The Minicraft 1/144 Douglas DC-8 kit is about the best game in town though there are Welsh Model offerings, if you like resin and vacform, and there is probably the old Revell kit too. The nice thing about the Minicraft kit is that there are indentations inside the fuselage halves to show you where to cut to make the versions with the shorter fuselages, though which cuts to make is left up to the modeller. There are also wing tip extensions so that, after a bit of research, you can work out how to make all the different versions of the DC-8. The engines are a different thing and though various versions of the kit offer engines for the -60 and -70 versions, you have to go to aftermarket sources for engines for the earlier versions.
For this early -10 version I used Contrails engines and Vintage Flyer decals. The Contrails engines and the kit wings wanted nothing to do with each other and that was a problem long in the resolution. On the other hand the decals were excellent and went on with no trouble. The decal set also comes with some paint masks which help make the demarcations between the white and silver much easier than usual to work out. After having applied the decals I found out that the option I had made, Delta Air Lines N801E, had made the first passenger carrying DC-8 flight on 18 September 1959.
This Revell 1/144 Airbus A.320 kit is straight out of the box though with the CMF engine option. The paint scheme is over all white, which is how the Ansett A.320s appeared. The only thing that is unusual about this model is the decals which represent the first livery that Ansett A.320s appeared in. Hawkeye make decals for almost all post-war Australian airliner liveries but not for this first iteration of Ansett’s A.320s. Around the same time as that airline introduced the A.320s it also introduced to service Boeing 737-200s and I hoped that if I bought the Hawkeye decal set for that airliner it might fit on the A.320. Unfortunately it did not, the A.320 being a generally bigger airliner than the 737-200. However, I scanned my copy of the decals and, after some experimentation, enlarged the tail markings to 106 per cent and the fuselage logo to about 125 per cent, printed them out and they fit very nicely. (By the way, I well remember my first flight in an Ansett A.320, on the long flight from Melbourne back to Perth. After the sardine can experience of a 737 flight across to the eastern states the A.320 was spacious and very comfortable, even in cattle car, and the Ansett cabin service was excellent, as always.)
The Dewotine 551 was the military version of the Dewoitine 550 which was built to make an attempt on the air speed record. That was, in turn, a conversion of the Dewotine 520 fighter with reduced wing span and weight and more powerful engine. When the test pilot took the Dewoitine 550 up for its first flight in October 1939 he was astounded at its performance and naturally the military took an interest. By the time of the French defeat in June 1940 a handful of prototype Dewoitine 551s had been made but they never flew and the Germans ordered them to be scrapped. However, this fighter would probably have been France’s front light fighter had the war started a year later and so it is interesting from that point of view.
This fully resin kit comes from the group of enthusiasts calling themselves FGM who came together after Jean Pierre Dujin died to reissue some of his kits. Although they are resin kits, their Dujin reissues are fairly easy to put together once you get some experience in the processes involved. This kit, however, is not a produce of the Dujin workshop and is, if nothing else, a reminder of what a skilled craftsman he was. I had to extensively extend my vocabulary of foul language while making this kit. It is a real pain to assemble and would have met its fate in my rubbish bin at almost every stage of construction had I not really wanted to add this model to my collection of French aeroplanes. Let’s not go into detail, suffice it to say that the end result looks reasonably like a Dewoitine 551 might have looked like.
Here are three I made earlier.
I don’t know if there is another kit in 1/72 other than this Airfix Hawker Siddley Gnat T.1. It is ancient by almost any standards and needed a lot of work to make the end result look as though it had come from a more modern kit. This is also your classic tail sitter with almost no space in the nose for weight to counter the trend, but a couple of white metal after market seats helps make the inside of the cockpit make more realistic and keep the nose down. Looking at the model now I suspect that the red I used while making it is more scarlet that the Red Arrows colour scheme actually is.
Here is another ancient Airfix kit, the 1/72 Dassualt Super Mystere. I think that Special Hobby make a more modern kit but kits from that manufacturer are not the easiest to make. In any event, I had bought this kit many years earlier and it is like a lot of Airfix kits from this era, good honest kits but lacking a lot of the detail and fineness of more modern kits but not to be laughed at. The decals came from one of the Model Art sets, a company that specialized in French aircraft.
The Boeing X-32 was a concept demonstrator built to compete in the competition that was eventually won by the Lockheed Martin X-35, which became the F-35 that many people love to hate. The X-32 might have been an excellent aircraft but it is also one of the more ridiculous looking ones and it is probably just as well it did not go into production because who could take seriously an air force what flew aeroplanes looking like that. In any event, this is the Italeri 1/72 kit made straight out of the box.