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  1. Avro Lancaster B Mk. I (Serial No. R5727), built in the UK and flown to Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario, in August 1942 to serve as a pattern for the other Lancasters to be built in Canada. The fabrication drawings had been delivered in January, 1942. R5727 became the first of the type to conduct a transatlantic crossing. The first Canadian-built Lancaster was a Mk. X (Serial No. KB700), aka “The Ruhr Express” coming off the line a year after R5727 arrived in Canada.
  2. Dear fellow modellers. Here is my most recent creation. The rather excellent recently released Bristol BeaufortMk1 in 1:72 scale. Built OOB with a slight departure from the kit decals. This is a sort of 22 Squadron aircraft. I've done it without the torpedo fit but as a land based medium bomber. A What If of sorts. I did find a reference to 22 Squadron being in the North African desert from early 1942. With this in mind I elected to do it in RAF Desert colours. I liked this kit very much. I believe it's a very recent moulding? There is a ICM offering in 1:48 this might be one for me to buy in the near future too. I hope you like it posed on my desert diorama base, which I made for a previous 1:48 Hurricane Trop . Paints are AK with some MIG silvers where necessary. Sorry I didn't do a WIP for this one.Did most of the work between meetings at work ! Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it! I hand painted the underside Azure blue. The top cammo was using my airbrush and I used the blue tack sausage method to deliniate the two colours. I used the painting guide from the kit instructions and lightly ma4ked with pencil the pattern. I'm Quite astounded this has recieved some many likes so far.Thank You all so much. Regards, Andy Thought I'd add a couple of Vintage shots
  3. Hi All, My next project is Tamiya's lovely Mosquito. Now I have built this kit a couple of times in my pre-BM days, but this is my first build in a few years. I know therefore that it is a lovely kit to build. Although much modelled, here is the box art: Here's the sprue shots: I've got a few extras for this build: I've just finished re-reading this in preparation for the build: If you get a chance to read it, it is an excellent account of the actions of the Banff Strike wing. I am still debating which aircraft to model - the mount of the Wing's C/O, Group Captain Max Aitken DSO DFC is currently the favoured option. There's a few photos of this aircraft: And this one in B/W with half invasion stripes: Other elements of note are the red spinners, the group captain's pennant and the bare metal auxiliary fuel tanks. Now although I know that the aircraft serial number is HR366, I confess that I do not currently know the squadron code for 235 Sqn ('KK'?) or the aircraft code - I'm sure someone will have this information! None of this stops me from getting on with the build, so off we jolly we trot! Thanks for looking, Roger
  4. Hi All, With my other current WIP (1:32 Spitfire Mk.IXc) on hold pending some decals arriving *drums fingers*, I thought I'd get another project going. Although 1:48 is my normal stomping ground I couldn't resist straying into the gentleman's scale in order to build a Beaufort, which I've been lusting after it since its release. I've been unable to order this kit anywhere locally, so after seeing @tonyot and @Rabbit Leader's inspirational joint build (wonderful work gents), I could contain myself no longer and ordered one from the big H at exorbitant cost (including shipping of course). A few short weeks later this lovely little box landed at the portcullis of Dunny Towers: Beautiful box art showing the enormous danger that these brave crews flew into. Although there are many interesting schemes for the Beaufort (including some lovely Aussie versions!), the combination of DSG/EDSG over Night is an irresistible one, so I'm going to complete this as the lower scheme, L9866 of 217 Sqn, based at St Eval in Cornwall in Feb 1941. This aircraft was flown by Sgt John Rutherford (pilot), Sgt Thomas O'Byrne (navigator), Sgt William Browning (W/Op), and Sgt John Wood (AG). The crew were all lost in the 1st Feb attack on the German cruiser Admiral Hipper whilst she was moored in Brest Harbour - the aircraft was thought to have been shot down by a Bf109-E4 of II./JG77. Brave men indeed. I can't find any photos of L9866, but I have found some lovely colour pics of other 217 Sqn aircraft (both copyright World War Photos) Here's another one, showing that both TSS and TLS were applied to aircraft from the same unit: All these shots show some interesting details such as the EDSG spinners, aircraft ID letter on the glazing, as well as the general wear & tear on the airframe which I shall do my best to replicate. On to the kit! Here's the sprue shots: The detail looks lovely, and the mouldings are nice & crisp. I know that everybody has raved about how well this kit fits together, so I hope it will be a pleasure to build. Here's the decals, which look lovely, along with an obligatory set of Eduard masks - the build will otherwise be OOB. I'm looking forward to this one! Thanks for looking, Roger
  5. Hi All, My latest completion is Airfix' lovely 1:72 Beaufort Mk.I. I originally started building this last year but binned it after a rather disastrous weathering incident. It niggled me to the extent that I purchased another kit and recently had another crack at the same scheme, albeit using masks cut on my new cutter, which has been a great learning experience. The aircraft I've chosen to model is L9866 of 217 Sqn, based at St Eval in Cornwall in Feb 1941. This aircraft was flown by Sgt John Rutherford (pilot), Sgt Thomas O'Byrne (navigator), Sgt William Browning (W/Op), and Sgt John Wood (AG). The crew were all lost in the 1st Feb attack on the German cruiser Admiral Hipper whilst she was moored in Brest Harbour - the aircraft was thought to have been shot down by a Bf109-E4 of II./JG77. Brave men indeed. I could not find any photos of L9866, but there are some nice colour photos of other 217 Sqn Beauforts (images for discussion only and will be removed on request): Some nice details in there, such as the absence of a chin turret, the EDSG spinners, and general wear on the airframe. Here's the WIP if anyone is interested: Anyway, here's the photos: Finally here's a couple of shots with my recently completed 'other' Bristol aircraft (different scale, obvs): Both beautiful kits and schemes! I've really enjoyed this build and am glad to have got it over the line. Thanks to all who have offered kind words and encouragement along the way - it has been much appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  6. 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:
  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 Airfix lovely 1:48 Blenheim. Now I did build the Mk.IF boxing of this kit a few years ago, so I did know what to expect, which is a superb, vice-free kit. The build was mostly OOB, albeit with the addition of an Eduard mask set and harnesses. I did scratch build a Wimperis bomb sight, which is a rather curious omission given the quality of the rest of the kit. The subject I chose to model is one of the box schemes, L6670 of 211 Sqn RAF, based at Menidi, Greece in 1941. This aircraft was flown by the squadron's CO, Sqn Ldr JR Gordon-Finlayson (known as 'The Bish'). This aircraft was involved in several raids on Italian forces deep into Albania. Here's quite a nice link to 211 Squadron's history, including a mention of L6670: http://www.211squadron.org/bristol_blenheim_i.html This aircraft is relatively well photographed - here's a selection (all copyright IWM - images for discussion only and will be removed on request: There is much speculation on the correct colour scheme - a pertinent link to the discussion here: For what it's worth I chose to go with Light Earth and Dark Earth over a considerably lightened Azure Bule, which I felt was the most likely combination. Here's a link to the WIP if anybody is interested: And so to the pictures. Here's a WIP shot showing that lovely cockpit detail: You can see the bomb sight on the floor - it should be located further forward but the fuselage was buttoned up before I discovered this! Here's the finished article: Here's a couple of shots along with a DAF Hurricane to show the variance from the later 'standard' Desert Scheme of Mid-Stone & Dark Earth over Azure Blue: You can see that I've simulated a fading effect by adding a couple of drops of light grey to the flat coat on the Blenheim - I'm not displeased with the overall effect. Finally here's a shot with a Bristol stablemate, from the other side of the Mediterranean (the mighty 'Slippery Ship II'): I think this shot shows just how far aircraft design evolved so quickly in the early years of the war. Thanks very much to all those who offered words of encouragement along the way - I'm quite pleased with the result, and it's nice to have this unusual scheme in the display cabinet! Thanks for looking, Roger
  9. Does anybody ever corrected frames? Cockpits have usually external and internal frames. Mostly all kits the cockpit clear parts show just external frames. Even if there is just an internal frame. No matter which type. Ju-88, Ju-87, Me-110, Helifax,. I think about removing the external frame, and just spraying inside. Has anyone experience on this matter? Happy modelling
  10. Here's my attempt at Revell's 1/72 Eurofighter Typhoon from the "British Legends" kit. I'd heard that the Revell kits don't have the full set of weapons pylons to accurately represent the RAF versions, so these were part of the modifications (new pylon set from Air-Graphics models), along with some Brassin weapons and Eduard etch set. Assorted other ground support bits were from Flightpath, LP, and ReedOak figures, for the 'night shoot' pics. Airbrushed in Hataka acrylics and weathered with oils. Decals were another aftermarket eBay buy (from an Airfix kit) to represent the Coningsby aircraft I wanted. I also modified the etch FOD covers (adding plasticard strengthening and guide vanes) so they could be added / removed as required. The whole thing isn't perfect but it's been fun [mostly!] and good photography practise too. Thanks for looking.
  11. Hi All, My next project will be Airfix' lovely Bristol Blenheim Mk.I. Now I have actually built another version of this kit a couple of years back - here's the RFI: That was right at the start of my BM career, but I remember that it is a lovely kit. This time around I'm tackling the 'other' boxing (i.e. not the fighter version). Here's the box art: Here's the lovely sprue shots: Decals are of the usual high standard we expect of Auntie: This will be mostly OOB, albeit with the addition of an Eduard mask set and seatbelts. The subject I have chosen to model is one of the box schemes, L6670 of 211 Sqn RAF, based at Menidi, Greece in 1941 (see what I did there?). This aircraft was flown by the squadron's CO, Sqn Ldr JR Gordon-Finlayson (known as 'The Bish'). This aircraft was involved in several raids on Italian forces deep into Albania. Here's quite a nice link to 211 Squadron's history, including a mention of L6670: http://www.211squadron.org/bristol_blenheim_i.html There are a few lovely photos of this airframe (all copyright IWM - images are for discussion only and will be removed on request): Some lovely detail in those bottom two photos, such as the bare aluminium filter housings, and the undercarriage colour. Here's the scheme as presented by Airfix: There is some debate around the accuracy of this scheme, as shown in the below link: So it is likely that the camouflage is probably a combination of Dark and Light Earth, over a lightened version of Azure Blue - an opportunity for some fading and weathering too, methinks. To my eye the codes are probably red (they are a good match for the roundel centres), so I'll stick with the kit decals. Rather bizarrely for such a well-engineered kit Airfix do not provide a bomb sight, so I shall look at a bit of scratch building for that. Other than that, I'm hoping that this should be a relatively trouble free build, and not the Greek Tragedy of the title! Thanks for looking, Roger
  12. The Spitfire MK.VB in 1/72 scale by Směr (old Heller form) with a small vignette depicting Karel Pošta taking a cigarette break during flights. The build was quite fun as well as the sculpt. I had to fix the rudder, which was badly pressed (see last photo). The figure is a modified German tanker from Orion set. This is my return to modeling after 10 years or so. Photos are taken by a mobile phone, so I am sorry for the lower quality. Cheers, Thomas Vintage filter: Original photos of Karel Pošta and Ladislav Světlík, who flew on the aircraft in contrast with the model in the lower right corner. Correction of the rudder:
  13. A very rare find, that I've never actually seen on sale previously. Bought at Avon Show in Aug this year, and completed with Model Alliance decals as an HS125 CC3 of 32(TR) Sqdn RAF.
  14. Hi all. I've found myself dragging out the recent 1/48 Airfix Sabre F.4 with the dim hope of a CA-27 Sabre being released by a mainstream manufacturer...though I might be barking up the wrong tree there. The kit has already been reviewed here and elsewhere so I won't be reviewing anything but I'll makes some observations on the build so far. It's fully optioned to give you everything that opens and closes bar the flaps, though that wouldn't be an onerous job to do. I've opted for the canopy and airbrakes open and that left me the fun job of fitting the gun bay panels. Mine don't sit flush with the fuselage surface which correlates with a few builds I've seen online. I've prioritised a good fit on three corners which has left one corner sitting recessed. I've have an inkling that this might have to do with a slight warp in the fuselage plastic...did someone say Buccaneer! (no, not that bad). I would have preferred to have it sit proud as it's easier to take material away rather than add material to have it sit flush. Old school sprue glue was applied in two sessions with a bout of sanding between each. The results are fine and the next part will be checking with primer and then reinstating the panel edges and access latches. I removed the gusset from around the gun bay steps as the fit is much better when they were removed The intake lips and tunnel align well and the same treatment of sprue glue was used to erase the seam. Some sanding 48 hours later and all was sorted. The exhaust tube is fine though devoid of any internal details. A note here though, the tube is handed. The rear rib that prevents it from wobbling about has a lobe on it that needs to be at the top. Do this and you'll get a snug fit. The main gear legs are nothing spectacular and there is an error on them, likely from when they studied the subject. Between each of the torque links there is some sort of strut that would prevent the gear compressing. No doubt from a museum piece that they don't want sitting on pressurised gear legs. They're present on both sides of the gear legs for both sides. And I've bagged up the undercarriage parts so I know what part belongs to what side. The 6x .50 cal guns have been drilled out. There are a few scoops and panels inserts that need to be addressed on the. With some attention paid at the clean-up stage they fit snuggly. The wings a clever assembly as the upper and lowers are designed to follow panel lines rather that a seam on the leading and trailing edge. The wing tips are separate pieces which no doubt are designed for the longer F40 winged kit that's on the way. A bit of filler is needed to fill the sink marks...no idea why they'd be in this location. So will all of this work construction of the fuselage is progressing though it's going to have to be in parts due to the slight warp that's in my fuselage pieces. At the moment the cockpit tub/nose wheel well has been glued at the seam behind the intake and the frame at the front of the cockpit tub. Next will be the rear peg that holds the compressor face to the left side of the fuselage and the edge that attaches the rear turtle deck to the fuselage. This will leave the cockpit tub secure so I can proceed with attaching the right side. There have been a few other items completed such as the drop tanks but this is enough for an update. Until the next one, thanks for stopping by. Mick
  15. Hi All, My latest completion is Airfix relatively new Spitfire FR Mk.XIVe. It's a lovely kit, which was completed as part of an informal group build with @mark.au, @bigbadbadge, @AdrianMF, @Winded Penguin and @Biggles87. I chose to complete as SM888 of 28 Sqn RAF, which was part of SEAC in India in July 1945. I used Xtradecals scheme, although as depicted the aircraft was based at RAF Kuala Lumpur in 1946. I had a photo of the aircraft in India in 1945: There are a couple of interesting elements to this photo - the non-standard camouflage pattern, and the white spinner (the scheme shows a red spinner). Here's the WIP if anyone is interested: The kit is lovely, but a few niggling errors spoilt my enjoyment of the finish. Anyway, on to the photos: Finally, here's a shot with a few other recent Spit builds (a Mk.I from the opening of the war, and a brace of Malta Mk.Vbs). Thanks for all those who offered kind words and encouragement along the way - it is much appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  16. Hi Everyone, For the last few years, I’ve been researching my grandfather’s Cierva C.30a autogiro and I would really like your help to model it accurately. During the time it took to set up my Britmodeller account, I’ve enjoyed reading the forum archives and it seems that @petetasker is a bit of a C.30/Rota expert – so it would be great to get your thoughts. I am full of admiration for @pierre Giustiniani's model of G-ACUU as HM580 – it was fantastic to see. And another incredible find was @Fastcat's story of sneaking into Elmdon hangar to see G-ACUU in the 60s. Wonderful stuff! The time now seems perfect to model G-ACUU given the availability of the Mini-Art 1:35 kits, which look great to my untrained eyes but as they come in so many flavours, I'm not sure which one to start with (or are all the kits the same, just with variation in the decals?). I want to model G-ACUU as it was in 1950 when my grandfather bought it. It was also in the same scheme when it flew at Hendon’s 50 years of flying display 1951. My grandfather loaned the aircraft to Norman Hill (who was a F/O in No.529 Squadron) to fly the display. My grandfather was an RAF signals F/L involved in radar development during the war and I have his service record but have been unable to tie it to the autogiros so far, despite my best efforts. The liveries pre- and post-war look very similar in the images from “Aeroplane Monthly” magazine (below) but the longitudinal stripe is different widths. The colours are a complete mystery though because all the images I have seen to date are black-and-white. The aircraft has been well photographed since the 1960s when, following the birth of my father, my grandmother forced Guy to stop flying and it was loaned to the Skyfame collection and has latterly found a prominent home at the IWM Duxford next to their glorious Spits. The IWM have returned to G-ACUU to a wartime scheme, so I would really like to commemorate its civilian life. Some have linked the nickname “Billy Boy” to G-ACUU but nobody in my family has ever heard this name and so we don’t know where it came from. In the book “Spitfires and Autogiros: A history of Upper Culham Farm, RAF Henley-on-Thames”, the author Darren J. Pitcher claims the following which I have not been able to verify: - G-ACUU/HM580 was crashed on the 18th October 1943 whilst returning to Thornaby in bad weather flown by P/O Gillies. I’m hoping there might be a photo of this somewhere. - G-ACUU was the last autogiro to fly with the RAF. This is a sad footnote to the story but I haven’t heard this before and it would give the aircraft extra importance. Sorry, that’s a bit of a full-on first post - hope it's interesting to some and starts a conversation. Cheers, Simon
  17. Hi All, Whilst commencing my 1:72 Stringbag build, I also felt like a bit of 1:48 indulgence. Seeing as @mark.au and @bigbadbadge have just started similar Spit builds, I thought 'well why not? I am a grown man, and nobody can tell me not to' (with the obvious exceptions ). It was lurking right near the top of the stash, so I've just about got time to finish it prior to the start of the impending P38 GB (which I'm also rather excited about as it will be my first GB). So here's the box art: Here's the sprues: They look lovely! I've got myself a few extras for this one: Although the box schemes are both quite attractive I've had a hankering for a SEAC Spit for a little while, so I also invested in the lovely Xtradecals set: Here's what's on offer: This allows for some lovely schemes for both highback and bubbletop versions. I nearly plumped for the DG/LSG 208 Sqn scheme, but I've chosen to model SM888, which is an aircraft of 28 Sqn RAF, based at Kuala Lumpur in 1946. Now although this falls outside my normal self-imposed WW2 restriction, a quick bit of research informed me that SM888 was first delivered to theatre in June 1945, so technically I'm home & hosed. Here's a photo of the aircraft: There's a few interesting things to note from the photo. Firstly, the scheme shows a red spinner, but the photo looks to be much lighter (Sky?) - conceivably the photo is from 28 Sqn's time in India, so I may go with the photo? Secondly, the camouflage pattern is non-standard on the fuselage as noted in the scheme. Thirdly, it looks as if the aircraft is fitted with a slipper tank, although it could just be the larger radiators fitted for the mighty Griffon - perhaps @Troy Smith might know? Anyway, the kit looks superb, so it will be a pleasant contrast seeing this develop alongside the Stringbag (as well as the concurrent Spit builds of Chris and Mark), Thanks for looking, Roger
  18. Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C/D (A12012) 1:48 Airfix The Buccaneer needs little introduction to most British aviation enthusiasts, as it was in service for a long time, first in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, and latterly with the RAF after remaining airframes were handed-over, performing a similar strike role in both branches of the British armed forces. The Buccaneer was originally designed by Blackburn for the Royal Navy, which is why even the RAF aircraft retained their folding wings and arrestor hooks. Blackburn was later rolled into Hawker Siddeley, hiding away its lengthy heritage. It was designed to a rugged low-level attacker that was to approach below the enemy’s radar horizon, and also had a reputation as a highly-stable weapons platform that although it was just sub-sonic could leave behind other more modern aircraft in the weeds if things got down and dirty. After the last British aircraft carriers were retired at the end of the 70s, the hand-over to the RAF was completed, and older airframes were scrapped due safety concerns after an accident, leaving them with a fleet of around 60 aircraft that served until 1994 when the Tornado took over the tasks it had been carrying out. The type proceeded from initial S.1 variant to S.2, ditching the underpowered De Havilland engines for the powerful Spey engines that were also used in the Nimrod and British Phantoms amongst others. This required a larger intake to gulp-down sufficient air to feed the engines, and later the S.2B was further upgraded to carry Martel missiles. The S.2A moniker was reserved for former FAA airframes after they had been converted for use by the RAF, while the C was the Navy’s name for the S.2A, and the D were former Naval airframes upgraded to S.2B standards. The last hurrah of the Buccaneer was during the first Gulf War, lasing targets for the Tornados it flew with in the event they encountered problems with their own pods. They were instrumental in the destruction of many bridges in Iraq, and they were also sent to dive-bomb airfields and bunkers either solo, or with lasing provided by other aircraft. On its return from the Gulf, it was decided that they were no-longer needed, and were retired early, despite having been substantially upgraded at great cost just a few years earlier – typical! Their role was taken over by the Tornados after they had been upgraded to operate the Sea Eagle anti-shipping missiles the Buccs had been carrying. The Kit This is NOT a reboxing of the old 90s era kit, which suffered from soft detail and a difficult fuselage to close up neatly. This is a 100% brand-new tooling from Airfix, sharing only the colour of the box and the fact that it has a painting of a Buccaneer on the top. The kit arrives in a large top-opening box, and if you consider part count to be a value indicator, you’re getting almost 300 of them on the seven sprues that are in a darker grey styrene than usual, reminiscent of the Extra Dark Sea Grey scheme that it often wore in service. There is a single sprue of clear parts, a large decal sheet and a thick instruction booklet that has three glossy colour and markings profiles inside. First impressions are excellent, with lots of delightfully fine detail that includes panel lines and rivets, as well as raised details where appropriate, at odds with the comical lie that the Bucc was hewn from one billet of airframe aluminium. Amongst the parts you get a very detailed cockpit, gear bays, engines, boarding ladders, an open port engine bay that even includes a handy styrene mask for painting, a contoured box inside the nose for the nose-weight, detailed bomb bay, airbrake in the tail and a broad weapons load, plus a set of FOD guards for the intakes and exhausts. That’s an impressive list of features that even includes two pilot figures, although they are sadly still suffering from the hands-on-laps pose that dates back to the 80s and beyond. Such a minor gripe that it’s hardly worth mentioning, especially as many folks don’t use pilot figures anyway. Well, that’s my two old Airfix Buccs pushed right to the back of the stash then. I’m still smiling though, because this kit looks like it’s going to be a monster in terms of sales and detail. It’s clear from the outset that the A-team has been in operation on this project, and they’ve put in a lot of overtime to create a model kit that looks like it’s going to be a big seller if there’s any justice. The decal sheet is similarly well-detailed with lots of stencils and dials for the instrument panels that should add to the realism of the cockpit from the outset. Before you break out the tools, you need to make a decision on which of four weapons loud-outs you are planning to deploy on the wings and in the belly of your Bucc. Version A 2 x TV Martel anti-shipping missile 1 x Martel AS.37 Anti-Radiation Missile 1 x Martel Data-Link Pod Version B 2 x Matra Rocket Pods 2 x ‘slipper’ Fuel Tanks Version C 4 x wing-mounted 1,000lb iron bombs Version D 4 x Bomb-Bay mounted 1,000lb iron bombs Construction begins with drilling the necessary holes for your chosen weapons scheme, which takes up four pages with various diagrams used to assist you with the decision. A further page shows the location of the various internal decals that are used throughout the build, although they aren’t mentioned on the actual instruction steps, so a bit of cross-referencing might be in order to prevent missing some out. They are all within the cockpit however, so that shouldn’t take long. We finally get to cut some parts off the sprues to make up the two Mk.6 Martin Baker ejection seats, which consist of six parts each, with large multi-part cushions and the overhead pull-handles that initiates the ejection process in the event of an emergency. The seat building process is carried out twice, then the rear-seater’s instrument panel is made up with a recess on the front mating with a block on the back of the pilot’s launch rail, adding decals to the panel and the headbox of both the seats. The cockpit tub has the nose gear bay glued under it, needing just the aft end cap adding to box it in, then the side consoles are detailed with top surfaces that lock in place on shaped depressions, and accepting decals later to improve the detail. The pilot’s instrument panel is started by adding rudder pedals behind the centre, and adding the short L-shaped control column into the slot in the front of the panel, before it and the rear bulkhead are joined to the rest of the cockpit, followed by the two seats, the forward one also holding the rear instrument panel. In preparation for the closing up of the separate nose portion of the fuselage, a container is made up from two halves, which has large I-shaped bars running down the sides, and inside you are told to put 15 grammes of nose weight before closing the lid on it. It’s a fancy feature that should make the fraught task of avoiding a tail-sitter a thing of the past, cramming lead shot into spaces to your best guess. The nose sides have cockpit sidewall detail moulded-in, which is improved further by adding extra parts, and if you are planning on using the included boarding ladders, you should drill some holes where indicated. The nose weight fits into the port half of the nose weight on its I-tab, taking care to glue it home fully. The cockpit slides into the port nose half, and should click into position thanks to a tab on each side of the rear bulkhead that clips in place on a shape secreted in the rear of the nose helves. Gone are the days of mushy cockpit positioning, which is another improvement. The nose is glued together and sets up, then the pilot’s coaming and gunsight are popped on top, finishing off the work in that area for now. As mentioned, there are detailed engine fronts included, plus their trunking that penetrates deep into the fuselage and out the other side, with an almost full engine in the port side nacelle that can be displayed. The first parts are the exhaust trunking halves that are paired on a cross-brace and the helves fit together using four circular depressions, and also includes some framework for the main gear bays, which is painted a different colour. A bulkhead straddles the two tubes and incorporates the rear walls of the main bays, with another at the forward side that clips onto a large tab. Another bulkhead slides into the rear of the exhaust trunking tubes, and two perpendicular panels slide in between the two aft-most bulkheads to strengthen the assembly, and provide surface detail for the inner walls of the main gear bays. This part of the assembly can then be inserted into the lower fuselage half, which has the rotating bomb-bay roof moulded into it. The intake trunking is mounted on a similar cross-brace with two circular alignment pins, then is butted up against another bulkhead that has engine front-faces moulded into them. You are incited to build the next few steps whether you intend to display the engine or not, as it will make aligning the parts much easier down the line, and I’m not going to argue. The shell of the port engine is made up from two halves, and attaches to the rear of the forward bulkhead behind the intake trunks, with some detail painted necessary before you insert them into the fuselage in front of the aft assembly. Some additional tubing is laid over the top of the engine as it will appear through the hatch if you are leaving it off, but omit these parts if you are leaving it closed. A curved plastic part is included with the word ‘MASK’ etched on it is surfaces that can be used to protect your hard work on the engine during the painting of the exterior of the model. Pretty cool, huh? If you are displaying the engine, the upper fuselage needs a little work, removing the access panel that has been helpfully partially chain-drilled for you from the inside, making the task simply a case of attacking it (carefully) with a scalpel, with a scrap diagram showing the correct angles to cut through the thickness of the fuselage. A side wall is glued in place in preparation, then the fuselage is left to one side for a moment, before it is shown again over the page, where you are incited to paint the main gear bay rooves and drill out some holes in the spine if you are folding the wings. The fuselage halves are then joined only if you are folding the wings, where you are advised not to glue the aft bulkhead as it will help with alignment of the two halves. The wings are started by making up one of two types of fairings that project from under the leading edge of the wing, then the ailerons, all of which are made from two parts each. The decision of whether to fold the wings or not is down to you, but bear in mind that RAF aircraft retained their wing-fold mechanisms, and there are photos of them with wings folded on airfields, despite their original reason being to save space below deck on a carrier. The folded option involves inserting ribs into the wing roots that have spikes projecting from the top to receive the outer wing panels, which are next to be put together. These are two parts each, and you are told to remove the fifth vortex generator from the inside edge, adding your choice of tubular fairings, the clear wingtips that incorporates the wingtip light, ailerons and actuators, and inner rib that has receivers for the prongs on the wing folds. The port wing also has a long pitot probe mounted on a fairing below. For closed wings, a spur on the outer panel is removed, as is the fifth vortex generator, then an A-frame insert is placed in the recesses inside the wings before they are joined. The wings are glued into the lower wing roots within the raised guides, then the upper fuselage can be glued down, again without gluing the aft bulkhead. The same painting and drilling is done before the two halves are glued, as per the repeated diagram. If you have elected to expose the engine, a brace is glued across the bay, then the bay door and a small part are fixed in place on four hinges that slip under the edge of the bay. Again, the mask part is included for your convenience during exterior painting. The Bucc has an area-rule era coke-bottle shaped fuselage, so has a bit of a fat butt, which is made from a separate section to the main fuselage. The tail is split vertically into two parts, and has an aft bulkhead inserted during closure, after which the tail-hook insert is glued into the gap in the underside of the assembly, followed by gluing of the tail and the nose to the main fuselage assembly, taking care to align everything neatly to remove or reduce any remedial work. The larger S.2 intake trunkings are slotted over the interior trunk surface, and they are topped off by a handed lip, and again it’s best to ensure good fit here before applying glue. The exhausts have inner and outer skins too, and these slide inside each other before being attached to the rear of the fuselage either side of the tail, with the short flap-sections made up from top and bottom halves and fixed next to the exhausts either flush, or raised at up to 40°, next to the ailerons that can be offset to 30° by changing the actuator part out. The final flying surface is the legendary T-tail, which starts with the fin that’s made from top and bottom halves, mated with the now usual circular locating tabs, then it’s glued onto the moulded-in tail fin. The fairing on top is two more parts, with a choice of forward and rear bullet fairings, separate elevators and rudder panel, all of which are single parts each and can be deflected if you wish. The Buccaneer has a split tail cone that acts as the air-brake, which was a weak-point of the old kit, but doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case with the new tool. To display it open, you begin by assembling two outer skins on a W-shaped support, then inserting the three peaks into the rear of the brake surfaces, which are moulded as one, and have some nice rivet detail moulded into them. The surfaces are boxed in at the rear by the fairings that give it the tapering profile it achieves when stashed away, adding a short bulkhead and a triple-linked tube before sliding the air-brake assembly into position, with a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the tubes diagonally within the assembly. The closed air-brakes are simple by comparison, comprising two halves and a central bulkhead that creates the vanes at the top and bottom of the fairing. It slots straight into the rear of the fuselage, so is quite the appealing option if you’re intrinsically lazy, in a hurry, or just don’t like masking. The arrestor hook is added later by choosing a deployed or stowed Y-shaped base, actuator to get the correct angle, and the hook itself with a small blade aerial next to it. A pair of blade antennae and two probes are also fixed under the nose while the airframe is inverted, with an aux-intake further back on the fuselage. Under the belly of the Bucc is an innovative rotating bomb bay that you can either pop the lid onto and carry on with the rest of the build, or put the effort in and detail it further. The process begins by adding an insert with clear light forward of the bay, with another insert at the rear, and a detail insert in the front of the bay that is used for both options. The closed bomb bay can then be covered up and you move one, but if you plan on showing off that nice detail within, there are five lengths of hose/cable fitted within, plus two thick trunkings added into the main gear bays nearby. The bombs are fitted later if you plan on using them. The gear of the Bucc was sturdy to cope with constant hard landings and catapult launches from the deck of a carrier, so all the struts are moulded in halves with some of the wider sections hollow inside to reduce the likelihood of sink-marks. Some bright spark will probably make metal inserts to toughen those up further. The three wheels are each moulded in halves, with a flat-spot on the bottom to simulate weighting, although all the wheels are shown as not glued in place, presumably so you get the flat spot on the bottom consistently. Once the gear is done, flooding the links with glue should prevent them moving again if you don’t want to faff about every time you move it in the future. The nose gear leg slots into the bay with a retraction jack behind it, and a single bay door running down the length of the bay. The main gear legs fit into a hole in a rib and onto another rib, making for a strong bond, then they have their curved doors fixed to the edge of the bay with three hinges that slot under the side. A decal is applied to both the main gear legs at front and back, which is good to see, as stencils make models look more detailed. Before applying the glazing to the cockpit, you should choose whether to install the pilots, which have a detailed painting guide next to them, then a blast-shield is placed between the two pilots, and a choice of two windscreens, only one of which has a wiper, so you can use aftermarket Photo-Etch (PE) wipers if you’re a detail upgrader. This is definitely a model designed by modellers. The main canopy also has two parts, one with the det-cord breaker moulded-in and the other without it, so you can use alternative methods such as PE or decals to replicate the det-cord. Another helpful addition. You can close up the canopy or depict it slid back to just over the rear pilot’s seat using either of the two parts. The Bucc’s big L-shaped refuelling probe is inserted into a recess on the nose, and the spine is decorated with antennae and lights depending on which decal option you have chosen. The weapons included in the box are well-detailed, and have inserts for some of the Martel missiles to give them more realistic thickness fins. The weapons set includes the following: 2 x TV Martel Anti-Shipping Missile 1 x Martel AS.37 Anti-Radiation Missile 1 x Martel TV Guidance Data Link Pod 2 x Matra Rocket Pods 2 x handed slipper tanks 4 x 1,000lb retarded bombs All the weapons have pylons that are suitable to their station, some of which have additional parts to thicken their mounting-points, and the bombs have either pylons for wing-mounting, or cleats for mounting inside the bomb bay. All the weapons and fuel tanks have stencils and a painting guide included on the main sheets. The model is complete now, but Airfix have helpfully included a number of extras that will give your model some additional visual interest. There are two crew ladders with separate stand-off brackets, one for each pilot that are fixed side-by-side to the nose using the holes drilled initially before the model was completed or even begun if you’re prepared. There are also Foreign Object Debris (FOD) guards for the intakes and exhausts, which have nice engraved detail, and the exhaust blanks have a T-shaped handle that is fitted to the centre of the part. Markings The Bucc didn’t wear many schemes during its long and illustrious career, but what it lacks in diversity, it makes up for in number, with four options on the sheet, each of which has a side of glossy A3 in full colour devoted to it to assist you with painting and decaling. An additional one-sided sheet shows where all the many stencil decals are placed, avoiding duplication and over-complication of the other sheets of diagrams. From the box you can build one of the following: Buccaneer S.2D No.809 Naval Air Sqn., HMS Ark Royal, August 1978 Buccaneer S.2C No.801 Naval Air Sqn., HMS Hermes, 1969 Buccaneer S.2C No.809 Naval Air Sqn., RNAS Lossiemouth, Scotland, 1970 Buccaneer S.2C No.803 Naval Air Sqn., RNAS Lossiemouth, Scotland, 1969 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 Ooooh. I’m excited! This looks to be an awesome replacement for the old kit, and the detail is excellent, as is the engineering that has gone into the making of the kit. Add to this the useful extras such as the ladder and FOD guards, and we’re onto a winner. It’s a Buccaneer too, which is just another reason you want one. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Inspired by an A-4F Skyhawk 'What If' profile by Damian, I thought to myself, why don't I try something similar but base my profile on a scheme that could be easily modeled with easy to get hold of decals too! So what I've come up with is an A-4F Skyhawk in RAF colours of Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey in a wrap around pattern using markings from a Lightning F.6 of 74 Squadron based in RAF Tengah in Singapore in 1970. We all know the scheme of a silver Lightning with a black fin. I'm not going to bother with a backstory for it. It is, as they say, what it is! Cheers Richard.
  20. Hi All, Whilst my Sunderland build is still chuntering along, I fancied a bit of light relief after marathon sanding and scribing sessions (I also thought it would be polite to give @AliGauld a bit of clear air, as our builds appear to be converging to alarmingly similar stages, and he started first!). Anyways, I've had ICM's lovely Gladiator Mk.II sitting in the stash for at least a couple of months, so I thought I'd run both builds in parallel (what could possibly go wrong?!). Here's the box art: This is my first ICM kit, and initial impressions are certainly favourable. A nice sturdy box, and some jolly nice artwork to boot! Here's the sprue shots: Detail and quality look to be superb. Here's the decals, which also look lovely: I've got a couple of extras for this build - Yahu instrument panel and Eduard harness: I also had some of these sent over from the UK after I'd seen them used to great effect on other builds: I've also invested in a set of Montex masks, which allow for 2 schemes: Now I'd had my heart set on a DE/DG/LE/LG colour scheme, and was surprised when the Montex scheme showed up as DE/DG over B/W, and looked... well, rather dull! Nevertheless, I started to do a little due diligence on the scheme, N5581 of 615 Sqn RAF, which Montex have based at RAF Kenley in August 1939. A quick trawl of t'internet has the same aircraft: This time based at RAF Ford in the same month - hmmmm. Imagine my further confusion when searching on 615 (County of Surrey) Sqn (as noted in the above pic), there appears a completely different squadron code ('KW' as opposed to 'RR'), with one of the box schemes being the former based at St Inglevert (Northern France) in April 1940. Without digging into the history of 615, I am guessing that they vacated St Inglevert in a hurry in May 1940, and presumably remustered in England shortly after? Anyway, here's the box scheme of the France-based aircraft: It does have the 4-colour upper camo, which ticks a box - some rather fetching red hubs too . Also, I did find this: So, the top scheme is the Montex one, the second is the box scheme (although this time in December 1939), and 3 & 4 are also strong contenders for unusual camo!! Here's a photo I found of the bottom aircraft, which is in standard DFS colours of DG/OG over MSG. Here's a photo I found of said aircraft: I haven't seen a Gladiator modelled in that scheme before, so some marks for originality! I now don't know whether I'm Arthur or Martha as far as the schemes go, so I think I'll just go and throw some primer around and not worry about it for now! Thanks for looking, Roger
  21. Hi All, My next completion is ICM's lovely 1:32 Gladiator Mk.II. I couldn't resist the move to larger scale for this kit, which I had seen built to great effect on these pages. I decided to model as KW-T, an aircraft of 615 (County of Surrey) Sqn RAF, based at St Inglevert, France in April 1940. Here's the scheme as presented: I could not find any photos of the aircraft, but here is a photo of several 615 aircraft, presumably in France (copyright IWM): You can see that the aircraft is finished in the rather complex 4 colour camo which was standard on the Gladiator at this time: Dark Earth and Dark Green, 'shadowed' by Light Earth and Light Green, over black/white undersides. The scheme also sports some rather natty red & white wheel hubs, along with a red repair patch over the port roundel. I added a Yahu instrument panel and HGW harness, as well as a set of Montex masks - otherwise the build was OOB. Here's the WIP if anybody is interested: Here's a couple of shots of the lovely interior: Finally, here is the finished article: I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed this build - the ICM kit is superb, and I fully intend to build the Sea Gladiator at some future date. Thanks to all who have offered help and encouragement along the way - it has been sincerely appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  22. I'd like to present my 1/72 Scale RAF Spitfire Vc floatplane W3760. This started out as a PM Models kit, but ended up as 90% Airfix Spitfire Vc and just the floats and prop from the PM Model kit. The PM kit is reminiscent of a 1960s Airfix kit... the new Airfix Vc is a joy. Added frustration was caused by the PM transfers, fortunately the only usable parts were the serial numbers. From above..... From the front..... Underneath... And 3/4 view. Overall, not a bad model of a very rare Spitfire version, there were 4 Vbs converted, they varied in many details as they evolved. Some were armed and trialed in Egypt on the Great Bitter Lake, so probably did not have yellow undersides. They also had a larger, straight front edged fin. There is a chapter in The Spitfire Story by Alfred Price with a good overview and photos. The full story of the build is here: Including an IWM photo of the aircraft I tried to represent.
  23. Hello! This is my final build until August 10 because I'm going on holiday! Despite the nastiness of this kit I managed to finish it in twelve days and I'm quite happy with it. Without further delay here she is. And here she is next to my 1:72 Junglie ZA314, they look very good next to each other even if one is RAF and the other RN. I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos! WIP thread:
  24. Hey everyone Whilst my Eduard Spitfire is in my cabinet 'curing' I've decided to have a look at the new ICM 1/32 Gladiator. From what I've read and seen it looks to be a rather splendid model... ..Is it me or does it look like the pilot is wearing a David Clark head set? Anyway this will be OOB other than a Sutton Harness from RB productions. Cheers Iain
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