Welcome to the Workbench.
Good Morning, Admiral
Every so often I come across a kit which is too good and too unexpected to pass up, even if I don't know what I'm going to do with it when I'm handing over the used fivers (the new ones don't look quite so used, do they?). For those of us who are attracted by the less usual it's amazing what can now be found, usually by chance and with an unfamiliar provenance, in resin; the Short Sealand comes labelled Lift Here, like the Fantrainer, and comes from Slovakia through the welcome agency of Glenn Ashley's Blackbird Models. The decals include Yugoslav military markings but my thoughts were from the start towards a British user, and while it was in the Great Pending Tray awaiting its turn my thoughts were on the Metropolitan Communication Squadron, not least with the option of being able to moor it on the Thames near the Ministry of Defence (if you can get a Hunter under Tower Bridge....). But as so often it was a conversation with one of my fellow SIG members at a weekend show that came up with the suddenly obvious solution; surely a semi-aquatic transport would be an ideal Captain's, or indeed Admiral's, Barge. Various white and "parrot green", or dark blue, de Havillands were a familiar sight in the 'fifties and 'sixties around Fleet Air Arm establishments, and the Hunters in particular have often appeared in model form, and even on decal sheets.
At the moment my inbuilt logic is having trouble matching that that I need for a radio player, but if you've been reading me from time to time you'll surely be familiar with how I work my way through my What If? planning sequences; and in this case, in the way that the RAF Pembrokes were reputed to enable Their Airships to board their aerial carriages in full dress, Their Lordships would surely have been able to embark on theirs when necessary in full ceremonial regalia. Given that Yeovilton has for many years been the hub of UK naval aviation I thought that their tail code would be relevant in the absence of any unit marking. By the time this appears in public - Coventry, probably - it'll probably sport a pair of admiral's flags, off a Hunter sheet of course!
Like almost all the windows that have been integral to an increasing number of my models recently, those on the Sealand have been fettled with Kristal Klear rather than trimmed acetate sheet reinforcing my claim to be an assembler of kits, even in resin, rather than a modeller. And as always my thanks are due to Kit for allowing me to believe that the Master Plans, when I decide on them, are mine! 23.05.17...
Small models, very small parts
Amodel, with RS, continue to offer kits of aircraft which fascinate me, the originals of some of which I've actually seen even if I'm still hunting for the photographic proof! The "crew" baggage tag next to the somewhat colourful Piper PA-47 came back with me from Oshkosh in, I think, 2009 when the original caught my eye and became an entry on my Letter to Santa (funny, he never replies - I'm beginning to lose my faith in him). When the kit appeared on that source of endless hope the Hannants Future Releases page I put my name down in eager anticipation and realised that I already had a set of decals that would suit both it and me nicely; this was another small item of booty from last year's ScaleModelWorld by courtesy of AZ Models, who issued it a an accompaniment to their Martin-Baker MB-5, which as a pairing was a touch anachronistic even for my WhatIf? tastes but supplied otherwise unavailable decals for Qinetiq/Boscombe Down aircraft in raspberry-ripplish schemes. The Piper Jet itself seems to have meandered to a stop; according to Wikipedia a slightly larger version was proposed and was given the name Altaire, but as far as I can see Piper have shelved the concept. Boscombe Down has over the years become something of a home for discarded aircraft, and my original plan was to use the ETPS titling that was on the decal sheet, but halfway through the painting I was offered a better, and just possibly more plausible, use for it; watch this space. I do enjoy seeing the rarer aircraft in three dimensions; the positioning of the single engine at the base of the fin has remained familiar but what took me somewhat aback was the size of the swept-back tailplane relative to that of the wing; it looks to me a touch ungainly, almost as though the two ends of the aircraft had been the responsibility of different designers. I wonder if its appearance was to some extent responsible for some lack of enthusiasm in the market. Still I am very grateful to Amodel for keeping me supplied with small and rare jets which challenge me to find a use for; many years ago I combined the fuselage of an Aurora Apache with the wings and engines af an Airfix Me 262, applying the colours of Mogul Oil (remember The Power Game?) and I have another Piper jet handy, and a clear memory of the company logo. though whether it was my idea of that of the TV company I can't remember. I like to think Sir John Wilder would have approved.
Amodels' other contribution to my recent entertainment, and I trust yours, is the Adam A.700; you will recall - oh. yes, you will - that I recently made their A.500, a single-engined twin-boom pusher, fitted out to fly quietly in the very dark hours and listen to people who'd rather not be overheard. This second version has a pair of small jet engines giving it no doubt the ability to fly higher, further and faster. I scratched my head slightly for a role/colour scheme, still with a possible reconnaisance element, but eventually settled for a 100 Squadron aircraft based at Leeming in two years time (crystal balls are so important) using the decals from an Alley Cat Hawk sheet. Sometimes modelling brings up unexpected memories; applying the decals to the outside of the fins I was holding the model upside down, and I had an instant deja vu of the tail of the all-black DH.110.
Like the Piper, the Adam - following the earlier one I decided it would be the Hereward C.3 - comes with some very small parts on the sprues, some of them needing more delicacy and agility than I can summon. There are a few of these that never come off the sprues of both this pair, and given the relative rarity of the subjects I trust that no one will notice, either in the photos or if they ever make the SIG table. But in spite of the occasional frustration, and donations to the carpet monster, I have really enjoyed bringing this pair to a conclusion - and of course there's something similar not far behind them. Onward, onward! 27/05/17 ....
The Raspberry ripples on...
As I put in the write-up of my Qinetiq Piperjet the original plan had been to allocate it to the ETPS, until my Ususally Reliable Source told me that that august body was said to be looking seriously for a Piaggio Avanti on the basis that it could demonstrate aeronautical effects with its three horizontal flying surfaces that were otherwise unobtainable. Now I've always been a fan of the Avanti, and with AModel having thoughtfully provided us recently with a kit I could apply the Empire Test Pilots School titleing from the AZ MB.5 decal set to a raspberry ripple-ish colour scheme. With a combination of some recent Piaggio advertisements and a bold foray in to my Firefox program I found that the current production "Evo" Avantis have sprouted the fashionable wingtips, so I added a pair; I wouldn't want Boscombe Down not to have the latest accessories. In spite of the increasing perseverence that I find in called for in working with the very small pieces that is a doubtless necessary- feature of the production method used by AModel, they have a knack of picking aircraft types that I really want to model; I'm beginning to regret that Qinetiq didn't acquire a used Beech Starship before they were abandoned to the Arizona sun (I have a spare kit)
A fairly regular feature of several Lufrwaffe '46 projects was the addition of a second fuselage, and RS have built on their Messerschmitt Me 309/509 kits to produce the 609 in at least two versions, Zerstorer and night fighter. I was led astray by their P.1106 (aka, at least by me, as the Me 610) for which they'd kindly supplied the radar aerials in plastic so that I wouldn't have to handle, and probably mangle, the same parts in etched metal. I made the rash assumption therefore that they'd do the same for the nocturnal Me 610, but by the time I discovered how rash that assumption was I'd committed myself, at least mentally, to a colour scheme and markings, and being reluctant to admit even to me at this stage that this may not have been my best decision of the month I felt bound to carry it through. To be fair, it wasn't quite as traumatic as my fingers and I expected, partly perhaps because I worked to my current Master Plan of only doing the fiddlier bits early in my day, aided by the current availability of early daylight (it gets much harder after September). Ideally I should have added the wing-mounted aerials last to avoid any incidental distortion in mid-build, but I tempted fate by inserting them fairly early on; I think this was to ensure that if I did damage them I would be able to insert one of the alternatives. Slightly to my surprise, and relief, they one through even thogh I had to straighten them once or twice. One of the joys of Luftwaffe '46 modelling is that it's very difficult for an expert to tell you that you've got the colours or pattern wrong; and you will see that this 609 has its German markings overpainted, and bleu, blanc et rouge added for its testing by the CEV at Bretigny through 1946. I've enjoyed getting back in to this subset of Wiffery, and I've a couple more of this persuasion from RS to come; following my recent expedition to Brittany I'm somewhat inclined to allocate at least one to the Aeronavale. 10.07.17...
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