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Richard Cawsey

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Everything posted by Richard Cawsey

  1. 1/48 Eduard (mostly) Brokker glider, 1922: I have had the Eduard Bristol Fighter kit (weekend edition) for some time, but was always put off starting it by the complexity of the rigging. The obvious solution was to get an Eduard Fokker D.VII and combine the two kits. The Brokker was built for the Daily Mail gliding competition held at Itford in Sussex from 16 - 21 October 1922. Entered by Sqn Ldr A Gray and Fg Off W S Buchanan from RAF Northolt, it was a late arrival, only appearing on the final day of the contest. As it was hastily assembled, it became apparent that it consisted of the wing of a Fokker D.VII attached to a Bristol Fighter fuselage, and it was thus christened "Brokker". Most of the experts treated it as a joke and said it would be uncontrollable, and they were not disappointed when on its first launch the wheeled undercarriage was catapulted down the slope while the glider itself flopped heavily onto its belly. The next attempt was much more successful and Sqn Ldr Alec Gray joined Alexis Maneyrol who had already been soaring his Peyret tandem monoplane on the ridge for two hours. The Brokker now seemed to be the most controllable machine present, but after an hour it was getting dark, and both gliders were forced to land by the light of car headlamps. The Daily Mail prize of £1,000 was won by Maneyrol, who had set a duration record of 3 hours 22 minutes, but Gray and Buchanan received a prize of £50 for their efforts. The Brokker was taken to the Central Flying School at Upavon where it underwent testing until a fatal accident occured on 28.8.23. There are only a few poor-quality photos of the glider, and no accurate drawings, presumably because the machine arrived late at the contest and by the time its qualities had been recognised it was dark. As a result some of the details are conjectural. The tailplane looks too small for a Bristol Fighter, and the wrong shape for a Fokker, but the dimensions of the S.E.5A tailplane (later style with narrow-chord elevators) look right. I didn't have a spare S.E.5A kit handy so cut the Bristol tailplane to shape. The ailerons were enlarged by combining bits from both kits. The nose fairing was made from parts cut from the lid of a tub of butter substitute.
  2. You complain about the deep panel lines, and then you deliberately accentuate them even further with dark washes. I don't understand. . .
  3. I don't know why the photos should work for some people and not for others. Just in case anyone is interested, these are the direct links. . . http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/DSC08424.jpg http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/DSC08426.jpg
  4. A Korean War vignette in 1/72 scale. (With apologies to Roy Lichtenstein.) Sea Fury is an Airfix boxing of the PM kit; MiG-15 also from Airfix. I was doing a Trumpeter Sea Fury at the same time, which made use of the propeller and decals from the Airfix kit, plus some minor surgery in a number of areas where the kit is inaccurate. . .
  5. Great result. I have always thought that the Matchbox Lysander kits capture the look of the aircraft much better than other more recent and expensive offerings.
  6. The instructions are now online at https://downloads.revell.de/Manuals-Modelkits/03854.pdf It appears the kit does not include some of the parts needed for an early nightfighter version, including the segmented wheels, short exhaust pipes, towel-rail antenna and early-style tailwheel. Nor is there any radar receiver in the rear cockpit. Other than that, it looks pretty good. . .
  7. Sorry to disagree, but I find the dark panel lining is overdone and obscures the subtle camouflage scheme. . .
  8. Spitfire night-fighters were used by two RAF squadrons in the winter of 1941-42, as something of an emergency measure, planned at a time when Russian resistance appeared to be crumbling and it was feared the Germans would soon switch their focus back to the west. By closely co-operating with radar-directed searchlights it was hoped that they would be able to find the enemy bombers. As it turned out, there was very little German activity over Britain, and Spitfires were not the easiest of aircraft to fly at night, so in February 1942 the aircraft reverted to their day-fighting colours. The kit used is the Airfix Club Limited Edition 'Specialist Spitfires', which includes the all-black night-fighter scheme used by 111 Squadron at Debden. Other builders report problems fitting the upper-fuselage fuel tank cover, due apparently to interference with the cockpit parts. To try and avoid this, the fuselage was first glued together without the cockpit installed, then the fuel tank cover was added. This fitted well, apart from a gap at the front that needed filling. The tank cover is slightly raised above the surrounding surfaces, supposedly a feature of of the original aircraft, but I can't see it in any photos, so the front lip at the top was sanded down a little so it isn't so prominent. Then the main sections of the cockpit can be slotted together (glue not really necessary), and the hole in the bottom of the cockpit enlarged slightly to make room for the light under the wing. The oxygen tank (part number C1) can be attached between the rear cockpit frames, rather than to the inside of the fuselage as in the instructions. The cockpit then clicks into place from underneath. The only other potential problem area is the undercarriage legs, which each come in two parts. These were glued together and installed before closing up the wings as it is then easier to get a strong joint with the correct alignment. The reinforcing strakes on the wings above the wheel wells were removed - I think these were a mod introduced on surviving Mk.Vs in 1943. The sliding canopy was a spare from a Tamiya Spitfire as it is optically less distorting and includes the oval knock-out panel on the port side. The final colour scheme is a varying mix of Tamiya acrylic black, sea blue and dark sea grey. Opinion is divided over whether this aircraft had roundels on the wings. In photos the blue and red portions of the fuselage roundel and fin flash appear the same shade as the surrounding black, but I have just about persuaded myself there is something faintly visible on the wings. . .
  9. Rivets as far as the eye can see - that takes me back. . .
  10. Very nice. The amount of weathering looks just about spot-on. . .
  11. All very well done. I presume the Tetrarch tank in the Hamilcar is a dummy, or it would not still be resting on its tailwheel. . .
  12. I haven't done many jets recently, but I have memories of the pre-Hawk era of the Red Arrows, and these were on offer at the local shop for the same price as the 1/72-scale Gnat. I was pleasantly surprised to find the sprues in standard pale grey plastic, unlike the red usually found on kits of this type. The only significant change made was to extend the fairing for the tail navigation light along the port side of the fin so it matched the starboard side. The cover for the nose compartment was slightly ill-fitting; it was left off till late in the process in case it needed any ballast in the nose, but it didn't. . . Though not having an airbrush, I wanted to get a smooth unblemished finish as far as possible, as an earlier attempt on a 1/32 Red Arrows Hawk resulted in a very lumpy texture. This had been finished with Fiery Red (Revell 31) which looks just right (from a distance), but appears too orangey for the Gnat. The Arrow Red (Humbrol 238) recommended for the Airfix Gnat looks very similar. The panel lines seem rather overdone, so they were reduced in depth by having a lump of Polyfilla rubbed over them. Then two coats of matt Scarlet (Humbrol 60) followed by two of gloss Bright Red (Humbrol 19), rubbed down after each layer. Then a few coats of Klear before and after adding the decals. The final step is to add the nose probe (otherwise it is certain to get broken at some stage). The end result seems a bit toy-like, but I think the original aircraft also gave that impression. Even in this larger scale the Gnat is smaller than a 1/72 Lightning. Photographing in direct sunlight tends to show up all the imperfections in the gloss paint, so I waited for some thin cloud to go across. . .
  13. I don't understand this obsession with panel lines. If adjacent panels are actually shaded differently on the original then by all means try and simulate this, but on most kits the panel lines are already much deeper and wider than scale and trying to accentuate them further makes them even more unrealistic. On a type like the F-15 most panels are close-fitting and the edges are almost invisible from any distance. Pre-shading and oily washes may satisfy your artistic urges but you just end up with a patchwork effect which is completely unrealistic and breaks up the clean lines of the original aircraft. . .
  14. Thanks. The tyre is actually from a 1/35 BMW motorcycle and so is slightly larger than it ought to be. The wooden areas were primed in brown and fabric areas in cream, and then thin coats of yellow added until it looked about right. . .
  15. Special Hobby Grunau Baby IIB 'Over Western Europe': This kit has 28 parts and is a quick build, but it is a recent production and appears very accurate and detailed. It has separate ailerons and rudder, while the elevators can easily be cut away so as to deflect them to the normal position seen when the glider is resting on the ground. The cockpit cover is a single transparent part incorporating both the windscreen and the little circular windows for illuminating the instrument panel; much easier than trying to fold a tiny piece of acetate. There are decals in the kit for French, Spanish and British gliders, including one belonging to No. 123 Gliding School at White Waltham. The instructions call for all three options to be painted in RLM 05 Elfenbein (ivory), however the only references appear to be black-and-white photos, and as far as I am aware the Air Cadets were never a branch of the Luftwaffe, so it is instead in standard RAF training colours for the late-1940s. The roundels above the wings were replaced by some slightly bigger ones. Meanwhile, one of the fuselage roundels dissolved under a misdirected spurt of glue and had to be substituted by one meant for an Airfix Bulldog. . .
  16. The Airspeed Horsa assault glider could carry 28 troops (including the two pilots who were also trained as fighting soldiers), or cargo such as a Jeep towing an anti-tank gun. It was made entirely of wood, with a wingspan of 88 feet and a length of 67 feet. 3,793 Horsas were built in total. Some aircraft were built by Airspeed at Christchurch, but the majority were assembled at RAF stations from sections produced by a large number of sub-contractors, including furniture manufacturers, motor works and railway workshops. About 1,400 Horsas were used on operations, chiefly at Normandy, Arnhem and the crossing of the Rhine. The original kit dates from the mid-1970s. It was going to be a simple out-of-box build, and is all right in overall shape, but the more I compared it to photos of the real glider, the more details I found that could do with improvement. The most serious problem is the cockpit, as it is going to be very visible under the large canopy. The entire cockpit floor was raised by attaching it to the rear bulkhead about 4mm higher than the official locating tab. The seats and control columns were also moved further inboard and the control console modified. Other bits were made from odd scraps of plastic. The result is far from perfect but at least it now bears a passing resemblance to the real thing. Another advantage of raising the cockpit is that it now leaves enough space under the floor for all the ballast that is needed to keep the nosewheel on the ground. Not much can be seen of the interior of the cabin when it is closed up. The sides and bulkheads were painted to represent plywood (50/50 Dark Earth + Dunkelgelb), with darker lines to simulate stringers, and the floor and seats in light green. The doors are provided with built-in steps, but this is completely wrong, so I instead made a couple of separate ladders from stretched sprue. There are two odd bulges above each tailplane: these were removed, and the tailplane struts were moved closer together. There seem to be some serious discrepancies in the positioning of the doors and windows in relation to the wing and undercarriage, but trying to fix this would need major surgery, and I think the overall proportions look right. The kit is described as a 'Horsa Mk.I/Mk.II', and for the Mk.II version with a hinged nose section some extra parts are provided such as twin nosewheels, but the nose should have flattened sides and be more pointed in plan view. The Mk.I also has two extra glazing bars down the windscreen. The handle for swinging open the nose should be on the port side. There would not be much point in having it between the hinges on the starboard side, as shown in the instructions. The instructions also have the aileron mass balances, tail skid and pitot head all facing backwards instead of forwards. The main skid under the fuselage appears to be based on a type used on some Mk.IIs, but looks nothing like the real glider. It was greatly reduced in width and the large shock absorber and bracing struts added. Aerial masts were omitted as they don't seem to have normally been used on British Horsas on operations. The main decals in the kit are all right, but not the serial numbers. Two of the three options are fictitious and all are too large. I instead found an old decal sheet for Lancaster LM220 which could easily be amended to LH220, a Horsa Mk.I used at Arnhem in September 1944. By this time gliders were having invasion stripes painted only on the underside of the wings; some already had them above the wings but attempts to remove these were often half-hearted. The end result is a bit rough round the edges but I hope it now looks a bit more like a Horsa than one built straight from the kit. . .
  17. Very nicely done. I can't see anything wrong with it, apart from the size of the serial numbers, which is the fault of the kit.
  18. The first kit I have actually gone out and bought for several years: £17.50 from Antics, Gloucester (other recent builds have relied on my diminishing stash). It was practically faultless, a far cry from the old Airfix kits I knew and loved. The only part that needed a little fettling was the instrument panel. The gun turret is a nice little kit in itself. It is a snug fit but can be removed and replaced quite easily. Just a few minor changes were made: two support tubes and the turret fairing actuator were added inside the rear canopy, and for the gunner a joystick and a foot step on the side of the fuselage. The seat straps are just strips of masking tape. Some of the panel lines had a lump of polyfilla rubbed over them to reduce their depth. The model is in the markings of N3328 / DZ-Z of 151 Squadron, RAF Wittering, 1941. The only photo I have found of N3328 is from the starboard side. On the port side I ignored the instructions and used a little artistic licence by giving it a low-visibility roundel and a kill marking, and making the code Z-DZ instead of DZ-Z, as the code letters were larger than on most night-fighter Defiants and the turret would otherwise get in the way. Pictures of night-fighter Defiants show many of them were very weathered. To get a chipping effect on the paint, selected areas had patches of aluminium foil stuck on, then covered with a layer of paint which was gently attacked with the edge of a piece of sandpaper to expose some of the metal. On other areas, dabs of aluminium paint were used, but this wasn't nearly so effective. I was tempted to use the AI Mk.IV radar aerials which are provided on the kit sprues, but they are a bit too chunky, and I have no information on what the receiving apparatus in the cockpit would have looked like. I can feel another one of these coming on. Next time a Battle of Britain scheme, and not quite so much weathering. . .
  19. I wish I had seen this thread before I completed mine. I may have overdone the patchwork anodised panels. . .
  20. I have just finished a Tamiya Beaufighter as a night fighter, and am now planning to get a Revell version for comparison. The Tamiya kit dates from the 1990s but goes together beautifully. It is said to have a slight pot-belly ahead of the tailwheel, and wrongly-shaped tailplanes, but these are not really noticeable to me. I had to try and fix a number of small inaccuracies and omissions, but most of them appear to be issues with the new Revell kit as well: Wheels: both kits have the later style; the earlier-type five-segmented wheels are not catered for. Revell wheels look rather thin; I don't know which are the most accurate. Tail lights: most Beaufighters had two lights (formation-keeping and navigation lamps) on the rudder trailing edge, but both kits only have the lower one, though the Revell light is undersized. Raised structure on top of the fuselage just ahead of the observer's cupola: Not sure what the purpose of this device was, it may have been to smooth the airflow over the canopy, but it is missing from both kits. Cowling bracing struts in front of engine: missing. Aerial-wire attachment on leading edge of fin: missing. Beam-approach pole antenna under fuselage (early marks): missing. Cartridge ejection slots: both kits have two rows of holes under the wings, but there should only be one row. Wing aerials: night fighters with AI Mk. IV radar should have elevation receiving dipoles above and below the starboard wing. Exhausts: The Tamiya hedgehog-exhausts are poorly shaped; Revell's look much better, except publicity photos of their new Mk.IF night fighter version show the same type exhausts - on the aircraft depicted they should be short with no flame-dampers. Elevator balance tab levers: Tamiya has them over-scale and wrongly-positioned on the top of the tailplane; corrected on the Revell version, except photos of their Mk.IF with flat tailplanes show them above the tailplane: hopefully just an error in assembly. Pitot tube: the shape on the Revell kit appears to be based on the RAF Museum Beaufighter which is all wrong. Elevator trim wheel (starboard side of cockpit): Revell's is much too big. Wings: Some spurious panel lines and battle-damage repair patches on Tamiya kit. Fuselage cannon: the port and starboard gun ports and shell-case ejector slots should be slightly asymmetric, though only noticeable on close inspection. On the Tamiya kit only the ejector slots are offset (though they are too far forward), while on the Revell kit it is only the gun ports that are offset. Overall, though not yet having seen the Revell kit in the flesh, I would say it is more detailed and complicated, but not necessarily a great improvement in accuracy over Tamiya's 1990s offering. Of course it could be that Revell's new Mk.IF includes some last-minute fixes to some of the above problems. . .
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