Models for October 2019

I’m not a great fan of research when it comes to modelling (I do enough of it in my day job) but I had the decals for this Air Niugini Airbus A.310 and the Revell 1/144 kit to go with it and thought I’d find out when that airline flew this airliner. It turns out that this A.310 flew for Air Niugini and then went to fly for Compass while that air line lasted, before being leased out for another year and then coming back to Air Niugini. Which makes this a model of the same aircraft as the Compass A.310 I completed last month. There is nothing very difficult about making this kit except that the Liveries Unlimited decals makes the same mistake as some other decal sheets do in not having the windows towards the rear of the fuselage slope up slightly. This is not a difficult problem to fix.

October a

October b
In comparison to the A.310 which more or less makes itself, the Founderie Miniature 1/72 kit of the Nord 1500 Griffon II is a serious modelling challenge. The kit was released around 2002 and is quite innovative for its age, having injection molded, white metal, vacformed and etch parts, and a pretty comprehensive decal sheet. It look as though this kit has been based on the original aircraft that is on display at the Musee at Le Bourget. The real challenge of this kit comes from the plastic parts which are not very well formed and require a lot of work. To prevent this from being a tail sitter the nose is stuffed with as much lead weight as I could fit in and I went to a lot of trouble to fill in and shape the interior of the air intake since it is such a prominent part of the original aircraft. The kit provides some good detail for the cockpit but it turns out that I, at least, could not get the ejection seat to fit into it when completed, but these kinds of problems are not unique to this short run kit. As it turns out, the cockpit windows are so small that you can’t see anything inside anyhow. The other major problem was the thin and badly formed lip of the air intake that had to be mostly replaced by small bits of plastic cut and sanded to shape. Despite these and other problems, it turns into a reasonable replica of a unique looking aircraft.

October c

October d

Here’s four I made earlier.

This little Matchbox 1/72 Hawker Fury may have been replaced by better kits but when I made it around 1976 it was all there was and was a very good kit, for its time. The metallic finish is Humbrol 11, not what you buy in the tinlet these days but a much shinier version. I so much enjoyed the look of this model when it was finished that I went out and bought more, leading me to where I am today with model making. This is probably also one of the first models I painted with an airbrush.

October e

October f

This little Red Star 1/72 Yak 3 was the only kit of this aircraft when I made it around the end of 1987. It was a very basic kit (which you could only buy in a box with three other kits of Russian aircraft, rumoured to be the last of the venerably line of Frog kits). This is also the high point in my personal case of Advance Modelling Syndrome with a great deal of scratch building to fill in the cockpit and other bits and pieces. After this I decided there is a limit to how much detail one should put into a kit to make a reasonable model. These days you can probably buy at much more advanced kit and lots of resin and etch after market stuff which would make this a muc easier project.

October g

October h

Talking about ‘difficult to make’, the Emhar 1/72 North American F4J-4 fits into that category, but was the only reasonable kit until recently. The decals are after-market.

October i

October j

On the other hand, the Hasegawa 1/72 Kyushu J7W1 is an excellent little kit of this fabulous looking Japanese late war prototype.

October k

October l

Models for September 2019

The past month has been one of frantic activity, mostly directed towards a history I’m currently writing. Nevertheless, my time at the bench has also been fruitful. Let’s begin with a couple of Airbuses.

To complete my set of Airbus A.300s that tell the story of VH-TAA (TAA’s first A.300) I made a model of that airliner in the livery of Condor Airlies, which it wore for only about six months in 1984. Construction of this version of the venerable Airfix 1/144 kit was the same as the four previous ones, the only variation was the Condor decals which I found at Airliner Hobby Supplies in the US (though the instructions say the decals themselves were made in Australia). This is the second time I’ve used Flightpath decals and both times they have disintegrate on me, despite applying a liberal coat of varnish before starting the application process. After that happened to these Condor decals I bought a second sheet and applied two coats of varnish, which still didn’t stop the decals breaking up entirely. My word of advice, don’t use this brand if you don’t have to.

September a

September b

Here, to round out the story, is a picture of all five of my models of VH-TAA.

September m

Having complete all the A.300s I want to make, we move on to Airbus A.310s. The only airline to fly this particular airliner in Australia was the short lived Compass Airlines which only lasted about a year in 1991. This kit is from Revell and dates from 1984 so it is really not much of an improvement on the Airfix A.300. There is no significant surface detail apart from some of the control surfaces and the engines are fairly basic, replacing them might be a good idea if you are really keen. The paints are the same as I used for my A.300s except in a slightly different arrangement. The decals are from Hawkeye, one of their more recent releases and very good. Their decal sheet gives you the corogard panels as well but I decided to use the Liveries Unlimited set that I’ve had for many years instead.

September f

September e

Languishing in my Treasure for many years has been the 1/72 Airfix Hawker Siddeley 125 series 1 (it says ‘Domine’, its RAF name, on the box), which dates from 1968. It is a real relic from the stone age of kit making and the only reason to make it is because there is no other kit of the HS125 series 1 available, or ever likely to be. My fondness for this type is that it was the first aeroplane I flew in; when I was working in the Department of Civil Aviation and staff got to travel in departmental aircraft, on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney and back in 1966. I had wanted to make a model of that aircraft, VH-CAO, for many years but that only became possible when VH-WAL, a member of the Airliner-Civil Aircraft Group, made them. I begged nicely and he sent me a set, and here it is. It’s not one of the world’s great models but I’m delighted with it.

September d

September c

Having spent a lot of my modelling energy of late making complex civil stuff I got the urge to make something simple, military and French, and this is what I found in my Treasure. It is the old Heller kit that dates from 1977, but it’s quality is a lot better than Airfix kits from the same era. My copy was the original boxing so the decals were unuseable, but I had some replacements on a Model Art sheet. The kit offers options for the 500 and 501 versions and, since I’ve already made a 500, I made the 501 this time. It is a relatively simple little kit but also one that is easy to make a mess of, so I took my time. For the aluminum finish I decided to try the Tamiya rattle can Silver Leaf and I quite like the results. This model represents Dewoitine 501 No.181 of 8 Ecadron de cooperation navale, Aeronautique Navale flying at Marignane-Marseille in 1938.

September h

September g

Here are two I made earlier.

This MPM 1/72 McDonnell FH-1 Phantom is one of that company’s first offerings and since I’m very partial to anything painted in US Navy deep blue I really enjoyed making this one. If my memory serves me right, I saw one of the real thing at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington years ago, this is but a pale shadow of the real thing.

September l

September k

This Yak-15 is, I think, a very basic Pioneer 2 kit dating from the 1980s. It is really a Yak 3 with a German engine strapped in where the piston engine used to be. It’s interesting.

September j

September i

VH-TAA – a modeller’s journey to the verge of insanity

Due to the way kits accumulate when you’re not watching them (the same way that wire coat hangers accumulate in your wardrobe) I ended up with three kits of the ancient Airfix 1/144 Airbus A.300B-2.  These were not new kits.  The first was the original 1974 boxing with Air France decals, another was the 1974 kit in the same box but with a sticker on the front saying ‘Eastern Decals’ and, unsurprisingly, Eastern Airlines decals inside.  The third was a reboxing of the Airfix kit in a Skylines Models box that was released sometime in the early 2000s.  There are a few minor accuracy problems with this kit but overall it looks like an A.300 and unless you know exactly what you’re looking for there’s nothing to complain about.

Over the years I’d also accumulated decals for Australian versions of the A.300, all by Hawkeye; for the original Trans Australia scheme, the Air Niugini scheme and the later Australian Airlines scheme.  Many years earlier I’d made this kit with the Trans Australia decals but I’d made it with the fuselage windows retained and filled with Krystal Kleer and used enamel white paint which had started to go yellow.  These days I use fuselage window decals and use white lacquer paint, which has less tendency to go yellow, so I thought it would be nice to start again.

For a kit that was put on the shelves 45 years ago, the two Airfix boxings went together very nicely, for a kit designed back then.  The most annoying feature of the kit is that you get the option of having all the cabin and cargo doors open, a truly dumb idea as then you’d have to put something inside as well, and there’s nothing inside to look at.  Filling all the holes where the doors go is not simple because if you get the wrong door in the wrong hole they don’t fit properly and a lot of filling and sanding is subsequently involved.  I only made that mistake with the first one.

A300 g

If you don’t have much filler in your house, if you’re going to make this kit now might be the time to go out and get some more.  The fit of parts is not what you expect in the 21st Century and there is a lot of shrinkage, particularly in and around the flap tracks.  If you like scribing raised panel lines this is the kit for you, everything apart from some of the flap details under the wings is raised and a REAL modeller would sand them back and rescribe the entire model.  Knock yourself out, it was too much like tedious work for me.

Airbus g

After the two Airfix kits I turned to the Skylines reboxing which, you would think, being at least 25 years younger, would have been better.  Not so, the fuselage in particular was very badly warped and only made useable with all the techniques available to the hardened modeller, and the liberal application of harsh language, before it gave in to my ministrations.

Getting the model to the painting stage takes some effort and probably three or four attempts with a primer coat to find all the flaws before it is as close to perfect as I’m ever going to get.  Most experts these days recommend using a black primer which, so they say, reveals all the flaws before painting.  I tried it once and I reckon they are wrong.  If you’re going to be making a model that is basically light grey, white and metallic, near enough is not good enough and nothing reveals flaws better than a brisk coat of a metallic lacquer before committing to the paint job for the model.

Before beginning to put paint on plastic I thought it might be a good idea to do a little research about the airliner I was about to make.  Back at the beginning of the 1980s TAA, as it was then known, ordered five Airbus A.300B-4s which would meet forecast passenger demand for quite a few years to come.  By the standards of the times it was a big aeroplane, a wide bodies domestic twin aisle airliner with a passenger capacity of around 250.  As it turned out, there was a serious downturn in the domestic passenger market around the time that the first of TAA’s A.300s arrived and the slightly smaller Boeing 767s that Ansett ordered, with a passenger capacity of about 200, fitted better into the market at the time.  The result was that TAA had these airliners that were too big for the market and so it deferred a couple and leased out one to other airlines until the market picked up again.

The first of TAA’s A.300s was VH-TAA which was the one the airline leased out, first to a European carrier and then to Air Niugini which flew it for most of the rest of the 1980s.  After that it came back to TAA which had by that time been rebranded Australian Airlines and then it went to Qantas when the government sold Australian to Qantas.  After that it was sold to an airfreight company overseas and ended up being broken up at Abu Dhabi.  So, with the kits and decals I had I could tell part of that story.

The wings on all the A.300s were the same, painted Airbus grey (an automotive lacquer that had been made for me by Darby’s) with bare metal leading edges that I tried to simulate using Tamiya TS-83 rattle can lacquer.  The corogard panels were provided by the Liveries Unlimited decal sheet, now long out of print but which I’d bought earlier and put aside for a rainy day.

Airbus a

The decals were more fun.  The original TAA version of VH-TAA had a grey and white fuselage with the grey coming up to where the airline’s livery stripes were painted.  Finding exactly where that line had to be so that the decals went into the right place is a technique it would take too long to describe here.  While doing this I discovered that there is a serious error with the decal sheet, the cabin windows for about the final third of A.300 the cabin slope up gently (which you will also see if you look at any of the Qantas A.330s you see at airports these days) but the decal sheet does not depict this.  I gave a lot of thought to working out how to rectify this problem and came to the conclusion that it could only be done by painting the fuselage bands and cutting up the decal sheet, and I wasn’t feeling that brave.  I reckoned that nobody would notice if I didn’t tell about it, Oppps…

Airbus c

Talking about brave, the Hawkeye decals for VH-TAA when it flew for Air Niugini are a very large sheet of very large decals for the Bird of Paradise scheme.  After thinking about this for some time and looking on the interweb to see what others I had done, I decided the best solution was the cut the decals into sections and apply them separately.  Much to my pleased surprise, this system worked well and the final result was much better than I had expected.

Airbus d

After the first two schemes, the Australian Airlines decal sheet was a walk in the park.

Having completed those three models I sat back and congratulated myself.  But then a thought popped into my head, the story of VH-TAA as told by those models was not complete.  What if …?  I went to the Hawkeye web site and saw that it offered decals for that airliner in Qantas livery.  Next I had to find another Airfix 1/144 kit, which I found on ebay for less than I had probably thought it would cost.  After the usual application of glue, filler and paint I then had four versions of VH-TAA telling the story of its history from the early 1970s until it went off the Australian register in the mid 1990s.

Airbus e

But wait, my brain said, there’s a gap of about six months you haven’t filled.  A little research told me that before it went to Air Niugini, VH-TAA flew with the German airline Condor (a subsidiary of Lufthansa apparently), registered as D-AITA.  I found some photos of it on the interweb and thought, What if …?  I hunted on the internet and found that there were decals for Condor A.300s, not for D-AITA but that would be easy enough to solve.  All I had to do then was order the decals and find another Airfix 1/144 A.300 kit, this time for a bit more than I would have liked to pay for it.

Airbus b

When they arrived I found that the Condor decals did not include windows and doors, so I had to order them from overseas and, fortunately, another set of Liveries Unlimited corogard decals that I managed to find in a dusty corner of the interweb.  All was set to finally complete telling the story of VH-TAA in model form, except for one problem.  The Condor decals were made by Flightpath, an Australian company which seems to have disappeared long since.  I’ve come across them before, they are either very old or badly made because they have a tendency to blow apart when you just touch them.  To stop this happening this time I applied a lavish coat of varnish to hold the together, but one coat wasn’t enough.  Fortunately, the overseas supplier had another set and when they arrived I gave them two lavish coats of varnish and, between the two sets, I managed to finally finish the Condor version of VH-TAA.

Airbus f

Of course that is not the full story.  After it left the Australian register if continued flying.  But a modeller has to draw the line somewhere or go nuts.

Bloch 150 series fighters in 1/72

Bloch a

In 1932 Marcel Bloch founded the Sociétê des Avions Marcel Bloch which produced its first aircraft in 1930. In 1934 the company began work on a new and modern fighter that would compete for adoption by the Armee de l’Air and construction of the first Bloch 150 began in September 1935. In the competition it lost to a rival design, the Morane Saulnier 406, but the Bloch 150 showed enough promise that development continued. However, when the prototype was first tested it would not leave the ground so significant changes were made and test flying began in 1937.

The prototype showed promise and the French defense forces were so desperate for modern fighters by that time that the government decided to put the 150 into production with an initial order for 300 aircraft. At this point it turned out that, as designed, the fighter was unsuitable for mass production and the structure of the airframe had to be redesigned to suit mass production. In April 1938 the French government decided to order three further prototypes with more powerful engines and so the design effort led to the production of the Bloch 151 and the 152 that were developed and produced in parallel.

The Bloch 152 had a more powerful engine 1,000hp Gnome-Rhone engine and improved armament. The prototype first flew on 15 December 1938 but it experienced engine overheating problems so a larger cowling was fitted which increased drag and reduced its performance. The first pre-production aircraft were completed in December 1939 and the first production aircraft was delivered to the air force on 7 March 1939. By mid May 1939 only 22 aircraft, a combination of 151s and 152s had been completed but only 10 had been accepted by the air force. By the eve of war 249 aircraft had been manufactured and about 123 had been accepted by the air force, but few were considered flyable, the majority missing their gun sights and propellers.
Increasing numbers of 151s were delivered to squadrons for training purposed in advance of their anticipated conversion to the 152 and during the Battle of France a mixture of 151s and 152s equipped nine Groupes de Chasse. They were tough aircraft, able to withstand considerable battled damage but, in comparison with its other French contemporaries, the 152 was the least successful in combat and the one that suffered the heaviest losses. Its shortcomings included poor agility, unreliable guns, being underpowered and a relatively low range. It was, however, the most numerous fighter type remaining in service when the Armistice was signed and it equipped six groups of the Vichy air force until it was disbanded in December 1942 and the aircraft were taken over by the Germans.With the Bloch 151 and 152 in production developments continued and two models, the 153 and 154 were planned to be fitted with more powerful American engines . One was the Bloch 153 which was fitted with a 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engine but it crashed a few days after its first flight and this line of development was abandoned, so the Bloch 154 was never made.

Development of the Bloch 155 from the 152 began in late 1939 to give the basic design improved range and improved manoeuverability. It’s Gnome-Rhone engine delivered 1,180 hp, the cockpit was moved back a little to allow a larger fuel tank and the armament was slightly upgraded. Ten Bloch 155s had been delivered by the end of the Battle of France and the Germans authorised the production of 20 more for the Vichy air force. When Germany occupied all of France they were taken over by the Luftwaffe.

A final development of the Bloch 150 was the Bloch 157 which began with the proposal to install the more powerful Gnome-Rhone 14R-4 engine of 1,590 hp. Designers soon discovered that that engine needed an almost new airframe that retained the structural principles of the Bloch 152. Construction of the prototype began in December 1939 but had not been completed by the time of the German invasion. Completion was authorized by the Germans and it flew for the first time in March 1942, minus armament. The trials were extremely successful, showing the Bloch 157 to be potentially one of the most powerful fighters of World War II. It was later destroyed in an allied air raid.
The Bloch 150 series of fighters showed that Marcel Bloch knew how to build a good fighter (after a bit or trial and error). After the war he changed his name to Marcel Dassault and his company is still making outstanding fighters.

The kits
There have been a few kits of these fighters but none of the original Bloch 150 that I could find. I did give some thought to trying to convert a 152 kit back to one but it had a smaller wing and other details that I could not readily find details for, so I decided to pass on making one.

There have been a few kits of the Bloch 151 and it is not much different visually from a 152 so making one is not very difficult. One could be made by converting the venerable Heller kit but much better options would be the Azur & TMA kit or the more recent RS Models kit. There is also the old Dujin kit which apparently has parts for both the 151 and 152 but it is as rare as hen’s teeth. In any event, I thought that the RS Models kit looked easier than the Azur kit to make and so used it. In fact, the kit has parts for both the 151 and 152 but is the best source of 151 decals.

Bloch c

When it comes to the Bloch 152 there are plenty of possibilities. There is the ancient Heller kit which was first released in 1965 and has had more boxings than most people have had hot breakfasts, including a Hasegawa boxing in 1996. It is not one of Heller’s better offerings, I made one years ago but there are now much better offerings. There is the fairly good Azur kit which was first released in 2000, but I don’t know how readily available it would be these days. A better and simpler option is the RS Models Bloch 152 which has been released in four or five different boxings since 2014 and should still be around. It is a limited run kit but pretty good in most respected despite that.

Bloch d

The Bloch 153 represents more of a problem. There was, apparently, a VAMI Models kit that I haven’t seen and know nothing about, and there was a HR Model full resin kit released some time in the 1990s. I managed to get one of these but it was fairly dreadful and did not look too much like the RS Models 152. The only part of the kit that was worth keeping was the engine and propeller, and since the 153 was simply a 152 with a new engine I did the same thing and attached the HR Model resin engine to a RS Models 152 fuselage. This took a bit of doing, but it looks reasonable.

Bloch e

There was apparently a resin Airkit of the Bloch 155 which I know nothing about. The other two options are the Azur and RS Models kits which are basically their 152 kits with new fuselage parts. I thought the RS Models kit looked nicer and easier to build and used it.

Bloch f

The only basic kit of the Bloch 177 was the Dujin kit that Jean Pierre made some time in the 1990s. After his death his molds seem to ave gone to some people who are re-releasing some of them. Their boxing has the basic Dujin kit but with useful instructions, a small etch set and a good decal sheet. It is recommended, if you can find it.

Bloch g

Making the kits

The FGM Master Dujin resin kit is not one of those highly sophisticated resin kits that come out of the Czech republic but is one of Dujin’s better creations and can be made into a nice little replica of a Bloch 177 if you know what you are doing with resin. The only disadvantage of this model is that it only comes with German markings, but since that is how it probably only appeared in real life, there’s not much we can do about that.
With the others you could use either the Azur or RS Models kits. I chose the RS Models kits because, being more recently released, they were fairly easy to find. The real reason, however, is that in the Azur kits you get a nice little engine crank case and then a multitude of little cylinders to stick into it and in the RS Models you get only a very nicely resin engine molded in one piece. Really the detail of both is unnecessary because the engines are hidden deep in their cowlings behind bit propeller spinners.

The RS Models kit has a nice little cockpit and a fuel tank behind it so you’ve got something to look at through the rear windows. There are a few fit issues that a few dabs of filler will fix and the fit between the engines and the cowlings and propellers is imprecise, to put it mildly, so you need some care there. The cockpit windows are not a good fit and were the most troublesome part of the kit to deal with, I would have tried the Peewit cockpit canopies I see are now available instead, had I known about them.

My real gripe about making these models was in finishing them. There is no problem with the Bloch 157 because there are enough Luftwaffe paints available to sink a battleship. French colours are another matter. Modelmaster did a very nice set of World War II French colours that I used happily for many years, but they are now not available in Australia. Strangely none of the modern day fashionable paint makers have shown much interest in releasing French colours until recently when Hataka released sets of the major colours in both acrylic and lacquer dropper bottle sets. The upper and lower main colours, Gris Bleu Fonce and Gris Blue Clair look pretty good to me, and their Brun Fonce and Terre de Sienna colours look reasonable, but I’m not at all happy with their Vert and Khaki Francais which look dreadfully washed out to me. Instead, I’ve substituted the AK Real Color FS30492 Dull Dark Green for the Hataka Vert, but I’m still not entirely certain about it. Nobody makes that unique interior dark blue grey colour but fortunately I have a couple of bottles of the very rare Aeromaster paints that does the job very nicely.

Bloch b

Models for August

Let’s begin this month with the odd one, a little French tank. Many decades ago I was a keen modeller of armour but then decided that life was too short to make tanks and aeroplanes when my main interest is in aeroplanes, so I stopped making tank models. The one exception I allowed myself French tanks in the mistaken impression that there weren’t many of them. I was wrong.

This is the Flyhawk 1/72 model of the Renault FT 75 BS, which was a gun mounted on the Renault FT chassis. The plan was to include one of these in Renault FT units to take care of any fortifications they came across, but they were not ready by the end of the war and only about 40 were made. This is the nicest Renault FT kit I’ve made in this scale and I’d make one with the turret too, except that I already have two and don’t need another. The box comes with two kits for this little tank but I don’t know that many people will need two models of this and I gave my duplicate to another club member (who had already ordered this kit and will now end up with three).

August b

August a
This RS Models 1/72 Bloch 155 completes my set of this French fighter. It is a nice little kit that goes together with relative ease, although not with Tamigawa precision. This version of the Bloch fighter would have been the standard production version rather then the Bloch 152 had the war not started when it did and only a handful were ready by the time of the Battle of France. My main trouble with this model is the Hataka French air force paint set and my own inability to read properly. I am almost certain that the vert in the set is not the right shade and substituted a darker green from the AK Real Color range which is probably not perfect either but makes me feel happier about the whole thing. The other problem was that I started off applying the light rather than the dark blue-grey to the top surface and things went downhill after that. Still, it’s a nice looking little fighter.

August d

August c
My recommendation to you is to not buy the Eastern Express 1/144 Boeing 757-200. The word is that it is a copy of the Minicraft kit and has all of its faults – with more thrown in – and none of its virtues. So, if you want to make a 757, Minicraft is a better choice. I’m told that a better choice again is the Accurate Airliners 757 but they are expensive and not always readily available. But if I’d gone straight to one of them I wouldn’t have had to buy aftermarket engines for this kit (because the kit ones are truly awful) which probably brought the total cost of this model up to the cost of an Accurate Airlines kit anyhow. However, I had the nice Wic Warcup decals for the Air Niugini 757-200 and didn’t want to waste them, so if you scrunch up your face and squint as these pictures you might just think this looks a bit like a 757.

August l

August k

Here’s three I made earlier

This LaGG3 is the old Red Star kit, a very minimalist kit but at one time the only one available to make a reasonably accurate model of a LaGG. The story I heard was that this, and the three other kits that came in the Red Star box, were the last gasp of the venerable Frog company and they certainly had that feel about them. This is not a bad little kit but I was in the grip of an advanced case of AMS when I made this so it had a lot of additional work done to it before it was completed.

August h

August g

This strange looking little thing is the Huma 1/72 kit of the Flettner F1282, one of the prototypes I believe. You might perhaps call this the first operational helicopter, though the idea of intermeshed rotor blades to overcome rotor torque did not take off in a big way. If I had still been in the grip of AMS when I made this I would have replaced all the kit struts with plastic rod, which would have helped make it a little more fragile.

August f

August e

Like the other two pre-made models this time, this Crown 1/144 Boeing B-17G was made over a decade ago. I would not be surprised if the same molds are still in use for the Minicraft B-17 that you can buy in the shops today. If I had been a bit more serious about this model I would at least have replaced the gun barrel with some thinner plastic rod or stretched sprue. Maybe next time.

August j

August i

Models for July

This month’s offerings begin with another two venerable Airfix 1/144 Airbus A.300s, part of a series of five A.300s, all the same airliner but in different liveries. If you want more details about making these, go back and have a look at my offering for June. These are both fairly straight forward models, the only difficulties being filling all the gaps and sink marks you find in kits that were made in the mid 1970s.

First is VH-TAA as it appeared in Australian Airlines livery after it came back from flying with Air Nuigini in 1989. It wore this livery until Qantas took over Australian in 1993. The decals for this model are from Hawkeye, with the corogard panels provided by Liveries Unlimited.

july b

july a

Next is VH-TAA as it appeared after Qantas took over Australian in 1993. It continued to fly with Qantas until it was sold to an American air freight company in 1998. It’s history becomes a bit confusing after that and it was observed as a derelict at Adu Dhabi in 2011. I haven’t seen any photos of it after it left Qantas service so I’m not going to concern myself with making models of that airliner in post Qantas service (besides there’s only so many A.300s one can make before going bananas).

july d

july c

Another series I’m making is that of the Bloch 150 series fighters. So far I’ve made the 151 and 152, straight from the RS Models 1/72 box. The Block 153 is not so easy to make, it was an experiment in the hope of improving the qualities of the Bloch 152 by fitting it with an American Pratt & Whitney Twin Row Wasp engine. The experiment did not go so well, the only 153 constructed crashed in testing and no further attempts of this kind were made, development moving on to the Bloch 155 instead.

july f

july e

I had the old HR Models resin kit of the Bloch 153 that dates from some time in the 1990s but it looked to be a very difficult kit to make look as good as the RS Models Bloch 152 so I decided to do what the French did and took the engine off the HR Models kit and stuck it on the RS Models Block 152 kit. The grafting is not entirely successful, but it gives a fair impression of what the Bloch 153 looked like and is interesting to view alongside a Bloch 152. The decals come out of my spared box, the HR Models kit does include them but they blew up as I tried to apply them and, anyhow, the blue and red were far too deep in intensify for a French aircraft of this period.

Here’s two I made earlier:

There never was such as thing as a French English Electric Lightning but I had one of the very old Airfix 1/72 Lightning F.1A kits and lots of spare French decals. So here is a flight of fancy supposing that the French acquired one Lightning F.1 (I’ve done the conversion from the F.1A back to the F.1) for test purposes. At the time I made this I was using various shades of Alclad II through an airbrush nozzle far too big for it, which is the reason for such a strange looking metallic finish.

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Finally, here’s the Matchbox Hawker Tempest that I made back in 1976. It looks as though I had an airbrush by then and was using Micro Sol and Set, and a matt varnish of some sort. Things haven’t really progressed much more since then when you come down to the basics.

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