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  1. Blackburn Skua Mk. II Special Hobby 1:48 In 1934, the Air Ministry issued Specification O.27/34 calling for a carrier borne multi-purpose aircraft which should be capable of operating in both fighter and dive bomber roles. In those days, the concept of a carrier fighter aircraft as seen by the British military had to have a crew of two facilitating long flights over the sea and suited to fighting enemy’s patrol planes. In no way, any kind of fighting against opposing bomber planes or even fighters had ever been considered. As the best of all proposed projects was chosen the B.24 designed by Blackburn’s chief designer G.E.Petty. The aircraft was a low-wing type with folding wings and retractable undercarriage. Under the fuselage, it also had an arrestor hook and a recess for one bomb of weight up to 226kg. The first prototype aircraft, later to be named the Skua Mk.I, was taken aloft for the first time on 9 February 1937. Following a successful set of test flights, the mass production was launched instantly. The production machines were powered by a Bristol Perseus XII and were known as the Skua Mk.II. They saw service with front line squadrons no. 800, 801, 803 and 806 and were also issued to training units or to target tow units. Despite all the rush while being put to production, the machines really lacked abilities to serve as figher planes and were deemed to be quite obsolete. But when the war broke out, the Skua found wery quickly its way to operations both over the land and from the carriers. During their first ever bombing raid against a German sub, which occured on 14 September, two of the flight of three were lost to their own poor-quality bombs. On 26 September, two machines of No 803 Sqn managed to shot down a German Dornier Do 18 flying boat, achieving the very first confirmed victory of a British aircrew in the war. The Skua, however, had several more primacies under its belt. On 10 April 1940, during the Norwegian campaign, a group of 16 Skuas sank German cruiser Königsberg. Aircraft of No 800 Sqn led by Capt. R.T.Partridge and of No 803 Sqn under the command of Lt.W.P.Lucy took off from their base at Hatson on the Orkneys and performed what was the first successful aerial attack against a war ship of the Second World War. Skuas also took part in fighting over Dunkirk and machines from HMS Royal Ark fought in the Med, where, on 3 July 1940, they got famous for being the first British warplanes involved in action against the former British ally, the French. It also has to be mentioned that these Skuas were the first ones to be lost in that undeclared war. The last Skuas were withdrawn from Ark Royal in April 1941 and since then went on serving with non-combat units only. Their war career was rather short, and despite their low performance in the fighter role, several pilots managed to achieve ace (ie gaining more than five confirmed victories) flying these aircraft. The Skua could have been far more successful, mainly in the bomber role if it had just been used in a proper way by Admiralty, obviously to the detriment of the Royal Navy. The Model With a pair of Skuas flying over what looks like Norway on the box top you might begin thinking that you’ve seen this scene before, well you probably have as the same box art was used on the original release in 2007. Upon opening the kit is well wrapped in a poly bag with the decals and instructions loose. The model is produced on four sprues of grey styrene, one of clear, quite a few resin parts, a small sheet of etched brass, a small acetate sheet and the decal sheet. All the parts are nicely moulded with no visible imperfections but definitely short run style. The panel lines are finely done and seem to represent the aircraft structure well. The plastic is quite shiny and hard, which could indicate that it will be quite brittle. Construction starts with the cockpit, which is made up of the pilots and rear gunners floors, mid bulkhead, seats, joystick, rudder pedals, instrument panel, compass, pilots headrest, gunners backrest, fire extinguisher and PE seatbelts. The instrument panel is made up of three PE sections with acetate backing for the instruments, which will need to have a dab of Clearfix or similar for the instrument faces. The pair of fuel tanks that sit between the pilot and gunner are made up from three parts each. The cockpit assembly is then fitted to one side of the fuselage. The rear mounted machine gun trough is then fitted, as is the two part machine gun mount. With the addition of the tailwheel, the fuselage can be closed up. The wing centre section is then fitted to the underside of the fuselage and the three piece horizontal tailplane assembled. The resin engine assembly comes next with the nine separate cylinders are glued to the crankcase and the eighteen pipes that lead from the cylinders to the collector ring are attached along with the ring itself. There is a triangular frame that is glued t the front of the engine, to which pair of intake trumpets are fitted. The cowling sides are then attached and the whole assembly glued to the front fuselage. To the rear of the fuselage the horizontal tailplane assembly is attached, along with the upper and lower wing sections, which include resin main undercarriage bays. Although the upper wing sections are separated at the fold join the lower sections don’t appear to be and there are no internals, so, unfortunately, the wings cannot be posed folded without a fair bit of scratch building. On the upper front fuselage a pair of scoops are added, as are the clear lenses for the wing leading edge landing lights, whilst to the rear the three piece resin and plastic Lewis gun is fitted to its mount. On the underside the arrestor hook and its fairing are glued into position, as are the oil cooler intake, engine exhaust, and two piece main bomb swing. The main undercarriage assemblies are each made up from the main leg, two piece wheels/tyres, main retraction actuator, secondary actuator and two bay doors. The assemblies are then glued into place, along with the large pitot probe on the starboard wing tip and the four canopy sections, of which the gunners and pilot sections can be posed open if required. The model is completed with the fitting of the main aerial, single piece propeller and two piece boss. Decals The decal sheet contains markings and codes for three machines as well as some stencils. The decals are well printed by AVIPRINT, and are in good register and nicely opaque, although the red centres on the side and upper wing roundels do appear to be ever so slightly off centre. Blackburn Skua Mk.II, L2963, of 803 Sqn. FAA, embarked on HMS Ark Royal. The aircraft was shot down attacking the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst on 13th July 1940. Blackburn Skua Mk.II, L2940/A6A, of 800 Sqn. FAA, embarked on HMS Ark Royal. This aircraft shot down a Heinkel He.111 on 27th April 1940, but was lost on 13th July 1940 on the attack against the Scharnhorst. Blackburn Skua Mk.II, L2991/Q, of 803 Sqn. FAA, also embarked on HMS Ark Royal. This aircraft was also lost on the raid against the Scharnhorst on 13th July 1940 Conclusion Whilst he short run nature of this kit may put some modellers off, but with a bit of patience and lots of dry fitting a nice model can be produced. It’s certainly great to see it back in production and whilst not produced in great numbers, a very interesting and quite an important airframe in the history of the Fleet Air Arm, a time when they weren’t exactly endowed with the best aircraft types. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Just finished this one, build of of box. cheers Jes
  3. Please may I present to you my just completed 1/48 Special Hobby Blackburn Skua II. I have finished my Skua as the aeroplane of the Royal Navy's first "Ace" of WWII Lt WP Lucy RN of 803 NAS. Blackburn Skua II L2925/F of HMS Glorious flown by Lt Lucy was involved in operations off Norway during April and May 1940. Lt Lucy had been involved in the attacked that sunk the Konigsberg. He went on to share in the destruction of 7 enemy aircraft, 1 probably destroyed, 3 shared damaged. In L2925/F he shared in the destruction of 2 He.111s on 24.04.40 & 07.05.40 but was killed with his observed when the aeroplane exploded attacking a He.111 14.05.40. The kit was constructed out of the box (boxing comes with some resin elements and some etch). Paint is Xtracolour and Tamiya acrylic. Markings were cobbled together using various sets but mainly Xtradecal standard sheets. Anyway enough ramble, here is a couple of pictures.. Hope you like it. By the looks of the pictures I need more matt varnish on those tyres... Thanks for stopping by.. The Blackburn Skua was notable for a Royal Navy aircraft for the large number of ‘firsts’ she notched up in such a short career: First –monoplane in Royal Naval service; First –all-metal aircraft in Royal Naval service; First –British aircraft to shoot down a Confirmed German aircraft in the Second World War; First –aircraft in the world to sink a major warship by dive-bombing; First –British aircraft to have a bomb-ejector fork for bomb to clear propeller in dive; First –British aircraft with sleeve-valve engine; First –British aircraft to feature Koffman starter gun for engine; First –British aircraft to mount four Browning guns clear of prop. No CC gear; First –British aircraft to feature two-speed propeller (two pitch positions); First –and only aircraft to be fitted with anti-spin tail parachute; First –British aircraft equipped with radio-homing beacon on new VHF; First –British aircraft to have front gun reflector sight; First –British aircraft fitted with oxygen bottles and supply lines." Skua:-The Royal Navy's Dive-Bomber: The Royal Navy's Dive-Bomber" by Peter Smith
  4. Good day to you all This is my latest impression of one of Her Majesties Fleet Air Arm not so great aircraft. Rejected by the Air Force so the Navy made do and it performed as well as it could but it was Too Big, Too Slow and Too Late! This is the 1:48 Special Hobby kit. It is a nice kit with some fine details, the only over size area was the fuel tanks behind the cockpit. It went together quite well but the wings do need alot of care and attention. Another pain was the engine, an exquisite rendition but to fit the engine to the exhaust ring was a right pain in the butt and caused quite a bit on chuntering and grumbling! Persevering it came out ok. The only problem I really had was when it came to painting. With the engine off there is a nice hole in the front to push a rod into so it can be held on that. However when I took it off again there was a rattle inside. On closer inspection I had shoved the rod up thropugh the cockpit and knocked off the instrument panel! With a bit of careful cutting and jiggery pokery I got the bugger back in but it was a little at times! Painted in Model Master acrylics, the sky was mixed approximately 2:1 with light sea grey to try and get that early sky grey colour. The camouflage was RLM 70 and 71 lightened about 1:1 with white. I think it came out ok and am pleased with the results. I think there has been a bit of criticism about MM RLM 70 and 71 but I find they are not too far off Fleet Air Arm colours! The underside was interior black and white. I did try a bit of preshading but i think i lost the effect. I shall try again though.I did a panel wash with my own mix from soft pastels and then used those for the exhaust staining. Decals from kit and a touch of rigging with elastic thread. Now for the fotos, I started off then as I uploaded I saw I had forgot the front canopy! so then went back and reshot but I have included some of the originals. All in all I like her. And her she is next to her new stable mate Next up is a Fulmar from MPM but due to lack of space I had to chop the wings up, I can feel myself going a little Cheers now Bob
  5. Hi mates! This one took a bit longer than expected, but it's finally finished. This is the not-so-often praised kit of the not-so-often praised Blackburn Skua, as seen in the autumn of 1939 aboard HMS Ark Royal. This is an out-of-the-box build, somewhat unusual for me, the only bits I added that didn't come with the kit were the antenna wires and the ordnance. Project: Blackburn Skua Mk.II Kit: Special Hobby Blackburn Skua Mk.II "Silver Wing" (kit number 72217) Scale: 1:72 (the only scale that matters) Decals: From the kit, representing flight leader 803 Squadron, L2887/A7F aboard HMS Ark Royal in the autumn of 1939 Photoetch: From the kit Resin: From the kit Paint: Alclad 103 Dark Aluminum, 117 Dull Aluminum, 115 Stainless Steel, 107 Chrome; Gunze H90 Clear Red, H94 Clear Green, H93 Clear Blue, H5 Blue, MC219 Brass, Navy Bird Custom Gunze Blend for British Interior Green; Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black; Testors 1149 Flat Black, 1168 Flat White; Floquil 110015 Flat Weathering: Panel line wash, pastel shading on control surfaces, pastel shading on collector ring Improvements/Corrections Added port and starboard air outlets (top of fuselage forward of windscreen), parts made from leftover resin pour stubs. Added 500 lb. SAP (Semi Armor Piercing) bomb. Added clear plastic piece to represent windscreen armor plate. Added antenna with 0.005" diameter Nitinol wire. Build thread: Link This was a nice little kit. I found that it went together without any fuss, with very little filler required. The photoetch stays for the engine were a bit fiddly, but they really add some nice detail. Skuas from this time period were painted with an aluminum lacquer, which I represented by Alclad Dark Aluminum with an overcoat of Floquil Flat. This gives a nice even aluminum finish (without any of the grain one sometimes get with silver paint) and a semi-gloss, eggshell finish. Alclad Dull Aluminum was used for the control surfaces to differentiate them from the fuselage. I did a lot of research while building this model, and now have a much better appreciation for the Skua. Tony O'Toole helped a lot with my incessant quests for information, and Peter Smith's book of the Skua provided a great historical backdrop. Pictures! The Skua, of course, is the personal favorite of none other than the Dude himself. Abide! Cheers, Bill
  6. Hi mates, I've decided to take a bit of a breather from my PB4Y-1 project. I've been working on that for three months or so, and I need to refresh my modelling mojo with a smaller project. Something to clear my mind so to speak. So I figured I would take up this nice little 1:72 scale kit of the Blackburn Skua by Special Hobby. The rules say I need to have an obligatory shot of all the stuff: Not much to it, as you can see, so this shouldn't be a long project. The kit includes a small PE fret with goodies for the cockpit, engine, landing gear, machine gun, rudder pedals, and bomb (or is it torpedo?) rack. In addition, nicely moulded resin parts are provided for the engine, tyres, and exhaust collectors. Panel line detail is recessed, but maybe a bit on the light side. Hopefully it doesn't disappear. As you can see, the marking schemes are for silver birds from 1939, both 803 and 800 Squadron from the Ark Royal. I'll do the 803 Squadron leader's mount, L2887/A7F, as it's a bit more colourful than the others. Did this plane participate in the downing of the Do 18 flying boat in September 1939? First is the cockpit, and as is typical with these short run kits it wasn't immediately obvious from the instructions how everything fits together. There are very few pegs and holes in this kit, so butt joints are common, even with the cockpit floor panels. But do the bulkheads mount on top of the floor panel, or to the end? It's shown one way in one illustration, and the other way elsewhere. However it goes together, the bulkheads need to be positioned where the small cutouts in the horizontal ribbing are: What looks like a huge ejector pin (which it probably is) will help locate the cockpit floor, but will be hidden by the fuel tanks. I decided to start by gluing the forward bulkhead in place (there are raised bosses to align it against) and then work my way aft, gluing each piece to the sidewall, one at a time, rather than trying to assemble the entire cockpit at once and then attaching it. This method seemed to work, as the bulkheads lined up to the small cutouts and it became obvious how they attached to the floor. Next up is a nice coat of British cockpit grey-green, or whatever it's called. I grabbed my handy jar of Model Master RAF Interior Green and found it had turned into, well, rubber by the looks of it. And no amount of Testors thinner would reduce it back into a liquid. No problem, stop by the LHS on the way home from work and pick up another bottle. Nope, sorry, there's been a run on that colour as it seems like everyone is building a Skua this week (which is really quite odd over here in Rochester New York). I decided to mix my own home brew, matching the Model Master paint. I used Gunze paints and the final mix consisted of H41 Pale Green, H48 Field Grey 1, H312 Green FS34227, and H322 Phthalo Cyanine Blue. Testing this against an old Revell Hurricane cockpit that was painted with the Model Master colour showed a really good match. The cockpit was then sprayed: With the vagaries of PC monitors, digital cameras, and the lighting in my photo booth, the photos are not an accurate rendition of the colour, which has more grey to it in real life. But it's gloss (the Gunze paints used to create it are all gloss) so this will take a wash without having to apply a separate shiny coat on top. Being generally lazy, I like being able to delete a step! Well, that's the start. Dry fitting things together shows no really problems (unlike some short run kits) so I'm pleased so far. The canopy even sits down over the pilot's roll-over frame/headrest, and I've read on-line that some folks had trouble with that. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the rest of the build! A Skua! Woo hoo! Cheers, Bill PS. To deepen the insanity, there's a Roc and Defiant lurking near the top of the stash! Yikes!
  7. Hi mates, I'm building the Special Hobby "Silver Wing" edition of their 1:72 Skua kit, and I have a question about the markings. I'll be doing L2887/A7F which is the plane shown in the box art: It is also the third one back in this photo: So here is my question - this aircraft is the only one in that photo with a "fin flash," which according to the Special Hobby instructions denotes the flight leader. On the box art, the fin flash is blue/white/blue (from the top) while the decal itself is blue/white/red. So which is it? For what it's worth, Pavla also think it's blue/white/blue: Another dumb Skua question while I'm at it - when a control surface, for example an elevator, is fabric, the associated trim tab is metal, correct? Or not? Cheers, Bill
  8. Some photos seem to show a rearward rake to the main gear when viewed from the side. In other words, the main gear leg is not perpendicular to the bottom of the wing. Other photos don't show this so clearly, and many profiles don't show it at all. Am I not seeing this correctly? Do the main gear legs have a rearward rake or not? Cheers, Bill
  9. Hi mates, quick question: What colour were the wheel wells and inner cowling on the Blackburn Skua? I doing a silver bird from 803 Squadron off the Ark Royal in 1939. I'm guessing it's the interior green colour, but the Special Hobby instructions don't offer any guidance. I'm also guessing the silver is aluminum paint, and not natural metal. True fact? Cheers, Bill
  10. Hi Mates, I'm continuing to work on my 1:72 Special Hobby Skua, and I've come across a fascinating part that they cleverly label in the instructions as "C17." I immediately searched on this term, as I would like to know what colour to paint it, and I keep coming up with pictures of this giant, bulbous grey aircraft without any propellers. Now, this C17 part looks for all the world like a fire extinguisher (complete with hose and nozzle), and with those two fuel tanks between the pilot and the gunner, I think this would be a prudent addition. In Brett Green's build of Special Hobby's quarter scale Skua, he has painted this part a nice bright green (you can see it right next to the gunner's seat, scroll down to see the cockpit picture prior to closing up the fuselage): http://www.hyperscale.com/2007/features/skuabg_1.htm Is it a fire extinguisher? Is green the right colour? Or maybe it serves some other purpose...I suppose it could be an oxygen cylinder for the gunner, but the "nozzle" is moulded too long and narrow for it to be a face mask. Maybe it's a holding tank for the relief tube. I also searched around for British WWII Fire Extinguishers, and found a few auction sites selling them. They all seem to be bronze in colour. I came across an aftermarket company that makes resin versions: http://www.jjfpub.mb.ca/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=1342&category_id=2&vmcchk=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=6 These are shown in yellow, and I'm not even sure they are for an aircraft. Were fire extinguishers coded with different colours to indicate the types of fire they could be used on? Or is that a more modern idea? As you can see, I know nothing about fire extinguishers, although I do have one in my studio. Any help, guidance, or pre-paid appointments with a psychiatrist would be appreciated! Cheers, Bill PS. Oh, I forgot to state that Special Hobby says to paint this part "dark iron."
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