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F163 - Vickers Vimy - Across the Atlantic with Alcock and Brown


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I picked up a number of kits from someone thinning out their stash last year. Included in this was a small cardboard box marked FROG KITS.

The chap told me that they'd been unboxed and might not have instructions or decals so he didn't think he could sell them individually. It was attractively priced so I picked it up out of curiosity. I've had a quick look inside but it's all freezer bags with sprues and I've not gone through them to identify them or see what sort of state they're in.

This seems the ideal opportunity to check it out. Once the GB officially starts I'll open the box again, get everything out and see what I've actually got. Assuming I've got any complete kits in there then I'll choose what I'm building from that.

Edited by R T Fishall
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2 minutes ago, R T Fishall said:

I'll open the box again, get everything out and see what I've actually got. Assuming I've got any complete kits in there then I'll choose what I'm building from that.

 

Exciting :) 

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Just like the modeller's dream of finding an old model shop one day with a "little old man/lady"  who has no idea what they have in the "back room" gathering dust. Used to be one near here where the old lady sold wool and knitting materials but stocked a few model railway items, and when she retired I picked up quite a few rather inexpensively - had to show her how to use the old fashioned credit card "machine" which was in use back then - the one where you put a slip of duplicating paper on top of the card and slid a "roller" over to make an impression - in my bank branch we called them "chip slicers" as you had to watch your fingers!

 

Don't know if this helps.

https://frog-cocardes-com.translate.goog/?_x_tr_sl=fr&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc

 

I also have an old Frog Catalogue which I think is the last they ever issued. Most of them will be pretty obvious anyway I suspect, but if in doubt posting pics of the sprues/decs would probably help to identify them.

 

Good luck

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
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Sounds most interesting and very exciting RT.

We'll be all glued to our monitors to see what little Frog gems you unravel. 

Cheers and all the best.. Dave 

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12 hours ago, R T Fishall said:

Once the GB officially starts I'll open the box again, get everything out and see what I've actually got

There's no restrictions on spurs fondling, which I'm sure this would count as😉

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What could possibly go wrong? Which reminds me, I have a box somewhere with an already build DH 101. Maybe the Mods will allow a refurb?

 

Colin the Wessex nut.

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35 minutes ago, heloman1 said:

What could possibly go wrong? Which reminds me, I have a box somewhere with an already build DH 101. Maybe the Mods will allow a refurb?

 

Colin the Wessex nut.


Refurbs are allowed Colin, however do you mean a DH 110? 
 

Cheers.. Dave 

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30 minutes ago, Rabbit Leader said:


Refurbs are allowed Colin, however do you mean a DH 110? 
 

Cheers.. Dave 

Hi Dave, Yes, the Vixen prototype. Won it a loooong while back with some other early Frog releases. It was at an event in Pretoria, guys were looking through this box of old builds. I waited for the rush to die down then just took the box full! Original Venom and Meteor amongst them, plus the 110.

 

Colin

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Thanks all. I'll post photos of what comes out of the box and as I'm not a FROG expert I may well need some help with the identification! And then possibly professional help when I realise what I've let myself in for...

 

5 hours ago, Mjwomack said:

There's no restrictions on spurs fondling, which I'm sure this would count as😉

 

The joy of a closed box is that it could contain anything; from the rarest FROG kit out there to a pile of random parts and cracked decals from 10 different incomplete kits (although I know which of those two options is most likely!) The moment I open it I burst that bubble of anticipation so I'll just drag that out a little longer...
 

18 hours ago, JOCKNEY said:

I've lots of Frog kits let me know if you need copies of instructions etc

The possible lack of instructions is a concern (not that it would have stopped younger me from having a bash at it...) so many thanks for the offer Pat, let's see what comes out!

 

18 hours ago, PeterB said:

Just like the modeller's dream of finding an old model shop one day with a "little old man/lady"  who has no idea what they have in the "back room" gathering dust

 

The ones where it looks like someone converted their front room into a shop back in the 70s and hadn't changed anything since, including both the wallpaper and their business practices?

 

18 hours ago, PeterB said:

Thanks Pete, that looks like it will be handy.

Cheers,

Richard.
 

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47 minutes ago, R T Fishall said:

The joy of a closed box is that it could contain anything; from the rarest FROG kit out there to a pile of random parts and cracked decals from 10 different incomplete kits (although I know which of those two options is most likely!) The moment I open it I burst that bubble of anticipation

 

It's like Schrödinger's frog.  :lol:  

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For missing instructions, the Scalemates website is your friend. I’d say most (if not all) the Frog kits instructions have been posted online in PDF format, so that side of things should be covered. If you’re still stuck, just let us know. 
 

Cheers,, Dave 

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I gave in and cracked the box open. The wave function has now collapsed...

Is this nervous energy how Howard Carter felt opening Tutankhamun's tomb? Will there be piles of magnificent gold artefacts, untouched by the years? Or what kind of curse might be within? Will we find a mummified cat?

Here's the box, with a hint of the freezer bags that lie within. (Apologies for the wrinkly dustsheet backscene...)

 

PXL_20240111_083508842.MP~2.jpg

 

First thing out of the box.

PXL_20240111_083602249.jpgPXL_20240111_083704366~2.jpg

 

It's got Instructions! Hurrah! And those instructions tell me this is a Vickers Vimy. Okay, so we're off to a reasonable start.

 

But... examination of the contents of the bag suggest that there are some pieces missing. Including, most problematically, the port fuselage half.

 

So I probably won't be doing a Vimy.

 

Next freezer bag.

 

PXL_20240111_083747287~2.jpgPXL_20240111_083934186~2.jpg

 

Ah, I might be doing a Vimy after all! It's got both FROG and Novo instruction sheets and some dodgy cracked decals. And both fuselage halves!


PXL_20240111_084012608~2.jpg

Wait. the Starboard fuselage half has a massive crack and chunks missing.

 

PXL_20240111_084044850~2.jpg

 

Not to worry though! I've got a spare starboard fuselage.

 

PXL_20240111_084142403~2.jpg


Ah. This is a little problematic. Not an insurmountable issue but doesn't make the Vimy option all that appealing.

Okay, so far I've had two bags, 75% of the expected fuselages, 150% of the expected instructions and one potential build option.

Next bag.

 

PXL_20240111_084316077~2.jpg

 

No ideas on this one. It looks like some sort of vehicle, maybe a trailer? I didn't think FROG did vehicles? Any guesses from anyone? It doesn't look like a complete kit to me so I'm discounting it.

Next bag.

 

PXL_20240111_084357913~2.jpg

 

I think these might be more bits from one of the Vimy kits?

 

Next bag.

PXL_20240111_084448748~2.jpgPXL_20240111_084544880~2.jpg

 

Much more promising! So this is F169, a De Havilland DH60G Gipsy Moth. Evidently a NOVO version but with instructions and decals and what looks like all the parts. Another potential build option!

Next bag.


PXL_20240111_084716920~2.jpg

 

It's a Biplane, looks like a Hawker Fury to me? No instructions, no decals. But I can't see a FROG Fury (I can find the Sea Fury) on Scalemates or the site that @PeterB linked to. So I think this might be an imposter, sneaking into a box of FROGS. Pity, I do like a Fury...

Next bag. Okay, it's the next, and last, two bags, since their contents look identical.

PXL_20240111_085337169~2.jpg


No instructions or decals so I've emptied one out for identification purposes.

 

PXL_20240111_085141162~2.jpg

I don't recognise this aircraft at all, is anyone able to help with it? The lines are making me think of De Havilland but I'm fairly sure I'd recognise one of theirs.

Whatever it is, I've got two of them. I guess until I know what it is I won't be able to confim if all the parts are there but I'm going to assume that I'll be able to make at least one aircraft from the two kits.

 

I don't think that's a bad haul all things considered. No cats though, not even of the Grumman variety.


So, I think my options are.

1. F163 - Vickers Vimy (with some bodging of the fuselage and much hoping that there's a complete set of parts between the three bags!)

2. F169 - De Havilland DH60G Gipsy Moth

3. Hawker Fury (Probably ineligible because I don't think it's a FROG kit)

4. Mystery aircraft (providing it can be confirmed as a FROG kit and instructions are available).

If anyone is able to assist with identification of the last mystery aircraft I'd be very grateful; I don't want to make a decision on what to build without knowing what those are.

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Thanks very much @Richard Humm and @Troy Smith that's really appreciated.

 

That version of the Hotspur in the yellow plastic looks very natty, I like that!

So my updated options are the following now that pesky Matchbox Fury interloper can be removed.
 

1. F163 - Vickers Vimy

2. F169 - De Havilland DH60G Gipsy Moth

3. F152 - General Aircraft Hotspur

 

I'll sleep on it but at the moment I'm leaning towards the Moth.

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15 hours ago, R T Fishall said:

Thanks very much @Richard Humm and @Troy Smith that's really appreciated.

 

That version of the Hotspur in the yellow plastic looks very natty, I like that!

So my updated options are the following now that pesky Matchbox Fury interloper can be removed.
 

1. F163 - Vickers Vimy

2. F169 - De Havilland DH60G Gipsy Moth

3. F152 - General Aircraft Hotspur

 

I'll sleep on it but at the moment I'm leaning towards the Moth.

Looks to me as if you have at least some parts for both the late model "RAF" Vimy like me, and the original "Trail Blazer" Alcock and Brown civilian record breaker - the one without the cut-outs for the gun positions - I suspect the latter is rather rare! One of the problems with the instructions is that they do not normally have the paint scheme/decal placement as that was on the back of the box, though the French site does show the back of the box for the Moth. I have still got a fair few sheets of Frog decs dating back to when job lots were sold off after Frog ceased trading, but none for the three kits you have - as you probably know Novo decs have a bad reputation for falling apart once they get anywhere near water!  The old Frog decs were normally very robust and still work, but they did sometimes have a problem with roundels being out of register, and also with colours being out - I have a set of ones for a Spitfire which were far too dark, and the Novo ones also can be out of register.

 

There have been several builds of the Moth and Hotspurs in various GB over the years which may be of help. so it might be worth having a look at the old Frog Squad GB in the "completed builds" listing for 2019.

 - no Moths but 3 attempts at Hotspurs. If you search the BM site for Gipsy Moths you may find some as well. This may be of interest, though I suspect there were many variations over the years.

moth-crop

 

Good luck with whichever you decide to build.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
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These are the instructions from the Novo release of the Hotspur. As you've got a couple you could always put them together like I'm about to. On my thread concerning the Twin Hotspur are images of the 1979 Scale Aircraft Modelling article about the conversion 🙂

 

Frog GB

 

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I slept on things and I fear I dreamt.


As I dreamt, a voice spoke.

It said unto me “You have three choices before you. All fine, all worthy choices. But there is another. Build them. Build them all. BUILD THEM ALL”

And who am I to argue with that?

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I’ll start the Vimy first, then get the Moth and the Hotspur going separately.

Thank you @PeterB for pointing out that I had some parts from the original Trailblazer Vimy. On the Vimy fuselage mismatch I’d been thinking in terms of converting it to match the bomber version but of course it’s far far easier to fair over the gun positions and convert this back to the Vimy of Alcock and Brown. 


In fact, 10 minutes work this evening with a knife, file and some scrap plasticard and…

PXL_20240113_212332805~2.jpg


Bit of filler and polishing and that should tidy up nicely.

And I checked on Scalemates. The original Trailblazers kit had NO decals on the Aircraft. Just one saying “Vickers Vimy” to go on the stand. So the absence of Decals doesn’t matter either.

Indeed Photos of the real thing at the Science Museum show it’s pretty much a creamy colour with metal engines and a few bits of wood.  (the science museum don’t know if it’s clear dope over linen or cream pigmented dope - https://journal.sciencemuseum.ac.uk/article/conservation-challenge-of-doped-fabric/#text-3). No complicated camouflage, no attempting to get the NIVO sheen… 

Rigging is probably going to be the main challenge, I suspect that I’m going to be mostly working off photos of the real machine in the Science Museum. Regretting not paying more attention to it on my last trip there!

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  • R T Fishall changed the title to F163 - Vickers Vimy - Across the Atlantic with Alcock and Brown

Excellent choice! The Vimy is one of my favourite Frog kits and it was my first international buy, in the old times of proforma invoices and international reply coupons. 

Clear doped linen was almost certainly the finish at the time. 

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1 hour ago, R T Fishall said:

I slept on things and I fear I dreamt.


As I dreamt, a voice spoke.

It said unto me “You have three choices before you. All fine, all worthy choices. But there is another. Build them. Build them all. BUILD THEM ALL”

And who am I to argue with that?

 

57 minutes ago, R T Fishall said:

I’ll start the Vimy first, then get the Moth and the Hotspur going separately.

Thank you @PeterB for pointing out that I had some parts from the original Trailblazer Vimy. On the Vimy fuselage mismatch I’d been thinking in terms of converting it to match the bomber version but of course it’s far far easier to fair over the gun positions and convert this back to the Vimy of Alcock and Brown. 


In fact, 10 minutes work this evening with a knife, file and some scrap plasticard and…

PXL_20240113_212332805~2.jpg


Bit of filler and polishing and that should tidy up nicely.

And I checked on Scalemates. The original Trailblazers kit had NO decals on the Aircraft. Just one saying “Vickers Vimy” to go on the stand. So the absence of Decals doesn’t matter either.

Indeed Photos of the real thing at the Science Museum show it’s pretty much a creamy colour with metal engines and a few bits of wood.  (the science museum don’t know if it’s clear dope over linen or cream pigmented dope - https://journal.sciencemuseum.ac.uk/article/conservation-challenge-of-doped-fabric/#text-3). No complicated camouflage, no attempting to get the NIVO sheen… 

Rigging is probably going to be the main challenge, I suspect that I’m going to be mostly working off photos of the real machine in the Science Museum. Regretting not paying more attention to it on my last trip there!

Good heavens - Enzo spoke to you in a nightmare dream! We all know he likes to suggest that if we have a choice we should "build them all"! 😄"

 

Actually I was going to suggest that the A&B version of the Vimy was likely to be easy to re-convert to and did not need decals, but thought it best to leave you to make your own choice. There should be some photos on the Science Museum web site I expect but last time I saw it back in the 1960's it looked a bit "bent", perhaps due to the heavy landing it made in what turned out to be  an Irish bog, causing it to nose over. I have various photos and plans of both the standard Vimy and the "Transatlantic" one if you need a plan for rigging etc - just drop me a PM with your email address. One of the various proprietary brands of "natural/bleached/clear doped" linen paint should work fine - I prefer one that has more of a hint of brownish cream than yellow but that is a matter of personal taste. As my preferred old Precision tin had dried out I used the Xtracolour one for my FB 5 and it does not look too bad.

DSC08650-crop

Though just a touch of brown or maybe even grey might have been better. I expect the Vimy was too new to have faded/weathered much.

 

Pete

 

 

Edited by PeterB
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I’ve been reading the Instructions in readiness to get building and there’s one thing that’s jumped out at me. The FROG Vimy appears to have a nosewheel (parts 39, 40, and 41) but I’ve checked period photos and there doesn’t appear to be a nose wheel on Alcock and Brown’s Vimy at the time of their flight, nor is there one on the Vimy in Science Museum now.

 

Is this a known issue with the FROG kit? It seems an odd mistake to make given the actual aircraft is on public display, unless when the Vimy was reassembled after the crash at the end of the crossing it had a nosewheel added which has since been removed (It looks like there may have been a restoration in the early 60’s)? Or did the Vimy originally have a nosewheel when it was built by Vickers but this got left off when it was re-assembled in Newfoundland after being shipped over?

 

I’ll be leaving the nosewheel off my build, that’s three more parts I don’t need to worry about sifting through 2 kits worth of loose items to find…

 

On 13/01/2024 at 21:58, CarLos said:

Clear doped linen was almost certainly the finish at the time. 

 

Makes a lot of sense, I'm guessing pigmented dope would have added to the weight and they were trying to keep everything as light as possible. Perhaps that 60's restoration may have used pigmented dope to counter colour changes of the linen over time.

 

The colour looks very light in all the period photos; I'll probably blend some paint to my best guess or layer up thin coats of greys, whites and creams. I'll have a play!
 

On 13/01/2024 at 22:11, PeterB said:

I have various photos and plans of both the standard Vimy and the "Transatlantic" one if you need a plan for rigging etc - just drop me a PM with your email address.

 

Thanks very much for the offer Pete, I may take you up on that.


Oddly, the first thing that sprang to my mind when I thought of Alcock and Brown's Vimy was a scene from a Children’s encyclopedia I had (I may still have it somewhere...); it had an article on the Atlantic crossing and a picture showing Brown climbing onto the wing to knock ice off during the flight. I’m sure that showed the Vimy as a Khaki Brown, but then no one said Children’s encyclopedias had to be accurate; or indeed my memory of them...

Cheers,

 

Richard.

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