Wednesday 8 May 2024

Blenheim I at Duxford


400th post and just passed 993,000 page views. Here's something you don't see too often, some nice cockpit views of the Blenheim I at Duxford, courtesy of Ian Carvell.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

East Kent Scale modellers club night 09 April - an impromptu 899 NAS line-up


After missing a couple of meetings thanks to other stuff it was nice to get up to RAF Manston and the history museum cafe/canteen for the monthly club meet of East Kent Scale modellers. As usual some fantastic models on display and plenty of model 'chat' and  'advice' and tips being dispensed ..

Dave's Skyhawk and Mitsubishi T-2

Callum's GwH 1:144 TSR 2

Dick's Airfix Sea Vixen in a line-up  of 899 Sqd machines...

Two of Rod's WnW masterpieces, a DH 2 and a naval Camel..

Peter's HPH 32nd scale SG 38 glider (partially built) and Dick's Special Hobby DFS 230 

Robert's Italeri 72nd Ju 188. Re-scribed panel lines and a neat finish..

Dick's Arma Hobby Hurricane. Lovely kit, decals apparently "a pain.."

The end of the 899 NAS line-up featured Bill's Hunter T8M. XL603 was one of two Hunter T8M conversions operated by 899 Squadron as radar trainers, fitted with the Blue Fox radar..

this is Henry's 32nd Hasegawa Raiden ('Jack')

Harrier trainers from the Kinetic kit by Dick and Bill..

Stu's Airfix Meteor in 72nd. Lots of great comments on his super metallic finish - Tamiya

Wednesday 3 April 2024

More on 19 Sqn Spitfires, Duxford, 1939

Formation of No.19 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Is in 1938 over Cambridgeshire


As one web site puts it, " the operational history of the Spitfire began with No. 19 Squadron on 4 August 1938 at Duxford... " On this date Jeffrey Quill delivered the first operational Mk I K9789 to Duxford, nearly a year later than originally anticipated. By then the type had been extensively tested. The Spitfire was simple and easy to fly and had no vices. 

Fast forward to 31 October 1938 -  'press day' for 19 Sqn and the squadron's new Spitfires are all in the air, echeleon right behind CO S/Ldr Henry Cozens. Note the '19' on the tails. This was only on the a/c for a short time and was present on 31 October it seems. There then followed a period of intensive flight trials with Cozens - an engineering officer as well as pilot - keen to get 400 hours on the aircraft so that detailed inspections for wear/tear and faults could be carried out. 

Below; K9795, the 9th production Spitfire Mk. I in the markings of No. 19 Squadron photographed in the autumn of 1938. The aircraft is flown by Sqn Ldr Henry Cozens. During that time squadron letters were not yet assigned for the camouflaged aircraft and the unit temporarily used white-painted number 19 on the fin as a distinctive marking. These numbers appear to have only been used for a short period during 1938 and were later removed.

A good view of 'WZ- ' codes on 19 Sqn machines. Note in the image below one machine has only a single roundel painted on the wing uppersufaces and one aircraft has yet to have any roundels painted on - assuming that two roundels would have some stage have been painted on. In the second view below note the darker brown paint around the fuselage roundel where the outer circle has been overpainted. Also the curved demarcation (not along the panel line) between the upper camo colours and the black of the underside on the lower engine cowl.

A view of the airframes already painted in their camo schemes at the factory

Were the gun ports covered on 'pre-war' Spitfires - probably not. The covering of gun ports only occurred when it was found that cold air and altitude was causing them to freeze, gunnery pre war was done at lower levels, and were often in summer...And not much gunnery. So in all probability no red patches and open ports. This images tends to bear that out..

Note the aileron is still aluminium, and possibly the lighter smudge implies a retained aluminium painted wheel well. No gun patches.

Thursday 7 March 2024

Bill Clark's Academy F-4 J (UK) ZE 362 and the 'infamous' turquoise paint finish of the RAF's F-4Js


Bill Clark from East Kent Scale modellers and Scale Aircraft Modelling on his colours research for the F-4 J(UK).  This is re-posted from Bill's FB page and draws on his own article in Scale Aircraft Modelling. 

Note that the J-variant can be distinguished from the RAF's FG.1 and FGR.2 (at a glance) by the inclusion of formation lighting strips, the (empty) DECM antennas on the upper part of the intakes (except for ZE 350), the longer exhaust cans of the J79 engines, smaller intakes and narrow(er) rear fuselage while also lacking the 'glazing' on the port side between the two canopies. 

Bill also supplied this unique view of the 'turquoise' shade....

And a view of one of my pictures of F-4 J ZE 353 and David's take on the colour on a build of the Hasegawa kit, also ZE 353..

Preamble over, back to Bill for commentary and a view of his build.

"Here's my take on it.. briefly......

....The first batch of maybe nine of the 15 arrived in that Turquoise shade. There might have been attempts in those nine to correct the earlier problems...The second batch of 6 were painted in shades of 'gray" closer to those specified by the RAF.

from Patrick Martin's 'British Phantoms _Vol 5'. The RAF ordered 15, and the overhauled aircraft were painted in a three-grey finish that was meant to be as close to the standard RAF shades. Flint Grey FS595 36314 was used for Barley Grey, Neutral Grey 36270 for Medium Sea Grey and Light Gull Grey 36440 for LACG. The first nine aircraft delivered had the 'turquoise tint', due to a misunderstanding of the pimer specification by the Mexican manufacturer. (The grey's may well have been affected by the zinc chromate(?) primer.) The mistake was rectified for the second batch, but still not quite right. At least five were repainted in standard RAF shades, including ZE354/"R", ZE357/"N", ZE361/"P", ZE364/"Z". This happened during the summer of 1989.

There is some conjecture as to whether the inner wing panels were actually painted in MSG /NG. They certainly should have been, but bear in mind that the whole idea of having a darker shade here was to blend the whole upper surfaces together. Therefore in most lighting conditions the difference between the two greys is hard to see. That said, it is clear that some of the earlier batches, that had the primer issue maybe(?) the inner wings were very tatty and faded and certainly appear to be the same shade.

"'s my interpretation of 74 Sqn's ZE362/"V", which was one of the later batch of aircraft painted in shades more akin to those specified....with replacement panels and 'Turquoise". Academy 1/72 kit. Decals from Modeldecal, Xtradecal and Esci kit. Painted in Xtracrylic 'Barley' Grey (fuselage and outer panels,) with Tamiya Medium Sea Grey inner panel. I made my own mix for the Turquoise..."

Wednesday 21 February 2024

More 'Air' frames..


 Just reading a great article on model 'bases' over on the 'Model Airplane Maker' blog (see link in the side box) while I work up enthusiasm to start a new kit. In the meantime here are a few more of those 'frame' bases posted on various social media. Still thinking that I might try one of these, although I do favour 'splitting' and attaching the canopy. And the instruction sheet 'background' is very cool.

Friday 2 February 2024

new tool 72nd scale Dora Wings Fairey Delta 2 is here!


the new 72nd scale Dora Wings Fairey Delta 2 is here! All the way from Dnipro in the Ukraine for which the guys at Dora Wings deserve our admiration and support. The surprisingly small box features a 65-part model - and a small fret of etch - of this fabulous British supersonic research aircraft which will be started just as soon as.

Below; Movietone News report 

Friday 5 January 2024

New Year means new Airfix kit announcements - 2024 releases coming soon!


" ..One of the few benefits of us all going back to work at the start of any new year is that we do so in the sure and certain knowledge that we are about to be transfixed by a spectacular new collection of Airfix model kits, with the launch of the latest Airfix range. Featuring a collection of new tooling projects, new scheme options and artwork for some range favourites and the return of some kit classics, range launch day usually sees the Airfix website struggling to cope with all the additional traffic, as thousands of people rush to take a first look at what kits might be tempting them over the coming months and if our designers have been hard at work producing a newly tooled example of their own favourite modelling subject..."

Range launch this year will be taking place at 4pm on Tuesday 9th January, so things will hopefully have settled down by the time you get home from work, allowing you to spend a few uninterrupted minutes inspecting all the new kits we have in store for you throughout 2024. We will, of course, be posting a range overview edition of Workbench next week, where we will be taking a closer look at some of the significant additions to the range, before moving on to feature all the new tooling additions to the 2024 range in more detail over the next few months. By the time we have covered everything, we'll be ready for range launch 2025 - how time flies when you're an Airfix modeller!.."

The 'new announcement' date coincides with our model club night and a 'special' presentation to those attending by an Airfix representative. So tune in here next Wednesday for more then...

Better not forget either that Airfix are in business to make money, not to manufacture a kit that you would like...and if that includes another Bf 109 so be it.  

Having watched the slightly 'underwhelming' Airfix 2024 Product Release announcement 'live' on youtube - aside from a couple of neat 72nd kits - you have to suspect that this is just a clever ploy from Airfix and that we WILL see other brand-new kit announcements throughout the year like the surprise release of the Westland Sea King and ME 410 in 2023 and subsequent market reaction to this 'old school' approach to the release of new kits much more exciting than getting a full list at the beginning of the year with only half the list actually appearing..

- the Bristol Bulldog was the only 'new-tool' in 48th scale and was not 'lidared' from the Hendon exhibit which apparently is not 100% accurate. OR rather, they did LiDAR it, but then looked a bit closer and found out the restoration in the 1980s was not the best, so the Airfix designers then went with the Bristol drawings as a result. A good example of not blindly trusting LiDAR data and using multiple sources. And while it's not my preferred era, the designers at Airfix are improving their kits with every release, so a 'new-tool' is always an event no-matter what it is
- the 72nd Bf 109 Friedrich apears in the markings of Wolf dieter Huy (III./JG 77) and is a 'Starter set' because of the four-colour finish.
- the B-24 is an 'H' variant with the nose art and both options are camouflaged. The first natural alu machines were a different Block No. with amended nav windows
- the 72nd Chinook is 'BN' and a Gulf War option 
- new life-boat (that's all I can find to say about that one..)