice and subtle. I built it out of the box, just added seat belts and ejection handles. I added some nose weight just in case, but none should be necessary. It went together very nicely with excellent fit all round, the only fail being the intakes that needed some sanding and filler to blend in with the fuselage (there should be panel lines but in 1/72 I didn’t bother - though I did use an etching tool to create the slight divide between the intake and the side of the fuselage). The rear undercarriage has to be installed early which complicates masking, but don’t be tempted to try adding it later, that doesn’t work. Take care with the forward undercarriage strut, its very delicate and broke coming off the sprue. I’ve seen other builders have exactly the same issue, and make sure the wings are level, mine ended up slightly off which was fixed with brute force.






    IMG_7423 IMG_7419


    The one problem I had was the pitot tube, which wasn’t well cast at all and wouldn’t have fitted anyway. I’d advise planning this in advance, maybe replacing with brass rod and a needle and carefully prepare the fit before the fuselage halves are joined.


    This particular scheme is one of those slightly annoying builds where you go online to look for photos, and are deluged with images of a not 100% accurate modern re-paint job, in this case G-MOUR. In original photos I found the yellow to be a bit warmer than the recommended raw Humbrol gloss 69. That might have been the vintage film but looks better, so I added about 15% Matt 154. Yellow is notoriously hard to paint but it came out nicely airbrushed in several light coats, patience is the key. Which is an issue as I hate airbrushing. Being able to shove a dowel up its pretty little rear end really helped.




    The kit has a small aerial vane on top of the nose but I can't see it in this 1964 photo:


    a XR995


    So I cut it off, presumably it was added later:



    Airfix also don’t have the correct colours for the aerials, again I suspect because they used G-MOUR as inspiration but I followed the old photos.

    The Yellowjacks of course went on to become the Red Arrows, trading in their colour scheme for a red more suited to Britain's grey skies. Here is an excellent short potted history:



    XR992 received a black fin for 1965 with a yellow rudder in honour of Watford football club*. I couldn't find any original photos of an all-black tail outside of museum paint jobs so that may be another modern interpretation. It added interest so I applied Tamiya X-1 acrylic, brush painted after another airbrush disaster. Note the video shows the black should stop at the panel line at the front of the fin, the box art and G-MOUR are wrong. Varnish was Future flattened down to satin.


    Finally boy this is a dinky little thing - its like a bathtub with wings. Here it is compared to Laura the Sopwith Camel:




    And my Buccaneer, Big Bottomed Becky:




    XR992 herself came to a rather comic end in December 1969 when another pilot reported its engine was on fire. Fl Lt Dickie Duckett immediately ejected as required by procedure, whereupon Mr Observant said oh terribly sorry, it’s XR995 that is on fire. So she got ditched as well. Our hero was credited with the kill.**


    * Possibly. Or it may have been for easier identification of the flight lead.

    ** Probably.


    Thanks for looking!

    • Like 34
  2. 8 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

    @Marco1965 annoyingly the sun awnings are erected, but you can, I believe, see evidence of planking at the aft end of the deck on both port and starboard, and I think there's evidence of planks forward on the starboard side. What do you think?




    I'd say that's planked, but where does the blanking stop and the bare deck around the aft funnel start? Just in front of the catapult base?

  3. 12 hours ago, Our Ned said:

    TallBlondJohn wrote "... HMS York ... was built with the catapult forward ..."; where was it situated please?  The only photos I have seen of her show either no catapult at all, or a catapult (EIIH, later replaced by SIH) between the after funnel and the after superstructure, and I can't work out where else one might have been fitted.  The original design included a light catapult on "B" main armament turret, but all the references I know of say it was never fitted.  Are there any photos of a catapult forward?


    The turret catapult was what I meant. My theory - which may be wrong - is that RN cruisers didn't have planked catapult decks (probably to reduce fire risk) as built - the only cases I can think of are where the catapult was added later. Which brings up the case of York - she had a planked deck around her aft catapult. The idea was to have a catapult on B turret, but of course that catapult didn't work out - the light catapult design was never even finalised. A heavy catapult was planned aft, but wasn't fitted until her first refit in 1931. So the theory holds (for now).


    • Like 1
  4. 1 hour ago, Marco1965 said:

    I have a doubt about the deck that is located below the airplanes catapult deck, as shown in the following picture (the deck between the hydroplane's wingtip and the boat):




    This deck is represented in Trumpeter´s kit (1/350) as solid deck, extra dark gray, no planking.  But I see planking there, similar to the lower deck and quite different from the extra dark gray clearly seen on the aft superstructure.  

       I am still in time to scribe the planking on that deck, haven´t painted the dark gray yet, as I did with the deck in front of the bridge, but would appreciate second opinions.





    That photo looks like the one of Exeter at Balboa in Friedman's British Cruisers (page 120. The whole photo shows a clear change in tone between this deck and the planked section at the forward funnel, which matches the plan (page 118). The relative darkness of the grey versus the superstructure could be due to light, re-painting, or extra wear. But I accept it does look very like the deck below, which was planked.


    This deck was planked in HMS York (British Cruisers page 109) but she was built with the catapult forward, it was moved aft later. A planked catapult deck would be unusual for a RN Cruiser as built, maybe due to fire hazard?

    So on balance I'd say this deck on Exeter was bare metal, but this may be one of those ones where you find the evidence the week after it can't be changed...

    • Thanks 1
  5. 1 hour ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

    Gidday again Guys, I've said it before but, gee, you lot make work for me. Earlier today it was TBJohn with his suggestion that the aft pompoms would best be abreast the aft funnel, which I'm now trying to do. This time it's Tom Modelholic. 🙂 With his suggestion of mounting the fwd pompom directors on those 'sticky out ear things bits'. I thought "A good idea, but too risky at this stage." 

          Then I had another look and thought "A good idea, but it might be too risky now."

          Then yet another look and thought "Maybe I could."

    Then I reached for the scalpel! Rather than cut away the balustrading only I cut away the entire platform where the director tub will go, with a very sharp scalpel blade, a sharp curved chisel blade, and an awful lot of care and trepidation. But I succeeded. I'll raise the height of the pompom director tubs with 4mm tube. So Tom, thanks for the suggestion/encouragement, and if I had of botched the job I would NEVER have forgiven you! 😠 Only Joking.  😀  I appreciate all suggestions and ideas. Some I'll act on, some I'll decline but I'll appreciate them all. And the decision as to whether or not to act on them is mine alone, with the consequences falling on my shoulders only. So everyone, please feel free to continue with suggestions. I think the model will be better because of them.

         I'll post a photo on what I've done a little later, when I have more to show.

    Oh well, it's getting late here, time for my beauty sleep. (Which I keep getting told doesn't work 😠). So stay safe everybody, and regards, Jeff.


    The sticky outy bits are (I think) the signal deck (flag lockers etc) and so also had the signalling lamps - which need a clear view outwards...uh oh... I was going to suggest you just glue the director tubs to the rear corners of the top bridge deck. If its too late the signal lamps could go on the hangar roof outboard of the 4" directors.

  6. 4 hours ago, Modelholic said:

    The after pom-pom platforms could be could be shrunk a bit if necessary. (cor. I spelt nessessary - nessesary. that word right first time!)

    Wouldn't the gun layers(?) sight through the aiming ports in the gun shield?




    They would lay the gun through the ports, but as wide a field of view as possible would help the crew captain pick up potential targets - so the less overhead structure the better. But if things came to that the ship would be in big trouble anyway...


    Good point about the platforms, Belfasts were generous (and maybe quads need less space?).

    • Thanks 1
  7. Nice progress, she does look smart - especially those two tone turrets.

    With my naval architect hat on, the boats would have had to have gone between the funnels. So the pom-poms now don't fit? OK I'd have shifted them back, one on each side of the aft funnel. Quads not octuples. Two more on the bridge. Hopefully they wont cover the 4" mount, need to allow the crew to see out if they have to fire over open sights. Maybe they did, which is why they got moved forward and inward when the catapult was landed and the boats got moved, as you depict. Sorted!

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  8. 21 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

    Gidday John, thanks for the clarification regarding the funnels. I rather like the look of the 'Town' style funnel heights but as this is meant to be a fictitious yet plausible HMS Belfast I'll go with the equal heights and not switch them. Unless I do it in error. 

        I thought I'd place a 20mm Oerlikon gun tub at the outboard edge of the 4-inch gun deck, immediately aft of the aft 4-inch twin mounting, just like the one fwd of the fwd 4-inch. Inboard of the gun tubs maybe a dinghy, or ammo r/u lockers, something to make that bit of deck a little less empty. Below that bit of deck I was planning on mounting a Carley float to hide the lack of supporting stanchions. Same at the break of the foc'sle deck, under the gun tub just fwd of the catapult.

         The next task I want to tackle are the 4-inch guns and light AA weapons. I've got plenty of twin 4-inch shields but the barrels are unusable I think. They've been molded in a sea of flash, I don't think I can extract them, so I'm trying out ways of making my own. Plus I'll do my own pompoms and Oerlikons also.


    And Exkiwi, although she's a fictitious vessel if she got a target within range of her 6-inch guns I think she could dish out punishment that only a battleship or battlecruiser could survive. As long as the ammunition supply held out.


    Regards, Jeff.


    You could just stack some Carley floats on the deck as well - Edinburgh did this. Any dinghy would be out of reach of the crane so you'd have to account for how it would be handled - I guess the crew could just carry it!

  9. 2 hours ago, Shockwave Rider said:

    Now, how on earth do I put them all together?


    Get some quite chunky Evergreen plastic square rod and use that in the corners, it will increase the gluing surface and help with the angles. One tip - don't overdo the glue, it won't need much and you will need to make adjustments. Too much can lead to a oil canning effect as well. I've got a small setsquare that came out of a very cheap Christmas cracker that is ideal for these wee jobs.

  10. Funnel height - Generally the RN liked funnels to be the same height unless they couldn't be - in the Town and Colony classes the forward funnel has to be higher to keep the bridge area clear of smoke and gases. The KGVs, Arethusas (as built) and Didos as well as Belfast all had balanced funnels, with heights adjusted as required to incorporate any deckhouses. But I think this was mostly aesthetic, so you could break the rule - the result will be a bit less 'RN-ish' to my eye.


    Your Belfast is looking very smart though. Any thoughts what will go on the deck on each side of the aft funnel?

  11. Thinking about it all, I reckon your approach is correct - it will all look good. Thinking about it more, I realised we had all been coming at the problem from the wrong end - the ship's internal layout decides the outer features. So we should have started there.


    In reality, when Belfast's quad turrets were dropped, the opportunity was taken to work in an extra pair of 4". Another consideration was to reduce the width of the forward superstructure to create deck space on each side. Now the size of the hangars, catapult deck, boiler rooms and engine rooms are all fixed (though in Whiffery we can tweak them a bit, nobody will know). So the design decision was to resite the 4" magazine from aft of the rear engine room to in front of the forward boiler room, keeping the length of this armoured box the same (aha, so that's why Towns and Colonies have the 4" pairs so far aft). Up top the aircraft area is fixed and where possible you want funnels directly above the boiler rooms - so you only have 2 possible layouts, say Sheffield/Jamaica versus Belfast/Edinburgh. This drawing nicked from the Airfix forum shows the result well:




    In our whiff, we need to shift weight back to compensate for the weight of the forward turrets, which shifts everything backwards and we are back to the conventional town design of 4 twin 4". But our magazine is forward, so we still need the ammo hoists and 'railway set' ammo supply system, which is mostly missing from the Airfix and Trumpeter kits (and the above drawing). I cant find any good historic photos, but it can be seen in this BM build:


    So to get to the point, we need a 4" ammo supply in our quad Belfast, but I bet there's now no room in front of the funnel for the hoists. OK, move the cranes outward a bit and squeeze them in outboard of the funnels (remove the 20mms, put one of them on X turret), the hoists are now slanting outwards as well as backwards out of the magazine which is under the catapult, and it all works so I'm happy! As you have removed the rear two turrets one can argue you don't need the track system at all, just the hoists, but they add interest.

    • Like 1
  12. 3 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

    I must confess that thought had crossed my mind as well but as Jeff says, it's a whiff and the intricacies of naval architecture can be ignored in whiffery 


    Well... OK, but for me a lot of the fun of a whiff is discovering the rules of naval architecture/east front logistics/etc and working within them, poring over Friedman for hours figuring out where something goes and so if there should be a porthole added.... But its Arnold's ship and he has a deadline to meet - my approach takes months. So I will keep my concerns about where the 4" magazine now goes and what was inside the lost aft superstructure deck to myself! 😉 (1)


    However, it did occur to me a simple solution would be to swap the aft funnel and the pom-pom deck, then move the mast behind the funnel (2). But then its not a Belfast any more is it?

    (1) toilets and wardrooms mostly - I had to check! But losing that deck does give you some topweight back to play with - weight and space dominate a naval architects concerns.
    (2) trunking the aft funnel does just work- though for the record designers usually tried to avoid trunking, it took up a lot of internal space and reduced efficiency - even less room for those toilets! They will be warm and cosy though.

    (3) I thought the catapult area could be condensed more, but probably not, Belfast has the same area as the Colonies which were very tight for space everywhere. But you could move the forward funnel up to that screen. The lump between the screen and the funnel base air intake it is the hoist for the 4" ammunition supply system and can be removed if the magazine is relocated... this is where I go down the rabbit hole! Its your model its what your intended audience will be concerned with.

    • Like 2
  13. Hm, so your aft funnel is now over where the aft engine room would be - which is Ok if the funnel and engine rooms are switched, so the forward engine room is under the catapult. Getting the 6" and 4" aft directors onto the superstructure will be tight but should work. You could put the 6" director on top of X turret like the Colony class but it's not the prettiest solution (and was dropped from the Colonies in favour of more AA).

    • Like 1
  14. On 20/11/2020 at 20:48, stevehnz said:

    A wonderful job on that in every aspect, though I'm not sure Abercrombie was ever capable of generating such a dynamic wake as your beautiful seascape shows.



    Maybe if she was going downhill?


    Superb build BTW - and yes the figures are incredible (literally)

    • Haha 1
  15. Thanks for the reply. I found this old thread which seems to say the Q type was for late WWII props and early jets without ejection seats, but the Eduard ED73006 set contains blue straps which are part of the modern Z type - so it seems to be mostly Q with a two sets of Z, when what I need is a full fret of Z?


    I've also realized that having flown in a DH Chipmunk I have been intimate with these things - cant remember any details though, it was a while back.


  16. I am hopefully anticipating that Santa will add to my collection of Airfix RAF cold war jets in 1/72. I don't include pilots, so my builds get tape seatbelts. But it would be better to have a generic set of Martin Baker ejection seat PE belts ready to go in - but nobody seems to make any - are they that different between seats?


    Seems odd as Eduard etc have belts for every other era and they also do MB ejection seat handles. Are we supposed to use resin seats?

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