We begin this month with a couple of Airbus A300s, the same airliner but in two different liveries. The first is of the first A300 delivered to TAA in 1981 in a new livery designed for the introduction of the A300s to Australian service. Unfortunately for TAA there was a severe downturn in passenger demand around the time of its delivery, rather than the growth that the airline had expected, so the A300s proved to be a near fatal disaster for TAA. To save the situation some of the airline’s A300s had their delivery delayed and others were leased. One of them was VH-TAA which leased to Condor in Germany for a few months and then to Air Niugini for the rest of the 1980s.
The kit used for these models is the venerable Airfix 1/144 kit, which was first published in 1974. It has not been re-released since the early 2000s but copies are still often available from sites such as ebay. Overall is it a good solid kit but nothing special. It has, for example, fine raised detain on the wings and no detail worth speaking of on the fuselage. This would give those who like scribing and re-scribing panel lines a serious workout of their skills. Fortunately for me, I had the Liveries Unlimited corogard wing panels decals instead, which took away the need for any such effort.
First, this Airbus A300 as it appeared when it arrived in Australia in 1981 and flew as until 1984. The decals are from Hawkeye and contain a serious error in that the windows do not slant upwards at the rear of the passenger cabin as they should. The work involved in modifying the decals to represent this major feature in the A300 would have been extremely difficult so I did not attempt it. Instead, please pretend that I said nothing.
The decals for VH-TAA when it flew for Air Niugini between 1984 and 1989 with the registration of P2-ANG, also come from Hawkeye. The decals for the ‘Bird of Prey’ scheme come in one complete section for each side and I could only imagine that you were supposed to apply them before attaching the model’s wings first. I took a different approach and cut the decals into three parts as carefully as I could; the upper section, the lower section and the head. Attaching the upper decals first allowed me to line them up fairly well and gave me a guide as to where to place the underside decals and the heads. Applying the decals required a fair bit of patience but turned out better than I expected.
Next is another Revell 1/144 Fokker 100. This model was made more or less straight out of the box with the addition of Ric Warcup decals to portray an Air Niugini one, P2-ANQ which may be, for all that I know, still flying.
And here are three that I made earlier.
The Douglas P-70 was a night fighter version of the well used Douglas A-20, or Boston as it was called when it served with the RAF. The kit is as ancient as my Airbus kits, being released by Revell in 1975, and a variation on their A-20C Havoc kit released in 1967. For all that I found it a much more modern feeling kit than the Airfix Airbus kits with a much better feeling for detail. The matt black finish makes this kit an easy one to paint, but I did increase the level of difficulty by making new radar aerials from stretched sprue to replace the parts in the kit.
If my memory serves me right the Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut was the final design of the legendary German designer, Kurt Tank. I think it is a particularly attractive aircraft so when I stumbled across this Model Alliance 1/72 resin kit I snapped it up. It turned out to be a challenging little kit to make and there is a lot of filler hidden beneath this model’s nice polished metal finish. Because of this difficulty I might not have finished this model, had it not promised to look so delightful when it was completed.
Finally for this month, the 1/72 Heller Dassault Mirage IV. I have never seen one of these aeroplanes live but I imagine it would be a striking sight with size combined with Dassault delta elegance, This kit was released in 1979 when Heller were producing some of the best kits of those times, and still some of the best quality kits ever, in my opinion. This Mirage IV kit is an excellent example of the company’s craft and has been released several times more recently. I’ve got another one stored up so I can make it in bare metal livery. It will be beautiful.