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.
Up until March 2017 I ran the wesbsite for the club - this is now the responsibility of Chris King.
T10 - ZH665 / 113 - 20(R) Sqdn - Airfix 1/72 scale. Built straight from the box. Hand-brushed acrylics.
James May is to blame - I've returned to modelling after a 30 year absence and decided to focus exclusively on Harriers.
Here's my first build on my return - an Airfix 1/72 scale T.10 and my first public showing of my models. It's also the first time I've ever done a two-seat Harrier and it had its enjoyable moments amongst the frustration over my skill inadequacies. Some of the decals were corrupted and I did bodge a couple putting them on. It's built straight from the box - I only modified a couple of bits (aerials). The airbrake and undercarriage doors need a lot of work when placed up for flight and I'm really not sure that the cockpit is in the right position - the pilots look too high - or Airfix pilots are basketball players!
Otherwise it seemed to fit together pretty well. I feel I have a lot to learn / re-learn, in particular, perfecting seams and joins.
The model was photographed in front of one of my photos taken in the Lake District and the acrylic rod that supports the aircraft was removed with photo-editing software.
FRS1 - XZ494 / 716 - 899 NAS - Airfix 1/48th scale. Some scratch built mods and resin dropped-door intakes. Hand-brushed acrylics.
This Sea Harrier FRS.1 is my second build following my return to the hobby after a 30+ year absence. I used the Airfix kit, a set of Pavla intakes and nozzles, the Heritage Aviation Falklands 25th Anniversary decals and a few scratch bits and pieces. I used the Harrier SIG guide to building a Sea Harrier FRS.1 and detailed several items I thought I was capable of doing, leaving others for another day and another model. It's a bit rough around the edges (like me) and still not quite representative of the real thing in some details. Therefore still lots and lots to learn, more practice needed and basic skills to be improved. I would like to add some weathering, but never having done that, I'm a bit reluctant to practise on this particular model just yet. Maybe later.
GR3 - XZ989 / 07 - 1(F) Sqdn - Airfix 1/48th scale. Some scratch-built mods, else built from the box. Hand-brushed acrylics.
I used the original release Airfix GR3 kit, the Heritage Aviation Falklands 25th Anniversary decals and a few scratch bits and pieces, including the conversion of a 1000lb unguided bomb into a Paveway II (head and tail courtesy of Dave H from his Hasegawa weapons kit). References included the Harrier SIG guide to building a Falklands GR3, David Morgan's photo of the aircraft on the deck of HMS Hermes, numerous other Harrier photos and Nick Greenall and Colin Small's (Harrier SIG) extensive knowledge of all things Harrier.
As before, I detailed several items I thought I was capable of doing, leaving others for another day and another model. I did re-scribe the flaps as they are incorrectly sized on this version of the model and added the under-nose I-band transponder.
The model is a depiction of the flight by Sqdn Ldr Peter Harris in XZ989 / 07 on 30 May 1982. The plan was to attack Port Stanley airfield with a 1000lb Paveway LGB and another 1000lb bomb (unguided). The starboard tank was "borrowed" from a Sea Harrier and hand-painted Extra dark Sea Grey on its white underbelly - so the naff brushwork this time was deliberate!
Harrier FRS1, ZA190 / 009 - 809 NAS integrated into 801 NAS, Royal Navy in Operation Corporate - Airfix 1/48th scale, some scratch mods, hand-brushed acrylics.
The Sea Harrier FRS1 below is the third 1/48 scale Harrier in my plan to build a representative sample of every single-seat variant in every service plus two Falklands specials.
As with XZ494, I used the original release Airfix FRS1 kit and the Heritage Aviation Falklands 25th Anniversary decals and a few scratch detailing bits and pieces. References included the IPMS(UK) Harrier SIG guide to building a Falklands FRS1, numerous Harrier photos (though not many of this particular aircraft from the time) and once again, help from Nick and Colin from the Harrier SIG. I'm certainly getting my membership's money's-worth out of them - thanks chaps. As before, I detailed several items I thought I was capable of doing, including a re-scribe of the flaps as they are incorrectly sized on this version of the kit and I also re-jigged the deflector plates by removing the kit ones and replacing them with plasticard and plastic strip.
ZA190 was the aircraft flown by Lt. Steve Thomas on 21 May 1982 when he and Sharkey Ward shot down three Daggers (two by Steve Thomas). My plan was to model this aircraft with a Sidewinder leaving the launch rail. However, I couldn't get the exhaust of the missile as I wanted so I glued it back on! A job for another model and another day, perhaps - unless anyone has some good ideas on how to make it look good - I'll then give it another go.
Humbrol acrylics were used for the finish. The "clouds" effect is nothing more than the stuffing material used for childrens' soft toys. Pull out of the packet, fluff it, and you're good to go. When finished, just scrunch it up and re-pack.
Harrier GR.7, "Lucy", HarDet, Afghanistan - Revell 1/144 scale. Out of the box build with addition of plasticine pilot. Brush painted acrylics.
I saw some examples of the 1/144th Revell Harrier GR7 on the web and thought "what the hell?" and bought a couple in my local model shop. After all, they could not take long, they would not take up much space and they would be easy? Hmm, as Meat Loaf sang, two out of three ain't bad!
The kit includes options for two aircraft in RAF service - ZD407 of 20® Squadron and ZD404 "Lucy" of the HarDet in Afghanistan. Trouble is, the kit is really more of an AV-8B II Plus to my mind. Close, but no cigar. But certainly closer than some other kits I believe. Now I'm a Harrier expert (3 builds in the last 30 years), I thought I'd have a go at some corrections. That's tongue firmly in cheek by the way. First and simplest was to reduce the length of the tail fin lead-in (which I think is extended on the II Plus to avoid ingestion of the exhaust when the flares are dispensed from the units on the rear fuselage). The nose shape looks like the radar version, so I trimmed it back and altered the angle to make it closer to the GR7/9. I removed the gun pods (rarely carried) and replaced with some made-up plasticard strakes and a blob of filler to mimic the attachment points. I chickened out of adjusting the 100% LERX back to 65% LERX carried by both these examples. The outrigger fairing pylons are included, so that was no problem. The outrigger wheels have to be cut off their legs in order to be placed in the correct wheels-up position at the end of the fairing. I lost one set of the "frogs eyes" to the Great Carpet Monster so I left them off both aircraft.
Lastly, I added a pilot by using a dress-making pin (rounded head, "borrowed" from the other half) as the basis for a bone dome and blue-tacked a body around it. Not quite up to close inspection, but a bit better than seeing a flying aircraft with no pilot. I ignored any other possible changes. All decals were included - they really are very impressive - including wing tip edge formation lights and "danger jet blast".
The background is one of my Lake District photos.
Harrier GR.7, 20(R) Squadron, RAF - Revell 1/144 scale. Out of the box build with addition of plasticine pilot. Brush painted acrylics.
The changes I made to the kit (described for "Lucy") but repeated here ...
First and simplest was to reduce the length of the tail fin lead-in (which I think is extended on the II Plus to avoid ingestion of the exhaust when the flares are dispensed from the units on the rear fuselage). The nose shape looks like the radar version, so I trimmed it back and altered the angle to make it closer to the GR7/9. I removed the gun pods (rarely carried) and replaced with some made-up plasticard strakes and a blob of filler to mimic the attachment points. I chickened out of adjusting the 100% LERX back to 65% LERX carried by both these examples. The outrigger fairing pylons are included, so that was no problem. The outrigger wheels have to be cut off their legs in order to be placed in the correct wheels-up position at the end of the fairing. I lost one set of the "frogs eyes" to the Great Carpet Monster so I left them off both aircraft. Lastly, I added a pilot by using a dress-making pin (rounded head, "borrowed" from the other half) as the basis for a bone dome and blue-tacked a body around it. All decals from the box.
The background is one of my Lake District photos.
Harrier AV-8S, 008-3, Escuadrilla 8, Spanish Navy - 1/48 scale Monogram kit, scratch mods, after-market decals, hand brushed acrylics.
I used the Monogram "Hawker Harrier" kit, #5420, as the basis for the build. This has options for an USMC AV-8A or a RAF GR.1, so I had to use the decals from the Tamiya kit (#61012) and some donated decals from the Aztec sheet AZT48016. My reference photos were limited, so some assumptions were made on markings, stencils and placement. [Note most photos of earlier AV-8S are sadly lacking in date information and quantity!].
The rocket launchers were donated by others from another kit (unknown type). The rest of the build is from the box, with modifications as needed and within my capabilities, most notably cutting out the engine intake blow doors. Seasoned Harrier builders will see the mistakes I made there! LifeColor acrylic paint and coats of Klear were applied with the hairy stick with Tamiya White Primer sprayed from a tin. I used some Tamiya weathering powders to finish.
The stand is some acrylic rod (5mm) drilled into an acrylic block (used for your own craft "stamps", supplied by HandyHippo) and replaces the version 1 stand (the painted cardboard roll).
The AV-8S depicted, 008-3, is in the originally delivered version, i.e. without the RWR fit, placing it somewhere between the summer of 1976 and its change of marking from 008-3 / "Marina" to 01-803 / "Armada" in 1980. This change was instigated with the arrival of five additional aircraft. It received its RWR upgrade in 1987 and was later sold to the Thai Navy, being renumbered 3103.
The Harrier AV-8A below is the fifth build of my 1/48 scale Harrier project (an example of every single-seater harrier variant with every font-line service operator). I used the Monogram "Hawker Harrier" kit, #5420, as the basis for the build. This has options for an USMC AV-8A or a RAF GR.1. However, the aircraft scheme is selected from the the Microscale Decal sheet 84-247 "U.S. Marine Corps AV-8 Harriers". Kit decals and the spares box help complete the build.
I had one reference photo so some assumptions were made on markings variations, stencils and placement. I used a pair of donated rocket launchers (1 set went on the AV-8S) and I also used parts from another donated bunch of goodies that allowed me to butcher some plastic into a vague resemblance to Mk.77 Napalm tanks. This load-out is based on a photo of 4 USMC AV-8As in flight.
The rest of the build is basically from the box with a few mods here and there. LifeColor and Humbrol acrylic paint and coats of Klear were applied with the hairy stick. The gloss finish perhaps needs some toning down - especially as the reference photo makes the aircraft looks like it's been through the proverbial hedge backwards. I used some Tamiya weathering powders to finish. The stand is some acrylic rod (5mm) drilled into an acrylic block.
Interestingly the aircraft is marked up with 4 Skyhawk "kills" from training - as opposed to blue-on-blue one hopes. Not sure that the RAF/RN ever marked up aircraft for training kills, but perhaps the USMC didn't get out and about much in the 1970s?
Harrier GR.1, XV810/XX of 20 Squadron, RAF - Monogram 1/48th scale, built from the box and decal spares, hand-brushed acrylics.
The Harrier GR1 below is the sixth build of my 1/48 scale Harrier project. I used my third and final Monogram "Hawker Harrier" kit, #5420, as the basis for the build. Although the kit has decals for a GR1, I ignored these and used a variety of different kit and after-market decal sheets to create this particular aircraft.
It's rare to see a 20 Squadron aircraft, so this was the inspiration. Again there are few reference photos available, but enough to make some educated guesses. The rest of the build is basically from the box with a few mods here and there. Humbrol acrylic paint and coats of Klear were applied with the hairy stick. I used some Tamiya weathering to finish.
In this scheme, it was flown by the Squadron Commanding Officer in November 1971. The "XX" tail markings denoted the squadron commander's aircraft.
Northrop B-2 Spirit - Revell 1/144 scale, built straight from the box, hand-brushed acrylics.
"A funny thing happened on the way to the forum" ... I've built something that's not a Harrier - Shock Horror! ... and in 1/144 scale ... this was a fun project - and a respite from 9 Harriers in a row. As the wingspan is over 14" in this scale, it's actually bigger in some respects than a 1/48 Harrier, so no need for the magnifying glass.
This is the Revell 1/144 scale "Northrop B-2 Bomber" (#4070-0389). Built straight from the box with all the faults that may entail with regard to accuracy (e.g. some of the decals didn't seem to match the panel lines!), a curious dipping of the wings and an odd lop-sided opening of one of the bomb bays.
I was able to use the same paint as the Thai Harrier - Gunship Grey (FS36118) - and one of the reasons for doing it, other than she's a striking looking aircraft. Didn't take too long - though did require a few extra coats of Klear and yet still got some silvering! And as you can see, up to my usual acrylic brush work standard.
And although I said I'd never build in 1/144 scale - I've gone an done something rash and joined the I44 IPMS SIG - so now I'll have to make a few more (in between Harriers of course). So the next one will be an AH-64 Apache - which also took my fancy when I saw this kit in the shop!!
Harrier AV-8S, 3108 of 301 Squadron, Royal Thai Navy. Airfix 1/48 scale, scratch mods and resin, hand-brushed acrylics.
The Harrier AV-8S is the seventh build of my 1/48 scale Harrier project. I used the Airfix GR.3 kit as the basis for the build as it had the RWR fit. The AV-8A/AV-8S nose was a resin cast taken from a Monogram AV-8A. The in-flight refuelling probe, strakes and the nose / main / outrigger undercarriage also from that kit. As most Thai Harriers spent their time at air shows as exhibits, I replicated the all doors down state. As the kit comes with no bays, I build some plasticard boxes and lined them with photos of real AV-8A u/c bays. Bit of a cheat, but who's going to see!? There's some other scratch mods etc and you can see the gory details of the build here as this model was built as part of the Britmodeller Harrier Single Type Group Build. It was hand brushed using LifeColor / Humbrol acrylics: Topsides - LifeColor's FS36118 (Gunship Grey - the same grey that now forms the topsides of the latest USMC Harrier scheme) - UA022. Undersides - LifeColor's FS36270 (Neutral Grey) - UA028.
Northrop MDD YF-23 ATF Prototype - Revell 1/144 scale with scratch built cockpit and raised canopy, rest from box, hand-brushed acrylics.
As a relief from the fiddly Apache I thought I'd go with the relatively simple Revell Northrop YF-23. Hmmm. I ended up scratch building a cockpit (using scanned and printed Typhoon decals for instrument panels), separating the canopy (to show the work off) and in doing so, splitting it in several places. That will teach me! You also have to blank off the inlets and rear exhausts unless you want to see into the airframe. Therefore not so simple after all, except the paint scheme. You can do an alternative scheme, but I thought I'd leave that challenge to an F-22 if I do one.
Aside from the naff cockpit in the base kit, easy to build and relatively unfiddly. Sitting this and the Apache next to the B2 does make you wonder if they are the same scale (I really only ever do fighters and thus I am not used to the big and heavies).
NAH-64D Apache, Q-30 of Nos301/302 Sqdns, RNAF Tactical Air Group. Revell 1/144 scale, built straight from box, hand-brushed acrylics.
My first venture into 1/144 scale (other than Harriers) was the B-2 Spirit which turned out bigger than the 1/48 Harriers that are my passion. This time I thought I'd go from the sublime to the ridiculous and build the Revell 1/144 AH-64 Apache. Funny how what seems a good idea at the time can unravel later on. Okay, perhaps it was not that bad, but it's a true test of the eyesight, steady hand and regular generous donations of appeasement to the Carpet Monster to ensure all pinged bits get returned ... I counted them all out and I counted them all back ... luckily.
It's built out of the box - I certainly wasn't going to be scratch building - and I'm sure there's a few things that are wrong, but for me it's fine in this scale. There are two options in the kit, so I thought I'd build The Netherlands Air Force version. I can't recall building too many helicopters in my youth, so this was relatively novel. There are a few wonky bits and I'm not sure the main undercarriage is at the right angle. Finally, best of all, it goes up and down just like a Harrier - what more could I ask for!
Many months later, on reflection, I find myself thinking that this is one of my favourite models. Isn't life strange?
Harrier GR9A, ZD347/14A, 800 Naval Air Squadron - Revell 1/48 scale, resin seat and pilot, Airframe Decals (AF48218), rest straight from box, hand-brushed enamels and acrylics.
At last, another Harrier, build number eight, materialises from my 1/48 scale Harrier project. This is my first build in this scale of a second generation (big wing) Harrier and thus an interesting learning experience. I used the Revell boxing of the Hasegawa kit, with a replacement seat and the addition of a pilot. Modifications and corrections to the kit are really minor beyond that and in the usual realms.
The decals are from the new Airframe Decals "UK Air Arm Update - Harrier retirement" set. Guidance in detailing and construction was obtained from the Harrier SIG, Nick Greenall's new build notes for a GR9 and looking at lots and lots of photos. She's been modelled to represent how she looked in the final operational flight of the Harrier on December 15th 2010, when she and 16 other Harriers took part in the "Kestrel Formation" flypast to celebrate and commemorate the Harrier's service in the RAF and RN. I was fortunate enough to be there - a day never to be forgotten.
The main camouflage was hand brushed in Humbrol Medium Sea Grey enamel - the rest of the paintwork is hand brushed acrylics. Weathering was a combination of Tamiya weathering powders, HB pencil and some Zig Brushables pen work. To finish off, I sprayed with Humbrol Matt spray from a can (which caused a few problems with crinkling of the paintwork in some areas as I suppose I put a bit too much on!). I also had some problems with Tamiya tape pulling off some decals, so I had to raid the spare set on the sheet. All good fun.
It was nice to be building a Harrier using a more modern kit, though of course not exactly state of the art. She was on show at the Harrier SIG stand in SMW2011, where along with the 16 others, it helped the Harrier SIG win the silver award for the Best Special Interest Group Display. The colour balance of the photo is awry, sorry.
Quick on the heels of the last one, build number nine materialises from my 1/48 scale Harrier project. This time I have modelled a GR9 in RAF markings, in particular that of 41(R) based at Coningsby. She's been modelled to represent how she looked on the 4th November 2010 when she and the two other Harriers in 41(R) flew to Cottesmore to await their fate following the decision to withdraw the Harrier from UK service. This was their last day in 41(R) squadron usage. ZG857 was transferred to 1(F) Squadron and was one of the 17 aircraft that flew on 15th December 2010 in the Kestrel formation display at Cottesmore. She carries the EB.Z / “Observer Corps” markings as a tribute to Spitfire Mk.IIa, P7666, flown in November 1940 by Sqn Ldr Donald Finlay of 41 Squadron.
I added: a resin ejection seat (spare from Kestrel formation build); Pavla undercarriage bay - so I could have the nose-wheel bay doors down (though I did not model the required door lever in the out position); and Alleycat 100% LERX, otherwise parts straight from the box.
The main camouflage was hand brushed in Humbrol enamel (Medium Sea Grey) - the rest of the paintwork is mainly hand brushed acrylics. I produced the tail fin decals with help from a fellow West Middlesex Scale Model Club member, as there are no Harrier GR9 versions of this fin flash available. The remainder of the decals are largely from the Airframe Decals "Harrier Retirement" set, together with a few from the kit. The stencil decal colours are not particularly accurate unfortunately.
Weathering was a combination of Tamiya weathering powders, HB pencil and some Zig Brushables pen work. To finish off, I sprayed with Humbrol Matt Varnish from a can - no problems this time.
Saab AJS37 Viggen "The Show Must Go On", 1 Squadron, F10 Scania Wing, Swedish Air Force - Revell 1/144, plasticine pilot and seat, home made decals, rest straight from the box, hand-brushed acrylics. Milk bottle top and cocktail stick stand.
I've always liked the look of the Viggen, so I thought I would build one and fortunately Revell have made a 1/144 scale version. I'm pretty sure it's not that accurate and there's not a lot of detailing, but that was no big deal for me. As I wanted to do it flying, I had to make a pilot, seat and cockpit interior - and chose to do it in plasticine. Easy to shape, comes in suitable colours and looks good enough for this scale.
My brain then reconnected at this point and I realised that there was no way I was going to do that wonderful multi-colour camouflage scheme. Doh! Browsing the net, I came across the final Viggen flying paint scheme and thought, that's easier, except there's no decals. So with much help from Brian, we concocted some decals. As I could not print white, we had to print on white with a red edging, which I later over-painted where I could as it was not possible to colour match (given the time I wanted to spend on it).
She was brush painted using Humbrol enamel (red) and acrylics (the remainder). Home made decals as described, Humbrol matt spray varnish finish. Cocktail stick and 2 litre milk bottle top complete the set-up. All in all, a bit of a bodge, not taken too seriously, but I learned a few things along the way.
Sopwith Triplane, N500, Great War Display Team - Revell 1/72. Kit parts, home made decals, invisible thread nylon rigging, hand-brushed acrylics. Lots of cursing.
I had the pleasure of seeing the Great War Display Team flying their routine at the RAFA Airshow, Shoreham in 2011. A replica of the Sopwith Triplane, N500, forms part of the team. The missus, making a point that she's fed up with only seeing and hearing about Harriers, said she really loved this plane. Recognising this was an opportunity to: show my undying love; prove there's more to modelling life than Harriers; and put my size 10 firmly in my mouth, I said "Darling, I could build you one of those, if you like?" Unfortunately - as it turned out for me - she took me up on my offer and the resulting mess was her Xmas present. Fortunately, the emotional value of the gift overcame the shortcomings of the build and she was delighted with it. Sadly, I could not say the same thing. So where did it all go wrong? ...
1. The Revell kit - clearly old, poorly molded, loads of flash, undersized, oversized and poorly reproduced parts. 2. Construction - many poorly fitting parts, including the area underneath the fuselage at the front where they simply forgot to do any examination of the real plane I think and just made something up. 3. The decals - of course I had to make these myself as none were usable from the kit - and I got the roundel colours wrong. 4. The paint scheme - I didn't have any of the paints necessary, so I ended up using Dulux Ivory silk emulsion as the main scheme and some artist's tube acrylics for the wooden struts, prop and cockpit area. Oh yes, and the pilot's moustache. 5. The rigging - I volunteered to do the rigging, I could have left it off. I didn't. I must have made every mistake going here - holes in wrong places, super-gluing in place to find I'd use the wrong hole, cutting too short, etc. I used invisible mending thread. 6. The timing - trying to do this whilst building an FW190 for the local model club competition - both in the run up to Xmas.
So apart from the kit, the construction, the decals, the paint, the rigging and the timing, it was great.
"Ewe Silly Focke" - Academy FW190, 1/72nd scale. Out of the box build, home-made decals, Tamiya weathering, brush painted acrylics and lots of poetic licence.
This was my entry into the club's 2011 Six Month Challenge competition (see elsewhere on the site for all about the competition). The hairy stick is my method of painting, so I didn't think that I could do justice to the FW190 camouflage schemes. Besides which, the point is to do something different, so I went for the big pun, building on the sheep and wolf theme. Decals were based on photos of sheep, a wolf's head badge and a cartoon graphic of Little Red Riding Hood to go on the nose. These were printed on an ink jet printer. The aircraft colour is sort of unwashed sheep colour! Some weathering was added for the engine exhausts.
Lots of fun.
Ewe Silly Focke
Harrier GR7, ZG532, IV(AC) Squadron, RAF, circa 1993 - Revell 1/48 scale. Resin seat, pilot, CBLS and baggage pod, decals from Model Alliance, kit and home-made decals. Remainder of build from the box. Hand-brushed enamels and acrylics.
Build number ten in my 1/48 scale Harrier project. This time I have modelled a GR7 in the NATO Green / Lichen Green colour scheme (largely because you don't see many models in this scheme and I fancied doing the special tail on a non-grey jet). She's been modelled to represent how she looked on a deployment by IV(AC) Squadron to Belize in 1993 - you'll note however that she is wearing the not inconspicuous IV(AC) squadron Harrier display scheme markings, illustrating that the deployment was about speed of getting aircraft to Belize rather than ensuring they were suitably camouflaged. There's some poetic licence applied with the overall finish as photos are somewhat lacking for detail. The blue launch rails for AIM-9s were sported, though I think they may have been a slightly lighter blue.
There's a resin ejection seat and pilot, Alleycat 100% LERX, a pair of CBLS and a baggage pod sourced externally, else otherwise parts are straight from the box. For the brush-painted colour scheme, I used Precision Paint's NATO Green (enamel) on top and Humbrol 102 (acrylic) for the Lichen Green. I doubt they are exact matches with the BS standard, but my excuse is no two GR5/GR7 Harriers in this scheme ever looked the same colour based on the photos I've seen, including those below where light, shade and exposure clearly make an impact.
The decals are a mixture of kit, Model Alliance 48102 (for the tail and badges) and home-made - the latter are not perfect by any means, but filled in the gaps or corrected some errors in the originals. Weathering was a combination of Tamiya weathering powders, HB pencil and some Zig Brushables pen work. To finish off, I sprayed with Humbrol Matt Varnish from a can. The base is acrylic rod and acrylic stamping block, as per my other flying builds.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, 17967 - Hasegawa Eggplane. Built from the box. Hand-brushed acrylics.
"You can't build models without making Eggs!" And just to prove it, here is my first, and by no means last, Hasegawa Eggplane - a blackbird egg, no less. And what great fun it was. Not a lot of parts, a couple of aircraft to choose from on the decal sheet and it only takes a couple of hours (including painting) to do, even for a slow modeller like me. Painted with LifeColor acrylic paint and Klear finished. The kit comes with a little Russian spy figure in fur hat and coat, complete with binoculars. I've saved this for another day.
Expensive (relative to complexity and parts), but highly recommended for the novelty value alone.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, 17954. Revell 1/72nd scale. Built from the box. Hand-brushed acrylics.
I've always wanted to build a model of this plane, ever since I saw a head-on shot of it with engines running on the web. Saw a tattered old box on sale at a model show and decided now was the time. Not the best kit in the world, there are some areas that require a lot of effort to get right and warping due to age was a significant factor. Copious use of liquid cement finally got it to hold together.
Experts will notice the absence of "No Step" markings - these are not in the kit, so would have to be sourced from elsewhere. Painted with LifeColor acrylic black and mounted on acrylic rod and stand.
Harrier GR5, ZD412/AH, 3(F) Squadron, RAF, circa 1990 - Hasegawa 1/48 scale. Resin seat plus kit and home-made decals. Remainder of build from the box. Hand-brushed enamels.
Hoorah - back on track with the old faithful. I thought I'd never get build number eleven in my 1/48 scale Harrier project finished, but here she is. It must have been the glorious Summer weather that kept distracting me. This time I have modelled a GR5 in the NATO Green / Lichen Green colour scheme (the only one they wore in service).
The Hasegawa 1/48th scale kit has decals for a 3(F) squadron aircraft (ZD410), but I thought I'd change this to ZD412 / AH. This aircraft was the last allocated serial of the original GR5 builds - ZD430 and upwards were designated as GR5As (but flew as GR7s). Harrier ZD412 had an unfortunate end after an aborted take-off at Gutersloh saw here end up attempting a swim in the River Ems on 30th September 1991. Sadly the pilot sustained major injuries according to the accident report. The aircraft was declared a write-off and never flew again. It ended up at Charlwood Yard as wreckage (circa 2009).
Aside from a resin ejection seat and a Phimat sourced from a fellow Harrier SIG member, the build is straight from the box. I opened up the kit's nosewheel bay doors but did not box-off the resulting hole as a bay. For the brush-painted colour scheme, I used Precision Paint's NATO Green (enamel) on top and Xtracolor X24 (enamel) Lichen Green for the undersides. I'm not a fan of the Xtracolor paint, but used it as it's technically the right colour unlike the Humbrol green I used on the last GR7 build.
Eagle-eyed Harrier experts will notice I used the wrong instrument panel coaming - fitting the one identified in the instructions, but I believe this is wrong. The GR5, like the AV-8B has the "plain" instrument coaming and narrow HUD. The GR7, GR9, AV-8B NA and AV-8B Plus had the coaming with the raised detail and wide HUD.
I used the kit's decals for all bar the serial, tail code, nozzle rotation markings (the kit's are undersized, like most 1/48 scale sheets!) which were home-made using inkjet decal paper. I wasted two MDC decals before giving up and omitting it - for some reason I just couldn't get them to sit right inside the canopy. I also found that I did not put enough Klear on in some areas to avoid the dreaded silvering. Weathering was a combination of Tamiya weathering powders, indian ink marker pen and some Zig Brushables pen work. To finish off, I sprayed with Humbrol Matt Varnish from a can.
Sea Harrier FRS.51, IN623/623, 300 Sqdn, Indian Navy, 2012. Airfix 1/48th scale. Out of the box build with resin ejection seat, dropped-door intakes and nozzles. Home made decals. Brush painted acrylics.
This is a FRS51 Sea Harrier in the latest Indian Navy scheme (as at 2012). At least I think it's the latest scheme, because trying to find up-to-date reference photos has proved to be quite difficult. Job done now, so it's a bit late to change. The Indian Navy Sea Harriers are now nearing retirement [Update - they did so in May 2016], so I expect this to be the last camouflage scheme that they carry. IN623 / 23 was the last FRS51 to be delivered to the Indian Navy in April 1992 and is one of only eight still flying / flyable, together with three T-birds. Twenty plus years of service is on a par with some of the longest serving Sea Harriers of the Royal Navy and in much higher temperatures!
Yes, it is another boring monotone Harrier, but I fancied the new scheme, even though it meant I pretty much had to create all the stencil decals myself using an inkjet printer and inkjet decals paper. The roundels were provided courtesy of Nick Greenall (Harrier SIG) from an old decal sheet. I'm still learning the ropes with home-made decals and as a consequence the swear box kitty has had a bit of a topping up (I'm sure the charity where the proceeds go will not mind). Trying to produce colour matching to print light numbers proved beyond my wallet. Hence, there's a few dodgy decals, but probably in keeping with some other parts of the venerable Airfix 1/48 scale kit that I chopped and changed to try and get a more representative SHAR (courtesy of Nick's indispensable build guide). My reference photos from 2010 showed a pretty clean Sea Harrier just out of its "LUSH" upgrade, so I've moved it on a couple of years and given her some wear and tear in keeping with the traditional state of Harriers.
Aside from having a go at most of the suggestions in Nick's build notes, I added a resin seat, and Heritage Aviation's nozzles and dropped door intakes. I did mix and match the undercarriage from various items in the spares box. She's brush painted of course, using LifeColor's acrylic Light Compass Ghost Grey (FS36375) and Light Gull Grey for the radome. Klear coating has darkened it a fraction more than I would have liked, but let's not go too far down the shades of grey debate. Weathering powders from Tamiya were used and rounded off with a spray of Humbrol Matt Varnish.
Sea Harrier FRS51
Ansaldo S.V.A.5 (Early), Italian Air Force, 1918. Fly Models, 1/48 scale. Out of the box build (plastic and resin), enamel / acrylic hand-brushed paints, 0.2mm nickel silver rod for rigging, Noch grass mat!
Having joined the IPMS WW1 SIG a while back, I thought I actually ought to do a model. The Ansaldo S.V.A.5 was given to me by a good friend just after, so it seemed churlish to leave the kit warming the loft in these circumstances. A while back, I did say I'd never do another biplane/triplane after a less than happy experience with a 1/72nd scale Revell Sopwith Triplane, but there you go - never say never again. We all make mistakes, and I decided to make another one. It's probably due to the fact that Wingnut Wings are going to release the Sopwith Triplane kit next year, and I very much want to do that for SWMBO - so I need much more practice before I even contemplate the joys of a WW 1/32nd scale kit!
In the end, it was not as bad as I expected. WW1 experts will certainly observe a number of mistakes - mine and the kit's - and the many better modellers among you on here will doubtless not give this example a second glance, but it's now part of the collection, for good or bad. The top wing has a kink in the middle. I'm not clear how the wing is supposed to stay joined with such a thin piece of plastic - I must have broken it apart at least 5 times. I had no jig to get the upper wing on - a bit of planning, luck and slow setting glue enabled me to get as close as I did to the correct position, but sadly no cigar.
In terms of construction, it's a mixture of plastic and resin from the kit, together with the kit decals. I used 0.2mm nickel silver rod for all of the rigging. Paint was hand-brushed enamels and acrylic - the wood effect being a Humbrol "wood" base and a variety of tones of acrylic artist browns and Zig Brushables pens dabbed/smeared/brushed on and covered with Klear. Weathering is very limited - as I have absolutely no idea how these things looked after a few flights - the Old Warden's immaculate collection of flying aircraft is not a great guide!
Breguet Alize - Heller 1/100th scale. Entry in the 2012 6 Month Challenge - and to my delight, the winner.
In the spirit of the 6 Month Challenge, doing something "different" was the order of the day, but what exactly? Well, having tried dry fitting various parts of the kit and finding that super glue, clamps and a great deal of determination would be required to get it together, I decided not to bother. This was also prompted by some recent viewings of cars "exploding" into their key components. Ta da! Why not show how a kit is constructed or deconstructed for those not buying kits. Thus the idea was born.
A combination of 0.2mm silver-nickel wire, paper clips, pins and clear sprue enabled me to piece together the parts as seen in the photo. I decided to create some new decals - for the Indian Navy - rather than use the Frnech Navy decals in the kit, though these would probably have been unusable anyway due to age. The stand is a 2 litre milk bottle top and a piece of arcylic rod. Voila!
Interestingly, this kit has been shown a few times at model shows and a number of people have had to be told it's not koined together! The powers of observation!
Harrier AV-8B II - 162074 / VL07, VMA-331 "Bumblebees", USMC. Monogram / Revell 1/48th scale. Out of the box build with resin Snakeyes. Kit and home-made decals. Brush painted acrylics.
This is a Harrier AV-8B II of VMA-331 "The Bumblebees". It's an attempt to copy the aircraft as shown in some photos in the World Air Power Journal (Vol.6, 1991) and Andy Evans' BAe/McDonnell Douglas Harrier book (Crowood Press). As VMA-331 only flew the original AV-8B II variant before being disbanded, it was also an appropriate choice of VMA as I ultimately want to a Harrier from each VMA. The aircraft depicted, 162074 / VL-07, was later re-manufactured as an AV-8B II Plus, 165311. The original cockpit for this aircraft ended up back in the UK I believe.
This is the Revell / Monogram kit and is pretty much built straight out of the box. I created some decals for this particular serial and modex and added some Verlinden Mk.82 Snakeyes and a couple of TERs from (I think donated) a Hasegawa Weapons Kit. Harrier experts will notice a number of flaws, both in the kit and introduced by me. Assembly is pretty straightforward compared with the Hasegawa kit as it does not need to support the multi-variant build. In some ways I prefer it to the Hasegawa version, in others I don't. As I have a few more to build, it's not wise to hate it!
She's brush painted of course, using LifeColor's acrylics: "Israeli Green" (FS34064) and "Extra Dark Sea Grey" (FS16099) for the upper surface camouflage and "Light Gull Grey" (FS36440) for the undersides. Pylons are painted in white (as per colour scheme set out in Aeroguide 16 for this specific aircraft). I used FS34079 for the Snakeyes. A coat or three of Klear sealed the paints ready for the decals (from the kit and bespoke as mentioned). Weathering was from Tamiya powders and I rounded off with a spray of Humbrol Matt Varnish to finish and seal. I'll close up the canopy once I've added an MDC (a story for another day).
Things I'll "fix" for the next one ... re-position the nose formation lights and pitot tubes; extend the main undercarriage strut to make it easier to get it to sit firmly on the ground; re-shape the intakes where they meet the fuselage; heat the canopy to modify its shape for a better fit; get some sway braces for the TERs (I had to drill holes to use 0.15mm nickel wire to attach the bombs), fit the refuelling probe before painting and tone down the decals for the formation lights.
Harrier AV-8B II
Harrier GR.1, XV807 / 47, Harrier Operational Conversion Unit, RAF - Hasegawa Eggplane. Built from the box, hand-brushed acrylics.
Another egg cracked, this time a "raptor" egg - a Harrier, a well-known bird of prey. This is my second Hasegawa Eggplane. As you can see, it's difficult to make all of the undercarriage fit the ground on a normal model, and of course impossible with this one. It's probably fair to allow Hasegawa some latitude on this one (That was a joke). Once again, a fun little build and great for taking your mind of bigger issues with the 1/48 scale models.
My efforts with the masking tape were not particularly good this time around, so the upper / lower camouflage line is pretty poor. I did plan to correct it, but now I've permanently lost one of the outriggers (lost at a model show?), the model has now been retired to a box in the loft. It's next touch down is probably onto land-fill.
General Dynamics YF-16, 01567 - Revell 1/144th scale. Out-of-box build with addition of scratch cockpit and pilot. Rattle can white + hand brushed colours. Milk-bottle top for base.
This is a very simple kit, so I added a bit of cockpit detail and my usual Plasticine pilot and pin head. The white finish was Tamiya White Primer and red and blue acrylics finished the job. There were a few construction issues, but what would you expect in this scale, age and price?
Harrier AV-8B II Plus - MM7224 / 1-19, GRUPAER "The Wolves", Marina Militare Italiana. Hasegawa 1/48th scale. Out of the box build with resin undercarriage bays and Paveway from spares. Kit and home-made wolf decals. Brush painted acryclics.
This is the standard Hasegawa AV-8B II Plus 1/48th scale kit. It is not the specific Italian Navy aircraft boxing which is now an eBay rarity. I therefore had to source the decals separately - the other variation in the box, the AIM-120 missiles, I did not require. Other items sourced outside of the box include the pilot, the two undercarriage bays and a Paveway (GBU-12). I purchased the undercarriage bays a while back and thought I may as well use them. As it seems a waste to install them and not really see them for a "dispersal" staging, I decided to go for broke and show the aircraft after take-off with the undercarriage partly retracted. They're still not easily visible, of course, but now serve more of a purpose. It may just be me, but I found the Aires undercarriage bays required a lot of work to get them to fit - the front bay sides are very thin as a result.
This approach also required all the intake auxiliary doors to be opened (much fun) with the internals of the intakes adjusted to create the rears for the door areas. The flaps were dropped. The main flaps required some simple plasticard additions to their front and some work is required to all of the fairings under the wing. There are a few reference photos to be had from the web showing the sequence of undercarriage retraction, so I think I have it right. I left the ailerons neutral, though I perhaps should have dropped these a tad as well? The rest of the construction is the usual Hasegawa Harrier model stuff. This boxing was a reasonable all round fit - no sleepless nights over the LERX fit, etc.
She's brush painted using LifeColor's acrylics: Dark Gull Grey (FS36231) for the upper surface camouflage and Dark Compass Grey (FS36320) for the undersides. On the real aircraft the paints are very close in tone and shade, making them almost indistinguishable in some areas, particularly when weathered. Note the Hasegawa instructions have the upper surface colour in a straight line under the wings, but it in fact follows the HTPS scheme (official) and curves up after the front nozzles and back down level with the flaps. I chose to do the radome in the upper surface colour but without a Klear coating, leaving it the same colour and tone as the original paint. Likewise for the wing leading edges. it's a subtle difference like the real radome variations.
Now, the decals ... GRUPAER was founded in February 1991 when they started to work up at the USMC Cherry Point base in preparation for the receipt of their first Harriers (TAV-8B IIs) on 7 June 1991. It wasn't until April 1994 that they received their first (of 16) AV-8B II Plus aircraft. In October 2011, "The Wolves" commemorated twenty years of existence and also 30,000 hours of flying. An AV-8B II Plus, MM7224 / 1-19, the last Harrier the Marina Militare Italiana received (and the last new-build AV-8B II Plus ever made?), was specially painted in a one-off wolf tail scheme and "30.000" hours logo to mark the event. Having seen the photographs of the result, I couldn't resist having a go at it.
With significant help from Brian, we produced the necessary decals and printed them on an inkjet printer. I used a set of the Tauro decals and some of the Model Friends decals in combination with some odds and ends from the spares box to complete the markings. It's not strictly accurate, colour-wise, but close enough for me as a scratch effort and a Harrier nut! Several coats of Klear sealed the paints ready for the decals. Weathering (limited as depicted after recent application of the scheme) from Tamiya weathering powders and rounded off with a spray of Humbrol Matt Varnish to seal before a final coat of brushed Vallejo Matt Varnish.
I originally thought the 1/144 kits I bought would be fun and a nice little break from the Harrier project. This kit would not be in that category. Not much of it went together easily - perhaps due to age, the kit's not mine - and the decals were a complete write-off. The aircraft now inhabits the loft.
The diorama caption reads "Oh Pollock, I think my wings look big in this" On 5 April 1968, Flt Lt Alan Pollock caused a storm of controversy when he flew his Hawker Hunter FGA9 through Tower Bridge in an unofficial protest not to hold a flypast to celebrate the RAF's 50th birthday."
The black blob is a trans-located Loch Ness monster! He/she is there to hide the fact I got a blob of glue on the base and ending up smearing away the blue colour to leave white.
The kit is simple to make and I made up some decals to create a 1(F) Sqdn aircraft and the serial number XF422 / H. The Tower Bridge model was a different proposition. Downloaded from the web (following a different line of thought and interest), a chance viewing of the art work of the incident led me to trying to re-create it. Tower Bridge was printed on matt photo paper on an inkjet printer and then painstakingly cut out, folded and glued as per the instructions to re-create what you see in the photo. Naturally, it is not to scale, but that's not the point of the exercise.
NASA Space Shuttle "Discovery" & Launcher. Airfix 1/144th scale kit, built out-of-the-box as a gift for friends. Mix of brush painted acrylics, enamels and rattle can spray.
This model was built for some friends who have a property in Florida and we wanted to give them a house-warming present. This is what they requested - I suppose it could have been worse? Having built the Airfix Saturn V rocket and the Apollo Lunar Landing Module as a youngster, this is a natural conclusion to my space builds. To add some interest, I placed photos of my friends inside the back wall of the cockpit, so they are the astronauts flying the shuttle!
The kit fits together pretty well, though the stand to fuel tank bond still worries me - if I were you I'd find a way of reinforcing it, particularly if the kit will get lots of travel to and from shows. White was from a rattle can, though I did have to do some brush work as well. The decal placement instructions for the rocket boosters completely confused me and I'm not sure they are correct. Silvering of the "stripe" decals at the top of the large fuel tank was a major problem. In the end I used a pin and lots of Klear to try and get the decals to lie down.
Discovery Space Shuttle
P-51D Mustang, 414696 / PZ-H, 486th FS, 352nd FG, USAF. Hasegawa Eggplane, built out-of-the-box. Brush painted enamels, acrylics and rattle can silver.
Another little cracker, this Hasegawa Eggplane was an eggscuse to use a Humbrol spray can. Aside from the patchy yellow tail, another enjoyable little build. There's also a dab of weathering here and there. If you've not tried an eggplane, do have a go. I couldn't think of a relationship between mustangs, horses and eggs, so this one will have to be eggscluded from any egg jokes.
Watch out for more of these eggplanes in the future.
Fokker Eindecker E.II 68/15, Lt Bruckmann, AA Gaede, late 1915. Eduard 1/48th scale Weekend Edition kit. Built out-of-the-box with knit-in elastic rigging. Brush painted acrylics.
This is my second attempt at a WW1 aircraft in 1/48th scale and I finished it shorty after hearing of the sad death of John Day, a member of the Great War Display Team, and whose flying, along with that of the other team members, was responsible for generating my interest in building WW1 aircraft and joining the Great War Special Interest Group.
The model is the Eduard Weekend Edition of the Eindecker E.II / E.III and is built out-of-the-box. I managed to put one of the decals in the wrong place on the wing, but other than that, no major construction problems. The only addition is the rigging, which is knitting-in elastic. The markings on the aluminium were achieved using a silver gel rollerball. Hand painted in acrylics and finished with Humbrol Matt Varnish from a rattle can.
I doubt it looks anything like the real thing, especially for colours - it is an E.II 68/15 flown by Lt. Bruckmann, AA Gaede, in late 1915. (This is also in the Wingnuts boxing). If it's supposed to be doable in a weekend, then I need 4 day weekends (but then I guess we'd all like them for various reasons!)
Harrier AV-8C - 158706 / XE27, VX-5 "Vampires", US Navy. Airifx 1/48th scale. Conversion of Airfix GR3 with resin and scratch built additions. Home-made decals. Brush painted acrylics.
After a brief interlude away from Harriers, I've returned to complete the latest model in my Harrier Project - that of a Harrier AV-C flown by the US Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, VX-5 "Vampires", operating out of NAWS China Lake, California. I've seen a couple of photos of this aircraft and thought it would be nice to build, showing as it does the aircraft in the low visibility colours worn by the AV-8Cs (and the AV-8As late in their service life) and a Harrier flying with a US Navy unit rather than the US Marines. It's also sporting an asymmetric loadout - a dummy AGM-122 "Sidearm" missile (a converted AIM-9C), presumably as part of one of the first air test trials of the missile.
I didn't have a Monogram Harrier AV-8A kit, and I wouldn't use the Tamiya version, so I used an Airfix Harrier GR3 and set about converting it back - or is it forward or sideways? - to the Harrier AV-8C. For you modelling experts out there it's easy: just saw off the LRMTS nose; remove the RWR from the front of the tail fin and reduce the height of the tail; throw away the rear tail cone (or use as base for new one); and chuck out the kit seat (which you probably would anyway). Add a GR.1 / AV-8A nose minus the camera fairing as it was removed (I had one in resin from previously), find a Stencel seat (I used a Harrier AV-8B one - tut tut, but close enough), add the RWR mods to the tail cone and wing tips, find / create the large blade aerial, pitot tube and, if adding gun pods as I did, create some plasticard strakes to go on them. No air dam was required as these are not open when the aircraft is at dispersal. Depending on your penchant for detail, various cockpit and instrument panel mods are required. I used some Heritage Aviation dropped auxiliary door intakes and nozzles.
The rest of the build is pretty much the usual mods I do to the Airfix kit - as ever, I used Nick Greenall's Harrier SIG guides as a base for my efforts - and this detail has been covered elsewhere before.
She's brush painted using LifeColor's acrylics: "Dark Green" (FS34079) and "Dark Grey" (FS36118) for the upper surface camouflage and "Light Gull Grey" (FS36440) for the undersides. I doubt these are the real colours, but as you will see, I was trying to mimic the weathering on the aircraft, so an approximation was good enough for me (Purists and Harrier rivet counters can tut loudly here). I left off the final coat of paint (these normally require 4 / 3 / 4 coats respectively for me) so creating a patchy / weathered appearance, though sadly some bits just might look like dodgy painting. Not having full views from all sides, there's been some interpretation!
I used the new Humbrol Clear in preparation for the decals. I found this best applied sparingly with a wide flat brush - the Humbrol video shows it done with a small round brush, but I found it simply pooled on the aircraft and it was really difficult to get flat. This is especially true anyway if you over-load the brush, whatever the size and shape.
Aside from a few stencils from the spares box, I made all the low visibility insignia, unit markings and serials myself. I still haven't mastered this home decal making, but these were better than my last efforts (problem = getting ink to sit / spread evenly). Weathering from Tamiya powders, Zig Brushables, pencils and old smudged up cotton buds with various colours on!
The MDC was done with a gel silver pen on the inside, the template mask taped to the outside. Not bad, could be better. I rounded off with a spray of Humbrol Matt Varnish to seal the weathering and then Vallejo Matt Varnish brushed on to get a better "flat" finish.
Nieuport Ni-23, flown by Kpt. Brodovicz, 19th Squadron, Imperial Russian Air Force, Spring 1917. Eduard, 1/48th scale. Out-of-the-box build, rattle can spray + brushed acrylics.
This is my third attempt at a WW1 aircraft in 1/48th scale. This time I chose the Eduard Nieuport Ni-23 (kit number 8075) which looks like it has now been discontinued (as at time of writing). I'm not a great fan of Eduard's "basic level" instruction sheets for these kits - I was looking for an out-of-the-box build and found myself trawling the web on a number of occasions to find out the positioning of a number of parts, particularly in the cockpit. Perhaps I just need to build more WW1 kits to become more familiar with these areas? Anyhow, it was reasonably straight-forward to build once I worked out what I had to do and where things went.
The main colour was actually sprayed this time from a Humbrol rattle can - Aluminium. As an introduction to "air-brushing" it was quite easy, but it's as far as I'll be going in that direction. Everything else was the traditional brush work. The wood effect was a variety of browns smeared and wiped around whilst wet. The decals though were far from simple to apply - every single decal I applied bar one split into two or more parts once wetted. I've no idea why, but it was a real pain. They are too thin for their own good?
Rigging was of the "knitting-in elastic" variety. Weathering was a mixture of acrylic artist powders and Tamiya weathering plus some Zig Brushables pen work (e.g. the wing rib shading). She was given an overall matt varnish spray to finish.
The scheme, according to the kit is for "A DUX built Nieuport 23, flown by Kpt. Brodovicz, 10th Squadron, Imperial Russian Air Force, Spring 1917". There's a slightly different alternative in Eduard's 1/72nd combo kit (7073) that has this aircraft being flown by Lt. Boris "Bob" Guber - the roundels are different and it has a serial number applied. Either way, I prefer to simply refer to is as "BOD", not "BOB", though it's more likely "ODD BOD" for my model. I'll live with the fact that any resemblance between this model and the real thing is coincidental.
Sea Harrier FA.2 - ZH813 / 006L, 801 Naval Air squadron, HMS Illustrious, November 1985. Airifx 1/48th scale. Kit plus resin intakes, resin 190 gallon drop tanks, resin CBLS and 1,000lb general purpose bomb. Harrier IPMS SIG "Sea Harrier End of Era" decals. Brush painted enamels.
The subject chosen for this model was ZH813, operating as 006L of 801 Naval Air Squadron when deployed on HMS Illustrious in November 2005. As far as I am aware, but I've been known to be wrong many times before, ZH813 was the last Sea Harrier, in fact the last Harrier, to be delivered from the UK production lines into service, even including second generation Harriers. This makes her the last Sea Harrier and the last Harrier (new builds, not including refurbishments and upgrades). Perhaps you could even add "of the last" again, as she may be the last all-British fighter we ever make? Certainly Jamie Hunter thought so when he titled his book "Sea Harrier - The Last All-British Fighter" (Ian Allan 2005). I think ZH813's maiden flight was 12 December 1988 and she was delivered on 18 January 1989. She was withdrawn from service in March 2006 and later ended up at the School of Flight Deck Operations (SFDO) at Culdrose as DD13. A pretty short flying career considering the money invested, but we will not go there in order not to raise the blood pressure.
So, is there anything novel and exciting to say about this Sea Harrier build, other than it's the less commonly seen FA.2 variant due to rarity of supply of the kit? Well, not really, aside from demonstrating that modellers like me really could do with a modern version (coming, yippee) in order to make something look more like the real thing. For the record here's what I did...
... I replaced the kit seat with a resin ejection seat from Pavla. Likewise, I used dropped intake doors resin intakes and nozzles from Pavla. Heritage Aviation supplied the 190 gallon tanks (these were poor quality resin - lots of air bubbles, I should have sent them back) and a pair of resin CBLS obtained from a fellow modeller. The dummy 1000lber on the centre line, the pylon and the strakes were from a Tamiya GR1/AV-8A kit which is being robbed for spares. As ever, I used Nick Greenall's indispensable Harrier SIG modelling guides as a base for my efforts, trying to do as much as my skills allow or I think is worth doing. What I didn't do is create a front undercarriage bay nor move the front compressor blades forward, nor add the detailing inside the CBLS as this is all hidden or not noticed by the majority. I omitted the MDC on the canopy after multiple attempts to try and do something without a decal. (What we need is someone to do MDC decals for 1st generation Harriers in 1/48th scale).
Whilst I choose real life examples to imitate, I don't try to replicate, as if you need telling. In particular here, she probably looks a bit more weathered than in real life at that stage and the decals are a shade too pink, though the kit ones are probably a shade too red. In the end, I decided to go with pretty in pink (Sorry Nick). I'm sure she will mellow with age.
Decals were predominantly from the Harrier SIG's "Sea Harrier End of Era" sheet with a few kit ones used as and where necessary. Weathering is my usual mix of Tamiya powders, Zig Brushables pens and pencils. I coated with the new Humbrol Clear pre and post decal application. Humbrol Matt Varnish spray can was used to seal the weathering and a coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish brushed on as a final finish.
Sea Harrier FA.2
Harrier AV-8B II NA - 164128 / CF02, VMA-211 "Wake Island Avengers", USMC. 1/48th scale Hasegawa kit. Superscale, kit and home-made decals. Brush painted acrylics.
Th is the Harrier AV-8B II NA (Night Attack), a variant flown solely by the USMC. The AV-8B II NA was first delivered to the USMC in 1989, going to VMAT-203 (the training squadron) and VMA-214, the "Black Sheep". VMA-211, the "Wake Island Avengers" received theirs from May 1990 onwards and this particular example, 164128 / CF02 arrived in late August 1991. From the evidence I can find, 164128 seems to have spent a large proportion of its flying career with this unit and was with them in February 2013 (as CF22) and may still be there today (October 2013)? The aircraft is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having participated in OIF-I, OIF-II and OIF-III.
This build uses the Hasegawa kit plastic straight from the box, with just the addition of a pilot taken from the Monogram / Revell AV-8B II and a ACMI pod from a Hasegawa Weapons set. Then things get tricky. A cursory glance at the photos below will tell you that I've painted 164128 in the Harrier Tactical Paint Scheme (HTPS), the question is, which one, and is it the right one? [Non-Harrier fans can skip this riveting examination of what greys are my 50 shades of grey]. Believing what's written on the WWW (let me down gently please if you think it's a big tissue of lies), the original HTPS was Gunship Grey (FS36118) for the "saddle", Dark Compass Ghost Grey (FS36320) for the remaining topsides and Light Compass Ghost Grey (FS36375) for the undersides. Unfortunately, not only are photos of aircraft of this era rare, they also tend to focus on a limited set of aircraft serials and any colour references are limited or non-existent.
The now "standard" HTPS is again Gunship Grey for the saddle, but Dark Ghost Grey (FS36231) for the topsides and Dark Compass Ghost Grey (FS36320) for the undersides. This standard came in during the early 1990s, but of course jets would only be painted as and when in for other major maintenance tasks. Those of you familiar with these shades of grey will know that it's not easy to work out which is which from photographs. [If someone can, I've loads that need classifying - please contact me]. I'm not even sure that some of today's jets don't have the original scheme and even variants to that.
Back in my project world, I went with the original HTPS and created some serial numbers / modex numbers and combined with the Superscale 48410 and kit decals to create 164128 / CF02 as she probably looked around 1993. [There's a photo of this jet in WAP Jounal 32]. Some Tamiya / Humbrol weathering poweders and some dodgy artistic licence (compared with photo) finished the look. I applied Vallejo Matt Varnish (single coat) to tidy it all up.
Is it one of my better ones? I don't think so - the canopy was a nightmare, as was the MDC, the intakes are a bit of a bodge, the scheme may be totally wrong and the more I look at the weathering, the more I wonder what possessed me. If you're thinking you can't see that from the photos, then at least my photography is getting better!!!
Harrier AV-8B II NA
"Eh-oh!" When two Teletubbies go to war, Laa-Laa is the one who will score. Lavockin La-7 and Letov S-16. KP Models, 1/72nd scale. Teletubby figures. Entry and winner of club's 2013 Six Month Challenge.
Buoyed by last year's win in the Six Month Challenge, I found myself taking two of Tony' wonderful hand-outs at the April meeting. I originally picked the LA-7, but added the S-16, simply because it is a biplane. I was not obliged to build both, but you can either look at it as twice the problem or twice the opportunity. Thinking outside the kit box, I started the pun route with La, and quickly arrived at Laa-Laa. Don't ask me why, I knew nothing about the Teletubbies, but I do now! The challenge was to then do something for the S-16. Whilst reading about the characters, I just fell upon the idea of "When two Teletubbies go to war, Laa-Laa is the one who'll score". The rest is history, scouring eBay for some appropriately sized Teletubbies, obtaining the paint and then finalising the idea of the diorama, the text and the models. The main label reads as follows: "Laa-Laa is generally sweet-natured and loves nothing more than to play with her orange balls. Dipsy is stubborn and provocative and does not always get along with the others. One day, Dipsy over-stepped the mark and suggested for the umpteenth time that perhaps Laa-Laa would like to play with his balls instead. Absolutely furious, Laa-Laa climbed into her La-7 and set out to teach Dipsy a lesson. "There'll be no let-off for Dipsy this time", she said as he tried to escape from her in his Letov S-16."
Yes, thanks for asking, the therapy has helped enormously.
Cutty Sark - Airfix Starter Set version - OOB supplemented with rigging. Brush painted acrylics.
The prize for winning the 2013 Six Month Challenge was this model of the Cutty Sark. Ironically, I had been thinking about getting one of these when they were re-released as I remember building a number of these small scale ships from one of my aunt's when I was a wee nipper. They look a bit sparse when built, so I thought I'd have a go at applying some examples of rigging to bring it more to life. So it was out with the knitting-elastic, black market pen and super glue. I added some doors into the deck fittings using small bits of self-adhesive address labels.
Today it sits in a plastic box of Earl Grey tea, as befits one of the most famous tea clippers ever to sail the seven seas.
Harrier EAV-8B II - 01-903 / VA.1A-15, Escuadrilla 009, Arma Aerea de la Armada Española. Monogram 1/48th scale. Kit + spares. Series Españolas decals. Brush painted acrylics.
This is the EAV-8B II variant flown by the Arma Aerea de la Armada Española – the Air Arm of the Spanish Navy. The Spanish Navy named the AV-8S the “Matador” and the EAV-8B II the “Cobra”, but we all know it as the “Harrier”, of course. Irrespective of how they refer to the aircraft, they have logged over 50,000 flying hours with the Harrier.
The Air Arm received their first EAV-8B II (note “E” denotes “España”) in late 1987, receiving 12 in total. Five were later remanufactured as EAV-8B II Plus aircraft, four went through the SNUG (Spanish Navy Upgrade) Programme (01-903, -907, -909 and -911) to become EAV-8B II Plus equivalents (minus the APG-65 radar) and three EAV-8B II have been lost in accidents. All are based at Rota when not deployed.
This build uses the Monogram kit plastic straight from the box, with just the addition of a Douglas A-4 Skyhawk fuel tank which now acts as a baggage pod. The serial chosen is 01-903 / VA.1A-15, the oldest surviving EAV-8B II and recently upgraded via the SNUG programme. It’s likely that the four aircraft pushed through the SNUG programme will be retired shortly due to budget constraints, leaving the Spanish Navy with a radar-only EAV-8B II Plus fleet of Harriers.
The model shows the original camouflage scheme applied in the late 1980s and early 1990s of Dark Compass Grey (FS36320) over Light Compass Grey (FS36375). She is brush painted with LifeColor’s acrylics and I used Series Españolas decals. The model is weathered using Tamiya weathering powders, artist pastels and Zig Brushables pens. Microscale’s Micro Flat Matt Varnish used to flatten the finish. With the canopy open, I added the “drop-down” step from the intake.
Rivet counters will note that the stencils are the wrong colour for this scheme, but I chose to ignore this minor detail due to the difficulty of trying to produce my own. The “weathering” is based on the real aircraft – obviously the car wash had broken down.
Harrier EAV-8B II
Harrier EAV-8B II Plus - 01-919 / VA.1B-29, Escuadrilla 009, Arma Aerea de la Armada Española. Hasegawa 1/48th scale. Kit + spares. Series Españolas decals. Brush painted acrylics.
This is the Harrier EAV-8B II Plus variant flown by Arma Aerea de la Armada Española – the Air Arm of the Spanish Navy. The first EAV-8B II Plus was delivered to the Spanish Navy in January 1996. They received eight new-builds in total, with Construcciones SA (CASA) in Spain completing the final assembly in conjunction with McDonnell Douglas. A further five EAV-8B II Plus were remanufactured using EAV-8B II donor aircraft (01-904, 01-905, 01-906, 01-910 and 01-912). The aircraft are flown by Escuadrilla 009.
This build uses the Hasegawa kit plastic straight from the box, with just the addition of a Maverick air-to-surface missile (kind donation from fellow BMer). The model shows the current camouflage scheme of Dark Gull Grey (FS36231) over Dark Compass Grey (FS36320). It is brush painted with LifeColor’s acrylics and I used Series Españolas decals.
The model is weathered using Tamiya weathering powders, artist pastels and Zig Brushables pens. Vallejo Matt Varnish was used to flatten the finish.
The latest model in my Harrier build project (#19, 1 to go, can I/you believe it?) is the Harrier AV-8B II Plus variant flown by the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Now forming the backbone of the USMC Harrier fleet, the first AV-8B II Plus was delivered in March 1993. BuNo 165006 was delivered in October 1995 and was the last of the new-build Harriers delivered to the USMC, the remaining AV-8B II Plus aircraft were “remanufactured” AV-8B II aircraft that were withdrawn from service to be pushed through the remanufacturing process. In all, the USMC received 27 new builds and 74 remanufactured AV-8B II Plus Harriers. VMA-513, the “Flying Nightmares” disbanded in July 2013 as part of the transition to the F-35B.
This build uses the Hasegawa kit plastic straight from the box, with just the addition of two resin Mk.83 unguided bombs. The model shows the aircraft when she was flown as the VMA-513 Unit Commander’s mount WF/01 in the Harrier Tactical Paint Scheme of Dark Compass Grey (FS36118) saddle and Dark Gull Grey (FS36231) over Dark Compass Grey (FS36320), circa 2009.
She is brush painted with LifeColor’s acrylics and I used the kit decals. The model is weathered using Tamiya weathering powders, artist pastels and Zig Brushables pens. Vallejo Matt Varnish was used to flatten the finish. The “saddle” is probably darker than real-life and I’m not convinced of any of the greys used – that Arizona sunshine soon fades the paintwork. The blue tail is a guess as well. What the hell, it’s only a model.
This is the Hasegawa 1/48th scale Harrier GR Mk.7 “Royal Air Force” kit. The model is straight from the box, with the addition of a resin MB Mk.12 ejection seat, Amraam-line’s extended in-flight refuelling probe, L’Arsenal’s Paveway IV LGBs and Belcher Bits’ 6-shot CRV-7 rocket pods. The model shows the penultimate JFH camouflage scheme for Harriers of Dark Sea Grey over Dark Camouflage Grey, with a liberal sprinkling of replacement Medium Sea Grey panels and flaps, etc. There’s even a bit of primer on the tail fin for good measure – all as a result of a visit to the JUMP line? It is brush painted with Humbrol enamels and I used a combination of kit, third-party and home-made decals. The Hasegawa kit decals largely fell apart – just as well most of them are not relevant to this era of Harrier. I had to use up another MDC as the first disintegrated into 5-10 pieces once on the canopy – they are the worst aspect of the Harrier model IMHO. The model is weathered using Tamiya powders, artist pastels and Zig Brushables pens. Vallejo Matt Varnish was used to finish.
ZD411 first flew in April 1989 as a GR.5 and was later upgraded to a GR.7. Delivered back to the RAF in May 1993, she remained a GR.7 until withdrawn from service in March 2010, and was the last GR.7 flown operationally by Joint Force Harrier. For a time she flew with the Pegasus 107 engine, hence the “A” designation. ZD411 is depicted here when deployed on HMS Illustrious in July 2009. Although not carrying the CRV-7 pods at that time, these pods were used in training and in operations in the Gulf.
Another attempt at a WW1 aircraft, this time the Wolseley Viper engined Royal Aircraft Factory's Scout Expermental 5a. Built with just the addition of the rigging - Prym "knit-in elastic thread" - a clear elastic thread used in knitting and crocheting, approximately £2 for 200m. A dark grey Zig Brushables pen was used to darken it down after rigging, though it could be done before if so desired. I used Revell's matt NATO-Olive (36146) for the PC10 on the basis that no two people seem to agree on what paint best represents the colour of PC10, as if it would have been consistent in the first place. Purists can stop at this point. Wood effect was Humbrol 110 base with artist acrylic browns smeared and daubed on as the fancy took me, then coated in Klear. For the undersides I used Precision Paint's Mid Sandstone (P973), which again looked okay to me, and I like their enamel paint, it brushes almost as easily as my favourite LifeColor acrylics. Decals went on very easily, not always the case I believe with Roden's decals. They were less troublesome for sure than the Nieuport Ni-23.
Is it historically accurate - I doubt it, but then as it nearly flew into the bin several times after endless attempts to get just the right amount of super glue in just the right place for the rigging, I'm past caring, and just glad to get it finished. I'm sure Dave and Steve at the Great War SIG will humour me and let me put it in amongst the real craftsmanship work of the Great War SIG display table.
Nieuport Ni-17,N3139, ten, Fulco Ruffo de Calabria, 91a Squadriglia, Italian Front, Spring 1917. Eduard, 1/48th scale. Out-of-the-box build, rattle can spray + brushed acrylics.
Another Eduard Nieuport, this time it's the Ni-17 (kit number 8432 "Weekend Edition"). Very similar to the Ni-23 boxing, only this time you do not get any layout for the rigging. Perhaps you are not expected to get that far in a weekend? There's only one decal choice in this kit.
The Aluminium colour was again using a Humbrol rattle can, everything else was the traditional brush work. Not showing particularly well on the photograph, the undersides of the wings are painted green and red (except the centre sections), matching the fin / rudder. The wood effect was a variety of browns smeared and wiped around whilst wet. No issues with the decals this time, they went on without trouble. Rigging was of the "knitting-in elastic" variety, with more planning on my part and some rigging put in place before the upper wing attached. No weathering this time. She was given an overall Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish.
Aside from the usual problem of getting super glue and knitting elastic to bond, this was generally a trouble free construction. I doubt there's much resemblance to the real thing and it will not win any competitions, but it's another one to add to the WW1 collection.
Fokker D.VII (F), 5125/18, September 1918. Monogram 1/48th scale, kit, OOB. Displayed in the markings of Hermann Goering when he flew this, his last Fokker D.VII, near the end of the war, when he was the CO of JG.1.
This was a simple out-of-the-box build of this old (1991) kit. The parts have lots of flash, many injection marks and are rather clunky when compared with today's standards. Having said that, it actually went together fairly easily. Remarkably, the kit decals slid from their backing paper within 10 seconds and went on without too much trouble, though they were very fragile. I sprayed a base coat of rattle can Tamiya White Primrer and then brushed on LifeColor Matt White. A few coats of Klear for the decals and then finished with Microscale Matt Varnish. Some artists pastels mixed in Humbrol Decal Fix were used for a touch of weathering. The rigging was knit-in elastic, and fortunately not extensive. The propeller and fuselage internals were done using the same "wood-working" approach as previous kits. Not too taxing a build, but then it's no competition winner either.
Roland C.II, Eduard 1/48th scale.
This is an OOB build of the Eduard Roland C.II, depicting an aircraft from the "Western Front, Summer 1917". Violet is the first thing that hits you, right? That's what it says on the box, although looking around the web, everyone has their own ideas of exactly what shade of violet / mauve / purple it should be, as well as the green and the grey. It may not be historically correct, but something similar did fly in this scheme back in 1917, unless Eduard are now doing "what-if" schemes. The general consensus is that the scheme was not for camouflage but for easy identification of aircraft during dogfights. Life expectancy was low enough already, without the addition of friendly fire incidents!
As for the kit, very easy to put together, with just some work required around the wing roots and the usual interpretation of Eduard's instructions for placement of parts, particularly in the cockpit. My advice would be to get some additional reference material. As you can see by the insert, there is a lot of cockpit detail that will then get largely hidden. I used a mixture of Vallejo Model Colour Violet, Revell Green (enamel) and LifeColor acrylic (Grey) for the main colours and acrylics for all the other bits and pieces. Rigging was with knit-in elastic and Albion Alloys silver-nickel wire for the upper wing flap control wires. All finished off with Vallejo matt varnish and a wash of muddy grey/brown/black artist pastel powders dissolved in Humbrol Decalfix to give that "lived-in" look.
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, "Lady Angela", 44-21071 / A7-R, 395th Fighter Squadron, 368th Fighter Group, USAF, Spring 1945. Hasegawa Egg Plane, built out-of-the-box. Brush painted enamels, acrylics and Humbrol rattle can silver. A few home-madedecals (name, serials, squadron ID).
This is my fourth Hasegawa egg plane - a "wasp" egg (the engine was a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp) - so I thought I'd venture outside of the box-provided decals and choose a slightly different scheme. Searching the internet, I found "Lady Angela" and thought that would make an appropriate subject. The pilot, Lt. William C Diman, had two P-47Ds marked with "Lady Angela", a razor back and a bubble job, the latter being the one represented here when he was with 395th Fighter Squadron "Panzer Dusters" of the 368th Fighter group "Nulli Secundus" (Second to None). A source quotes about his P-47s ... "they saw him safely through 112 combat missions, gaining for him nineteen Air Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Presidential Citations for downing one Messerschmitt, one Heinkel He-III and two Focke-Wulf 190s (these two whilst with the 395th). On three occasions the "ladies" suffered severe damage; once from anti-aircraft fire during the St. Lo breakthrough, once from the guns of a Focke-Wulf over Frankfurt and once while flying a low level bomb run during the Battle of the Bulge." You'll see I've added a touch of battle damage to the model, otherwise known as dodgy paintwork and masking tape lifting the paint!
There were a couple of problems with the fit (I think this is one of the early examples of the eggplane genre), but nothing to detract from another fun build. The scheme is an approximation to the real thing, just like the model.
I've now invested in a few more kits, just to annoy my fellow club members who think building eggplanes is not real model making.
Grumman TBM-3E Avenger "Fire Bomber", N3375G*, Hemet Valley Fire Services, California, c 1970. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Modifications made to kit. Brush painted enamels. Home-made decals.
* In my eggcitement, I transposed the number. The aircraft registration should be N3357G. You can't eggspect accuracy with these things. It's now even less like the real thing!
When you're on an egg, you're on a roll. Here's my latest Hasegawa eggplane - a water bird egg, the TBF Avenger. The kit is now out-of-production, but still available through the usual second-hand sources. Once again, I decided not to build an in-the-box decal option, and casting around the web, I saw that a number of these aircraft were used for "fire-bombing" in the US and Canada. Bright orange looked a nice change from Harrier grey, and would use up the paint I bought for the Shuttle booster rocket. Fun and thrift at the same time.
N3357G is a "TBM-3E built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division in 1945. It flew with the US Navy until the early 1950s, when it was phased out. Later it was converted to a spray plane and operated in California, from 1963 to 1972 [Hemet Valley Fire Service]. In 1976, Forest Protection Ltd, New Brunswick, purchased it and the aircraft continued to fly in a similar role, until it was finally retired from commercial service in 1992. In 2000, it was sold to a French aircraft preservation group, but they were unable to arrange transport for it across the Atlantic. The Museum acquired the Avenger with the help of a generous donor in late 2009." It is currently on display and undergoing restoration to flying condition. (Source - Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum).
To convert the kit, I added a pseudo-bomb bay to the front lower part of the fuselage to mimic the water tank in the bay of the real aircraft. I removed the rounded rear of the canopy (the gunner position) and re-shaped the over-painted canopy with Revell Plasto to create the new shape. A few simple decals for the numbering and a rather crude Photoshop effort on the badge completed the conversion work.
After a coat of primer, I used Humbrol enamels for the main scheme, Humbrol Silver (aerosol) for the prop and gun metal for the engine. Tyres were painted using Precision Paint's Tyre Black. A few coats of Humbrol Clear, decals, a few dabs of Tamiya weathering powders and a final coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish finished the job.
It turned out to be more involved than I thought, but then it's just extending the fun, and I've ended up with something different, which is the whole point of egg planes for me - doing something different and keeping the fun in the hobby. Too many folks taking the hobby too seriously IMHO, judging by modelling forums and shows attended.
I'm already planning the next couple of egg planes - I've become an addict. It must be time to re-visit the Harriers as re-habilitation therapy?
Focke-Wulf Fw-190 - captured by the 354th Fighter Group, USAF in January 1945. Hasegawa Egg Plane - OOB parts, home-made decals, brushed acrylics.
Yet another Hasegawa eggplane - will they ever stop? Keeping with a WW2 theme, I've gone for a "Butcherbird" egg - "Cobras Prize" [sic] - in a lurid lemon yellow and red scheme when flown by Major Jim Dalglish of the 353rd Fighter Squadron "Cobras". This aircraft is one of a number of Fw-190s captured by the USAF (see Dave Turner's gallery for two more examples) and is featured on the Karaya Decals sheet "Captured Butcherbirds Part 5".
This is a simple OOB build with just the addition of some home-made decals. I've played a bit fast and loose with the scheme, but it's closer than "Braveheart" (the film) to historical accuracy! I used Vallejo's Lemon Yellow, LifeColor's Matt Red and Black for the main colours. I found the Vallejo Model Color paint to be very thin and easy to remove - Humbrol Clear does a great job of lifting it, even when left 24 hours to dry, Klear was fine. The staining of the exhausts was Tamiya weathering powders mixed with Humbrol DecalFix and brushed on. Decals produced at home on an inkjet printer (white paper for the badges and name, clear for the rest). The blue of the stars and bars is a little too dark, but sufficient for the purpose here.
6 Month Challenge 2014 entry - ZIS-5 truck modified with landing platform and SE5A stunt aircraft
Having seen Brendan O'Brien's Flying Circus on the airshow circuit, I thought this would be a good opportunity to combine the ZIS kit from the challenge with a Revell SE5A won in a raffle to create the "Keep It Silly Stunts" display team. The truck was constructed as per the instructions - well as best as I could make them out and some plasticard strips used to support the wooden drink stirrer based landing platform. The advertising banner was no more than paper wrapped around the supports with a printed logo. The SE5A was out-of-the-box and mounted on an old Airfix stand. The base is a photo of a section of runway blurred to give the impression of speed. Paints were a mixture of Vallejo, LifeColor and Humbrol. All-in-all, a bit of harmless fun.
Keep it Silly Stunts
Akagi - Fujimi Chibi-Maru Kantai Series ((421681). No scale!
The Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi, though in a version that's not for the purists or those seeking historical accuracy - no yolk intended. In theory the kit requires no glue, which was about 95% correct - I used some just to ensure nothing fell off, or out, in some places, but you could probably get away with not doing so. A few of the lugs need to be trimmed to get them to fit, but don't over-do this or you will need to glue. For the deck you can use the pre-printed one or decals - I chose the former, though wish I'd then sanded down some of the deck detail so there's no unsightly lumps. Talking of which, you get 9 aircraft in the kit to place on the deck, which makes for a very crowded deck, but in my case, did hide some of the bumps! I'd go with the decals next time. Decals are also provded for the aircraft and the flag is pre-printed on self-adhesive, like the deck.
I used some USMC Harrier greys for the Akagi and the aircraft, and a slightly modified Harrier based green for the aircraft. It's good enough for me. I left it as a waterline model (you do get the bottom of the hull (in fact two) in the kit, so I could use in a diorama with the Zero eggplane and t'Dave's Yamato battleship. You can see this diorama on our stand in the photos of Middle Wallop 2014 show.
Mitsubishi A6M Zero - Tiger 110, flown by the Commanding of Officer of 261st Kokutai, circa mid-to-late 1943. Hasegawa Egg Plane - OOB, brushed acrylics.
This is the Hasegawa eggplane version of the Zero, also known as the "Zeke". It's entirely from the box, with the exception of the piano wire strut used to support it "in flight" and a pilot I got from someone's spares box at a model show. Sadly this is one of the older boxings where Hasegawa did not include pilot figures (or the space for one!). The undercarriage was consigned to the spares box.
As I don't having any IJN colours, I use LifeColor's FS34079 Green mixed with some Daler & Rowney Dark Green and drop of black for the IJN Green and LifeColor's FS36270 (Neutral Grey) for the IJN Grey. The propellor is Revell's matt 113 Rust. Vallejo's Matt Varnish was applied to create the overall finish. Looking at numerous models on the web, it was difficult to determine the correct colours, even when matched IJN paint colours from some manufacturers were used. This is close enough for me.
Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey - 168238 / EG-00, VMM-263 "Thunder Chickens", USMC - Hasegawa Egg Plane - OOB with additional home-made decals, brushed acrylics.
Another egg has been laid, this time a "Thunder Chicken" egg, as flown by the Unit Commander of VMM-263 when deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard USS Bataan as part of Exercise "Eager Lion" in Jordan (May-June 2014). This is the kit built from the box contents, complete with rotating engines to support the VTOL operation of the real aircraft! The VMM-263 decals (serial number, unit number and tail fin scheme) were home-made - I scanned the tail fin details from a photograph and modified to get the correct perspective and alignment. Unit and serial number decals were produced using standard USN fonts. I created a "sun shade" decal of dark grey on clear paper for the top of the canopy as there was nothing in the kit for this. All new decals then printed on an inkjet using clear/white decal papers as appropriate. The remainder of the decals are from the kit.
For the three grey paint scheme I used LifeColor acrylics as follows: FS35237 (top), FS36320 (middle), FS36375 (undersides) and FS36231 was used for the cockpit interior. Ospreys, as with other USN/USMC aircraft have an interesting camouflage pattern which was fun replicating on such a curvy little egg. The female pilot was painted in vaguely accurate flying suit / equipment colours. I gave her a dash of lipstick as she doesn't like to be seen without her lippy on.
A fun build and another addition to my collection of eggs and V/STOL aircraft.
Harrier GR.3 - XV756 / 34, 233 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), February 1976 - Airfix 1/48th scale kit with resin parts, Harrier SIG decals, acrylic paints.
Technically, this is the 20th and last Harrier of my original Harrier project and replaces the Operation Corporate GR3 I'd been using to represent the type. And yes, it is a GR.3 and not a GR.1 - the GR.3 was an engine upgrade to the GR.1 / GR.1A, installing the Pegasus 103 engine. Later, the LRMTS nose and RWR equipment were added to the GR3 to give it the distinctive "dolphin" nose, though not all aircraft had this upgrade and remained "pointy" nosed GR.3s. I've represented XV756 as she looked in February 1976 just prior to deployment to Norway, hence the "Arctic" camouflage scheme. The dark green was over-painted with white distemper using a 4 inch brush, giving her a somewhat blotchy appearance. I tried to replicate this in scale as best I could. The aircraft also had a few paint crew touches: a shark's mouth on the nose, with a matching pair of eyes, a striped tail and an eyes motif on the port fuel tank. Having accidentally over-painted the serial number on the rear fuselage, they painted that back in with black paint, free-hand drawn. Edging to the roundels, squadron badge, etc., was fairly crude.
I used a resin copy of a GR.1 for the nose and the Pavla dropped door intakes. The airbrake was extended (too short on the kit) and a resin ejection seat added to the cockpit. The decals were from the Harrier SIG / AlleyCat sheet "The Harriers of OCU 233 1972-77" and the remainder from the Airfix kit (I used the Falklands 30th Anniversary re-boxed version). The decals were applied on top of Humbrol acrylic rattle can Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey. The scheme was masked using masking tape without having to worry too much about hard / soft lines as the white would see to that. The undersides were brush painted Humbrol acrylic Light Aircraft Grey. Once the decals were applied, I used LifeColor's White acrylic to mimic the distemper - using short brush strokes and dabs as appropriate. A mixture of gloss and matt varnishes are applied in keeping with the real finish of the aircraft at that time.
It's an okay representation of the real thing which my fellow Harrier SIG modellers tried to help me achieve. My thanks in particular to Dennis who provided very useful photos and notes on the nuances of the scheme and the little add-ons by the paint crew.
What's the next Harrier project? Well, that's to carry on building them for those squadrons, units, companies and operations I haven't yet represented - so there's plenty more to do!
Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 30 Fighting Falcon. Aircraft flown by Col. Dennis Swanstrom, Wing Commander 185th Fighter Wing, 174th Fighter Squadron "The Bats", #85565, Iowa Air National Guard. Hasegawa Egg Plane, home-made decals, Humbrol acrylic spray.
This time I've laid a golden egg (groan). Well you have to keep trying something different with eggs, if not the jokes and this was quite an eye-catching scheme, so I fancied giving it a go. Here's a bit of history about the scheme ...
The 174th Fighter Squadron was established in the Iowa ANG in 1946 as a P-51D unit. On December 19, 1991, they received F-16 Fighting Falcons. On March 16, 1992, the 185th Tactical Fighter Group was re-designated the 185th Fighter Group. One month later, the unit was rated operational. As the Air Force and Air Guard standardized unit structures, the 185th was designated the 185th Fighter Wing. The F-16 "Fighting Falcon" would be the last jet that the unit would fly (1992-2002) before conversion to KC-135E tankers in 2003. They were then re-designated the 185th Air Refuelling Wing in November 2003. Their HQ is Sioux City. Colonel Dennis Swanstrom was commander between 1987 and 1998. According to f-16.net, the commander had always wanted an aircraft painted all gold, although according to another source, he did not get permission for the re-painting, so it was a short-lived scheme! Note the original was "Cadiallac Gold", so there's some artistic licence in my interpretation. Frederick Manfred, an author of Westerns, coined the phrase Siouxland in 1946 - it commonly refers to a region that encompasses the entire Big Sioux River drainage basin in the U.S. states of South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. So now you know.
I used the "F-16 Thunderbirds" kit for this - so it's straight out of the box, though I left out the pilot and the very chunky sidewinders that sit on the wingtips. I did have to make a new pitot tube after I broke the original one and let the carpet monster devour it before it could be rescued. Humbrol Gold (from rattle can) is the main colour, with LifeColor paint being used for the exhaust cone and black on the fuselage, Precision Paints Tyre Black is on the tyres. Undercarriage legs were left as bare white plastic. The decals were all created in Photoshop Elements, the tail being a modified photo which I re-shaped to fit. I made a few other changes to suit the modified shape of the plane from the original, but it's essentially the same as the original scheme. Some black lines from old decal sheets were used for the wing panel lines. A final coat of Humbrol Clear was applied to provide a nice glossy finish.
Eggspect another eggplane soon!
Harrier GR.5 - ZD319, British Aerospace / MoD, Summer 1989 during Rough Ground Trials at Wittering - 1/48th scale Hasegawa kit.
This is Harrier number 23 in the ever-expanding collection. ZD319 was the second (DB2) of three development build aircraft and is seen here in its original GR5 configuration (she was later upgraded to a GR.7 before being used for spare parts). First flown on 31 July 1985, the aircraft was used for trials of the engine, systems and ordnance. The aircraft carried an interesting scheme during its early development which I have tried to replicate (more on this later) - it should be noted that the white aft-fuselage was so that link strikes showed during the abortive 25mm gun trials, there being quite some concern about the carbon fibre tail. During these various early trials, cameras were fitted to the aircraft. Three Photo Sonics 1-VN 16mm cameras were mounted under a CLBS-200 on each wing, facing inwards. In the Aden gun pods, there were 3 of the same cameras facing outboard to observe the release trajectory of bombs and fuel tanks and also undercarriage behaviour. The gun blast tubes were wooden replicas which could be removed and forward facing cameras fitted to observe rocket & missile firings or for filming the nosewheel.
In 1989, ZD319 took part in the "Rough Ground Trials" held at Boscombe Down and Wittering. The objective, not unsurprisingly, was to see how the Harrier handled when taxying, taking off and landing on rough, unpaved ground. First generation Harriers regularly deployed "into the field" so it was likely that the second generation GR.5 would follow suit. Graham Tomlinson was the test pilot for these trials. Thus the scheme and the opportunity to throw some mud at the aircraft was too good to miss - I'm also indebted to Andrew Lawson who provided details and photographs of the aircraft at this time - Andy was taking the photographs during the trials.
This model is based on the Hasegawa 1/48th scale Harrier GR Mk.7 “Royal Air Force” kit, albeit with a cast resin GR.5 nose from their GR.5 kit. I also added a resin MB Mk.12 ejection seat and donated CBLS-200 launchers from another kit. For the cameras I used 1/35th scale German gas canisters from Tamiya tanks! The kit gun pods were modified with some plastic rod for the gun blast tubes.
The paint scheme is as follows. A base coating of Halfords White Primer and the final white areas and undercarriage were over-painted with Vallejo Model Color White. Humbrol's Dark Sea Grey enamel, with a dash of white, was used for the top grey and Humbrol's Medium Sea Grey enamel used for the lower surface grey. The blue is a mixture acrylics, namely: LifeColor LC08 Matt Pale Blue + LifeColor UA098 Azure Blue + Vallejo Model Color White + LifeColor Dark Gull Grey (FS36231) acrylic. I don't know the proportions, it was mixed by eye against photographs so is quite possibly wrong, but close enough for me. The CBLS-200 are Humbrol Dark Sea Green enamel and Precision Paint's Dark Roundel Blue. Vallejo Gold was used on the canopy. Other paints are as per previous Harriers (e.g. Humbrol acrylic spray aluminium. Decals were a mixture of home-made (e.g. serial no.), kit, spares and a few from Vingtor's "48-122 Harrier Test & Development #4" sheet. Humbrol Clear was used before and after decal application. The "weathering" was a mixture of artist pastels and Tamiya weathering powders, applied direct and mixed with Decalfix.
1/48th scale Harrier number 24 rolls off my production line. This time it's a GR.7 in the RAF's Arctic camouflage scheme of white over the standard dark sea grey / dark camouflage grey scheme. The jet represented, ZG474, is one of those that participated in Exercise "Snow Falcon 1" at Bardufoss, Norway in January 2004. This was a deployment by 1(F) Squadron, with IV(AC) Squadron taking part in Snow Falcon 2. ZG474 first flew on 28 July 1990 and saw combat service on Operation Warden in 1993. She was upgraded to a GR9 in July 2006 and withdrawn from service on 1 November 2010. She was one of the jets sold to the US in 2011. In her time, she has served with 1(F), 3(F), IV(AC) and 20(R) squadrons.
Having recently completed a GR3 in the Arctic scheme, I decided I would do the same for a second generation Harrier, giving me the option of a GR.5 and a GR.7. The GR.5 became the Rough Ground Trials build, so it had to be a GR.7 and the two greys. There's an Airfix 1/72nd scale kit that has this aircraft in this scheme, but for some reason gives it the tail (build) number 68 instead of 64. Whilst some tails have been swapped, I've seen no photographs to support the Airfix decals in this instance. Aside from the scheme, it's a pretty standard GR.7 build, with the addition of a resin MB Mk.12 ejection seat, resin replacement nose wheel doors (the kit has them moulded in place) and some Maverick missiles from donated spares.
I approached the painting as follows. Unlike earlier deployments, the white looks to be sprayed on the real aircraft rather than brush painted. I toyed with the idea of using a rattle can, but ultimately went for an all brushed finish as follows. The aircraft was primed all over with Halfords acrylic white primer. I then used a pencil to draw the Arctic scheme pattern on the aircraft and rough-striped the grey areas so that I could now reinforce the white primer with Vallejo Model Color White as a top coat (a couple of coats required) and not keep referring to photos whilst doing so. I then masked the white edges using 3M Scotch Invisible Tape and also added the masking to delineate the Humbrol Dark Sea Grey and Dark Camouflage Grey enamels. I painted the dark sea grey and then masked that and the white in a similar fashion to do the dark camouflage grey. The three paints were then used as necessary to touch up any dodgy areas. Other colours included LifeColor Black, Gun Metal, Silver and Light Compass Ghost Grey (FS36375) for the Mavericks and CATR, Precision Paints Tyre Black and Dark Sea Green and Humbrol Ochre. A few coats of Humbrol Clear were used in preparation for decals, which were from a mixture of sources from previous kits and third-party sheets. I did the markings for the Mavericks, CATR and wing-tip slime lights on an inkjet printer. Another coat of Clear then sealed the decals before I used Tamiya weathering powders to dirty her up, sometimes combined with Humbrol Decalfix. I sealed this with Humbrol Matt Varnish spray and then a final coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish. Think that's about it.
McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18C Hornet - J-5011, 11th Staffel, 13th Fighter Wing, Swiss Air Force. Hasegawa Egg Plane - OOB build with home-made / spares decals, brushed acrylics.
I've always wanted to do a "Tiger Meet" special scheme aircraft and here it is - eggplane style. This F/A-18C aircraft was painted up by the Swiss Air Force for Tiger Meet 2007 held in Orland, Norway and it also flew in the 2008 Tiger Meet held in Landivisiau, France. In 2007 the aircraft won the award for "Best Painted Aircraft" and in 2008 the squadron won the top award - The Silver Tiger. This is awarded annually to "the NATO Tiger Squadron which maintains the highest standards of professionalism and demonstrates through formal and informal competitions the "Spirit of the Tiger" during the NATO Tiger Meet."
Sadly I don't think this rendition will win any awards! In case you are further wondering, the NATO Tiger Association was set up off in 1961 to "promote solidarity between NATO air forces" (says Wikipedia) and a damn fine excuse to paint some vibrant colours and schemes onto otherwise boringly grey aircraft. As of March 2015, the squadrons included in the Association are as follows: 23 full members; 10 honorary members; 1 probationary member; and 7 disbanded members, all of which have a tiger as part of their squadron crest. The UK currently has 230 and 814 Squadrons and 74(F) is a former member.
The build is straight from the box and the standard F/A-18 colour scheme applied - FS36320 Dark Compass Ghost Grey topsides and FS36375 Light Compass Ghost Grey undersides. The nose radome is LifeColor Sand. The wingtip sidewinders are figments of the imagination - white, black and orange (LifeColor Red & Yellow mix). Exhausts are Humbrol Aluminium rattle can spray and some weathering powders applied with Humbrol Decalfix. The tail fin decals were produced from photographs which then had to be skewed and readjusted to fit the egg plane tail fins which are a different shape (can't think why!) from the real aircraft. I didn't quite get the result I wanted but close enough. Roundels are from the spares box. The tiger heads (forward of intakes) are scans from a decal sheet and the serial number is home-made using a standard font. Overall finish is Vallejo Matt Varnish. I hope I've captured the spirit of the tiger here if not the detail.
The decals took longer to do than the build, but it's something different and I can at least tell the Special Schemes SIG that I've done something other than a Harrier for them!
McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18C Hornet - 164899 “Chippy Ho!”, VFA-195 “Dambusters”, US Navy. Hasegawa Egg Plane - OOB build with Tamago decals, brushed acrylics.
Oh no, another egg!
Hasegawa market two F-18 Hornet eggplanes - a standard service example and the "Blue Angels" display team variant. They are identical builds, just the latter is in blue plastic and has a different decal sheet. I originally planned to do the Blue Angels version but the perils of surfing the web led me to change my mind. It's too simple and easy just to build these out of the box and whilst they should be fun and relaxing, it's nice for them to be different in my view. When I saw that there was a decal sheet for the commander's aircraft, "Chippy Ho", with VFA-195 "Dambusters" squadron, I thought I'd give it a go.
Various aircraft (i.e. different BU numbers) have worn this scheme or something similar - this is the one worn in 2009 - well it's a resemblance, let's put it that way. The great shame about eggplanes is that there's usually very little room between canopies and tails, so any scheme that majors on this (F-15s being a great example) don't really work. So you have to be prepared to be flexible - and frankly, who eggspects an eggplane to be accurate? In this case, the spirit is once again there, if not the detail. It's reported that it's "Chippy Ho!" because "Chippy" is the squadron call sign and "Chippy Ho" is a replacement for the phrase "Tally Ho!" - apparently this started in Korea. Doesn't really matter what the derivation, that's the name and that's that.
The basic paint scheme is exactly as the Tiger Meet eggplane I did, with the addition of some Revell Emerald Green to cover the missing sections from the decal sheet and to cover any gaps. I've no idea what the correct green is on the real aircraft, but this one seemed to work pretty well with the decal colour. The decals were not great quality and the eagle doesn't really fit from the tail to the body, but it was that or nothing. A good modeller would have done a better job. Sadly I didn't notice part of "Chippy Ho" had disappeared from the spine when I came to put a protective varnish coat on. Call it weathering! Note the aircraft did not carry the stars and bars on the wings - I don't know why - there was room!
Curtiss P-40N Warhawk, 2106396, 502nd "Parrot Head" Fighter Sqdn, 337th Fighter Group - U.S. training unit, Napier Field, Alabama 1943. Hasegawa Egg Plane. OOB buildwith mix of kit and home-made decals.
Another egg is laid, this time a parrot's egg!
I added a "back-plate system" behind propeller spindle to allow rotation (without having to have prop in place before closing fuselage). The parrot head decals were taken from kit / aftermarket versions and re-worked to fit the egg airframe shape. Numbers printed on white decal with attempted match of olive drab paint - but done as if they may have been strips. Not great, but ok for an egg plane.
USAF colours are officially Olive Drab (FS23070) and Neutral Grey (FS36173) (Source IPMS Stockholm), However, I went with Upper surfaces - Olive Drab - Vallejo 70.887 Brown Violet + 10-15% LifeColor FS34079 Dark Green; Lower surfaces - Neutral Grey - left as Halford's Primer [note for future - very rough]; Black - LifeColor; Tyres - Precision Paints Tyre Black; Humbrol Klear.
Decals (stars and bars) from P-51D eggplane + home-made Parrot heads as described, later touched up with paint as required and to blend in.
Curtiss P-40N Warhawk
Sopwith Triplane, prototype N500, June 1916. Wingnut Wings 1/32nd scale. OOB build, brushed / rattle can spray acrylics, kit decals.
My first, and probably last, Wingnut Wings kit, as I have plenty of 1/48th scale kits to complete. it is an approximation to the prototype, N500, which was sent on trial to "A" Squadron, 1 Naval Wing, in Dunkirk in June 1916, where it was used by Australian R S Dallas in combat. It was supplied to the RNAS in factory finish, including reflective underwing doping. According to contemporary reports, it was sent to intercept a German scout within 15 minutes of its arrival in France.
The CDL paint is done here using Precision Paints Mid Sandstone. Wood effect is Humbrol Wood (#110) with artists' acrylic brown / dark brown / yellow mixed in and smeared for effect. Also some Zig Brushables pen work. Metal work is Humbrol acrylic spray aluminium with burnishing effect through use of Pilot Super Color permanent ink pen (silver) dotted on. Rigging is Albion Alloys silver-nickel wire (0.2mm) for support wires (left unpainted) and knit-in elastic thread for control wires (with grey colour applied via Zig Brushables pen). Vallejo Matt Varnish finish, except under the wings which were left as Klear finish to replicate the factory-reflective finish.
Any resemblance between this aircraft and the real thing is, as usual, more luck than judgement.
Hawker P.1127 Prototype 1, XP831, Ark Royal trials, February 1963. Hasegawa Egg Plane with Airfix P.1127 parts (1/72nd scale). Spares and home-made decals.
P.1127 XP831, together with the other 5 P.1127 aircraft went through many different iterations as testing progressed. XP831 first took to the air, tethered by chains, on 21 October 1960 and went on to complete 314 flights with Hawker before being handed over to RAE Bedford for research work in 1965. It now resides in the Science Museum in London. I've chosen a rough (!) approximation of how XP831 looked when she was embarked on sea trials with Ark Royal in early 1963. Historical accuracy is not particularly critical for egg plane model makers, as you can imagine, though I think you may as well try and get some things close to reality. Bill Bedford and Hugh Merewether completed 5 flights and 2 transit flights during the trials which were a complete success, with no major issues arising from operating from a carrier. The Falklands War later went on to prove this in spectacular fashion.
A true scrambled egg this time. I used the undercarriage (nose, main and outriggers), pitot, tail fin, tail cone and tail planes from the very old Airfix P.1127 kit, modified the egg plane wings (removed kink in leading edge and added new outrigger fairings) and added some plastic card for the intake fairings and a dress-maker's pin for the tail pitot. Note the black line around the intakes represent the inflatable rubber lips installed to mangae the air flow into the intakes at varying speeds - an idea that was short-lived as it proved unworkable in practice.
The finish is Humbrol Aluminium (aserosol) and Gun Metal (nozzles), Precision Paints Tyre Black for the tyres and Life Colour Black for the cockpit. The decal spares were robbed for roundels, fin flash and camera markings (white circles), I used the kit ejection seat warnings and the rest I produced on an inkjet printer. Humbrol Clear was used to finish and seal.
Sukhoi Su-35 “Flanker”, "5" from the "Russian Knights" aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian Air Force, circa 2005. Hasegawa Egg Plane. OOB build with Tamaga (RoseRidge.com) decals.
I had originally planned to do this as an OOB build, but then I saw the Russian Knights scheme and the availability of a set of decals and thought I'd have a go at my first "eggybatic" team display jet. Trouble is, as it turns out, the Su-35 does not appear to have ever flown with the Russian Knights and has been purely a ground-based display aircraft. I'm sure lots of internet research would get me the answer as to why, but I pretty much gave up at the start when trying to get to grips with the numerous versions of the Su-27 family, of which the Su-35 is but one small part.
As with a lot of special schemes that get translated to eggplanes, you have to make compromises on the overall shape, position and indeed content sometimes (not enough space) of the markings. The Russian Knights scheme works better than most in this respect and the decals from Tamago are on the whole, pretty good. The major oversight is the lack of the leading edge red stripe on the upper surfaces that covers the wing and fuselage - it's missing, so you either have to attempt to colour match with the other decals, hand paint all the red or do what I did, pick a close-ish match and say "who cares, really?" It was a bit of a fiddle to get the size of the stripe correct, helped by using photocopies of the stripes to check the positioning and how they would lay on the aircraft. There were 5 aircraft assigned to the Russian Knights, so I chose number 5 for that reason!
It's nearly all brushed painted as follows: Vallejo Model Color acrylics for the white and dark blue (Intense Blue 70.925), LifeColor acrylic LC08 for the light blue, Revell enamel Grass Green for the wheel hubs and Humbrol enamel Red (19) for the leading edge / over-upper fuselage stripe. Wheel bays were LifeColor acyrlic FS36320 and their Azure Blue used for the cockpit. Precision paints tyre black, Humbrol rattle can Gun Metal used for the exhausts. LifeColor Black and Aluminium used to complete the set. Decals from Tamago as stated. Klear used for preparation and also final coat, i.e. left glossy which is probably wrong, but adds some vibrancy to the scheme!
All-in-all, I like the result and I'm ready to take on another Flanker!
Another eggplane for my "eggybatic" display team to join the Flanker! The Fireball aerobatic demonstration team was formed at 3 (F) Wing Zweibrucken, West Germany and were yet another European-based aerobatic display team from the Royal Canadian Air Force. The team was first created in April 1954 and with its distinctive all-red F-86 Sabre aircraft participated in various shows in Europe in the summer of 1954. The team's paint scheme lasted for a very short period only, as a superior officer eventually decided that people might mistake the team for being "Communist" and ordered the red paint stripped off.
I've been able to find details of five jets assigned to the team: 412/19412; 415/19425; 434/19434; 450/19450 and 451/19451. There are a few models and photos on the web showing 415, so I chose 450 to be different. The paint colour I've seen described as "Canadian Fire Engine Red" which when you search on Google shows quite a variation. It may have changed specification over the years, but all the images I found of the aircraft show this red shade rather than the more expected warmer Red Arrows type shade, so I chose to use Vallejo's Flat Red, rightly or wrongly.
Harrier AV-8B II NA - 163867 / KD20, VMAT-203 "Hawks", USMC, 2015. Hasegawa, 1/48th scale. Flying Leatherneck / SuperScale International decals.
Back on the straight and narrow after the egg run, this is Harrier #25 in the collection. VMAT-203 is the Marines Harrier training unit based at Cherry Point, North Carolina, USA and therefore predominantly flies the two-seater TAV-8B II. However, it does fly some of the single seat AV-8B II NA aircraft, though interestingly none of the AV-8B II Plus. This particular aircraft, 163867, first flew on 7th November 1989 and was a participant in the first phase of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2002/03. At some point after that the aircraft was transferred to VMAT-203 and has been the designated jet of the unit commander since 2007. Then painted in the original Harrier Tactical Paint Scheme, in 2012 the aircraft was re-painted in the latest scheme of Gunship Grey (FS36118) and French Blue Grey (FS35237). The unit is responsible for weapons training, which includes the use of live weapons, so I've added a not-seen-but-possible load-out of Mk.20 Rockeyes and 500lb GBU-38 JDAMs, complete with gun pods and Litening pod. You'll notice the gun pods and the rails are from the old scheme - clearly these didn't all make it into the paint shop!
As ever, the build is pretty much from the box with the usual modifications and corrections. The Rockeyes came from a Hasegawa Weapons Set and the JDAMs from a fellow Harrier SIG member's spares box. Note the Litening Pod on the centre-line was implemented in 2013 to free up a wing pylon for another weapon. The pylon Hasegawa supply for the centre-line may not be deep enough as the Litening pod's rear rests on the ammunition feed of the gun pod. This is no big deal as it's pretty difficult to spot when the jet is on the ground, even if you look from the rear as the airbrake is usually in the way.
The paint scheme is as follows. A base coating of Halfords white primer and the final white areas and undercarriage were over-painted with Vallejo Model Color White. Precision Paints' enamels were used for FS36118 and FS35237. The Gunship Grey ends up much lighter than the Lifecolor version, so I will use this in future. The gunpods and AIM-9 rails were painted in LifeColor's FS36320 acrylic. The JDAMs were LifeColor acrylic FS36375 and the Rockeye's Vallejo Model Color White acrylic. Tyres were Vallejo Model Color Black-Grey. Various other bits were LifeColor / Vallejo Model Color acrylics. Klear was used for decal preparation and for decal sealing. There's a little bit of weathering using Tamiya weathering powders. The overall matt finish is Vallejo Matt Varnish. Apart from the primer, it's all brush painted.
Decals for the special tail scheme were from Flying Leatherneck's "Jumping Jarheads Part 1" (FL48006), though I used a scan photo for the nose badge. The stencils were from SuperScale International's "AV-8B Harrier II+ VMA-513, VMA-542 & VMA-223" (MS481249) decal sheet. Technically the colours on the tail have changed slightly for the new scheme, but the decals are for the old one. The colours are now a little brighter, but it was close enough and saved me trying to re-create the decals. Perhaps you didn't even notice? I left the commander's name off as it looks like this was not present in early 2015 which is the date I chose for the jet. Some home-made decals were applied to the HUD to represent the frame. Err, that's about it. Time for the next one to be started!
Harrier AV-8B II NA
Boeing 747, "Amber Nectar Dreaming", QANTAS, 1 April 2015. Hasegawa Eggplane Boeing 747-400 ANA. OOB build, home-made decals, brushed acrylics.
In 1994 QANTAS launched their "Flying Art" series to celebrate the indigenous art of Australia's first known inhabitants, the Aborigines. The first aircraft painted was a 747 and entitled "Wunala Dreaming", followed by "Nalanji Dreaming" (another 747) and then "Yananji Dreaming" (a 737). A fourth aircraft, "Mendoowoorrji" (another 737) appeared in November 2013.
On April 1st, 2015, the series was updated to reflect the art and culture of the modern-day Australian and was entitled "Amber Nectar Dreaming". Due to some cultural sensitivity, for which Australians are of course well known, the aircraft has yet to make a public appearance. This is of course a joke and should be taken in the right spirit - or is that lager?
OOB build of the aircraft, home-made decals for the "sponsors" art. Vallejo and LifeColor acrylics. Klear finish.
"Amber Nectar Dreaming"
Boeing / McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E Super Hornet, "201", VFA-137 "Kestrels", USS Ronald Reagan, US Navy, 2014. Hasegawa Egg Plane F/A-18 Hornet, home-made decals, brushed LifeColor / Vallejo acrylics.
Cdr James Blackmore, RN, was one of a number of UK personnel who recently completed exchange tours with the US Navy. In 2014, Cdr Blackmore began his conversion to the F/A-18E Super Hornet at NAS Lemoore and then spent a number of months aboard USS Ronald Reagan with VFA-137 "Kestrels" following his qualification. James is a former Sea Harrier and Harrier GR7/9 pilot who was assigned to 1(F) Squadron when the Harriers were withdrawn from service in December 2010. He was the last pilot to fly a Harrier from the deck of HMS Ark Royal before she was decommissioned. He converted to the Harrier GR7 from the FA2 Sea Harrier.
I made this model for James as a humorous thank you for his help in greatly extending my knowledge and contact with Joint Force Harrier and also to provide a physical reminder of his time on deployment with the US Navy. Perhaps he can find room for it on his desk in his new role back in the UK? I added the "zaps" of the 1(F) Squadron to the tail fins, as of course the VFA-137 jets have the Kestrel as their emblem.
It's the same paints as my other Hornet eggplanes. There's a significant different between the Hornet and Super Hornet which is not reflected in this model - that would be taking things to the eggstreme, wouldn 't it?
Goodyear F2G Super Corsair Air Racer - "Scorcher", N2012D. Hasegawa eggplane. OOB build, home-made decals, brushed acrylics.
You may well recognise that this is in fact a Vought F-4U-1A Corsair (well as close as it gets to one in the eggplane world), but I have it masquerading as a Goodyear F2G Super Corsair Air Racer. Not only that, "Scorcher" is a figment of my imagination too - no such aircraft exists. Also note, 2012 was the Chinese Year of the Dragon, hence the registration N2012D. Apart from all that, it's all quite realistic! I just fancied something bright, funny and a different colour from what I already have in the egg collection - "egg white" seemed appropriate. The four blade prop is from the spares box, otherwise it's straight from the box parts-wise. Brushed painted with Vallejo white, red and black-grey paints, Tamiya cockpit green and Life Color black. Decals are home-made, using graphics sourced and modified from the internet. It was left as a glossy finish to improve the airspeed! (Klear).
F2G Super Corsair
U.S. Jeep Willys M.B./Cargo/37mm Gun, Hasegawa 1/72nd scale.
What does an aircraft model maker do with a jeep? Give it wings of course! How many cars have wings? Not many, but there's a very well known one at Brooklands that provided the inspiration for this build - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The rest, they say, is history.
I mounted the gun on the trailer just to be different - and it'd be a bit hard to have it fly any other way. Wings are from the scrap box (tailplanes from an eggplane Harrier), as are the rockets (missiles of a 1/144th scale Viggen if I recall). Some home made decals and a custom paint scheme complete the job. I tried to use the kit figures, but they are way over-scale and don't fit.
This was my entry in the 6 Month Challenge 2015 competition. Why else would I be building a jeep? Thanks Tony for the experience - please don't let me repeat it.
Willys Willys Bang Bang
Harrier AV-8B II Plus - 164562 / CG01, VMA-231 "Ace of Spades", USMC, February 2013. Hasegawa, 1/48th scale. Authentic Decals decals.
Harrier #26 in the collection hits the take-off ramp. It is yet another special scheme, this time for VMA-231. The jet, 164562, first received this special scheme for its commanding officer in the Spring of 2012 as part of the US Marines centennial celebrations (the Marines emblem is on the nose on the starboard side). The pilot's name on that side is 1st Lt A.A. Cunningham. He was the first pilot to report to the Naval Aviation Camp in Annapolis, Maryland, for "duty in connection with aviation" on 22 May, 1912. Luckily for him, he didn't have to master a Harrier!
100 years on, in October 2012, the unit deployed for the second time on Operation Enduring Freedom, led by the current CO, Lt Col Shawn Hermley. The aircraft as modelled, represents a mission in February 2013 that "would be the most significant event, and have the greatest impact on the enemy, during our deployments. And as far as we can determine, it made history as the largest Marines Corp aviation strike during US combat operations in Afghanistan." (Source: AV-8B Harrier II Units of Operation Enduring Freedom - Lon Nordeen). The mission, still classified when this was written in 2015, involved 7 USMC Harriers, each carrying four 1,000lb GBU-32s. Within a three minute window, 27 GBU-32s were deployed "with devastating effects"! One can infer the 28th either did not drop or did not detonate.
Another out-of-the-box build with the usual modifications and corrections. The GBU-32s came from Kasl Hobby. I'm not 100% convinced they are the exact format carried by the Harrier, but close enough. I'm also guessing that this aircraft carried a Litening pod on the centre-line alongside the gun pods.
The paint scheme is as follows. A base coating of Halfords white primer and the final white areas and undercarriage were over-painted with Vallejo Model Color White. Precision Paints' enamels were used for FS36118 (upper surfaces) and FS35237 (lower surfaces). The gunpods were painted in LifeColor's FS36320 acrylic. The GBU-32s were LifeColor acrylic FS36375. Tyres were Vallejo Model Color Black-Grey. Various other bits were LifeColor / Vallejo Model Color acrylics. Klear was used for decal preparation and for decal sealing. There's a little bit of weathering using Tamiya weathering powders. The overall matt finish is Vallejo Matt Varnish. Apart from the primer, it's all brush painted.
Decals for the special scheme were from Authentic Decals set AD4862 and frankly they could be a whole lot better. The biggest issue is almost all the stencils were over-sized. They are closer to 1/32nd than 1/48th scale. The Ace of Spades badge is transparent, when it should have a white background and some items are simply the wrong colour, particularly the centennial badge wings. I used the minimum I could get away with and filled in with Flying Leatherneck and Superscale decals. The port intake is clearly a repair job (on the real aircraft), as is the primer replacement panel on the wing (unseen in this view).
My second jet in the new USMC Harrier Tactical Paint Scheme and unlikely to be my last, I think.
Harrier AV-8B II Plus
NASA Space Shuttle "Atlantis" and SPEggTRE's "Bird Two". Hasegawa Egg Plane OOB and scratch build.
November 2015 saw the latest film in the James Bond franchise, "SPECTRE". I'd already decided to build the Space Shuttle at this time and it seemed appropriate to re-visit one of the earlier Bond films where SPECTRE and Blofeld first made an appearance, namely "You Only Live Twice". Putting two and two together, it was only natural to arrive at SPEggTRE (Specially Painted Eggplanes Terrorising Rivet Examiners) and re-create their original spaceship as "Bird Two". It's made from high-tech materials and parts: A Costa Coffee cup, a Tesco's Black Pepper refill pot and part of an egg box. The space shuttle, another "Atlantis" about to be lost, is made OOB.
This is the 2013 release (A02067) of the fabric-winged Hurricane Mk.1 from Airfix. Built out-of-the-box with just a change of decals. I decided to model L1555 as this was the aircraft flown by Sqn Ldr John Gillan on his record breaking flight on 10th February 1938. To show off their new aircraft in 111 Squadron (and according to Stephen Bungay, Gillan was keen on some of his own self-publicity), Sqn Ldr Gillan flew his new Hurricane to Turnhouse and back to Northolt on a wild and windy day in early February. Finding himself in Turnhouse around 4pm on a winter's day, he figured there'd not be much to do so he flew home again, covering the 327 miles in 48 minutes, registering a ground speed average of 408.75 mph. He achieved this whilst flying at full boost and with an 80-90 mph following wind. Sqn Ldr Gillan was somewhat uncharitably called "Downwind" Gillan thereafter by his less-than-impressed squadron pilots and L1555 became known as "State Express 555".
The media ignored the small fact of the gale force tail-wind and triumphed the RAF's new wonder plane and how it would match anything in the Luftwaffe. For a while, every little boy wanted to fly one, but as Stephen Bungay says in his book The Most Dangerous Enemy, "The Hurricane's moment of glory was to be tragically short, however. She was very good, but a somewhat plain and homely girl, well-behaved and reliable. Her time in the limelight was to be cut brutally short by the appearance on stage of a real glamour-puss, a lady of such refined curvaceous beauty and class that she instantly seduced every young man who climbed into her cockpit with such charisma that the public as a whole just stopped and stared every time she passed. They still do." There's no prize for guessing the name of the aircraft to which he is referring.
There's really not much to say about the build. The kit assembles very nicely and no filler was required. I'm sure there are a few things to correct according to the rivet counters (wheel hubs, etc), but I just wanted to see if there's enough interest in the kits and the subject for me to build a few more. And the answer? I'm certainly hooked on the Hurricane as a subject, so I think I will build a few more that tell the story of this incredible workhorse of the RAF in World War 2.
I brushed painted acrylic Humbrol Dark Earth and Dark Green, sprayed Humbrol Aluminium with a rattle can and used Vallejo acrylics for the other bits and bobs. I applied Humbrol Clear pre- and post-decals (serials numbers were home-made) and used knit-in elastic for the aerial.
A nice easy build and very enjoyable - highly recommended.
The Pup was officially known as the Scout. I read that it got nicknamed the Pup as it was a single-seat version of the two-seat Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter.
I can't say I was particularly enamoured with this kit and spent too much time wondering if I should do the Pup with the skids or the one with wheels. Ultimately, the fragile looking resin skids persuaded me that I should go with the standard wheeled undercarriage. Decision made, I then thought I'd see if there were some other more interesting schemes to do for this aircraft and I asked the world's favourite search engine to do its party piece. Lo and behold, I found a humbug. To be precise, a Sopwith Pup, B2192, attributed to Capt Foote and Capt. H. H. Balfour at the Gosport School of Special Flying, 1917. Further research suggested there's some doubt as to whether it was black and white, but a decal sheet, a sim plane and a reference in an historical document persuaded me to go with the flow. And if it's wrong, well so what, I'm in the company of others. One of the chaps in the Great War SIG had done an alternative view and is equally likely to be the real thing!
The overall build was quite straightforward, though the kit doesn't really help you much. It's a mix of plastic, metal, etch and resin - not the faint-hearted. I got there in the end, though a better method of getting the wings set is required than what I currently use. For the paint masking, I used Tamiya's masking tape after applying an all over coat of acrylic Vallejo White. Humbrol Black was then used for the stripes. Decals were from the kit, except for the serial number which I printed on an ink jet. I don't have the right font, so I used one that was close enough. Coats of Klear were applied pre- and post-decals and a Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish. A little weathering was aplpied around the engine cowling. Rigging was done with knit-in elastic and proved to be not as bad as anticipated. However, I left the aileron rigging off - I quit whilst I was reasonably well ahead!
In the end, I'm reasonably pleased with the result and it's different and eye-catching. I do need to improve my use of masking tape when painting.
Fokker E.V (aka D.VIII) flown by Theodor Osterkamp, Eduard Weekend Edition, 1/48th scale.
Theo Osterkamp is reported to be the highest scoring ace in the German Navy in WWI with 32 victories. He survived, unlike many others, and went on to claim 6 aerial victories during WW2. He died in 1975. Osterkamp commanded Marine-Feld-Jagdstaffel 2 from October 1917 and was awarded the Pour le Mérite on 2 September 1918. He was awarded his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 August 1940. The Fokker E.V was a latecomer to the war, first appearing in late July 1918. After a few wing-related failures, it received a strengthened rear main spar and was re-designated the Fokker D.VIII. Only 85 of the 381 aircraft produced saw service in the front line.
There's apparently some debate as to the accuracy of the scheme in this kit, but like the Pup, I went with the flow and followed it from the box, albeit I've almost certainly not got the colours Eduard specified correct. It is a relatively simple build, the only difficulty being the usual one, getting the alignment of the wing correct with the angles of the struts. It is brush painted with Tamiya tape used for masking. The bloctchy yellow was some duff primer spraying by me that the yellow paint failed to hide. I left it rather than go back and re-do as it seemed to suggest weathering it probably never had! I used Humbrol Black, LifeColor Yellow (LC53), Vallejo White and Humbrol Army Green (#102). The propeller was Humbrol Wood (#100) with a mix of artist acrylic browns to generate a wood grain appearance (when viewed from a long distance!). Various Vallejo and Humbrol paints were used for the cockpit interior. Humbrol Clear applied pre- and post-decalling and Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish. Knit-in elastic used for control wires.
Not one of my best, but it complements the Sopwith Pup in a display.
This is an OOB build of the Airfix fabric wing Hurricane Mk.I (kit A01010), depicting an aircraft operated by the Advanced Air Striking Force based at Lille-Seclin in France during May 1940. It's fate is unknown, as is its serial number. Note the aircraft had been upgraded to use the de Havilland three-bladed propeller.
A simple straight-forward build from the box contents, with the addition of knit-in elastic for the wire aerial. The undersides are painted half white (Vallejo Model Color) and half "night" (I mixed LifeColor black with some Vallejo Intense Blue). The topsides are the standard dark earth (Humbrol 29) and dark green (Humbrol 30 acrylic) - I used white blue-tac and masking tape as fill-in area to cover the dark earth for spraying the dark green. Humbrol Trainer Yellow was used for the propeller hub. Humbrol rattle can Aluminium and Vallejo Intermediate Green (with a dash of white) were used in the wheel wells and cockpit area (as required). Vallejo Black-Grey was used for the tyres. Humbrol Clear used pre- and post-decal application. Some artist pastels and Zig brushables used for a little bit of wear and tear usage items. Vallejo Matt Varnish used to finish. Voila - another Hurricane in the collection.
Fokker Dr.I (serial unknown) flown by Staffelfuhrer August Raben, Jasta 18, 1918. Revell 1/48th scale. Brushed acrylics, home-made decals.
I resisted the temptation to produce yet another rendition of "The Red Baron" straight from the kit and decided on the well-known Jasta 18 (half red!). This unit was formed on 30 October 1916 and mobilised on 8 January 1917, it went on to achieve 112 confirmed victories and had 12 flying aces in its ranks. I chose to do one of the aircraft flown by August Raben (he flew several Dr.Is and D.VIIs) as I liked his personal raven motif. He took charge of the unit in April 1918 and changed the scheme from blue and white to red and white.
None of the books seem to agree on any one particular scheme, so this is my interpretation of it. This required some new home-made decals (crosses and the raven), otherwise the kit is a straight-from-the-box build with minimal rigging (the usual knit-in elastic) and the traditional triplane approach of through-the-wing struts which makes alignment a doddle. The kit's plastic is red, so I used Halfords White Primer to lay down the white base and Vallejo Model Color White and Flat Red for the topsides finish and Revell's Hellblau (36149) for the undersides. The remainder of the painting (wood effect, etc) is as per my usual approach and paints. Humbrol Clear fro decals and Vallejo matt varnish to finish, after the application of some artist pastels in Decalfix for weathering. All-in-all a fun little build.
Fokker Dr.I, 546/17, Jasta 11, early 1918. Eduard 1/48th scale weekend edition, OOB build with kit decals.
This model reproduces the scheme it wore when flown by Ltn. Werner Steinhauser. He had 4 victories to his credit before being wounded in combat on 17 March 1918. There were 6 more aircraft added to his total before he lost his life on 26 June 1918.
The model is straight-from-the-box, which means the only "interesting" work to do is the painting of the "streaky" camouflage. I was initially a bit worried about doing this, but then the world wide web came to the rescue. Having looked at lots of models and photos, it became apparent that you can't really be right or wrong - there's little agreement on pretty much the whole process from paints through to painting. Super. Having said that, I'm sure to meet the modeller who's going to tell me how wrong I am - there's always one as they say.
Therefore, all I had to decide was how to do it and basically this is what I did. I primed the surfaces with Halfords grey primer and chose a 3/8" width brush and my three Vallejo Model Color paints: Brown Violet, Dark Yellow and Pastel Green. I split the effort into wings and then fuselage. First paint on was the brown violet, quickly applied in single strokes and no concern for coverage. Whilst wet, I then brushed on the dark yellow. As that was drying, I brushed in the pastel green. During the process I varied the amount of paint on the brush and how often I went over parts already painted. In other words, you see what you are doing and adjust accordingly - if it's gone too light, just work some brown or yellow back in, etc. Note that the streaks are slightly offset from the perpendicular and were painted from top to bottom, front to back. I did of course practise on some old scrap kit plastic first to get a feel for how it would look and how I needed to do it. For a first attempt I'm happy. For the tail I tried enamel Trainer Yellow (Humbrol) which I didn't like so I then over-coated with a mix of Vallejo Lemon Yellow and Dark Yellow. The red struts and nose cowling are LifeColor Matt Red (LC06) which was an okay match for the decal red on the fuselage and tail. Vallejo white for the tail and Revell Hellblau for the undersides completed the main scheme colours. A touch of weathering and a Vallejo matt finish and it was job done.
Another enjoyable triplane build and combined with the Jasta 18 aircraft, they make a nice pair of Fokkers.
Lockheed Martin X-35B (JSF Lightning II Prototype), Panda Models, 1/48th scale. OOB build, brush painted.
The X-35A CTOL demonstrator successfully completed its first flight on 24 October 2000. The aircraft was then converted to the X-35B and it completed its first "press up" on 23 June 2001, piloted by BAe Systems test pilot, Simon Hargreaves. He took off vertically and hovered at a height of about 15-20 feet for several minutes and then landed vertically. It flew supersonic a few weeks later. On the 6 August 2001 it completed its last flight and after 48.9 total flying hours was then permanently grounded. It's now an exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum.
This is the Panda Models version of the X-35B - it's not 100% accurate - but visually it looks pretty similar and was close enough for my requirements. The F-35B now looks noticeably different, so don't use this kit for a production aircraft. I didn't use the paint colours identified in the instructions, but went with the following prevalent-at-the-time F-16 scheme: FS36118 (topsides) / FS36270 (nose) / FS36375 (undersides) - all LifeColor paints. I used Vallejo's Model Color paints: White (with a Halfords white primer underneath), Grey-Black for the tyres, Gunmetal and Natural Steel for the "metal" elements. As the cockpit was very basic, I made most of it LifeColor Black. Although there are not many decals, the first inner tail one disintegrated, so I had to cut it a bit short on the other side to match. I did spray with clear gloss to stop them falling apart. Johnson's Klear applied pre- and post-decaling and Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish. No weathering applied.
There aren't many parts in the kit, so it's a fairly quick build and it went together pretty easily. The only thing to watch of note is the cockpit tub doesn't really fill the fuselage, so you need to do something about the gaps. Note if you decide to go after-market, the X-35B really did have a HUD. The F-35B has now done away with this.
Lockheed Martin X-35B
Grumman F-14B Tomcat - "Thief of Baghdad" (BuNo not known), VF-24 "Fighting Renegades" based at NAS Fallon, 1991. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; home-made decals; brushed acrylics.
This F-14 was given a temporary camouflage scheme for a VF-24 detachment to NAS Fallon in late 1991 when the squadron worked upon its air-to-ground weapons delivery tactics. The scheme for the “Thief of Baghdad” and “Camel Smoker” were based upon WWII German desert paint schemes. One month later it was transferred to an East Coast squadron and subsequently destroyed in an accident that sadly cost both crew their lives, caused by an engine explosion and aircraft disintegration at supersonic speed. Considering it's an unusual scheme, the history of the aircraft seems quite obscure. Suffice to say you can find it on a decal sheet from TwoBobs if you wish to do a “proper” job!
It was painted using Life Color Desert Sand and Humbrol Dark Brown with Life Color FS36320 undersides. Other colours used were from Vallejo Model Color. I created the nose art using some web images and added the text using a suitable font. I used Klear for decal preparation and protection and a coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish.
This F-14 was the first of my blitz build to reduce my eggplane kit to zero. There's quite a few to come.
McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom, 35+76, AKG 52, West German Air Force, Tiger Meet scheme, 1984-85. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; home-made decals; brushed acrylics.
Well, who can resist doing a Tiger Meet Phantom scheme? Not me, and this scheme fits better on an eggplane than many of the others I’ve seen. More importantly, it was quite simple and was also open to a bit of artistic interpretation. Tigers may look all the same, but in fact they are not! Apparently the aircraft is on display at the Gatow Museum in Berlin, albeit in its normal camouflage scheme. Sadly most of the Tiger schemes are short-lived, not unsurprisingly.
Painted with a LifeColor Yellow / LifeColor Red mixture (roughly 85:15) and Vallejo Model Color Black. Vallejo White and Black Grey used for the undercarriage. Decals were home-made and based on photos found on the web for the unit badges. It was Klear-coated and left as a gloss finish for effect, rather than for realism. You want realism with an eggplane?
Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor (Block 40), AF 10-4195. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics.
The F-22 is reported to be one of the world's stealthiest (i.e. low visibility) aircraft, but clearly not in this scheme! So why is it like this? Well, it's sort of what they look like when they roll off the production line at the Lockheed Martin works in Marietta, Georgia, USA. In fact, this model represents the last aircraft to do - the 195th and last example of the Raptor. The USAF wanted a lot more but, surprise surprise, the unit cost of the aircraft was somewhat higher than the original estimate and no more could be afforded, particularly with the F-35 coming down the track at the same time. 10-4915's first test flight was on March 14, 2012, with company test pilot, Bret Luedke at the controls. It was then delivered in May to the 3rd Wing's 525th Fighter Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. Paul Moga at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Now you might be thinking why is it this colour, it doesn’t exactly make it “stealthy”? Simply because it has yet to visit the paint shop – it’s naked and in its primer. The real-life colours are slightly more muted, but then it would I’d lose the opportunity to make it look like a peppermint and chocolate Easter Egg. It was a chore doing all the masking, I wasn’t going to spend any more time mixing the right colours.
The primer colours are more muted than I have used, but then it wouldn't look like a peppermint chocolate Easter Egg if I was more accurate. It was a chore doing all the masking, I wasn’t going to spend any more time mixing the right colours. Paint-wise, I used a Revell Emerald Green and Vallejo Model Color White mixture for the basic airframe. The various panels were done using Vallejo Flat Brown, Life Color Desert Sand, Vallejo model Air “USA Grey” and Vallejo Model Colour Natural Steel. Undercarriage was Vallejo Model Color White and Black-Grey. The BuNo decals were home-made.
The JASDF, like the West German Air Force, seem to spend more time painting their aircraft in special schemes than they appear to do flying them. Long may that remain so, both for the modeller and our well-being. There were loads to choose from, but this one worked better with the eggplane shape than many of the others. The Decals were easy to do as well. Hasegawa seem to like the T-4, along with the F-15, as they allow them to keep re-packaging the old plastic with new decals, not only for eggplanes but also the more traditional scales.
The overall airframe colour was Vallejo Model Color Light Compass Ghost Grey (FS36375) – though I don’t think it’s a particularly accurate rendition, being too dark for one thing. Other Vallejo Model Colors used include Natural Steel, Black, White and Black-Grey. Humbrol Matt Orange was used on the wings, tailplane and tail. Finished with Micro Scale Flat Varnish.
This is painted in one of the experimental Vietnam war schemes trialled by VA-65. Ironically, the two aircraft it lost during the war were using these trial camouflage schemes! I thought I’d try one of these just to be different, though it’s a bit of a guess as there were not many reference images. It does appear on a decal sheet if you wish to do it.
Here’s the story of this aircraft: “A-6A 151816/'NL-406', call sign "CUPCAKE 406", was hit by ground fire while attacking Hoi Thuong Barracks, near Vinh, North Vietnam and crashed at sea on June 25 1966. The crew ejected and were able to communicate via emergency radios during their parachute descent. After hitting the water, the crew came under mortar fire from the beach. Search and rescue efforts were initiated immediately. One of the SAR aircraft (A-4C 149567, VA-146, USS Ranger (CVA-61)) was shot down, but two of the three crewmen, A-6A pilot Lt Commander Richard M. Weber and and the A-4 pilot, Lt. F.H. Magee, were picked up by U.S. Navy helicopters. No trace of the A-6A bombardier-navigator, Lt.(JG) Charles W. Marik was found, and it was suspected that he had been hit and killed by enemy fire. In the absence of positive proof of death, Charles Marik was carried as Missing in Action until the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 16 May 1973. His remains have not been repatriated.”
For this build, I used Humbrol Gloss White from an aerosol, Life Color FS34064 Dark Green and Life Color FS34079 Forest Green. Vallejo Model Color Black-Grey was used on the tyres. Finished with Micro Scale Flat Varnish.
Lockheed P-38 Lightning F-5B, 4268213, GIR 2/33, Free French Air Force, Bastia, Corsica, 1944. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics; home-made decals.
Yes, another eggplane. In fact, the 25th that I’ve built, not that you’ve been counting. It's up tp you, dear reader, to perhaps judge if that is time well spent. I think so.
In looking at the various options for a P-38 Lightning, I found some profiles for aircraft flown by the Free French Air Force and thought that’ll do. I know nothing really about the aircraft or their use – something I might re-visit at a later date and I know even less about this particular airframe. The profiles and models I found for it contradicted each other. I went with the simplest option.
The paint i chose was “Azure Blue”, which seems to be unlike all other Azure Blues I’ve seen, but I had it and decided to use it as is. Not exactly accurate, but perhaps more striking? It’s Life Color’s FS35231 if you want to check it out. Vallejo Model Color Intermediate Green, Yellow, White, Black and Black-Grey were also used. Decals were home-made and the model was finished with a coat of Micro Scale Flat Varnish.
P-38 F5B Lightning
Boeing 747-100, N479EV / 979, Evergreen International Aviation, 2009. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics; home-made decals.
This is the Hasegawa Air Force One kit that has gone through a number of selections as to how it would end up. I finally settled on this version after seeing a photograph of the aircraft in action - releasing the orange-coloured flame retardant I've mimicked in this "diorama". This kit is the Air Force One version marketed by Hasegawa and was going to be built in these markings. The plan met reality and I decided to choose something different. In browsing the web, I came across the Evergreen Supertanker and thought I’d have a go at that as a diorama. It also complemented my earlier fire-bomber, the Avenger.
A web source says "The Boeing 747 Supertanker is an aerial firefighting aircraft based on a Boeing 747 wide-body aircraft. Initially developed by Evergreen International Aviation, the first Supertanker was based on a 747-200 (N470EV / 947) which never entered service. The second Supertanker (N479EV / 979) was based on a 747-100 originally manufactured by Boeing in 1971 for Delta Air Lines. It entered service for the first time in 2009, fighting a fire in Cuenca, Spain, and made its first American operation on 31 August 2009 at the Oak Glen Fire. On December 31, 2013, Evergreen International Airlines filed a Chapter 7 petition in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware with all of the assets (including all 747 airframes) subsequently sold to a parts salvage re-seller; Jet Midwest Aviation. The 747 Supertanker can carry up to 19,600 gallons (74,200 litres) of retardant or water for 4,000 miles (6,400 km), and is the largest aerial firefighting aircraft in the world."
The airframe and wings are painted using Vallejo Model Color White and Life Color FS36440 Light Gull Grey. The two greens of the livery are Vallejo Model Color Intermediate Green (70.891) and Revell Aqua Dunkelgrun (36363). Vallejo Model Color Natural Steel used on the engines and pylons. And the diorama? The base is packaging foam painted green with little inserts of red and yellow Plasticine to mimic some fire. The retardant is cuddly toy stuffing which has been coloured by dipping it in a dliluted acrylic paint mixture of red and yellow.
Special effects on a par with a Hammer Horror film I reckon.
TwoBobs do a couple of decal sheets for eggplanes: EP-001 F-16 Aggressive Eggs and EP-002 F-16 Falcon Eggs. This scheme is a slightly modified version found on the Aggressive Eggs sheet - I think the scheme has undergone a few subtle colour changes, least that's what I think has happened. It's painted now and I#m not changing it.
And the story behind the scheme? The 18th Fighter Squadron was set to be disbanded, but instead was converted to an Aggressor Squadron for use in Red Flag - Alaska exercises. To complement this role, an "Arctic" scheme was developed for the Block 30 F-16s and is worn by some of the aircraft, the rest being in standard aggressor scheme colours. The lighter grey has now been superseded by white. The scheme is offically FS3622 Camouflage Grey, FS36231 Dark Gull Grey and Black, with FS36176 Ocean Grey nose cone. Originally, and there's also the one I did ... FS36628 ("White grey"), FS36231 and FS37030 (black). I used Life Color FS36440 Light Gull Grey, Life Color FS36231 Dark Gull Grey and Vallejo Model Color Black-Grey. The nose cone is FS36118 Gunship Grey. Decals as described and Vallejo Matt varnish to finish.
This was the scheme I chose for my first Zero, but this got changed when Chairman Dave and I decided to do our little joint diorama of eggplanes and eggships, which never quite materialised as planned. I acquired another Zero and this time completed the job. But it's wearing roundels, you say. Yes indeed, it was a captured aircraft evaluated by the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - South East Asia. Technical Air Intelligence Units (TAIU) were joint Allied military intelligence units formed during World War II to recover Japanese aircraft to obtain data regarding their technical and tactical capabilities. Various photographs of this aircraft exist flying in 1946 whilst with the unit. Mine's an interpretation, before you go looking!
Courtesy of our club paint library, I was able to use Tamiya JA Green (XF-13) and Tamiya JN Grey (XF-12) for the camouflage scheme, together with Vallejo Model Colors Natural Steel, White, Black, Intermediate Green and Dark Yellow mix, and Black Grey for the other parts. Decals are from the spares box, whilst the ATAIU-SEA and serial numbers are painted iin white uising home-made paint masks.
F-47D Thunderbolt - 473, Cuban Army Air Force, 1956. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics / aerosol; home-made and spares decals.
Once again I've ignored the standard kit decals and gone for something different, this time a F-47D of the Cuban Army Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba) who acquired a number of ex-USAF Thunderbolts (“Jugs”). They were used alongside B-26 Invaders. More background can be found on the web, of course.
The metal finish is courtesy of Humbrol Silver from an aerosol and complemented with various Vallejo Model Color paints including Chrome, Natural Steel, Black, Black-Grey and Intermediate Green. Klear was used for the decals and the final finish. Decals are from the spares box and some are home-made.
This is a nice reminder of our trip to Cuba in 2016.
The "Flying EGGSTEAD" made by Bristol Engines. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: Harrier kit with parts from the spares box in different scales and wooden coffee stirrer; brushed / aerosol acrylics; home-made decals.
Many people mistakenly believe that the forerunner of the Harrier was the Rolls-Royce Thrust Measurement Rig, colloquially known as the "Flying Bedstead". This is wrong - it was a research vehicle that ultimately led to the development of the Rolls-Royce RB.108 direct-lift turbojet, five of which were used to power the first true British VTOL aircraft, the Short SC.1. Rolls-Royce was not involved with the Harrier until they purchased Bristol, who had already developed the Pegasus.
Now it can be revealed - here eggsclusively - that the early test vehicle for the P.1127 and hence the Harrier was this previously top secret EGGSTEAD (Exhaust Gas Generated System: Thrust; Elevation; Attitude; Direction) developed by Bristol Engines in the mid-1950s. Powered by the development BE.53 engine, it was capable of hovering, together with forwards, backwards and sideways movement in the air, sometimes all at the same time! Only one was built. Its current whereabouts is unknown.
I'm not sure I'd win the Cumbrian Biggest Liar competition with that yarn, but one can dream. So what exactly is this, kit-wise? A Harrier eggplane, Harrier 1/48th scale outriggers, Sidewinder rails, cockpit section and tail cone, some WW1 aircraft parts, plasticard, wooden coffee stirrer and couple of other bits from the spares box of unremembered origin. An overall spray of Humbrol silver and a few bits finished with Vallejo Model Color Chrome, Natural Steel and Gun Metal comprise the paint job. A home-made decal for the Bristol Engines logo and it's job done. Just add a dollop of imagination at the start, of course.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle, AF 79-041, 173rd Fighter Wing, Air National Guard, Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Oregon. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics; home-made decals.
Probably the most eye-catching scheme ever painted on a USAF F-15, this 75th Anniversary “Screaming Eagle” Scheme produced by the Oregon ANG just cried out to be put on my one and only f-15 eggplane from the stash. Using a combination of photos and Fishbone’s 1/72nd decals for the aircraft, I modified them to fit the eggplane. As always, sometimes you have to get creative to make the scheme look okay. For example, the eagle's head had to be doubled in height and also shortened so that it didn't over-run the radar nose cone if kept in the same perspective. The tailplanes are also a different shape to the real aircraft, so they were transformed, as were the wing decals. All fairly easy in Photoshop and a few trial fits were made before the decals were printed on decal paper.
I didn’t have the official colours of the F-15s, namely Ocean Grey (FS36176) and Aggressor Grey (FS36251), so I used Xtracrylix Medium Sea Grey and Life Color French Blue Grey (FS35237) instead. The nose cone was painted with Vallejo Model Color Grey (FS36375). Vallejo Natural Steel and Vallejo Gunmetal Grey were used for the engine covers and burner cans. Several coats of Klear used before I applied the home made decals. A final coat of Klear was applied to seal them before I used Vallejo Matt Varnish to finish.
Between 1907 and 1925, the Daily Mail newspaper awarded numerous prizes for achievements in aviation, one of which was £10,000 to Alcock and Brown for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. In May 1969 the Daily Mail sponsored an air race between the top of the Empire State Building in New York and the top of the then Post Office Tower in London, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this first trans-Atlantic flight. One of the entries was the recently introduced into service (the month before) Harrier GR.1. Two aircraft from 1(F) Squadron were used, XV741 and XV744. The east-west leg was flown by Squadron Leader Ian Lecky-Thompson in XV741 in the fastest time of 6 hr 11 min 57 sec and required 4 air-to-air refuellings by Victor tankers. The west-east leg was flown by Squadron Leader Graham Williams in XV744 in a time of 5 hours 49 minutes but was beaten by a Phantom FG.1 of 892 Squadron. XV741 took off from a disused coal yard at St. Pancras station and probably covered the surrounding area in much of the coal dust that was within it. Happy days in London when as Murray Walker said "you could cut the atmosphere with a cricket stump"!
To complete my triptych of eggplane Harriers, it seemed appropriate to commemorate the time when the Harrier truly announced itself to the world of aviation - no longer a party act, but an operational aircraft that was to change some cold war thinking for good. The Americans were clearly impressed as obviously at the time they only had helicopters that could land by the dockside in Manhattan and went on to purchase and manufacture over 400 of them.
I added a 1/72nd scale in-flight refuelling probe. It's the standard GR.1 early camouflage scheme of Dark Green, Dark Sea Grey and Light Aircraft Grey. I used Humbrol spray can for the Dark Green, Humbrol acrylic for the Dark Sea Grey and Precision Paints' Light Aircraft Grey enamel. Vallejo Model Color FS36375 was used on the undercarriage. A few home-made decals complemented those of the kit and the high-visibility roundels and fin flashes came from the spares box. For the base I printed a photo of a MEXE steel pad and spray painted some toy stuffing to mimic the coal dust being blown up on take-off.
North American F-51D Mustang - #407, Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña, (FAS)), July 1969. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics; home-made decals.
A pub quiz question for you. When was the last known dogfight between piston-engined fighters and what were they? Ironically, they were two classic American warbirds, the Corsair and the Mustang. And the occasion? The "100 Hour War", or "Soccer War" as it's sometimes known, between estranged neighbours Honduras and El Salvador. It lasted from the 14th until the 18th of July, 1969.
On July 17, Honduran Vought F4U Corsairs engaged a flight of Salvadorian Goodyear FG-1D Corsairs and Cavalier Mustangs — militarized versions of civilian air racing P-51s. During the duel, a Honduran pilot named Fernando Soto shot down two of the Salvadorian planes. One of the pilots was the experienced pilot Capt. Douglas Varela. Some sources report that he was in this aircraft was #407. Others says this aircraft was shot down by AAA fire. It's not even agreed whether #407 was a P-51D or a Cavalier Mustang (if that's significant?). It's all academic to me - it was sufficient to see the scheme and the history to build my own fighting pair to commemorate this most unusual event.
So here's #407 in a representation of the scheme it may or may not have worn. The topside scheme is Life Color Desert Sand + Humbrol spray Dark Green supplemented with Humbrol Dark Green brushed acrylic. Undersides are Life Color Dark Compass Ghost Grey (FS36320). The original scheme is said to be similar or based on USAF SEA camouflage. Various other Vallejo Model Colors used. A few simple home-made decals and some spare letters for "FAS" complete the build. Finished with Vallejo Matt Varnish.
See later in the gallery for the corresponding Honduran Corsair.
North American Mustang F-51D, #312 - Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (FAG) Aerobatic Team. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics; home-made decals.
The Guatemalan Air Force were the first operators of the P-51 Mustang in Central America and seemingly unusual for the region, acquired the aircraft legitimately and openly. An aerobatic team with five Mustangs operated from the mid 1960s until January 1972 when a midair collision of three of the aircraft put an end to their displays. Sadly two of the three pilots were killed. A year after the accident the FAG had sold off their six remaining Mustangs to a buyer from Texas. The team had been variously referred to during their life as "Los Machitos", then "Los Cofres" and finally the "Quetzales". The scheme shown here is the first one used and is clearly based on the USAF "Thunderbirds" team scheme still used today. I've made a few djustments to sort the shape of the model. In the 70s the scheme had changed to a more camouflaged look due to operational requirements.
My third Mustang eggplane is painted in Vallejo Model Color White, with their Intense Blue, Flat Red and Andrea Blue creating the scheme. The serials and FAG markings are home-made decals and all finished with a coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish.
A6M2-N Rufe, R-106, 5th Kikutai, Kiska, Aleutian Islands, September 1942. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction with parts from the spares box; brushed acrylics; kit and home-made decals. Home-made diorama base (as if you couldn’t tell).
Relax, you're getting very near the end of the egg run now. I've a vague intention to stop at 40 models, but then if Hasegawa release some new ones - types, not decals updates - then I may have to revise. I'm hoping for an F-35B as the JASDF are planning to buy and operate them.
The Nakajima A6M2-N (Navy Type 2 Interceptor / Fighter-Bomber) was a single-crew float seaplane based on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model 11. The Allied reporting name for the aircraft was Rufe. Most of the 327 produced saw extensive combat service throughout the remainder of the war, particularly in the Solomons and Aleutians campaigns. The scheme I selected is for an Aleutian Islands based aircraft. The 5th Kokutai was formed from the Toko Kokutai float fighter unit operating A6M2-N Rufes that arrived at Kiska Harbor on July 5, 1942. It was designated the 5th Kokutai on August 5, 1942 and used the tail code R-xxx (three digit tail number). During late 1942, half of all A6M2-N Rufes produced by Nakajima (12 per month) were sent to the Aleutians to this unit. On September 25, 1942 Kimikawa Maru delived six replacement A6M2-N Rufes and two E13A Jakes to the unit. On November 1, 1942 redesignated 452nd Kokutai with tail code "M1-xxx". Sources disagree on the serial number colour and rudder colour, so I picked one combination presented.
Okay, that was the historical background. Sadly, it has precious little to do with this model if you know anything about WW2 Japanese aircraft - which I don’t, by the way. Having already built two Zeros, I wanted to do something different and thought I’d try a “Rufe”, as it’s very similar. I originally planned to use a Harrier fuel-tank as the float, but I spotted whatever it was I did use in a spares box at a model show and used that. The wing floats are Tamiya 1/48th scale Harrier general purpose bombs. Metal rod and some plasticard make up the rest of the float “kit”. The base is carved from packaging material for medical instruments.
From my limited research I inferred that getting IJN colours “correct” is next-to-impossible for mere mortals and absolutely guaranteed to generate a lecture from the many “experts” who inhabit the web. I wasn’t even able to determine what colour it should have been, so went with Life Color FS36440 Light Gull Grey with a drop of Vallejo Model Color Dark Yellow mixed in. Is it close? No idea, and I’m not worried if it isn’t. The sand is Life Color Desert Sand and the water Vallejo Model Color Intense Blue. Vallejo Model Color Black and Chrome complete the paints list. The ducks have been borrowed from the fridge door.
Something different – again – and hopefully a fun talking point for those who get to see it in the plastic.
Chance Vought Corsair F-4U 5N, FAH-609 flown by Major Soto, Fuerza Aerea Hondureña, July 1969. Hasegawa Egg Plane. Build: out-of-the-box construction; brushed acrylics; spare and home-made decals.
If you have looked at the Salvadoran Air Force Mustang build then you will know this is its "100 Hour War" adversary in the form of a Corsair F-4U 5N. Details of the war can be found in various websites. This aircraft, #609, was flown by Major Soto and he claimed three kills whilst flying this aircraft. The aircraft was saved for posterity after service.
A nice simple scheme for a change – after all, a little bit of eggplane fatigue had set in by now - this being my 17th build in this sequence. I don’t know that the aircraft carried any bombs – but they came in the kit and I hadn’t used them on the last Corsair build. Experts will know it should have a four-bladed propeller, but I don't yet have one to use. I didn’t add the kill markings as I would imagine these were added post war? How’s that for history, Hollywood-style?
The main scheme is a mixture of Vallejo Model Color Intense Blue and Black-Grey. Vallejo Model Color White and Andrea Blue were used for the national insignia stripes. The decals, are home-made and from the spares box.
You might be pleased to hear the eggplane stash is now very low - just two models left to build.
Corsair F-4U 5N
Shenyang Aircraft Corporation J-15 "Flying Shark", #556, People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Hasegawa Egg Plane. Out-of-the-box construction. Brushed acrylics. Kit, spare and home-made decals.
The J-15 as you can see bears an uncanny resemblance to the Sukhoi Flanker, so much so that Hasegawa didn't have to modify any parts. Some might regard this as convergent evoluiton, others patent and copyright theft. Let the lawyers decide. The aircraft is intended to be carrier-based and is said to be able to carry up to 12 tons of weapons. Unfortunately in this configuration is cannot get off the current carrier, Liaoning! There appear to have been 6 development aircraft seen by the West, this one being the last. I've taken the liberty of adding a shark's mouth which is not present on the original aircraft. This is in addition to the usual avoidance of reality.
Painted to represent the factory finish using Vallejo Model Color White, Dark Yellow, Lemon and English Uniform mix. Vallejo Model Air USA Grey for the grey radome and other parts and various paints for the cockpit and pilot. I made up the serial number, used a shark's mouth from a F-4 and the kit decals. Finished with Vallejo Matt Varnish.
Posed in flying mode so it can rise up behind my F-22 Raptor, "Jaws"-style, ready to eat it!
Shenyang J-15 Shark
Boeing AH-64A Peten - “967”, “Magic Touch” squadron, Israeli Air Force – Revell, 1/100th scale.
Having built for 1/144th scale Apache, I’ve moved up a scale to this earlier offering from Revell. I didn’t fancy another drab olive drab scheme, so I decided to build the Israeli version, the Peten, but without the modifications. This was, after all, a filler in between real modelling [ha ha].
According to another modeller’s build, “967” was the first to be painted in what is locally known as a "Tiger" scheme. Perhaps more interestingly, it the first IAF helicopter to down an airplane. Apparently, on May 24, 2001 a Lebanese registered Cessna 152 private plane entered Israeli air space without permission. The Cessna was soon escorted by F-16's and later by a pair of Peten helicopters who, for 33 minutes, requested the Cessna pilot to turn back, but to no avail. As he neared the city of Netanya, it was feared that he was intending to commit a suicide bombing attack and was subsequently downed by 967 using a Hellfire missile.
I don’t have any IAF paint colours, so I used Vallejo Flat Brown and a mixture of Vallejo Dark Yellow, Lemon Yellow and White for the upper surfaces and Life Color FS36320 for the undersides. Decals are home-made and printed on ink-jet decal paper. A Vallejo Matt Varnish was applied to finish.
It wasn’t a particularly good kit, fit-wise, and perversely I enjoyed the 1/144th scale version build more, even though the memory of trying to place very small parts in black plastic on black plastic has not dimmed!
Tiger I Ausf.E, “221”, Pz.Abt 501, Eastern Front – Revell, 1/72nd scale.
OOB build and my first tank build for a very, very long time.
With so many interpretations of colours and patterns / schemes, together with configurations, I gave up my research and went with a representation of a Tiger in winter camouflage on the Eastern Front in January-February 1944. The markings are actually for “221” with Schwere Panzer Abteilung 501 during this time, though I very much doubt I have the configuration of the tank correct. (Let’s call it Hollywood “Braveheart” historical accuracy, shall we?). It was an excuse to do some dodgy painting, even dodgier weathering and use the result to disguise the errors. Hopefully I’ve succeeded in the illusion.
I used Halfords White Primer as the undercoat and Vallejo USA Grey and Vallejo White for the base paint scheme, roughly applied to mimic the way the crews would have had to have done it in the field. Russian winters aren't generally conjucive to spent lots of time outside the tank being neat and tidy with your brush wiork, I suspect. A Vallejo Natural Steel + Flat Brown mix was used for the tracks. I used various colours of artists pastels mixed with Decal Fix for the weathering and mud. I created some decals for this specific Tiger. Aside from constructing the tracks, it was relatively painless and - don’t tell Chairman Dave - I quite enjoyed the build and like the result!
Tiger I Ausf.E
Hawker Fury Mk.I, K5670 / 3, 5 Flying Training School – Airfix, 1/48th scale.
OOB build with knit-in elastic rigging.
Some folks say that the Hawker Fury should only be seen in an all-metal finish and most completed models seem to conform to this desire. 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. Also the fonts used for the serial numbers are not strictly accurate. 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 – this particular kit having been stored for many a year in someone’s garage. 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. That may be my bad model making skills of course.
Hawker Fury Mk.I
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, the intention of the build was to see if I found tanks interesting. The answer is no, not really. Sorry those of you who are armour modellers. The good news for you though is I will not be making any more inaccurate tank models!
Tiger II Ausf.B
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. Due to the lack of reference photos, there is some poetic licence with regard to accuracy I suspect.
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.
For some reason, 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, so I suppose you shouldn't really get arms and heads mixed up!
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!
RN Tow Tractor
Avro Lancaster Bomber, Meng Kids, no scale.
A simple snap-together kit designed for kids - of all ages up to 100. 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. He was famous for his Dagwood sandwich which was a tall, multi-layered sandwich made with a variety of meats, cheeses, and condiments. I used to eat them as a kid after being introduced to them by my father.
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 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.
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.
Now, if Hasegawa were to bring out an eggplane Lockheed Martin F-35B, I might just be tempted out of eggplane retirement.
Space Shuttle & 747
Roland D.Vib, 7502/18 "P132", McCook Field, Dayton Ohio USA, May 1920. Fly Models, 1/48th scale.
An approximation of 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. For more details of history and the scheme, see the Wingnut Wings version.
I ended up here as I didn't fancy the look of the decals that needed to be applied for the kit scheme. In trawling the web, I happened to see this scheme on a model and thought I'd have a go at it. Sadly I didn't find the Wingnuts information until I'd nearly finished the painting, so this really is an approximation of how it might have looked. I also know some of the basic structure of the kit (e.g. ailerons / tailplane) are also incorrect for this version. As I'm not overly worried about historical accuracy for this genre, it was no big deal.
It was yet another WW1 model where the instructions for the completion of the cockpit leave a lot to be desired. Inspired guesswork and trial-and-error are not the approach that we should be using, but Fly and Eduard seem to think that's acceptable. 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.
It certainly will not win any prizes, but it's another colourful addition to the collection.
Sea Harrier FA.2, N94422 / XZ439, Art Nalls Aviation, 2017 Airshow season scheme. Airfix, 1/48th scale.
This is my 27th 1/48th scale Harrier build and something slightly different. Using the old Airfix kit, I decided to model the Sea Harrier flown by Art Nalls in the USA. Registered as N94422, in used to be XZ439 when flying with the Royal Navy. At this time, it is the only civilian-owned Harrier that is currently flying. (Note though that he does have an ex-RN two-seat T.8 which he his hoping to get flying soon.) XZ439 first flew as a FRS.1 way back on 30th March 1979. It was later converted to a FA2 and first flew in that configuration in October 1989. Art Nalls purchased the aircraft from Everetts 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. Life was a bit simpler for a wheels-up configuration. 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. Although the aircraft is in a very similar scheme to when flown in the Royal Navy, it does have some additional markings for Art and his sponsors, thus requiring some home decal making. I made a few minor alterations to some of these bits for ease of creation. The paint is Xtracrylix Medium Sea Grey - notably darker than the Humbrol equivalent I used on my other FA2, but no great worry as it's impossible to get the "right" colour (because what is the "right" colour?). 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. Again the pink is a little too deep for real-life accuracy. Vallejo matt varnish was applied to finish. I then added the various additional bumps and blades that now adorn the aircraft. Aside from the usual struggles with getting the kit to fit, it was quite an enjoyable build and one that I hope has a more than passing resemblance to the real thing.
Sea Harrier FA.2
Dassault Rafale A - Technology Demonstrator, June 1989. Heller, 1/48th scale.
This is the Heller kit of the Rafale A, or Technology Demonstrator, as seen at the Paris Airshow in June 1989. During the show, the aircraft's tail was updated with the number of flights completed, in this case 428. I've seen photos up to 437. The aircraft first flew from Istres, France on July 4th, 1986. Rafale translates as "squall" and arose as a result of France's withdrawal from the Eurofighter project, which later became the Typhoon, of course. Proving, if nothing else, that when Europeans get together the result is a lot of wind. The aircraft finished test flying in 1994 and now resides in the museum at Le Bourget. Not that you can tell by looking at the model, but this aircraft used two General Electric F404-GE-400 engines whereas the production Rafales use home-grown SNECMA M88s.
This is an out-of-the-box build with very little in the way of change to the original parts. I simply tidied up the intake internals so that you don't get a view into the insides of the aircraft and added weights to the nose - sadly the instructions forget to tell you this and I almost forgot. Not a problem with Harriers, you see. Some care is required to get the fuselage halves to join up and it is best done a section at a time. The whole intake area does require some effort and filler. The instructions are not very helpful when it comes to the undercarriage either and you'll need some reference images to help. I'm not sure I got it right, but the mistakes are mostly well hidden. The parts require a lot of cleaning up to remove sink marks, flash and moulding lines as would be expected due to the age of the kit.
The biggest problem in the end were the decals - many started to break up as they were applied and if I did the build again I'd cut the canard and wing leading edge decals so that you don't have to fold them. The stripe that passes just above the canard is also a nightmare to sort out, especially if, like me, you break the canards off during the build. You have to be careful handling the aircraft in the final stages as it's very easy to put your finger or hand on something that's then sure to break off.
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, also from an aerosol can. The Magic missiles were painted with LifeColor FS36320, else 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 which were produced at home on an inkjet printer.
The Rafale is a very nice looking aircraft and I think I shall be building a few more in the future.
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. There's quite a few Jaguar special schemes to choose from, but I decided to go with one from 41 Squadron to complement my 41(R) Squadron Harrier. It also seemed to be one of the less popular versions, even though there's a decal sheet out for it. The scheme lasted at least a couple of years and even appeared to survive an overcoat of ARTF when on deployment. I did toy with the idea of doing this version, but I decided to go for the clean view for a change.
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.
Jaguar enthusiasts will probably tut at my lack of corrective action on the kit, but it'll no doubt keep them happy in doing so.
A straight-from-the-box build of the "bubble top" Typhoon using the kit parts and a combination of kit, home-made and spare decals. A stand was also rescued from the spares box for the in-flight staging of the model.
The temptation is always to build a Typhoon armed to the teeth with bombs or rockets and in D-Day markings, so I thought I'd look for something different and 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. No reference images exist and I only found one example model. I therefore chose a clean(-ish) and simple finish to a hopefully simple model.
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.
An enjoyable distraction from my usual builds and a pleasure to build a new tool kit that's been produced in the last couple of years. I might have to do more!
Hawker Hurricane Night Fighter Mk.IIc, QO.A / BN185, 3 Squadron, RAF Hunsdon, September 1942. Hasegawa, 1/72nd scale.
Another quick build using the parts straight out of the box. Having made a couple of camouflaged Hurricane Mk.Is, I decided to do something different for this one and chose to do a Night Fighter scheme. I found an image and profile of a 3 Squadron aircraft and decided to go for that.
This particular aircraft, BN185, was part of a batch of Mark II Hurricanes built by Hawker at their Kingston, Langley & Brooklands factories during 1941-1942. The aircraft was lost on 13th January 1943 when Pilot Officer K H Dalton (RCAF) failed to return from a night intruder operation over France. The aircraft had also been flown by the Squadron Leader, Eddie Berry, who was killed in action over Dieppe in August 1942.
There's some work to do to get the kit to fit together - the underside wing being particularly poor. As with the Typhoon, I decided to stage it wheels-up, so a pilot was rescued from the spares box, Hasegawa not providing one.
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, but you have to give the rivet counters something to argue about. 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. Probably not authentic, but being 1/72nd scale, it'll not get looked at on the display table at shows anyway. And yes, I deliberately omitted the exhaust flare shields after a couple of donations to the carpet monster suggested I wasn't going to win that battle
Ansaldo SVA.5 (Late), unknown serial, Training Squadron 2, Polish Air Force, late 1920s. Fly Models, 1/48th scale.
I was originally going to build this kit using one of the decal options included 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. That'll be different. 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. No worries, make it up as you go along as no-one will know the difference.
Despite my previous experience, I still managed to break the upper wing section in two during the build, so this time I pinned it with metal after drilling holes in each wing. Other than that, 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.
There'll be no prizes for accuracy, but it is a nice contrast to the earlier build and indeed my other WW1 builds.
PZ865 was the very last Hurricane completed from new by Hawker Aircraft Limited in 1944. It was purchased back from the Air Ministry and christened "The Last of the Many". During the was 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. [You knew there'd be a Harrier connection somewhere, didn't you?]. 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 (which might not be the correct ones but they were all I could find at the time). 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.
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc, PZ865
Harrier AV-8B II FSD (Full Scale Development), 161397 / #2, McDonnell Douglas, early 1980s. Monogram, 1/48th scale.
My 28th 1/48th scale Harrier is the second of four AV-8B II Full Scale Development aircraft to fly (its first flight was 7th April 1982) and is seen here in the McDonnell Douglas company’s own scheme of red, white, black and gold. A dramatic scheme that generates mixed opinions, but which was crying out to be done. Later in the aircraft’s life it received a more traditional grey scheme. It now resides in the Carolinas Aviation Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. 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.
John Farley was invited by McDonnell Douglas to fly “Ship 2”, as it was referred to, in early 1982 and finally got to do so in late April 1982 as part of a six week test programme. At the time, the engine / intake combination was leading to pop surges which the airframe and engine teams blamed on each other. As John says in his book, “A View From the Hover”, he “enjoyed two hours gliding over my favourite lakebed” [near Edwards Air Force Base] in this aircraft.
This is the old and venerable Monogram kit and was built straight from the box contents, with the exception of some resin pylon fairings which were used in place of the outer pylons. Oh yes, and I had to use a spare Hasegawa windscreen and canopy after I broke the original with some over-enthusiastic handling whilst trying to polish out some scratches. 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.
Was it worth all the blood, sweat and tears? I think so, but then I’m easily pleased sometimes.
Harrier AV-8B II FSD
Sea Harrier FRS.1, XZ452 / 101 VL, IFTU (700A NAS), October 1979. Kinetic Model Kits, 1/48th scale.
For my first and very belated 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.
What a pleasant change to build a Harrier produced using 21st century fabrication and manufacturing techniques. Although not without its faults, there was nothing insurmountable in the build and I look forward to doing a few more SHARs and their forthcoming T-bird.
Harrier #30 in 1/48th scale - drum roll please, thank you - is 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. The aircraft was on loan to Rolls-Royce for flight testing of the new Pegasus 11-61 engine and given the Heinz Frick designed paint scheme that you see on the model. After the set of flight trials for the new engine was successfully completed, the team decided to make an attempt on the official records. All the aircraft’s pylons were removed, except for the missile pylons, as was the flight instrumentation pod, which had been carried on the centre-line pylon. The rest, as they say, is history. The records were later superseded, but that was inevitable.
Unfortunately the model is a step backwards to the old Hasegawa kit after the new Kinetic, but as there’s plenty of them in the stash, I better get used to swapping around. There’s nothing new to report on the build as a result, though 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. No two photographs show the same tones, so it’s all very subjective in my opinion. 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. The underlying paint on the strakes is FS36375 (probably) as strakes were sourced from the USMC which had begun to use the HTPS.
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, 01-808 / 8, Escadrilla 8, Spanish Navy Air Arm, Rota, 1995. Kinetic, 1/48th scale.
Harrier #31 in 1/48th scale was the first of at least half a dozen builds I will do of the new (in late 2017) Kinetic kit of the first generation Harrier trainer. Us Harrier fans have been waiting a long time for a kit that can be built straight from the box and not require resin conversions. I was fortunate to get an early copy of the kit and found myself within under two weeks before SMW in which to build and finish the kit for the Harrier SIG display. Eschewing the idea of doing an "easy" T.8 in an all black scheme, 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. Some of these may be lessened for the next one as I now have experience of the build and will be able to take more time. I replaced the kit's Martin Baker seats with some Stencel seats from an AV-8B kit - close enough for me. Other than that, the parts are all from the kit. I even managed to add some of the photo-etch, though the tail cone lights have gone to the carpet monster - and I can see future builds doing the same!
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 - 165570 / WE09, VMA-214, OIF II, 2004 - Hasegawa, 1/48th scale.
Harrier build #32 sees a return to the USMC Harriers 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!
Nothing to say about the build itself that I’ve not said previously before - it’s now a very familiar kit as you can imagine if you follow my builds. The GBU-16 was from one of the Hasegawa Weapons sets.
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.
Harrier AV-8B II Plus
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. They took over airshow display duties following the phase out of the Atlas Cheetah. The unveiling of the new new colour scheme was at Africa Aerospace and Defence 2008 (AAD2008) where 271 performed its first display. The scheme is referred to in Afikaans as “Vlaggie” - the “flag”. I’m not sure if the aircraft are still in these schemes as I’ve not seen a photograph dated since late 2016. There’s no reason to suppose they have been replaced with anything else yet, though I doubt we will see them here in the UK.
There are certainly a few challenges in putting this kit together regarding the fitting of certain parts and sadly the Kinetic instructions are not the clearest that have ever been produced. However, with some reference to online builds and photographs the problems are not insurmountable - they rarely are. 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 didn’t bother altering the cockpit so the cockpit peepers will no doubt be disappointed and the ejection seats are probably not that accurately represented either. I’ll not be looking again to worry.
More fun was had trying to do the scheme pattern, but then that was my choice. For it 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. Masking tape was used to segregate the various colours and despite the raised surfaces in some areas, I think it worked out pretty well. Finished with Klear as usual 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 and I left off some that are barely visible on the real aircraft.
Ultimately I’m pleased with the model and it’s nice to at last build a true special scheme jet for the Special Schemes SIG. It makes for an eye-catching display on the model shelf too.
BAE SYSTEMS Hawk Mk.120
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 started to win overseas sales (Egypt, Qatar, India) and gaining in prominence in the military world but here in the UK does not appear to be a popular modelling subject, if my experience of attending model shows is anything to go by. Maybe it's because it's French, or perhaps it's regarded as another boring grey modern jet, who knows? A shame really, as I think it looks better than the Gripen and the Typhoon and should get wider recognition as a subject to build. It's certainly got some great special schemes, which is helpful when you're a member of the Special Schemes SIG!
Fot my second Rafale build, this time 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, but rivet counters will already have noticed that. I'll let you dear reader determine the errors if you're that way inclined to do so.
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, the rest was fairly plain sailing. For once the canopy is a reasonable fit, unlike on the Hasegawa Harrier! The scheme was somewhat more challenging. In consultation with fellow club member Brian Boot, we decided to do the scheme in decals rather than a mixture of decals and painting. Brian kindly created and printed the decals for me and after a few corrective iterations they were good to go. I damaged parts of them slightly when putting them on so had to mix up some paint to blend them in. I didn't do a perfect job I have to say, so let's put the result down to "weathering". The remainder of the aircraft is brush painted - I chose to use Life Color FS36270 for the main scheme. It's not the correct colour match in specification, but I think it's not a bad match. Others are free to disagree as FS36320 and FS36321 are usually described as the options to use - but then each paint manufacturer has a different interpretation of these and some are noticeably different when brushed rather than airbrushed. 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. No weathering has been applied.
I'm looking forward to the imminent (at time of writing) release of the C version by Revell and building a small selection of special scheme Rafales covering B, C and M versions.
Dassault Rafale B
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, with the aircraft being leased from Sweden. The squadron became full members of the NATO Tiger Meet Association in 2010, having been probationary members since 2008. 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. It also participated in the 2014 Tiger Meet at Schleswig-Jagel in Germany.
The observant among you will notice there's a small problem here. The Italeri kit builds into the JAS39A Gripen and not the C. However, I determined that the external differences between the A and the C are probably less than the Italeri kit and the A version it is meant to represent! It was therefore close enough for me. More importantly, I wanted to do a special scheme and they're quite limited for the A version. True to Hollywood form, I didn't want truth to get in the way of a good story. 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. I didn't feel the need, even though I received the kit free from a club member. 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 biggest problem in the end was one of my own making. In adding weights into the nose to prevent it sitting on its tail, I used some Revell Plasto to seal in the weights. This turned out to be a disaster as the solvent in the putty has melted in the plastic, resulting in a deformed nose. Adding some to the outside to re-shape the nose made it worse, so I gave up. Presumably the putty had become unmixed in the tube through lack of use. You live and learn and next time I'll use superglue!
The scheme is fairly simple, though most sources seem to disagree on the designation of the colours to use. In the end, 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.
This took a bit more time than I would have preferred to have spent, but the results are not too bad and I can pose the Gripen alongside the Rafale as they were both at the 2013 Tiger Meet.
Harrier GR.7, ZG475 / U, Air Warfare Centre (AWC), RAF, circa May 1995. Hasegawa, 1/48th scale.
Only the second Harrier build of this year - shock horror - and a return 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. The aircraft was lost in a fatal accident in June 1996. 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!
Another Harrier in the collection and slightly different.
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, and later Joint Force Harrier, operated a number of T.10s, some later upgraded to T.12s, in the training role. 20(Reserve) Squadron was the main operator, though the front-line squadrons 1(F), 3(F) and IV(AC) operated one jet each within the squadron. 20(R) was disbanded and replaced by IV(R) Squadron, which only lasted eight months with Harriers before the Harrier fleet was retired in December 2010. This particular jet was chosen as it gave me some painting and masking practice! It was converted to a T.12 in the summer of 2007 and was one of the fleet sold to the US in 2011.
It's been a while coming, but Harrier build #34 is a foray into the world of 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, which of course I did. The parts were well cast and generally caused few problems. I receive some help in cutting the canopy which helped enormously but then undid all of the good work by managing to make the canopy look as if it has been through a sand storm. I think the lesson to be learned is dip the canopy in Klear and let it harden for a day or two before handling the canopy, and then wear gloves or use some material to stop grease getting on the canopy from your fingers. That's all I can think of that caused the damage, unless the new Klear (Pledge) has attacked the canopy. It hasn't done it with normal kit canopies, but then the vacform is acetate. Acetate is also required for the internal windscreen which you have to cut to the template provided. Some trial and error was required. 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, patience, cursing and some trial and error, 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.
Once constructed, it's the standard painting and finishing for the Harrier. 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, 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 at which point it relinquished its Harriers in favour of the Typhoon. The two-seater T.10 arrived in 1995 and continued until 2006, the unit not having the opportunity to fly the T.12. This particular jet was converted to a T.12 by October 2008 and ended up taking an unexpected bath in the sea of Akrotiri in February 2009. The jet was recovered but never flew again and last I heard it had made its way to Everett in Sproughton as parts.
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.
It would be really good for a mainstream kit manufacturer to produce the T.10 / T.12 / TAV-8B as they would be a welcome addition to the range. I never want to see a vacform canopy again, but I shall have to unfortunately!