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Found 22 results

  1. The Blackburn Skua was designed to be both a carrier-borne dive-bomber and a fighter. Procuring aeroplanes capable of more than one task let the Fleet Air Arm wring all the use it possibly could from its slender service strength. How slender that was, and what a minor consideration the FAA was, may be illustrated by the Air Ministry budget for 1935, the year Blackburn began designing the Skua. This proposed adding nineteen new aroplanes to the Fleet Air Arm, while proposing eleven new squadrons be formed in the Royal Air Force by year's end, as the first step in a program to form some forty new squadrons in the next three years. The Skua was a ground-breaking machine for the Fleet Air Arm when its prototype took flight in 1937. Though biplanes still were common in the Royal Air Force, new production underway made clear the monoplane would soon predominate. With the Skua, the Fleet Air Arm would have a monoplane too, and one of the most modern sort, a low wing cantilever monoplane of all-metal stressed skin construction, with a retractable undercarriage, enclosed accommodation for its crew of two, and a multi-gun battery mounted in its wings. That the Skua was designed to be a dive bomber was as ground-breaking as its construction and configuration. Procurement of a dive bomber was an innovation for the Royal Navy. Admiral Henderson, who had made his career commanding aircraft carriers, beginning with HMS Furious soon after the Great War, believed in the technique. The Air Ministry did not, but under the intricate arrangement between the Air Ministry and the Admiralty, the latter could write its own specifications. By the time the Skua's development was underway, Admiral Henderson had been appointed Controller, in charge of determining capabilities and design parameters of warships for the Royal Navy. The Skua was intended to engage enemy warships, whether on the high seas in aid of the fleet in action, or in surprise raids on harbors. It was a true dive bomber. The Skua could dive steeply and pull-out safely at very low altitudes, owing to air brakes under its wings, which kept the aeroplane from accelerating much in its dive. The Skua could carry a heavy bomb on the centerline, and release it while diving by means of a 'trapeze' which swung the bomb clear of the propeller's disc. The heaviest bomb available for the Skua's use was the five hundred pound semi armor piercing bomb. Roughly equivalent to an eleven inch shell, this could inflict catastrophic damage on lesser vessels, but could do little harm to the vitals of most capital ships. The subsidiary role of 'fleet fighter' envisioned for the Skua did not include interception and offensive patrol, roles the Skua would be pressed into by events during its service life. Carrier-borne fighters were to prevent enemy reconnaissance aeroplanes from discovering or tracking the fleet, and with the fleet in battle, were to prevent enemy aeroplanes from assisting their ships' gunnery. No great speed or agility was required to carry out such tasks, and Skuas had many opportunities, in northern waters and the Mediterranean, to see off enemy reconnaissance planes. Put to the task, the Skua proved capable of success against enemy bombers, whether in aid of ships or ground forces. What the Skua could not do was engage modern land-based fighters on equal terms, being by design too large and too heavy, and therefore too slow to do so. Blackburn's design was accepted for service late in 1938 only after the prototype's poor stall and spin characteristics had been sufficiently rectified (by lengthening the nose, increasing the tailplane's span, and tilting up the wingtips). The Air Ministry that summer had made a last minute attempt to quash production of the Skua, on the grounds it was obsolescent as a fighter plane (which by compare to emerging single-seat fighters in the RAF it certainly was). The Navy Board countered that nothing else was available to carry out either the fighter or the dive bomber roles, and that the latter was the Skua's most important use. Skuas began to trickle into Fleet Air Arm squadrons during 1939. 800 Squadron, the 'senior' squadron of the FAA, received the first three in January. These were taken to sea for service trials alongside the unit's Hawker Osprey biplanes aboard HMS Ark Royal, and the juxtaposition of the Navy's newest modern aeroplane with the Navy's newest and largest aircraft carrier drew great attention, which Blackburn stoked by a vigorous campaign of advertisements featuring the Skua, in which the aeroplane looked quite the speedy and powerful modern fighting machine. When war with Nazi Germany began, 800 Squadron and 803 Squadron, assigned to HMS Ark Royal, had nine Skuas each, and 801 Squadron, assigned to HMS Furious, had a dozen. Ark Royal, Furious, and HMS Courageous were sent into the Western Approaches, where their aircraft were to search out submarines, and respond with bombs to reports of submarines sighted. Two Skuas of 803 Sqdn, engaging a surfaced submarine, pressed their attack so low the blast of their own hundred pound bombs slapped them out of the sky (and without harm to the U-boat, which rescued aircrew). Despite a web of searching aeroplanes, and destroyers in close escort, German submarines found their way to the carriers. Ark Royal sighted and avoided the torpedoes of a U-boat, which escorting destroyers then sank. HMS Courageous, however, was struck and sunk by a U-boat's torpedoes. HMS Ark Royal sortied into the North Sea with battle-cruisers late in September, in aid of a Royal Navy submarine in distress near the German coast. 800 Sqdn Skuas drove off two German flying boats seeking to spot and shadow the capital ships, and Skuas of 803 Sqdn drove down a third. The position of the force had been reported, however. When twin-engine German bombers approached, Ark Royal's aeroplanes, Skuas included, were down in the hangers, drained of fuel and stripped of munitions, for the safety of the ship in case of a hit. There nearly was one, a 1000kg bomb close enough by the bow to have been honestly reported as a hit. The German bombers carried out their business without hindrance or hurry, though with no success, and the ineffectiveness of the anti-aircraft fire put up by a sizeable group of vessels including capital ships, particularly in the face of dive bombing, led the Admiralty to abandon the view defense against air attack was the responsibility of the gunners, and to direct that henceforth, carrier-borne fighters should aid the gunners by engaging bombers. At the start of October, the Admiralty had confirmation that Nazi Germany's Graf Spee was loose in the South Atlantic shipping lanes. HMS Ark Royal was ordered to leave the Home Fleet for the South Atlantic, and there to join Force K (the battle-cruiser HMS Renown and several destroyers) at Freetown. Ark Royal reached Freetown on October 12, carrying a half-dozen Skuas of 800 Sqdn, and three slim squadrons of Swordfish. Force K at sea seeking for Graf Spee could employ carrier-borne aeroplanes in just the way the Navy had always thought to be their crowning use. They would extend vision many miles beyond the horizon. If the quarry were spotted, they would help HMS Renown hurry into battle, by keeping Graf Spee in sight, and even striking to slow it down in a prolonged chase. There would be no more than a float-plane or two by way of aerial opposition, which the Skuas could easily deal with. It is one of the minor yet intriguing 'might have beens' in naval history, what could have occured had Force K encountered the Graf Spee. A strike would certainly have been launched from Ark Royal if the enemy vessel were sighted at any distance from the guns of HMS Renown. A dozen or more Swordfish coming in low from all directions with torpedos, while half a dozen Skuas overhead dove down with bombs equal to Graf Spee's main deck armor, might well have put paid to the German ship, and made Graf Spee the first capital ship sunk by air attack on the high seas. It was not to be, however. On November 18, Force K departed Freetown for the Cape of Good Hope to rendezvous there with a pair of heavy cruisers, after report was received Graf Spee was in the Indian Ocean south of Madagascar. By the time Force K reached the Cape, on December 1, Graf Spee had doubled back into the South Atlantic, where it was soon to meet the cruisers of Force G off Montevideo. While HMS Ark Royal was with Force K, when the Skuas of 800 Squadron went aloft they remained near the carrier, while search at distance was carried out by Swordfish. The Skuas spent so much of their time immured in the enclosed hanger deck the flyers dubbed themselves 'the pit ponies', after the animals once employed down the mines. Still, on December 8, one Skua came down in the sea. The wireless man was rescued, but the pilot was lost. HMS Ark Royal was to remain in the South Atlantic till February 6, 1940, when it set sail for Portsmouth. It arrived there the day after Valentine's, and remained for a month's refit. 800 Sqdn took its Skuas to Hatston in the Orkneys, where it was joined by 803 Sqdn and a freshly formed Skua unit, 806 Squadron. During March they flew convoy protection patrols over the North Sea, engaging German U-boats (rarely) and bombers (fairly often). The remaining Skua squadron, 801, was ashore at Scapa Flow with the Home Fleet. A Royal Navy operation to mine Norwegian waters collided with a German invasion of the place on April 9. 800 Sqdn and 803 Squadron flew their Skuas through the night to attack German vessels in Bergen harbor at dawn on April 10, sinking the German light cruiser Konigsberg at anchor. The Germans had quickly seized airfields in Norway, and flew in a strong force of bombers, which soon made the coastal waters untenable for English warships without a scrap of air cover. HMS Ark Royal, with the Skuas of 800 Sqdn and 801 Sqdn, and HMS Glorious, with the Skuas of 803 Sqdn, were dispatched to provide air cover for Allied forces at sea and on land, arriving April 25. The situation for Allied ground troops in central Norway had become dire, and their evacuation began in early May even as a fresh landing was made on the north coast at Narvik. 806 Sqdn Skuas, flying from HMS Furious, joined the three Skua equipped squadrons now operating from Ark Royal, but when the Narvik effort collapsed, 801 Sqdn disembarked from Ark Royal at Scapa Flow. In Norway, Skuas made dive bombing attacks on German shipping in harbor and German occupied airfields, and flew frequent offensive patrols over the coast to protect ground forces, and break up bomber formations heading out to sea. The impression Skuas were not up to the task in Norway owes more to their being far too few of them by compare to the German aerial fleet mustered there than to the aeroplane's (quite real) deficiencies. While German bombers were generally faster than the Skua, over the North Sea Skua pilots had learned they could get enough speed diving without their brakes to manage a firing pass. Skua pilots found over Norway that deploying the brakes in level flight made the aeroplane much more manuverable, which proved some defense against the only fighters available to the Germans in Norway, twin-engined zerstoerer such as the Me110, and Ju88s fitted with a gun-pack. Skuas were flown in aid of the Dunkirk evacuation even as they continued to cover Allied forces disengaging from battle in Norway. From late May and into June, 806 Sqdn and 801 Sqdn engaged in both dive bombing in direct support of ground forces, and offensive patrols. There were some successes against bombers, but the Skuas were roughly handled by Me109s. June 13 brought another demonstration of the Skua's vulnerability to the Me109. Fifteen Skuas of 800 Sqdn and 803 Sqdn took off from HMS Ark Royal to attack the Scharnhorst at Trondheim, as part of a combined operation that became a ghastly muddle, with eight of the Skuas downed by defending German fighters. By late June Skuas ceased operating over the channel. 801 Sqdn went to Hatston, and during the summer flew long-range raids to bomb installations on the Norwegian coast, while 806 Sqdn embarked on the new carrier HMS Illustrious for training on the new Fairy Fulmar fighter, an aeroplane better armed if not much faster than the Skua. HMS Ark Royal, carrying the Skuas of 800 Sqdn and 803 Sqdn, patched up after the Trondheim debacle, set sail for the Mediterranean on June 17, to provide air cover for the fleet there now that Italy was entering the war. The Ark Royal operated in the Mediterranean till it was sunk late in 1941, with several sojourns into the Atlantic, three times after German surface vessels (including the Bismark), and once to attack Vichy French forces. Employed against the Vichy French and Italian navies the Skua's operations took on much the same contours as in Norway and the North Sea. Skuas flew to drive off reconnaissance aeroplanes, and intercepted formations of bombers intent on attacking English warships. Single seat land-based fighters were largely absent. HMS Illustrious joined Ark Royal in midsummer, with 806 Sqdn, which still had Skuas in reserve for the frequent occasions the new Fulmars were out of repair. 803 Sqdn left Ark Royal for re-equipping with the Fulmar in October. It was not till June of 1941 the Skua was taken off front-line operations in the Mediterranean, with the final departure of 800 Sqdn from HMS Ark Royal. 801 Sqdn, flying under Coastal Command orders from St. Eval, had already been stood down by May, and was being re-equipped with Sea Hurricanes. This model represents Skua L2878, 'L' of Yellow Section, 800 Squadron Fleet Air Arm, as it probably appeared when embarked on HMS Ark Royal in the South Atlantic. Though allocated to Ark Royal, 800 Sqdn was ashore at Hatson when the war began, and orders to see a black port wing (an important identification marking for ground observers) would have seen to. I have made the demarcation the join of the folding wings, since this would expose the under-surface, and be fair easier to paint. I think the colored wing-tip on the port wing under-surface would have been retained, and doing so would not be difficult. 800 Squadron does not seem to have got camouflage paint till Ark Royal returned to Plymouth in February, 1940 (803 retained its peacetime finish only till October, when it disembarked Ark Royal for Hatston). This model is one from the shelf of doom, brought out by a 'shelf-queen group build' on an other site. When the Special Hobby 1/72 Skua kit was new I took a run at it. I don't recall much about the original build, except that the engine was a gem, I put a lot of effort into the cockpit, and had to trim the turn-over pylon a bit to get the canopy on, and put a lot of effort into the cockpit. At the end I did not like the finish I'd got with silver acrylic, noticed I had misaligned (and sealed down) the fuselage roundels, and the last straw was decals for 803 Sqdn chevron stripes (from the old Pavla/Octopus kit) dissolving on contact with water. A while later I stripped the paint, and in the course of this, all the little bits came off, and the big pieces separated. I stuck the wings and tailplane back on, and the whole affair resided for years in a box. When I decided to take it up, I decided the plain finish of 800 Squadron was a better choice than trying to make or procure 803 chevron stripes. I was fortunate enough to receive information on Ark Royal's Skuas at this time from FAA boffins here. The finish is Tamiya rattle-can silver over foil. I foiled intending to brush on a thin coat of silver lacquer, a procedure which I had previously got a good result from, but true enough to form for this, I could not make the trick work this time --- I had not got brushmarks before, but this time I did. I noted the problem early enough it was easy to remove what had been applied. There probably should be 'universal carrier' bomb racks under the wings, but I am by now disinclined to scratch such to acceptable standard. (Moment of 'D'oh': I only noticed after posting up pictures I have got the black walkway wrong. It should extend a bit onto the butt-end of the wing's folding portion. Guess I got carried away by the trickiness of freehanding just the stationary stub of the wing roots. It will be an easy fix.)
  2. I understand the overall finish is aluminum lacquer, with port wing undersurface black. I have no idea what squadron markings might have been employed while on HMS Ark Royal in the South Atlantic, or what might be serials and such of individual aircraft. It might make a nice model.
  3. Back when they were near new, I took a run at a Special Hobby 1/72 Skua. I wanted to do it in a pre-war finish, and had decals for an early 803 Sqdn Skua from the earlier Pavla/Octopus kit. These disintegrated, however, and home-mades weren't then an option. Besides, I had a roundel misaligned but sealed down firm, and I didn't like the silver paint job. So I stripped it, and between the ammonia and the vigorous old tooth-brush, some things came off and came apart, and the whole thing went into a box.... Over on the old HyperScale 1/72 forum a 'shelf queen' group build is on, and that got me thinking of this old relict. I did put some effort into the cockpit... Mentions in the MM Skua & Roc number of the South Atlantic sojourn of HMS Ark Royal piqued my interest, and the likely 'peace-time plus black port wing undersurface' scheme is the sort of oddity I like. Due to the assistance of some FAA boffins here (for which I am most grateful) I have a choice of several 800 Sqdn machines, whose livery was always more plain than 803's, and will be simple to contrive. So here is a first small step to get underway --- spraying the control surfaces with rattle-can Tamiya bright silver... My intent is to first foil the model, then over-paint this with a thin coat of silver lacquer, essentially replicating in miniature what I understand to be the actual finish. It gives a good look. Here for illustration is a Type 96 Carrier Fighter given this treatment.
  4. Hi everyone. A miserable year in other respects, but quite an enjoyable one hobby-wise. One big project (Ark Royal) completed after a year of construction, another fairly big one (Airfix's Ready for Battle set) plus a few cleared from the shelf of doom. Ark Royal: More photos in the RFI thread here: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235076648-ark-royal-circa-1587-finished-model/ Next up was Airfix's "Ready for Battle" set that I built in my first ever Group Build, this one being the Battle of Britain one..... More photos in the RFI thread here.... https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235076813-ready-for-battle-airfix-148-hurricane-refueller-truck-and-ground-crew/ Some Sea Fury's were completed from the shelf of doom. I had been building three at the same time until things went wrong so I put them to one side..... The largest one is Airfix's 1/48 kit finished in markings of my father-in-law's squadron 1832 NAS in the 1950's. This one being VX620/151/CH of RNAS Culham. A super kit by Airfix which looks really good when completed and well worth being done properly rather than in a rush to finish!.... The folded wing model is Trumpeter's 1/72 kit finished as VW697/102/R of 804 NAS, HMS Glory (R62). A lovely little kit as well, although those more knowledgeable of the aircraft have criticized it. The last of the Sea Fury's is my "paint mule". It is the PM Models kit. Looks okay until you compare it to the others! I used the decals from the Trumpeter kit for WJ232/114/O piloted by Lt "Hoagy" Carmichael of 802 NAS, HMS Ocean 8/1952. Another 'paint mule" that turned out quite well was the Airfix Spitfire that I built when constructing the Ready for Battle diorama.... My last one is a quick build to restore some lost modelling mojo. This is the venerable Hasegawa 1/72 Skyhawk A-4E/F finished in decals from the box. I really didn't like the raised panel lines! That's it for the year. Many thanks for stopping by to look. Best wishes to you all for a happy modelling 2021! Cheers, Pat
  5. Does anyone have a list of serial numbers and codes of the Buccaneers operated by 809 Sqn on the last cruise of the Ark Royal in 1978? TIA!
  6. Can anyone confirm the correct colour scheme for this model and what would be the correct paints for using Sovereign Colourcoats Paints. .
  7. As I sit here waiting for the final bits of glue to dry on my 1/48 Gazelle, I have decided what the next project will be. I've gradually been assembling the bits I need, and I have a 4-5 week window without too much work, so can make a decent start as the Autumn draws on. If you follow aircraft WIPs, you might already know me from the Gazelle in the Helicopter 2 GB, and a long-running (and ongoing) 1/48 Barracuda III. But this will be my first ship since building the Airfix 1/600 Fearless about 45 years ago... This is going to be Ark Royal (5) as she was when I served in her in the late 80s, on my first front-line tour on Sea Kings (820 NAS). Based on the Airfix Illustrious, obviously, but there are quite a few differences to be adapted / reworked / scratched. In no particular order: - Different shape to the ramp; Ark's was built at 12 degrees right from the start, whereas the other 2 were modified, so Ark's was a different shape underneath as it faired into the hull; - Ark had Phalanx as her CIWS throughout her life, rather than Illustrious' Goalkeeper. I have acquired some Veteran Model 1/350 Phalanxes, so that's sorted - but I need to modify the sponson on the port quarter, which is not as deep as Lusty's; - Similarly the bow CIWS deck, and a much smaller one on the starboard side of the island; - The port quarter of the flight deck is a different shape; my Ark didn't have the "bulge" alongside 8 spot; - I have to reinstate the Sea Dart installation, which means completely re-working the starboard forward flight deck; no Spot 0, as in Lusty, different profile, visible fo'c's'le, capstans and other Fish-headery, DF aerial on a pole, rather than (as later in her life) up the mainmast; - Speaking of masts, the mainmast needs major rework to reinstate UAA1 and the 992 aerial, and lose 996; the mizzen is much smaller, without the large radome she acquired in her later life; - SCOT terminals further aft, just by the mizzen mast; - Two 909 domes to reinstate, though at least the superstructure beneath them doesn't appear to have changed much; - Different catwalks - the excellent WEM PE set includes the earlier catwalks, thank goodness - and Ark didn't have a stern catwalk at all at this stage; - A Cheverton in the port midships davit (just aft of the SRBOC sponson); - Different deck markings; I will be able to use some of Airfix's decals, but there will need to be some serious maskery later on in this build - at least the lines were all straight on the flight deck I knew, unlike these semi-circular things later on! - A few other more minor differences to do with 20mm placement, configuration of liferafts etc The CAG has been assembled; some extra Airfix aircraft sprues, 8 WEM Sea Harrier FRS1s, half a dozen Trumpeter Sea Kings a plus the WEM conversion kits, plus a couple of the WEM Air Group PE sets - the aim being to have 8 SHARs, 9 Sea King 5s, 3 AEWs & 2 HC 4s, which was what we carried for the trip to Australia in 1988. I know how I am going to do the HAS5s and the AEW2s; still working out how to get the HC4s right. So lots of work to do! I have made a start; the hangar deck is built, and I have cut off a) the stbd aft flight deck "bulge"; the forward area of the flight deck; c) the port aft CIWS sponson. I'm working from a lot of reference photos, a couple of books, plus the excellent Jecobin plans (suitably reduced in size to make them 1/350). More soon (including pics of the destruction); pull up a chair!
  8. HMS Ark Royal 1:600 Airfix HMS Ark Royal was laid down in 1935 ans commissioned just before Christmas, 1938. Several famous squadrons embarked on the Ark during her fairly short service life, flying Swordfish, Skua, Roc, Fulmar and Albacore torpedo bombers. She was involved in the hunt for the Graf Spee and also hunted the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, where she was damaged after a failed launch of a Swordfish resulted in the depth charges it was carrying exploding in close proximity to the ship' hull. After repairs she was involved in hunting the Bismark, where a successful attack from Ark Royal Swordfishes led to the Bismark's partial disablement and subsequent destruction. After this she returned to Force H, ferrying aircraft to Malta. On the return trip to Gibraltar, she was picked up by U-81 and hit with a single torpedo amidships. The damage was significant and she soon began to list to the side. Although the ship was stablised briefly, water continued to encroach through open hatches and the list increased. The crew were evacuated to the destroyer HMS Legion, who was assisting in trying to keep her afloat. She later capsized and broke into two parts before sinking. Only one crew member was lost, having the misfortune to be low down in the hull when the torpedo struck. She was discovered by a BBC documentary crew early in the new millennium, who concluded that after the engines failed nothing could have been done to save her due to design issues that were not appreciated at the time. Airfix's HMS Ark Royal has been around since 1966, so long ago that even our very own Bootneck probably made one when it was brand new. As a model kit it is far from state-of-the-art, but it is a nice trip down memory lane, providing you can still remember that far back. The kit has been re-released as part of Airfix's new Vintage Classics range, which brings a welcome sense of openness about the age and origin of the moulds to an otherwise unsuspecting public. The kit is comprised the deck and hull halves, as well as three extra frames of pale grey plastic. It won't surprise you to learn that the moulds are showing their age now and several parts had already become detached from the sprue when I opened my copy to photograph it. The model is presented in full-hull configuration along with a stand. The part count is reasonably low but there is actually a fair amount of detail, but the mouldings themselves are rather soft compared to their modern equivalents. Moulding flash is actually surprisingly well controlled. I won't delve deep into the construction process for this kit, but suffice to say you get some decent details including six Fulmars and six Swordfish, four of each with wings extended and two of each with wings folded, life rafts, launches, cranes, davits and AA armament. You don't get (or need) any decals and the three-view colour painting scheme shows the Ark Royal in an undated wartime configuration. Conclusion Although it would be great to see Airfix release a brand new tool of this famous warship, it has to be acknowledged that this kit has been a staple of their range, having been released at least 9 times over the years. The moulds must have paid for themselves dozens of times over by now, and although they are starting to show a little wear here and there they are in remarkably good nick all things considered. Those wanting to build a show stopper will naturally want to add extra details such as photo etched railings, but for those just wanting to add a model of this famous old ship to their collection, this will fit the bill nicely. Review sample courtesy of
  9. As far as I am aware, there are not many photographs of Ark Royal as she was at the time of the Bismarck action. There are, of course, quite a few taken of her in her death agony 6 months later, such as this well-known one [I only recently noticed the Bunting Tosser doing semaphore]. ...and this, perhaps less widely known, but which the IWM (whose photos they are, obvs) plausibly reckons is on the same Malta Club Run as the sinking: The topic of the apparent darker band close to the waterline has been discussed endlessly in many places (including on here). My view is that it’s entirely consistent with the ship’s company touching up the paint when they could; this shot [don’t know provenance, and I know he/she can’t spell Gibraltar] appears to back that up - from the quarter deck openings up, she’s mottled & worn, but lower down much less so. The most worn areas are the ones that are hardest to reach without staging etc. Anyway. I have two questions; I think I know the answer to the first one, but would appreciate any inout from @iang, @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies and anyone else. The infamous “mottle” looks for all the world to me like Home Fleet Grey (AP507A) worn so that an earlier AP 507C (Mediterranean Grey) scheme is showing through all over the place. Is that right? Or it it the other way round (AP 507A showing through worn AP507C)? Second question. Pre-war and early-war the flight deck would have been AP631 Bronze Grey. Is it likely that changed before 1941 (other than lots of wear and tear, patching etc.)? It’s going to be a fair while before any paint gets near my Ark, but you can not get ready too early! Thanks - all contributions gratefully received Crisp
  10. Does anyone have any info or photos of the tie downs on HMS Ark Royal IV circa 1982? I need to tie down my F-4 and can't find a good photo of what they look like. TIA, Graham
  11. Ok i started this build back in July and had to shelve it temporarily due to paint shortages through mid August. But Im going to consider this done with the exception of some Do not step decals and weathering. I should add these were the worst decals I’ve dealt with in 30 + years of model building. The glue was so thick everytime i worked with the decals it felt like my hands were covered in vaseline. Mind you i work with water in the 120+ degree range. I know how to work with Japanese decals. They were so slimy and did not want to work to well. I had two complete sets of original decals to work with i was able to save just two each of the white base and red field “omega” tail decals. The glue i blame on hasegawa the bad decals due to improper storage. This is one of many kits i was given by a friend who cleared out his storage unit stash. He didn't want to transport them 1000 miles so i was allowed to take anything i wanted. Thank you my friend. So without further boring you with a long write-up i give you my Fg.1 Phantom Circa 1975-1976 Ark Royal Cruise. The original teaser photo And the rest pf the photo’s. Ok some detail shots first up is the spey engine i used real foil stained with cooked eggs. To this i stained it further by adding some blue and copper tones drybrushed onto the foil. And the cockpit’s The eagle eyed among you will have spotted the Two different drop tank paint schemes. Thats done on purpose. During my research one of the members directed me to the Ark Royal’s Cruise books and when digging throught the assorted photo’s i found this photo i reprint here giving full credit to the Ark Royal crews and association. If you look closely i duplicated this pattern. I found everything from all white to all Dark sea Grey to mixed variations. So I lay my self on the Forums bench and await your decision if it meets the criteria for an Fg.1 Phantom from #892 Squadron. I’d like to add Great Thank You’s to all the members that gave me helpful advice in my Cold war question thread. This was a duel build with my EE F.3 Lightning. If anyone is interested here is a link to view that RFI. I say Thank You in Advance Dennis
  12. Greetings from the Depths of the Old Cold War. Here is my planned build The recent Hannants re-release of the Gannet ASW complete with bags stuffed full of resin loveliness. Which I'm going to convert into a smart blue COD Bird with these Xtradecals offering which will need slight adjustment to get her to Ark Royals Bird. Luckily although there are no COD pods in 48th HERE is a cracking thread showing how @Derek B made the 72nd masters. Then HERE HERE and HERE are very useful threads on the other differences. My Thanks to all those who contributed to these posts especially @DamienB for his point by point build. Most of what I achieve is because of their help and generosity providing information. There is also THIS and THIS in the very helpful walk round section here on BM, again my Thanks to those who shared information with us. I've got the 4+ Book and am borrowing Warpaint 23 on the Gannet is there anything else that's useful? Is there any sort of manual for the COD.4 especially showing the two seats apparently in the rear cockpit? See you later alligators
  13. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) Aircraft Set 1 (SA-35009 for Merit) 1:350 Tetra Model Works To accompany their stupendous set for the main kit, reviewed here, there is also a companion set available for the aircraft that are supplied with the kit, which will add a huge amount of detail to the eclectic complement supplied with the kit, which to recap is as follows: 5 x Fairey Swordfish 4 x Fairey Fulmar 4 x Blackburn Skua Supplied in a resealable foil bag, with a large fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass taped in place on a piece of backing card for security, with the instructions to the rear, the set gives you options for each aircraft, to build them with wings deployed as well as folded, whilst adding more detail than would otherwise be feasible. Fairey Swordfish Each airframe is upgraded with a cockpit floor, seats, windscreen frame and a PE Lewis gun at the rear as standard. The aircraft can be built with the wings ready for flight, in which case a set of finer struts and bracing wires are included to replace the kit etch. To build your Stringbags with folded wings, the instructions show where to cut the wings, and a different set of PE struts and braces are used, which also have the hinge-points to allow you to glue the wings on in the illustrated position. For these two options you get a "prop-blur" set of blades, plus a static set with no blur effect, which is also appropriate if the aircraft are on-deck without their engines running, both options re-using the spinner from the kit part. Fairey Fulmar Mk.I The fuselages of these models are supplied as solid halves, so the first order will be to remove the canopy area so that you can install the cockpit floor and crew seats. Then the large greenhouse canopy is replaced with a two-piece PE assembly, plus an aerial mast for the rear section, with a scrap diagram showing the finished article from three-quarters and the side. The landing gear is given a set of captive bay doors to improve on the simple struts on the kit gear, and then the wings are either added as a complete section, or cut using the drawing supplied into three sections, as per the real thing's complex folds. The parts are re-joined using small PE parts with interior rib detail that allow the parts to be folded to the correct angles as per the accompanying diagrams. Blackburn Skua The Skua also has a solid canopy from the box, which must be removed to install the cockpit, which consists of floor, seats, an internal bulkhead and rear gun. The canopy is replaced by one of two types of assemblies, depending on whether it is to be closed up or not. For the closed canopy a separate windscreen is added to the front, and a complete rear canopy is folded up and added behind with an antenna part. For the open canopy, a separate sliding section and gunner's section are added along with the fixed central section, with the sliding part laid over the fixed section, forward of the aerial post. Another set of diagrams show the correct fitting of these parts. The Skua's wingfold is a little more straightforward than the Fulmar, but has a dog-leg kink along the cut line that will take some care to replicate. The outer wing panel is then added folded back and rotated 90o, fixed in place with a folded rib-detail part, with scrap diagrams again showing the way. Finally, the gear legs receive bay doors to further improve realism, and you have a choice of blurred or static props, utilising the kit spinner again. Conclusion Another superb set for the Merit Ark Royal's airwing, which will hopefully be released as a stand-alone set for those wishing for a busier deck that better reflects the actual periods that these aircraft spent on the Ark. The set is for the experienced modeller, but there is nothing too onerous that couldn't be done with a little care and attention, but some PE handling tools and a little bit of experience will go a long way. Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Hi all, a long term project of mine is building one of Ark Royal's Phantoms using the Hasegawa RAF FG.1 kit (P17) and an old Model Alliance decal set. Now what about the correct stencils? Hobbydecal did a dedicated set of dry transfers but despite their website showing plenty available they seem to have gone out of business long ago. Is it possible to use the black stencils from Revell's FGR.2 reissue? Are there differences compared to the FG.1 stencils I should take care of? On photos I did notice white stencilling on the FG.1's intake ramps and black walkway areas (?) on top of the fuselage which the Revell decals lack. Cheers Chris
  15. Okay, I have not got the kit yet. I have lots to do at home as well as a 1/48 Phantom FG.1 and a 1/48 Sea Harrier to finish I have also a confession of shame that I bought the kit and never started it for the last rotary GB I joined which involved a Huey. However, given my 1/48 Phantom obsession, and my love of FAA subjects I am going to join this with the intended aim of producing a Plane Guard Wessex from Ark's Fleet. First helicopter since I was a kid, so no fancy bits, just as close as I can get to an OOB Wessex build. Any pointers on which kit and mods I need to make will be gratefully received! Thanks.
  16. Sovereign Hobbies will be bringing Tetra Model Works products to the UK. Based in South Korea, Tetra Model Works produces comprehensive high quality detail sets for 1/35 armour subjects, 1/200, 1/350 and 1/700 naval subjects, 1/32 aircraft seat belts and some other products such as camouflage netting for dioramas and so on. I had been meaning to introduce the range to our business for a while, but seeing their detail-up set for the Merit International 1/350 HMS Ark Royal III kit (which I and I know many others have in their stash ) at Telford this year has been the kick needed to get moving. We will have more photos of the set available from next weekend, and the set is due for release on 26th December 2016. We are taking pre-orders now. https://www.sovereignhobbies.co.uk/collections/tetra-model-works/products/se-35009-tetra-model-works-1-350-hms-ark-royal-detail-up?variant=28016286673 We expect their set for the 1/350 Trumpeter Type 45 Destroyer will be popular in the UK: https://www.sovereignhobbies.co.uk/collections/tetra-model-works/products/se-35005-tetra-model-works-1-350-royal-navy-type-45-destroyer-detail-up Likewise I'm sure someone will be tempted by their gorgeous set for the 1/350 Fujimi kit of the IJN aircraft carrier Kaga: It's a high-value range to bring in covering a broad spectrum of subjects. As such, we will phase the products in. If there's anything in particular from their range you would like us to prioritise, please drop us a line. http://www.tetramodel.co.kr/index.php/category/products/
  17. Hi everyone and while I'm a regular contributor to BM, this is my first post on this thread - a Royal Navy Tornado of 892 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Ark Royal, 1980 built for the GB here on Britmodeller. You can read the short build (and even shorter backstory) Here but in summary.... Kits: 1/72 Airfix Tornado (fuselage/undercarriage) & 1/72 Revell F-18A Hornet (wings, tails and stabilators) Decals: Matchbox F-4 Phantom donated by Tim Moff (cheers Tim!) and stencils from the Airfix kit. Paints: Revell Acrylics brush painted, White from a rattlecan, Klear, Flory Models Wash. Extras: Stores from spares box and/or the source kits She won't win any good looks competitions and now that I look at it again, I think she looks a bit too 'Soviet' to be serving with the Royal Navy But had fun with it and has got me thinking of future WHIF ideas.... Thanks for looking! Dermot
  18. Hello all. Since starting this in late July, I must confess I had no idea this would turn into such a marathon build. Having only joined the forum back in the Spring, I feel in hindsight that this build quickly turned into some kind of an apprenticeship, given the range of new skills and techniques it required me to learn. It goes without saying that I've been lucky throughout to receive a constant stream of support, advice, and encouragement from more people than there is space to list here. Suffice it to say that they have my continuing gratitude - you can find out who they are in the WIP over here, accompanied by the usual shenanigans: The Kit I bought this for 99p on theBay. It came in a plastic bag, no decals, and a photocopied set of instructions - I should have guessed then that it would be trouble! Descended from the original Frog moulding (which is nicely-accurate at this scale in terms of shape and size), God only knows what generation of subsequent cheap moulding this one represented - nothing in the bag to indicate the company doing the moulding, whilst the material itself was some of the grottiest (not to mention grittiest) old plastic imaginable. It came nicely concealed in more flash than Swiss Tony. The Intention I've a long-held affection for the Fleet Air Arm (due in part to a period of my childhood spent to the south of Yeovilton) and decided some time back - as others right-thinking adults have done - to build my way periodically through a series of FAA subjects as a long-term project. Having had my eye on the Model Alliance decal set for the Ark Royal Air Wing, I decided to start off with the Sea Venom done up as WW150 from the 1956 deployment, complete with attractive Wiccan nose art and fetching checkered wing-tanks. I knew nothing about Sea Venoms when I started - I now know it to be an absolute beauty of a naval aircraft with fabulous lines and curves - the winds must have loved it. I won't bore you with a list of the alterations, additions, deletions, scratching, silicone implants and other general alterations I made, (you can read the full horrors in the WIP), suffice it to say that although a formally-accurate kit to base a build of this aircraft on, it shows its age (don't we all Dah-lings!) when compared to the detailing available on kits like the CMR one recently gussied-up by Navy Bird. I'd also decided on a wing-fold. It seemed a good idea at the time when I thought (fantasized?) that this would be a reasonably quick build. In terms of references, there are one or two decent shots of WW150 floating around the web (there's copies over in the WIP) and in various publications on the Sea Venom, whilst the Warpaint drawings (that I used for panel details etc.) seem generally accurate when offered up against the Frog kit. The Evidence I decided to shoot daylight outside on this one - there's been some lovely examples of this approach by others on the forum, plus the grey stratus layer this morning gave a convincing imitation of Atlantic maritime-gey that seemed a perfect compliment for EDSG: My thanks to all of my co-conspirators on the WIP. Just in case there's any doubt about the next build, I'm caving to peer pressure: Thanks for looking! Tony
  19. Hi all, In the process of building up a stash of FAA jets in 1:72 and noticed that Model Alliance have the ML48121 decal set for many of these types, for the Ark Royal air wing. It looks like an interesting project, but as it all hangs on these decals being correct, I just wanted to check that there were no errors with the set that anyone was aware of? Thanks for any advice, Tony
  20. Evening all, With some Royal Navy aircraft carriers being released recently, I wanted to learn more about what colour the flight decks were. The Asian company instructions recommend dark greys, whilst Airfix recommended Humbrol 30 which was more a forest green. Thanks to some contacts I have made through another forum, I have been able to draw upon the investigative skills of some methodical folks who have obtained a wealth of documentation from various archives detailing which colours the Royal Navy were to use and how they were to be made aboard the ship or in the dockyards. From 1933 until non-slip paints were made available in a wide range of colours in mid-1941ish, the Admiralty prescribed AP631 Bronze Grey for aircraft carrier flight decks. Armed with copies of the relevant Admiralty Fleet Orders, and extracts from the Rate Book of Naval Stores from various years courtesy of my new friends, I had the formula to make the original oil paint from a list of base ingredients and imperial units. With the exception of white flake lead pigment, which is not required for AP631 in particular, all original pigments and liquids are still available commercially. Bronze Grey requires Zinc white, yellow ochre, black, white spirit, boiled linseed oil and terebine dryers to make. I didn't want a CWT of paint so the liquids were corrected for density and converted to mass. All masses were converted to metric and scaled down in proportion. There's a little more to it than just that though - the Admiralty didn't want powdered pigments aboard ships and having made up some paints I can see why. Instead, the base colours were to be mixed with linseed oil to form a stiff paste which could be canned and stored. It is these pastes which are mixed by weight to make a final colour in accordance with Rate Book recipes. The black was different, that was supplied as a ready-to-use oil paint, which I had to make from scratch. Many supporting documents had to be sourced to determine the attributes of the oil pastes. Fast forward to now, and I have what I am confident is a good representation of AP631 Bronze Grey. What's pleasantly surprising, although it shouldn't be, is that this stuff made up into what anyone would recognise as a proper paint! Using the sample we have now introduced another model enamel to the rest of our colour range.
  21. Westland Wessex HAS.1 815 Sqn HMS ARK ROYAL 1965 My second build of 2016! This is the venerable Matchbox Wessex kit which first appeared in 1987 and gives options for a Mk5 or an Aussie Mk31. Since the HAS.1 and HAS. 31 are very similar, the kit is a fair starting point for use of the Wessex decals from the Xtradecal 815 Sqn set. The spares box was raided for some basic parts including a Mk.44 torpedo – not entirely accurate, but good enough for my purposes and a few other parts were scratched up, including the distinctive twin doppler mushroom aerials and a blank over the dipping sonar hatch. The kit’s intake is very basic, with a solid part over the metal gauze central section. This is such a distinctive feature of the Wessex that I had to fix it, carefully cutting out the incorrect part and replacing it with some suitable material and plastic strip. It kind-of worked, but the gauze is too large – perhaps something I can resolve in future if I find a more suitable material. I generally try to fold helicopter blades these days, both for storage/display purposes and because I think they often look much better that way. I missed out the folded tail rotor – this had been my original intention since Matchbox provide some suitable parts, but unlike the folded rotors, I decided that this option spoils the look of the finished model too much for me. Wire aerials were added to their posts using lycra thread and superglue. The final result adds another important RN aircraft to my collection. This kit is not the easiest of builds and not really recommended for beginners (Italeri’s kit is a far better option for a Mk V or HAS 3, although still a complex build). However, despite its age, it remains a viable option for those who wish to have an early Wessex in their collection. FredT
  22. Hi guys, I was wandering if anyone had any idea where I could purchase a 1/72nd F-4K in Royal Navy colours. I was thinking of making a diorama of the deck from HMS Ark Royal (R09). I have managed to find Wessex's, Buccaneers, Sea Kings and Fairey Gannet's but struggled to find a suitable F-4. I will put pictures of the completed build up when I have finished it. Thanks
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