Models for January 2021

The urge to paint aeroplanes Deep Sea Blue continues and this time goes to extremes with a model of a particularly interesting but flawed aeroplane, the Grumman XF10F. This was a variable geometry fighter designed for the US Navy which was worried that the new jet fighters were flying too fast to land on the aircraft carriers of the time, so if an aeroplane could have a larger wingspan to land on carriers and a swept back wing to fly faster that would solve two problems in one aeroplane. Unfortunately for the Navy the theory didn’t work out as had been hoped and only one XF10F flew before the project was abandoned.

This model was made using the resin Planet 1/72 kit which looks very promising in the box but comes with a couple of problems. As with many kits with decent interiors this one suffers the problem of the parts not fitting very easily and requiring what is euphemistically called ‘attention’. The problem might have been mine in construction but, since there are no locating pins, or even marks, it’s all a bit challenging. Even more challenging is the main undercarriage which has no locating pins or any help in gluing together the various parts of this complicated undercarriage. I did what I could with slow setting epoxy glue and used lots of blu-tac to tack everything together and adjust it until it looks somewhat right. Even so, the fact that the model sits as squarely as it does on its undercarriage is as much luck as my modelling skills. The Dark Sea Blue was provided by SMS which is rapidly becoming my preferred modelling paint. This is a kit that I would only recommend to those with strong masochistic tendencies. (By the way, the canopy on the real XF10F was not tinted, as it the canopy on the model. The celluloid of the canopies had gone yellow with age and by the time I got to the stage of attaching the canopy I was in no mood to crash mould a new one.)

This Heller 1/72 kit of the Dewoitine 510 is one of the little beauties that Heller produced in their golden period. It is no problem to assemble but the areas around the nose will give you trouble if you don’t do something to push out the lower fuselage sides so that the top of the nose sits on it accurately – I used a piece of sprue cut to the necessary length to force the fuselage halves to the necessary width. My kit was the original 1978 boxing so the decals were very old, brittle and yellow so I used instead the newly released Print Scale sheet which offers all kinds of interesting options. I also used some pre-painted etch metal seat belts and the windscreen from the set of Falcon canopies for French aircraft. This model appears in the livery of the French Air Force in 1938, the olive drab colour is of my own devising.

Here is one of those little Anigrand 1/144 bonus kits, this time a model that looks something like a Yak-15. I made it as part of my determination to rid myself of these little bugs, some have ended up in the bin as being not worth the trouble but others don’t look too bad if you’re half blind and your spectacles need cleaning. Still, I like them because they don’t take up much space and they give a sense of scale to bigger aeroplanes like Boeing 747s. The only part of this kit I really wish I’d paid more attention to was the cannons in the nose which are far too prominent, but it’s too late now. I tried out one of the sets of AK Real Color acrylic lacquer for this one but didn’t like the green that came in the set and substituted something a bit darker for the top-side green.

Eight years ago I made some of the nice little resin Dujin 1/72 kits of Caudron racing aeroplanes from the 1930s. These kits would not be to everyone’s liking but so far as I am aware they are the only game in town if you find inter-war racing aeroplanes interesting. At the time I knew next to nothing about these aeroplanes and followed the kit instructions and painted them in a deep blue. Later I began to suspect that this was incorrect and that most French racing aeroplanes were painted a much paler shade of blue which was called French Blue but was not formulated to a standardize shade. Eventually correspondence with some French modellers confirmed my suspicions and we worked out that the Taimya rattle can TS-10 French Blue is likely to be as accurate as anything else.

Having resolved that conundrum, the problem remained of how to make a model of a Caudron racer, in this case the Caudron 362 and 366 to replace the ones that I’d already made. The problem was really where to get replacement decals for the ones that would be destroyed in the stripping and repainting that would be involved. As it turns out, from time to time reissues of the original Dujin kits, now produced by FGM, turn up on ebay and when the Caudron 366 did appear I bought it. The decals that come with the kit include markings for the Caudron 366 as it appeared in 1933 and in 1934 so I planned to make the new kit as one year and repaint the other model in the other year. As it turned out, the original resin parts seemed to be a lot more precise than the later mouldings – I guess that Dujin’s original moulds had a limited life – so I eventually decided to strip and repaint the original Dujin model and reduced the new kit, as they say, to components for later use.

Here are two I made earlier.

This is the ancient Otaki 1/144 kit of the Lockheed C-5A what was released in 1971 and reboxed by Entex in 1976, which is my version. I don’t know what it is like in comparison with the recent Roden version of the C-5A but it is a big solid model and looks pretty much like a C-5. I painted it in the original Euro USAF scheme and used home made decals.

There are several versions of the Renault FT, the one armed with the machine gun is often referred to at eh FT17 to distinguish it from other versions of the FT. This RPM 1/72 is the Renault FT Char Cannon which was fitted with a small cannon in place of the machine gun. This is a nice little kit that I enjoyed making.

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