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Graham James
Graham James - I returned to model making in 2010 after a very long absence and the "James May Experience" of going back to my childhood once I had a bit more spare time.

I'm a member of three IPMS(UK) Special Interest Groups: Harrier; Great War; and Special Schemes. SIGs are a great place to get help, support and gain knowledge and the Harrier SIG in particular has been a life-changer for me.
Models 1 to 100
Models 1 to 100
Hawker Fury Mk.I
Hawker Fury Mk.I
Tiger II Ausf.B
Tiger II Ausf.B
RN Tow Tractor
RN Tow Tractor
RN Tow Tractor
RN Tow Tractor
Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
Hawker Fury
Hawker Fury
Space Shuttle & 747
Space Shuttle & 747
Roland D.VIb
Roland D.VIb
Sea Harrier FA.2
Sea Harrier FA.2
Rafale A
Rafale A
Jaguar GR.1A
Jaguar GR.1A
Typhoon Mk.Ib
Typhoon Mk.Ib
Hurricane Mk.IIc
Hurricane Mk.IIc
Ansaldo SVA.5 (Late)
Ansaldo SVA.5 (Late)
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc, PZ865
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc, PZ865
Harrier AV-8B II FSD
Harrier AV-8B II FSD
Sea Harrier FRS.1
Sea Harrier FRS.1
Harrier GR.5
Harrier GR.5
Harrier TAV-8s
Harrier TAV-8s
Harrier AV-8B II Plus
Harrier AV-8B II Plus
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.120
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.120
Dassault Rafale B
Dassault Rafale B
Saab Gripen
Saab Gripen
Harrier GR.7
Harrier GR.7
Harrier T.12
Harrier T.12
Harrier T.10
Harrier T.10
Sea Harrier FA.2
Sea Harrier FA.2
Harrier T.60
Harrier T.60
Rafale B
Rafale B
CF-188A Hornet
CF-188A Hornet
Hawk Mk.128
Hawk Mk.128
Harrier TAV-8B
Harrier TAV-8B
Harrier T-8
Harrier T-8
Hawk Mk 127
Hawk Mk 127
JAS-39A Gripen
JAS-39A Gripen
Harrier T4N
Harrier T4N
F-16C Eggplane
F-16C Eggplane
Harrier T.4
Harrier T.4
Leonardo M-346A
Leonardo M-346A
Harrier II AV-8B Plus
Harrier II AV-8B Plus
Red Arrows Hawk
Red Arrows Hawk
Harrier II AV-8B
Harrier II AV-8B
Dassault Rafale M
Dassault Rafale M
Harrier II AV-8B NA
Harrier II AV-8B NA
Spitfire Vb
Spitfire Vb
Yak-38 Forger
Yak-38 Forger
Lancaster B1
Lancaster B1
CF-104 Checkerbird
CF-104 Checkerbird
Bae Hawk G-Hawk
Bae Hawk G-Hawk
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a
F-5E ROCAF
F-5F ROCAF
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Hawker Fury Mk.I
Hawker Fury Mk.I, K5670 / 3, 5 Flying Training School – Airfix, 1/48th scale. OOB build with knit-in elastic rigging.
Some say that the Hawker Fury should only be seen in an all-metal finish. I decided to follow the Alley Cat approach and go for the flight training school scheme of yellow and aluminium metal. The model represents K5670 at 5 FTS, though there’s some interpretation as to the wheel hub colour and the propeller colours. I used Humbrol rattle can aluminium for the metal as a base coat, with Vallejo Chrome overlaid on top. The yellow is Humbrol Trainer Yellow, again from a rattle can. Rigged with knit-in elastic, except for the tail support wire (topside) with is Albion Alloy metal wire. Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish over the home-made decals and kit roundels.
Considering the age of the kit, the fit is not too bad and the decals were really good. The only major problem was the strut arrangement for the fuselage to upper wing which I couldn’t get to work without breaking and re-aligning.
Tiger II Ausf.B
Tiger II Ausf.B with Porsche Turret, Revell, 1/72nd scale.
OOB build with decal spares. Vallejo Model Color Dark Yellow as base and Revell Acrylic #363 - Dark Green for camouflage splodges. Tracks done with a Vallejo Flat Brown / Natural Steel mix. Weathering: Artist pastels mixed with Humbrol Decal Fix and applied as washes. The Pz.Kp.(FKL) 316 (attached to Pz.Lehr Div.) had 5 Porsche turreted King Tigers numbered 02, 11, 13, 10 and 12. I chose "11" for its seemingly unusual paint scheme, added to the fact there are some reference photos. I suspect, however, that they further illustrate I'm further from the historical truth than even I envisaged. Tiger experts will notice immediately that the Zimmerit is missing, among other errors!
The tracks took a while - again. General fit was very good and no problems. Quick to construct, but hard to find colour schemes for the 50 tanks that were deployed with this turret. As with the Tiger I.
RN Tow Tractor
Royal Navy Tow Tractor, Skunkmodels Workshop, 1/48th scale.
OOB build (minus the deck crew) and representing a tow tractor from the early 1980s when deployed aboard HMS Hermes and HMS Illustrious in Operation Corporate.
Humbrol Yellow #69 from a rattle can was used for the main colour, with detailing from Vallejo paints including Black-Grey, Flat Red, Flat Brown, Andrea Blue, Chrome and Natural Metal. Artist Pastels used for weathering. Some home made decals for the extinguisher, "dashboard" and red tank on driver's left. It's difficult to get all four wheels to sit correctly on the floor without some messing about and the tyres are a very poor fit and require a lot of work to sort out the seams. The kit instructions require some proof reading and there are none for the deck crew, but they do come on their own little sprue sections. Crew access ladder - Vallejo flat red / black-grey.
RN Tow Tractor
Royal Navy Tow Tractor, Skunkmodels Workshop, 1/48th scale.

Again OOB, this being the second complete kit in the box. This time done in the dark green scheme that was used in the late 1980s I believe. Base coat was a Humbrol rattle can Dark Green with Vallejo paints for the detailing as before. Wheels and tyres still a problem. No weathering this time - thought I'd leave it clean!
Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster Bomber, Meng Kids, no scale.
A simple snap-together kit designed for kids - of all ages. I replaced the kit decal markings with those of "Dagwood", ND619 / CF.D of 525 Squadron, RAF. This aircraft was one of the survivors of the Nuremberg raid of 30/31 March, 1944, where the RAF lost just over 100 aircraft out of 700 on the raid, there biggest single loss of the whole war.
The nose art "Dagwood" comes from the character Dagwood Bumstead in the Blondie comic strip created by Chic Young in 1930. Painted with Vallejo Model Color - Black, Black-Grey, English Uniform (as Dark Earth) and Humbrol Dark Green from a rattle can. Life Color Silver used on the wheels. Klear + Vallejo Matt Varnish finish. Home made and kit decals.
Hawker Fury
Hawker Fury Mk.I, K8262 / 3, 8 Flying Training School, Montrose, late 1930s – LifeLike, 1/48th scale.
OOB build with knit-in elastic rigging.
Build alongside the Airfix version, I decided to finish this one in the revised trainer camouflage scheme introduced in the late 1930s in the prelude to World War II. The aircraft represented is a guess based on a photograph of thre flying in formation. It may well be inaccurate in a number of respects to the scheme's pattern and coverage. It's close enough for me.
I used a mixture of Vallejo, Xtracrylic and Humbrol paints - the latter from an aerosol can for the yellow in producing the finish. Knit-in elastic was used for the rigigng and a matt varnish applied to finish. I used a combination of old kit decals, spares and home-made for the markings.
Space Shuttle & 747
British Airways "Offworld" Space Shuttle & Boeing 747, Hasegawa Eggplane, no scale.
Out-of-the-box build but with a mixture of home-made and kit decals to an entirely fictious theme (at the time, anyway!).
They say never say never, but this is my last eggplane build. Time to stop laying and move onto some boring modelling. I thought I'd end with another dream, that one day British Airways will offer a flight in space, courtesy of some reconditioned NASA Space Shuttles converted to take some Executive Class passengers in the former cargo bay hold. To pay tribute to what many regard as Britain's greatest explorer, the shuttle is named "Capt. James Cook" and the 747 is "Bounty" (serial G-COOK). The old speedbird logo has been resurrected from the logo archives to celebrate this new service.
Vallejo paints, principally White and Intense Blue and a mixture of decals from the kit and made-up at home.
Roland D.VIb
Roland D.Vib, 7502/18 "P132", McCook Field, Dayton Ohio USA, May 1920. Fly Models, 1/48th scale.
An approximation of a Roland D.Vib that was shipped to America after the end of the First World War. It was used as a test bed for experimental camouflage schemes alongside the evaluation of its performance.
I happened to see this scheme on a model and thought I'd have a go at it. I also know some of the basic structure of the kit (e.g. ailerons / tailplane) are also incorrect for this version. It was yet another WW1 model where the instructions for the completion of the cockpit leave a lot to be desired. Outside of that, it went together fairly well, I used a mixture of paints for the scheme including Revell Aqua Hellblau, Aqua Schwarzgrun, Lifecolor Sand and a mix of Vallejo Intense Blue, Flat Red and White for the main scheme, together with Vallejo Chrome. Knit-in elastic was used for the rigging and I produced the decals on an inkjet printer. Vallejo's matt varnish was applied over Humbrol Clear for decals.
Sea Harrier FA.2
Sea Harrier FA.2, N94422 / XZ439, Art Nalls Aviation, 2017 Airshow season scheme. Airfix, 1/48th scale.
I decided to model the Sea Harrier flown by Art Nalls in the USA. At this time, it is the only civilian-owned Harrier that is currently flying. Art Nalls purchased the aircraft in 2006 and performed his first airshow with it in October 2008. Nine years and well over 200 display flights later they are still going strong. Using the Harrier SIG build guide for this kit, I made a number of modifications, most visibly replacing the heat shields. The MB seat has to be replaced, so I used a Stencel seat from and AV-8B together with an old Airfix pilot to represent Art at the controls. It does have some additional markings for Art and his sponsors, thus some home decal making. The paint is Xtracrylix Medium Sea Grey - notably darker than the Humbrol equivalent I used on my other FA2. A few other greys were used to simulate replacement panels and paint aging. Decals came from the Harrier SIG Sea Harrier End of an Era sheet for the RN elements. Vallejo matt varnish was applied to finish. I then added the various additional bumps and blades that now adorn the aircraft.
Rafale A
Dassault Rafale A - Technology Demonstrator, June 1989. Heller, 1/48th scale.
Rafale A, Technology Demonstrator, as seen at the Paris Airshow in June 1989. Rafale translates as "squall". The aircraft finished test flying in 1994 and now resides in the museum at Le Bourget. This aircraft used two General Electric F404-GE-400 engines whereas the production Rafales use home-grown SNECMA M88s. This is an OOB build, I tidied up the intake internals and added weights to the nose. The instructions are not very helpful when it comes to the undercarriage, you'll need some reference images to help. The biggest problem in the end were the decals - many started to break up as they were applied. The stripe that passes just above the canard is also a nightmare to sort out. The paint scheme is the in-house scheme of Dassault and the roundels/squadron badges reflect the intended use of the aircraft by the French Air Force and the French Navy. I sprayed the aircraft with Halfords White Primer and gave it a top coat of Humbrol Gloss White. The Magic missiles were painted with LifeColor FS36320, everything else was Vallejo acrylics, with the Mica missiles being a flat red/ white mix. Decals were from the kit, except for the addition of the tail markings.
Jaguar GR.1A
SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1A, XZ398/A, 41 Squadron, RAF. Squadron's 75th Anniversary Scheme (1916 - 1991). Revell, 1/48th scale.
Built from the kit parts and decals, substituting the kit ejection seat with a resin one from Omega and using the Xtradecal sheet X012-48 for the anniversary scheme markings. This was a build for the IPMS Special Schemes SIG for our SMW 2017 display. I decided to go with one from 41 Squadron to complement my 41(R) Squadron Harrier. This is not exactly a great kit and the decals aren't as accurate as they might be, but both are now showing their age. The kit instructions take some interpretation, particularly regarding the main undercarriage. I added some plasticard to the intake doors to more accurately represent the aircraft at dispersal. I used Humbrol's Dark Green rattle can and their Dark Sea Grey acrylic paint (brushed) for the main scheme colours. The red is Life Color's Flat Red. Undercarriage bays are painted with Xtracolor's Chromate Yellow and the undercarriage is Vallejo Model Color's USA Grey. I used the kit's decals for the stencils as they were better than the few that were included in the Xtradecal set. I used Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish.
Typhoon Mk.Ib
Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib, MN666 "Silver Bullet", Flight Leader School, RAF Milfield, late 1944. Airfix, 1/72nd scale.
A OOB build of the "bubble top" Typhoon using the kit parts and a combination of kit, home-made and spare decals. I came across the story of the "Silver Bullet" in the Airfix Typhoon supplement to their 1/24th scale kit. Apparently this is the only Typhoon to have flown in service in a bare metal finish. It did however retain a camouflaged rudder, which was presumably a replacement rather than the fact they had run out of paint stripper. And what a glorious model it is - it went together beautifully with the minimum of fuss and the only mistakes are mine alone. I used Vallejo Model Color Aluminium to represent the bare metal with some black undercoating in places and a mix with Vallejo Model Color Silver on some panels to give some very subtle shading effects - too subtle unless you know where to look. I used a coat of Klear for decal preparation but for some reason, and it happens occasionally, it pooled in a few places and left some tide marks. In the end I left these to represent a bit of weathering, else it looks fairly pristine.
Hurricane Mk.IIc
Hawker Hurricane Night Fighter Mk.IIc, QO.A / BN185, 3 Squadron, RAF Hunsdon, September 1942. Hasegawa, 1/72nd scale.
Another OOB build, I decided to do a Night Fighter scheme. I found an image and profile of a 3 Squadron aircraft and decided to go for this particular aircraft, BN185. There's some work to do to get the kit to fit together - the underside wing being particularly poor. A pilot was added from the spares box. In real life, the Day Fighter Scheme was over-painted with a matt black distemper called Special Night RDM2. Apparently this had poor adhesion qualities, so was sometimes touched up with Night, other times aircraft were left looking blotchy. I decided not to paint the Day Fighter scheme underneath and went for a Vallejo Model Air Black tinted with Vallejo Model Color Intense Blue to create the Special Night. Having read a bit more, the blue tint probably applies more to Night. Home made decals provided the serial number and squadron code and the roundels and fin flash were from spares. I sued some artists weathering powders to simulate a bit of wear and tear, finished off with Vallejo Matt Varnish.
Ansaldo SVA.5 (Late)
Ansaldo SVA.5 (Late), unknown serial, Training Squadron 2, Polish Air Force, late 1920s. Fly Models, 1/48th scale.
I was going to build this kit using one of the decal options in the box but I thought where's the fun in that. Turning to the wondrous web, I found Fly had done a kit with a Polish Air Force example. I managed to find one article in Aero Technika Lotnicza (6/1990) and one small photo, but no real details on which to base the build. It was built using the plastic and resin parts in the box. For the rigging I used knitting-in elastic instead of metal wire which I used on the Early version.
The green is a guess as no paint references are provided and the article simply says "khaki". I chose to combine Vallejo Model Color Intermediate Green with their Brown Violet to create a suitable looking green. Vallejo Aluminium was used for the metal cowling. Decals are from the spares box and are simply the national markings. I had to spray the markings with gloss as the first one I used split into multiple pieces.
The mixed orientation of the chequerboard is deliberate and is based on one surviving image found on the web.
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc, PZ865
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc, PZ865 / G-AMAU, Hawker P.1127 Conventional Flight Trials, early 1961. Hasegawa, 1/48th scale.
PZ865 was the very last Hurricane completed by Hawker in 1944. It was purchased back from the Air Ministry and christened "The Last of the Many". It was used by Hawker test pilots and then placed on the civil register as G-AMAU. During the 1950s it participated in a number of air displays, air races and starred in a number of films including Hawks in the Sun, Angels One Five and the Battle of Britain. Following a major overhaul and restoration in 1960 when it was restored to its original paint scheme, it was then used as a chase plane during the early transition trials of the Hawker P.1127 prototypes. Today it is now part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The model is an attempt to represent PZ865 as she was during the P.1127 flight trials. It's the standard Hasegawa Hurricane Mk.IIc kit with the "Last of the Many" decal options with the addition of some new exhausts. There were no major issues with the build and I used Humbrol Dark Green, Vallejo Model Air Ocean Grey, Medium Sea Grey and Pastel Green (representing "Sky") for the camouflage scheme. Decals were as provided in the kit. Vallejo Matt Varnish was used for the final finish.
Harrier AV-8B II FSD
Harrier AV-8B II FSD (Full Scale Development), 161397 / #2, McDonnell Douglas, early 1980s. Monogram, 1/48th scale.
AV-8B II Full Scale Development aircraft is seen here in the McDonnell Douglas company’s own scheme of red, white, black and gold. As you would expect from a development aircraft, several items were trialled, including the use of two rows of auxiliary intake doors and wings unadorned with vortex generators. This is the old Monogram kit and was built OOB, with the exception of some resin pylon fairings which were used in place of the outer pylons. For the scheme, I used spray can acrylic Humbrol White Gloss, Vallejo Model Color Black, LifeColor Red (FS31302) and Microscale Decals Trim Film Gold (FS17043) cut into strips for all the trim. I haven’t quite got the gold striping correct, but it’s close enough. It might even reflect some airframe differences between the real life and the kit – my excuse anyway. A few decals from the spares box and some home-made ones completed the scheme. The aircraft was finished with Klear to represent the gloss scheme that it wore. No weathering applied.
Sea Harrier FRS.1
Sea Harrier FRS.1, XZ452 / 101 VL, IFTU (700A NAS), October 1979. Kinetic Model Kits, 1/48th scale.
For my first build of a Kinetic Models Sea Harrier, I chose one of the first Sea Harriers delivered to the Royal Navy and which was assigned initially to the Intensive Flying Trials Unit, 700A NAS. XZ452 arrived at the unit on 12th October, 1979 and before the end of the same month was aboard HMS Hermes for trials work. After a category 3 accident in March 1980, the aircraft was repaired and then allocated to 899 NAS. On 1st May, 1982, XZ452 flown by Flt Lt P Barton shot down an Argentinian Mirage IIIEA but was later lost when it is thought it collided with XZ453 in bad weather on 6th May, 1982. The pilot, L/C J Eyton-Jones, was killed.
The model is painted in the Sea Harrier’s original Extra Dark Sea Grey and White scheme using Xtracrylix and Vallejo paints respectively and originally sprayed with Halfords white primer. Decals for theunit badge are from Model Alliance decal sheet (48-153) and the remainder from the Kinetic kit. Klear was used for the gloss finish.
Harrier GR.5
Harrier GR.5, ZD402, Rolls-Royce Pegasus 11-61 Flight Trials, August 1989. Hasegawa, 1/48th scale.
The Harrier GR.5, ZD402, which set new Federation Aeronautique Nationale VTOL Time-to-Height records for 3,000m, 6,000m, 9,000m and 12,000m on 14th August, 1989 when flown by test pilots Heinz Frick and Andy Sephton.
A pylon free Harrier was a novelty and required the use of the fairings from a T.10/T.12 conversion and a scratch built pair of fairings for the inner pylons. The “official colour” of the scheme is 75% Roundel Blue and 25% Black. My unofficial colour is a Vallejo paints mix of Dark Prussian Blue, Intense Blue and Black to get to what I hope is a close approximation. Vallejo white was used for the wing and tailplane tips. The aircraft’s scheme was only painted once, so replacement parts (rudder and auxiliary door) were sources from GR.5s and were thus NATO Green. The tail cone is also green as they were provided unpainted from the manufacturer. Decals were from Vingtor (sheet 48-122 Harrier Test & Demonstration Aircraft #4) and a Vallejo Matt Varnish was applied for the finish. It seemed appropriate to build the aircraft in-flight!
Harrier TAV-8s
Harrier TAV-8s, 01-808 / 8, Escadrilla 8, Spanish Navy Air Arm, Rota, 1995. Kinetic, 1/48th scale.
Kinetic kit of the first generation Harrier trainer. I was fortunate to get an early copy of the kit and with under two weeks before SMW in which to build and finish the kit for the Harrier SIG display. I decided to go for the scheme I've always wanted to do - the shark's mouth scheme of the TAV-8S with the Spanish Navy's air arm. The Harrier, or the Matador as she was officially known in the air arm, was nicknamed the shark because "the Pegasus engine ingests everything". The aircraft also carries the "25.000 horas" markings celebrating 25,000 flying hours of Escadrilla 8.All-in-all, the kit goes together very well, with only a few problem areas to address. I replaced the kit's Martin Baker seats with some Stencel seats from an AV-8B kit. Other than that, the parts are all from the kit. I even managed to add some of the photo-etch. For the main scheme I used Life Color FS36320 with some white added, and Vallejo Model Color White and Black. The decals are from the kit for stencils and markings, Aztec for the shark's mouth and home-made for the 25.000 hours markings. The finish is Vallejo's gloss varnish.
Harrier AV-8B II Plus
Harrier AV-8B II Plus - 165570 / WE09, VMA-214, OIF II, 2004 - Hasegawa, 1/48th scale.
A USMC Harrier in the shape of an AV-8B II Plus with VMA-214 “Black Sheep”. This particular jet was a participant in Operation Iraqi Freedom II when the unit’s Detachment A, assigned to the 11th MEU, was embarked aboard USS Belleau Wood with HMM-166 and later ashore at Al Asad between May and November 2004. The model is depicted with a typical stores load for the early days of the conflict, namely gun pods, Litening Pod, fuel tanks and a single 1,000lb GBU-16 LGB. Most jets had their gun pods removed after a short period to reduce weight as the guns were not being used. I left them on just for variation from strakes! The aircraft is in standard HTPS of FS36118, FS36231 and FS36320, for which I used Life Color acrylic paints. Decals are from Flying Leathernecks decal sheet FL48006 and the spares box. Some weathering was added using artist pastel powders and zip brushables. A coat of Vallejo's Matt Varnish was applied for the finish.
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.120
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.120 - 272 “Vlaggie”, South African Air Force. Kinetic Hawk 100 Series 1/32nd scale kit.
The South African Air Force (SAAF) painted two Hawks - 271 and 272 - of the 85th Combat Flying School (85 CFS) in the colours of the South African Flag in early 2008. The scheme is referred to in Afikaans as “Vlaggie” - the “flag”. There are certainly a few challenges in putting this kit together and sadly the Kinetic instructions are not the clearest. Some knowledge of the Hawk would be desirable as I found out when trying to determine what was applicable. I had to add the rear chaff and flare dispenser using plasticard and a couple of rocket project heads from a 1/72nd scale WW2 kit. I used the following Vallejo Model Colour paints: Scarlet, Park Green Flat, Intense Blue, Black and White. I used Humbrol Trainer Yellow for the final colour, sprayed from a can. Xtracrylix Light Aircraft Grey was used for the undercarriage together with a range of Vallejo and Life Color paints for the greys, metals, etc. Finished with Klear prior to decal application. For the decals, I made my own SAAF insignia, badges, mark designation and serial numbers, the rest of the decals were from the kit, though only a limited number were applicable.
Dassault Rafale B
Dassault Rafale B, 118-HT, #323, ECE 1/30 Côte d'Argent, Mont de Marsan, l'Armée de l'air. Revell, 1/48th scale.
The Rafale has certainly got some great special schemes. I chose the two-seater B version using the original release of the Revell kit. It's not strictly correct for the scheme which was applied to the aircraft for the NATO Tiger Meet in 2013. There are no major difficulties with the build, but you do have to sort out the see-through to the rear via the intakes - I simply painted the insides of the aircraft black - and the intakes needs some work to clean up. Aside from some fiddling with the undercarriage struts to get them aligned. For once the canopy is a reasonable fit. The scheme was somewhat more challenging. It was decided to do the scheme in decals. I damaged parts of them slightly when putting them on so had to mix up some paint to blend them in. The remainder of the aircraft is brush painted - I chose to use Life Color FS36270 for the main scheme. I used FS36320 in the undercarriage bays and the remainder of the aircraft was painted in Vallejo acrylics. Some kit and Syhart decals were used for the non-scheme items and Vallejo Matt Varnish applied to finish.
Saab Gripen
Saab Gripen JAS39C, 39238, 211 Taktická Letka, Czech Air Force. Italeri, 1/48th scale.
211 Squadron is the sole operator of the Saab Gripen in the Czech Air Force. The squadron has produced a number of schemes for the Tiger Meet and (3)9238 was painted with the "Picasso" tiger tail for the 2013 Tiger Meet in Orland Norway. The Italeri kit builds into the JAS39A Gripen and not the C. I wanted to do a special scheme and they're quite limited for the A version. The kit is definitely showing its age and many modellers will probably want to invest in some resin and photo-etch to bring it up to modern standards. On the whole, the kit goes together reasonably well, but you do have to do some work to blend intakes and fill gaps, etc. The scheme is fairly simple, I went with some Lifecolor paints - UA046 FS36173 Neutral Grey (modified with Vallejo Silver Grey to lighten) for the upper surface colour and UA036 FS36373 (Grey Reflectance) for the lower surface colour. Undercarriage bays were painted with Vallejo Silver Grey and the undercarriage with Vallejo White and left glossy. Decals were home-made, having been scanned and modified from various web photographs, with only a few stencils being used from the kit. The model was finished with Vallejo Matt Varnish.
Harrier GR.7
Harrier GR.7, ZG475 / U, Air Warfare Centre (AWC), RAF, circa May 1995. Hasegawa, 1/48th scale.
To the UK for a jet flown by the Air Warfare Centre whose main activity is the test and evaluation of aircraft and weapon systems. It was formed in 1993 and operated a number of Harriers of which ZG475 / U was one. This particular aircraft is assumed to be in an experimental scheme as it has FA.2 style roundels, fin flashes and warning markings which are unique to this GR.7 I think. Aside from an unusually bulged canopy which took some effort to get back into shape, it's a standard Hasegawa Harrier build. Taking advantage of the fact there's no definitive description of the colour scheme, I experimented with using Vallejo Medium Sea Grey (71.307) for the main scheme. Despite its fresh coat of paint, the back-end got very sooty based on the photographs I've seen, so I used some Tamiya weathering powders to achieve a similar result. Decals were a mixture of home-made, kit and after-marked ones from the FA2. Vallejo matt varnish was used to finish. The canopy MDC was a vinyl mask this time and not a decal. A little bit more challenging to apply, but it has the advantage that if you get it wrong, you can cut another one!
Harrier T.12
Harrier T.12, ZH661 / 109, 20(R) Squadron, RAF, circa 2008. Hasegawa 1/48th scale with T-bird conversion set via Harrier SIG.
The RAF, operated a number of T.10s, some later upgraded to T.12s. It was converted to a T.12. A foray into second generation two-seater Harriers, courtesy of the resin set mastered by the leader of the IPMS(UK) Harrier SIG. Aside from the resin, there's a vacform canopy to cut and fit. Everything you need to do the conversion is in the set if you have a donor Hasegawa / Revell GR7/9 kit. The parts were well cast and generally caused few problems. For the MDCs, I had a template from which I was able to cut some white vinyl using a Silhouette Portrait Cutter. With some alignment marking and patience, I was able to apply the masks to the inside of the canopy. I used vinyl strips for the MDC that runs around the outside of the canopy. Masking was also used for the internal windscreen which I then painted, the vinyl holding the paint surprisingly well. This time I used Xtracrylix Dark Sea Grey and Dark Camouflage Grey for the main scheme and their Medium Sea Grey for the obvious replacement parts acquired from other aircraft or spare stock. Decals were from the kit, home-made and spares as required. Vallejo matt varnish was applied over some Tamiya Weathering that was sealed with Humbrol Matt Varnish from a rattle can.
Harrier T.10
Harrier T.10, ZH656 / 104, 3(F) Squadron, RAF, circa 1996. Hasegawa 1/48th scale with T-bird conversion set via Harrier SIG.
3(F) operated the Harrier from 1972 to 2006. The two-seater T.10 arrived in 1995 and continued until 2006. Photographs of 3(F) T.10s in the NATO Green / Lichen Green camouflage scheme are very rare and the only reference one I could find was for ZH656. As I wanted to do this scheme and this squadron, I had to make do. This kit was built at the same time as the T.12, so suffered all the same problems with the canopy I documented previously. Other than that, it was all relatively simple. Decals are once again a mixture of home-made, kit and after-market. For the scheme, I used Precision Paint's NATO Green and Humbrol #102 Army Green. I've used the latter before in place of the Xtracolor Lichen Green as they are pretty similar and I prefer to use acrylics where I can, although Precision Paint's enamels behave very similar to acrylics. Weathering and varnishing as per the T.12. I used Lifecolor UA036 (FS36373) Grey Reflectance over the base colours on the fuel tanks to represent ARTF which was applied to the jets during Operation Warden. I then scraped some off to give them a weathered look.
Sea Harrier FA.2
Sea Harrier FA.2
Sea Harrier FA.2, ZE695 / 711, 899 NAS OEU, RN, July 1993. Kinetic 1/48th scale.
ZE695 first flew as a FRS.1 on 12th January 1988 and ended flying as an FRS.1 on 27th June 1991 after 20 flights. Conversion to a FA.2 (FRS.2 officially at the time) followed and ZE695 flew again in this configuration on 2nd April 1993. In June 1993 the aircraft was allocated to 899 NAS OEU which was based at Boscombe Down at the time. My first build of the Kinetic version of the FA.2, all previous builds having been of the Airfix kit for this variant. There's a few things that require altering, but overall it's a more pleasant build experience than the Airfix kit and shows clearly the age gap between their production. I chose ZE695 because I wanted a representative of the 899 NAS OEU and also wanted a FA.2 in something other than Medium Sea Grey, in this case the trials scheme of Dark Sea Grey. I chose Xtracrylix Dark Sea Grey for the main scheme and used a Xtracrylix and Vallejo paints for other items. The decals are from the kit, the spares box and home-made where necessary. A dab of weathering and Vallejo Matt Varnish complete the finish to Harrier build number 36.
Harrier T.60
Harrier T.60, IN654 / 54. Indian Navy. Kinetic 1/48th scale.
Harrier IN654 was the last of four T.60s delivered to the Indian Navy on 14 January 1992. It was operated by 300 Squadron, 551B, later 552 Squadron under the guise of SHOFTU (Sea Harrier Operational Flying Training Unit). The Indian Navy purchased 6 two-seaters in total, the last two being ex RAF/RN aircraft subsequently converted to T.60 standard after delivery. This is my second build of the Kinetic two-seater. There's no major issues with the kit, but be sure to do your research beforehand to know what combination of noses, tails, aerials, etc., you need to fit. As an example, the Indian Navy used Sea Harrier pylons on their trainers and so for this example the kit ones do not need to be modified. I chose one of the later delivered T.60s as they were painted in the revised camouflage scheme of Dark Sea Grey topsides and Light Aircraft Grey undersides. Reference photos are rare and some poetic licence is probably in effect. Xtracrylix paint was used for the scheme together with Vallejo acrylics for the other items. I used Tamiya Weathering powders and decals are from the kit, spares box and some home-made. Vallejo matt varnish was used to finish.
Rafale B
Dassault Rafale B, Revell, 1/48th scale.
Dassault Rafale B, 113-HU, #322, Escadrille SPA 79 (Tête de loup), Escadron de chasse 1/4 Gascogne, Saint-Dizier, l'Armée de l'air.
As the kit contained 6 GBU-12s, I plumped for an aircraft that participated in Operation Serval in 2013 and thus carried these as live ordnance. I selected B322 based on photographs of it with this configuration and some interesting hydraulic leak markings on the upper fuselage. Note the carriage of 6,000 litres of fuel in the non-supersonic configuration drop tanks. To complete the kit, I acquired a Damocles targeting pod from L'Arsenal in France and added a third drop tank from another Rafale kit. As with the previous kit, I blanked off the intakes with plasticard. Once I switched from doing the special scheme, progress was reasonably quick as it is a one colour paint scheme (I used Life Color FS36270). Vallejo paints completed the other colours, except for the Damocles pod and Paveway bombs which used Xtracrylix FS37375. Decals were from the kit and the Syhart Rafale standard markings sheet (48915). Vallejo Matt varnish was applied to finish and weathering was done with Zig Brushable pens applied on the matt varnish.
CF-188A Hornet
CF-188A Hornet, 188734 / 734, 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, 2017. Kinetic /148 scale.
This is the RCAF 2017 Demonstration CF-188A Hornet in the scheme which celebrates Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation. I used the Kinetic kit and decals, the only addition being a L'Arsenal Rafale pilot. Construction is relatively straightforward, the main effort being in the masking, painting and decaling. Laying the decals down proved that using paper cut-outs of the decals means you don't get a perfect view of how they will sit on the various curves, etc. (Do not use the masks provided in the instructions as they look under-sized but photocopy the decal sheet instead.) As a result, I had to touch in with grey, white or red as required. Aligning the maple leaf on the upper fuselage with the flaps and slats requires some planning and care. I used Xtracrylix FS36375 for the lower Light Compass Grey, Vallejo White and Vallejo Scarlet (70.817) for the upper surfaces. Vallejo acrylics were used for the other items. Johnson's Pledge multi-surface polish provided the basis for the kit decals. The scheme white and red were finished with Vallejo Gloss Varnish and the grey with Vallejo Matt Varnish. For the door edging I used a permanent ink marker pen which ended up a little more orange than that which is seen on the real life jet.
Hawk Mk.128
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.128 (T.2 Prototype) - ZK010, Warton, 2008. Airfix, 1/72nd scale.
The Hawk Mk.128 was the company designation for what the RAF refer to as the Hawk T.2. ZK010, one of two prototype/development aircraft for the variant, The Hawk 100 series retains the look of the original Hawk series, but has been brought up-to-date in terms of systems and avionics, a revised wing and an up-rated engine are among the changes. Sold as a Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT). It is not the best kit ever produced by Airfix in terms of moulding and decal quality. However, it was a simple and quick build and the chosen RAF trainer scheme is easy to paint. The decals were okay, but most of the stencils I thought were over-sized. I used Vallejo black acrylic paint and a few coats of Klear to finish. The cloud is polyester stuffing!
Harrier TAV-8B
Harrier TAV-8B, MM55033 / 1-02, GRUPAER, Marina Militare Italiana, 2010. Hasegawa kit + resin conversion, 1/48 scale.
The Italian Navy operate two two-seater Harrier TAV-8B. This aircraft, MM55033 / 1-02, made an appearance at RIAT in 2007. From a modellers' perspective it should be noticed that only the middle wing pylons are fitted and strakes are always mounted on the two-seaters by the Italian Navy. Fuel tanks are the typical day-to-day fit on the pylons. I used an AV-8B NA kit as the basis for the build, adding a resin AV-8B nose, a 65% kit LERX (all the trainers have this fit) and two pilots to the T10/T12 resin conversion produced by Nick Greenall of the Harrier SIG. Two kit-included Stencel ejection seats were swapped for the Martin Baker Mk.12s in the conversion. I made up some pylon fairings using plasticard to complement those available in the conversion. The MDCs are home-cut vinyl masks. For the painting I used Lifecolor FS36231 and FS36320 paints for the standard Dark Ghost Grey over Dark Compass Grey scheme, supplemented by Vallejo acrylics for other parts. Decals were a mixture of Tauro, Model Friends, kit and home-made. Weathering, such as it is, is a mixture of artist pastel chalks, Zig brushables and Tamiya powders.
Harrier T-8
Harrier T.8 - ZB603 / T03, SFDO, Royal Navy, 2016. Kinetic 1/48th scale.
The Harrier T.8 was the last of the two-seater trainers for the first generation Harrier and used specifically for the training of Sea Harrier FA.2 pilots. All 7 aircraft in the series were conversions from the T4 / T4N variant. ZB603 was the last of the T.8 conversions (January 2000). Later she was transferred to the SFDO - the Royal Navy's School of Flight Deck Operations based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall - to be used for ground handling instruction of flight deck personnel. It was there that I had the opportunity to sit in the rear cockpit of this aircraft and be towed from the dummy deck to the hangar. I can now say I've sat in a moving Harrier! I dated the model as 2016 because I added the pitot tube to the nose as per normal. The model is the Kinetic version with the addition of a few home made decals for the SFDO markings. It is brush painted with Vallejo black acrylic for the main scheme. Fairly simple, but the major issue was with the gloss finish. I originally used Vallejo's gloss polyurethane varnish but found it hard to avoid brush marks. It also remained tacky to touch even after being left 3-4 days to dry. After a week I tried a coat of their normal gloss varnish. Very little weathering was applied because the black paint tends not to show it and the jet is maintained in very good condition, as befits a working but non-flying aircraft.
Hawk Mk 127
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.127, A27-16, 76 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, New South Wales, February 2003. Airfix 1/48th scale.
The Hawk 100 series was the next step in the evolution of the original Hawk. The scheme on this jet was applied in 2003 to enhance the visibility of the aircraft at airshows and demonstrations. Airfix appear to have taken their original T.1 and modified it to the Hawk 100 standard without really adding very much. This is basically an OOB build, with more taken away than added. The decals for the scheme are included in the kit and actually go on quite well, even though they are not of the highest standard. I used brush-painted Hataka Blue Line acrylics for the two-tone grey scheme: FS26375 base with FS36237 patches. Vallejo Black was used on the spine and tail and Hataka Light Aircraft Grey for the undercarriage and bays. Pledge multi-surface polish was used for the decals. No weathering or other varnish was applied, leaving the Pledge to show a slightly glossy finish. Aside from the usual jet aircraft problem areas - intakes - there were no major hassles in the build, but it is pleasing to the eye and adds another special scheme aircraft to the collection.
JAS-39A Gripen
Saab JAS-39A Gripen, 39-2, 1994. Italeri 1/48th scale.
The Swedish Government gave the go-ahead for the Saab Gripen in June 1982 and the first of 5 prototypes flew on 9th December 1988. Prototype 39-2 (code 52), took off for the first time on 4th May 1990. The aircraft was initially used for testing. The aircraft displayed at Farnborough 1992. It was later painted black - 1994? - and then black and white when it undertook spin tests and high alpha tests. This new paint scheme gave better contrast on films and photos. I was not able to find many photos, so artistic licence has been employed in the build. This is the Italeri kit which has not been modified from its "A" representation - I couldn't be bothered to research the differences to please the rivet counters. I added some AIM-9s and AIM-120s and their launchers from the spares box, else it is straight from the box contents. This configuration was based on the few photos I did find in its all-black scheme. No additional decals were required. It is brush-painted using Vallejo Air Black for the scheme and various other acrylics for the usual equipment as in my previous Gripen build. The AIM-9 blue is a mix. I used Johnson's Multi-Surface Polish ("Klear") and Vallejo Matt Varnish for the finish. No weathering has been applied.
Harrier T4N
Harrier T4N - XZ445 / 721, 899 NAS, 1995. Kinetic 1/48th scale.
XZ445 was originally built as a Harrier T.4A for the RAF and first flew in March 1979. It was transferred to the Royal Navy on December 1986. It was then given the designation T.4A(N) and transferred to 899 NAS in July 1987.
It's a OOB build from the Kinetic kit, albeit with an interesting paint scheme. This is a result of a wing swap from a GR.3 which had clearly not had time for a visit to the paint shop. It's also unusual in that it is a Medium Sea Grey and not Dark Sea Grey which was typical for the Royal Navy's T.4N fleet. I used slightly whitened acrylic Hataka Blue Line Medium Sea Grey for the main scheme, with some Vallejo Medium Sea Grey for some replacement items visible in photographs. Xtracolor zinc chromate colour was applied to the outriggers and outer wing fences to simulate the unpainted replacements. The canopy MDCs were enhanced with vinyl-based MDCs and strip produced with a Silhouette Portrait cutter. The 899 NAS "winged fist" emblem was from an old Airfix Sea Harrier kit, otherwise decals are from the kit. I added a couple of resin CBLS-100s to add a bit of interest. A Vallejo Matt Varnish was applied to finish.
F-16C Eggplane
Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 50, 98-004, 85th TES, USAF, 2019. Hasegawa Eggplane.
The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron is part of the 53d Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Its mission is to "improve future AF combat capability". This is another scrambled eggplane. It is in fact the Mitsubishi F-2 kit masquerading, not necessarily very accurately, as a F-16 Block 50 - . In a recent acquisition of Hataka paints I got some of the new "Have Glass Grey" paint (FS36170). Having seen a few photos of the "Dark Viper" scheme F-16s and having the very similar but not quite the same F-2 kit, I thought I'd marry the two together to create another lash-up. F-16 and F-2 experts will already have noted the obvious use of the F-2 canopy on the model. The kit is built from the F-2's parts, but I had to use a mix of F-16 Aggressor decals from TwoBobs and some home-made decals for the tail to achieve something close to the chosen aircraft. Close, but definitely no cigar. Aside from the Have Glass Grey, I used Vallejo white and tyre black and more Hataka paints on the pilot. I left it in a slightly glossy "Klear" finish to highlight the new paint.
Harrier T.4
Harrier T.4(I), IN656 / 56. Indian Navy. Kinetic 1/48th scale.
Harrier IN656 was the last of Harrier to be delivered to the Indian Navy alongside IN655/55. Both aircraft were ex-RAF T.4 aircraft. They were then refurbished, upgraded and converted by British Aerospace over the next six years before their delivery in 2002. I think these two, together with IN654, made it through to the end of Harrier flying in the Indian Navy in 2016. It has the GR3-style nose and all the auxiliary doors closed. For a change I decided to go with a wheels-up version, not having tried this yet with a Kinetic Harrier. There were no major traumas, but you do have to use a bit of filler here and there around the gear doors as there are a few gaps. Although not viewable in the photo, this is the same scheme as my previous T.60, namely Dark Sea Grey over Light Sea Grey. This time I used Hataka Blue Line paints and very nice to work with they are too. Decals are a mixture of kit and after-market and the MDCs are vinyl. Some grime was added using Tamiya weathering powders and Vallejo Matt Varnish completed the finish.
Leonardo M-346A
Leonardo M-346A Master, 150 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force, BA 120, Cazaux, France, 2018. Kinetic 1/48th scale.
The Leonardo (formerly Alenia Aermacchi) M-346A Master originates from the partnership with Yakovlev to develop an advanced/lead-in fighter trainer for modern fourth and fifth generation aircraft. In 2018 Kinetic Model launched a new "Gold Standard" series and the M-346 was the first in the series. The instructions need some improvement, but then that's why you dry fit, check placement and use reference images! The decals are very nice indeed, as you would expect from previous offerings. Yahu have a cockpit set for the M-346 and although I don't normally indulge, I thought I'd give it a go. Looking at reference photos, it's not clear which variant the set was aimed at, but nevertheless it does bring the cockpit to life a bit more than my manual painting might otherwise do. The RSAF are alone in using a 3-colour scheme for their Masters and I chose to use Hataka Blue Line paints for the job, namely FS36118, FS36270 and FS36375 as specified. The Hataka paints were very easy to work with and I'd highly recommend them. The tail was painted with Vallejo white and over-laid with a home-made decal of the special scheme.
Harrier II AV-8B Plus
Harrier II AV-8B Plus, 164129 / 88, VX-31 "Dust Devils", NAWCWD, October 2018. Hasegawa 1/48 scale.
The subject of this build was the first version of the Harrier II AV-8B Plus variant produced by McDonnell Douglas. Its first flight was in September 1992 and the aircraft appears to have spent most of its flying career with VX-31, the "Dust Devils". In September 2011, the jet made its first flight with a 50:50 mix of JP8 fuel and bio-fuel. As it is a test aircraft, it does appear to have a number of lumps and bumps not normally found on the variant. Likewise, the fuel tank I think has been converted to a camera pod, hence the strange colour and the odds bumps down the side. Normally I'd open the nose-wheel bay door, but as a couple of images showed them closed on this jet I went with this. For the scheme, I used Vallejo FS36118 and Hataka FS36231 and FS36320 acrylics. Recent images of the jet flying through "Star Wars Canyon" shows the the jet is heavily weathered and therefore I got to work with the Tamiya powders, artist pastel chalks and Zig Brushable pens. I had to make-up a few decals and obtained the remainder from the kit and the spares box. For the first time I used Winsor & Newton Galleria matt varnish to provide finish and I was suitably impressed.
Red Arrows Hawk
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk T.1A, XX322, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, 2014. Revell, 1/32 scale.
I decided to do it in the 2014 50th Anniversary Year scheme, decals for which are available in other scale kits, I therefore had to make up the tail decals from images and profiles. I posed it in-flight and acquired some RAF pilots from PJ Productions. I added a back-seater represented the flight engineers. The canopy MDCs are vinyl masks I created. I used masks to allow painting of the white stripes as the decals are a little transparent. I should have masked the text and roundels but decided to go with the decals. I used Hataka Signal Red and Vallejo White acrylics for the main scheme. I used Humbrol spray gloss varnish for the finish.
Harrier II AV-8B
Harrier II AV-8B - 163664 / WL06, VMA-311 "Tomcats", USMC. Hasegawa 1/48 scale.
The air war of Desert Storm began on the night of 16/17th January 1991 and the Harriers of VMA-311 "Tomcats" were the first in action with an attack on an Iraqi artillery battery targeting Khafji. Four Harriers, each carrying 4 Mk.83 bombs and fully loaded 25mm cannon pods were assigned to the target. one of the Harriers, 163664 / WL06 was flown by Major Cary Branch and is the subject of this build. In all, the "Tomcats" flew 1,017 sorties totalling 1,200 combat hours during the operation. General Norman Schwarzkopf Commander-in-Chief, US Central Command, regarded the Harrier as one of the most important weapons of the war. A basic kit contents build, with the addition of 4 Mk.83 bombs from the Hasegawa Weapins Set A and a mix of kit, home-made and Superscale decals. Brush painted with acrylics. I used a mixture of Life Color FS16099 + FS36173 to provide the "dark grey" and Hataka FS36320 for the "light grey" applied in the standard dark grey / dark green camouflage pattern. The colours were "mixed in theatre" and thus you have a bit of leeway as to what you use. I used vinyl for the MDC. a touch of weathering here and there with the usual materials and a coat of Winsor & Newton matt varnish to finish.
Dassault Rafale M
Dassault Rafale M, #5, Flotille 12F, BAN Landivisiau, l'Aéronavale, 2018. Revell, 1/48th scale.
The Rafale M is operated by 3 squadrons (Flotilles) in the French Navy: 11F; 12F; and 17F. Thus in 2018, 12F celebrated 70 years of service and Rafale M, serial number 5, was given a special tail scheme for the occasion. The five aircraft represented on the tail are: Dassault Rafale M; Vought F-8 Crusader; Supermarine Seafire Mk.III; Grumman F-6F Hellcat; and Chance-Vought F4U-7 Corsair. I used the original boxing of the Rafale M. It was therefore a straight-forward build with just the usual problems to contend with for the kit (intakes fit and wing fit). I went with the recommended paint scheme colour of FS36231 and used the Hataka Blue Line version of the colour. Various other Hataka and Vallejo acrylics were used for the other colours. I was going to create the tail art myself but in the end I managed to enlist the help of Tranquil (Mark) on the Military AI Works forum who very kindly did all the hard work for me, I just had to provide the sizing and tail template. The decals were then printed on an inkjet. The remainder of the decals were from the later boxing of the Revell kit (04517) as the original kit decals were not appropriate. I used Tamiya powders and artist's pastels in Decalfix for the weathering and then a matt varnish to finish.
Harrier II AV-8B NA
Harrier II AV-8B NA
The United States Naval Air Test Center (US NATC) based at Pax River, Natuxent, has responsibility for the testing of all aircraft types destined for operations in the US Navy. Harrier II AV-8B NA 163871, the subject of this build, was the 10th production aircraft of the Night Attack variant and was based at the NATC in the early 1990s, and possibly earlier. The aircraft today (2020) flies with VX-31 "Dust Devils" and therefore continues in its testing role. The model has the overall dark green / dark grey camouflage scheme applied to the USMC Harriers in the mid-to-late 1980s and is based on a couple of photos which show the aircraft in 1990. It is fitted with the UK variant's outrigger missile pylons, blanked off chaff / flare dispensers. At the time it also lacked the usual in-flight refuelling probe. I used Life Color paints for the main scheme and a mixture of Vallejo and Hataka acrylics for the other items. Decals were a mixture of after-market, kit and home-made. Weathering powders were used to add a touch of the usual lived-in look that Harriers are famous for. I reverted to Vallejo matt varnish for the finish. Not much else to say really, other than that was Harrier build number 44.
Spitfire Vb
Superrmarine Spitfire Vb, ZX-L / AB324, 145 Squadron RAF, North Africa, June 1942. Airfix 1/48 scale.
On the 8th June, 1942, Sgt Horace James (AB324 / ZX-L) and Flt Lt Joseph Sabourin (AB321 / ZX-N) of 145 Squadron, RAF, attacked and destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf109 15 miles southwest of Tobruk, thus registering the first kill for the Spitfire in North Africa. Each was credited with a half-share for the kill. On 1st June, the pair had jointly damaged a Junkers Ju88 on a reconnaissance mission, the first recorded combat of the Spitfire over the desert. Sgt James was killed in action a month later on 5th July 1942 and Flt Lt Sabourin was killed in action on 16th September 1942. Both are buried in the war cemetery at El Alamein. This is an OOB build of the Airfix Spitfire Vb kit. Whilst it's hard to dislike any Spitfire, I'm not a great fan of this kit, in particular the plastic and the fit of some parts is not particularly good. I couldn't find any commonality in the various "Azure Blues" on offer, so I decided to mix my own. using some Vallejo colours. Hataka's Dark Earth and Mid Stone were used for the upper camouflage colours. I used the decals from the kit, just having to add the serial numbers. I doubt it's historically accurate, but there's only one reference photo (which is more than you get with most Spitfires I agree). Finished off with a coat of Vallejo matt varnish and some light weathering with artist powders.
Yak-38 Forger
Yakovlev Yak-38 "Forger", #25, 299th-IRSSAR, Afghanistan, 1980. Hobby Boss, 1/48th scale.
This model is based on one included in the Begemot decal sheet (48-025) for the Yak-38 although I used the kit decals. Yak-38, factory number 0409, belonged to the 299th-IRSSAR. It was one of four Yak-38s deployed to Shindand airfield in Afghanistan in May 1980 to test the aircraft in combat conditions. In total they flew 107 combat missions on "Operation Romb" before their return to Novofedorovka. The Hobby Boss kit generally goes together fairly well. The instructions could be better, both for the build and the painting. I've no idea how accurate the kit is and didn't particularly care. The model's scheme came from the Begemot decal sheet and I found one single reference photo. I don't think any others received this particular hybrid scheme and presumably it was all part of the test - which scheme worked best. It was never used again, not that this might mean much. I used Akah Green (73007) and Life Color "Neutral Grey" UA046 for the main scheme. A mixture of Vallejo and Hataka acrylics were used for the other colours. The weathering used was artist pastel powders in Decalfix. I can't say I'd rush to build one again, but it is nice to have an example of the "Russian Harrier" ,as it was called, alongside the real deal.
Lancaster B1
Lancaster B.I, NG414 / ZN-K, 106 Squadron, RAF, 1945. Revell 1/72nd scale.
This is my interpretation of NG414 / ZN-K of 106 Squadron, RAF on 16 April 1945. Based at Metheringham in Lincolnshire, this aircraft was the last aircraft "lost" on operations by 106 Squadron in World War 2. As NG414 trundled down the runway for take-off, fully loaded with a 4000lb "Cookie" and 15 500lb bombs, it careered off the runway, collapsing its undercarriage after striking the FIDO installation. The 7 crew vacated the aircraft unhurt and left the burning aircraft. The bombs were disarmed the following morning and the crew given one week's sick leave. On the 25th April, the squadron flew its last operation and was subsequently reassigned to Tiger Force Operations. This is an out-of-the box build of the Revell kit. It generally goes together well with only a few minor niggles. I can't speak for its accuracy, but most comments are around the outer wing dihedral which doesn't concern me. Brush painted with a mix of Vallejo and Hataka acrylics and finished with matt Vallejo varnish. Decals from the box, except for aircraft serial number and squadron codes. Weathering was done with artist pastels and Tamiya powders.
CF-104 Checkerbird
CF-104 Starfighter, 104880 "Checkerbird", 441 Squadron, CAF, 1983. Kinetic 1/48 scale F-104G kit.
The model is a representation of the "Checkerbird" from 441 Silver Fox Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Canadian Air Force. 104880 was 441's specially painted aircraft for the 30th anniversary of CFB Baden-Sollingen, Germany as a Canadian base. I've never built a F-104 and the Kinetic Gold Standard kit was the opportunity to rectify that. Trouble is, I wanted a special scheme and really liked the "Checkerbird", but Kinetic have yet to release the CF-104. No worries, the G is close enough for me! Aside from a couple of very minor issues, the kit was a real pleasure to build. After a coat of black primer I brush painted it using Vallejo Model Air Black and Vallejo Silver for the undercarriage bays and gear. The decals are from Leading Edge Models (#48.11) and includes the resin parts required to adapt the F-104G to the CF-104. I applied the decals to an all-black base and aside from some alignment issues (the decals are for the Hasegawa kit) I had no problems with them. They stood up to some rough handling - the entire check pattern is only 3 decals for each side - and settled easily with Revell's Decal Sol. Highly recommended if you want to do this scheme. I left with it with a Klear gloss finish, except for the radome which is matt. A fantastic kit to put together and I'd have no hesitation in recommending it. The kit certainly lives up to Kinetic's Gold Standard.
Bae Hawk G-Hawk
BAe Hawk Mk.50 Demonstrator, G-HAWK / ZA101, 1979. Airfix 1/48 scale.
The kit is the ancient, but often re-boxed, Airfix kit. It's nowhere near their current standards, which is a shame as the Hawk was and is a successful trainer aircraft that deserves better. It is also, I think, a good looking aircraft and has some great special schemes that can be applied. I suppose Airfix can keep churning out the old mould as the Red Arrows scheme will make people very forgiving of the kit's numerous shortcomings. Anyway, enough of the gripes, on with the show. I chose to do G-HAWK for obvious reasons and settled on its North Africa / Middle East scheme which was applied in the late 70s as part of the sales campaign to the Middle East. I decided not to add any after-market resin to improve the kit and built it as is, with the exception of adding some Matra rocket pods from another old kit. I home-produced the G-HAWK specific decals. Its brush painted with Hataka Dark Earth and Mid Stone and a mix of Vallejo white and blues for the underside colour. Hataka Light Aircraft Grey was used for the undercarriage and bays. Vallejo matt varnish completed the finish. It looks like a Hawk and ultimately that was the point, but I hope not to have to build another Airfix one again.
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1
Hurricane Mk.1, L1965 / SW.R of 253 (Hyderabad) Squadron RAF, August 1940. Airfix 1/48th scale. This is the first aircraft of my commemorative tribute to two of the five former pupils of Emanuel School who flew in the Battle of Britain and who had very contrasting fortunes. Colin Dunstan Francis from Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey. On the 30th August, he was posted as 'missing' on his first combat sortie and only his 22nd flight in a Hurricane. He had taken off in a section of three aircraft, led by Tom Gleave, the Squadron Commander, to join the rest of the squadron in attacking a force of over 50 bombers and escorting fighters. Gleave, who survived the battle, stated "after Brown was shot down, Colin and I went in by ourselves. We went right into the middle of them and I never saw him again. Francis was only 19 years old. His aircraft, Hurricane Mk. I, Serial No. L1965, together with his remains were unearthed in August 1981 from Percival's Farm, Wrotham in Kent. L1965 was a re-winged Hurricane, having originally been built with fabric wings. Not much else is known and the model's details are largely guesswork. I've not been able to obtain any photos of 253 Squadron Hurricanes during the summer of 1940. Aside from home-made and 3rd party decals, the kit is from the box contents and is brush painted with acrylics. I used Hataka Dark Green and Vallejo English Uniform for the upper surface colours and a mix of Vallejo Pastel Green, White and Silver Grey to represent "Sky". Winsor & Newton matt varnish completes the finish together with some weathering with pastel chalks. Aside from a few ill-fitting parts, the build was relatively painless.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a
Spitfire Mk.1a, R6979 / PR.A of 609 (West Riding) Squadron RAF, August 1940. Airfix 1/48th scale. This is the second aircraft of my commemorative tribute to two of the five former pupils of Emanuel School who flew in the Battle of Britain and who had very contrasting fortunes. Horace Stanley "George" Darley from Wandsworth, London. He was to then Command 609 Squadron on 28 June 1940 where he remained throughout the Battle of Britain. During his command, the squadron claimed 85 enemy aircraft shot down for the loss of 7 pilots. Darley personally was credited with 3.5 kills and 3 probables. On 22 October 1940 he was awarded the DSO. During his 27 year service career he flew 65 different aircraft types, commanded 11 RAF Stations and retired at the rank of Group Captain. He spent another 14 years as a "Whitehall Warrior" in the Intelligence Services and died in November 1999. R6979 first flew on 22 July 1940 and was eventually struck off charge on 6 March 1945. George is recorded as flying the aircraft 44 times out of a total of his 89 flights whilst with 609. As with the Hurricane, there are no published images and thus I've interpreted some details. Aside from home-made and 3rd party decals, the kit is from the box contents and is brush painted with acrylics. I used Hataka Dark Green and Vallejo English Uniform for the upper surface colours and a mix of Vallejo Pastel Green, White and Silver Grey to represent "Sky". Winsor & Newton matt varnish completes the finish together with some weathering with pastel chalks. There's a few issues you need to overcome in construction, but overall it's a simple build.
F-5E ROCAF
Northrop F-5E Tiger II, 5291 / 00312, 7th FTW, ROCAF, 2018. Freedom Models Compact Series
In 2018, the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) held an open house at Taitung Air Base, home of the 7th Fighter Training Wing (FTW). F-5E 5291 was painted in a tiger scheme along with two F-5Fs. This model is one of a series in Freedom Models' Compact Series and is pretty much a snap-together type aimed at young modellers or young-at-heart ones. The aircraft is brush painted using Hataka Blue Line FS36375 and the darker tiger stripes are decals. Various other acrylics were used to complete the model.
F-5F ROCAF
Northrop F-5EFTiger II, 5395 / 830121, 7th FTW, ROCAF, 2018. Freedom Models Compact Series
In 2018, the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) held an open house at Taitung Air Base, home of the 7th Fighter Training Wing (FTW). F-5F 5395 was painted in a tiger scheme along with another F-5F and an F-5E. This model is one of a series in Freedom Models' Compact Series and is pretty much a snap-together type aimed at young modellers or young-at-heart ones. The aircraft is brush painted using Hataka Blue Line FS36375 and the darker tiger stripes are decals. Various other acrylics were used to complete the model.