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  1. Royal Navy SKYRAIDER WV106 has been languishing outside the Cobham Hall at the Fleet Air Arm Museum Yeovilton for many years and although it's condition is slowly deteriorating I thought it might make a good subject for my first diorama. Not sure if this topic should be in "Aircraft" or "Dioramas" but it feels more of an aircraft build with some surrounding environment. I hope it's acceptable? The photograph below shows the sad state the airframe was in about twelve years ago. I suspect it's a lot worse now? Although not visible in this shot, the engine is lying alongside on a pallet. I think the AMT/ERTL/ESCI kit is the only one available of an AD-4W in 1/48 scale and I've had an example in the stash for a number of years. It's not great but considering what I intended to do with it, it's quality probably doesn't matter. The first thing to do was to add some interior fuselage detail as the access doors had been removed giving a clear view inside. The MINIMALI packing case is a little artistic licence but seemed appropriate as many of the removed components were scattered around the site in various containers. I removed the fuselage forward of the engine bay rear bulkhead and scratch built a firewall and associated bits and pieces. The wings were cropped and I've since added AIRWAVES brass etched internal ribs etc. Next step is to add more detail to the bulkhead and the severed wings before getting some heavily weathered paintwork started.
  2. Hello everyone, Here is my latest finish from a while ago (but only just took some pictures), of an Eduard Hellcat Mk II in the colours of 1844 Sqn FAA on HMS Indomitable. I got a Silhouette stencil cutter for Christmas so I couldn't resist and used it to mark out and paint all the markings on it. Although the 4" 'Royal Navy' and serial numbers were too small for the machine so I used the decal resulting in a bit of silvering. Other than that, it went great. Painted with Humbrol enamels. Weathered with Tamiya weathering kit, silver pencil, Vallejo pigments and panel wash. Average photos taken with my phone. Thanks for looking.
  3. Having recently finished a Tamiya Wildcat I started to search through my stash (or the NARNIA CUPBOARD as my wife calls it) to find my next project. I spotted the old issue Airfix Buccaneer I've had for some time. I've made no secret elsewhere on this forum of my disappointment at the cost of the soon to be released new version so thought I should put my money where my mouth is and actually build the one I have in stock. I must admit that some of the mouldings look a bit rough around the edges but they certainly give the appearance of what could become a model of one of my favourite aircraft. I hope to carry out most of the build form the box but decided to replace the original wheels with a resin set from ARMORY. Just getting underway now, so will add to this as things progress. Ian
  4. My first completion of the Year (started last year). Subject:- Grumman Avenger MkIIJZ186/Q*4P. 854 NAS HMS Illustrious. Operation Meridian II Jan-1945. On 29 January, Operation Meridian II, an air strike against the oil refinery at Soengei Gerong, Sumatra, was undertaken. Having dropped their bombs on the target the Avengers escaped at low level. On escape they were attacked by the defending fighters. The squadron CO was attacked by Japanese fighters, following behind Lt GJ Connolly fired his forward firing machine guns destroying one Ki-44 'Tojo' and damaging another. Lt GJ Connolly (pilot), Lt RE Jess (Observer), Unknown (TAG). Model:- Hobby Boss Fleet Air Arm Avenger MkI/II. 1/48. Observers cockpit is scratch built (inc seats and panels). Pilots cockpit detailed out. Lower cabin is detailed (torch, and magnifier is required). Scratched up some machine gun barrels. Extra bombs provided. Wing fold mechanism scratch built. Observers domed windows crash moulded (best not really studied). Paint - Xtracrylics. Markings - Various Generic. Some photos Its not medal winning - but I hope you like it. Thanks for stopping by:-
  5. I'm currently at the painting process of Special Hobby Blackburn Roc Mk.I in 1/48 and the manual suggests Extra Dark Sea Grey, Dark Slate Gray and Sky Grey. First of all, is the color scheme well suggested by SH? And second is Gunze dilemma... Wandering through the internet, I came up with the following equivalent: Extra Dark Sea Gray=Mr.Color 333 Dark Slate Grey=H421 Sea Gray=Mr.Color 325 Do you agree with the suggested Gunze colors? If you think they are not adequate, I would ask for your corrections and suggestions. Forgive me if this topic has been elaborated, but I am not sure that I have found a definitive solution (to a satisfactory extent).
  6. Hi All, My second completion of 2023 is Special Hobby's Blackburn Roc Mk.I, completed as L3114 of 759 Sqn FAA based at RNAS Donibristle in November 1939. Here's a photo of the aircraft in the foreground: I couldn't resist this scheme, if only for the non-standard yellow surround to the fuselage roundel! The kit was built mostly OOB, albeit with home-cut stencils for the national markings. As with all SH kits there's a few foibles, mainly around the assembly of the wings (which have a split to permit folding. A brief summary of 'improvements' as below: - Added reinforcing tabs to the wing roots making for a stronger junction - Added formation lights to the wing tips using clear sprue - Boxed in the landing light positions and added lamps from clear sprue - Rivetted the whole airframe - Trimmed undercarriage legs and doors to allow positioning in the correct 'vertical' position Here's the WIP if anybody is interested (source of many Roc puns - be warned Anyway, on with the photos: Here's a couple with the Skua I built last year: The family resemblance is strong! Here's a final shot to prove @Dandie Dinmont's assertion that the Roc makes that other notorious turret fighter, the Boulton Paul Defiant, look like a sleek beauty: I'd say you are 100% correct Craig! Although it is no beauty, I have really enjoyed learning more about this most unusual aircraft, and it's nice to have this footnote in naval aviation in the collection. Thanks to everybody who offered kind words and encouragement throughout the build - it was much needed and was much appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  7. Hi All, My first start for 2023 will be Special Hobby's Blackburn Roc. Here's the box art: Here's the sprue shots: You can see that the propeller is missing a blade (in the box, fortunately!) There's a bunch of resin (undercarriage bays, engine, turret base, bomb racks): There's a nice unpainted PE fret: And the decals (which I won't be using): The kit allows for 4 schemes - I'll be building the box scheme L3114, which is an aircraft of 759 Sqn FAA, based at RNAS Donibristle in November 1939: Here is a photo with L3119 in the foreground: I rather like this unusual scheme, with the low TSS demarcation and the non-standard fuselage roundels. I built SH's Skua this time last year, so I know roughly what to expect. Here we go again! Thanks for looking, Roger
  8. Hi All, I'm after a nice, uncomplicated build for the holiday period, so inspired by @AliGauld's lovely recent build I decided to purchase the Sword Avenger Mk.I. Here's the box art: I forgot to take any sprue shots as I just dived in this morning! I'm going to model this as an Avenger Mk.II JZ402 of 853 Sqn FAA in 1945, as shown on the below Xtradecals sheet: Although I cannot find any photos of this aircraft here is another Avenger Mk.II wearing a similar scheme (photo is of a 711 Sqn aircraft): As this is a Mk.II, and therefore an Eastern-built aircraft, the cockpit will be painted in standard Interior Green (as opposed to the Bronze Green of the Mk.I), with the engine bay in Zinc Chromate yellow. I shall also fill the groove in the cowling for the cowling gun (incorrect for the Mk.II), and drill holes for the wing-mounted guns. The Observer's position is also incorrect in the model, so I shall offset it to port, which will allow for a cutout in the bulkhead behind the Observer. I've marked up the area to be removed from the cockpit floor: Here's the 'after' shot with the bulkhead cutout: Here's a shot of the fuselage halves with Interior Green and ZCY applied: Here's a final shot showing the cockpit coming together: A most pleasant day inside with an eye/ear on the Australia-South Africa test match at the MCG (but not out, where it is 40C today!) Happy Holidays to all! Thanks for looking, Roger
  9. Hi All, My first completion for 2023 is Sword's lovely little Avenger/Tarpon Mk.I, which I completed as an Avenger Mk.II of 853 Sqn FAA, flying from HMS Queen in April 1945. 853 were involved in anti-shipping operations off the Norwegian coast at this time. JZ402 was hit by another aircraft (JZ400) on 27th April 1945 - here's a photo of the aftermath (kindly provided by @Troy Smith) As this was an Avenger Mk.II, I filled in the cowling trough for the machine gun, and drilled holes in the wings for the wing mounted guns. As this would have been an Eastern-manufactured aircraft the interior was painted throughout in Interior Green, unlike the earlier Mk.I Tarpons which were partially Bronze Green. The cowling interior was finished in Zinc Chromate Yellow. Here's a link to the WIP if anyone is interested: And with that, to to the photos: Here's a final shot with another recent completion, another FAA torpedo bomber with a crew of 3: I've very much enjoyed building this kit, and although it is no shake and bake I think it builds up to a rather nice Avenger - highly recommended! I also love this unusual scheme, and have enjoyed the challenge of making it work. Thanks to all those who have offered kind words and encouragement along the way - it has been much appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  10. Hi All, My next build will be Eduard's relatively new 1:48 F4F-3 (apologies for the poisson rouge @AliGauld - I had a change of mind at the last minute!). Here's the box art: Here's the sprue shots: Detail really does look superb. There's also a PE fret, which looks rather nice: There is also a mask set for the glazing, and a most comprehensive set of decals allowing for no less than six yes six US Navy schemes, precisely none of which will be used in this build. As the title suggests I intend to build this as an FAA aircraft of 805 Sqn, who were based in the Western Desert in 1942. In looking at these subjects, it soon became apparent that I had opened a catering size when it comes to the appropriate specification for FAA Martlets. There is much useful information contained within these hallowed walls, much of which can be found here: Here also is a link to a rather informative web page on FAA Martlets by our very own @Bruce Archer: http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/wildcatfaaba_1.htm From what I can gather all of 805's aircraft were from an order originally intended for the Hellenic Air Force, which was diverted to the FAA on the fall of Greece. The aircraft would therefore have the following specifications: - Fixed wings - 4 x 0.50" wing guns - Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 Twin Wasp engine - Single Stage, Two Speed Supercharger - Long cowl with 1 cowl flap per side, with carb scoop at 12 o'clock position - Cuffed Curtis prop with stepped hub - F4F-3 type (straight) pitot - Cockpit in Bronze Green - Interior Grumman Grey Keepin' up so far? I have found several photos of 805 aircraft (images for discussion only and will be removed on request) As you can see the aircraft when delivered were in the specified Non-Specular Light Grey (USN), and most sources have the aircraft overpainted in at least mid-stone, with some schemes showing MS & DG. I have found a few schemes which catch the eye. These two are both options (from an AZ Models scheme): I also rather like this high demarcation scheme (from an Aeromasters scheme): I haven't yet chosen which I'll go for, but as I'll be cutting my own masks it doesn't jolly well matter at this stage! Anyway, on with the build! Thanks for looking, Roger
  11. Hi All, My latest completion is Eduard's new tool Grumman Wildcat F4F-3, finished as a Martlet Mk.III of 805 Sqn FAA, based in the Western Desert in 1942. The aircraft I have chosen to model is AX736 'X', as shown in this photograph (photos for discussion only and will be removed on request): There are a couple of other photographs of AX736: There is much conjecture around the colour schemes for 805's aircraft, and a number of frankly speculative schemes are floating around. This batch of Martlets were originally intended for the Hellenic Air Force, but were diverted to the FAA following the fall of Greece. They were originally delivered in an overall Non-Specular Light Grey (USN) as shown in the below photos: At some point the aircraft had a camouflage applied. Accounts vary from a combination of Mid-Stone & Dark Earth uppers, Mid-Stone on its own, both combined with Azure undersurfaces. I believe this to be unlikely from looking at the previous photos. The pattern is definitely disruptive (i.e. two upper colours), but I believe that the original Non-Spec Light Grey undersides would have been retained, and a disruptive pattern of Light Earth and Dark Earth applied to the upper surfaces. The aircraft had the following specifications: Fixed wings - 4 x 0.50" wing guns - Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 Twin Wasp engine - Single Stage, Two Speed Supercharger - Long cowl with 1 cowl flap per side, with carb scoop at 12 o'clock position - Cuffed Curtis prop with stepped hub - F4F-3 type (straight) pitot - Cockpit in Bronze Green - Interior Grumman Grey All of the above options are allowed for in the Eduard kit. Here's the WIP if anybody is interested: With all of that, on to the photos! Here's a couple of shots with a BPF Hellcat to demonstrate both the lineage and the discrepancy in size between the two types: Finally here's a black & white shot of the model to provide a comparison with the original photograph: I don't think that's a bad match? My theory is that the lead aircraft have just flown into cloud shadow, which accounts for the difference in camouflage contrast between the two groups - that's my theory and I'm sticking to it! This kit has been a pleasure to build, and it's nice to have a desert scheme Martlet in the collection. Thanks to all who have offered encouragement throughout the build - it has been much appreciated! Thanks for looking, Roger
  12. Hi All, My latest completion is Airfix' lovely Swordfish. Now I did build the superb Tamiya Mk.II last year, so was not sure what to expect with this kit. I'm happy to report that it's a lovely little kit, well-engineered and detailed (though not quite to Tamiya's standard)! Now those with a penchant for history may realise that today is the 82nd anniversary of the attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto by Swordfish from 815 and 819 Sqn FAA, flying from HMS Illustrious. @mark.au planted the seed for an informal group build with a nominal deadline of today's date, so we decided to humour him a few of us (namely @bigbadbadge, @AliGauld and @iang) decided to jump on board! The aircraft I have chosen to model is L4F of 815 Sqn FAA, crewed by Lt R Skelton and S Lt E A Perkins. This aircraft was part of the second wave of the attack, and after dropping flares over the fleet this aircraft successfully bombed the Taranto oil installations before returning safely to 'Lusty'. I do not know the correct serial number for this aircraft, and chose to omit it, with the reasoning that the hastily painted black distemper covered the serial number over. I'm also aware that I should have fitted the auxiliary fuel tank in the observer's position, but by the time I discovered this the RFI photos had been done - please forgive me these errors! The kit was built mostly OOB, with the addition of an Eduard mask set (not worth the bother) and the PE rigging set from SBS (from Red Roo, and definitely worth the bother). Here's the WIP if anyone is interested: Anyway, on to the pics: Here's a final couple with the aforementioned Mk.II: The sharp-eyed amongst you may note the 'Merchant Navy' above the aircraft serial. My grandfather served in the Merchant Navy throughout the war, so it's kind of appropriate to remember him on this most poignant of days - lest we forget, Thanks for looking, Roger
  13. Hi All, After some incessant online bullying encouragement from fellow Britmodellers @mark.au, @bigbadbadge and @AliGauld I felt pressured to the point of tears decided that I really, really wanted to model another Swordfish. Just last year I had a crack at Tamiya's incredible 1:48 Mk.II, so this time round I thought I'd stick with gentleman's scale, as I seem to be having a good run down in the smaller scale. Here's the Mk.II build if anybody is interested: Anyway, here's to the kit. Here's Airfix' box art: Here's the sprues: Here's the decals, which look lovely: A mask set from Eduard: Why oh why did I bother?!I've also ordered a PE rigging set from the good folk at Red Roo models. There are decal options for two aircraft, one of which was involved with the infamous 'Channel Dash' action against the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen. Much as that is tempting, that is not where we are headed with this build (note the '4' in the decals, which may become important later ). The aforementioned Mark is currently making a beautiful job of Tamiya's 1:48 Mk.I as 815 Sqn aircraft L4A, which was involved in the action on the Italian fleet at Taranto on 11-12th November. During this attack 21 Swordfish from 815 & 819 Sqn FAA flying from HMS Illustrious attacked in two waves, causing considerable damage to the Italian fleet. The aircraft in both waves carried a mixture of torpedo, bombs, and bombs & flares. Mark's subject is the torpedo-carrying aircraft of the commanding officer Lt Cdr K Williamson, which was shot down in the first wave. His beautiful work has inspired us gullible fools intrepid fellow FAA fans to build other aircraft from the same raid. @bigbadbadge has just kicked off with his bomber, so I am going to model one of the flare-dropping aircraft (hence the title of the thread). I think at the time of writing @AliGauld is still sitting on the fence, but he does have a few builds on the go... So, the aircraft I shall model is L4F of 815 Sqn FAA, crewed by Lt R Skelton and S Lt E A Perkins. After dropping flares over the fleet this aircraft successfully bombed the Taranto oil installations before returning safely to 'Lusty'. As yet I do not have any photos of this aircraft, nor do I have a serial number - any information would be gratefully received (I know that @iang has been most helpful in Mark's build - I'll also shout out @Grey Beema). So the aircraft will be finished with the S1E scheme, with a black distemper finish on the undersides reaching high up the fuselage sides. I shall furnish further information as the build progresses, but Mark, Chris & Alistair - I hope you are happy now? Just joking - really looking forward to this one (enough to put a 1:48 Blenheim Mk.I on ice) Cheers, Roger
  14. Lt. Gerald Anderson RCNVR was the last Canadian to die in the Second World War and while being the first, last, thousandth, or ten thousandth to die makes no difference to the individual, it carries a poignancy for the rest of us that resonates three quarters of a century later. Anderson died the same day as Lt. Robert Gray VC. Robert Gray’s sacrifice is widely commemorated in Canada, and even in Japan - and rightly so; But Anderson also gave his life that day, and like Gray didn't get the chance to enjoy the peace for which he had fought no less courageously. As there's already plenty of model KD658 X/115's out there, my Corsair is marked as KD456 X/127 (the #127 of which is probably/possibly how his aircraft was marked) in remembrance of Gerald Anderson who died aged only 22 years old, also on 9th August, 1945. The kit was Tamiya's 1/48th which I modified to FAA spec but clipping the wings and adding the fuselage vents. I didn't do much else though I am sure there are a few other mods that could have been incorporated. The kit lived up to its reputation and my experience in being largely simple to build. I painted all of the markings, and am indebted to @iang in particular for help in deciding to mark the airframe X/127 for Anderson's aircraft that day. We don't know for sure it was 127, but it's a strong possibility - stronger than any other we could come up with. I based the weathering on two main influences. The first is the excellent walk around pics of KD431 in the Walkaround section here at BM. I learned that KD456 was issued to HMS Formidable only a few days before 9th August but that it wouldn't have necessarily been new at the time, it more likely was back from a major service. Additional to that, and somewhat tenuously, the S/N would tend to suggest similar ages between KD431 and KD456 so I based my weathering on the assumption that both would have similar wear and tear. As it was just returned from maintenance I weathered mine to about 50% (so to speak) of KD431's weathering. If you have an hour or so, the whole story is laid out in the WIP; The photos; Cheers.
  15. 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
  16. Good morning. I am slightly embarrassed having to ask this question as I thought I would be able to answer it through my own resources. However, as is usual with such things, digging in to the detail tends to open-up rabbit holes. I wish to model a Seafire XV in the FAA temperate sea scheme and without any far east markings, i.e. allowing an easy side-by-side comparison with (say) a Spitfire XII in ocean grey and green. I have found the perfect specimen to model (see below) but I cannot answer this simple question: Would the spinner be Sky or white? Every source I have is completely contradictory and I feel it necessary to ask the combined knowledge of Britmodeller. (source: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/uk/raf/seafire/seafire-xv-5h-o-806/) All assistance gratefully received. Kind regards, Neil
  17. BAe Sea Harrier FRS.1 (A04051A) 1:72 Airfix The Sea Harrier or SHAR as it became known was developed for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm from the successful Harrier, beginning with the GR.3, but with some significant modifications that made for a very different-looking aircraft, including a blown canopy that eventually spread throughout the later marks of Harriers, addition of the Blue Fox radar, and other changes to allow the airframe to cope with shipboard operations. It reached operational service at the beginning of the 1980s, and was considered to be a mistake in some quarters, but it was soon able to show that it was in fact a highly competent aircraft. On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces landed on the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory located some 290 miles east of the South American coast. Within a short time, Argentine troops had taken control of the islands. When word of the invasion reached Britain, a large Naval task force was dispatched to retake the islands. The Falklands War had begun. By early May, the Sea Harriers of 800, 801 and 809 Naval Air Squadrons, flying from Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible, were fully engaged in an air war with Argentine air forces who were flying French-built Dassault Mirage IIIs, Israeli IAI Daggers, British English Electric Canberras and US-built Douglas A-4 Skyhawks. By the end of the conflict, 11 Daggers, 20 Skyhawks, 2 Mirages and 2 Canberras had been shot down, either by Sea Harriers or ground fire from British forces. 2 Sea Harriers FRS.1s and 3 Harrier GR.Mk.3s were shot down by Argentine ground fire. Further aircraft were lost on both sides, either to hostile actions or accidents. This cemented the reputation of the Sea Harrier and Harrier in the psyche of the Nation, and they carried on in service in various incarnations into the new millennium, only to be removed from service prematurely by politicians looking to save money, selling off the airframes to the US for a pittance. Nuff said on that one. The Kit This is a reboxing of Airfix’s small scale SHAR that was first released as a new tool as recently as 2010 under new management after the company’s financial issues were resolved by a new owner. It arrives in the modern red-themed box with a nice CGI painting of a pair of FRS.1s over a boat that is billowing smoke, although it’s not clear what started the fire. Inside the box are three full sprues of parts, a clear sprue, large decal sheet and the folded instruction booklet with spot colour printing. Construction begins with the three-part ejection seat, which fits into the simplified cockpit tub, which has decals to add detail to the side consoles, and a separate instrument panel with moulded-in coaming, which also receives another decal for instruments. There’s a modern fighter pilot figure depicted on the instructions, but the plastic part is a WWII era pilot with his hands folded on his lap. That’s no use then. The intake and front fan for the mighty Pegasus engine is built within the splitter behind the cockpit, and a circular backing plate prevents the viewer from seeing through the fan blades, which are separate on the part, but may need a little flash removing to separate them properly. This assembly plus the cockpit, the two gear bays and the belly air-brake bay are installed between the fuselage halves after a little painting, and the heat-resistant plates behind the hot rear nozzles are added on a pair of pegs that slot into corresponding holes in the fuselage. The fuselage has a big gaping hole on the topside that is reminiscent of the original, as the wings are a separate entity that have to be removed to carry out deep maintenance on the engine on the real thing. The wings are full-width on the topside, and separate parts on the underside, with delicate vortex generators on the upper wing. The four exhausts are each made up with two parts, and have a join down the centre of the internal louvers, so take care to align these areas, as they would be the hardest to sand smooth. They slot into their receptacles in the fuselage sides, and you can pose them for horizontal flight, or in the hover mode if you wish, just ensure they are all set at the same angle. The two intake lips are provided with separate blow-in doors that are inserted from within the rear of the parts, depicting either a closed set or a set that are dropping down under gravity with the engine switched off. The next step involves making a decision whether to pose the gear up or down, with the retracted position being the easiest, involving placing all the bay doors closed, and the wing-mounted outrigger wheels retracted parallel to the direction of flight. Wheels down can have all the bays open, with scrap diagrams showing their correct angle, and of course the landing gear with outriggers down. You can also pose the gear bay doors closed around the gear. The twin main wheels are attached to the short leg at the rear, and the nose gear is a single part with moulded-in rear bay door, as are the two outriggers which are a different pair of parts from the wheels-up version. There is gravity “sag” on the tyres, which appears a little extreme on the main wheels and the outriggers. It’s easy to correct with a slip of styrene glued to the contact patch and sanded to shape once dry. You also get a choice of whether to deploy the air-brake or pose it flush with the skin of the fuselage, and the open option has a short actuator for the open option. The weapons and fuel tanks are the final aspect of the build, including a pair of AIM-9L Sidewinder with separate fins and adapter rails, plus the four wing pylons that have a pair of auxiliary fuel tanks to hang off them on the inner stations, with the twin Aden cannon fairings under the fuselage adding some old-skool gunfighter punch to the load-out. Unneeded for these decal options are a pair of Sea Eagle missiles that are left on the sprues, with separate forward fins adding detail to them. Markings There are two options on the decal sheet, both from Operation Corporate, which was the British name for the successful operation to take back the Falklands Isles from the invaders. From the box you can build one of the following: XZ459/25 HMS Hermes Air Group, South Atlantic, May/June 1982 XZ458/007 HMS Invincible Air Group, South Atlantic, May/June 1982 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. The decals for the instrument panels contain the dials and dividing lines, with the centres of the panel transparent for you to paint the panels behind with your choice of brand of paint. Conclusion A welcome reboxing of a nice model of the Sea Harrier’s first foray onto the battlefield very far from home, where it proved itself to be a capable platform. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Although having been building models for many years this is my first since joining the BM forum so I hope this overview is of interest to like minded Fleet Air Arm enthusiasts. The kit is the vintage Tamiya GRUMMAN F4F-4 WILDCAT from the early 1990s. To my mind it still stands up well to more modern versions even though the rear fuselage rivet detail is rather heavy. I had no problem putting it together and only complicated things for myself by deciding to include the AIRES wing fold conversion. This is cast resin and very finely detailed but extremely delicate and I managed to damage some of the components whilst cleaning up the castings. Thinning down the wing sections to accept the cast parts was a chore but I think worth the effort. The only other issue was that I like to have canopies open, particularly when we spend so much time and effort on the cockpit interiors. The kit transparency is too thick to slide aft of the cockpit so I reduced the fuselage spine a little to allow it to sit down in a more realistic fashion. This butchery can't be seen once the canopy is in place. So there it is, my first BM post. I'm now rummaging in the stash to decide on the next project. Thanks for looking. Ian
  19. Hi All, My next project will be Special Hobby's Albacore Mk.II. I built Tamiya's mighty Swordfish last year and had another biplane itch, so what better than the Stringbag's replacement to scratch it ?! (ICM's 1:32 Gladiator almost got the gig, but I fancied an FAA build!) Here's the box art: You can see that an Operation Torch aircraft is one of the schemes included - here's all three options: I'm not sure that any of those schemes really float my boat - more on that later. Here's the sprue shots: All usual SH fare, with their hard mid-grey plastic and what looks to be good surface detail. Here's the decals, PE and instrument panel film: All look to be nicely done. Here's the resin components for the engine, machine gun and other assorted bits & pieces: Finally to the ordnance. This kit is supplied without a torpedo, but fortunately I did not use the tin fish from my Swordfish build, so here it is in all its glory: That will do nicely! As to the scheme, I'm rather tempted to have a go at a TSS/Night combination such as this one, X8942 of 828 Sqn FAA, based at Hal Far in 1942. There are a few nice photos of aircraft in similar schemes: All show a significant amount of wear, which I shall attempt to replicate. So, on with the build! Thanks for looking, Roger
  20. So this is my first attempt at putting some words and pictures together regarding my latest build. The model is the TAMIYA 1/48 scale Grumman F4F-4. I decided to build a Royal Navy WILDCAT V and chose JV394 of 842 sqn using decals from Eagle Strike. I like to have folded wings on my carrier borne aircraft and so also have a resin conversion kit from AIRES. Main components laid out ready for next stage.
  21. Hi everyone, Here is the last kit I finished for 2021 which has been collecting a little dust before I could get some photos. It is the 1/72 Hellcat Mk I/II Dual Combo Profi Pack from Eduard painted in one of the kit schemes being 1844 SQN from HMS Indomitable. The kit which went together in typical Eduard fashion (meaning any mistakes are all mine) and was painted in my trusty Humbrol enamels. After a little research here in regards to ANA colours, I went with Humbrol 155 Olive Drab, 125 US Dark Grey and 90 Sky which looks alright to me. I went a little too heavy with the weathering in some spots, but apart from that I'm pretty happy with it. Sending everyone best wishes for a successful 2022 at their work bench! JayGee.
  22. Hi All, My first completion for 2022 is Special Hobby's 1:48 Blackburn Skua. The model was completed as L2963 of 803 Sqn FAA, pilot Lt C H Filmer, TAG Midn T A Mckee DSC, flying from HMS Ark Royal. The aircraft was shot down during the raid on the Scharnhorst on 13th July 1940, and force landed near Trondheim with both crew being taken as PoWs. The aircraft was recovered by German forces, and several good photos of the aircraft therefore exist (copyright Michael Balss - images used for discussion only and will be removed on request). There are a couple of notable things about the scheme: - The non-standard centre to the fuselage roundels - The interesting personal marking by the cockpit, which shows an arm in naval uniform firing a Luger at a wasp with a human Hitler head (of course) - The propeller is finished with an aluminium front and black rear Here's the scheme as presented by SH: I have replicated the non-standard fuselage roundels, but chose to use standard 'B' type roundels on the wings instead of the 'A' type provided, as I felt these would be more appropriate(due to their small size I used 1:72 wing roundels from a Wildcat, which were the perfect size ). I also retained the black & white underside, although there had been an Admiralty order around this time to overpaint the underside in Sky (invoking Modeller Rule #1 - it's my model and I shall do as I wish!) The kit as presented has a couple of inaccuracies, some of which I chose to correct (some of which I learned about too late!). In no particular order: - The underside cavity for the bomb is the wrong shape - it should be rectangular, rather than the 'lozenge' shape presented. - This aircraft should only have a landing light on the port wing, rather than both (this was serial number dependent) As I had applied primer before I was aware of these inaccuracies, I chose to let them lie. I did however make a number of additions which hopefully have improved the end result: - Scratch built the rear bulkhead in the TAG position - Boxed in the landing lights and added lamps - Added wingtip formation lights using clear sprue - Scratch built the distinctive bomb release crutch using plastic rod - Drilled wingtip hand holds - Modified the main undercarriage legs to emulate the distinctive vertical stance - Added non-slip walkways to both wing roots - Changed the a/c code letter on the tail from black to blue, as was standard FAA practice at this time Here's the WIP if anyone is interested: I've thoroughly enjoyed learning about this unusual type, and the quality of the build has been helped immensely by several contributors, including @iang, @mick b, @Grey Beema, and @Heather Kay - thank you all very much for your advice and contribution. Anyway, enough waffle and on with the photos! Finally (and just to illustrate scale, you understand ), I took a couple of shots with FAA contemporaries the Fairey Swordfish and Vought Chesapeake (one of which was a lumbering old dog, and the other was a Swordfish ): I've very much enjoyed building this most unusual of aircraft, and learning more about its significant contribution in the dark early days of the war. The desire to build a companion Blackburn Roc has significantly increased, as it would be rather rude not to! Thanks for looking, Roger
  23. Hi All, Having recently RFI'd my Sptfire Mk.I, I now have the appetite for something a little less... mainstream, shall we say? What better than an early war, twin seat, Bristol-(under)powered beastie to get the juices flowing? I've had Special Hobby's Skua peeking at me from the stash for a while, and I'm feeling suitably strong-willed to give it a red-hot crack. Here's the box art: As you can see, this is the 'Norwegian Campaign' boxing, which allows completion of 3 schemes from 800 or 803 Sqn FAA, all of which were embarked aboard HMS Ark Royal in July 1940. All 3 aircraft were also shot down during the attack on the Scharnhorst on 13th July 1940, although only one of the six crew were killed (Lt. R S Bostock) - happily(?) the rest were taken as PoWs. Of the 15 aircraft which took part in the raid, 8 were shot down - brave men indeed. As we all know, the prototype Skua was powered by the Bristol Mercury, but the Mk.II was Perseus-powered, and 190 aircraft were delivered to the FAA. Although they acquitted themselves well in Norway and the Mediterranean, they struggled against more modern opposition, and were withdrawn from front line service in 1941. I'm going to complete as this scheme: This is L2963 of 803 Sqn FAA. I've never completed an FAA aircraft in Sky Grey before, so this will be an exciting new experience! A quick image search does not turn up any pics identifiable as L2963, but there are a number of pics of Skuas from 803 Sqn aboard Ark Royal in 1940: Some nice details visible there. Here's another: Finally, here's a nice shot of the cockpit: On to the kit - here's the sprue shots: Moulded in the usual SH hard, mid-grey plastic. The surface detail looks reasonable, although I might have to give Rosie an outing... Here's the transparencies and resin parts, which includes what looks to be a very nice Lewis gun: Here's the decals, PE fret and the mask set I picked up: So off we go on another FAA adventure! I also have a Hurricane Mk.I (Tropical) I might build in parallel just for a bit of light relief, inspired by @bigbadbadge's lovely recent 'spaghetti' scheme (watch this space!) Thanks for looking, Roger
  24. Blackburn B-24 Skua MkII, L2991/Q of No 803 Squadron FAA Operating from HMS Ark Royal from April to July 1940. On 13 July, L2991 was shot down during an attack on Scharnhorst. It force-landed at Langvik, Norway, and the crew of Lt Cdr J Casson and Lt P E Fanshawe were taken as prisoners of war. The first operational Royal Navy all-metal monoplane, Britain’s first naval dive-bomber, first deck-landing aircraft with flaps, retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller. A pretty impressive list of firsts for the Blackburn Skua, which certainly can’t claim to be among the most attractive of aircraft. The prototype Skua flew in February 1937, powered by a Bristol Mercury IX of 840hp. It proved satisfactory, and was sent off for intensive tests at the A&AEE Martlesham Heath. Orders were placed for 190 aircraft before the prototype had even flown. All the Mercury engines were earmarked for the Bristol Blenheim, the 890hp Bristol Perseus XII was chosen for the production Skua, which became the MkII. All the ordered aircraft were delivered between October 1938 and March 1940, with the first FAA squadrons to see the new planes being Nos 800 and 803 in late 1938. Both squadrons were soon embarked on HMS Ark Royal. The Skua was a two-seat naval fighter/dive-bomber. It was armed with four forward-firing 0.303in Browning machine guns in the wings, and a Lewis gun on a flexible mount in the rear cockpit. Beneath the fuselage was a recess that could be fitted with a crutch mechanism to carry a 500lb bomb. During a dive-bombing manoeuvre, the crutch let the bomb swing away from the aircraft’s propeller arc. Underwing racks could also carry eight 30lb bombs. The wings were designed to fold, saving space in the hangar decks of carriers. The Perseus sleeve-valve engine could get the Skua to 225mph at 6,500ft, gave a service ceiling of just north of 20,000ft and a useful range of 760 miles. As a fighter at the outset of the Second World War, the Skua was already obsolete. As a dive-bomber, however, the type was surprisingly good. Skuas and Rocs were deployed during the Norway campaign in April 1940, and claimed the sinking of the German cruiser Königsberg in Bergen harbour. Many aircraft were lost in a later operation against Narvik. Skuas and Rocs also flew from RAF Detling in Kent, covering Operation Dynamo, the withdrawal of troops from Dunkirk. Skuas were withdrawn from service in 1941, their squadrons being equipped with the Fairey Fulmar and Hawker Sea Hurricane. There is no complete Skua airframe, but a wreck has been salvaged from a lake in Norway, and can be seen on display at the FAA Museum, Yeovilton. Built from the Special Hobby kit, straight from the box, painted with ColourCoats enamels, Revell and Humbrol acrylics for detail painting, and using the kit transfers. The build thread can be found here:
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