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  1. "There is no other help for us, no stronger wall to ward off disaster, no city with its ramparts to hide inside, no other army to turn the flow of battle. Here on the plains of Troy are we, our backs to the sea facing the mail-clad Trojans, far from our native land. So in the strength of our own hands is our salvation, and there can be no surrender in this fight." -- Homer, The Iliad, XV (trans. A S Kline) "Only fully experienced pilots must come here. It is no place for beginners." --Hugh Pughe Lloyd, AOC Malta, to Arthur Tedder, 25 April 1942 "I thought my last minute had come and decided to sell my life dearly. I flew straight at the nearest machine with the intention of ramming it. I did not fire a shot, but the Macchi pilot, suddenly realising that his number might be up too, took violent evasive action, stalled, and crashed into the sea." -- Ioannis Agorastos "John" Plagis, on 11 May 1942 Born to Greek parents in Hartley in what was then Southern Rhodesia in 1919, Johnny Plagis was still a Greek citizen at the start of the Second World War, though he had lived in Rhodesia all his life, and it was under the birth nationality of his parents that he served in the RAF. Plagis went to Malta on 6 March 1942 off HMS Eagle with the first sixteen Spitfires sent to that beleaguered island. On 20 March 1942, Plagis's close friend and fellow Rhodesian, Pilot Officer "Douggie" Leggo, was shot down and killed by either the experte Hermann Neuhoff (who would himself be shot down by Canadian Hurricane pilot F/Sgt Garth Horricks DFM of 185 Squadron and taken captive on 10 May 1942), or Ernst Klager (taken prisoner on 3 July 1942 at El Alamein after being shot down on a frie jagd by a SAAF Kittyhawk Ia flown by Lt Sydney "Moose" Reinders). It appears that a 109 then either fired into Leggo as he dangled in his parachute, or deliberately or by accident (the attack took place at only 50 yards range) collapsed his parachute as it flew past him. Regardless of what had transpired, the results for the Luftwaffe were very nearly as catastrophic as the killing of Patroclus had been for the Trojans. In his diary that night, Plagis wrote "Swear to shoot down ten for Doug -- I will, too, if it takes me a lifetime." In fact, it took him only until 7 June, a little less than three months. Among those he shot down was the 13-claim ace Fw Hans Schade on 1 April, one of four aircraft he brought down that day. Plagis went on to be a Wing Commander in northwest Europe and flew Meteors with the RAF postwar, before returning to Rhodesia, where he involved himself in several deeply regrettable ventures, including a business partnership with Scientologist huckster L Ron Hubbard which ended when the latter was expelled from Rhodesia, and more seriously, Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front. In 1974, apparently unable to adjust to civilian life, Plagis died by suicide. He was married and had four children, but in the tumult of Rhodesia's subsequent collapse and reformation as Zimbabwe, they seem to have not surfaced anywhere to provide a more comprehensive biography of his life. In what is now Harare, a street is still named John Plagis Avenue after him. So not a very happy story behind the model we'll be building today, which is why my leading quote for this build, is perhaps apropos: Telamonian Ajax defended the Greek ships from the assault of Hector and the Trojans almost single-handedly, but was bested by Odysseus in a contest of skill with the armour of Great Achilles as a prize. Ovid writes in Metamorphoses that Ajax, "who so often when alone, stood firm against great Hector and the sword, and flames and Jove, stood not against a single passion, wrath. The unconquerable was conquered by his grief. He drew his sword, and said...'I must use this against myself...lest any man but Ajax vanquish Ajax.'" As for the kit, it's of course the new Airfix Spitfire Vc, which I'm pretty excited about. I'm planning on using the DK Decals Aces of Malta sheet, which has markings for GL-J/BR321, which Plagis apparently flew after transferring to 249 Squadron in June of 1942. Naturally I can't find any photos of it in Cauchi's Malta Spitfire Vs, so if you have or know of one, I'd appreciate it!
  2. NHS Charities Together Hawk 1:72 Airfix A73100 When the RAF began the search for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat, it was originally intended that the role would be fulfilled by the SEPECAT Jaguar. However, the advanced capabilities demanded of the new Anglo-French aircraft meant that it became too complex for use as a trainer As a result, Hawker Siddley Aviation began work on a private venture known as the P.1182. The design team produced a relatively simple, subsonic aircraft with a number of clever features. The fuselage is designed around a large, tandem cockpit, which features a significant difference in height between the student & instructor. This affords the instructor a much better view than in the Gnat. The wings featured double-slotted flaps which gives the Hawk excellent low-speed handling characteristics. Though the box calls this a BAe Hawk lets not forget it was a Hawker Siddley design. The first of the 176 Hawks ordered by the RAF entered service in 1976, designated the Hawk T.1. 88 T.1s were modified to T.1A standard, which allowed them to carry two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for use in the emergency air defence role. The Hawks reputation as an excellent aeroplane has been confirmed by the considerable success it has enjoyed in the export market. Users include the air forces of Australia, Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates amongst others. A highly modified carrier capable version is in service with the United States Navy, where it is known as the T-45 Goshawk. The most famous role occupied by the Hawk, however, is as the mount of the world-renowned Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team the Red Arrows. The Kit This is Airfix's new tool kit from 2008 which we have not seen so far on BM surprisingly. For the Covid crisis in order to raise money for NHS charities Airfix ran a competition to design a scheme for the Hawk. The kit arrives on 34 sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. In line with the usual model building clichés, construction starts with the cockpit. This prominent feature is made up of a large tandem tub, instrument panels and coamings, control columns and bulkheads. The single part ejection seats look ok, both in terms of detail and shape for this scale, only one pilot is provided probably as a hang over from the kits previous life as a Red Arrow. Decals are also provided for the instrument panels. The rear bulkhead is added along with the front one, if building with the gear down then the nose wheel leg attached to the front cockpit bulkhead. After fitting the exhaust t eh main fuselage can be closed up around the cockpit. Airfix recommend fitting 5g of nose weight. The intakes are fitted to the sides of the completed fuselage before moving onto the wings. There is a single man lower wing with left & right uppers to be added. To the underside are fitted the flap actuators. The completed wing assembly can be fitted to the fuselage. Following this the tail planes, upper fuselage insert, canopy and front pitot tube are added. To finish off the large rear ventral airbrake is added complete with the strakes either side of it. If doing the gear down the rest of the landing gear and gear bay doors can be added. As with other recent kits Airfix provide separate doors for a gear up option. Markings A decal sheet from Cartograf provides markings for two aircraft. A. Winning Competition Design by Geoff Elliot b. Airfix NHS Desgin. Conclusion A good idea by Airfix in the middle of the Covid crisis, and a good idea to raise money for the NHS. Even if you want to build a regular Hawk from this boxing you can still feel good about getting the kit. Review sample courtesy of
  3. My modelling seems to have ground to a halt these last 2 months, due to a combination of family activities and also the hot weather, neither of which have been "modelling positive". However, I have completed this "nostalgia build" of the old Airfix Super Mystere, a kit that I always wanted, but before now had never built. The kit is a pleasure to build, definitely an example of "old Airfix" at its very best. It lacks detail, has a blank bulkhead inside its intake and a bare cockpit, but it all fits without filler and apart from the over-thin nose wheel (which is scale-realistic) it is very well engineered. Decals come from Modeldecal and represent an aircraft of Cambrai-based EC1/12 at the Greenham Common Air Tattoo in 1977 - the kit ones were missing, but in any event I preferred the pseudo SEA colour scheme. FredT
  4. When the TSR-2 was cancelled in 1965 I frankly did not know very much about the plane, but as a young aviation enthusiast I remember being annoyed. Fast forward 5 years and I was in the final year of my Mechanical Engineering degree course and we went on a field trip to what was then Cranfield College of Aeronautics, now Cranfield University. The main purpose of our visit was to study jet engines as part of our Fluid Dynamics course, but after we had finished we were allowed to go round their small museum. In a small, cramped and rather gloomy old hangar there were a number of interesting planes including this. My old Zeiss Werra manual camera struggled with the lighting so it is not a particular good pic, but this was the incomplete 4th airframe which later ended up cosmetically restored at the IWM in Duxford, and in a way it has “haunted” me ever since, so when Airfix released their 1/72 kit in 2006 I eventually bought one - I actually missed it initially and by the time I found out about it I had to get one off a well known auction site! I could have just built it out of the box in anti flash white, but somehow that did not seem quite right so over the years I have brooded over doing it as it might have appeared in service. I bought a couple of books, some decals, a couple of Eduard PE sets, some masks and various resin bits, but by the time I bought the kit a lot of the after market stuff was no longer available. I still could not make my mind up how far to go in terms of payload and sensors – 1970 would be fairly safe, but when my wife bought me this print by the aviation artist Ronald Wong I started thinking late 1980's or maybe even early 1990's. As you can see he has fitted it with a Tornado style load-out with big drop tanks, sidewinders, Sky Shadow, Boz, refuelling probe, laser ranger under the nose and some sort of targeting pod under the fuselage. I wrote and asked him if he had a particular period in mind as it seemed to me that with that payload it should be in wrap round camo, and he replied that he thought it was, though I think he may be mistaken – it looks to me as if it has grey undersides. Whatever. It is a good painting, and as I am going to build a WHIF version I can perhaps ignore reality a little. Having seen an article on using magnets to allow the weapons load to be swapped round, I bought some small neodymium ones and might just use them – we will see. Cheers Pete
  5. So I've got this brand new tooling kit from Airfix, after having done some pretty lousy old kits of late, fingers crossed it's a good one. I'm currently doing the recent Airfix Dakota for the Unarmed GB and the fit and detail was great, so I fancied something similar, rather than spending forever feeling like you're fighting against the kit! I also got some window masks (didn't fancy masking all those panes by hand) but other than that it's going to be straight OOB. Will do the whole sprue shot thing once I get around to starting it.
  6. It's been a while since I posted anything on here but as @tonyot and @bigbadbadge have given me some encouragement here goes. I've made a lot of Spitfires in the last couple of years, there are about 50 finished in my loft, three in progress, and an unknown number to be built. Anyway, this thread is about the new Spitfire Vc. I bought seven on release and have done two already. A 185 squadron one: A 91 squadron one: This one may not be an RAF one. I'm tempted by the Italian and Greek ones on the Xtradecal Vc sheet. We'll see. I've made a start on the interior, obviously, photos to follow.
  7. I'll be building this... Guess I'll need to leave the optional machine gun and howitzer for the Jeep out for this GB! I'll do all the sprue shots, etc. when I get around to starting it - which probably won't be for a while!
  8. I don't know if this is one of Airfix's new tools but all of the sprues were very crisp and the model went together with very little need for filler. Unfortunately when I unmasked the canopy there were a couple of small pieces of white Tamiya tape on the underside. every model provides learning opportunities and I wll make certain in future to check before I glue them into place. Once again built entirely out of the box and painted with Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics. Thanks for looking, all comments and criticisms are welcome.
  9. Airfix is to release in Summer 2021 a 1/48th de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 kit - ref. A04105 Source: https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/shop/new-for-2021/de-havilland-chipmunk-t-10.html V.P.
  10. Notwithstanding the fact that I'm building (or butchering should I say?) a couple of Hurricanes, I could not resist starting this new work. First of all I have to say thank you to two benefactors who supported me with a lot of material for this conversion work. Thank you gentlemen (you know who you are!). Last week I was evaluating what will I build with these new assets and now I have a plan. I would like to model a Seafire Mk.46: although a rare bird, I think it is so beautiful with its low-back, huge fin, and contra-prop... I would also like to model a Pr. Mk XIX because I rate it the most elegant Spitfire ever. But first of all I want to model a Mk XII. Some people like this variant the most among the Griffon-engined ones; I like better the long-nose (more appropiately the two-stage-compressor-engined) ones but this variant has a particular charm in being a sort of a "hybrid", being a "rare bird" and even for its war record being employed as a stop-gap against the Fw-190 low-raiders and V1 missiles... ...Thinking about it I feel the same fascination for the very early F Mk.IX which had a similar origin and operational history, or the Mk. VI and VII. There's no perfect Mk.XII kit on the market (that I'm aware of, at least) so add the fashion of a modelling challenge to the above mentioned reasons to build one! Publicly available documents about this variant seem scarce and photo coverage is not abundant too. There are no preserved original Mk.XIIs, and the closest relatives available today as a reference are Seafire Mk XVs which are quite different in many detail. The general shape of the aircraft is well undestood but there are differences in detail between the early-build airframes and later ones; moreover Mk XII has some peculiar elements like the carburettor intake and the magneto hump which are unique in the Spitfire lineage. Fortunately the few existing photographs show rather well these particulars and allow for an accurate reconstruction. Here is the recipe I have in mind for the ultimate 1/72 Mk.XII: Base kit: Eduard Engine cowling and propeller blades: modified Airfix Mk.22 Spinner: modified Airfix Underwing oil radiator: Tamiya or Sword Scale plans: Jumpei Tenma's A lot of work, a little scratch-building The base kit is well known; Eduard's 1/72 Spitfire is a scaled down version of Eduard's 1/48 Spitfire which in turn is a scaled down version of .....(it can't be said openly) which is a 1/32 reproduction of a full-size Spitfire. All of the main features are dimensionally very very close to the data reported in the monumental "Spitfire engineered" book by Montforton; it is the only real "Spitfire looking" 1/72 Spitfire model I'm aware of, together with Airfix Mk.22 incidentally. That 2012 kit still has the best Griffon nose ever produced in 1/72 and is the perfect donor for a conversion work, as many modellers before me discovered. To be honest, both Airfix Mk.22 and Airfix Pr.Mk XIX have a correctly-shaped engine cowling; both kits have small defects in the shape of the cylinder bank fairings: the Mk.22 has them too short at the back, Pr.Mk XIX has an incorrect shape in front (due to the simplified moulding process chosen by Airfix for this kit) AND too short fairings. Correcting the Mk.XIX cowling is much more difficult than adjusting the Mk.22's so the last is a better choice. When asserting that this is the best choice for a Griffon nose in 1/72 I mean the following verified facts: -the profile is accurate within 0,1-0,2mm (or can be easily done so after the careful removal of the moulding burrs) -the width in plan is accurate, and the cross section is just about right (I'll try to have a better look at this in the building process) -the position, shape and angle relative to the thrust line of the cylinder covers appear to be accurate (whitin my measurement capabilities) except for the length in the back. I checked also Sword and Special Hobby products but simply they are not accurate, in particular regarding the shape and position of the cylinder humps and exausts (Sword) or overall cowling shape (SH). The propeller is a very good base for the Mk.XII were not for the fact that it has five blades instead of four... The Spinner assembly results slightly excessive in length (0,4mm) and the baseplate has some peripheral burr so that its diameter is about 10,2mm instead of 9,9mm. This mismatch is easily addressed by some reshaping of the spinner assembly on a lathe. If normally I can't decide which livery put on a particular a/c variant the Mk.XII requires yet another choice from the beginning: fixed tailwheel or retractable tailwheel? I resolved my quandaries choosing the retractable tailwheel variant (although at this moment I've not choosen a particular a/c to represent) Let's begin. The Griffon cowling is separated from the fuselage and compared to a scaled down version of J.Tenma's plans of the Seafire Mk.XVII (he did not trace plans for the Mk.XII or Mk.XV although you can find colorized profiles for them in his website) If your printer does allow just integer percentage scaling of the original (like mine), you can get perfect results by scaling with Inkscape, Photoshop or similar software. Please notice in the photograph above how well the Airfix nose matches the profile; it can be further improved by gentle bending of the upper arch, but this is not necessary for the Mk.XII because of the magneto bulb in that position. The cut is refined until reaching the perfect size, and the process is repeated for the other side. According to this quoted drawing for the Seafire Mk.XV (which is supposedly based on Supermarine data and matches J.T. plans), the "measurable" (I mean with a caliper) lenght of the section is calculated with some easy math: from fuselage datum point to the front of the cowling, at propeller axis: 76,2 inches from fuselage datum point to the upper cowling panel line: 1,28" (source "Spitfire engineered") the front cowling section is a disk, reportedly 28" diameter, inclined 2° to the cowling panel line. This adds 14" x tan(2°) =0,49" to the measurable length so: measurable lenght= 76,2"-1,28"+0,49"=75,41" which in 1/72 converts to 26,60 mm. My result is pretty good!...and was obtained matching the plans, and taking some progressive measurement of the part. One of the key points in getting a precise cut is adjusting the final tenths of mm with the right tool. I use 400-grit sandpaper glued to the side of a square aluminum block, and lay both the nose part and the aluminum block on the same plane, so that the sandpaper results perpendicular to it. Both halves are finished. And now... there's no return! Two perfectly good Eduard Spitfire Mk.VIII fuselages are horribly mutilated!
  11. Hi, This is going to be my first-ever Group Build, and to ensure I have a chance of completion before the September deadline, I've decided to apply the principles of KISS, or "Keep it simple, stupid!" The kit cost me £8.99 (plus postage, of course) from Model Hobbies, my current first port-of-call. At the time I bought it, I intended to add a Yahu instrument panel and seatbelts, but as either of these takes the cost over the Tenner, they'll be saved for a future project. Here is the kit, still in its box and unrifled, snoozing beside my Number One Helper until zero hour: http:// I'm really looking forward to doing this GB and being among such good company! Cheers for now! Mark
  12. Finally got around to starting. For this build I have chosen my Airfix SRN4 kit that I bought shortly after 1973. It has been with me ever since, moving from house to house and even to Canada and back. As a result the box got battered and it lost a few parts. Getting on for 20 years ago I bought another kit as it was re-release. I am using both kits for this build as some of the early parts, such as the main base and the hanger floor are warped and 'if I was going there I wouldn't start here ! When they were going to discontinue use of these hovering behemoths I took a flight on one, just to Calais and back. Mobile phones had come in, but I hated them. However, I borrowed a phone just so my first call was "Hello Mum, I am on the hovercraft". I saw this same machine, Princess Margaret, a few months later looking very sorry for itself - now just a museum piece. My original box, released 1973 below and above it the 2002 release. This fuzzy picture illustrates the warping of the hanger deck Not all the old stuff is bad. The 1973 roof is the clear one on the left whereas the 2002 one has already yellowed. I will be choosing the clear roof option. And here you see the start of my build. 'Eee lad, for forty seven years I have dreamed of painting the hanger deck floor that particular brick red'
  13. I guess to most model aircraft enthusiasts here in the West, the Il-2 and the Pe-2 are about the best known Soviet WWII ground attack aircraft. Airfix released kits of both many years ago, but I never bought the Pe-2 until they re-released it in 2010, and in September of that year I bought this for £7.99. Hopefully I can get it built before I start on my TSR 2 project in a couple of weeks - it will probably take longer to paint it and put the decs on than the actual assembly! It is probably not very accurate but somewhat better than their Il-2 I hope. Cheers Pete
  14. BIG Airfix News… We have some exciting news from the Airfix team today, the news we know you have all be waiting to hear! Airfix Club is back and goes live today at 12pm! This is going to be the biggest news today for our fans all over the World. From 12pm (U.K) the Airfix Club webpage will be live and awaiting its first members who we know are eagerly waiting after we sent out a teaser on our Social Media platforms yesterday. The above image shows what member will receive if they decide to go with our Airfix Club Plus option, as we have not one but two types of Club available, which are both available to UK and overseas members. Airfix Club Membership Packages We know that not all of our members are interested in the same subjects, so we are offering an option to become a member without a model, so that if the model being offered doesn’t have much interest, then no problem, the Airfix Club is the right option. Airfix Club Membership This option comes without the kit, and will include a Welcome Pack, which as you can see from above contains an impressive Keep Calm poster, an Airfix Club Trolley coin and the Airfix Club Flying Hours passport. Flying hours can be collected from most Airfix Kits, and then traded in for more kits! All you do is collect the tokens, fill in the back of your passport with your preferred kits and send it in. All of this comes packed neatly in an Airfix Club box, unique to members only. The cost of this option is: RRP UK £14.99 RRP International £34.99 Airfix Club PLUS Membership This option comes with everything you see in the image above, including the Club Exclusive Kit which is a remarkable Surrender/Evaluation Kate. The cost of this option is: RRP UK £24.99 RRP International £39.99 The above isn’t all you get, both Memberships include many benefits, and if at a later date members decide they do in fact want the exclusive kit they simply log into the Club Members Area and place an order (as long as there is stock). There are lots of Airfix related products also available to Club Members at discounted prices. This includes several Airfix tins and tubs, and some very iconic Airfix prints. This range will keep on growing, so we suggest you keep checking the Airfix Club page to see any updates. And not forgetting our exclusive Club magazine, with members receiving three editions a year. Members will also receive a calendar at the beginning of the year. What is not to love? These packs are ready for dispatch, and our Customer Services team are eagerly waiting to get these orders and get the packs sent out. We now had a credit card style membership, which will be sent out separately within 28 days of signing up. Be one of the ‘first 1000’ And finally, one last bonus. If you are one of the first 1000 members who join the Airfix 2020 Club, then you will receive a printed copy of the Complete Airfix artist and kit list (6th Edition). This has been compiled by a very good friend of ours, and the master of all Airfix knowledge Jeremy Brook. Airfix are very grateful for all of Jeremy’s continued assistance.
  15. Well, I wasn't intending to enter this group build but then along came this model As the "Unarmed" and"F-16" group builds are also running at the same time this one might not get finished by the deadline but I'll give it a go. Mike
  16. Until I read @Dazzio's build thread just now I did not realise that refurbs were allowed! A year or so back I stripped my ancient Airfix 217 which I bought in around 1964 - according to Scalemates it must have been the 1963 re-boxing of the 1960 kit. I remember getting it from Frizinghall Model Railways shop just down the road from school and lugging it back home on the usual 2 buses - could hardly wait to get started on it, though at that time I doubt I actually knew what it was - probably confusing it with the Do-17. At the moment it looks like this! You can see that I used it to test some Humbrol Acrylic RLM72/73 for my Bv 138 in last year's Flying Boat and Seaplane GB. All the bits are there with the exception of the drop tanks and the glazing for the dorsal turret, which will probably turn up later, but if not I have some spare 198 Imp Gall (870L?) tanks from one of my Bf 110 kits and I bought the Falcon canopy set for something a few years ago which includes some for the 217, although they may not fit being intended for the Italeri version - we will see. I rather fancy building it as a KG40 machine with one or two Hs 293, though technically that would be either a Do 217 E3 or perhaps E4 or E5 I believe - need to do some research! I will replace the guns and will have to scratch build an undercarriage, but I did buy some resin main wheels with that in mind. I have the Italeri 217 K1 in my stash so I can copy bits from that hopefullly. Back in the day Airfix were suggesting a solid "olive green" top colour - looks like RLM 71, but as I mentioned in @BobbyC's 217 build thread and @Graham Boak agreed - 72/73 over 65 was far more likely. The alternative would be a night bomber version. Can anybody confirm the actual size of drop tank used? Info on the 217 seems a bit hard to get as it is not the best known of planes. More as and when I start. Cheers Pete Later, Managed to find a couple more books, and also realised I have an old "Profile" as well. Looks like the 217 could carry similar large 900L tanks and smaller 300L tanks just like I have in my spares box from various Fujimi Bf110 but whereas Airfix show the tail fin of the 900L tank horizontal, it seems more likely that it was in fact vertical. The fully configured Hs293 carrier was it seems the E5 version though I believe the E2 could in theory carry 2. In practice it seems to have carried 1 with a drop tank under the Port wing to counterbalance it. The only real external difference between the various E models seems to have been the armament, but I will need to do more research to be certain.
  17. Late to the party - time to commit. I shall attempt to piece the following together: -Airfix Avro 504k of 1960s vintage -£1.5 -Blue rider decals - £2 (half of sheet price) -Rigging material - hair raided from the boss’s hairbrush - £0 From the spares box, let’s say £1 -Roden Clerget from a Camel kit -Nieuport seats from Eduard kits -PE instruments At a grand total of £4.5 this should fit perfectly with the spirit of the GB. The mandatory photo of the kit contents, which came in a plastic bag: And the decals, with proof I’ve started using it. The sheet unfortunately lacks the underwing numerals ’6’ which have to be painted on. Also, the rudder was quite likely white. I shall have to scratch-build most of the under-carriage. I’ll be building the depicted airplane, one of five Clerget-equipped 504K trainers bought by the Swedish navy aviation in 1923, taken in service as Flying boat no. 6 and used as a winter-time trainer. The navy did not operate any air fields, but used some ski-equipped aircraft during the winters on strips plowed on the ice. It was taken over by the Air Force when it was formed in ’26 and re-equipped with wheels but did not last long. In November 1927 ex-Fb6 crashed in the river Rönne due to engine failure: the instructor survived but trainee Bengt Richert could not be saved and drowned in the icy waters.
  18. Next up I will have a shot at this. I believe this is a re-boxing of the old Heller kit released in about 1990. I will be doing it as a "Defence of the Reich" machine in late war colours I suspect - still researching that. When the Heller kit(s) came out - I say kit(s) as Graham Boak mentioned 2 versions as I recall - it was considered pretty good though by now there may be some question as to how accurate it is and I have seen suggestions that either Hartmann never flew a K, or if he did it was not in the kit scheme. Cheers Pete
  19. Juat another Beaufughter, nothing too fancy and OOB build from the Airfix kit, getting a littlw bit more practice with the airbrush and basic weathering, need to get the canopy masking a bit better.
  20. Hi all, great to be part of a BM groupbuild again after almost a year. This time it's an ambitious punt - going to bring the Airfix 1/24 behemoth with an Aerocraft conversion set for an NF II based at Drem in 1945. It's KD127 which is quite well documented and beautifully built in smaller scale by @tonyot here: Luckily the aircraft was a brand new example and so my weathering skills (or lack thereof) will not be challenged! This will be an OOB build apart from the ignition cables and HF radio wire (there, I've said it now, so inevitably it'll end up with tons of added detail ) Will be starting this on Monday, hope everyone enjoys their Hellcat building Alan
  21. Avro Vulcan B.2 (A12011) 1:72 Airfix It’s hard to think of a more iconic aircraft to represent the RAF Strike Force at the height of the Cold War than the Avro Vulcan. It’s also difficult to believe that design work was begun by Roy Chadwick and his team, who designed the Lancaster, while WWII was still ongoing. Even though both aircraft fulfil the same basic role, the two are extremely different both in looks and the level of technology used. The Vulcan was the third of the V Bombers operated by the RAF, her sisters being the more traditional Valiant and the crescent-winged Victor. The Vulcan was the more technically advanced aircraft and was considered a greater risk, one of the reasons that all three types were commissioned. The first prototype Vulcan flew in 1952 with a straight delta wing, reaching production as the B.1 from 1955. The design was improved by cranking and “drooping” the delta wing that improved flight characteristics, with more powerful Olympus engines making the aircraft capable of carrying the Blue Steel stand-off nuclear missile. The Vulcans would later lose their nuclear role in the 1970s, and switch to conventional weapons in support of NATO, until right at the end of their service life they were called on to fly their longest, most difficult and most famous sorties. In a major feat of aerial logistics, they along with their siblings the Victor tanker, would fly from Ascension Island to Bomb the Falkland Islands’ airfield at Port Stanley, after the invasion by the Junta led Argentinian military. After successfully shortening the runway by dropping a full stick of bombs diagonally across the tarmac, the missions rendered the runway useless for any fast jets, forcing them to use up all their fuel flying to and from the mainland. Later missions provided Radar Suppression on the Falkland Islands, stooging about and trying to tempt the Argentinian radars to light up so they could launch Shrike missiles and destroy them, leaving the Sea Harriers free to defend the otherwise vulnerable fleet and take on the fighters. Each mission was a round trip of nearly 8,000 miles that had every opportunity to go wrong, leaving the possibility of a Vulcan having to ditch in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This almost happened when a refuelling probe sheared off on a later mission, leaving the aircraft incapable of taking on any more fuel from the waiting Victors, and forcing it to land in Chile, where it remained. A solitary Vulcan was kept in the airshow circuit for a while after they left service after being replaced by the Tornado, but by the early 90s they were only to be found in museums, often rotting away outside. Vulcan XH558 however was kept in running condition along with a few others by dedicated volunteers, and was eventually brought back to flight status by a huge amount of support and generous donations from the public, flying for a number of years before it was grounded again for good when it clocked up more hours in the sky than any other Vulcan, when support was withdrawn. The Kit Airfix was the only company to create a kit in 1:72 in 1983, which has been re-released many times over the years, and its popularity had seen the quality of the moulds begin to deteriorate in more recent runs. An excellent model could be built from that kit, but as our standards increased, much more effort, money or both was required to make it happen. Meantime, the existence of an essentially accurate kit was clearly off-putting to other manufacturers, so it has been left to Airfix to replace their own kit with a thoroughly new tooling that will make us all happy again. This has been a long time coming, especially after they inadvertently dropped the announcement before they were ready, so everyone’s breath is well and truly baited by now. The kit arrives in a large box that is about the same size as the old one, and inside are seven grey styrene sprues, most of which are almost as large as the box, a sprue of clear parts, a large decal sheet, thick A4 instruction booklet with separate glossy A3 painting guide, and another sheet for the stencils. The sprues are large and wobbly, and some can be nipped into smaller, more manageable sizes by cutting out the runners from between the sprue sections, which I did in order to make photography easier for the detail pictures. Detail is really nice, with engraved panel lines, raised and engraved surface details on the skin of the aircraft, plus a much-improved range of detail in the cockpit and gearbays that will be sufficient for the majority of modellers. There is also a complete bomb bay in this tooling that even has a complement of iron bombs to fill it, separate open doors, and an insert to allow the Vulcan to carry the Blue Steel nuke in a recess under the fuselage. Unsurprisingly, you get a Blue Steel missile too, which is more detailed than the original, and has the fold-over fin that was necessary to prevent it from scraping on the ground on take-off. From examining the instructions, it is clear that a lot of effort has been expended to make the model well-detailed and easy to make, with some clever design visible in various places. Construction begins with a deep breath and a broad smile, as we’ve been waiting for a new Vulcan for quite a number of years now. Unsurprisingly, the first steps involve the cockpit, which if you’ve been inside one, you’ll know is on a split level and very cramped. Under the floor is a pair of L-shaped supports that portray the basics of the crew access corridor, with some ribbing moulded in at the door end. A centre console and rudder pedals are inserted into the floor first, with the front bulkhead blocking off the front and the main instrument panel with clear decals for the dials applied to detail it, and a pair of fighter-style joysticks projecting from the panel on short stalks. The front crew have Martin-Baker MB.3 ejection seats that get them out of the way in the event of an emergency, and these are made from two half shells with the seat cushions installed inside, which include moulded-in seatbelts and a fire extinguisher behind each one on the top level, plus a ladder between them. To their sides are a pair of side consoles with their own decals to provide some visual interest. The three rear crew were less lucky, and had simple seats that meant that they had to hope that the pilots had time to let them bail-out before they ejected, after which the task would have been almost impossible. The centre seat is a different style to allow access to the entrance corridor, and this is depicted here, the outer two having the same more substantial rotating fitting, and each seat is installed facing the aft bulkhead, which has a narrow table but no detail or decal, which is a shame. That said, there’s very little that will be seen with the canopy on, even if you open up the access door. By this stage the cockpit is clearly forming the tubular shape of the fuselage, and here Airfix have created an internal nose cone that can be used to contain the 40 grammes of nose weight that they suggest you use. The weight compartment is made from two halves, and has pegs that insert into the cockpit’s front bulkhead, so fill it with lead or whatever you have to hand, and weigh it so that you don’t end up with a tail-sitter. Nice work Airfix! The fuselage front then closes around this assembly, with the nose weight sleeving inside, and the very tip of the nose has a cone with either a slot for a refuelling probe, or one without. The canopy is a single part, which is about right, as the only time you’d see a Vulcan without a canopy is after an ejection, or during maintenance where just the windscreen would be left in place. A decal is applied to the inside of the canopy to represent an instrument panel, and in the coaming around the front of the cockpit area, a small clear observation window is inserted before the cockpit is closed up. Under the nose is an insert with the bomb-aimer’s window plus separate glazing, and the crew door aperture moulded-in. To fit the door in the closed position, a small portion of the hinge should be filed away, as shown in a scrap diagram. There’s a lot of internal structure to this model, as it is a large kit. There are two spars that form the front and rear of the bomb bay, which have small sections cut out first if you are depicting a Blue Steel aircraft, then the interior of the bomb bay, which has a series of arches along its length, some of which are numbered for your ease. The three larger arches are made first from three parts each, then the bay walls are attached to the two spars to be joined by the rest of the arches from above. The whole bay is painted white, and you have the basis of the structure provided for you in this kit, but there is always more you can add if you have the references and the inclination to detail it further. A pair of intermediate spars are attached to the sides of the bomb bay, and all three are joined by an L-shaped stringer that gives the structure some strength. This large assembly is set to the side now, while the upper and lower wing skins are built up. The wings of the Vulcan are large and blend along the majority of the length of the fuselage, and in order to create a full-width skin, the two halves have to be joined together. If you are portraying a Blue Steel aircraft, there are two sections around the Bomb Bay doors that will need removing first, but Airfix have already weakened this area with a simulation of chain-drilling that should make their removal quite easy. For gear up, there is a single bay door for each of the main gear bay apertures, and to the rear there are some holes that need drilling between the two engine nacelles, which differs between decal options. The two lower wings are joined together with either a standard closed bomb bay, a Blue Steel insert, or the space for open bay doors, whichever you decide. For the first two options the wings are made up and the internals are glued over the top, but for the open bay, the insert is added to one wing, then the other is joined to the assembly to ensure the two wing halves sit at the correct angle once glued. For a gear-up Vulcan, the nose bay door is inserted from outside, or for gear down, a bay is made from five sides, then glued into the lower wing from inside. The two main gear bays are also made up from five parts each, and they too are inserted into the lower wing. It’s not the last part to be installed either. There are four Olympus engines to go. Before the two pairs of intakes are made up, there are some paper templates included in the instructions that can be used to mark off where the camouflage ends inside the intake lips, and that’s yet another considerate inclusion from Airfix. Each paired intake is made up from a top and a bottom half, with a separate part depicting the curve of the internal split between the two tubes. At the rear a pair of engine faces are included to block off the trunking, and if you wish, there are also a pair of FOD guards to blank off the intakes for a parked-up Vulcan. The two pairs are handed, and these are installed into the lower fuselage according to the numbers embossed on the rear of the engine fans. Lastly, a pair of landing lights are inserted into the lower wing from within, then the upper wing is made from two halves, and here it’s noteworthy that the ribbing inside the bomb bay is moulded into the interior of the two halves, and there are a number of overlapping sections that will ensure a strong join between the two halves. The two wing surfaces are joined finally, and the nose clips into place, with a much more refined splitter plate sliding into the gap between the fuselage and intakes than on the old kit. The tail cone has two 1mm holes drilled in it for one decal option, then the two halves are joined and have an additional intake added into a depression on the right side, then it too is joined to the fuselage/wings. The exhausts of the Vulcan were always a bone of contention with the old kit, as there were different styles, and the old kit didn’t portray then well. This new kit seems to have a lot more detail, and even includes a jig to assist in construction, so follow their instructions and don’t glue the figure-of-eight parts into position, or you’ll be sad. Each exhaust has a number of notches in the inside end that tells you its number, which corresponds with a number on the upper fairing into which you drop them two at a time. The jig is slid over the outer end of the pair, then the remaining two parts of the cylindrical cowling are glued in place around each pipe, with the jig removed once the glue is dry. Another section of the exhausts is included to give a more accurate length to the interior of the trunking, and this part has a representation of the back of the engine blocking your view, and you guessed correctly that these too are numbered. The same task is carried out on both sides of the aircraft, then various exhausts are fitted to the undersides of the engine nacelles, followed by some strakes in the gap between them, and a pair of asymmetric Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) plates that fit between them with a vertical support giving them a T-profile. One of the stand-out parts of a Vulcan is the fin, which makes them easy to find on the ground. The tip of the fin is first to be made, then joined to the two-part fin, which has a posable rudder that can deflect 30o to either side. The two flap sections per side are also made up and installed either side of the engines, and the two-section ailerons are also installed, with 10o/22o deflection and 12.5o/27o deflection respectively. The latter have separate actuator fairings fitted to the mobile section afterwards. The landing gear and their bays are a big improvement on the old kit, with more detailed bay doors, and the legs themselves are made up of a number of parts that have eight wheels per main leg fitted on each one, a long retraction jack, forward bay door and big inner doors with their actuator jacks on each one. The nose gear leg has multiple parts too, and has two wheels, one either side of the axle. This inserts into the bay and has doors with retraction jacks on each side, one of which has a towel-rail antenna on the outer face. It’s still quite a way before the model is finished, but the open bomb bay, if you chose it, is next to be finished off. There are three sets of seven bombs supplied to fill the bomb bay, then the bi-fold bomb bay doors are made up from two parts each that are latched into the bay walls in a partially retracted fashion on each side. You also have a choice of closed or deployed spoilers in the forward inner wing section, using either flat panels or alternative parts on two legs for each of the four spoiler positions. The upper spoilers are doubled-up, so look quite impressive when deployed. If you are using the Blue Steel bomb, it is built from two halves, with the forward steering vanes a single part on a rod that passes through the nose. At the rear, the top fin is installed upright, two small parts are fitted to the horizontal fins, and the bottom fin is glued in the folded position parallel to the ground, then the exhaust cone is popped into the hollow rear of the missile. It inserts into the semi-recessed section of the fuselage where the bomb bay would normally be, with the top fin sliding into a slot like the real thing. Now it’s time to mop up the small and delicate sections that are best left until the end. A clear light is fitted into a recess in the underside of the aft fuselage with an exhaust port just behind it; the crew access hatch and ladder is made up with handrails, then glued into the hatch behind the bomb-aimer’s window bulge beneath the nose with a trio of probes around the aforementioned window; a pair of antennae fit into recesses in the upper spine between the engines, and if you have selected the nose with the fuelling probe recess, that is the last job on a long list. Markings There are two markings options on the decal sheet, one camouflaged with white undersides, the other completely anti-flash white. Both schemes are laid out using a full side of the A3 each, with smaller drawings showing the colours of the bombs and the Blue Steel missile, with colour call-outs in Humbrol shades. From the box you can build one of the following: The Scampton Wing (Nos.27, 83 & 617 Sqn.) RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, England, 1966 No.12 Sqn. RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England, 1963 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A new tool Vulcan. Just sit there and let that sink in for a second. The only thing that would top that is a 1:48 injection moulded Vulcan, but that’s just pipe-dreams. It’s a great kit, includes plenty of detail for the majority of modellers, and has some neat, inventive engineering touches that should make it a good build at a fair price. Then it’s just a case of affording another one for the other scheme, and another one for the inevitable B.1 with the straight leading edges. So highly recommended that it stings a little. Review sample courtesy of
  22. 13th (Duke of Connaught’s) Bengal Lancers 1897.
  23. Born at Domrémy in 1412, her parents were well-to-do peasants living near the edge of the French Kingdom. At about the age of 13 she began to hear the voices, later identified as those of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret. In 1429 these voices bade her to rescue Orleans, which was under siege by the English. Joan entered the city on 29th April and by 8th May the English were in full retreat and Orleans saved. The following year she responded to an attack on Compiégne by the Burgundians, but was captured on 23rd May. John of Luxembourg sold her to the English for 10,000 gold crowns. She was tried at Rouen from 21st February to 17th March, and having been found guilty of sorcery and heresy, was burned at the stake in the market place of Rouen on 30th May 1431. Alclad2 used for her armour.
  24. The Black Prince was born Edward of Woodstock in 1330, the eldest son of Edward III. His title of Black Prince first appeared in 1569, nearly 200 years after his death (1376). In his youth Edward was created Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall (the first), and Prince of Wales. He won his spurs at the Battle of Crecy, defeating 30,000 French troops with just 10,000 of his own. Ten years later he succeeded again with 6,000 English defeating 20,000 French at Poitiers, capturing the French King John.
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