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  1. Back in 1980, FatCawthone was an ExtremelySkinnyCawthorne and having just entered his teenage years was heading away for a school skiing trip to Foppolo in Northern Italy. Ah the panache of speeding across the slopes, the apres ski (or going on the piste as even then was how I'd prefer to see the piste!) and obviously being 13 and all that goes with it, copping off with as many 13 year old lasses as possible, taking advantage of the romance of the foreign field!!! But first was the flight. Master ESC had one flight under his belt at this time, a trip to Malta and back on a Boeing 720B, but this flight was special; there were no parents! A shortish coach trip from Chingford in East London to Luton Airport (cue the many many attempts to reproduce that classic Campari advert featuring the delectable Lorraine Chase - "Did you truly waft here from paradise?" - "Nah, Luton Airport!"), where having been checked in we were led off to a Britannia Airways Boeing 737-200 that would fly us to Milan from where we would be coached up into the Dolomite mountains. Now using my Kodak 110 camera I would have used up my entire film for the week's trip on a Walkaround Shoot before I even knew what one of those was (and didn't they know how to charge for stuff in skiing villages when I wanted to buy a new film!), but like all grown up men all their photos are in their Mum's loft. I might see her over this Easter break so I might see if she could dig them out so I can 100% model the actual plane I flew on. Now having picked up the Airfix rendition (I think rendition in this case probably refers to the Guantanamo definition of the word as this kit is soooooooooo old and poorly detailed that it must be up there with waterboarding on the list of top torture methods!) during one of their Last Chance to Black Friday sales for a fiver or something, a small germ of an idea to build one of these had formed. I later saw that 26 Decals did a Screen Printed sheet for Britannia schemes of this era so added that to the stash. As I'd heard from here that the engine pylons represented an even earlier version of 737 I also added the Braz engines to the cocktail. I did also purchase the Bren Gun wheels for the -300 but may save them for a second build in this GB if I get that far. Then along came this GB and a chance to push myself gently out of my comfort zone (1/48 RAF WW2 to date) was presented and duly grasped with both mitts (but not with skiing gloves on - though what the excuse for some of my work is I'll never know!). This is what we started with: Now being used to having "construction began with the cockpit" as a stock opening line, not having a cockpit was a bit of a culture shock. Construction began by filling the over square open windows so kindly provided by Airfix (along with a tool to push through any cheat line decals to give a professional finish) as the 26 decals have a far more realistic representation compared to the kit offerings. The cargo and cabin doors were also added and as they fit like a glove (an oven glove that is) plenty of filler went on those too. This was done with my homemade sprue and cement gloop concoction. As you can see the sanding, filling, sanding, filling, repeat repeat repeat had already started and will be going on for quite a bit longer too! Next up the fuselage and the wings were cemented together. Once at this stage I decided that I couldn't live with the lack of wheelwells, despite originally planning this as a very quick build to see if my sausage-like fingers could indeed cope with this scale. I therefore created rough representations of the wheelwells from evergreen sheet and then spent a few hours researching what would actually be seen in those wells. Now there is no way on god's earth that I could miniaturise what actually lives there and stay sane so I took a pragmatic view to create something that looks busy enough but realistic without testing my sanity. Yes I know everything is fictional and overscale but it's my model so ner ner ne ner ner (yes I have regressed to the spotty ESC for the duration of this build). These were cleaned up and after priming were given a coat of very very light grey mixed from Tamiya white and Sky Grey. Next the engines were cleaned up from their casting blocks and Araldited to the wings. Now having just removed only the scrap resin from the engine I could not get the engines to fit the wings unless they pointed outwards at 20 degrees or so, which if it was the prototype might have perturbed the passengers in the rear rows! I worked out the datum for the centreline of the engines and pencilled a line across the top wing to help line things up. Then I chipped, scalpelled and sanded away at the top of the engines to try and get a better and straighter fit. Now the port wing engine might have received a bit too much of this, so needed a bit of filler once attached, however am happy with how the starboard one finshed up. The last things that I've done are the rescribing of the tailplanes (the top surface of the wing and the fin had already been rescribed), and a good sanding and polishing of all the fuselage's filler, ready for a priming once the wings and tailplanes are on. Anyways that's where we are, am pleased I've finally got a chance to upload some pictures and get something written down as it seems to be my habit of getting quite a way into a build before starting my WIPs. The intentions are good but the application rarely matches them! Until next time, thanks for tuning in.
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