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Stew Dapple

Airfix 1/72 Belgian Fairey Battle - FINISHED

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It was many years ago that I first read of the exploits of the 12 Squadron Fairey Battles in attacking the bridges over the Albert Canal in Maastricht on May 12th 1940. For many years one of the options for the Airfix kit was one of the aircraft that took part in this raid and was shot down - Flying Officer Norman Thomas and his crew in P2332 PH-F were captured.

The second option in that issue of the kit was an unremarkable-looking Belgian Air Force machine marked T-70. I never really paid much attention to it as, like many other British modellers I'm sure, I made the RAF version.

However I was reading Norman Franks' book "Valiant Wings" recently and it revealed that T-70 and eight other Fairey Battles of the Belgian Air Force 5/III/3 5th Squadron 'Egyptian Falcon' had been ordered to attack the bridges over the Albert Canal on May 11th. Six of the nine aircraft were shot down including Captain Andre 'Dede' Glorie's T-70. He was killed and his gunner/observer Sous Lt Jean Vanden Bosch was seriously injured when he was either thrown from the aircraft as it crashed or as a result of bailing out too low. The damage they did to the Vroenhoven Bridge, despite making a second attempt at it after experiencing problems with the bomb-release mechanism, was minimal. There is some suggestion that Captain Glorie might have deliberately tried to crash his badly-damaged aircraft into the bridge. Such evidence as I was able to find on the internet did not show if any of the crews were awarded medals for their efforts.

I thought after that that T-70 looked like an interesting option and I managed to score an early issue Battle from e-bay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VINTAGE-AIRFIX-FAIREY-BATTLE-SCALE-1-72-/370999633793?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&nma=true&si=%252FFVtms%252BRmn81rpdGqVmAKvYTUOc%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

It arrived very quickly and a brief check shows everything appears to be present:

DSCN0591.jpg

Note that it is the 'NEW' Fairey Battle - dated 1978...

DSCN0592.jpg

The kit decals don't look too bad but I will most likely use the spare Belgian Cocardes from the new Airfix rag-wing Hurricane as they appear to be virtually identical in size and less likely to give me problems. That just leaves the large T-70 marking and the two small white 70s to go on the rudder:

DSCN0593.jpg

I've already instigated a vigorous de-rivetting program on the major fuselage and wing parts, however I am not going to attempt to fix the well-known issue with the engine (or lack of it) and whatever it is that is wrong with the tail :bleh: so I ask your indulgence in this.

Cheers,

Stew

Edited by snapper_city

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I shall be watching with interest. I was recently looking to see if there were any places in Leicester city centre that sold kits now - we've lost Modelzone and a large toy shop called Dominoes, that used to have a good kit department. The only place I found was a chain toy shop in one of the shopping centres - and one of the two kits it had was the Airfix Victoria Cross set - one of the four planes it contains is the Fairey Battle. I was almost tempted to buy the set except for the huge queue which included screaming children. If I like what you do I may have to go back and see if they still have it!

Kind regards,

Stix

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Thanks Mark, I hope it will be interesting for me at least :lol:

Thanks Stix - I face a similar situation in Ipswich, there used to be a couple of really good model shops and now I think the only place you can buy kits is a small selection upstairs at WH Smiths and (if it is even still there) an ever-decreasing selection in Toymaster. Of course I can't really moan about this situation as I was too lazy to go to those model shops most of the time when they were open when I could have somebody just post me what I wanted off the internetz... :fraidnot:

The Airfix Battle, like all the kits in the VC Icons Gift Set, is ancient - I thought mine dated 1978 and marked 'New' on the box must have been from the original issue but I noticed that on the inside of one of the wing halves it is copyrighted 1968. The fundamental shape of the aircraft is wrong, it is covered in rivets that were not present on the real aircraft, the details are vague and muddily moulded. All that said, the only other Fairey Battle I know of in 1/72 is the MPM short-run which is effectively impossible to get hold of (and if you do it will cost you :boom: ) and which was not exactly heaped with praise for its accuracy either.

I'm prepared to live with the faults with the Airfix kit for the simple reason that if I don't then I won't be building one as I just don't have the necessary talent or patience to hack a kit about until it matches the scale plans.

Anyway I made the most of my Sunday and kicked off, assembling and painting the interior parts and starting on the crew:

DSCN0595.jpg

Aside from the de-rivetting I had to do something about the ailerons which looked like they were made using the ribs of a starving pony; I alternated fairly thickly brushed-on layers of Vallejo primer with a brisk sanding of the raised ribs and I got it down to a level more acceptable to me ('after' on the left, 'before' on the right):

DSCN0596.jpg

I hope that will look a bit less noticeable once painted, odd that Airfix felt it necessary to present the ailerons in this way as the elevators and rudder which were presumably manufactured in the same way on the real aircraft are depicted as 'fully inflated' and just with some rib-tape effect in the way of detail... :shrug:

Blimey, a lot of talking and most of it moan moan moan :ike: which might lead you to believe I'm not enjoying myself - I am, these sort of things don't seem to stress me these days and it was quite interesting using the primer/sanding technique which I had read about (and to my surprise finding that it worked :lol: ) - I expect progress will slow a bit now it's back to work.

Cheers,

Stew

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Is that toymaster (langleys) in Norwich? I'm going there today. Currently visiting friends. I might try make it to lowestoft for Hannants warehouse if I get time.

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Hi Mark,

No, it's in Carr Street Ipswich, I believe Norwich has a couple of pretty good model shops still - of course nothing compares to Hannants if you have time to go there :Tasty:

Cheers,

Stew

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Nice choice Stew, and interesting info on the Belgian option. I will look at those alternative options in a new light.

I think its ok not to get too hung up on the various shape and scale measurement issues of this that and the other, I think it will look like a Battle, when all said and done.

Looking forward to following your build.

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Accuracy issues included, this is still one of my all time favourite kits. It will be interesting to see how you get on with yours.

Martin

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Thanks Chockhead, I thought it was interesting about the Belgian Battles, especially since virtually the same thing happened to the RAF Battles the following day.

I really can't allow myself to get hung up on the details, because I have done in the past and all that happens is that I end up building nothing; I'm happy enough building kits as they are or making the changes that I feel able to do if I want to; it works for me, I don't see anything wrong with it.

Thanks Martin, I shall do my best to make a decent fist of it as I've always liked the kit (which after all is pretty uncomplicated and if I recall went together without any drama when I was about 13) and I've always liked the aeroplane too - if you compared it to a Ju87 you would think that the smooth elegant looking Battle would be the successful bomber and the Ju87 the dog that no-one loved :lol: and not the other way round.

Cheers,

Stew

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Nice one Stew,I built one way back in the seventies and did the Belgian option there were a group of four of us kids used to build our kits round the table on

a Saturday morning and I always built the "odd" option, American spitfire etc,and good move buying an old boxing the moulding on the last release is looking

well past it,s best,decals look very usable too.

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I think Langleys is possibly the only one left in Norwich now after MZ closed. I'm visiting friends here and he says that there used to be more. I went to Langleys and picked up a Minicraft B-29 for the Korean War GB. I then went straight to Hannants & had a good wander around. Man that place is something else. It was a good thing I knew what I was going for otherwise I would still be there. Left with a Bronco M-24 Chaffee for the Korean GB again & a decal sheet for the B-29. All in all a good day.

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If I ever entered the main Hannants they had to drag me out screaming and kicking when closing :analintruder:

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I went there for the bits I got so was happy. I could have stayed longer but that would have meant filling out an application form and moving there. Also she would have killed me and I want to enjoy my purchases.

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There should be two rules you need to agree to adhere to before going to Hannants - have an idea of what you want and do not take your wife/girlfriend/significant other :lol:

Oh, and allow twice as much time as you expected and take four times as much money as you intended to spend ;)

Steve, thanks, the moulding on this one is not fantastic (not that I am suggesting that anyone on ebay would put a new kit in an old box and sell it as 'vintage' oh no <_< ) but the latest release doesn't have the Belgian markings, I think the alternate version is for a Greek aircraft. I used to build Airfixes with a couple of mates of mine too but I was always for the RAF option :) Anyway the decals do at least look usable but I will probably use the Hurricane roundels anyway.

I had a bit of progress last night, finished painting the interior fittings, didn't do anything special with them as I will be installing the crew presently which will restrict how much you can see in the cockpits (and I suppose is probably why nobody uses the pilot figures any more but they give a sense of scale and basically I just think they are cool B) ) The gunner appears to have a typists' swivel-chair to sit in:

DSCN0604.jpg

To avoid some problems I have heard of getting the bombs to fit I am closing the bomb doors - they don't fit terribly well so I thought it best to do this before joining the upper and lower wing halves and then flooding them with poly cement from the inside:

DSCN0607.jpg

This worked surprisingly well and has left a firm joint so I can sand from the outside without popping the doors in, out, or off. What? I knew that was going to work :smartass:

Finally I installed the interior parts, having first assembled and fixed the tailplanes for no apparent reason apart from making things awkward for myself. No not really, they seem from the instructions to be handed but I could see no difference between them so I thought I ought to fit them before I forgot which was port and which was starboard. Making it awkward for myself was simply an unexpected side-effect :lol: :

DSCN0608.jpg

Cheers,

Stew

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There should be two rules you need to agree to adhere to before going to Hannants - have an idea of what you want and do not take your wife/girlfriend/significant other :lol:

Oh, and allow twice as much time as you expected and take four times as much money as you intended to spend ;)

I will defiantly agree with the know what you are going for. Even though I have 80 odd kits on my wishlist many of which I saw. There was many many others that I could have walked out with. Luckily my misses is very good when it comes to modelling so I would have no issues taking her. The only thing I would worry about is she would be getting bored after an hour of being there. I'm very tempted to go there at some point in the future with £200 - £300 to spend and no idea what I'm going for. It could be amazing fun or hugely stressful. I have shown some pics from my visit HERE. Just scroll down the thread.

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hello stew! I built this same "new" 1978 boxing of this kit last year, and I'm just in time to give you a heads up about the rear gunner, if you put his seat in as per the instructions then the tilt and slide window is right in his lap!-

4l50s5.jpg

to cure this I moved his seat further towards the rear

3533x4y.jpg

11gkawi.jpg

and this seemed to cure the problem.

HTH, Phil.

Edited by phil B.

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Hi Mark,

It is quite a place isn't it, that's why I refer to the trip to Hannants as 'The Pilgrimage' because for a modeller that place is Mecca :coolio:

What you said was really what I meant when I said don't take your wife/girlfriend/s.o. - the last time I went to Hannants I took my then-girlfriend and she was lovely about it but after an hour or so looked a little fidgety and I suddenly thought: How would I be feeling now if she took me to a huge shoe-shop and was still poking about after an hour... well I felt a bit bad about it and made a few rushed purchases and said I was done. So even though she didn't nag or complain or anything I still would have had a more interesting and relaxed visit had I been on my own.

As for the money thing, yes I think basically you could spend however much money you took with you without too much effort :hypnotised:

Hi Phil, thank you very much for that timely intervention, that would have really annoyed me if I had got the fuselage together and then found the gunner had his face in the way of the hinged canopy bit :fuyou_2: I've decided on the strength of that and the weak-looking VGO K gun supplied that I will go with the back closed up, I had already toyed with the idea as it will accentuate the smooth lines of the aircraft more - I hope that your (excellently illustrated by the way) tip-off will prove equally useful for anyone else building this kit. How did yours turn out by the way?

Anyway back to the build - I had been mulling over what to do about painting the wheels, they are rather strange having a hub that fits into one side of the wheel and the other side just being... well, flat, with no sort of hub detail.

I must have had that churning in my subconscious when visiting the stationery cupboard at work as I sort of accidentally appropriated some of those self-adhesive 'ring reinforcers' that we used to call 'paper polos' - in my defence they are not used much any more as most of our 'paperwork' is electronic these days but anyway, I stuck a couple on the wheels to use as a sort of hub mask (left is after painting, right is before):

DSCN0611.jpg

...and it turned out okay, better than I could have painted by hand anyway:

DSCN0612.jpg

I finished painting the crew and installed them:

DSCN0614.jpg

...and put the 'stopper' on the propeller and started making up the undercarriage units while I was waiting for that to dry:

DSCN0615.jpg

Finally I joined the two fuselage halves together and clamped them with pegs, they will get until this evening to set then I will clean up the join where required, then it will be on to adding the wings - this one seems to have gone together really quickly so far (how to tempt fate again :raincloud: )

DSCN0617.jpg

Cheers,

Stew

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Yesterday after work I added the wings; I foresee an evening of filling and sanding today :raincloud:

And my second-favourite thing: masking canopies. Fortunately I got the hardest part out of the way this morning before work:

DSCN0618.jpg

It's not perfectly even, but it should still give a better result than if I hand-painted the framing. I hope to get the other clear parts masked tonight too; filling and sanding permitting.

Cheers,

Stew

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Ooh, I'd love to mate... if you want to do all my filling and sanding? :analintruder:

Anyway, you're building a late-war 109, you couldn't have much less canopy framing :lol:

Cheers,

Stew

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hello stew, I've just realised that for some reason I have no pics of my finished battle! i'll take some and post them up in the ready for inspection forum.

as for closing the rear gun cover I was tempted to do that too, as I did like the sleeker look it gave the aircraft, but gave in to the idea that guns sticking out are cool!

Edited by phil B.

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Hi Phil,

Yes, do post yours up, it would be good to see it - I struggled a little with the temptation of having the rear-gun on display for sheer gunny goodness but in my imaginary world where I build another one of these and fix the nose and everything and make it perfect... that one will have the gun on display (though it will probably be one of those lovely little cast brass Eastern European guns that costs almost as much as the kit did :D )

Deacon, thank you very much, it has been quite a pleasant and relaxing build so far B)

I finished the canopy masking, aside from the sliding hood of the pilot's cockpit which had a fairly prominent ejector-pin mark on the inside which required quite a bit of work to get rid of... I might give that bit another polish and a further dunk in Klear before I mask it, it still looks a little foggy:

DSCN0620.jpg

The wings were fitted, filled, sanded and some black Games Workshop primer sprayed on the undersides - my work there (and there was a lot of my work there) is a long way from being perfect but it will have to do as I don't intend to spend the rest of my natural life sanding it :lol:

DSCN0621.jpg

I did however have a little experiment using the method that I saw used on the forum for making the navigation lights out of clear sprue bits; here is the chunk of sprue superglued into the removed section of the wing where the navigation light outline was moulded:

DSCN0622.jpg

As you can see I had a little overspill but there is some serious sanding to be done there and I will clean it up then; afterwards it will look more like this, although this side still requires a final spit-and-polish, plus painting in clear red or green as appropriate - I think that will best be done at the end of the build after the matt varnishing.

DSCN0623.jpg

Apologies for the pictures, basically the problem is that I'm hopeless at it.

Cheers,

Stew

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hi stew, very nice progress so far!:) as for the position lights, nicely done, for painting i usualy polish these before the painting and then use mascol to cover it and paint the clear colour at the very end. It seems to work better to me than sanding and polishing the matt coat down on already painted model (theres danger i would damage the camo)

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