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ajmm

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  1. Very nice! You’ve done a lovely job on that. Very well finished, even in close ups. I’m very envious! I wish there was a halfway decent valiant kit to go with this and the Victor.
  2. Thank you all very much for the kind comments. I really appreciate them. Those interested in the base - I cannot take credit. It’s off the shelf from Coastal Kits and among the best in their range.
  3. Thank you all very much for the very kind comments! I’m glad you like them and gold star to those who read my potted history. Glad it was of interest. Thank you all!
  4. I recently finished the second of two 1/144 models of somewhat obscure Sikorsky flying boats which I thought might be of wider interest here. The silvery one is the XPBS-1 and the camouflaged one is the VS-44A 'Excambian'. Both were build from the Anigrand kits and I used the absolute excellent reference book reviewed on BM here. Invaluable, even in the age of the internet (does that make me sound old?). Background These are both pretty niche but fascinating aircraft, forgive a bit of context... The XPBS design emerged first from a 1935 US Navy request for a new long range patrol bomber larger than the Catalina, with better performance and more bombs and guns. Both Consolidated and Sikorsky submitted proposals, and the XPBS-1 (dubbed 'The Flying Dreadnought' seemingly by nobody other than Sikorsky's marketing department) first flew in 1937. The Navy accepted the Sikorsky aircraft, even though the contract went to Consolidated for what became the Coronado. But the Sikorsky prototype was retained by the US Navy and between 1939 and 1942 it was assigned to a Naval Transport Unit flying staff between San Diego and Hawaii. It crashed when it hit a submerged log in 1942, sank and was lost. Admiral Nimitz was lucky to escape from the wreckage with his life. It's a funny-looking thing. Quite aggressive, with that jutting jaw. As my brother said when I showed it to him - "it's like an ugly Sunderland". Apt. From the XPBS, Sikorsky developed a civilian version, the VS-44A. Basically, when the Navy rejected the Flying Dreadnought, Sikorsky pitched it as a civilian airliner. It secured a contract from American Export Airlines (the air subsidiary of a major shipping company, American Export Lines... see what they did there. Golly branding was uncomplicated in those days). The three VS-44s were delivered to AEA after Pearl Harbour and were rapidly repainted into US Navy colours and designated, as far as the Navy was concerned, the JR2S-1, though AEA retained each aircraft's official name: Excalibur, Excambian, Exeter (also the names of AEA's flagship sea vessels). I love that that bit of the 'Golden Era' of air travel lived on amid all the drab camouflagery. The VS-44 exceeded all of its design expectations - being faster and with greater range even than the larger, more famous Boeing Clippers. During the war, Excambian - as I've built here - flew back and forth across the Atlantic and was the only aircraft in US service capable of doing so non-stop, establishing some notable records at the time for the fastest crossing. It ferried VIPs, cargo and mail, both on the main New York to Ireland route, but also from Bathurst (now Banjul, The Gambia) to the Caribbean, and around Latin America. Humphrey Bogart hitched a lift in one, as did Eleanor Roosevelt, Admiral Andrew Cunningham and General Omar Bradley, along with Dutch Queen Wilhelmina (incidentally, one of the few monarchs to reign during two world wars - quite a character). Many of the pilots for AEA were also former AVG Flying Tigers, which I didn't know. So a pretty hot airline in its day - somehow also crying out to be the setting for an Agatha Christie novel. Very 'Orient Express'. It was helpful for the Navy to be able to contract out some of this transport duty to AEA, both to free up Navy planes to do war stuff but also because, technically operating as a private company, AEA could land in neutral ports (like Foynes, Ireland). But by 1944, this was less essential and the Navy had enough long range aircraft to operate its own air routes, so AEA's contract was cancelled in early-1945. In June 1945, AEA merged with American Overseas Airlines (what is now American Airlines) which saw little future in flying boats given the vast increase in the number of landing strips across the globe during the war. Probably quite sensibly, it put its dollars into a fleet of DC-4s. In late 1945, Excambian and Exeter were put up for sale. Postwar they were operated by a hotchpotch handful of owners before Exeter crashed gun running for South American rebels, and Excambian essentially became derelict. The sole survivor of the 'Flying Aces' as the three were known, Excambian has since been restored and is now at the Connecticut Air Museum. Which I shall visit some day and bore all of the museum staff rigid. Builds Both are built from the Anigrand kits released in the last five years. Anigrand also produces a 1:72 version but 1:144 is my poison. Neither were complicated or particularly challenging, and I enjoyed both building them and learning about something new. First the Flying Dreadnought And it's younger, sleeker cousin. Both builds were fairly straightforwards (though there is one flaw on the VS-44 that I failed to correct to do with the inboard nacelle shapes) but happy to answer any questions. Full build threads for both are here and here for any that are interested. Hope that might be interesting or helpful for someone. Thanks very much for looking! Angus
  5. Lovely build. It's a nice kit. You've done a great job with it.
  6. Oh wow. This is amazing to see. Thank you for taking the time to explain all the steps. It’s fascinating. I can’t wait to see it in 144. It looks fantastic in 350!
  7. Now that’s quite something. Flawless. Beautifully done and very clearly a labour of love. Thanks for showing us.
  8. That is truly beautiful modelling. The best duck I've seen in any scale. I could look at those pictures all day!
  9. I've always liked the Voodoo and that's a very handsome scheme you've done it in. It just looks like it's going Mach 1 standing there. Brilliant work - congratulations!
  10. Thank you all very much! Yes it seemed unusual so I went for it. The kit also has decals for the rollout natural metal scheme. Thank you very much Martin - it was a bit fiddly and I kept dropping it! Much time spent on hands and knees picking up lots of things that weren’t the canopy!
  11. Or a teeny, tiny triangle! Less affectionately, this was known as the Black Widowmaker. Charming. It had a short life, crashing three weeks after its first flight. Fortunately, the test pilot "Ben" Gunn managed to eject safely first (in the process gaining the dubious honour of becoming the first person to successfully eject from a delta wing aircraft). That's him on the right. Looks pretty unflappable to me. He was a Spitfire and then a Tempest pilot during the war and shot down the last V1 of the war over the South Downs so I guess you could say it figures. Also - somewhat unusually for a test pilot from the 1950s - he lived to the ripe old age of 76. He wrote a memoir which I'm trying to track down. This is the Boulton-Paul P.120, the last aircraft that Boulton-Paul designed and built and an evolution of the outwardly very similar P.111 (the main change is in the tail). Both the P.120 and P.111 were testbeds, designed to evaluate different delta wing configurations at various speeds. The P.111 was very tricky to fly because of its power-operated controls gave the pilot little feedback. This was sort of resolved in the P.120, after the controls were spring-loaded - it was a bit more docile but retained some unpredictable handling quirks that could not be ironed out. In preparation for the 1952 Farnborough Airshow this was repainted from its natural metal finish to this sharkish black and yellow livery, though it crashed and was destroyed before the airshow took place. This is the 144th.co.uk kit and it's a little beauty. Resin and removing the parts from the casting blocks takes a bit of time and care, but the overall fit is really good and it's a pretty simple build. I am ashamed to say I started this way back in 2019, and it has sat dormant in its box over various house moves ever since. The reason was that the kit does not have a transparent canopy (but it does have a separate solid resin one) and I stubbornly wanted one... so I made a smash-moulded one which I fitted earlier this week after years of procrastination. I believe it was worth the effort and am frankly delighted with the results - now scratching my head wondering why I kept putting this back in the box again. After that it was a simple question of masking the canopy and painting the whole thing black. The decals are superb - really, really nice. I think they are printed by either Cartograf or Fantasy Printshop and are very sharp and vivid. I replaced the thick undercarriage doors with plasticard and added some aerials and pitots from scratch. But that's about it. A quick build that I just took an appallingly long time over. I've started the P.111a so that should join this in - oh - 3-5 years too. Finally with another, larger British triangle... Thanks very much for looking! Angus
  12. That’s lovely - you’ve done a wonderful job on it. I’ve got one too and hope that it comes out half as nice as yours. Really handsome work. Oh and one more vote for an Xtradecals Hastings sheet.
  13. Brilliant stuff. You’ve done a lovely job. Such a handsome aircraft.
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