April 2021

This one is a biggy!

It has sat in our loft for nearly 10 years, but 2021 lockdown seemed to be the perfect opportunity.  This is the Heller E-3 kit with Combat Decals markings for an E-3D Sentry AWACS of VIII Sqn at RAF Waddington in 2015.   

Despite its size, this is quite a simple kit, but building something much larger than normal has brought its own problems!

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For model builds earlier than this, please use the “Last Years Models” links on the navigation bar.

July 2020

During lockdown I’ve made quite a few kits, but these are probably my favourites so far.  

Harking back to the late 1980s, this is a Fujimi F-4 Phantom FGR.2 of 228 OCU at RAF Leuchars.   I’ve used Modeldecal markings rather than the kit ones, plus a set of Flightpath etched brass ladders.

Then, a slightly different slant on a UK Phantom - this is an ex-US Navy F-4J (UK) of 74 Tiger Squadron at RAF Wattisham.  It’s the Italeri F-4S kit, with a few Modifications and a set of Kits-World decals.

August 2020

Some additional F-4 Phantoms join the haunting!   These are both Fujimi kits, one that I built a few years ago but which has had an update, the other just finished.  I plan two more RN Phantoms and two more RAF ones, but may take a short break next month.

First then is the new Phantom FG.1 of 892 Sqn Fleet Air Arm in HMS ARK ROYAL, 1977.

Then, depicting a newly delivered Phantom FG.1 of 767 Sqn at RNAS Yeovilton, with the unmodified F-4 tail.  I built this kit 30 years ago, but it was looking a little sad and tired, so has had a tidy up and a new top-coat.

Finally, with a total of 6 Phantoms now in my collection,  I have taken a few group shots and added two new F-4 Phantoms page to the website under the Specific Types button, an F-4 model page and an F-4 walkaround page.

September 2020

Whilst waiting for my latest Phantom to dry/set/complete, I started a quick build of an old FROG Buccaneer to join it.  This one uses some Xtradecal markings to represent a Buccaneer S.2 aircraft from 801 Sqn in HMS HERMES, serving in the Mediterranean during 1968.  As the smallest of the RN’s 1960s carriers, HERMES struggled to operate large modern aircraft, but nevertheless played her part  in full.  

Then typically, I had the Buccaneer bug, so had to build another.   As a result of the 1960s RN Carrier force draw-down as Britain withdrew from “East of Suez”, the RAF inherited ex-RN Buccaneers and took over the NATO anti-shipping role.  They didn’t really want the Buccaneer -  “not invented here” was the saying, but like the ex-RN Phantoms, it was what they were given and it gave long and very successful RAF service as one of NATO’s most capable Cold War strike aircraft.  

Here then is one of those early transferees, a Buccaneer S.2A of 12 Sqn at RAF Honnington in 1969, looking all shiny and new.

October 2020

Built last month in recognition of the 80th Anniversary of VJ Day, this is the old (1973) FROG kit of a Grumman Avenger, operated by 857 Sqn of the British Pacific Fleet .  

The FROG kit may be old, but in 1/72 scale it can still hold its head high.  

This one was in fact built back in the depths of the April 2020 lockdown.  It’s another old FROG, this time the Martin 167 Maryland, as operated by 771 Sqn Fleet Air Arm and representing the Royal Navy reconnaissance aircraft that confirmed that the German battleship Bismark had sailed from her Norwegian lair in 1941 .

November 2020

This month I have started on a slightly longer term aircraft project, so to keep things going until I have something I can show, here are two AFVmodels that were built earlier in the year.  

The first is the Trumpeter LAV-25, as used by the USMC in Afghanistan (amongst other places) .  I’ve already done one in temperate cammo, so here is a desert version

Secondly, a Cougar MRAV engineer vehicle, as also used by the USMC in Afghanistan and Iraq.   The British Army also uses a variant of this vehicle, albeit more heavily armoured.  This was one of the mysterious Chinese “4D” models that appear on e-bay from time to time.  Some of them look very toy-like, but this one is impressive.  

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My virtual Display shelves - 50+ years of model building!

December 2020

What a nightmare year this has been, but it’s nearly over now, so here is something special from the What-if stable to end the year.

This is the Project X Vacform of the Hawker P.1121 “Hurricane” from the late 1950s / early 1960s.  I’ve chosen to represent a Hurricane of 603 Sqn Royal Auxiliary Air Force, providing air defence of the Northern Region.  This is also, in a roundabout way, my 2020 Battle of Britain memorial build, since 603 Sqn, flying Supermarine Spitfires, were the highest scoring squadron in the battle.

Thank you to those who have read the website and commented on my models over the year.  Take care of yourselves and those around you. Enjoy your Xmas break as best you can and I wish you all the very best of luck for a better 2021.

January 2021

Over the Christmas break I have been occupied building a number of small trainers.  First up is this Airfix Shorts Tucano T.1 of No.1 Flying Training School, Linton-on-Ouse, which provided elementary flying training for new RN, Army & RAF pilots until its closure in 2019.    

The Tucano was accompanied on the training syllabus by the Grob Tutor T.1.  This is a Tutor of 727 Naval Air Squadron, which conducted Flying Grading for new RN pilots out of Plymouth Airport, then at RNAS Yeovilton.  The kit comes from Heritage Aviation models in resin, vacform and white metal.  

February 2021

So here we are in lockdown again, although hopefully no one is surprised this time.  Please stay safe everyone !

Another trainer, but this time a jet with a rather flashy colour scheme and fully loaded with fuel tanks and missiles!   

This is the Airfix BAE SYSTEMS Hawk 120D Advanced Jet Trainer demonstrator.  

Not an easy set of decals to apply, but I got there in the end.

March 2021

My Hawk and trainer binge has continued into the new year!   This is the Italeri  T-45C Goshawk trainer of the USN Navy.   The kit has seen a few simple modifications and the very colourful replacement decals come from Caracal.

The newer Airfix Hawk kit is a relatively pleasant build.  After all of my “fancy” Hawks, here is one in its working clothes !   This is a Hawk T.1 from 151(F) Sqn at RAF Chivenor in the early 1980s.

May 2021  This month sees the 40th anniversary of my joining HMS HERMES as a junior officer in my first appointment.  Sadly, this year also sees the end of this majestic ship, as the former INS VIRAAT sits forlornly on an Indian beach being dismantled for scrap.  

To celebrate the career of this  longest ever serving aircraft carrier,  for this month and next I have brought together a set of model builds, new and old, of aircraft that served on her throughout the years in her many guises……..

Part 1 - Sea Harriers - First and last:  An FRS.1 of 800 Sqn in May 1981, an FRS.51 of 300 Sqn in 1987 and a LUSH FRS.51 of 300 Sqn in 2016.  

Part 2 - The Falklands 1982:  Two Sea Harriers from what was perhaps HERMES/VIRAAT’s greatest hour - 1982 and the South Atlantic.  800, 899 and 809 Sqns.

Part 3 - The Cyprus Emergency 1974:  A Wessex V of 845 Sqn and Sea King HAS.1 from 814 on the war torn holiday beaches of Kyrenia and reinforcing Akrotiri in 1974.

Part 4 - Strike Carrier will follow next month  !

June 2021  The completion of my HMS HERMES Air Group modelling project sees one new model joining two older builds from her period as a conventional Strike Carrier in the1960s.

Part 4 - Strike Carrier:  A Sea Vixen FAW.2 from 893 Sqn in 1968, a Buccaneer S.2 of 801 Sqn, also in 1968 and Scimitar F.1 of 803 Sqn in 1962.