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Nickthebrief

1:48 Blackburn Skua (Pre-war)

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This is the 1:48 Special Hobby kit of one of my favourite aeroplanes, the Blackburn Skua. Compromised by the need to be both a dive bomber and a fighter, it was not particularly accomplished at either role, but never the less achieved a number of significant "firsts" - including (I think I'm right in saying) the first confirmed "kill" by a British aircraft in WW2 and the first aircraft to sink a major warship by dive bombing.

I am indebted (again) to Tony O'Toole for one of his excellent magazine articles which really helped with the build.

The kit isn't bad. The interior is relatively basic and could be improved if you felt the need (although references, especially for the rear cockpit, are not easy to find). My main criticism is that the wings come in a total of seven pieces (plus two resin wheel wells) as if designed to have a folded option, but without any internal detail or structure to allow you to do this. This makes it needlessly difficult to build the wings spread for flight - although I concede that it will make it easier if you want to use an aftermarket set to model the wings folded.

I tackled the wings by trying to turn the kit back into a more conventional format - I joined the three parts that make up the full span lower wing and reinforced the joins with thin plasticard. I repeated this for the two pieces that make up each upper wing half and only then did I glue top and bottom surfaces together.

I scratch built the bomb crutch from plastic rod as the kit version isn't very good, and I followed Tony's suggestion of replacing the prop blades with ones from a Tamiya Mosquito as the kit ones are too short.

The silver paint is Tamiya TS 17, decanted from the spray can and sprayed through my trusty Paasche VL airbrush; the spinner (these were, it seems, always highly polished on the silver aircraft...) is Alclad Chrome; the exhaust stain (very distinctive on the Skua and I don't think I've got it quite right) is Tamiya Smoke. A coat of Xtracolour matt varnish helped to dull the finish and make it look more like an aircraft painted silver and serving at sea... The panel line wash seems to stand out rather more starkly in the photos than "in the flesh".

The decals are from the kit and worked really well, with only the slightest of touch ups required for Ark Royal's blue-red-blue chevrons. 

The markings represent a machine from 803NAS in May 1939.

Cheers,

Nick.

IMG_1153

 

IMG_1154

 

IMG_1152

 

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One of my favourite Aircraft too,that's a great build of SH's kit nice to see a pre war scheme too.

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Ooh! I like that. This is another in my stash and I am inspired. Looks very smart in that scheme. You've captured the ugly but cute, ungainly but petite looks of the original. I think the Skua was a better dive bomber than fighter but what were we thinking of?!

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

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Totally agree with the above comment. An odd ball design, but it has something that makes it appealing.

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1 hour ago, keith in the uk said:

Lovely job Nick , I have the Roc in the stash and your model has inspired me . :goodjob:

Many thanks Keith - I too have the Roc but haven't dared start it - I think it has even more challenges than the Skua...

1 hour ago, bryanm said:

Beautiful - and love the silver.

Thank you Bryan - I find that decanting the silver and spraying through the airbrush just makes the finish that little bit finer and more to scale.

I also built one in a camouflage scheme at the same time and will try and post up some pics when I get a moment...

1 hour ago, Baldy said:

Ooh! I like that. This is another in my stash and I am inspired. Looks very smart in that scheme. You've captured the ugly but cute, ungainly but petite looks of the original. I think the Skua was a better dive bomber than fighter but what were we thinking of?!

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

You're very kind Malcolm, and sum up the aircraft's curious appeal very well. It's exactly that quality in several Fleet Air Arm aircraft that I find hard to resist.

56 minutes ago, Greg Law said:

Totally agree with the above comment. An odd ball design, but it has something that makes it appealing.

Cheers Greg! I know what you mean. Until adding that almost vertical windscreen, it looks quite sleek... Then the stalky undercarriage removes any remaining sense of style!

 

Thanks for all the comments - really appreciate the feedback.

 

Nick.

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Greats job Nick.  Super looking Skua..

 

I too have built the SH kit, when I put the wigs together I did pretty much the same thing, making a series of tabs inside the wing joints to make for better alignment and a stronger joint.  The most difficult part of the kit was assembling the exhaust manifold to the cylinders and exhaust collector ring.

 

 

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On 20 December 2018 at 7:00 AM, Grey Beema said:

Greats job Nick.  Super looking Skua..

 

I too have built the SH kit, when I put the wigs together I did pretty much the same thing, making a series of tabs inside the wing joints to make for better alignment and a stronger joint.  The most difficult part of the kit was assembling the exhaust manifold to the cylinders and exhaust collector ring.

 

 

You've reminded me that all those little resin pipes to connect the cylinders to the collector ring were a bit fiddly...

If I remember correctly, I glued the circular rear part of the collector ring into the cowling and filled and sanded the gap, having drilled out the holes where the pipes locate into it. Having superglued all the pipes to the cylinders, I was able to (gently) sand the whole unit on a flat surface to try and ensure that all the pipes were the same length - but I suspect if you look closely some touch the collector ring, and some don't...

Cheers,

Nick.

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On 20 December 2018 at 7:54 AM, Oberleutnant said:

Not exactly the nicest design we've ever made.

 

Very nicely done though 👍

It certainly is a curious looking machine - all part of the attraction to my eyes!

Thanks for the feedback - it is much appreciated.

Nick.

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Lovely work on this oddly attractive aircraft.

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8 hours ago, TheBaron said:

Lovely work on this oddly attractive aircraft.

Many thanks - there seem to be quite a few Skua fans out there - more than I expected for an aircraft that I always thought virtually no one had heard of!

Thank goodness for Special Hobby and their willingness to produce kits of so many of the Fleet Air Arm's finest...

Cheers,

Nick.

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Lovely execution of the Skua. There is something to those late peacetime schemes which appeal perhaps because now we know what’s coming. I think the Skua falls into that category of aircraft that showed improvement on what had gone before yet were quickly surpassed by design developments like the Battle, Gladiator, Roc, and other in that mid 1930’s period.

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Very nice. My self-imposed buying ban may be lifted.....LIKE THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE

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21 hours ago, Head in the clouds. said:

Very smart indeed and with restrained weathering it looks just right.

Many thanks - as I mentioned above, the panel line wash looks a little stark in the photos...

21 hours ago, JohnT said:

Lovely execution of the Skua. There is something to those late peacetime schemes which appeal perhaps because now we know what’s coming. I think the Skua falls into that category of aircraft that showed improvement on what had gone before yet were quickly surpassed by design developments like the Battle, Gladiator, Roc, and other in that mid 1930’s period.

Thank you John.

I agree - I also love the various pre-war schemes out there for the Swordfish - one day I must do an Ark Royal one to accompany the Skua...

And you're right about the pace of technological advance in aviation at that time - the Skua was miles ahead of most of it's immediate Fleet Air Arm predecessors, but then just a couple of years later, was miles behind the opposition it had to face in battle. I for one would not like to have come up against a Bf 109 in one!

21 hours ago, fubar57 said:

Very nice. My self-imposed buying ban may be lifted.....LIKE THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE

Go buy one! You know you want to! It is a short run kit so you have got to be in the mood for a bit of extra work - but sometimes that's the point, right?

 

Thanks to all of you for the very kind comments.

 

Cheers,

 

Nick.

 

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This really is a gorgeous rendition of the Skua and in a very fetching scheme,....... I want to build a silver one myself one day!

 

Cheers

          Tony

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Thanks Tony - that's much appreciated. Apart from a very nice 1:72 build on here by Navy Bird, it seems silver Skua's are rare creatures - not sure why as they do look good in silver - and I've always liked Ark Royal's blue - red - blue chevrons....

Cheers,

Nick.

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35 minutes ago, Nickthebrief said:

Thanks Tony - that's much appreciated. Apart from a very nice 1:72 build on here by Navy Bird, it seems silver Skua's are rare creatures - not sure why as they do look good in silver - and I've always liked Ark Royal's blue - red - blue chevrons....

Cheers,

Nick.

You just know that you need a silver Swordfish in Ark stripes to accompany the Skua!!! 

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9 hours ago, tonyot said:

You just know that you need a silver Swordfish in Ark stripes to accompany the Skua!!! 

I do! I have built one in 820 NAS markings from HMS Courageous - but I love the various different colours and schemes and so an Ark Royal one is on the wish list!

Cheers,

Nick.

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