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A Catalina for my Dad.


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I’ve mentioned previously that my first model was a FROG 1:72 DH Comet racer, it was a present from a friend on my 7th birthday. My dad built and painted the kit for me, having never built a plastic kit before in his life and I though it was magnificent.

Strangely dad was never really enthusiastic about my new hobby following that build, but now and again he would get a wee bit more excited, like when I bought my first (Airfix) P-38 – I’ve posted photos here before of my grandfather’s truck towing P-38’s through Liverpool in 1943 so I won’t bore you by repeating that tale. The only other aeroplane dad got excited about was the Catalina.

Following the loss of HMS Hood in spring ’41 (and the subsequent sinking of the ‘culprit’ Bismarck), Catalina’s and Fairey Swordfish the types that had hunted-down and damaged Bismarck, were sent out on (what we would now call) PR visits to towns were the loss of the Hood was particularly felt. Hood had been berthed in Liverpool in May 1940 for rest & refit. My grandfather took my dad to see the Catalina that was moored somewhere in the Mersey and he was lucky enough to be taken aboard… He never forgot his experience.

Often when we went to local toy-shops he would try to get me to buy the Airfix or Revell Catalina kits, I always maintained that I’d build one for him ‘one day’. Dad died in January 1988 and I never did build him a Catalina.

It’s one of those things that crept across my mind occasionally when I was deciding what model to build next… “Hmmm, I really must do a Catalina one day, for dad…”. I was having that very thought as I was browsing eBay a few months back, and then…

…BAM !! – a trader I’ve bought a lot of decals from, had Aeromaster 72-039 for sale, a Catalina sheet that included WQ*Z (AH545), the machine that first spotted the Bismarck on the 26th May.

I bought the sheet and here's the result.

Thanks folks, for taking the time to read this, I know it is long-winded but it’s a form of catharsis that I needed to go through and I appreciate you’re patience.

* * *

Kit - Academy 1:72

Paint - All enamels, Humbrol & Xtracolour.

Decals - Aeromaster 72-039

Extras - None.

Consolidated Catalina I

209 Squadron RAF Coastal Command

First aircraft to spot & track the Bismarck

26 May 1941






As ever thanks for taking the time to look and/or comment. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any criticism, it's all welcome.



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Fantastic build and a very nice introduction. I'm sure your dad would be impressed. I also lost a relative on the Hood who was only 16 so it's nice to see a build connected with it.

Edited by rivers3162
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That's an interesting story. Coincidentally my dad also built a FROG DH88 - I've still got it in it's unpainted red plastic! Only one thing with the Catalina, I see rust-coloured streaking around the lower hull - I don't know a lot about Catalinas but I imagine they were made of aluminium, which corrodes obviously but doesn't rust. Unless I am wrong and the Cat did have a steel clad hull...

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What a smashing model.....I'm sure your dad would be absolutely chuffed to bits. :coolio:

Could you point me towards the pictures of your grandad's truck towing the P-38s.....I for one woud be anything but bored by the images. :shrug:

PS - You've just encouraged me to build a DUKW for my dad. :thumbsup:

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