Friday, 14 June 2019

Eduard Fokker Dr. 1 1:48 scale (1)

Fokker's Dreidekker (Dr.) 1 is another of those hopelessly over-rated German technological achievements, the Triplane being arguably one of the biggest aeronautical developmental cul-de-sacs in the history of flight. Promoted by no less an airman than the Rittmeister von Richthofen himself - a cold-blooded 'killer' who actually took little pleasure in flying and who forbade his pilots from any sort of 'stunting' - the type had the briefest of combat careers during the first half of 1918 and acquired a notoriety way beyond its limited capabilities. Quite simply three wings were terribly inefficient, the engine technology available to Fokker was unreliable, build quality and control in his factory was negligent and the type was soon out-performed in most areas by comparable Allied types. The Dr.1 was quickly superseded by Fokker's own D.VII but not before a number of German 'celebrity' aces had lost their lives in the type - either brought down at the hands of Allied aces, killed by 'fluke' rounds from supposed 'ground fire' or crashing as a result of defective workmanship.. Fokker of course was a Dutch national who made a lot of money from the German war effort during 1914-18. In Kranzhoff's excellent book on the Dr. I in the Motorbuch Verlag series "Flugzeuge die Geschichte machten" ('Aircraft that made history') you can read how he misappropriated the interrupter gear technology from a 1914 German patent - there was a court case - and then jealously guarded the monopoly of this technology from other German manufacturers, quickly making his first million. Dubbed the 'flying machine gun'  ('das fliegendes Maschinengewehr') the Dr. 1 was no 'miracle weapon' and was built in only modest numbers. Notable Dr. 1 pilots -aside from Voss, Richthofen etc - did however go on to assume leading roles in the post-1933 Luftwaffe including of course Göring (Reichsluftfahrtminister), Udet (Generalluftzeugmeister), Bodenschatz and Blume.  Dr. 1 pilot and Jasta 34 CO Robert Ritter von Greim eventually became Göring's successor at the head of the Luftwaffe, while Fokker's Waffenspezialist Heinrich Lübbe went on to found Arado appointing former Dr. 1 pilot von Schoenebeck as Chefpilot...

Having said all that I quite like triplanes and would love to have a colourful line-up on the shelf.  A modelling cliché - or so I read on a forum recently - but a nicely done display of Richthofen's machines might look quite impressive I reckon. Of course I failed to take into account the amount of colour 'research' required. Think WW II Luftwaffe colours is a bit of a minefield? Try reading up on triplane colours! Happily Greg vanWyngarden has published a certain amount of reliable material for Osprey which is easily available - although WW I stuff doesn't sell too well apparently.

Recently I started an Eduard 'weekend edition' of their nice 48th scale Dr. I kit and also opened the Revell boxing of the same plastic. Four or five weekends later I'm still hard at work on the kit(s). My incompetence, no fault of Eduard's I hasten to add.

Parts primed and experimenting with the streaky Fokker finish using oil paints. A certain amount of painting and decaling can be carried out before construction starts...below, simulating a rib tape effect with thin strips of tape and a quick squirt of Tamiya smoke..

This is where the build is at currently. The very neat etch Spandaus await installation and, bottom, mounted in the cockpit. The wings are painted for assembly, apertures drilled out to accept some minimal rigging using EZ-line. In the colours of Ltn Hans Weiss 18-victory ace with Jasta 11.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Eduard & Revell new issue Fw 190 A-8/R2

Box-art by Piotr Forkasiewicz for the new Eduard 1/48 scale ProfiPACK Edition kit of German fighter aircraft Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8/R2 (cat. no. 82145) released June 2019. Markings research by this blog for Eduard. Hans Weik's machine pictured on the 18 July 1944 Memmingen airfield raid..

New issue 32nd scale Sturmbock A-8/R2 from Revell. Unbeatable value for the money. Markings research assistance to Andreas Klein for Revell provided by this blog.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Eduard´s new 72nd scale Fokker D. VII build by Stefan Schacht

Stefan Schacht has built Eduard´s newly released 72nd scale Fokker D. VII and documented his build with a little 'stop motion' film.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Airfix Sea Fury FB. 11 - HMS Glory Korean War scheme, Sea Fury reference walkaround action shots Flying Legends -build review part 3

..painting the new-tool 48th Airfix Sea Fury ..and some stills from archive footage taken on board HMS Glory off Korea. This post is completed with some nice reference'action' shots from a Flying Legends air display back in 2006, especially useful for the oil streaking on the lower surfaces..

This British Pathe newsreel looks to be taken from the same Korean War cruise as per the kit decals HMS Glory Korean War scheme as shown on the box top. A single click to view here. Now the kit instructions have the spinner in black - the more I look at this footage the 'less' black it appears...


Flying Legends 2006 - click on the images to view large..

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Revell corsair F4U-1B 1846 NAS Fleet Air Arm, HMS Colossus, July 1945

Revell's 'Royal Navy' boxing of their 72nd F4U Corsair - 'difficulty level' 4 out of 5 for a 72nd scale fighter?  Well, that would be the nine-part wing and  the five-part cowl I guess. Difficult to get everything lined up neatly but with a bit of care it all goes together well enough. And at least the horrible white plastic of the first release has gone..

Love this machine and it looks great in 'Navy' roundels..and after all the Royal Navy was flying them off carriers first ..

The kit markings are an interesting choice on Revell’s part. They were presumably accurate at one point but despite the Zero falling away in flames on the box art, HMS Colossus never saw combat with the  British Pacific Fleet.. Those standard European theatre markings were on the ships aircraft when she left Glasgow , bound for Ceylon and ultimately Australia. BPF markings were applied either en route or in Australia. By the time Colossus left Australia on her first war cruise, hostilities had ended.

Below; a few views of Corsair KD 431 in the Fleet Air Arm museum, Yeovilton in its original glossy midnight blue albeit very scratched finish..see " Corsair KD 431 - the time capsule fighter " by David Morris for the story of this machine's restoration.

The subject of the Revell kit is KD 344, one of the final batch of 857 Goodyear built Corsairs, called the FG-1 Corsair IV in Fleet Air Arm use. It was delivered to the Fleet Air Arm and was embarked on board HMS Colossus after she completed her sea trials and sailed for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 12 March 1945.

 On 8th July 1945 KD 344 is reported as ending up in the barriers with Sub-Lt J.D. Garden RNVR flying when the hook jumped the arrestor wire. The Corsairs and Barracudas were offloaded on 17th January 1946 to Royal Naval Air Station Wingfield near Capetown, they were re-embarked in April. In July of the same year the Colossus was transferred on a 5 year loan to the French Navy as the Arromanches, which later became a permanent transfer.

 Senior Pilot of 1846 Sqn. was Lt. Henry Adlam. His memoir is entitled 'On and Off the Flight Deck'  and it is a fascinating insight into the life of a naval fighter pilot. Adlam takes part in many campaigns including Salerno, Escort carrier flying and the attacks on Palembang as a Hellcat pilot. Later he becomes a batsman and joins 1846 Sqn., based aboard HMS Colossus from 1945-1946. In June 1945 1846 Sqn joined the 14th Carrier Air Group to continue the fight against Japan. The Sqn. went to Australia but the war ended before the carrier and it's air group could take part in any operations. The Sqn. Corsairs were subsequently dumped at sea somewhere near Sydney. After ferrying many serviceman that had been POWs the carrier sailed for South Africa where the aircraft were temporarily based at Wingfield. It is here that many of 1846 Sqn's well known photos were taken.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Airfix Sea Fury FB.11- build review (2)

 Difficult to believe that this build has been on-going for one whole year!

That's one year during which I've done little or nothing...
but with temperatures hitting a record 26C for an Easter weekend here we are out in the garden again ...

Lovely kit, just a couple of 'tricky' seams. The most ‘difficult’ part of this build would appear to be the multi-part cowling; some modellers have had trouble lining up all the parts and a resin replacement at nearly £5 is/was available! I hate to think what the price of the Barracuda resin cowl part might be in £££. Another 'issue' perhaps is the lack of gun sight in the kit. However the Eduard Mk VIII, IX and XVI kits all have two gun sights and these are apparently correct for the Sea Fury. I've now got to the painting stage - apart from making my own shade of that curious 'Hawker primer' colour for gear legs and wheel wells painting should be straight forward but I'm just a little disappointed that you can't do a 'striped' example from the kit directly..

Part 1 of this build on this blog here

Thursday, 7 March 2019

James May - 'Big Trouble in model Britain' -building the 24th scale Airfix Hellcat

" ...Two-part documentary, introduced and narrated by model train enthusiast James May, that follows a year inside Hornby Hobbies - an iconic British toymaker on the brink of collapse. But this is no ordinary business series - this is a series about model train and plane obsessives, both inside and outside the company, all of whom desperately need the company to survive.

A new boss, Lyndon Davies, has been appointed to turn the company’s dismal fortunes around and he has brought back some company veterans to help in the fight for survival.

Simon Kohler, known affectionately as ‘Mr Hornby’ has been brought back after a four-year absence. He assesses the decline of his beloved company and attempts to reconnect with Hornby’s dissatisfied customer base and retailers.

Meanwhile, in a bid to revitalise Airfix, Lyndon tasks a master amateur model builder, Jim Bren, with the biggest build of his model-making life – the largest reconstruction of the Hellcat plane ever attempted by the company..."

A quick heads-up on a BBC 4 'documentary' on the recent trials and tribulations of the Hornby Hobbies Group from the £30 million loss over the past five years and the production move to China to the relocation of the Head Offices from Margate to Sandwich and a tour around the Visitor Centre at Margate. Here's the link to part 1 of the programme, available in certain regions on the iplayer for the next month - sorry if it's not available in your region.

Amongst other things the programme features Jim 'KitKruncher' Bren building a test shot of the Airfix 1/24 Hellcat for unveiling at Telford - though Jim "whole-heartedly rejects any notion" that he is in any way a "master modeller" as the hyperbole suggests! (he's a retired local government officer as it happens..) Modelling content aside the programme is an interesting and light-hearted insight into the recent fortunes of the Hornby Group which you may feel is worth a look. The second part is on the telly next week..

Jim's  Airfix 48th scale Hunter

There is drama as the Telford deadline approaches and on day 52 of the build, Jim has fallen way behind his schedule. We see him struggling with fit problems around the Hellcat engine cowl - a test shot build remember...

James May provides a slightly sardonic commentary, whilst gently affectionate and enthusiastic throughout. The camera crew also visit Jim's model club - "for some reason our cameraman missed the other table full of young women..."

.. and there is a look a Jim's 'stash' and we learn what SABLE means.. ('Stash acquired beyond life expectancy'.. )

" Finally after more than two years of design and development, tooling that cost over £100,000 and hundreds of hours of Jim's time assembling more than 600 intricate component parts, the 24th scale F-6F Hellcat is a secret no more...the first run of 5,000 models sold out inside one month, the fastest-selling new Airfix kit in five years.."

..note the faces of the youngsters standing in the front of the crowd for the Airfix Telford unveiling were blurred out - ".. so they stand a chance of maybe getting a girlfriend later on in life.."

Elsewhere Airfix's own video presentation of their forthcoming 24th scale Hellcat is well worth watching too. At the time of writing the kit is on pre-order at £119