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Pat Pattle Gloster Gladiator

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Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St John Pattle DFC*, usually known as Pat Pattle, was a South African-born Second World War fighter pilot and flying ace of the Royal Air Force. Wikipedia

His  score could be as high as  51. A total of 26 of Pattle's victims were Italian; 15 were downed with Gloster Gladiators, the rest with Hawker Hurricanes.[He is considered to be the highest-scoring ace on both Gladiator and Hurricane (35 victories)


I have chosen to model his Gloster Galdaitaor using the current Airfix 1/72 Gloster Gladiator MkI when he was based in North Africa. 


The kit its self has had great reviews and is typical of the current high standard that Airfix are delivering.


There are however a few areas in the kit presents omissions and challenges to the modeller


The biggest omission is the lack of a gunsight in the cockpit. Pictures of the actual aircraft show a a simple frame above the instrument panel on which the gunsight was mounted.


I built the frame from bent wire and stretched sprue, the gunsight is from Quickboost and is a GM2 which was the standard RAF Gunsight on Spitfire & Hurricane I and I have seen images of this sight in place on Gladiators used in N African, Greek and Cypriot campaigns. 


I like to include pilot figures and the Gladiator has the newest incarnation of  Airfix WW2 Pilot. You can pick out the may west, goggles, and harness with buckle. Whereas earlier pilots were wearing flying jackets this one appears to be wearing the standard RAF uniform often worn in warm weather conditions.


The moment you add the pilot  you can basically forget about seeing most of the cockpit detail and in the case of the Airfix that detail is very good with accurate decals of the instruments and detailed control column, compass binnacle and trim wheel. Oh beware adding the pilot in my kit meant the his legs stopped the upper decking fitting properly, which meant trimming the forward cockpit bulkhead to fit.


Any way hera are some pictures of the Pilot and Gunsight in situ the Gunsight frame may be a bit heavy but I am really happy with it ( oh the pilot and cockpit area is bit shiny so next step is some matt varnish). Thanks


Gladiator Gunsight 4



Gladiator Gunsight 3



Gladiator Gunsight 1


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Interesting to see Pattle's machine being modelled. He was one of those pilot's who seemed to have dropped below the radar for a long time - possibly because he scored most of his victories early in the war in types which later became obsolete. It is only just that he is at last receiving the recognition that he deserves. Your model is already doing his memory justice.





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Thanks for the kind comments. For the last year I've been building aircraft of the great aces like Bud Anderson, Chuck Yeager, Jonny Johnson in classic Mustangs, & MkIX Spitfire. Then started thinking about the highest scoring pilots in specific aircraft type like Hans Dortenmann top Scoring FW190D pilot.


This lead to building Eric Locks Spitfire 1a (had the highest kill rate of any RAF pilot at the time of his death in 1941 and his markings were on the Battle Britains Flight Spitfire 1 two years ago. Looking for the highest scoring Hurricane Pilot lead to me Pat Pattle and my surprise at his history in Greece, Cyprus and North Africa as the top scoring Gladiator pilot.


Many of these campaigns came after the Battle Britain and were often hard fought retreats and losses and so may be overlooked by many. As someone said you fight wars with weapons you have not the with the ones you would like. Really great pilots through skill, courage and leadership achieve results in aircraft that were obsolete but were all they had.


So for me Pat Pattle deserves his corner on my model shelf because although he did not stem the tide of battle he had an impact in the battles he fought out of all proportion to what would be expected from a pilot of a Gladiator at that time giving me a new respect for the man and his machine.


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Great work on the kit so far. That gunsight is a gem. Is it just me, or does that type of gunsight look so foreign in the Gladiator?  I'm not questioning whether it is correct for the aircraft, just visually, it looks so high tech to be in a bi-plane.   

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Hi It looked a little odd to me too. It looks overscale in the Gladiator but I put one a Mki Hurricane and it looked fine so it just looks out of place as we are not used to seeing biplanes with reflector gunsights.. Most online images of  Gladiators had simple ring and bead sight or other types of reflector gunsight it.


In this picture you can just make out the gunsight and compared to the pilot its not a small device



This drawing from http://www.maquetland.com/article-phototheque/7895-gloster-gladiator-i shows the cokpits of the Mki & MK2 Gladiator



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