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Hello all.

 

Back in October I started on this build with little notion of the somewhat epic undertaking it would turn into. The new 1/72 tool of this aircraft from Special Hobby was itself a pleasure to work with (barring one or two necessary modifications), however, the more time I spent with this quixotic product of the Fairey shop, the more engrossing it became in all its FAA-baroque glory. The full tawdry detail of the various hackings and scratchings can be found here:

...along with the collected correspondence of a band of knowledgeable and supportive pals who kept me going on this through good days and bad. I thank you all.

 

Two main challenges I set myself on this were to do an engine-reveal and to build a working main wing-fold mechanism at this scale.

 

The two fundamental references I came to rely on were the IWM archive of Barracuda photographs (including many excellent close-ups), and Robert McCandless' superb volume: From the Cockpit No. 16: Barracuda, which Ex-FAAWAFU was kind enough to put me on to. The aircraft herself is built as one of the 829 NAS aircraft that took part in the Tungesten raid on Tirpitz in April of 1944.

 

Some explanation of the figure in the cockpit for those who didn't follow developments in the WIP leading to this. (She's sculpted from scratch out of Milliput). Some time into the build I discovered images from a  photo-shoot (dating from late 1944) published by Picture Post magazine, featuring a glamorously-depicted ATA pilot called Maureen Dunlop, posing with a Barracuda. (A search for her on the Getty Images website will yield a number of images preserved from this shoot). The ATA did not however represent the glamorous 'front' of aerial combat in WWII, and like many other areas of support activity - many of them involving women - have only very recently begun to have their rightful place in the historical narrative sufficiently acknowledged.

 

These women flew military aircraft bravely in wartime conditions, frequently facing the endemic sexism of the services (and indeed the wider society) for their pains whilst doing so. Even the Picture Post cover treats her in a similarly sexist way ('glamour-pants' rather than brave pilot). She's shown in the cockpit here however, and very much in charge.

 

Enough. Pictures in studio lighting:

 

Overhead, wings extended:

33360825915_268114b409_c.jpg

Overhead, starboard wing folded:

33233077871_d18e99e275_c.jpg

Nethers:

33360826995_8f144f0d90_c.jpg

Starboard laterial, wing folded:

33233078491_89b28f9aa8_c.jpg

Front, port:

33360828115_584b410894_c.jpg

Midway, port:

33205480702_162cba7424_c.jpg

Front, downward:

32517839184_3d63908d8a_c.jpg

Tail:

32517839544_f0324aa86f_c.jpg

Rear, downward:

32517840184_58fe018eff_c.jpg

Starboard rear:

32517840724_a061fcee0c_c.jpg

Starboard, overhead

32517841014_6602051400_c.jpg

Port, rear:

32517841394_4f87fd85d9_c.jpg

Front, low angle:

32517841754_7ceda9a215_c.jpg

Port nose, close-up:

32517842284_2f45286135_c.jpg

Port lateral, downward:

32978260310_0f58dbe65b_c.jpg

Starboard lateral, close-up:

32517842984_00b696ca61_c.jpg

Some daylight shots:

32978261110_695d7d3925_c.jpg

 

32517843534_cc89ebd74a_c.jpg

 

33360825145_8c40642efa_c.jpg

 

33233077441_6e33e1a799_c.jpg

 

:bye: Tony

 

 

 

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Thoroughly enjoyed watching this little gem come together Tony, really top work all round - & Mo is brilliant...!!

 

Keith

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A great build log and a great result.

That certainly is a fine Barracuda.

Well done and thanks for sharing it.

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What a cutie

 

The lovely Maureen too

 

Its been one of those 'gotcha' build threads Tony

 

I never greatly enjoyed the  'Cuda' as you knower but became a fan simply because of the enthusiasm of the builder

 

You yourself

 

Well done Tony

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Awesome work and very cool theme

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Great effort I'm well impressed with the wing fold!

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I`m another one who has enjoyed following your progress on this lovely model,.......you`ve done a cracking job,.....well done,

Cheers

             Tony

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That is a quite stunning build Tony, the wing fold especially takes it to another level, just magic. Question though & sorry if I missed it among 1400+ replies :rolleyes: , do we know if the fair Maureen actually ever flew this particular aircraft or would we just like it if she did. :D

Steve.

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What can I say? Well quite a bit really.;) You have really surpassed yourself with this build, the quality of scratch work, namely the engine mount, wing flaps, wing fold, canopy frame and indeed Miss Dunlop herself is amazing. The paintwork is sublime showcasing multiple new skills and pushing what can be achieved in 1/72 and on such an unusual subject matter. The RFI photos are deserve something of a special mention too although I'd love to know how on earth you got her on the flip side? 

All this is just the icing on the cake to one of the most enjoyable build threads I've had the pleasure of following.

Hat truly doffed sir. I hope you have yourself a well earned snifter tonight and I look forward to yer new build with bated breath.

 

From one happy modeller to another.

 

John.  (Yes there is wine) :pilot:

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Super model and a thoroughly engrossing build. You've done the old 'Cuda proud!

Cheers

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Yes indeed, very satisfying build of an unlovely aircraft. Nice tribute to Maureen Dunlop too. Female pilots were, are always underestimated. I remember reading a story of about the B26 which was had a famous reputation as a widowmaker. But apparently some US pilots had their prejudice tested when a new B26 was delivered only to have a tiny little ATA woman pilot climb out of the cockpit. One of the best pilots I ever met is a woman. Perhaps a subjective belief  I thought and you might think but I once found myself in a room full of male pilots who had flown with her. They were unanimous in their praise and no she is not a 'babe'.

 

But I don't know if you can ever rehabilitate the Barracuda!

Edited by noelh

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One of the best WIPs I've looked at, only to be surpassed but the end result! What a cracking build and display of skills, all in all brilliant! Well done :goodjob:

 

Geoff

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2 hours ago, keefr22 said:

Thoroughly enjoyed watching this little gem come together Tony, really top work all round - & Mo is brilliant...!

 

2 hours ago, cngaero said:

A great build log and a great result.

That certainly is a fine Barracuda.

Well done and thanks for sharing it.

Keith and Chris: Thanks both - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

2 hours ago, perdu said:

What a cutie

 

The lovely Maureen too

 

Its been one of those 'gotcha' build threads Tony

 

I never greatly enjoyed the  'Cuda' as you knower but became a fan simply because of the enthusiasm of the builder

Any converts to the Grand Order of the Barracuda is reward enough Brother Bill. My thanks for that!:thumbsup2:

1 hour ago, venom197515 said:

I'm impressed! In 72! Maestro!

 

1 hour ago, russ c said:

Awesome work and very cool theme

Venom, Russ: Cheers for that gents. I might tackle something easier in future, like a cathedral...:banghead:

1 hour ago, 85sqn said:

Great effort I'm well impressed with the wing fold!

 

53 minutes ago, tonyot said:

I`m another one who has enjoyed following your progress on this lovely model,.......you`ve done a cracking job,.....well done,

Cheers 85sqn and Tony! :thumbsup2:

48 minutes ago, stevehnz said:

That is a quite stunning build Tony, the wing fold especially takes it to another level, just magic. Question though & sorry if I missed it among 1400+ replies :rolleyes: , do we know if the fair Maureen actually ever flew this particular aircraft or would we just like it if she did. :D

Thanks for that Steve. As to Maureen, it's entirely fanciful on my part that she was ever in this particular aircraft. It'd be nice to discover she was, but I'd be surprised.:winkgrin:

46 minutes ago, The Spadgent said:

What can I say? Well quite a bit really.;) You have really surpassed yourself with this build, the quality of scratch work, namely the engine mount, wing flaps, wing fold, canopy frame and indeed Miss Dunlop herself is amazing. The paintwork is sublime showcasing multiple new skills and pushing what can be achieved in 1/72 and on such an unusual subject matter. The RFI photos are deserve something of a special mention too although I'd love to know how on earth you got her on the flip side? 

All this is just the icing on the cake to one of the most enjoyable build threads I've had the pleasure of following.

Hat truly doffed sir. I hope you have yourself a well earned snifter tonight and I look forward to yer new build with bated breath.

 

From one happy modeller to another.

I say! I've got a bit of a lump in my throat at that. Most (typically) generous of you to say such decent things John. You've immediately earned further wine privileges this evening. Cheers!:cheers:

6 minutes ago, Bangor Lad said:

Super model and a thoroughly engrossing build. You've done the old 'Cuda proud!

Cheers for that BL!:thumbsup2: Often maligned she may have been, but some of us love the old warhorse....

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This is a beautifully detailed and finished model of the Barracuda! - working folding wing is fine model engineering - the ATA story is very interesting & I read about it recently in a book called The Female Few.

CJP

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4 minutes ago, noelh said:

Yes indeed, very satisfying build of an unlovely aircraft. Nice tribute to Maureen Dunlop too. Female pilots were, are always underestimated. I remember reading a story of about the B26 which was had a famous reputation as a widowmaker. But apparently some US pilots had their prejudice tested when a new B26 was delivered only to have a tiny little ATA woman pilot climb out of the cockpit. One of the best pilots I ever met is a woman. Perhaps a subjective belief  I thought and you might think but I once found myself in a room full of male pilots who had flown with her. They were unanimous in their praise and no she is not a 'babe'.

 

But I don't know if you can ever rehabilitate the Barracuda!

Hiya Noel. Cheers for that. There do seem to be a few more memoirs of female ATA pilots emerging in the last few years to redress matter thankfully. As to rehabilitation of the Barracuda, I think even in its own time that was quite a challenge!

6 minutes ago, Bugle07 said:

One of the best WIPs I've looked at, only to be surpassed but the end result! What a cracking build and display of skills, all in all brilliant! Well done :goodjob:

Most sporting of you old top!:thumbsup2:

4 minutes ago, CJP said:

This is a beautifully detailed and finished model of the Barracuda! - working folding wing is fine model engineering - the ATA story is very interesting & I read about it recently in a book called The Female Few.

CJP

Thanks CJP. That looks like another book for the already groaning list.  I've one!

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Modelling at its finest.

 

I read an account of a US Navy pilot inspecting the Barracuda. His comment - "Interesting but it'll never replace the airplane".

 

Pete

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A cracking build and a lovely tribute to an inspirational woman. 

 

I couldn't but help notice that in scale, the engine looks too small to haul that great big thing around!

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Following this build has been one of my greatest pleasures over the past weeks. Skilled modelling, great scratch work, marvellous paint and weathering and a scratch built Maureen to boot. Oh, and humour, lots of humour.

A great WiP Tony and a gorgeous result - thanks for sharing it with us :) 

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Hello Tony,

I'm in total agreement with all the Good things said already.

 

I am one of those odd people that really like the way the good old Barracuda looks :).

 

Surely a quintessentially British aircraft design of the time. An undersung workhorse of the FAA, one which you have done great justice to here.

 

The crews and support staff responsible for operation and maintenance of these aircraft are perhaps not as celebrated and remembered, as many in more glamorous machines. Those in Spitfires, Hurricanes, Tempests, Typhoons, Mustangs, and so on, even bomber crews, Lancaster, Halifax, B-17 and more would appear to be far more remembered, revered.

 

The Barracuda crews, along with those of other less high profile aircraft, Fulmar, Firefly, Baltimore, Maryland even to a certain extent Marauder and more, deserve recognition too. 

 

If anyone should visit this RFI having not read the WIP thread, I would strongly recommend that they read the WIP. With links to superb references and great discussion of the Barracuda, those involved with the aircraft and operations, it is a superb salute to these undersung everyday heroes.

 

Moreover, I feel fortunate to be one of those to have enjoyed the fun and banter on the WIP. Thanks Tony, a stonkingly good time has been had by all :worthy: .

 

An absolutely superb model, The Spadgent has already said all I would say about your skills and results. Flipping marvellous, that's what this model is :thumbsup2: !

 

That it is also a tribute to the ATA is an almost triple whammy; unglamorous aircraft,  undersung crews and, until recently, one of the many almost forgotten services, the ATA.

 

Good old Mo! Thumbs up and in charge of a big beast of an aircraft. Where the aviatrixes had danger and glamour, the ATA staff simply had very hard work and danger. It's so good to see them remembered in such a lovely, uplifting way.

 

Well done Tony, these photographs are beautifully done and show the result of months of dedication, research, figuring out great modelling and best of all, a lot of fun :)!

 

:goodjob: 

All the best

TonyT

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A very enjoyable build Tony with a stunning result.

 

mo looks great very well captured and a fitting tribute to the brave ladies that flew (as well as all the brace Ines that didn't! )

 

Rob

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11 hours ago, Buzby061 said:

Modelling at its finest.

 

I read an account of a US Navy pilot inspecting the Barracuda. His comment - "Interesting but it'll never replace the airplane".

Thanks Pete. There was a pretty unflattering FAA song as well iirc!

10 hours ago, Martian Hale said:

Beautiful! The barracuda is not bad either!

Two waves of the lace hankie to you darling modeller!

10 hours ago, Whofan said:

A cracking build and a lovely tribute to an inspirational woman. 

 

I couldn't but help notice that in scale, the engine looks too small to haul that great big thing around!

Cheers Whofan. I seem to recall that despite the bulk of the aircraft's weight being for'ard of the cockpit, 'under-powered' is a phrase that recurs regularly in the annals - especially in tropical conditions where they had to lighten the aircraft considerably.

9 hours ago, CedB said:

Following this build has been one of my greatest pleasures over the past weeks. Skilled modelling, great scratch work, marvellous paint and weathering and a scratch built Maureen to boot. Oh, and humour, lots of humour.

A great WiP Tony and a gorgeous result - thanks for sharing it with us :) 

Most kind Ced, great having you along as always. It's been an absolute pleasure sharing the whole process with all of you; like a very long and pleasant lock-in at an amenable inn! :thumbsup:

8 hours ago, TonyTiger66 said:

Moreover, I feel fortunate to be one of those to have enjoyed the fun and banter on the WIP. Thanks Tony, a stonkingly good time has been had by all :worthy: .

 

An absolutely superb model, The Spadgent has already said all I would say about your skills and results. Flipping marvellous, that's what this model is :thumbsup2: !

 

That it is also a tribute to the ATA is an almost triple whammy; unglamorous aircraft,  undersung crews and, until recently, one of the many almost forgotten services, the ATA.

 

Good old Mo! Thumbs up and in charge of a big beast of an aircraft. Where the aviatrixes had danger and glamour, the ATA staff simply had very hard work and danger. It's so good to see them remembered in such a lovely, uplifting way.

 

Well done Tony, these photographs are beautifully done and show the result of months of dedication, research, figuring out great modelling and best of all, a lot of fun

I've much appreciated your support and humour throughout the several months this took Tony; none of this would be anywhere near as much fun without such amiable companions to share the process with. It's funny how the simple act of taking a lid off a cardboard box can bring so many people together and give rise to such fascinating conversations about matter past and present.

 

25 minutes ago, rob85 said:

A very enjoyable build Tony with a stunning result.

 

mo looks great very well captured and a fitting tribute to the brave ladies that flew (as well as all the brace Ines that didn't! )

Much obliged for that Rob.:thumbsup2: I read last night that the real Maureen only passed away in 2012. She may have had some choice and salty comments to make on my rendition of her...:lol:

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By George what a great result young fella me lad and a fitting homage to Maureen and the ATA.. I must apologise for not interjecting/interrupting/castigating/praising your erstwhile efforts during development  but Darling and I have been extremely busy dealing with/causing/having foreign affairs which have sadly taken us away from 'this place'. Lovely work on the flappage and donk on this Fairey's most enigmatic aerial contrivance to issue forth from Heaton Chapel, (well OK, since the last one).....well done that man. 

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Fantastic job Tony and a double thumbs up from me :thumbsup: Have some have remarked above, it is quite a unique and quintessentially British contraption, very Heath Robinson. I won't go into each individual aspect of the build I like cos I'd be here all week. Particular highlights are Maureen (obviously), the extra detailing - especially the folding wing which gives it a sense of dynamism, the canopy and engine, and pretty much everything else. Oh yeh, the paint job aint bade either ;). First rate job and a thoroughly enjoyable enlightening build. Encore encore ....

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