Sunday, 7 February 2021

Alcock & Brown(e) XV 424 and XV 486 IAT 1979 Greenham Common Transatlantic flight June 1979


Sqn Ldr A.J.H. Alcock MBE and Flt Ldr W.N. Browne with Douglas Bader at the June 1979 IAT at Greenham Common. XV424 made the translatlantic flight on 21 June 1979. XV486 was the back-up machine and had the number on the front u/carriage door. Interestingly, XV424 is on display at one of the RAF museums but in standard squadron markings. (Below, signed colour picture in my collection)

Text by Patrick Martin, author of the two volume "British Phantoms" published by Double Ugly

In advance of the 1979 event, the IAT commissioned aviation artist, Wilf Hardy to design a special scheme for the Phantom. As Rolls Royce Eagle engines had powered the original Vimy and Rolls Royce Spey engines powered the Phantom FGR.2, the engine manufacturer agreed to sponsor the special paint scheme. Both XV424 and XV486, from No.56 Squadron were painted at RAF St. Athan in overall Light Aircraft Grey 627, before the Wilf Hardy special markings were applied. While XV424 did not carry its serial on the forward facing nose gear door, XV486 did and while at CFB Goose Bay was zapped by CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) personnel, receiving a small CAF roundel on the forward facing nose gear door in the lower loop of the number eight. Although a photo of both aircraft together at one point was taken without a serial on the nose gear door.

Both aircraft were sent to CFB Goose Bay for the crossing, aided by five in-flight refuellings from Victor K.2 tankers, with XV424 arriving at RAF Greenham Common on June 21, 1979. The crew consisted of Squadron Leader A.J.H. Alcock MBE, a nephew of Captain Alcock (who flew the Vimy in 1919) and Flight Lieutenant WN Browne. The second aircraft XV486 was prepared in case any last minute problems arose with XV424. Following the IAT, both aircraft were to appear at several events during the summer throughout the UK. While Phantom FGR.2 XV424 is displayed in the standard air defence finish and markings at Hendon, the nose of unrelated Phantom FG.1 XV591 was painted to duplicate the XV424/XV486 special scheme for display at the Cosford location of the RAF Museum. For the June 1979 flight, Phantom FGR.2 XV424 carried the toy black cat mascot - ‘Twinkletoes’ - that had been carried on the original 1919 flight. For the Atlantic run, XV424 was flown by S/L A.J.N. (Tony) Alcock MBE (a No.56 Squadron Flight Commander and nephew of Atlantic Pioneer Sir John Alcock) and F/L W.N. (Norman) Browne, the latter a former Phantom Navigator, brought back from his Buccaneer Squadron for the occasion. XV424 is currently at Hendon.

Both aircraft appear side by side in "Phantom Squadrons" by Richard War. The picture was taken at RAF St Athan where the scheme was applied. This photo along with a few others of each aircraft are also on Modeldecal sheet No55 instructions.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

KIT model shop in London ?



Kit Krazy model shop, Bexleyheath Broadway 2 post-lock-down 2 and a trip out to Bexleyheath, East London/Kent, to visit one of London's last 'old' classic model shops. From Peter Skipp's 'google' review;

 ".. wonderful haunt for scale modellers! Even if so many South East England mainstays had not sadly gone, I would still rate it as London's top model kit shop. A quiet atmosphere allows callers to browse undisturbed -- as they need to, in view of the huge stock that takes some browsing! A helpful and knowledgeable owner assists with even arcane queries. Parking in the area can be problematic, but public transport is plentiful and frequent, so spare your nerves and enjoy your visit undisturbed by using it! The area has plenty of nice greasy spoons where you can take a cuppa and refresh before continuing your pleasurable progress through Kit Krazy's stock!.." 

 Masses of stuff on site if you want to dig around and you will get a discount..

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Airfix 1/72 Douglas Skyhawk A-4B - Argentinian Skyhawk A-4 Q - Skyhawks over the South Atlantic (2)


3 Escuadrilla Skyhawk embarked aboard the Argentine carrier 25 de Mayo (ex-WWII Royal Navy carrier HMS Venerable) during April/May 1982. The A-4Q's most 'successful' sortie during the Falklands war took place on May 21, 1982 when three machines led by Capitan de Corbeta Philippi delivered the coup de grace to the damaged frigate HMS Ardent. All three Skyhawks were shot down by 800 NAS Harriers..

The Airfix kit is very nice, although the nose shape only looks 'right' from certain angles. Note the incorrect size of the AN/ARC 109 antenna behind the cockpit. The kit does not feature the VOR antenna on the vertical tail. Very impressed with the large decal sheet - the decals worked superbly. .

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Airfix 1/72 Douglas Skyhawk A-4B - Argentinian Skyhawk A-4 Q - Skyhawks over the South Atlantic (1)

Currently working on an Airfix Skyhawk in Argentinian Navy markings. Should look something like the above, 3rd Air Naval Attack Squadron  A-4Q "Skyhawk II" 3-A-305 Armada Argentina JP-368 

3a Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque  (3rd Air Naval Attack Squadron )

On May 21, 1982 two groups of A-4Q “Skyhawk II” bombers from 3a Escuadrilla Aeronaval took off from Rio Grande Naval Air Base. Their target was the British “Type 21” frigate HMS ARDENT, located 2 miles north of the West Island in the Falklands. The first section of Skyhawks comprised 3-A-307 (Capitan de Corbeta Alberto Jorge Philippi), 3-A-312 (Teniente de Navío José César Arca), and 3-A-314 (Teniente de Fragata Gustavo Marcelo Márquez). The second section was made up of 3-A-301 (Teniente de Navio Benito Rótolo), 3-A-305 (Teniente de Navio Carlos Lecour) and 3-A-306 (Teniente de Navio Roberto Sylvester). The A-4s approached the target below 50 feet altitude before climbing to 300 feet to drop their weapons. The attack was launched at 14:50 local time. At 15:01 the 1st Section attacked the frigate dropping their 227 kgs Mk.82 “Snake-eye” bombs while at 15:05 the three Argentine aicraft were intercepted by Sea Harriers from 800 Squadron: 3-A-314 and 3-A-307 were shot down and 3-A-312 was critically damaged. At 15:30 the 2nd Section unloaded their bombs, evaded the British defences and were able to land at Rio Grande NAS. Three A-4s were destroyed in the action while the British frigate HMS Ardent was mortally damaged.

..I was watching Chad over at Flying S Models on youtube put together this (relatively new) Airfix kit and very nice the completed model was too! Then I spotted the detailed posts by Neil 'FAAMAN' over on the Airfix Tribute forum. It appears that Airfix missed a whole host of hatches and latches on the kit and perpetrated an assortment of other errors including - according to Neil - an incorrect nose shape, wrong tail height, incorrect rudder etc. Much more at the link at the bottom of the page...

A shame. If I'm honest though I don't think a lot of Neil's 'corrections' are really going to have much impact in 72nd scale - especially in my case as I'd already started the kit. It will still serve its purpose as a 'mojo' restorer.

I often read when debates about a kit’s accuracy crop up on forums, that ‘it costs just  as much for a manufacturer to get a kit right as it does wrong’ which to me is an entirely specious argument. A model is just a ‘replica’ after all - its not an exact carbon copy. There are the obvious limitations in the molding process and in the smaller scale especially, less is sometimes more. Those ‘missing’ hatches and hinges would add little to the ‘conviction’ of a well-finished model. I'm of the opinion that Airfix’s new-tool Skyhawks look to be little gems and they have duly appeared in a number of different boxings..


Here I've re-positioned the 'steerable' nose wheel, deflected the all-moving tail-plane which is often seen pointed downwards when the aircraft is parked up, re-shaped the rather inaccurate dorsal fairing, added the fin ring aerials and detailed the cockpit with some wire and sprue odds n' ends.

Above; a good view of the the radome for the Bendix DFA-73 ADF aerial used on Argentine Skyhawks.

See the following link for much more detail on Argentinian Skyhawks..

Friday, 31 July 2020

British Phantom XV 497 arrives at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation museum

XV 497 was moved to a new home this week arriving at the Flixton museum from the former RAF Bentwaters on Tuesday 28 July and being assembled for display...this video documents the arrival and reassembly in moving and still pictures. A single click to view here..


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Modelling nostalgia with the vintage FROG Focke Wulf Ta 152 H

I guess for those of us 'oldies' quite a lot of what we do in modelling nowadays is driven by 'nostalgia'. It has become something of trend on forums everywhere to revisit some of those golden oldies from the 1970s and 1980s; ‘a kit you built as a kid’ group build was running a while back on Britmodeller. I more or less remember tackling all of those kits in their day. Mainly because there wasn’t any internet and whatever the local newsagents or Woolworths had in stock was what you built back then. Although I always remember 'Airfix Magazine' arriving through the letterbox on Saturday morning each month and devoured Alan Hall's and Bryan Philpott's model builds - especially those Ju 88 nightfighter and Bf 109 conversions from Bryan Philpott. Of course parents and relatives were always ready to buy you a model kit since no doubt they saw it as a constructive way for a child to spent his time, same with books. No doubt one of the reasons why I've ended up with a huge collection of books ..and unbuilt models. I well recall building the Airfix 24 scale Harrier in about a fortnight aged twelve years old. I doubt if I could do anything like that today!

Still living the nostalgia. I saw a lovely thread elsewhere on BM where the modeller stated that what he liked doing was simply building what was in the box. No additions or new parts or vacuform canopy or after-market of any description - you just build what is in the box. Just to remind yourself how much fun it is not worrying about washes, detailing and all the other things we now tend to have to have these days in our modelling lives, living in an era of 'super' kits and hi-grade aftermarket.

But Airfix was the staple of those days and in the last couple of years before other interests took me away from the hobby around 1978/79 my passion was building Luftwaffe kits. This coincided with the discovery in the local library of William Green's massive "Warplanes of the Third Reich" book. It was a book full of exotic machines and far too valuable to be loaned out of the library - you were allowed to study it in a special room and I still recall spending at least one set of summer holidays taking copious notes from it into a small notepad - aged about 11 or 12. Well-known author and Classic Publications founder Robert Forsyth told me that his interest in the Luftwaffe was stimulated in similar fashion - but he actually got his mum to buy him a copy of 'Warplanes..' ! Who knew then that this huge tome would be so decried nowadays by the Experten.

Frog models featured a lot in my youth - their Blackburn Shark and Barracuda kits I remember well. One of the vintage kits I built back then was the 1970-release of the FROG Ta 152. I would have been around 10 or 11 when I first built this kit. Of course this original FROG kit has been re-boxed by Revell and is still easily available. I built mine a while ago but having a box of Eduard Fw 190 spare bits to hand I have been 'inspired' to do up my old FROG model.

This is the finished model. I've tried to update it a little. The engine cowl has had plastic card gill's added and a etch grille in the top section. The otherwise completely smooth nose and upper fuselage parts have been scribed and the canopy/late war head armour and wheels are Eduard left-overs. A gear bay has been built and gear retraction jacks added. along with foot-step and a FuG aerial. There is even a half-decent cockpit tub with side panels, instrument panel and control column in there. The armament has been replaced with metal rod. Aerial wire from GS-Hypo Cement - a new tube so very fine, barely visible. Decals from the Kagero "JG 301" Air Miniatures book - 'green 4' is the Stab./JG 301 machine supposedly flown by Walter Loos in the last few weeks of the war. Paints are Xtracolor and Colourcoats enamels - reading my reference it would appear that there is no known camouflage 'plan' for the Ta 152, but mine is taken from the Eagle Monarch book on the type, who incidentally don't feature Loos' 'green 4' but do illustrate an all-red machine, which in my view was probably an 'invention' of the vets for a little 'fun' at some-one's expense ...

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Eduard wilde Sau Limited Edition

.... Eduard asked me to put together some text/markings schemes for a wilde Sau Limited Edition Dual Combo kit.  While they didn’t go with all my choices, it was nice to be asked and at least have a hand in choosing the markings options ( ten in the box). A separate decal sheet is being released in August too. Kit just arrived;

The current issue of Eduard Info - a free download from - features some text and images that I compiled for this release....Episode One means that there will be another box of Bf 109 JG 300 schemes at a later date along with a box of Wilde Sau FW 190s...