Saturday, 13 July 2019

Rigging the Airfix 72nd scale Tiger Moth - build review (2)

..or should that read 'attempting' to rig the 72nd scale Airfx Tiger Moth. It is not the first biplane I've 'rigged', but it is the first time I've used EZ Line to any great extent - the 'easy' option would be something a little less elastic, possibly even stretched sprue. Here I've used EZ line (fine), super glue, accelerator and some thin pointed tweezers - and made a bit of a pig's ear of it. Ideally I needed a second pair of hands. It didn't prove possible to fit the rigging before putting the top wing on - the interplane struts are simply too precarious to secure the thread to. The 'pros' do all sorts of fancy stuff - like drilling right through the wing and pulling the thread through. I managed to snap several 'wires' doing this. I desperately need a fool-proof method of accurately applying a small amount of glue too - too large a 'blob' and the paint work is ruined  - as here. Nothing that a few touch-ups can't hide though..not every wire is replicated of course and in the end I was reasonably happy with what I'd managed to achieve. Sometimes I think that this is the whole point of this hobby -  to take pleasure in the 'process' and to enjoy the sense of achievement when 'completing' a new task...

Friday, 12 July 2019

"highly detailed and accurate model built for sale " - built models sold on Ebay

There are a fair amount of built models offered for 'sale and display' on ebay. I'm not sure I could ever part with some of mine like that but there are plenty of people who have no qualms about offering their latest 'creations' for sale.  At first sight this one is neatly finished for example;

  " ..A beautifully finished 1/72 scale model of the Focke Wulf FW 190 A-4 as flown Maj. Walter Dahl, Stab/JG 300, Jüterbog, Germany, December 1944 with some light weathering to depict in service use..."

"...its built to a high standard.... Guns are realistically hollow and the propeller rotates by simply blowing gently on it!..Compare this to many others with crude finishes and poor paintwork currently on eBay...."

Unlike this guy I feel a little uncomfortable about criticising the work of other modellers. But, well, I can't help but point out that this is the Zvesda snap-fit Fw 190 A-4 kit as the modeller acknowledges himself. Walter Dahl was of course NOT flying an A-4 in December 1944  but an A-8 with the bulged cowl MG cover (..larger calibre guns of course....) and with the fuselage extension of the later Fw 190 variants. ( I guess we won't mention the grossly over-scale head armour and support, the 'unpainted' cooling gills of the BMW radial etc etc..).

Of course as an Experte (note spelling and capital letter..) I can't help but 'whine' about details like this. And while the model sales pitch above could be seen as no more 'accurate' than plenty of others out there on ebay the model has a £14 bid on it good luck to him I guess. And here's one of those examples referred to above...which incidentally is posted up by Ebay at the bottom of the 'Dahl' modeller's own auction! ..That must be irksome! At least the write-up tells it like it is ...

"...A 1/72 scale assembled painted model of a Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft...

Assembly has imperfections, a ridge along the fuselage joint, some glue marks, undercarriage is off upright. The prop turns and is a loose fit. Paintwork has some marks on the underside.

Except for the central bomb, the aircraft appears to be complete, although some smaller details may be snapped off/not present...."

My own build of the Zvezda Fw 190 A-4 'snap-fit' kit is here

Sunday, 7 July 2019

British Airways Boeing 747 in BOAC livery

As part of British Airways 100 years centenary one of the current 32 strong fleet of 747-400s, reg G-BYGC, is painted in BOAC colours. Another one is painted in the Landor scheme, a third one in the Negus scheme. All three will remain in these colours until retirement in 2023/24.

" ..Monday February 18, 2019 – Large crowds gathered at Heathrow today to watch the much-anticipated arrival of a British Airways Boeing 747 painted in the iconic design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).

The aircraft entered the IAC paint bay at Dublin Airport on February 5 where it was stripped of its current British Airways Chatham Dockyard design before being repainted with the BOAC livery which adorned the BOAC fleet between 1964 and 1974.

  The BOAC-liveried Boeing 747 model and photos are by Tom Weir (shown here with Tom's permission). The kit is the original 1/144 Airfix 747 BOAC boxing with Two Six Decals BOAC 747 silk decals. Below, the real machine  - or almost. G-BYGC is a -400 variant with the extended upper deck. Photo taken on 12 June 2019 on a wet ramp at London Heathrow Terminal 5 prior to operating BA 243 to Mexico City - my son's last B747 flight prior to converting to the A350.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Airfix new 72nd Tiger Moth - build review

A quick build before moving on to bigger and more complicated projects. The Tiger Moth isn't a large aircraft so after a few hours in the garden this is almost ready for painting and decaling, which, as with most biplane kits- or so I'm led to believe -will have to be undertaken before fitting the top wing. Here the cockpit 'doors' have been cut away and the rear fuselage has been cut out to fit the anti-spin strakes. Inside the fuselage halves framing and controls are molded onto the side walls. Two instrument panels with decals are provided. The only area of poor fit has been the lower wing to the fuselage but the assembly is such that the correct dihedral is ensured. The elevators and rudder have been cut out and deployed as is usual for a machine at rest. One area which had me scratching my head was the fit of the tail fin - no, it doesn't sit level on the fuselage on the real aircraft either! Not that I knew that even having an example of the aircraft to 'study' locally  - G-ACDC seen at Postling Farm airfield, Kent, (below) is one of the oldest machines still flying apparently..


Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Eduard Fokker Dr.1 48th - build review finished

Official Kogenluft photo taken at Léchelle, France in late March/Early April 1918 records at least 13 Triplanes of Jastas 6 and 11 (JG I) at the height of the great Offensive. Alex Imrie stated, "During the advance which resulted from the Spring Offensive, JG I occupied the British aerodrome at Léchelle on the evening of 26 March. This photo of Jasta 6 Triplanes lined up there was probably taken a few days later, and shows the aircraft undergoing national insignia changes." There are both Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) and Balkenkreuz markings on view in this image but all the rudders featuring the newly-applied Balkenkreuz are white. Just beyond the fellow with the binoculars, beyond a two-seater DFW C.V hack machine marked with the number '3', can be seen the red-painted top wing of Richthofen's 425/17 partially obscured by another Triplane - in front of the last of the Bessoneau hangars. The Dr. 1 of Jasta 11 ace Hans Weiss Dr. 1 (545/17) is somewhere on this image...Click to view large..

Completed in the markings of Jasta 11 ace Hans Weiss Dr. 1 545/17 (WNr. 2213 seen on lower rudder). As the name implies much of his machine was painted white.

The Eduard Dr. 1 kit is nicely detailed and I used some of the etch from the ProfiPACK box in the stash to enhance the cockpit (compass etc). The plastic control yoke in the kit is nicely done- on the etch sheet you will find some tiny 'L' and 'R' placards for the MGs ( 'left' and 'right' in German is 'links' and 'rechts'). The fuel tank air pressure hand pump for the right side of the cockpit was scratched..The back of the aluminum seat was evidently covered in fabric on the inner face and the seat cushion was the parachute pack. The alu ammunition boxes don't sit very well in the forward fuselage and needed trimming. Everything lines up well though with the Spandaus which really need the etch jackets of course. Eduard's etch includes the Bowden cable arrangement that operated the triggers on the real machine. The fuel gauge on the upper deck cowling has an etch dial face. As noted previously, aligning the wings proved problematic - on my next build I will do more to ensure that the lower wing sits 'square' in the lower fuselage. The underbelly fuselage seam is fixed with an etch stitching strip and the seam under the forward fuselage can be hidden as I did here with an etch plate which helps secure the very fragile front landing gear legs so there is an even placement of the whole undercarriage - something else I found pretty tricky to achieve. One thing I didn't do on my model was 'fix' the clear inspection window in the top wing which needs to be relocated and the raised edges sanded down. Next time... There are two propeller types offered in the kit - Axial and Heine. Painting a 'laminated' propeller is fairly straight forward - I simply gave the item a coat of “buff” or linen and when dry, streaked some burnt umber oil over the part with a stiff brush. You could mask the prop off in strips. I used a similar technique for the wings with '502 Abteilung' Olive green oil paint. Eduard's etch sheet for the Dr.1 includes the "Reich” / government ownership plate located on the starboard side of the cowling. I did some minimal rigging with E-Z Line which I always find difficult to work with as it is so 'elastic'.  Thanks to Stephen T. Lawson for help with this build!

 The first victory recorded in a Fokker Triplane was achieved by Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen when he brought down an RE 8 on the morning of 1 September 1917 for his 60th victory in his first combat flight in the type. (Kranzhof states 2 September). The crew believed the oncoming machine to be a British Sopwith Triplane. Poor construction and the proximity of the top wing to the propeller wash subsequently caused a number of well-documented failures in-flight. The type was temporarily withdrawn to re-appear in strength in January 1918. The Fokker Triplane equipped most of the Jagdstaffeln of the three Jagdgeschwader of the German Fliegertruppe during the first half of 1918.

Incidentally, the word Jagdgeschwader translates as 'fighter wing' or 'fighter wings' - there is NO plural form of this word in German, unless the sentence construction in the German involves a dative case. There is no 's' and certainly no 'n' at the end of the word in its nominative form! One of my pet 'hates' when reading works by authors who don't really know German - even vanWyngarden does this, although in every other respect I find his work to be exceptional. Shame that Osprey have stated that it doesn't sell well and that apparently there will be no more..

Monday, 24 June 2019

Eduard Fokker Dr.1 48th (2)

Putting the wings on the Fokker - I haven't seen many builds of the Eduard DR. 1 - apart from perhaps Stephen T. Lawson's on aeroscale - but those that do exist all state that the kit assembles well. I found the struts a little difficult to fit through the centre wing, managing to snap one completely. Superglue has definitely been my friend on this build. Both cabane struts broke as well needless to say and fixing those was tricky, but the top wing was eventually attached securely without too much damage.

Just visible in the lower pic is the delicate molding of the distinctice saw-tooth ply covering over the upper surfaces of the wing leading edge

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.