Wednesday 19 November 2014

Italeri AH-64 Apache 1:72

This Italeri Apache has been stalled and on the 'shelf of doom' since August 2010; until I picked it up about a month ago. The tail wheel had broken off and has had to be re-pinned. The model is now virtually complete, except for one or two decals. As with most Italeri kits I attempt, I found the parts fit was appalling. If you're looking for a model that will take roughly six years of sanding and filing and filling to complete and where you are guaranteed to break off all the detail parts while handling it, then this is the kit for you! It has been painted and re-painted at least twice and 'dusted' with pastels.

 I've added some extra details including coloured wing-tip navigation lights, a belt of 'etch' ammo to the chain gun and various grab handles from wire. The nose-mounted target designator was given a 'metallic' finish with some 'gold' craft paper..

Sunday 5 October 2014

SMER 1/44th Fokker Dr. 1 Jasta Boelcke

..something that's been sitting on the 'shelf of doom' for an age - the SMER Fokker Triplane in 1:44th scale!.. This must be the 'oldest' kit I've ever attempted - it may well be the old Aurora kit IIRC which came out in 1955 apparently. It still has the German Balkenkreuze outlines embossed in the plastic. I made a start on it once upon a time, but when I realised how hopelessly inaccurate it was (well, perhaps the scale should have been a clue..) it ended up on the 'never-to-be-finished' shelf. It actually fell off this shelf at least three times, various parts, wheels, struts etc being detached and/or shattering. For some reason I've never been able to bring myself to throw it I thought I'd treat it as a bit of a practise build and finish it.

Above; here I'm constructing a new wheel axle from one of my daughter's hair-clips - there's always an abundant supply of them lying around the house! Note the broken undercarriage strut alongside, this 're-build' was largely an exercise in drilling and pinning.

Below; I've attempted some concessions to 'accuracy' - note the white-metal Aeroclub Spandaus. They required mounting into some gun troughs which I filed out into the forward fuselage decking, no easy task as the plastic was very thick and hard! The ring sights and the ammo feeds disappearing into the fuselage were taken from a 48th scale Luftwaffe etch sheet...

This is of course not the most accurate kit - the struts appear to be rather 'over-scale'especially - but the finished result is 'semi-acceptable' IMHO. I have added stabiliser struts, foot-step, wing skids, rudder control wires etc etc with fuse wire...

Fokker Dr. 1 204/17 finished in the markings of Lt Paul Bäumer of Jasta Boelcke. It proved impossible to find two sources that agreed on the finish of this machine so I opted for the colourful wing and fuselage stripes and the early Balkenkreuze and brushed on the olive green Tripe streaking over a pale cream undercoat...

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ghost fields of Suffolk (...and Norfolk ) - Framlingham, Rougham, Thorpe Abbots, 390th BG, 100th BG, 94th BG

...currently on my hols in the beautiful county of Suffolk. Above, 12th century Framlingham castle

...visited the 390th BG Memorial air museum housed in the original wartime control tower of Framlingham station 153 located just outside Parham village, some five miles from Framlingham. On display are recovered aircraft wreckage and engines, uniforms, documents, photos and rare memorabilia.

We also stopped at Rougham, east of Bury St Edmunds, from where the 94th BG flew during the war. Here the control tower has again been remarkably restored and preserved while the rest of the airfield is mostly given over to an industrial estate..

On 24 December 1944, Brig. Gen. Frederick Castle won a posthumous Medal of honour in the biggest 8th AF raid of the war ..

I also had to visit Thorpe Abbots, home to the 100th BG memorial museum, described by Martin Bowman in his "Airfield Focus" booklet as a 'national treasure'. Thorpe Abbots is just over the county border in Norfolk east of Diss - and, I found, very difficult to locate since the authorities apparently do not allow road signage from the main A143 Norwich/ Gt Yarmouth road. The speakers in the 'glass-house' atop the tower broadcast radio chatter, engine start-up and fly-by noises - very atmospheric!

View from the 'glasshouse' on top of the control tower at Thorpe Abbots looking towards the 'unlucky' hard-stand 13 as seen on the airfield model below with its typical 'frying-pan handle' dispersals, bottom right corner..and a view of the surviving taxiway in front of the control tower..the main runway at Thorpe Abbotts, one of the longest constructed during the war in East Anglia, ran parallel to the taxi-way bottom right..

..although the old airfield is now virtually fully returned to agriculture, stretches of the southern perimeter track are reasonably well-preserved  - heavily-laden B-17s once picked their way along this route...

Model displays in the museum

I also called in at Leiston, home to the 357th FG during WWII. The old airfield - today the 'Cakes and Ale' caravan park - now has its own 'Heritage Centre'. There was nobody around but at the park reception they kindly gave me the key to the 'memorial hut'...

'Bud' Anderson's well-known 'Old Crow' in its revetment post D-Day, now occupied by caravans 1-11 

Friday 15 August 2014

new-tool Airfix Hurricane Mk. I in 1:72nd build review (2) - finished

...finished the first of my Airfix new-tool Hurricane Mk. 1 fighters which I started back in July here in the colours of the first squadron to receive the type, No. 111. 'Venturi' tube is missing from underneath the port cockpit sill. Neat kit, once you get past the disappointing wing fit, nicely detailed although I've added the cowl bead sight and pilot's foot step from fuse wire. Finished in Humbrols enamels, although my dark green (30) came out a in a very strange shade requiring a bit of a re-spray.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Eduard new tool 1:48th Bf 109 G-6 (2)

 Like many I was pretty disappointed with the new Eduard Bf 109 G-6 when I first got my hands on it. See my in-depth in-box review on this blog.  I don't think I went as far as some who more or less declared this kit unbuild-able, to be fatally flawed, and all those other negative comments. While I admit to squirming quite a bit at first there are now one or two nice builds appearing on the forums; even my new friend Mr. Gary Hatcher has finished one (see the August issue of SAMI). While I can't say I'll grow to love it, I have got over the disappointment somewhat, stopped "squirming"  and started to crack on with what is in fact a very 'build-able' and enjoyable kit. If you're going to get this kit, buy one from someone who thinks it's fatally flawed, you might get a good deal. Note that I am in no way dismissing the issues - while most criticism focuses on the 'over-scale' issue the landing gear will look incredibly rough if not dealt with - no compression, silly stance and hopeless representation of the brake lines running down the gear struts. I note that some builders have cut away a little bit of the forward edge of the gear bay to get more forward lean. Not ideal, but helpful. Elsewhere others have cut the back of the square peg in the top wing bay so the gear leg can slide back a little to give more forward lean; whatever the solution there's some work to do there. But mostly I have just decided to treat this kit as a 'fun' build. Here's where I am with the cockpit which is mostly itself a test of my 'skills'...

oh and while other blogs go on holiday, we go on holiday to blog so see you again very soon..