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  1. I was impressed by Kevin Aris' large-scale SD-14 card model and thought perhaps I could have a go at something like that. The SD-14 kit is too expensive for me though, so I am going to attempt doing something of my own. The plan is that this will hopefully build into an aircraft carrier. Initial drawings have been done and the first frames have been cut out. These frames are for the bow section and in this area the gap between each frame is 3 feet. At this scale that works out at 6.35mm betwen each frame. This means I need to put spacers in between each frame and the best way (I think) is to separator strips to each piece. This should also help to strengthen each frame piece, which is only 0.5mm thick. The plastic strips have been cut and then glued around the edge of each frame section, plus a strengthener piece down the centre. The first frame has been glued into place. It is not the front frame, but No.8 frame and I placed this one first as it gave me room to place a try square either side to ensure the piece was vertical. All the other frames can be formed around this one. These strips are 5.75mm wide which, when added to the 0.5mm frame piece, gives a frame gap of 6.25mm which is near enough for me. So far so good, the tops of the frames are all to a uniform height, it is just the positions of the separator strips that make it all look uneven. I've just made some more calculations and realise that this is going to take a lot of plastic, which invariably is going to work out quite expensive............. However, I have found an alternative which is to use card from cereal boxes rather than plastic. I know where I can get an endless supply of card like this! All I then need is to strenghten the edges with thin strips of plastic and this will reduce the amount of plastic I need to buy for this project. It doesn't look much at the moment, and working with white plastic is not the best for photographing progress however, this is just a start, and is really just an experiment but, hopefully, it will give me the incentive to get back into building again. cheers Mike
  2. Dear fellow modellers, I would like to show you my latest finished model. I had been working on it for a long time and was reluctant to do some of the necessary additions, like the stabilizers on the elevator, the triangular part and the strake at the rear of the aircraft and of course ALL the antennas. I also added the windshield wipers, because they are very distinctive on the original. But two days ago I just started doing it and everything went very smooth and quickly. I was surprised to find fotos showing that the Nimrod has a more glossy finish. I used Revell Aqua Colours as usual. Only two were used. RAF Hemp was mixed using 4 parts 371 Light grey and one part or so of Africa brown. The lower side is painted with 371 Light grey. The model is a tailsitter which is unusual for Anigrand. Normally they are constructed so that no weight is necessary. I added chocks at the rear of the main wheels and that did the trick. More chocks on the front side are also needed, I know. The first try to do the dirt and oil traces of the Avon engines was a little overdone. So I resprayed the area and with some oil paint and soft pencil it looks a bit cleaner now. The panel lines are created very deep by Anigrand. I did not like that and tried to fill them but of no avail. Neither super glue nor Mr. surfacer would fill the deep lines. So I just accepted them. They are like you can see them now, I did not emphasize them. I also tried to take some pictures using a background picture, but I think the neutral dark grey background looks the best. I hope you like the model of this iconic airplane. Thanks for looking! Greetings from Germany!
  3. 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
  4. Here is a kit I built in the summer of 1994 for my dad. It's the Airfix 1:144 Handley Page H.P. 42W G-AAXC "Heracles" of Imperial Airways. It's an unusual subject for me since I don't normally build civilian aircraft and I'm not that interested in the inter-war period (although there are exceptions!). I built this under a deadline and completed it in just over a week with limited resources (I was at my dad's in Colombia) so it turned out to be an interesting experience. Fit of parts wasn't good and some gaps had to be filled. The kit was completely brush-painted except for the varnish which was an artist fixing spray. These are the only photos I have and they were taken by my brother back then. Miguel
  5. Hello everyone! Here is another small kit I managed to finish last month. It's Anigrand Craftswork's resin 1:144 Heinkel He 176 V1 which I built together with the Horten H XIIIa which I have posted before. The Heinkel He 176 was the world's first rocket-powered aircraft using liquid fuel. Previous aircraft had used solid fuels. It was built as a private venture by Heinkel and first flew successfully on 20 June 1939. When demonstrated to the RLM, little interest was shown and further flying was banned due to the dangers of rocket propulsion. The ban was lifted a couple of times but was made definite in September. The prototype ended up in a museum in Berlin where it was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1943 or 1944 (sources differ on the date). This kit was another of the bonus kits of the Anigrand Fw 200 Condor. I was hoping for a quick build but due to some extra work I put in to it and some problems with the painting it took a little longer. I opened up the incorrect bulkhead between the cockpit and the nose, corrected rear taper of the wings which was wrong (the tips were too wide), replaced the overly thick nose wheel struts with new ones from stretched sprue, made proper tailwheel bay doors, and added the underwing handling bars and the wing probe from stretched sprue. I also opened up the exhaust pipe and thinned the main u/c legs a bit. The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  6. Here is one of my latest kits, a Horten H XIIIa, one of the bonus kits with the Anigrand Craftswork 1:144 resin Fw 200 Condor kit. This unusual glider was a private venture built for research for the Horten H X (later H XIIIb) supersonic jet fighter project. It first flew on 27 November, 1944 from Göttingen, Germany. It flew over 10 times and was destroyed towards the end of the war by liberated Soviet prisoners. This kit was built on impulse while inspecting the Fw 200, which I will start building soon, due to the low part count: two solid and one clear resin parts. Had it not been a bonus kit, I wouldn't have bought it. Gliders are not really my thing but being a Horten design and actually used for research, it ticked a couple of boxes. The only modification I made was to add a spoiler on the top surface as mentioned in what little I have found on this type and as I spotted in one of the few clear photos of the type. Needless to say, this was an educated guess as I didn't find any clear references of it. The colours I used are also guesswork. I painted the upper surfaces RLM82 and 83 with the undersurfaces in RLM76 based on another build I found of this kit and the fact that the tones gave the contrast that you can see on the major photo of the type (although RLM74 and 75, or RLM02 and some other green could have worked too). Although it was a private venture, the photo shows a camouflage pattern which made sense due to the war going on. The pattern is wrong in the kit's instructions and I used the photo and an illustration I found on internet as a guide. Since I depicted the plane as it was on it's first flight, I kept it unweathered. I only highlighted the moving surfaces with thinned black grey paint. As it doesn't stand on its undercarriage and I didn't want it resting on one wing tip, I made a simple narrow base with printed grass and glued the kit to it as if it were starting to be tugged for take off. Thanks for looking Miguel
  7. Hello everyone Here is the third of three Mark I Models 1:144 Buffalo kits I have completed this past weekend. It represents White 24 (BuNo 1431), US Naval Air Training Command, US Navy, NAS Miami, Florida, USA, summer 1942. By mid-1942, most Brewster F2A Buffaloes in US service had been withdrawn from frontline units and were being used for training. Many had their gunsights upgraded and a gun camera added, mounted on a structure on the starboard side. This particular machine had the camera added but still had the telescopic gunsight. As with the other two Buffaloes, additions made to the kit included: the roll bar in the cockpit plus belts on the seat, the missing exhaust pipes, the wing pitot as well as the radio wires. This kit also had a life raft and headrest added in the cockpit plus the aforementioned gun camera and telescopic gunsight made from stretched sprue and scrap resin. I opened the leading edge gun holes. I also improved the hardly-noticeable cuffs of the propeller blades by adding a layer of Kristal Klear on them. The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. A photo of this machine shows it was very weathered which wouldn't be surprising since I imagine these aircraft would be hard worked to train all the new fighter pilot recruits. Therefore, I went further weathering this one. Although I am very pleased with all three kits, this one has become my favourite. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  8. Hello everyone Here is the second of three Mark I Models 1:144 Brewster Buffalo kits I have completed this past weekend. It represents B-339D "White 2" (ex ML-KNIL), of the Air Technical Research Laboratory, Imperial Japanese Army Air Force, at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, in 1942, one of several Dutch machines captured and tested by the Japanese. As with the previous B-339D, additions made to the kit were: the roll bar in the cockpit plus belts on the seat, the missing exhaust pipes, the wing pitot as well as the radio wires. I opened the leading edge gun holes. The kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  9. 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
  10. Here is the other of my first kits of the year, finished during this week simultaneously with the Airfix Buffalo. I had hoped to finish both before year's end but I didn't make it. It's F-toys 1:144 Brewster B-339C Buffalo finished as B-3110 flown by Kapt van Helsdingen of 2 Vliegtuig Groep V, Netherlands East Indies Army Air Corps (ML-KNIL), Singapore, in January 1942. It is basically a repaint and rebuild of a pre-painted Gashapon snap-fit kit with a few improvements. The partially-assembled parts were taken apart and all of the main parts were left in alcohol for a while after which removing the paint was quite easy. I made some modifications in the cockpit. Dutch B-339s didn't have a headrest so I cut it off. There was a gap between the seat and the rear cockpit decking (for the canopy tabs). I filled the space with scrap resin leaving space for the canopy tabs on the sides. I scratchbuilt a roll bar from stretched sprue. The propeller was completely replaced from spare parts from Mark I Models kits and is a great improvement over the F-toys part which has seriously undersized blades. Another missing detail I added was the small mast on the tail fin. The Dutch aircraft had a different radio wire arrangement with the middle wire in front of the cockpit rather than behind. The colours of the F-toys kit were awful and way off. From various sources, it seems these machines were painted with US colours so I painted the kit with US Medium Green 42 and US Olive Drab 41 (Aircraft Colors range). I really like this scheme! The kit was fully brush painted and varnished. I'll be repeating this scheme on a captured IJAAF B-339D from one of the Mark I Models boxing I'll be starting this weekend. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  11. Dear fellow modellers, I would like to show you my latest finished model. I built it for a competition/Group build in a german modelling forum with this year's subject "French aircraft". I used the vacu kit by Welsh models. Unfortunately the decals fell apart when I tried to apply them and so I used decals from F-RSIN, which are more accurate anyway. There is no provision in the kit to show the clamshell doors in the opened position, so I modelled all the interior structures from scratch. The model is painted with Gunze Mr. Hobby white and Vallejo Aluminium with True Metal polishing paste. The wire antenna is made from Uschi van der Rosten rigging. Hope you like it! cheers, Norbert
  12. Here is my latest kit, finished earlier this week. It's Kami de Korokoro's 1:144 Brewster F2A-3P Buffalo finished as "MF-17", BuNo 01521, flown by 2nd Lt Charles M. Kunz, of VMF-221, USMC, on June 4th, 1942, during the Battle of Midway. He shot down two Japanese aircraft and was one of only three F2A-3s to return to base, despite being wounded and with the aircraft damaged from enemy fire. This was a poorly-moulded resin kit. I opened up the cockpit and corrected the rear shelf, adding scratchbuilt details. I removed the framing from the middle of the main canopy as this variant didn't have it. The engine cowling, propeller and tail wheel were lost causes and I replaced them with spare parts from a Mark I Buffalo kit. I had to modify the propeller since this variant didn't use a spinner. The radio masts and wires and the wing pitot were made from stretched sprue. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. The kit's decals were useless and anyhow I wanted a Midway machine so I used the markings from a Warbird Decals sheet and the code, minus the "M" which was painted, from one of the Mark I Buffalo boxings. Although far from perfect, I am pleased I managed to make something rather decent from what came in the bag. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome. Miguel
  13. Recently completed as part of a GB on another forum, but posting here as you don't see these finished all that often so thought it might interest some people. This is the US Coast Guard variant of the C-123 Provider. Quite a challenging kit (the GB this build was part of was entitled 'Nightmare Kits'!). This is the third Amodel C-123 I've built. I tried some new approaches this time that made the build significantly easier, but it's still a classic short run kit. Nothing some good old fashioned modelling skills cannot fix, but - at best - tedious at times. You can if you're interested read the build log here. I was intrigued by what the Coast Guard needed the C-123 for - the answer is quite fascinating (or I think so, anyway). The HC-123s were acquired in 1958 to help support the Loran-C network of navigation stations across the world. The USCG took over responsibility for maintaining this global network in 1958. I spent a bit of time trying to understand the Loran navigation system but to no avail. It's pretty complicated stuff. But basically it was a US-led development of the British GEE system used by RAF Bomber Command to navigate accurately deep into Germany. The system relied on ground stations that sent out a low-frequency radio pulse; a receiver on the aircraft (or ship) then measured the time difference between the pulses to get a fix. This GEE system was highly accurate - but only at shorter ranges. The more you 'stretched' the range by lowering the frequency, the greater the margin of inaccuracy (as it were). Successive Loran systems refined the accuracy of the fix obtainable at greater ranges through some Very Clever Engineering (that Angus won't pretend to understand). But there's a good explanation in this Coast Guard film if you want one - and can muscle your way past Siri's narration. The Coast Guard had become interested in the Loran system from 1942 (its dual utility for aerial and maritime navigation appealed) and were a major partner in its wartime development. Classic short newsreel feature on this here. The USAF and USN were actually fairly fickle in their interest post-war - flirting with their own alternative systems or (more complex) inertial navigation systems. With trials proving that Loran-C worked, the Coast Guard took on responsibility for the Loran-C chains from 1958 - it acquired its HC-123s to expand and maintain the Loran chains. Except for an enlarged radome to house the AN/APN-158 search radar, the HC-123B was a standard C-123B in all other respects. The first network of Loran stations was set up in the Mediterranean in 1959 (with stations in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Libya), the Norwegian Sea in 1960 and finally across the Pacific. Coast Guard Providers were scattered to Florida, Puerto Rico, Italy, Alaska, Guam and Hawaii in support of this until 1972. Loran was used extensively by both civil and military aircraft and ships during its lifespan, providing accurate navigation over 12 million square miles of planet earth. Less known, it was used extensively by the allied ballistic missile subs (hence all the repeater stations in the Norwegian sea) to synchronise or update the ship's inertial navigation system without trailing an antenna above the surface (Loran-C signals could be received over 60ft below the surface). With the coming of satellite-based navigation systems in the 1990s, Loran use dropped off (though widespread civilian uptake ensured it lived on longer than most other navigation systems). The Coast Guard ran and maintained the US Loran chain of around 31 stations for 52 years. It has now largely been shut down (the US decommissioned its Loran network in 2010). Anyway more pictures of the real thing... Nothing too difficult really. The undercarriage nosegear needed quite a bit of shortening to get the right sit. If I'm honest, I'm unhappy about the metallic panels in these photos - though the contrast is much subtler in real life lighting. But that one on the wing looks odd. Alas. Anyway... A surprisingly big old girl... And finally with her sister ship. There's a trio of ugly nose jobs the C-123 offered - I've done two of them! Thanks very much for looking! Angus
  14. Just a quick build of Bandais 1:144 Tie Fighter crashed on a desert planet, undamaged solar panels scavenged for scrap.
  15. Here is my latest kit, finished this past weekend after just over 2 months. It's Anigrand Craftswork's 1:144 Blohm & Voss Bv 222 V7 Wiking. This was the seventh prototype but the first of the C-series with diesel-powered Jumo 207C inline engines. It's first flight was on 1 April, 1943 and it was scuttled by its crew at the end of the war. This resin kit was built mostly OOB. I opened up the porthole-type windows which were represented as panel lines and filled them with Kristal Klear. I strengthened the join at the wing roots making a spar through the fuselage in front of the tab and using screws as rods behind. I also added some details in the cockpit, correcting the seats and making the steering wheels, although little can be seen! Other details added were the wingtip lights (Kristal Klear drops) and the radio wires (stretched sprue). The base/cradle was made from bits and rods of wood I had. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. Thanks for looking and, as usual, all comments are welcome. Miguel
  16. Aviation Traders Limited Carvair. 1:144 Roden kit with Classic-airlines.com decals. The Carvair was developed to replace the Bristol Freighters used to transport cars & passengers across the English Channel to France, hence its name (Car-via-air). Modified from C-54/DC-4 airframes it was considerably cheaper than an all new aircraft would have been. The modifications consisted of a completely new forward fuselage, relocating the cockpit on top, much like the later Boeing 747, and a new tail fin to counter it. Its has been widely thought that the fin was from a DC-7, but apparently this is not true, they were new build units. The Roden kit build very well, although I did have to shim the upper inboard wings to avoid a gap where they meet the fuselage. The main gear legs were way too short, initially resulting in the rear of the fuselage almost touching the ground. I removed them and inserted a platform about 4mm deep to attach the legs to, in order to achieve the 'sit' you see here. I wasn't too keen on the kit supplied colour scheme for British Air Ferries, but found this 'British United' scheme at Classic-airlines.com, which I really like. There are also several others available. They are laser printed on constant film, so you have to cut each subject out individually. I can heartily recommend them though, they went on superbly and were easy to use. Enough chat, time for the photos (ugly innit?) ; 'With something else - an easy choice - A Welsh Models Bristol Freighter. Thanks for looking, John
  17. Here is the second kit of my Twin Spitfire project which has kept me busy these past two months and my personal favourite: Supermarine Twin Spitfire PR.II "T" of RAF No 541 Sqn based in the UK during summer 1945. The first prototypes of the Twin Spitfire didn't take long to show the potential of the design and requests were immediately made for a photo-recce variant but with some changes with respect to the planned initial fighter configuration. The most notable was the cockpit on the starboard side mainly for navigation although both crew members would end up being pilots, and the outer tailplanes which improved flight at high altitude. Due to the high degree of communality with the standard Spitfire F.XIVe, the changes were easy to make. The loss of extra fuel tanks in the starboard fuselage was compensated by extra tanks in the weapons section of the central main wing since the variant was unarmed. Various external tanks were tested and the type could actually carry up to three but a fortuitous event when one Twin Spitfire was fitted with a P-47's belly tank revealed this to offer the best performance and so this became the usual fit. The PR.II actually entered service before the F.I when three machines joined 541 Sqn in April 1945. The type's exceptional performance combined with its array of 6 cameras (4 vertical and two sideways (on opposite sides)) made it a formidable photo-recce asset, eluding the Luftwaffe with complete impunity until early 1946. For more general information of this project please see the first post (if you haven't already): It's a conversion using two Mark I Models 1:144 Spitfire XIV/XVIIIs and adding the central main and tail wings. Otherwise the build was mostly OOB. I opened up the camera ports and glazed them with Kristal Klear. I made the whip antenna and underwing pitot from stretched sprue. I scratchbuilt a pylon and used a drop tank from a Platz P-47 kit as it was the only one I had available that looked right. The decals came from various sources and the kit was fully painted and varnished by brush. Personally, I think this one looks fantastic and it came out much better than I imagined. Many thanks for looking and all comments a welcome Miguel
  18. Here is my latest kit, the first of a project I have been working on for over 2 months. Supermarine Twin Spitfire F.I The original concept in service with No 11 Sqn, based in the UK in summer 1945, using the type as a "high-speed" interceptor and long-range escort, especially for the Mosquito which was starting to become vulnerable to new Luftwaffe types. Operational use quickly revealed the limitations of the one-cockpit concept and its poor visibility on the starboard side leading to the two-cockpit layout being definite in the next variants. Production of the F.I variant was short due to this. Earlier this year, I found the picture below in Pinterest which led to the "what-if" article in Hushkit.net (https://hushkit.net/2012/06/29/the-ultimate-what-if-siamese-supermarine-the-twin-spitfire/). I found the concept interesting and the idea of making one in kit form went on growing until I finally decided to get on with it. The problem is I found more ideas on the concept, mainly at https://www.strijdbewijs.nl/birds/spitfire/secret/spitproject.htm. As a result, this project expanded from making one kit to three with different configurations. This project was definitely going to be in 1:144 and, although there are no Spitfire F.21s in this scale, I decided to use Mark I Models' Spitfire XIV/XVIII kits rather than Eduard's Spitfire IX kits or F-toys' Griffon Spitfires as they were more readily available to buy and I think the bubbletop Griffon-engined Spitfire looks best for this project. I built the basic kits more-or-less from the box, cutting off opposite main wings and covering the cockpit on the starboard fuselage. The outer tailplanes were omitted and the holes covered. I used the smaller of the two types of rudder available in the kits. A central wing section and tailplane were made from pieces in my spares box. The central gun barrels came from other wings and from a rod in the spares box. The Mark I kit has some fit issues and the worst that didn't quite come out right was the propeller. Getting everything true was tricky and I wasn't 100% successful but it looks the part. The spine whip antenna and the underwing pitot were made from stretched sprue. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. I used the decals from the Mark I kits. The Sky letters and bands were too green and vivid so I had to overpaint them. Despite some problems and the tricky build, this project was fun and the end result was worth it. I think it looks fantastic though the second one looks better. I'll be posting the others as soon as I have the photos ready and time to post them. Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome, as usual. Miguel
  19. Here is the third kit of my Twin Spitfire 3-kit project: Supermarine Twin Spitfire FB.III "M" of RAF No 135 Sqn based in India in November 1945. Once the Twin Spitfire had entered service in the fighter and reconnaissance roles, its use for attack was tested and the results were promising. With the need to replace the P-47s in SEAC with something with more speed and punch, the FB.III was quickly developed. Since the emphasis was in low-level performance, the wings were clipped and the central tailplane replaced by standard Spitfire tailplanes on the inside. By now the twin cockpit layout had become definite. Most of the sub-type's production was sent to India and they started entering service in early October 1945. Even with a full load of two drop tanks and four bombs, the FB.III was much faster and more agile than the P-47 it replaced and delivered a considerable punch in fast attack missions, acquitting itself quite well against the latest Japanese fighters in the theatre. In fact, the impact of the type was such that the Japanese sent some of their very latest fighter designs to the theatre and although a couple were indeed superior, there were too few of them and losses inflicted on the Twin Spitfire were fortunately much less than they could have been. For more general information of this project please see the first post (if you haven't already): It's a conversion using two Mark I Models 1:144 Spitfire XIV/XVIIIs and adding the central main wing only in this case and, unlike the other two, leaving the standard tailplanes. Otherwise the build was mostly OOB. This time I also decided to make it with clipped wings. The only Allied WW2 bombs I had available in this scale were in Platz P-47 kits so I pinched them from there as well as the outer pylons. The other pylons were scratchbuilt. I made the torpedo-type drop tanks similar to those actually use by Spitfires from the kits' sprues. As with the other two, the whip antennae and the underwing pitot were added from stretched sprue. The kit was fully painted and varnished with brush. I used the decals from the Mark I kits. Thanks for looking and, as usual, all comments are welcome Miguel
  20. I started this project in a Group Build of French aircraft in a German Flugzeugforum and today it is finished. The Nord 262 is a small commuter Aircraft which entered service in 1964. The kit is a typical Resin kit by F-RSIN with not much detail and some sanding and filling work required. Antennae, rudder levers and the typical pitot tubes had to be scratch built. Two Decal versions are provided and as I found both of them attractive, I attached both. In reality these are TWO aircraft. I hope you like this little french aircraft in service with a french airline. Thanks for watching! Norbert
  21. I would like to show you my recently finished model. The XB-70 was capable of flying Mach 3. Only two were built, one was destroyed after a collision with a Chase F-104. The other one is on exhibit in the USAF Museum in Dayton. The kit is qualitywise on the lower part of the scale. It is a has a lot of air bubbles, some of them on the edges, so it is hard to correct them. But it is the only game in town. Typical for the XB-70 on the ground is the position of the ailerons. The are not aligned but all in a different position hanging down. Also the colour of the tyres is unique, as they have to withstand the high temperatures at high speeds. The landing gear doors were too thick and I replaced them with thin plastic sheet. No big deal. hope you enjoy this white beauty!
  22. The Great Lakes XSG-1 needs no introduction is about as obscure as you can get and exactly the sort of thing that fascinates me. A single prototype scout seaplane from the early-1930s (designed to spot the fall of shot for the big battleships and cruisers), it is surely one of the ugliest flying machines ever designed - and a total, dismal failure. Its history actually reads like an elaborate practical joke - or the long-lost plot to a Laurel and Hardy film. It is partly its looks - as if the designers tried really, really very hard indeed to think of all the possible ways to introduce drag on an airframe. To me it looks One measure Grumman Duck, One measure Republic Seabee, both shaken and stirred, then mangled a tad - and finally served tepid, with a fresh slice of Heath Robinson. But it's definitely one of those instances where you actually can judge a book by its cover - performance was feeble: it was underpowered, heavy on the controls, aerodynamically unstable and, to cap it all, slower than its contractual guaranteed speed. But spare a thought for the gunner too - if this had ever been attacked by an enemy fighter he would have had to reach outside the aircraft to lift the machine gun from its stowage point in order to fit it to the cumbersome rack mounting in his compartment. IF he managed all this without dropping the gun into the slipstream or being whipped overboard himself, he had virtually no field of fire so could do precious little to actually defend against the enemy! At least his bailout (by the looks of things he'd just have to let go and gravity would do the rest) was easier than the pilot, who would have had to negotiate a thicket of cabane struts before leaping into the slipstream while attempting to clear the colossal tailplane mitt bracing wires. Then there's its first water handling tests where, among other things, the spray was so appalling that it nearly blinded the pilot, the observer/gunner compartment started filling up with water and nearly drowned him (but with no intercom or link to the upper cockpit, the poor man couldn't alert the pilot to his plight - though I imagine he banged wanly on the cabin walls - he did survive) and finally the engine drowned. All in all, the whole testing experience seems to have been about as relaxing as trying to give a Bengal tiger a vasectomy with a pair of nail clippers. And all this from the company that produced just the year prior one of the prettiest and sweet-handling US biplanes ever designed (in my meagre opinion)... If the XSG-1 was a prank, it was a ruddy marvellous one if you ask me. Sadly, I can find no evidence that it was. The kit comes with the Anigrand Sikorsky XPBS-1 (which I finished last year). It's fantastic to have a kit of something as bizarre and unusual, especially in 1:144 - one of the many reasons I love this scale. The build itself provided no major challenges - there's a build thread here if you're interested. I replaced most of the kit struts with plasticard which had a better scale fitness (I also removed one of the inner struts which should not have been there and added a handful more that Anigrand omitted). I added some other bits like the .30 cal gun and thinned down a few other bits to give them a better scale look. Paints were Hataka. I replaced the insignia with some thinner ones from the spares box (the Anigrand ones are very thick). Rigging was with Uschi VanderRosten thread. There are definitely compromises in here in the name of structural integrity. Given infinite time and patience I would have replaced the W strut on the forward fuselage with something daintier - I feared doing so would jeopardise whatever it was that was holding the upper wing on. Same deal with the floats - the rear struts I left alone as they provided the strength, the forward struts are prettier stretched sprue but merely decorative. I would also have filled the exaggerated rib lines scored into the wings. Inevitably all these things are much more evident in photos than in the flesh. But anyway. I am basically really happy with this. Anigrand also do a 1:72 kit of this aircraft if you find yourself with a sudden passion to build one yourself. Not a great deal more to say. A fun build and a good challenge. And with a somewhat more successful water bird that first flew just a couple of years after this - incidentally the same year that Great Lakes Aircraft Company went bust. Thanks very much for looking. Angus
  23. I would like to show you my recently finished model. The XB-70 was capable of flying Mach 3. Only two were built, one was destroyed after a collision with a Chase F-104. The other one is on exhibit in the USAF Museum in Dayton. The kit is qualitywise on the lower part of the scale. It is a has a lot of air bubbles, some of them on the edges, so it is hard to correct them. But it is the only game in town. Typical for the XB-70 on the ground is the position of the ailerons. The are not aligned but all in a different position hanging down. Also the colour of the tyres is unique, as they have to withstand the high temperatures at high speeds. The landing gear doors were too thick and I replaced them with thin plastic sheet. No big deal. hope you enjoy this white beauty!
  24. Transport aircraft design can throw up some of the most dreary and downright ugly aircraft but I think the dolphin-backed Constellation has to be the most elegant and graceful - even with a beer belly and shark fin! This is the naval version of the early-warning Connie, the WV-2 Warning Star. These aircraft ploughed up and down each American coastline for up to 20 hours at a time, usually below 6,000 feet (very much 'in the weather'), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This helped provide a radar barrier or 'picket line' to warn of incoming Soviet bombers or - as was feared at the time - paratroopers. Missiles weren't so much of a bother just yet. These missions could be anything but pedestrian. Take this (actual) flight report from a Willy Victor commander: Proper pilot stuff that - love it. The commander was part of VW-13 - this model represents an example from this squadron. VW-13 was established in 1955 and helped comprise the Atlantic Barrier (BARLANT) force. It was based formally at NAS Patuxent River in the late-1950s and early-1960s, but in reality it often called NAS Argentia in Newfoundland home, and roamed to and fro across the Atlantic fairly frequently (there are some great photographs taken in Glasgow). Weather in Newfoundland was diabolical - the norm in winter was a 600' ceiling and visibility less than 1.5 miles. Argentia itself is very exposed, and colossal near hurricane-force crosswinds could often be expected on landing (many of which were made on instruments almost the whole way down). The accounts of the ice build up are astonishing - on a 15 hour barrier flight, one Connie staggered home with ice on the underside of the wings one foot thick in places! Fascinating, gutsy flyer stuff - shot through with skill and courage. Anyway. This is the Revell kit, kitbashed with a Minicraft Connie picked up for a fiver on eBay. I know some on here have been able to fashion great things from the Minicraft Connie. Alas I did once try to build a Minicraft constellation but found the experience so miserable and unrewarding I promised myself never to do it again. After plundering the parts I needed for this build from the Minicraft kit and using a few spares on other projects, I'm afraid I just binned the rest of it. The Revell kit is superb. The fit is basically really good (wing fuselage join needs a bit of attention) and detail is excellent (yes, panel lines are a little deep, but I'll forgive that given the lack of alternatives). The only problem with the Revell kit is that it is the passenger transport version - so you have to fill, sand and rescribe a fair bit to lose the passenger windows. Not as big a chore as I feared, but the first time I've done this. The Minicraft radomes fit fine with no real problem - the bottom one is a bit tricky to get right. The top radome is actually much too thin in plan, but I didn't amend this. I just won't look at it from directly ahead! Paint was Hataka as usual. I have the Caracal Decals sheet which offers lots of enticing EC-121 and WV-2 schemes. I went for this fairly plain WV-2 scheme as I want ultimately to do all of these schemes (yup - yet another ludicrously ambitious plan). This being the first conversion I'm doing, I wanted a fairly simple and forgiving scheme to learn the pitfalls for something more complex next time. Still, it's pretty handsome, I think, and the scheme is faintly nostalgic for me as the Minicraft kit I did build before was a VW-13 aircraft. Oddly the Caracal decals, which are otherwise excellent, only offer one set of the three white stripes on the nose - but I did manage to find some others from the Minicraft decals. Also the wing walkway is incorrect. I made half an attempt to correct it but it should have another box towards the leading edge between the nacelles. But they behave superbly and couldn't be recommended more highly. These got very worn-looking towards the end of their life in service (see the aerial photo above). I did some weathering with pastels and pencils, but tried to keep myself under control. I don't know what it is about transport aircraft from this period but painting the props is always a royal pain! Anyway - glad I made the effort. (By the way I went for yellow tips for an early WV-2 - in the late-1950s these were repainted with red-white-red tips as you can see on most photos in this post). I also added a multitude of tiny aerials which was quite satisfying actually. Unsurprisingly the radio antenna locations changed quite a lot so it's worth checking your references quite carefully if you're into getting this more or less right. I think what impresses me about the Constellation is its size. It was designed to be high off the ground so that its engines could turn massive propellers at fairly low revs giving it superb range and fuel economy (relatively speaking - it's hardly a Prius...). I've seen one flying at Duxford and they are much bigger than they look from a distance. And finally with something almost completely unrelated - but a transport. Thanks very much for looking. Angus Niche side note: the USN vs. USAF naming is confusing and took me a little while to decypher. The WV-2 (or Willy Victor) was the same as the USAF's EC-121D, but later versions of the WV-2 were fitted with a more sophisticated radar, making them the equivalent of the EC-121K even if the naval name didn't change. Just on the off chance anyone is taking part in an aircraft designation pub quiz over the weekend.
  25. I don't know about you but I don't particularly associate mild mannered old Kansas-based Beech Aircraft Inc. with ground attack aircraft. No more than I associate Piper with rocket powered interceptors or Cessna with four engined nuclear bombers. But here you have it... Perhaps that's what attracted me to this, Beech's XA-38 Grizzly. Perhaps it is the name Grizzly - surely the coolest and most appropriate name for this aircraft (step aside Airbus A400M). Perhaps it is its eye watering performance. Perhaps it's that ridiculous punch-in-the-face artillery piece in the nose. Everything about this aircraft is impressive. And very un-Beech - a far fling from the Bonanza, Expeditor, Mentor at any rate. This was designed as a bomber-killer, but when fears of long-range German raids abated it found its groove as a replacement for the Douglas A-20 Havoc. It first flew in mid-1944 and is one of the handful of aircraft in history which have actually exceeded their anticipated design potential in initial testing. But herein lay its achilles heel: the key ingredient to its superb performance were the two colossal Wright R-3350s (a ferocious 2,300hp apiece if you must know - same as the Tigercat). This gave it a blistering top speed in level flight of 320kts - compared to the Marauder's 249kts, Havoc's 275kts or the Mitchell's 236kts. The A-26 Invader came closer, at 312kts. The 75mm cannon (which you may or may not have noticed on the nose of the aircraft - it's rather bashful and discreet) was also fitted to the B-25H with success. In fact, had the Mitchell not been so successful at doing its thing, the Grizzly would have been employed flying in and out of the coastal inlets of the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan, knocking out shipping and bunkers. This is the Anigrand kit. Mr. Anigrand produced a 1:72 kit of this which I drooled over for a few years and was overjoyed when they released a 1:144 bonus kit with their Sikorsky VS-44. I started this in the first lockdown over a year ago. It goes together very nicely indeed - very little seam cleanup. I don't quite know why I set it aside actually. I made only a couple of modifications - I replaced all the cannons and machine guns with metal tubing; I used a dremel to make two more gun ports in the forward nose that were not cast on; I replaced the plain kit wheels with some from the spares box; I added some 500lb bombs to the moulded pylons (thank you Platz P-47); I put a few stencil decals on from the spares box. But that was it. There's not much more to add. The kit is pretty accurate I think - shapewise it looks right. Two minor things that could be improved: I had to shorten the main undercarriage legs or this sits too snout-high. The exhaust panels aren't quite right - it should have recessed scoops like on the A-26 but is moulded flat. I painted this AKI Xtreme Aluminium as usual. There are lots of very good reference photos of this aircraft and its sistership. This was fairly plain overall natural metal (so plain that I wondered whether it was painted an aluminium lacquer). I did a bit of weathering on the upper wing which was very exhaust stained on the real thing... ...but after an abortive attempt in which I applied far too much staining and the whole thing looked faintly ridiculous, I scrubbed it back and had another go with a dollop more restraint. I'm happy with the look now. Overall these were pretty clean. The Jeep is a Brengun number by the way (improperly painted for this scene in post-war guise but forgive me). Finally with another twin engined bomber that's approaching completion. Next I'm going to build Slingsby's jet-powered anti-submarine warfare seaplane. Thanks very much for looking. Angus
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