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  1. Happy Birthday Royal Australian Air Force Today is the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Australian Air Force. I am not going to write much about the history the of the RAAF because I am no expert. Suffice to say that on this day 100 years ago this service was formed as an independent air-arm and it has strong claim to be the second such service formed anywhere in the world. It has been a cornerstone of Australia's security and this region's stability ever since. The RAAF played an active and effective role in the Second World War as well as numerous 'smaller' but still very significant conflicts, including Korea, Vietnam, the two Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. It has assisted in many peacekeeping and security operations around the globe and has played an important humanitarian role in innumerable civil defence emergencies. At one stage, immediately after World War Two, the RAAF gave Australia the fourth largest national air arm (by number of operational aircraft) in the world. We Australians, and our various allies should be most grateful for the service that the RAAF has provided over the last century. Three years ago I started my build of an Avro 504 to mark the occasion of the formation of the Royal Air Force. Now, it would seem wrong of me not to do something similar for the Air Force of my adoptive homeland. I've been planning for this for a while and was hoping to have at least one of my three other threads on Britmodeller closed by now, but that has not happened. Time waits for no-one and if I'm going to do this to mark the anniversary then I have to start today; ready or not. If we are going to 'do' the RAAF - let's pick a good subject. Let's look at something fast... perhaps even supersonic. Hmmmm... how about a swing-wing thing...? Nice idea! But do you know how big one of those things is in 1/32 scale? My display cabinet is only so large. What about something American with a big droopy nose, two big burner cans tucked in under a single swept back tail and tailplanes set an an outrageous angle of anhedral..... Again, Nice! But that's a very complex shape and I want to finish this before the next 100 years passes. What about something French and triangular that I once saw when I was a lad at an airshow at RNZAF Wigram... Yes! Now we are talking... Let's do one of these! If you have seen my work before you know what comes next. Get a bunch of drawings together - in this case downloaded as PDF's from the internet - and get them printed to an exact 1/32 scale. In this case there are three 'master' sheets. Get one of each laminated and half a dozen copies of each printed out. Just use everyday copying paper, no need for anything special. Don't worry about the radar under the chin folks - I know that's not an RAAF thing. Here is the compulsory 'sprue shot after opening the box' photo. A fair bit of plywood will be used but most of the parts are jarrah, the same stuff I used on the Avro 504. Jarrah is grown right here in Western Australia, is beautiful to carve and strong as anything. This will be important since there's a good chance this thing will have gear down and once the forward undercarriage bay is cut and the cockpit hollowed out there will be very little remaining intact wood to hold the nose in place. Now we do some dry fitting. Yep - the major fuselage pieces fit together without any gap at all. Note also how there's no ejector pin marks or other blemishes. Tamiya quality fit - although lacking some detail at this point. Now I sat down and had a think. How was I actually going to make this thing? Carve the fuselage out of a single block? Or break it into multiple more manageable components. Overall this shape is a bit more complex than, say the Mig-15 that I built in 2016, and requires a bit more thought. Once some decisions are made we can start marking out the cuts. This is the first cut line marked up for the entire project. This is the moment I consider that work actually began - 8.02 PM 31 March 2021 (WA time)...100 years to the day. Like I say - initially there's a bit of planning and marking up required. Some of the decisions might be a bit counterintuitive, but I've learned a lot over the course of my last few projects and I think there's method in my madness. Who knows though, maybe there's just madness in my method? I've decided that there will be a separate central 'fuselage and cockpit' section cut out that will nestle between the air intakes and the rest of the fuselage assembly. This component is defined at this point by the red ink. Somehow the wing will also need to be accommodated, but for now it's one thing at a time. Now grab two lumps of wood and cut them longer than the section just marked out. One thing I have learned is that surplus wood is not generally a problem - insufficient wood is. Hold the two pieces of wood in a vice and drill a series of holes (four in this case two on either side) clear of the planned cut area. Drill each hole about 3/4 of the way through the entire thickness. I guess it's harmless to go all the way through but this time I chose not to. Now slip a dowel into each of the holes and cut off the surplus. In this case the dowel fitted into the holes perfectly so no glue was required at all! This is a bonus because, although I want these two bits of wood to stick together and stay nicely aligned, fairly soon I'm going to need to pull them apart splitting the fuselage in two again in preparation for hollowing out the cockpit and UC bay. Now cut out the paper plans and spray some cheap photo adhesive onto one side of the prepared wooden block. (No photos this time sorry, I forgot). Cut out the pattern with the bandsaw. It was now getting late at night and this was after Mrs Bandsaw's 'powertool noise curfew' so I left a full 5mm clear from the pattern and just raced through the cut as quickly as possible to get the noisy bit over and done with. This is the birthday of the RAAF, so noise curfew or not, there has to bandsaw action! This is the result so far. There's a long way to go... I hope that some of you come along for the ride. Per ardua ad astra Bandsaw Steve
  2. Hi all. There's not much to say about this kit other than it was an enjoyable build. I've read a few articles and seen a few build/review videos and I don't know what the issue was were that folks found. This thing fell together with the only care being taken on the clean up of the sprue points. A few additional items in the way of Eduard exhausts and SBS Model block tread tires. An included set of resin tires for the RAAF option from Arma Hobby would have been a welcome addition as the build was held up for a week while wating for them. Paints are Mr Color lacquers along with a stack of others including oils, pigments and a few acrylics for the interior. I'd build another one for sure. Bancroft the bench mascot for scale. Cheers, Mick
  3. This is sort of a book mark for now….not 100% committed to building this or joining this GB at the moment. Have quite a few builds to clear off the bench first….as can be seen…. ….but I need to get at least a couple off the bench before I starts this build. Normally the model comes first, but this time the decals were the first thing I bought about 2-3 years ago, and not 100% sure why I did! There were plenty of the Kitty Hawk models around until the shut up shop then they became impossible to find at any reasonable price!! I was already to sell them when this one showed up at my local club meet in June this year…and at a nice price as well. It’s quite a big model and there’s lots to it……..and being a Kitty Hawk model it’ll be a super pain to build!!! There were some nice schemes out of the box, the one with the undercarriage did grab me… ….but she will be a RAAF bird, either the later Camo versions or possibly the Yellow Artic one, though a single solid colour scheme can be hard to get right, but it would certainly be different! Anyway as mentioned this will be a place holder for now, but with luck I should be able to start this build close to the start of the GB.
  4. On December 29, 2021, I contacted a friend and fellow model builder Jack Geratic in Ontario, Canada regarding my desire to build a Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina. From experience on previous projects, I knew that Jack was very good at research and knew his way around scale modeling better than I did. At the time we found there were only a few Monogram #5609 and Revell #04520 kits in 1/48 scale on eBay. The kits were introduced in 1995 and had been out of production for some time. Then Revell reintroduced the PBY kit in 2014 but as a PBY-5A which is the amphibious version (with landing gear), otherwise the aircraft was the same as a PBY-5. My thinking at the time was if we use an amphibious version which was readily available it would require major body work to cover the retractable landing gear on the side of the hull. What we found out later in reviews is that both Monogram and Revell kits had a design issue called 'tail bloat', the tail section was not to scale. It was 9.5mm (3/8-inch) too wide at the root of the vertical stabilizer which negatively affected its overall appearance. Jack located a detailed cross-section drawing of the actual aircraft and we found that Monogram had a flatter cross-section which we believe is what caused the tail bloat issue. However, there was a good solution, Belcher Bits in Canada offered a resin tail conversion kit that required removing the entire tail of the model. When you see the finished tail conversion below, I think you will agree it looks right. In my opinion the Belcher Bits solution was a lot of work, but Mike Belcher captured in resin the graceful elegance of the Catalina tail. And by the way the name Catalina was given to the Consolidated PBY by RAF, RCAF and RAAF crews because the early versions were manufactured in California. The name was adopted by Consolidated and used for the remaining production years. Harold Reference Photographs: Modification Phase: Completed Model:
  5. For the group build I will be building this in the markings of one of the RAAF 77 squadron aircraft that shot down MiG-15s during the Korean War. AW
  6. Hi All, My first Group Build - how very exciting! Also, the chance to build a kit I've been itching to get my hands on, ever since it was released - Tamiya's mighty P38F/G! Here's the box art: Now I normally only build RAF/RAAF/RCAF/FAA subjects, and I have to admit that I wasn't aware that the P38 had limited service in both the RAF and RAAF. So when @mark.au mentioned this group build at the start of the year, I was like a rat up a drainpipe ordering this kit (that man is trouble - he has just made me build a Spitfire FR Mk.XIVe, and also a Taranto Stringbag!). I knew that both Mark and our esteemed GB leader @trickyrich both intended to model RAAF subjects, so I couldn't resist a go at another Aussie subject. A little research revealed that Red Roo Models offer a conversion kit which allows conversion of the Academy P38F to F-4-1 standard. Here's the conversion kit: A little digging revealed that the Tamiya kit would be a suitable donor. The research contained within the conversion kit states that the first airframes operated by 1 PRU in 1942 are often mistakenly referred to as F-4s, whereas they were actually standard P38Es converted by the RAAF to approximate F4-A standard. I'm taking a punt on the fact that the F-4-1 nose can be adapted to the Tamiya kit (I shall measure twice and cut once, believe me ). Here's the resin as presented: The conversion kit allows for the modelling of 4 subjects - 1 in NMF, and 3 in a hybrid camouflage scheme. I'm planning to model either A55-2 or A55-3, both of which are shown below: It is a common misconception that these airframes were painted in a combination of RAAF Earth Brown and Foliage Green over Sky. Red Roo's research indicates that the camouflage used the existing Olive Drab uppers oversprayed with Foliage Green. The Neutral Grey undersides were oversprayed with RAAF Sky Blue to cover up the 'US ARMY' underside insignia. Here's a couple of photos of A55-3 (copyrighted RAAF and AWM - for discussion only and will be removed on request): I know that @trickyrich beautifully modelled A55-3 a while back, so I may do -2 just to be different! Here's the decals: I'm very much looking forward to this build, and taking part with some like minds - let the fork-tailed games begin! Thanks for looking, Roger
  7. On December 29, 2021, I contacted a friend and fellow model builder Jack Geratic in Ontario, Canada regarding my desire to build a Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina. From experience on previous projects, I knew that Jack was very good at research and knew his way around scale modeling better than I did. At the time we found there were only a few Monogram #5609 and Revell #04520 kits in 1/48 scale on eBay. The kits were introduced in 1996 and had been out of production for some time. The kit was reintroduced by Revell as late as 2014 but in PBY-5A format which is the amphibious version. My thinking was if I use an amphibious version which was readily available it would require major body work to cover the retractable landing gear on the side of the hull. What we found out later in reviews is the Monogram and Revell kits had a design issue called 'tail bloat', the tail section was not to scale. It was 9.5mm (3/8-inch) too wide at the point where the vertical stabilizer begins which negatively affected its overall appearance. However, there was a solution, Belcher Bits in Canada offered a resin tail conversion kit that required removing the entire tail section of the model. With hindsight, we should have gone with a PBY-5A. When you see the finished tail conversion below, I think you will agree it looks right. In my opinion the Belcher Bits solution was a lot of work, but Mike Belcher captured in resin the graceful elegance of the Catalina tail. And by the way the name Catalina was given to the Consolidated PBY by RAF, RCAF and RAAF crews because it was manufactured in California. The name was adopted by Consolidated and used for the remaining production years.
  8. Hi All, My latest completion is Tamiya's superb P38F/G, finished as an F-4-1 aircraft of No.1 PRU RAAF in 1943. A limited number of P38s were supplied to the RAAF for this capability, and they were converted by the RAAF to approximate F4 standard. This is my entry to the 'Forked-Tailed Devil: P38 Lightning STGB', which can be found here: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/forum/773-the-fork-tailed-devil-p-38-lightning-stgb/ Here's the WIP if anybody is interested: The kit itself is superb - state of the art in terms of fit and engineering. I used a Red Roo set for the conversion - this set is intended for the Academy kit, so there were a few fitment issues to be overcome. Despite this the conversion kit can be made to work (although you may judge differently for yourself!). The aircraft I have modelled is A55-2. Although I cannot find any photos of -2, here are a few photos of A55-3, a sister aircraft (copyright Australian War Memorial and RAAF - photos for discussion only and will be removed on request): These aircraft had their Neutral Grey undersides oversprayed with RAAF Sky Blue to remove the 'US ARMY' markings. A disruptive pattern of Foliage Green was then applied over the existing Olive Drab. I have chosen to colour the spinners black, as I felt there was sufficient contrast with the Foliage Green to warrant this. The interior was completed in Interior Grey Green, as there is evidence to suggest that earlier P38s used this shade in common with the Hudson, the only other contemporary military aircraft Lockheed was supplying to the RAF and RAAF. Anyway, on with the pictures! Finally, here's a couple of shots with some RAAF contemporaries showing the variation in camouflage schemes apparent at the time: Thanks to all that have offered kind words and encouragement along the way - it has been sincerely appreciated! I've also enjoyed my first GB, and it surely will not be the last! Thanks for looking, Roger
  9. G'day all. The last one finished before QMHE. This is the ubiquitous 1/48 Tamiya FB.VI Mosquito built as a 464 Squadron (RAAF) aircraft flown by F/O Jack Palmer and his navigator F/O Jack Rayner operating out of RAF Thorney Island while attached to 2TAF in October 1944. There's not much to say about the kit that hasn't already been said but the additions were a True Details cockpit, Quickboost exhausts, Master gun barrels and a new pitot from brass tube. The codes, serial and over wing roundels are painted using masks that I made and all paints were Mr Color with numerous oils and weathering products used to achieve the final appearance. First time building the Tamiya Mozzie so another one off the bucket list. Cheers, Mick.
  10. Hi all. It's been a slow year at Casa de Crosby but a second build has crawled it's way over the line. The kit is the quite nice 1/72 Academy F/A-18D converted to an Aussie B. In order to get to the B version that we flew, a few lumps and bumps need to be removed from the plastic as well as a few omissions in the way of the ECM blister behind the canopy and the cheeks of the nose. Aussie machines also had the catapult launch bar replaced with a square piece of steel bar similar in weight to the original launch bar. They did operate without the launch bar for some time however shimmy problems of the nose gear required the installation of the bar to negate this problem. Another item that needs to be addressed for RAAF machines is the tail stiffener on the left side of each of the fins. The Kinetic kit comes with the stiffeners as etch items so I scanned then traced them in Affinity Studio, scaled them down to 1/72 and then cut them in vinyl. A bit of Mr Surfacer of the top and they blend in well. The reinforcing cleats at base on the inside of the fins are also needed however as this kit was a D version they weren't supplied. If you've the A/A+ boxing you'll be in luck as they are included. I made mine from some plastic card cut to appropriate size and shape. The decals are from Ronin Graphics here in Australia. They are very thin and the colour density is excellent but they are quite fragile if not handled correctly. I managed to fold a section of the tiger decals on itself so had to order a second set...doh. Anyone want a 95% complete set of this scheme in 72nd? A colour chip of the orange is also provided with the decals so some paint alchemy, 30 minutes and lots of test spraying and I think I nailed the colour. There are many photos of this jet showing how worn out the grey scheme was at the end of its service life. A good example are the stabs. The left and right side are inter-changeable and this can be seen in the photos with the lighter colour of the underside appearing on the top side indicating they had been swapped out. I could spend hours on the weathering of the airframe but I'm happy with where I've got it to. Perhaps if it was 48th I'd spend a lot more time on it. Enough words, onto the pics. Hope you like! Mick The sticker is courtesy of a local chap in my home town who does a heap of cool retro style ADF stickers. The badge is also the official number of total hours that RAAF Hornets flew during their years of service. Bancroft (the workshop mascot) has lined up for the first ride.
  11. Hi All, My latest completion is Special Hobby's Short Sunderland Mk.III, modelled as EJ134 'N-Nuts' of 461 Sqn RAAF, based at RAF Pembroke Dock, Wales, 1943, and captained by Flt Lt C B Walker. The Sunderland was known as The Flying Porcupine for its extensive defensive armament and ability to fight off enemy aircraft. 'N-Nuts' very much lived up to this name on 2nd June 1943, whilst on patrol over the Bay of Biscay she was attacked by no less than 8 Ju88s of KG40. During this protracted engagement the crew of EJ134 destroyed 3 of the Ju88s, severely damaging another 2. EJ134 also sustained significant damage as well as several of the crew being severely injured, and Sgt E C B Miles sadly succumbing to his mortal wounds. However, the crew nursed the damaged aircraft back to the Cornish coast without incident and eventually beached the aircraft on Praa Sands. There is an extensive account of the battle on the 'Aircrew Remembered' website - it is compelling reading: http://aircrewremembered.com/walker-colin.html I have found two photos of EJ134 - both of these photos are copyright Poole Flying Boat Celebration, and will be removed on request. Here's their website, which again is well worth a look: http://www.pooleflyingboats.com/archive/04 Changes-at-Poole-with-RAF-Hamworthy.pdf 461 Sqn were stationed at RAF Harmworthy near Poole before relocating to Pembroke Dock, and the website contains a wealth of evocative period detail. The first photo shows the ground crew in front of EJ134: The second shows 'N-Nuts' after ditching at Praa Sands: You can see the distinctive wavy camouflage demarcation on the rear fuselage in this photo. Here's a couple more very evocative shots showing Sunderlands at Pembroke Dock: I suspect these are newly-delivered aircraft, as there are no squadron codes applied. Right - to the build! Here's a link to the WIP if anybody is interested: Here's a couple of shots in progress to show the lovely interior detail: Finally, here's the finished article, which was mostly OOB save a set of Montex masks: Finally, I couldn't resist a couple of shots with another large Short Brothers aircraft - the Stirling Mk.I of PO Rawdon 'Ron' H Middleton VC RAAF, which has its own extraordinary story of Aussie bravery: A pretty imposing pair of aircraft, even in gentleman's scale! I've very much enjoyed the challenge of this build - the kit has the usual Special Hobby foibles but I believe it builds up into a pretty accurate Mk.III. I must thank @LDSModeller who was a valuable source of advice on Sunderland detail throughout the build, and @AliGauld whose parallel Mk.V build provided much inspiration along the way. Thanks also to all those who added words of encouragement throughout the build - as ever it is sincerely appreciated, Thanks for looking, Roger
  12. Hi All, My next project will be Special Hobby's 1:72 Sunderland Mk.III - oh boy (or should that be 'Oh Buoy'? ). I've long loved the Sunderland - it's just such an interesting aircraft, with a variety of novel features not found on other types, such as the retractable bomb racks, the sliding front turret, and generally the fact that it's a mahoosive bl**dy flying boat. Inspired by @AliGauld's lovely Mk.V build (still in progress at the time of writing), I had to give it a crack! This will also be my second Short Brothers build, after I completed the 1:72 Italeri Stirling Mk.I earlier this year. I decided on the Mk.III as this was the prevalent Sunderland mark, and the one which undertook the brunt of the fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic. This is the SH boxart: Here's the sprue shots: Lawks - that's a lot of styrene! The boxing allows for 4 schemes - 2 RAAF, 1 RCAF and one Free French. Well, it had to be RAAF, so based on the fact that it also had to be DSG/EDSG over White I have chosen to complete as this aircraft - EJ134 'N for Nuts' of 461Sqn RAAF, based at RAF Pembroke Dock in 1943: Now the reason for the title 'The Flying Porcupine' is the Sunderland's exceptional ability to defend itself. 'N-Nuts' was a prime example of this capability, shown during an incident on 2nd June 1943, when she was attacked by no less than 8 Ju88s over the Bay of Biscay. During a protracted battle the crew of EJ134 destroyed 3 of the Ju88s, severely damaging another 2. EJ134 also sustained significant damage as well as several of the crew being severely injured. However, the crew nursed the damaged aircraft back to the Cornish coast without incident and eventually beached the aircraft on Praa Sands. There is an extensive account of the battle on the 'Aircrew Remembered' website - it is compelling reading: http://aircrewremembered.com/walker-colin.html Although I cannot find a picture of EJ134, there are some very evocative photos of 461 Sqn Sunderlands at Pembroke Dock - both of these are copyright Australian War Memorial (for discussion only and will be removed on request): Both of the following show 461 Sqn aircraft, and are copyright Aircrew Remembered (for discussion only and will be removed on request): The last two shots clearly show use of the beaching gear - as this is included in the kit I'll surely make use of this, and will also be attempting to replicate the heavy level of wear on these beautiful beasts. The build will be OOB with the addition of a set of Montex masks for the extensive glazing. I shall gird my loins as I think this may be a bit of a rollercoaster! Thanks for looking, Roger
  13. There was only ever one rocket-armed Wirraway. A little history... In 1949 the front-line fighter of the RAAF was the Mustang, and the first Vampires were starting to arrive (the RAAF's first jet fighter). Advanced training and refresher training for fighter pilots was being carried out using CAC Wirraway aircraft, but the Wirraways were not able to train pilots in the full syllabus required by fighter pilots, since they were not fitted with gyro-stabilised gun-sights and they could not carry rocket armament. So in December of 1949 the RAAF Director of Technical Services wrote to RAAF Headquarters on behalf of the Air Member for Technical Services with a request to enable a full syllabus of training to be carried out with Wirraway aircraft by fitting the following items: An AN-N6 Cine Camera Gun (as an alternative to the G.45 gun cameras already fitted); A Gyro Gun Sight (Mark 2D Series 2 or 3) in lieu of the Reflector Sight installed by Wirraway Order No. 134 (offset to the left to enable the instructor in the rear seat to have an unobstructed view when using the Aldis sight); Rocket pods (zero length rails) to enable the carriage of 6 rockets (3 under each mainplane) in such a manner as they do not interfere with bombing and gunnery installations; and Provide remote controls in the rear cockpit for the operation of the VHF set installed by Wirraway Order No. 173 (which only specified operation from the front seat). It was requested that the Air Armament School (AAS) at East Sale be instructed to carry out a prototype installation, and that Technical Services officers would visit if assistance was needed. This was seen as an urgent training requirement, and the AAS prototyping was requested as soon as possible. The Mark 2D Gyro Gun Sight and the AN-N6 Camera were both designed for 24V operation, requiring voltage boosters to enable them to be operated from the Wirraway’s 12V electrical system. Tests were required to determine if the power from the Wirraway’s engine-driven generator would be sufficient for these extra items and their voltage boosters. The requirement that the RP installation should not interfere with the existing bombing and gunnery installations was ambiguous, as it did not specify if the aircraft should carry under-wing gun packs (which were already fitted to all Wirraways at this time) and RP rails at the same time, or if the gun packs could be swapped for RP rails. The prototype installation carried out at AAS followed the second of these interpretations. Records show that Wirraway A20-729 was used for a mock-up installation and A20-723 was modified for the full installation and flight trials. The first flight with the new equipment fitted was carried out on 20 July 1950 at East Sale. The first rocket firing was carried out during a flight on 24 July. Further successful firing tests were carried out in July. But the program was discontinued and no other Wirraways were fitted with this capability. I've uncovered a sketch of the proposed rocket installation by the AAS, but I've never come across photos of the aircraft or the trials. So I'm basing this build on "educated speculation". So I'm planning to model A20-723 fitted with six RP-3 rockets on zero-length rails, a gyro-stabilised gun-sight and an AN-N6 gun camera on the wing centre-section. To duplicate this aircraft, I'll need a Wirraway kit, and ideally some rockets plus a gyro-stabilised gun-sight. The Wirraway will be the 1/72 Special Hobby kit (in all its flawed glory). Looking at my stash, the gun-sight and zero-length rails will come from a Tamiya F-51 kit and the RP-3 rockets will come from a Valom Bristol Buckmaster (why do I have two of those in my stash???). Here's where the fun will begin: First up is to construct the fuselage frame and detail the cockpits. Here are a couple of photos of the start of this process, alongside a scratch-built fuselage frame I've made for an MPM Wirraway I'm also building. Important to note that we must ignore the kit instructions here... Wirraways were all silver inside, no C364 "interior green" at all. None. Everything was silver, except black instrument panels, black electrical panels, and various red and yellow highlights for controls. No "interior green". And another view showing the instrument panels. You can see that the framework tubes are fairly chunky and SH have not replicated the framework too well. Several extra tubes have been added, and some real tubes are missing. Plus the foot-troughs should be discontinuous, not one long trough as the kit provides. But I'm living with it for this model... definitely changing it for my 1/48 and 1/32 builds... Edit: Note that there are two radio sets under the rear instrument panel (R.1082 and T.1083) - these were no longer in use by the 1950s, so I've removed them from the model.
  14. Another Wirraway project I have on the go is the MPM Models 1/72 kit, which I'm planning to build as the legendary A20-502, known affectionately (and ironically) as "The Rocket". This aircraft served with No. 5 Squadron in Queensland and New Guinea, racking up an enormous number of sorties over its long life. To quote the West Australian newspaper, Friday 20th April 1945: ANCIENT WIRRAWAY. Achievements of the Rocket. MELBOURNE, April 19.-Now operating with an RAAF Army co-operation squadron in the Solomons is an Australian-designed and built Wirraway which is claimed to be the oldest single-engined aircraft flying in operations in the South-West Pacific area. Known as the Rocket, this Wlrraway, which began its career with an RAAF Army co-operation squadron on March 10, 1942, has completed 953 sorties and flown almost 1100 hours. It has out-lived four engines. Last month, when the Wirraway celebrated is third birthday, Flying Officer Ted Reynolds, of West Maitland, NSW, flew it on a tactical reconnaissance over Japanese positions at Bougainville Island. The Wirraway has dropped smoke bombs as target markers for Corsair fighter-bombers of the RNZAF. While the New Zealanders' dropped their 1,000lb bombs on Japanese positions it flew low over the target to observe the results. It has pinpointed numerous targets for the AMF. It has flown so low that once a pilot was able to signal base that a wounded Japanese had blood trickling down a leg. Other important jobs it has carried out include the re-charting of maps of Bougainville Island. On survey work it has flown on steady photo reconnaissance flights. It has acted as mail and supply dropper to front line troops. In artillery reconnaissances it has been shaken by mortar fire whilst flying above the barrage. It has dive-bombed targets inaccesible to high-speed bombers, and fighter-bombers. Now in its fourth year of Army co-operation work, the Wirraway is under the care of Flt-Lt F. T. Binns, of Sydney, NSW, an engineer officer. "The fact that the Rocket has never had a major misfortune is not the least of its claims to fame." he said. "The nearest it has come to disaster is wing tips damaged in ground loops." Flt-Lt Binns considers the Wirraway the ideal aircraft for Army co-operation work, because of its handling qualities and complete lack of vices. Wirraways are doing particularly fine work in the present campaigns, giving splendid co-operation to the AMF. The aircraft ended its life during a particularly exuberant New-Year's eve party in January 1946, when it was burned on a bonfire together with a CAC Boomerang! Sadly, the aircraft had been approved for preservation in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra due to its longevity and high public profile, but the signal from RAAF headquarters arrived at the squadron after the deed had been done! My plan is to model this aircraft as it appeared in May 1944 when used in some supply dropping tests at Mareeba, Queensland. It was fitted with rectangular supply canisters (different to the later cylindrical "Storepedo" designs used in New Guinea) plus a message pick-up hook. Luckily I have a copy of the factory drawings of the message hook, so I'll be able to replicate that nicely. The aircraft was finished in the standard camouflage scheme of Foliage Green / Earth Brown and Sky undersides. Here's a couple of images of what the aircraft looked like. Below you can see a supply canister being loaded under the port wing: Below you can just make out the message pick-up hook under the fuselage centre-line: Loading the experimental stores canisters... lots of wear around the engine cowl... And finally a later image with the aircraft overall Foliage Green and white empennage, taken on Bougainville around April 1945. If you look carefully, you can see 3 aerial wires leading from the top of the antenna mast - one to the top of the rudder (as usual) and one to each wing-tip (not usual!): So what are we starting with in the MPM Models kit? Well, it's pretty basic. Large gates on the moldings, honking ejector pin marks and annoying flash along the parting lines. Minimal cockpit and zero wheel-well detail... The propeller is very basic, and the engine is the figment of some tool-maker's imagination! The fuselage side panels bulge out (which they should not do) and some of the surface details on the wing panels is fictional, but at least I know what I'm working with. First step after cleaning up the moldings was to add some basic internal detail to the insides of the fuselage side-panels, representing the aluminium extrusions and pressed formers over which the fabric was attached. These panels were removable on the real aircraft, making maintenance of the hydraulics, the engine control push-rods and elevator/rudder cables very simple. More coming...
  15. This is the Special Hobby 1/48 Spitfire Mk Vc done as RAAF aircraft A58-143 UP*Y using DKDecals.
  16. Here's my latest. Definitely not a shake'n'bake kit, there's been a bit of work at my usual glacial pace to get this to the finish line! WIP at: Additions include the Flightpath detail set, brass tube for the exhaust, scratchbuilt lights (nav and landing), antennae, custom decals (and the odd Roodecal/Aussie Decal and Tasman Decals replacements!), etched nose gear door and scratchbuilt speedbrakes. Painted with Humbrol Aluminium, Colourcoats Luftwaffe DayGlo Red (primed with Humbrol 81 as white made the DayGlo too vivid) and Model Master for the remainder. All are enamels. Clear coated in Future and a lightly applied, dark brown wash was used. Reasonably happy with the result (apart from the cracked rear canopy - see WIP for details on that), considering how difficult this was to wrangle into shape. Finally, as a nod to how my skills have developed over the last 35 or so years, here she is with her successor, the Aermacchi MB326H. It's the old ESCI kit built from the box with my own take on the colours and brush painted - this one needs refurbishing! Comments and critiques welcome.
  17. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, my next project is Classic Airframes' DH Vampire Trainers kit. I've got the Flightpath detail set for it, too. After lots of work with a razor saw and sanding sticks, it's ready to assemble. I've made a start on the cockpit. Still need to paint the Face Blind Ejection Handles with yellow stripes before fitting it to the fuselage. I also decided to open up the holes in the intakes where they pass through the fuselage, which means you can see through to the inside of the fuselage (slightly). To that end, I scratched up a representation of the engine intake. It's not meant to be accurate, just something that looks like the engine. I'll also replace the exhaust pipe with a piece of aluminium tubing before closing up.
  18. Wow first GB of the year already and the start of a hopefully not too busy GB year. This build was a case of what came first the model or the decals, in this case the decals are from Syhart and once I had seen them, I just had to have them. The model is Hasegawa’s EA-18G which is an updated version of their F/A-18E/F models. Of course, now Meng has released their version of the Growler….and yes, I will resist for now......just………… though I do have an extra Quinta set……… don’t ask! Extras, there’s always room/need for extras…. …. new Cans from Aires, they are sort of ok and all I could get at the time, but I now see ResKit have a set so….. …. plus, some quite nice Aires Bang seats, the PE belts will be replaced with Quinta ones, much easier to use! Really, don’t ask……… though I could always use the 2nd set on 2nd F/A-18F model… They are a huge improvement over the supplied decals! Finally, the decals/scheme for the special 100th Anniversary 6 Squadron EA-18G Growler. I served with 6 Sqn in the 80’s working on the F-111’s so of course I have a real soft spot for aircraft operated by them…… so that second set may come in handy for a 6 Sqn “Operation Okra” F/A-18F! Will miss the start of this one (away with work) but hopefully the following weekend…. can’t wait!
  19. Hi All, My latest completion is Italeri's Stirling Mk.I. Much has been written about this kit, not all of it complimentary. I actually started the kit over 4 years ago, but quickly got the fear, and it has since lurked in the stash shaming me. I therefore girded my loins in January and got on with the build. The boxing I had included decals for BF372 of 149 Sqn, based at RAF Mildenhall in 1942. This aircraft was flown by an Australian pilot, RAAF Flt Sgt (later P/O) Rawden 'Ron' Middleton VC. On 28th November 1942 his aircraft was badly damaged on a raid to the Fiat aircraft works at Turin. Despite suffering multiple grievous injuries, including the loss of his right eye, Middleton managed to complete a 4 hour flight to bring the stricken aircraft back to the English coast. Five of his seven crew then baled out (the front gunner and flight engineer remained aboard to try and persuade Middleton to carry out a forced landing). Following his refusal to do so, the remaining crew baled out but did not survive the night in the English Channel. Middleton stayed with the aircraft, which ditched into the Channel, his body not washing ashore until February 1943. Middleton was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and promoted to Pilot Officer. Here's a picture of Middleton during his flying training: I cannot find any period photos of BF372, but there are several photos of other 149 Sqn aircraft: Here's a link to the WIP if anyone is interested. The build was mostly OOB, although the decals proved somewhat troublesome. I therefore had to spray some of the squadron and aircraft codes. Here's a couple of shots from during the build just to show some of the interior detail: Although much has been written about the deep panel lines on this kit, I was happy with the result after a couple of coats of primer and a light sanding. Anyways, enough waffle and on with the photos: Finally, here's a couple of shots with some other Bristol-powered loveliness: I'm glad to have finally got this one over the line after such a long period lying dormant. I must thank several people who have helped along the way - @12jaguar @dogsbody @elger @Heather Kay @Dave Swindell have all contributed knowledge which has improved the build immensely. Thanks also to all of those who have provided encouragement and kind words along the way - it has been much appreciated as always! Thanks for looking, Roger
  20. This build occurred a few years back but I thought the steps may be informative for someone contemplating this build themselves. This kit was the 1980 issue Airfix Lancaster, with the addition of the DB Models Lincoln conversion kits. The kits include a number of parts in white metal, resin and vacform. First step was to cut the fuselage up and insert the vacform plugs. These actually fit pretty well and I used some internal bracing supports to ensure the fuselage wouldn't sag when supported purely by the plugs. Next, I drilled out the new nose and added some longerons and stringers I also utilised the White Ensign Models' Lancaster detail set for some of the internals. Following the joining of the plugs, the fuselage halves were trial-fitted to work out what was needed next. I also added some internal longerons to the fuselage. You can see the internal fuselage supports here.
  21. After years of staring at the model in my cabinet, I decided last week after seeing yet another P-3 kit started that it was time to crack on with the restoration of this: I built this back in 1981, I think. Considering it was all brush-painted and the walkways painted, it wasn't a bad job but the seams were terrible, it needed nose weight (which I'd left out) and the decals were all faded (no clear coats on my models in those days!). I want to rebuild it as a flying desktop model of the EW version of the AP-3C, two of which will continue in service with 10SQN, RAAF for a few more years. I have the Hawkeye Models decal set I'll use for this and I managed to get a copy of the Hamilton Hobbies ELINT conversion set, too. It's suffering from the moulds becoming worn, so I'll need to do a fair bit of work on the castings for it to pass muster. I'll also be using the Quickboost prop set as I want to model it with #1 engine loitered (propeller feathered in flight). First step - strip with oven cleaner: It took a few goes and some resorting to the more-toxic-but-more-effective caustic stuff but it all came off eventually! The Lincoln at the bottom is not being stripped - it was in the hangar for a tailwheel repair! Some bits broke off but I'm not concerned as they're being replaced anyway. The sonobouy launcher section and all the pylons were then removed and the small galley/rest area windows, which had clouded over, popped out. I've made a plastic sleeve like the one I made for the USS Enterprise from plastic stock on Ray Seppala's suggestion. It'll go inside the fuselage to take the brass stand before I fit the replacement belly section. Lots of surgery required on the #2 and #3 engine fairings for the EWPS resin bits, the nose for the IRDS bits and wingtip replacements. Then it'll be time for some seam sealing...
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