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But how do the wings fold?

It's inevitable I suppose that some aircraft names get repeated or reused - there was at one time a continuing relationship between Hawkers and the U S Navy - but it was a surprise to see the return of a Barracuda. Most of us - of a certain age, anyway - remember Fairey's carrier-borne torpedo-bomber but its reincarnation has been as a European unmanned reconnaisance platform under the overall direction of EADS and funded by Germany and Spain, with at some stage its manufacturer being known as Cassidian (me neither). Jet-powered, though the identity of its engine seems elusive, it's had three series of test flying, though the first prototype was lost at sea during the first; it seems to have been inactive since 2014.

When the details of the Avis kit first appeared on The Future Releases Page I was interested, but unsure what colours to put it in (you know my methods, Watson); but then as these things do the word Aufklarungsgeschwader magically appeared from my subconscious, followed shortly by that boon to WhatIf? modellers, "Tiger Meet". For those of us whose memories go back at least as far as Modeldecal set 19 the answer was clear, as was a commemorative 70/71 scheme and one low-vis and one hi-vis set of "tiger" stripes; even if it's not a fEADS Barracuda AKG.52, NTM 2019ighter unit at least it has a black panther's head on each fin. As a kit it's simple even if the small aerials destined to go above and below each were so small I really could not cope with them. UAVs don't usually figure on the SIG stand, excepting the splendid Local Hawk, and I shall be interested to see the reaction at Cosford next weekend (sorry to hear that show may have to move, even if we're not next to the TSR.2 any more). What I'd like next please is that twin pusher prop BAE device that was around a year or three ago, and whose name I can't remember; look good in 543 markings! 27.03.17 ...

A Fan fan

The Fantrainer is one of those intriguing little designs that never really found its market, although it did wear Thai roundels and German crosses; I've always thought it would have made a good mount for grading potential pilots, and a suitable canvas for some colourful "trainer" markings and when I saw the Lift Here resin kit on Glenn Ashley's Blackbird Models stand at the Brampton show last year I pounced, and gave it to CFS. Sadly, apart of course from the car, it was the only casualty of my unsuccessful half-roll last December - you may remember the photo of Tallulah guarding its red and white remains - and as I have this strange reluctance to perform other than minor repairs on damaged models I was delighted to find a replacement kit, or indeed two, on Glenn's table at Cosford. One of my oriFantrainer T.1, RAFC Poacjers 1989ginal options had been for a Cranwell scheme, and I found a JP5 decal sheet with "Poachers" markings on whch were adaptable. Although it's six months or more since I made the first, I remembered one or two little quirks of the kit which I think I've managed to solve this time, and which I may even remember if/when I get to the third (Candy Cane Air Force, perhaps, If I can find the Microscale sheet). This one's due to go on the SIG table at ModelKraft this weekend; I'll be interested to see if it picks up as much attention as its predecessor. 21.04.17...

Up, up and not too far away

Some time back in an attempt to put some form of constraint on my modelling I decided that I'd only build models with roundels; given that my primary interest - well, one of them anyway - is in RAF unit history and markings it seemed not unreasonable. It was not long of course before I worked out that with a little elasticity such red, white and blue roundels could include maple leaves, kiwis and kangaroos but I may have stretched it a bit far in translating my criteria in to bleu, blanc et rouge. The impetus for this was the appearance on the "Future Releases" page of the Modelsvit kit of the Mirage III V-02; I figured that I'd work out how to decorate it when it arrived on my doorstep. When that happened I consulted "X-Planes of Europe 2" and French Secret Projects 1 by the irrespressible Jean-Christophe Carbonel, both coming readily to hand, and realised that it could only be in French colours. I thought I could probably find some A de L'A Jaguar decals - I do like their unit markings, and my first thought was the Chant et Combat cockerel's head - and found a "desert" Mirage III V, 11 Escadre Red Flag 1990scheme set from Berna; asking the Right People at the Cosford show produced a small selection of Matra missiles, and while one of them was an air-to-ground device I thought that fitting it under the fuselage between the efflux doors for the eight lift engines would not be a Good Idea. With two Magic AAMs and a pair of Matra 530s it became a quick-response interceptor, if probably a trifle short on range, but it could be capable of a quick front-line response; the colour scheme was copied shamelessly from a Jaguar that went to Red Flag in 1990 where it could have been a sudden defence in "rat and terrier" combat. I do like the French unit markings, both naval and air force, with the latter generally going back to the first world war; those on the III V are like so many both colourful and ingenious, and I particularly like the cat's face on the red disc (sadly I can't at the moment find my book of Escadrille emblems from which to quote its origin).

Although there's no statement on the box top boasting about the number of parts, it did bring back to me the days when the kit manufacturers seemed to think that a multiplicity of bits was a selling point, although I don't think Modelsvit went out of their way to give me more than was really needed; the depiction of the eight lift engines was of course a necessity, and putting them together before closing the fuselage halves was both time and effort consuming (and there are one or two really small pieces that either fell on the floor or never got taken off their runners). I'm glad I persevered, though (not one of my notable qualities); like the Fantrainer it's due on the SIG table this weekend, and I'll be interested to see the reaction. 22.04.17 ...

Mirage III V, 11 Escadre Red Flag 1990


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