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Nickthebrief

(Another) 1:48 Blackburn Skua

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Following on from so many kind comments about my silver Skua, I feel brave enough to share some photos of my second model of this quirky aeroplane; this time in more war like colours...

The Skua's "finest hour" has to be, I think, the attack on the cruiser Konigsberg on 10th April 1940. This is my attempt to reproduce an aircraft from that strike - and in particular the machine flown by Lieutenant Commander William "Bill" Lucy.

There are not a huge number of easy to find references on the Skua in general, and I could not find any photos of the Skua's from the date of this mission. There are some from the later, disastrous attack on the Scharnhorst in June, by which time I think some changes had been made to the markings/colours - but I make no claims to be an expert on the numerous variations in Fleet Air Arm camouflage and markings that seem to have been a feature of the early war years in particular.

By way of a quick explanation, I have used the tail code A6F on the basis that:

A is for Ark Royal; and although the mission was flown from Hatston in the Orkney Islands, I read somewhere that 803 NAS was only recently and temporarily shore based, and therefore unlikely to have received the code L.

6 (along with 7?) is for a fighter squadron and, despite its various shortcomings and better performance (relatively at least) as a dive bomber, I think that Skua's were classed as fighters. The kit includes the code A8F - my reading is that 8 was for various training types/squadrons and so I converted the 8 to a 6 with a touch of black and Sky Grey paint.

F was the individual aircraft letter - I think I picked this up from the book by Richard Partridge who flew Skua's on both missions referred to above...

As fighter aircraft the undersides are marked with the black/white scheme often seen on early Hurricanes, Spitfires etc. I know some photos show these markings on early war Skua's, but whether they were there for the mission in April 1940 I really don't know.

Other points of interest (?) are: the crew who come from the Tamiya Swordfish kit. The pilot was a relatively easy fit; the observer had to have some rather drastic surgery to squeeze him into the rear cockpit. So too did the "clam shell" opening part of the rear canopy - most of the centre section had to be cut away to fit around the observer's head - it's not the neatest of jobs when seen close up. The observer's Lewis gun is a lovely resin one from Eduard.

I stole a 500lb semi-armour piercing bomb from a Wellington kit and, as with the silver model, scratch built a bomb crutch to replace the inaccurate kit one.

Skua's had a large and very prominent sight that filled most of the centre section of the windscreen - Special Hobby have not included this in the kit and I failed to replicate it...

Enough waffle - some pictures!

IMG_1160

 

IMG_1159

 

IMG_1158

 

IMG_1156

 

Cheers,

Nick.

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Snap!  I did a Bill Lucy 803 Skua too....   L2925 for me, and aircraft that Lt Lucy got a number of victories in.

 

Super work on you Skua, well done...

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Very nice indeed,... an excellent companion for your silver Skua,.... time for a Roc next! I did my Roc and one of those used to dive bomb a German gun battery on the French coast during the retreat at Dunkirk.

 

Cheers

          Tony

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Very nice, well,done! I have a skua to build at some point. Mine will be from 801, L2929 that was shot down over Bjorne Fjord.

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Very nice again Vinnie

 

I just had a quick thumb through "Skua! - The Royal Navy's Dive-Bomber" by Peter E Smith. There are lots of details on the attack but sadly no details on colour schemes. I guess nobody will ever be absolutely sure but you won't be far wrong.

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

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17 hours ago, tonyot said:

Very nice indeed,... an excellent companion for your silver Skua,.... time for a Roc next! I did my Roc and one of those used to dive bomb a German gun battery on the French coast during the retreat at Dunkirk.

 

Cheers

          Tony

I'm really pleased you have seen these Tony - as I mentioned, your magazine articles are really helpful with these Special Hobby kits - I follow your lead!

As for a Roc... For some reason the Roc doesn't appeal to me in the same way the Skua does. It might be that whereas the Skua is widely considered to be hopeless and ugly, it actually achieved a remarkable amount of success early in the war; whereas the Roc...well...it's just hopeless and ugly. I will get round to building the one in the stash one day - I am very taken with Martian's idea of doing it as a target tug with the turret removed...

Cheers,

Nick.

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20 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

Snap!  I did a Bill Lucy 803 Skua too....   L2925 for me, and aircraft that Lt Lucy got a number of victories in.

 

Super work on you Skua, well done...

Thank you very much. I suppose in modelling a specific aircraft on a specific mission, I can also claim that this is the first time I have ever attempted a 3D miniature rendition of a specific person too! It seems, from what I have read that Bill Lucy was an excellent pilot - he must have been to have scored victories in a Skua...

 

17 hours ago, Bill.B said:

Very nicely done!   :goodjob:

Thank you Bill - much appreciated.

17 hours ago, fubar57 said:

Beauty

Many thanks fubar (now go buy one!!!)

15 hours ago, RMCS said:

Lovley 

Thank you.

6 hours ago, 85sqn said:

Very nice, well,done! I have a skua to build at some point. Mine will be from 801, L2929 that was shot down over Bjorne Fjord.

Thanks Nick. It's not a bad kit once you get into it. Rather a lot of Skua's were, it seems, shot down over various fjords, but L2929 has a nice ring to it! Enjoy.

4 hours ago, keith in the uk said:

Very nice work there Nick , A fine companion to your silver Skua .:goodjob:

Thanks Keith - kind of you to say so. I do like looking at them together on the shelf!

4 hours ago, colin said:

Beautifully painted 👏

Cheers Colin. I used Tamiya acrylic for the Sky Grey - these remain my favourite brand for airbrushing as they just go on so well and don't clog up my airbrush. For the first time I used Vallejo acrylics for the upper surfaces - they sprayed nicely and I like the colours themselves - but needed lots of thinning and still clogged the needle a bit...

3 hours ago, Vinnie said:

Very nice Skua, Nick. Love the paintwork especially the crew.👍

Thank you Vinnie. It's always good to fit a crew in - I don't do it often enough. As I mentioned above, the observer caused me all sorts of trouble, but was worth it in the end.

1 hour ago, Baldy said:

Very nice again Vinnie

 

I just had a quick thumb through "Skua! - The Royal Navy's Dive-Bomber" by Peter E Smith. There are lots of details on the attack but sadly no details on colour schemes. I guess nobody will ever be absolutely sure but you won't be far wrong.

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

Many thanks Malcolm. I looked in vain in that book, the Warpaint one and the Mushroom Models book to no avail... At least it means (I hope!) that no one can prove I've got it wrong!

 

Cheers,

 

Nick.

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Nick, that is a very nicely finished Skua. The black and white IFF markings and camouflage look spot on.

 

As a depiction of L2988 during the Konigsberg attack, however, you would probably have been better leaving the code off entirely. 803 Squadron had a well-documented practice of colour coding the individual aircraft letter in accordance with section colours. If L2988 carried an individual aircraft letter (F), it would likely have been blue, as Lucy was flying No.1 in Blue Section for the Konigsberg attack. The original Admiralty documents for the Konigsberg attack, however, identify aircraft by their section (colour) and position number only (no individual aircraft letters given). I also have copies of all of 800 and 803 Squadron’s Combat Reports while shore based in March /April 1940 (including Lucy’s) and Skuas are only identified by their serial number or by the section and position number. This strongly suggests that they were still uncoded in early April, as later in April during operation DX off Norway, Admiralty reports identify 803 Squadron Skuas by by their individual aircraft letter.

 

Certainly A6F is incorrect for an 803 Squadron aircraft at this time. 803 Squadron was shore based before being allocated to  Glorious for operation DX off Norway (from 27th April).  To complicate matters, at the same time, a detachment of 803 Squadron also operated from Ark Royal during operation DX. Ark Royal had its own Skua squadrons: 800 squadron coded (A)6x and 801 squadron coded (A)7x. It is likely that he carrier code (A) was not carried. If the ex-Glorious 803 Squadron aircraft were coded, they could have been coded (A)8x, which is sometimes how they are depicted. Equally, they could have retained Glorious’ codes, but there are no known photographs from this period of Glorious' Skuas on Ark Royal.

 

Cheers,

IG

Edited by iang

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On 23 December 2018 at 11:25 AM, iang said:

Nick, that is a very nicely finished Skua. The black and white IFF markings and camouflage look spot on.

 

As a depiction of L2988 during the Konigsberg attack, however, you would probably have been better leaving the code off entirely. 803 Squadron had a well-documented practice of colour coding the individual aircraft letter in accordance with section colours. If L2988 carried an individual aircraft letter (F), it would likely have been blue, as Lucy was flying No.1 in Blue Section for the Konigsberg attack. The original Admiralty documents for the Konigsberg attack, however, identify aircraft by their section (colour) and position number only (no individual aircraft letters given). I also have copies of all of 800 and 803 Squadron’s Combat Reports while shore based in March /April 1940 (including Lucy’s) and Skuas are only identified by their serial number or by the section and position number. This strongly suggests that they were still uncoded in early April, as later in April during operation DX off Norway, Admiralty reports identify 803 Squadron Skuas by by their individual aircraft letter.

 

Certainly A6F is incorrect for an 803 Squadron aircraft at this time. 803 Squadron was shore based before being allocated to  Glorious for operation DX off Norway (from 27th April).  To complicate matters, at the same time, a detachment of 803 Squadron also operated from Ark Royal during operation DX. Ark Royal had its own Skua squadrons: 800 squadron coded (A)6x and 801 squadron coded (A)7x. It is likely that he carrier code (A) was not carried. If the ex-Glorious 803 Squadron aircraft were coded, they could have been coded (A)8x, which is sometimes how they are depicted. Equally, they could have retained Glorious’ codes, but there are no known photographs from this period of Glorious' Skuas on Ark Royal.

 

Cheers,

IG

Many thanks for your response Ian - it is info and expertise like this that makes Britmodeller such a great place...

I knew I was taking a bit of a punt with the tail code; I'm glad the underside colours seem to be right...

Hooefully I can tap into your expertise earlier in any future builds ( now that I can finally post photos, I might even risk a WIP thread...!)

 

On 23 December 2018 at 6:11 PM, stevej60 said:

That's a beautiful build,great work.

Thank you Steve - I'm really chuffed that you and others like it.

 

Cheers,

 

Nick.

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Lovely job Nick

The Skua isn't a thing of beauty but you have managed it  :worthy:

cheers Pat

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Nick,

 

If I thought your other Skua was nice, which it was, this one is light years ahead of it! Wow! Extremely well-built and painted, and the wear and weathering were most realistic. If Tonyot was as impressed as he was, then you have done a real bang-up job! Well done! I'm wondering what you could do with a Swordfish? 👍

Mike

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Really nice model, superbly finished. I have this kit and have built their 1/72nd offering which went together nicely. It's strange that they included the prominent gunsight (etch and clear film) but not the prominent air outlet vents on top of the nose in the 72nd kit, but the reverse for the 48th kit ?!

 

:goodjob:

 

Davey.

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On 12/28/2018 at 11:10 PM, JOCKNEY said:

Lovely job Nick

The Skua isn't a thing of beauty but you have managed it  :worthy:

cheers Pat

Many thanks Pat. It certainly is a curious looking machine - but the more I look at it the more I like it!

On 12/29/2018 at 3:35 AM, trickydicky210 said:

Nick, great build of the Skua

 

its always good to have some details behind a build

 

cheers Rich

Thanks Rich. The early war campaign in Norway does seem to be a bit forgotten - perhaps overshadowed by the events of the retreat to Dunkirk and then the Battle of Britain - so it's good to be able to use the model to shed a bit of light on these less well known aspects...

On 12/29/2018 at 4:04 PM, 72modeler said:

Nick,

 

If I thought your other Skua was nice, which it was, this one is light years ahead of it! Wow! Extremely well-built and painted, and the wear and weathering were most realistic. If Tonyot was as impressed as he was, then you have done a real bang-up job! Well done! I'm wondering what you could do with a Swordfish? 👍

Mike

It's kind of you to say so Mike - although personally I prefer the silver one! I have built a couple of Swordfish - one pre war and one camouflage (is there a theme here...?) Hopefully I will get round to posting up some pictures one day...

On 12/30/2018 at 11:59 AM, DaveyGair said:

Really nice model, superbly finished. I have this kit and have built their 1/72nd offering which went together nicely. It's strange that they included the prominent gunsight (etch and clear film) but not the prominent air outlet vents on top of the nose in the 72nd kit, but the reverse for the 48th kit ?!

 

:goodjob:

 

Davey.

Thanks Davey. You're right - very odd to leave out the sight in the larger scale in particular - I really should have tried to replicate it...

 

As ever, all your thoughts and comments are really appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Nick.

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Nice one Nick are you bringing it along to the next club meeting?

 

Mick

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2 hours ago, MickE said:

Nice one Nick are you bringing it along to the next club meeting?

 

Mick

Given that the theme is "yellow", I think probably not...

But hoping to make it there for the first time in ages.

Cheers,

Nick.

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Sharp looking Skua there, great job

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