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The snowfall means that there was no post today, nor is any likely before Monday, so I've dug around the stash to unearth a fine example of the dear old Airfix 1/72 VI/II/XVIII

 

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Just like my other favourite, the Airfix 1/48 Hurricane, I've always found that what this kit lacks in modern standards of detail is more than compensated for by the pleasing look of the finished model. Although the decision has, in part, been taken out of my hands I've also decided that I'm just going to build her as she comes... namely with the very basic cockpit.

 

You won't be able to see through the standard canopy anyway!

 

The decal sheet in the kit features an all-black NF.II - DD712 of 23 Squadron, RAF. carrying the code YP-R. The instructions depict her as a standard NF.II with the external 'coathanger' aerial of its AI Mk IV radar. However, while this might have been fitted on delivery in mid-1942, photographs of DD712 depict her after the removal of the radar set in readiness for her later role as a cross-channel Intruder.

 

23_Sqn_Mossie_photo.jpg

 

Effectively, then, DD712 should be a black-painted F.II day fighter. So that's what I'm going to do. If nothing else it's a chance to get my eye in before the bits for my prototype arrive!

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Forgot to add my little bit of history!

 

DD712 was delivered to 23 Squadron at Bradwell Bay on 8 September 1942 and made her first sortie in the hands of the CO, Wing Commander Sammy 'Bertie' Hoare.

 

Hoare completed his tour of 80 missions shortly afterwards, handing the reins of 23 squadron over to Wing Commander Peter Wykeham-Barnes and DD712 became the regular mount of Pilot Officer Stanley Cornforth, an American volunteer who elected to stay with the RAF.

 

She was lost on 28 November over the Charente region of south-west France, along with her pilot, Flight Lieutenant Robert Williamson, and navigator, Flying Officer Norman Lavers. Both men were veterans who had started out in the ranks of the RAFVR. They are buried next to one another in the town of Cognac.

 

In researching the crew, I discovered that Lavers came from Dorking in Surrey, where I work.

 

On 6 December, 23 Squadron was withdrawn from operations. A day later her crews were familiarising themselves with fresh NF.IIs fitted with overload fuel tanks. They were ready to fly out to Gibraltar on December 21 and then onward to Malta, where they would remain for many hectic months, flying out on Intruder missions in North Africa, Sicily and mainland Italy. 

 

Apparently there is a colour profile of DD712 in the Osprey book American Night Fighter Aces of World War 2, but my copy of that is in the loft and it's now out of bounds due to sleeping children! Another job for the morrow...

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Interior green is on and the preshading done. I've never preshaded a dark aircraft before! Not looking too spectacular just yet, but it's nice to be mucking about like this after a long break...

 

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Hopefully there will be some little hints of shading under the Xtracolor RAF Night once it's on.

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The crew is aboard and the interior, such as it is, now in place. Forgot to photograph it all before installation as I got all excited about putting the fuselage together! It's a nice, relaxing build that reminds me of when my Dad built this kit for me as a youngster. So far, anyway.

 

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A fair bit of buffing, filling and sanding tomorrow before putting the wings and engines on... and my worst job. Masking the canopy!

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Nice work mate and I'm pleased to have an Airfix NF pard'ner in the group build.  To keep the synchronicity going, if I get enough desk time I intend to build an early short-nacelle bomber used in the Cologne 1000-bomber raid...  if....

 

I found on my horizontal stabilisers, it helped to cut the joint seam right back on the surface that mates to the fuselage. Then, I used repeated dry fitting and scraping and was able to get a perfect fit.  If you just cement the stabiliser halves together and offer them up to the fuselage, they look a mile off at first.... but I suspect these moulds might be so worn that no two models are exactly alike.  The wings, on the other hand, fitted really securely and well even after all these years.

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Thanks Peter, I'll be dry fitting everything three times from now on. Very pleased with the basic fit of the fuselage halves with minimal fettling, but I guess that kind of luck won't last forever with this old girl!

 

I do enjoy the results from a modern kit, and appreciate the fit and finish, but if it weren't for the quality and character of old stagers like ours the hobby would have died a death long ago, I feel.

 

I got into the loft and here's the Osprey profile. No radar but two things will not be carried over to my model: the tailwheel hub and leg should be painted Night rather than left bare metal - no point putting any camo on if her that were the case! Also the exhausts will be red-brown beneath the Night as that looks like the colour that was 'revealed' as heat, wear and tear took their toll on the paint.

 

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More to follow after family time!

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Ohhhh Xtracolor, I had forgotten what a bane it is to use! The results have pretty well always been worth the aggravation, due to the more accurate colours, but it's both too thin and too sticky for hairy stick application. It needs to be worked in with two coats and then given a dose of Klear to balance the whole mess out. Once you put the matt varnish on it suddenly blossoms but it's a total nightmare up until that point.

 

At least that's my experience - the darker the colour the more true it seems.

 

So at the moment I'm looking at a Mosquito which looks like it's been painted with Creosote using a brush made from shredded paper!

 

It also means I've got to double-paint the canopy, using Interior Green just to give the Night something to bite on, then give that two coats of the black stuff.

 

Should have just used black, shouldn't I?!? 

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Well it's been a disappointment so far. I think that the Night is a bit too far gone to save on this one. It's just got no adherence at all, and is still tacky/wet after 15 hours on a warm surface.

 

As the final insult, my wife left the dog in my workspace this morning and the little  :fuyou_2:  has decided that wheels make a nice change to stones from the garden that he insists on eating and throwing up. He jumped up on the table and three of the four halves before she could stop him - sole survivor is shown with the cruddy paint.

 

I'm fighting the urge to chuck it. The snow is starting to clear so if I ordered some resin five-spoke replacements, I could probably have stripped and repainted the airframe parts by the time that they arrive. I'll ponder that while you guys have a laugh!

 

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I've had a go at rescuing this one. I hate to let a kit go once it's started, but more importantly, after  digging around on the edges of its history, I'd really like to make as good a fist of it as I can. So far there seems to be a big improvement but I'll wait until the morning to see if I've done enough to save the build.

 

Meanwhile I've dug out Lest We Forget - a locally-produced book from Malta detailing all the RAF casualties flying from the Island. It appears that very, very few units suffered as heavily while on Malta as 23 Squadron - even among the convoy-hunting Blenheims. Of course their stay on the Island was far longer - a Blenheim unit could be effectively wiped out in a month - but from 27th December 1942 until 7th December 1943, a total of 40 aircrew from 23 Squadron were KIA. Almost all of the names are listed in pairs.

 

It's the defence of the Island that's been my focus since coming back to model making - no, really! - but even after the siege of Malta was broken, there was still plenty of trouble in the Med if you went looking for it. That was their job, so I shall take a few more books to bed tonight to find out a bit more about it...

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Thanks Peter! Well, before getting ahead of ourselves, what do we think of the salvage job so far? Worth continuing the uphill struggle?

 

CIMG9601_zpse73d3103.jpg

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I am using after market wheels on my Mossie, PM me and I'll send you the originals.

Peter, hold the front page! Steady the buffs! Land ho!

Three slightly scratched but not gouged half-wheels have turned up. No, I haven't been following the wretched hound around the place with a carrier bag and a stick, he'd simply 'buried' them underneath his bed. Another lick of paint on the tyres and they should be as good as new.

Meanwhile I've been learning a bit more about 23 Squadron's time in Malta and, guess what, my original build has arrived. Hooray!

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I think a lick of matt could have the Moz looking the part. Although most Mosquitos look very clean in pictures, I can't imagine this was possible all the time in Malta, so that should give you some licence to 'dust over' any flaws.

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The guy who does Airfix's box art these days has also had a crack at DD712 - available at his Finest Hour Gallery.

hideandseek.jpg

Admittedly it's depicted on home defence with the AI radar that the kit instructs you to have - it wasn't there - but the wings are about as streaky as mine! Taking comfort where I find it.

Update pics follow ASAP. I'm letting the canopy dry.

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Almost there, just waiting for the first of many coats of softener to try and put a bit of life in the half-inch thick decals before matt coating and sorting the nav lights!.

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I don't think I'll put this one in the Gallery. After all the initial problems it became a bit of a rescue mission but it was also a good chance to blow the cobwebs away after a long lay-off. The black paint is still streaky but that's OK. It was never flawless on the 1:1 aircraft. I do quite like the exhausts, though, with the red/brown showing through where the paint has 'worn off'.

Last night the undercarriage collapsed in on itself repeatedly until there was nothing but a gooey mush where the legs used to be, so the tailwheel was raised and the gear doors closed. No big drama... my 1/72 Mossies were always strung up from the ceiling anyway!

The Tamiya for my next build is sure to be more robust and significantly more idiot-proof.

For the build of prototype EO234 I've got cockpit masks, which will help - and I shan't be brush-painting the thing black, which will also be a massive plus!

I'll put a final completed pic up when this one's done.

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OK... my matt varnish has failed completely. First the Humbrol rattlecan gave about a half-second squirt before gumming up the nozzle completely. Replaced it with one from a different can with the same result.

In desperation went for some brush-on Matt Cote. This has now dried with a gloss finish.

Given how well Peter's got his DD712 looking, I'm going to retire gracefully and summon up the courage to start the yellow 'un!

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Thanks Wooksta... I gave up in the end.

Drop-kicked it into the recycling. It was a good exercise in knocking the cobwebs off and very nice to learn a bit about the history of the aircraft and its crews but Peter's done the same one a million times better now, so no wrench to say goodbye to her and start work on EO234!

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Ah, man, maybe I'm just good at Photoshop?! Certainly I'm very careful about the angles I photograph from!

And I feel like a right tool because I have just embarked on the Paragon conversion myself, going to do GB-D W4072 which photographed the Cologne raid. I just really want a dark earth/dark green Skeeter in the collection.

People seem to have good results with Testors Dullcote from spray cans. A bit of hot water to raise the paint temperature can also help.

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Just catching up with this thread...

So you finally binned it, did you? That's sad, I thought you were going to pull off a last minute save. Like you, I am always heartened when I build a kit from "the old days". They always look good, even if they're a bit inaccurate.

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Hi Maxidad,

Yes did bin it and then suffered a bit with confidence/mojo loss. After all, I'm trying to mod and fit a Paragon set on my second Mossie!

Rescue is at hand in the form of the old DH.88 Comet kits. I'm bashing out a couple of those to restore my spirits before finishing off the EO234 build!

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