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Found 7 results

  1. I have so much paying work I need to do that I always feel guilty when I let myself indulge in my own interests. I always say each 1940 build will be a slow burn, fitted in as a reward for getting "day job" stuff done. We all know how that so often turns out! Feeling that I’ve been neglecting RAF Coastal Command for too long - please, don’t mention Bomber Command: I know I’ve been neglecting them as well, but they’re all so … BIG and space is currently limited in the display cabinet here - and having completed the Special Hobby Avro Anson recently, it felt right to pick another Coastal subject from the stash. My problem was I wanted something reasonably straightforward and not too big (cf. Bomber Command, et al). That pushed the Italeri Sunderland and Matchbox Stranraer right out of the frame from the off. The ancient Airfix Hudson probably either needs throwing away, or an awful lot of remedial work to correct errors, so that wasn’t likely either. As to the Saro Lerwick, well, that’s a vac form kit, and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for that! That left the new tool Airfix Beaufort. And here we are. Before getting stuck in, chopping parts out and gluing stuff together, some research was required. Choosing a suitable aircraft was also high on the list. The kit provides schemes for two aircraft, both dated to 1941. The Beaufort was a latecomer to service life, with a rocky development stage that meant it didn’t arrive with squadrons until April 1940. Happily, for the nerd in me, this meant I had quite the interesting choice of camouflage and markings. As first delivered, planes were painted in standard Dark Earth/Dark Green disruptive camouflage, with aluminium undersides. Type A blue/white/red roundels were applied to fuselage, upper and lower wings, squadron codes in light grey, and no fin flashes. By the end of June, instructions from on high were to add a yellow ring to the fuselage roundels (Type A1), and swap the upper wings to the Type B blue/red style. Around this time, the undersides were to change to Sky, or Special Night, or sometimes Eau-de-Nil (which was short-lived and officially unofficial). Choices, choices. I rather like the aluminium undersides, I must admit, and as luck would have it I found a No 22 Squadron profile with it as late as August 1940. It isn’t the aircraft in the kit markings, but I could stretch a point - or make my own markings. I have the technology, even if I don’t have the inclination right now. I guess that means I’m likely to build the model pretty much from the box, which isn’t a problem. Now, Beauforts were initially used for mine laying and bombing operations, only lately coming to their other main role as torpedo bomber. An underslung fish would be nice, so I find I’m really leaning to what comes in the box. That's my decision made, then. Option A, 22 Squadron, N1016 OA-X, it is. Brown/green camo, Sky undersides. Only without the gun pod under the nose, no beam guns, and probably with only the single Vickers in the turret. Backdated a few months, if you will, from the version that tried to sink the Gneisenau in April 1941. Quite when I’ll start remains to be seen. I’m sure it won’t be too long, though.
  2. The Faithful Annie, a classic RAF aircraft if ever there was one. Over 11,000 Ansons of various marks were built from 1935 to 1952, serving the RAF, RCAF, RAAF and FAA into the 1960s. I’m starting back at the beginning, with the MkI in RAF Coastal Command service. I stand to be corrected but, until this Special Hobby kit arrived in 2007, the only injection moulded kit in 1/72nd scale was the venerable Airfix one - with all its shortcomings and dimensional errors, and that nasty greenhouse. I’m not going to knock the Airfix one further. I know, with care and love and elbow grease, it can be turned into a good representation of the type. Anyway, this thread is about a different kit. My copy is a rebox of the original 2007 kit. Markings are provided for three aircraft, all of which fit my 1940 obsession. However, I’m going to build the box art aircraft, N9732/MK-V. I don’t live very far from Detling, in Kent, where there was a Coastal Command airfield (now the Kent county show ground). MK-V was on the strength of No 500 (County of Kent) Squadron, and with two other Ansons got into a bit of a barney with a pair of Bf109s while on patrol over the English Channel in June 1940. The Emils came off worst, both apparently claimed by the crew of MK-V. Why wouldn’t I build that version? It would be rude not to! The moulded plastic looks really nice, especially the fabric treatment on the control surfaces. A rather worrying number of large gaps appear in the fuselage, though. Large expanses of lovely thin clear glazing, which will fill those gaps with luck. I have found that Montex make a masking set for this kit, which must be ordered fairly soon. This kit has lots and lots of moulded resin detail. This lot is mostly the interior, including the framework supporting the roof and glazing, but there are some worryingly fragile-looking external details as well. I shall consider which can usefully be substituted by metal replacements. More resin, this time crew seats, undercarriage parts, engine cowlings and self-assembly Armstrong Siddeley Cheetahs. Individual cylinders? Really? I had better put the local asylum on standby… Like the Blackburn Skua, this is going to be a slow burn build. Rather perversely, I am rather looking forward to getting into all that resin!
  3. Blackburn B-24 Skua MkII, L2991/Q of No 803 Squadron FAA Operating from HMS Ark Royal from April to July 1940. On 13 July, L2991 was shot down during an attack on Scharnhorst. It force-landed at Langvik, Norway, and the crew of Lt Cdr J Casson and Lt P E Fanshawe were taken as prisoners of war. The first operational Royal Navy all-metal monoplane, Britain’s first naval dive-bomber, first deck-landing aircraft with flaps, retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller. A pretty impressive list of firsts for the Blackburn Skua, which certainly can’t claim to be among the most attractive of aircraft. The prototype Skua flew in February 1937, powered by a Bristol Mercury IX of 840hp. It proved satisfactory, and was sent off for intensive tests at the A&AEE Martlesham Heath. Orders were placed for 190 aircraft before the prototype had even flown. All the Mercury engines were earmarked for the Bristol Blenheim, the 890hp Bristol Perseus XII was chosen for the production Skua, which became the MkII. All the ordered aircraft were delivered between October 1938 and March 1940, with the first FAA squadrons to see the new planes being Nos 800 and 803 in late 1938. Both squadrons were soon embarked on HMS Ark Royal. The Skua was a two-seat naval fighter/dive-bomber. It was armed with four forward-firing 0.303in Browning machine guns in the wings, and a Lewis gun on a flexible mount in the rear cockpit. Beneath the fuselage was a recess that could be fitted with a crutch mechanism to carry a 500lb bomb. During a dive-bombing manoeuvre, the crutch let the bomb swing away from the aircraft’s propeller arc. Underwing racks could also carry eight 30lb bombs. The wings were designed to fold, saving space in the hangar decks of carriers. The Perseus sleeve-valve engine could get the Skua to 225mph at 6,500ft, gave a service ceiling of just north of 20,000ft and a useful range of 760 miles. As a fighter at the outset of the Second World War, the Skua was already obsolete. As a dive-bomber, however, the type was surprisingly good. Skuas and Rocs were deployed during the Norway campaign in April 1940, and claimed the sinking of the German cruiser Königsberg in Bergen harbour. Many aircraft were lost in a later operation against Narvik. Skuas and Rocs also flew from RAF Detling in Kent, covering Operation Dynamo, the withdrawal of troops from Dunkirk. Skuas were withdrawn from service in 1941, their squadrons being equipped with the Fairey Fulmar and Hawker Sea Hurricane. There is no complete Skua airframe, but a wreck has been salvaged from a lake in Norway, and can be seen on display at the FAA Museum, Yeovilton. Built from the Special Hobby kit, straight from the box, painted with ColourCoats enamels, Revell and Humbrol acrylics for detail painting, and using the kit transfers. The build thread can be found here:
  4. Well, another year rolls around. Another year of memories to file. I started compiling a list of the builds I'd managed during 2020, and it surprised me quite a bit. I've linked the WIP threads, but not the RFIs. You can click the photos to see more in my Flickr stream. Let's see, in no particular order... First, something without wings. The venerable 1/76th scale Morris CS and 40mm Bofors. I've had a couple of boxes around for a while, with a view to an Anti-Aircraft Command display to supplement my 1940 obsession. The other Morris is scheduled for a kit bash into a shorter wheelbase GS truck, but I've built the guns in transit and deployed form. Now on to winged things. Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter MkIF, R2069 ZK-A, No 25 Squadron, RAF Fighter Command, September 1940. Hobby 2000 are reboxing Hasegawa kits with new transfers and masking sets. The Beaufighter is a lovely kit, which fits together well, although it's beginning to show its age a little in areas like the cockpit details. Still, the first MkI to enter squadron service now graces my display case. A few details were modified to suit the as-supplied aircraft, but it's about as close as I could get from the references. My very first BM WIP thread next. Dornier Do17P, 3rd Staffel, I Gruppe, Fernaufklärungsgruppe 22, April and May 1940. This is a classic slow-burner. It nearly ended up on the Shelf of Doom. In fact, it was resident on a shelf for most of 2019 until I decided to make the push and get it finished mostly to my satisfaction. It's a combination of the Airfix Do17E/F with the Monogram/Revell Do17Z to make a Do17P. Well, it seemed a good idea at the time! I know there are proper kits for the Do17M and P series, but I had the parts and I'm always up for some full on modelmaking. Now for something that I'd never heard of, and found by accident when researching something else. Koolhoven FK-58 C.1 No.1, 3e Escadrille GR II/38 (SPA 54), Armée de l'Air, France, May 1940. I don't know if I was more surprised to find an actual kit for it! While we're in France... Potez 63-11, No. 156, 2 Escadrille, GR II/33, Athies-sous-Laon, winter 1939-40. The first of many French twin-engined aircraft to come. I'm not sure why I picked this one off the shelf, but it turned out reasonably well. Montex vinyl masks helped with the vast acreage of glass, and I made my first serious attempt at freehand airbrushed camouflage. Having worked on the French air force for a while, I felt a little refresher was needed. Fokker D.XXI, No. 234, 1st JaVA. The Dutch were not really expecting the Germans to invade. When the attack started, a valiant but ultimately brief defence was raised. There will be more Dutch air force planes in time, so stay tuned to the WIP thread I started with this little plane. Next, attention turns to Belgium. I built the Renard R.31 in 2019, and I felt in the mood to increase my Belgian contingent for 1940. Like the Dutch, the Belgian forces put up a spirited, brief and ultimately pointless defence of their country when the German Army and Air Force started their attack in May 1940. Gloster Gladiator MkI, 1 Escadrille, 1 Groupe, Aéronautique Militaire Belge, Schaffen Airfield, Diest, Belgium. Hawker Hurricane MkI, H22, Squadron 2/I/2AÈ (Chardon), Belgian Air Force, Schaffen Air Base, Diest, Belgium, May 1940. Fairey Battle MkI, T70, 5/III/3Aé based at Evere. Shot down on 11 May 1940 at Vlijtingen while attacking Vroenhoven bridge. You can follow all these repaints and reworkings on the WIP thread below. Warning: Extreme styrene mangling. Some light relief. Auster (nearly) Autocrat. It’s actually a MkIII from the AZmodel 1/72nd kit. I’ve made it sort of civilianised, and it will carry a UK civil registration eventually. I'm still to make the transfers and actually complete the build, but it is actually finished apart from that. Does it count? I think so. While we're on the tiny stuff... De Havilland Dh.82a Tiger Moth II, N-9181, No 10 Elementary Reserve & Flying Training School, RAF Yatesbury, Wiltshire, England, 1940. Airfix's delightful new tool Tiger Moth, with SBS etched rigging wires. Don't worry, there's plenty more yellow trainer aircraft left in the stash. Now we get into Group Build territory. 2020 was the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, so I couldn't refuse to build something for that, could I. Fiat BR.20M Cicogna, 4 Squadriglia, 11° Gruppo, 13° Stormo, Corpo Aereo Italiano, Melsbroek, Belgium, September 1940. 1/72nd scale Italeri with Eduard PE interior and exterior details, LF Models resin wheels, painted with ColourCoats enamels, Humbrol acrylics and enamels for detail work. Fiat G.50 Freccia MM 5403, 352 Squadriglia, 20° Gruppo, 56° Stormo, Corpo Aereo Italiano, Flugplatz Maldegem, Belgium, October 1940. 1/72nd scale limited run kit from AML, in plastic, resin and photo etch metal. Painted with ColourCoats enamels for the main camouflage colours, Humbrol and Xtracrylix acrylics for detailing. Fiat CR.42 Falco MM 5668, 83a Sqd, 18° Gruppo, 56° Stormo, Corpo Aereo Italiano, Ursel, Belgium, October 1940. 1/72nd scale plastic, resin and photo etch kit from Mister Kit. Painted with ColourCoats enamels for the main camouflage colours, Humbrol and Xtracrylix acrylics for detailing. Well, you didn't think I'd just follow the herd and build Spitfires and Bf109s did you? Happily, some other participants in the BoB80 GB tackled Bomber and Coastal Command subjects. I decided to remain left field. Grumman Martlet MkI, BJ519, No 804 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, RNAS Skaebrae, Orkneys, October 1940. Fairey Fulmar MkI, N1868, 7L, No 808 Squadron Fleet Air Arm, Wick, Scotland, August 1940. Nos 804 and 808 Squadrons, Fleet Air Arm, appear on the official Battle of Britain Roll of Honour. For a time during the official Battle period, they were under direct control of RAF Fighter Command. With that GB out of the way, pretty much straight into another. This time the Heller Classic GB. Junkers Ju52/3m by Heather Kavanagh, on Flickr Junkers Ju52/3m, 3U+MT, 9./ZG 26, France, 1940. It's big. I enjoyed the build a lot, even the painting. G-ADBW was impressed into RAF service on 15 July 1940, and given the military serial Z7265. The aircraft had been one of a pair that had been supplied to Jersey Airways Ltd in 1935. All but one of the Jersey Airways’ fleet of De Havilland aircraft had been flown back to the UK mainland from Jersey airport in June 1940 - just before the Channel Islands had been occupied by German forces. It does appear that G-ADBW, although painted in the standard camouflage colours befitting a training aircraft, didn’t carry its military serial and continued to carry the civilian registration. The aircraft was used by an RAF flying school for navigational training. Sadly, barely a month after starting its military career, on 30 August, the plane was involved in an accident at Staverton. I think this refers to what is now Gloucestershire Airport, but which was an RAF training airfield in 1940. The records go quiet at this point, and I haven’t been able to find out if the plane was salvaged and returned to service or not. The records do show it lingered until it was struck off charge on 17 November 1941. I wonder if it ended its days as an instructional airframe, or as a donor for parts. The rigging is from SBS, somewhat rough painting by Humbrol and Revell acrylics applied by brush. As I type, with a couple of weeks left of 2020, I am hoping I might complete a third Heller build. I'm not going to worry if it doesn't make it into this post though. I think 18 completed builds is a pretty good score. Thanks for looking. Thank you to everyone that comments, advises, and donates parts and even whole kits to my 1940 project. It's fun to have you along, and I hope 2021 may prove just as productive for all of us.
  5. Potez 63-11, No. 156, 2 Escadrille, GR II/33, Athies-sous-Laon, winter 1939-40. It's difficult to work out where to start with the Potez 63 series. In 1934, the French air ministry put out a specification for a heavy fighter. The new type needed to perform several functions, from fighter direction where it would lead formations of single-seat fighters, to day bomber escort and night fighting operations. A crew of up to three, and maximum speed of 450kph from a twin engine setup, plus various armaments, were all considered essential. All the big companies were asked to provide prototypes to the new specification, with at least Hanriot and Breguet continuing into series production. Potez, however, seemed to win the most favour, and the 63 series began construction with the 630, after the prototype's maiden flight in April 1936. From there, it begins to get very confused, with multiple variants of the basic aircraft being developed as fighters, bombers, trainers and reconnaissance. Overall, the design was relatively simple, fairly quick to assemble, and shared pleasant flying characteristics, and were all designed for easy maintenance. Then we come to the Potez 63-11, the variant that was built in the most numbers. Developed for the reconnaissance role, the pilot was seated above the observer who occupied a position in a large glazed nose. The fuselage had to increase in depth compared to other variants, which impinged on top speed and manoeuvrability. The end result was an ungainly looking plane which was vulnerable to attack, despite armour and self-sealing fuel tanks. The need to act in a light bombing role was part of the requirements, but the tiny bomb bay in the fuselage was rarely used, and later filled with an extra fuel tank. There were hard points under the wings, and self-defence was in the form of a single machine gun in the rear observer's position, and remote control guns in the tail cone and a belly blister pointing to the rear. Many machines were also equipped with twin machine gun gondolas under the outer wings, allowing them to at least perform some ground attack duties. The kit is typical fare from Azur. Nice fine detail in the plastic parts, but a fair amount of flash. It exhibits a lot of reliance on resin for cockpit and undercarriage details, plus some exceedingly fine PE parts. As is typical, the instructions can be rather vague, and pay careful attention to dry fitting parts before committing to glues. Overall, though, the kit builds up adequately well. Seat belts were made up from masking tape, and I had to re-engineer part of the undercarriage so the wheels fitted properly, the only headache turns out to be dust trapped inside that copiously glazed nose. I bought in a set of Montex vinyl masks for the complex glazing, and the model was painted using French Air Force colours from the ColourCoats enamels range. I tried my hand at freehand airbrushing the camouflage, which I think worked out better than I expected. The transfers, which covered pre-Armistice France, Free French in Palestine and Rumanian aircraft, were finely printed, nicely thin and laid down really well without reliance on setting solution. While I didn't enjoy the build, and it lingered near the Shelf of Doom for a time, I'm pleased at how it turned out. Eventually, similar twin-engined types from Breguet and Hanriot will join it in the display cabinet. I've just noticed I haven't updated my photo copyright watermark since 2019. That kind of sums up 2020 well, don't you think? The WIP thread starts here, in an ever-expanding thread of French aircraft of the 1930s:
  6. Gloster Gladiator MkI, 1 Escadrille, 1 Groupe, Aéronautique Militaire Belge, Schaffer Airfield, Diest, Belgium. The Matchbox Gladiator was first introduced in 1972. It came in two colours of plastic, a bright red and a cream. Markings were provided for an inter-war RAF machine in silver. Being me, I built mine - acquired secondhand at a show about ten years ago - to represent a British Expeditionary Force Air Component aircraft sent to France in 1939. Since then, Airfix produced their new kit, of which I have an example built up to represent the sole RAF Gladiator squadron that saw any action in the Battle of Britain. I also bought another boxing, which included the parts to make a MkII with the three-blade propeller, and transfers for the BEF plane, plus a Belgian example. An idea was hatched to repaint the Matchbox kit using the Airfix transfers to become a Belgian plane. My go-to web site for information on Belgian aircraft is Belgian Wings, created by Daniel Brackx. How better to give a potted history of the Gladiator in Belgian service than to link to his page dedicated to the type. That's the link, bold and underlined. G30 was lost in a weather-related accident in 1938. As such, it doesn’t quite fit in my 1940 theme, but stands as a representative of the Gladiators in Belgian service in May 1940. Paint used was Humbrol acrylic and enamel, transfers from Airfix, satin varnish coat from Phoenix Precision Paints. Rigging is Uschi thread - a fiddle, but worth the effort. The rebuild thread starts here:
  7. Dornier Do17P, 3rd Staffel, I Gruppe, Fernaufklärungsgruppe 22, April and May 1940 We are, perhaps, more familiar with the Do17Z series aircraft, with the characteristic large greenhouse canopy over the cockpit area, but the Luftwaffe continued to use earlier variants of the type well into the Second World War. While effectively relegated from frontline duties after the invasion of Poland and the outbreak of war in 1939, the older planes saw service in reconnaissance, meteorological flights and training duties. The subject of this model, the Do17P, represents the long range photo reconnaissance type, and as such finds a place in my 1940 obsession collection. There are kits of the Do17P and M series aircraft available from RS Models. Being from the awkward squad, and having acquired a second-hand boxing of Airfix's venerable Do17E/F a while back and still having the remains of a Revell Do17Z kit stashed away, my mind wondered how hard it would be to combine the two and get what I really wanted. The Revell kit would donate the wings and engines - and subsequently the tailplane as well - while Airfix's none-too-shabby fuselage would give the characteristic Flying Pencil outline. After some head scratching, comparison with drawings and photos, and a bit of a think, the challenge was accepted. I reckon it could be made to work, and the WIP thread is linked to below. Enjoy the false starts, errors, and final triumph in all its glory! So, to the pictures. The Airfix kit's transparencies had been short shot, so I had to source the Falcon vacuum-formed set. I got a pair of resin wheels meant for the Do17Z, so a little larger than they ought to be, from Kora, and a PE upgrade set for the Airfix kit from Extra Tech. The latter chiefly gave me the cockpit details, plus loop and "towel rail" antennae. Painting began with Humbrol acrylics, but ended with Hannants' Xtracrylix. Transfers were a hodgepodge from the original Revell boxing, spares in my files, Xtradecal swastikas, and a neat bodge using RAF interwar code letters to give the unit markings. As ever, my finishing let me down. I couldn't get the Falcon transparencies under the nose to sit neatly at all. On the whole, though, I am pleased my cross-kit adventure worked out fairly well. It looks like a Flying Pencil, and will sit in my Luftwaffe section happily as an unusual type that isn't often seen. I might eventually source a "proper" Do17M or P kit, but we'll see. The rather lengthy WIP thread is here:
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