On the afternoon of April 9th 1940 this aircraft from No. 210 Squadron RAF took off from Invergordon, Scotland to make a reconnaissance flight over the Oslo area of Norway to gather information on German movements after their recent attack. They were quickly spotted by the Germans at the captured Fornebu Airport, near Oslo, and from there two Messerschmitt Bf 110’s of 1./ZG 76 were scrambled to intercept. The pilots of the 110’s were Staffelkapitän Werner Hansen and Leutnant Helmut Lent. Lent later became a highly successful night fighter ace. The two shot down the Sunderland with Hansen receiving credit for the victory. All but one of the Sunderland’s crew were lost in the action which sadly included my best friend Bill Young’s uncle, Sgt Pilot Jack Clifford Carpenter. Bill has made a documentary called ‘A Very Short War’ about this event which has been screened several times over the years on Australian television and is really worth a look if you get the chance.
I have done a little bit of photoshopping to this pic. I’ve made the props look as though they’re spinning and, if you look closely, you can just see Uncle Cliff having a quick look at us from the navigator’s astrodome.
The first step in this conversion was to backdate the later smoother planing hull bottom to the earlier stepped design. Unfortunately I was so consumed when carrying out this work that I forgot to take any W.I.P. photos. All I can say is that it turned out to be easier than I thought thanks to the thickness of this old kit’s plastic and after a fair bit of cutting, filing and sanding only a few areas needed filling with plastic card and a bit of putty. This was all done before the fuselage halves were glued together but they were frequently dry fitted through the process to assure the proper alignment of my work. Well, near enough anyway. I did do it all by eye.
Next step was to cut the two teardrop-shaped holes for the mid upper gun positions. Some internal detail was added using Evergreen plastic rod, card and shapes. There is some really good photographic reference of this detail if you wanted to go nuts but I chose to keep it fairly simple.
Painted interior green with the spare K gun mags painted metallic black.
Some detail added to the cockpit side walls again using Evergreen rod and strip and some fine solder wire. Also note that plastic strip has been added to the top of the mounting rails for the cockpit floor. This was done to raise the main interior to a more accurate level.
This detail will never be seen but I know it’s there and now so do you.
I did go a bit overboard with the main cockpit detail but it was quite a lot of fun to do.
Instrument panel and throttle quadrant. The instruments are from an old 1/72 P51 decal sheet with multiple sets of markings. Decals for two panels were cut up to fit the space.
Painted with safety harnesses added. The Sutton harnesses were cut from 0.13 Evergreen plastic sheet which is quite malleable as long as it’s not too old.
Bomb aimer’s window. The rectangle of white plastic should be clear. I’ll paint it to look that way later.
A new front door was cut from plastic card and glued over the very faintly moulded kit detail. This shot also shows the round Tamiya tape masks covering all the hull windows. The kit windows are too large so the masks were cut about 0.5 mm smaller in diameter. I think they should be even a bit smaller than that.
The dorsal cut-outs and the top turret hole filled. Also note the small, round observation windows cut into the spine. These were painted black and a corresponding disc of clear acetate was added after the main paint job was done.
The covers for the dorsal gun positions cut from 0.25 mm plastic card.
Some hinge and trim tab detail was added to the rudder.
The nose turret needed beefing up. This was done by covering the entire kit part with 0.5 mm plastic card and sanding it to the right shape.
These are the two Vickers K guns for the upper fuselage cutouts. They are made from various bits of Evergreen rod and strip with gun sights made from very fine wire. They are very small.
The quad Browning for the tail turret and the single Vickers for the nose. I did manage to snap the barrel off the Vickers gun pretty early on, so I replaced it with a much sturdier metal version.
The metal version.
Guns and covers in place and a bit of the interior is just visible.
The kit’s prop blades were added to new, more accurate hubs and much stronger shafts.
The bombs and bomb racks with a bit of extra detail added.
Bombs painted and ready to be attached to their bomb racks.
The tail’s beaching trolley with a bit of extra detail added.
Most of the fiddly bits painted, weathered and ready for installation.
Painted, weathered and waiting for decals (thanks Brett). This shot also shows the more accurate early engine exhausts which I made using 2.5 mm plastic rod. It was at about this point of the build that I realised the kit did not include the Pegasus engines’ supercharger intakes. So I made four by cutting up a row of 1/32 Me 109 exhaust stacks that I found in my spares box. I reshaped them a bit, attached one under each engine cowl and painted them silver. Looks a lot better than nothing.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 as flown by Lt. Erich Hartmann, Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 52, Russia, October 1943.
I completed this model about 20 years ago and thought it was about time for a revamp. This was achieved mainly by tidying up and redoing the main weathering. The wing roots were first to receive attention. A thin, patchy spray of my red-brown mix was applied to replicate exhaust staining and general grime. When this had dried completely the scratches and rivet details were added using a very sharp PRISMACOLOR silver pencil.
The starboard side didn’t receive as much scratching but I did add a bit more exhaust staining and a scratch-built starter crank handle. Also visible in this shot is the open canopy restraining wire which is part of the original build.
High shot showing cammo and weathering. Not sure why the faint, skinny crosses were sprayed in the centre of the upper wing national markings. Perhaps they were applied as an aid for the original painters to align the stencils when they sprayed the main markings. As I said, I’m not really sure but this feature is quite visible in the famous picture of Hartmann leaning against the port side of this plane.
Some extra grime was added to the under surfaces as part of my refurbishment.
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8/R2 as flown by Leutnant Klaus Bretschneider, 5./JG 300, Erfurt, Germany, October 1944.
I made this model 18 years ago, and since it has only appeared on Brett’s web site (in relatively small format photos) I thought it was time to re-photograph it and post some much larger, more detailed images here. I have done a bit of a clean up of the model, and since more pics have come to my attention, I corrected some of the paint work and weathering. This includes a more accurate spinner spiral, paint chipping and dirt on the wing roots and under surfaces. Also in one photo of this plane I think it shows that the radio antenna wire retraction mechanism was disconnected and so, with the canopy open, the wire is just hanging slack. But as I had fixed the canopy so well, and I’m not 100% sure about this detail, I decided to leave it as is.
More dirt and chipping on the starboard wing root.
Extra soot around the shell ejection chutes and along selected panel lines on the belly.
ORIGINAL ADDITIONS AND ENHANCEMENTS
Messerschmitt 262 A-1a flown by Unteroffizier Eduard Schallmoser, JV 44, München-Riem, Germany, April 20, 1945. Schallmoser was flying this aircraft when he accidentally rammed a P-38 Lightning, slicing its complete tail assembly off with the jet’s starboard wing. Sustaining only light damage, Schallmoser was able to return to base and land safely but I’m not sure whether this aircraft ever flew again.
The seat’s leather cushion was first sprayed matt orange and then carefully shaded with a thin mix of red brown. The deeper creases were then shaded with my black/brown mix. Cracks and scratches were brush painted using straight black and a lighter shade of the original orange. Once dry the cushion was rubbed with my greasy fingertip to give it the leathery sheen. Small wire loops were added to the top of the seat back as attachment points for the safety harness.
Cockpit interior waiting for the addition of instrument panel and safety harness.
Toe straps were added to the rudder pedals. These were made using thin strips of lead foil.
Lots of wiring was added to the back of the instrument panel using various gauges of lead wire.
As I was not sure how much of the wiring was going to be visible it only received a rough coat of yellow. Each separate instrument dial was cut from various decal sheets and added to the individual bezels after the complete panel had been painted.
HGW’s Micro fabric seatbelts and P/E buckles assembled and weathered.
Cockpit tub ready for instillation.
Underneath the cockpit tub with lots of wiring detail added. This area will be visible through the landing gear openings.
The kit’s ring pull handles in the tip of the bullet-shaped Riedel starter engine fairings were removed and replaced with finer scratch-built items.
A push rod was added to the rudder’s offset trim tab using fine brass wire.
If you do not want to build your model with open gun bay and engine cowlings then a fair bit of filling and sanding will be necessary because of the rather poor fit of these parts. Also I was not happy with the uneven contours around the front end of the nose and, again, a lot of filling and sanding was required to make this area look right. The tips of the cannons’ blast tubes were also added.
The emergency canopy release handle was added. This was made from Evergreen plastic strip that was cut and bent to shape.
Initial application of camouflage complete. The colours look very bright in these shots but once matted down and weathered the vibrance was reduced considerably. Also visible in this and the next couple of shots are rows of rivets that were added to the fuselage. I didn’t do any on the wings due to a severe lack of motivation.
Gloss coated with decals applied. The W.Nr. on the vertical tail was made using individual numbers cut from several different decal sheets.
I could not find a decal to match my reference for the tactical number ‘5’ so I drew it free-hand and scanned it into the computer and printed it to the correct size onto self adhesive paper. Using a new very sharp scalpel blade, masks were carefully cut out and the number was sprayed on both sides of the fuselage.
Cockpit interior complete.
In this shot you can see the tiny brass wire hook holding the radio antenna wire, the safety wire holding the open canopy, the locking handle on the inside of the port canopy frame and the grab handle on the inside of the canopy centre frame.
All the dangly bits ready for installation. Lots of detail added to these parts including hydraulic and pneumatic lines, a new DF loop made from scrap P/E bent to shape, and the brass wire end on the FuG-16ZY antenna mast which is lying on top of the new pitot tube made out of telescoping brass tube. Also note the authentically hand-painted No.5 on the front nose gear door.
This P-38 was assigned to Capt. Bob Petit of the 339th FS/347 FG while operating from Kukum Field on Guadalcanal in 1943. On April 18th of that year Lt. Rex Barber flew this aircraft while taking part in Operation Vengeance. This was the mission to intercept the Japanese flight carrying Admiral Yamamoto. The flight was intercepted over Bougainville Island where Lt. Barber successfully engaged and shot down the G4M ‘Betty’ bomber carrying Yamamoto who was killed in the ensuing crash.
The main assembly of this kit was done by Brett Green. My work started with the painting and addition of wiring to the radio gear using 0.2mm and 0.3mm lead wire.
Red and blue placards were carefully painted on.
In place behind the pilot’s seat.
The super charger/exhaust units. These were first painted silver then sprayed blackish brown. They were then shaded with blacker brown and given a black wash.
Drop tanks painted and weathered.
Undercarriage was first painted silver then given a dirty black wash. Careful shading was then applied using the airbrush. Note also the addition of hydraulic brake lines.
Gear doors were painted silver on the interior and neutral grey on the exterior and then given the same treatment as above.
When these aircraft were shipped overseas certain panel lines were sealed with tape. To replicate the effect left after the removal of this sealing tape, the appropriate panel lines were first sprayed with a lighter version of the main cammo colours and then covered with Tamiya’s 2mm flexible masking tape. Various darker versions of these cammo colours were then sprayed along the edges of the tape.
When the tape was removed the resulting effect was pretty close to my reference pics.
The main colours were then mottled with varying shades of themselves and my black/brown mix.
This and the next shot show various weathering effects including lean exhaust staining, paint mottling and chipping.
The paint used for the exhaust stains is Tamiya XF-55 Deck Tan. The paint chipping was achieved using a very sharp Prismacolor silver pencil.
This shot shows my scratch-built safety harness made using lead foil and fine wire. Also seen attached to the top of the windscreen frame is a small red handle. This was made from the same fine wire as the safety harness buckles and, I think, in reality it was used to adjust the rear view mirror when the canopy was closed. Or I could be completely wrong.
Sealing tape, gun dust and paint chipping effects can be seen in this shot.
Exhaust staining on the tail fins.
Brett’s fantastic compilation shot. Ready for Operation Vengeance.
The Kikka was intended for use in suicide missions so only received a name and not the letters and numbers usually designated to I.J.N. aircraft.
My original 2007 build. This was done mainly out of the box with a few alterations and additions. The main alteration was to open the kit’s one-piece canopy. To achieve this the kit part was carefully cut into three sections and the centre section was then used as a plug to form a new, thinner part by plunge moulding a heated piece of acetate over it. The original canopy frames did not mould clearly so new frames were cut from plastic strip and very carefully glued in place using super glue.
Some extra detail had been added to the undercarriage and bomb in the original build. These included brake lines on the main gear legs, the inner gear door closing brackets and a fusing prop on the bomb’s nose.
Refurbishment work began with the removal of the fuselage hinomarus and the addition of canopy rails to the top of the cockpit side walls.
Wing markings were so well fixed to the original paint that I could not remove them so after a light sanding they were left in place and then painted over.
As I didn’t have any appropriate decals to replace the tail codes these were also left in place and carefully brush painted around and over. The RATO pods (one of which can be seen in this and the previous shot) were later removed as I didn’t think that an operational aircraft would have carried them in this position. And as I did not have any information to tell me where else they might have been placed they were left off. In later shots you can see that I also added rivet detail to the lower engine cowls.
In the original build I did add a fair bit of extra detail to the cockpit interior including seat belts and various levers and handles using stretched spru and lead foil. Some of these additions can be seen in this shot of the finished model.
Original paint and markings.
Now with new paint and markings the plane looks as though, in reality, it had been very hastily painted and looks much rougher and, I think, more realistic than my original scheme.
U-2511 was built at the Blohm und Voss shipyards Hamberg and launched on the 2nd of September 1944. She was commissioned on the 29th of September ’44 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Adalbert Schnee. After initial training U-2511 was transferred to Bergen, Norway from where, on the evening of the 30th of April ’45, she set sail for the Caribbean on her one and only patrol. On the 4th of May, with a British cruiser in his sights, Schneer received the end-of-the-war cease fire order. He claimed that he made a practice attack on the British ship before escaping undetected. On the 7th of January 1946, U-2511 was scuttled by the British off the northern coast of Ireland where she still lies, relatively intact, today.
I decided to add as much extra detail as I could in this small scale. This began by cutting out the main ballast vent holes and glueing a strip of styrene card behind them at about a 45 degree angle.
Next, the forward dive plane actuating cylinders were added. These were made using 2.5mm and 1.6mm Evergreen plastic rod.
These cylinders are quite visible if the model is displayed with the dive planes extended. Also in this shot can be seen the early detail added to the top of the deck bollards. Handles were added to the hollowed out tops later.
The kit’s solid moulded hand rails and ladder rungs were removed and replaced with 0.3mm brass and copper wire.
Access doors and nav lights were detailed using 0.25mm plastic card.
After these photos were taken the row of vent holes directly under the hand rail and the first three rows above the rear section of rail were filled according to my reference.
The crew access hatches were cut open and internal detail was added using plastic card.
Holes were opened up so periscopes, schnorkel and other detail could be fixed in more realistic positions.
The kit periscopes were replaced with scratch-built items. This is the night periscope made by shaping a piece of 1.6mm Evergreen plastic rod using the grinding stone attachment on my motor tool.
The attack periscope was made using the same 1.6mm rod and detailed with stretched spru and brass wire.
The kit D/F loop was replaced with a scratch-built item made using brass rod and copper wire.
The kit Hohentwiel radar antenna was detailed with 0.1mm brass rod.
The conning tower with most of the extra detail added. The schnorkel was extensively detailed using plastic card of various gauges and the night periscope housing tube, made out of 3.2mm plastic tube, was added. The kit antenna masts were replaced with items made using telescoping brass tube. After this shot was taken a shaped slot was cut to accommodate the scratch-built D/F loop.
In this shot the sharp edges of the gun turret surround’s rear outer corners can be seen. These were filed and sanded smooth to look more like my reference.
This, and the next shot show the boat’s main colours plus the beginning of the weathering.
The finished model with mooring ropes added. These ropes are made from fine solder wire. Also note the handles added to the hollow tops of the bollards.
The rounded corners behind the gun turrets can be seen here. Also visible is a flagpole made using Evergreen plastic rod with a stretched spru halyard rope.
Kugisho D4Y4 Suisei of the 601st ‘Special Attack’ FG, Japan 1945
Some extra detail was added to the cockpit interior. This included seat belts from lead foil and various knobs, handles and placards from Evergreen plastic card and rod.
Most of the gear in the rear cockpit has been removed to reduce weight for its one-way mission. An empty radio box was added, instrument housings were drilled out and some loose wiring was added.
After the extra head armour with its support braces and rudder pedal toe straps were added, the interior was given a coat of Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green.
Some weathering was done with my red brown/black mix and a Prismacolor silver pencil.
Wiring was added to the cockpit sidewalls using fine wire. A perforated strip was glued to the side of the bomb bay opening after the doors had been removed. The kit’s closed engine cowl cooling fins were cut out and replaced with scratch-built opened ones. Some internal detail, which may be visible, was added. The back of this added detail can be seen here.
Painted and weathered.
Ignition harness and wiring were added to the very basic kit engine.
Detailed and painted. Luckily not much will be visible once it’s behind the big prop spinner.
Detail behind open cooling fins.
Cooling fins glued in place. Exhaust pipe ends have also been hollowed out.
Rivet detail was added to the exterior surfaces using the MDC 1/48th Rivet making tool.
Upper wing rivet detail.
Lower wing rivets. Also three large weight holes were drilled through the rear wheel well wall and small perforated strips were added to the front and rear of the round wheel housing.
Wheel wells and inner gear doors had extra detail added using fine brass and solder wire.
In this shot basic painting is complete and weathering has begun. Undersurface colour is Gunze Sangyo Mr Hobby H61 IJN Gray. Upper surfaces are a mix of Tamiya XF-11 J.N. Green with a dash of XF-12 J.N. Grey added to lighten it up a bit. Selected panel and rivet lines were then carefully sprayed with a very thin mix of straight XF-11 J.N. Green.
All the markings were masked and sprayed before the weathering was added. The main weathering is complete in this shot. The paint chipping was achieved with the use of a very sharp Prismacolor silver pencil. The windscreen and opened sliding section of the canopy were replaced using the vac-form offering from Squadron.
Undersurfaces painted and weathered. This shot was taken mainly to show the finished wheel well detail.
The kit 800kg bomb had extra detail added which included fin braces and a P/E fuse arming prop from the spares box. Not sure what the device strapped to the centre of the bomb is but I made it out of Evergreen plastic and Albion Alloys brass tube to look as close as I could to my reference. A detonation pin was also added to the tip of the nose.
Painted and lightly weathered. The red stripe is pure conjecture on my part.
Rocket motors were painted with a 50/50 mix of dark grey and red brown. The inner walls of the exhaust nozzles were thinned by hollowing them out with a motor tool.
Main undercarriage parts detailed, painted, decaled and weathered. Note that the main legs have been shortened by cutting a couple of mm’s from the oleo legs and closing the oleo scissors slightly. This was done to indicate the compression caused by the extra weight of the large bomb and rocket motors being carried. This alteration made it necessary to separate the lower wheel covers from the upper leg covers as in reality the wheel covers would slide up the outside of the leg covers. The kit gear covers were way too thick for this to look right, so the upper parts of the covers were sanded to a better scale thickness. It turned out to be easier to remake rather than to alter the lower wheel covers, so new parts were cut out of 0.25 mm plastic card. Detail was added to the outside of the new wheel covers using plastic strip and rod. Fine solder wire was also used to add brake lines to the undercarriage legs.
Bomb, rocket motors and undercarriage have been glued in place. Also note that the main gear tyres have been flat spotted.
Mounting step and handle were also added. Although they’re not seen in this shot, the plastic pitot tube was replaced with Albion Alloys sliding brass tube and the solid grey plastic tail navigation light was cut out and replaced by gradually building up layers of Testors clear parts cement.
Kittyhawk Mk.1a of 3 Squadron, RAAF North Africa, middle of 1942 as flown by Flt Sgt Lloyd ‘Danny’ Boardman.
Instrument panel with kit decals. Each instrument dial on the kit decal was carefully cut out and applied separately. The clear reflector element and solid side panels of the N-3A gunsight were replaced with clear cell and plastic card.
Cockpit elements painted and ready to be assembled. The U.S. safety harness is from HGW and probably should be a Sutton Harness as used by the RAF. But this is what I was supplied with and I figure that these aircraft were probably delivered fitted with these belts.
Spinner, prop and undercarriage elements painted and weathered. Note all tyres have been flat spotted and brake lines have been added to the main undercarriage legs.
Undersurface Azure blue is my own mix and isn’t quite as intense as it appears in this photo. Weathering has begun here as well.
Gunze Sangyo H72 Dark Earth and H71 Middle Stone were used for the upper surface colours. Weathering has also begun along panel lines, wing roots and around the gun ports.
Lots of oil leaks and gun dust as per reference were added using the airbrush and my black/brown mix.
Weathering almost complete. More weathering will be done after decals have been applied.
The main photograph I used for reference shows this plane carrying a 250lb GP bomb fitted with a long detonation pin. Luckily I found that I had couple of 250lb GP bombs in my spares box which were left over from the Tamiya Spitfire I built a few years ago. With the addition of a few scratch-built details one of these would be perfect for the job.
250lb GP bomb painted and weathered. The long impact-detonation pins were fitted to these bombs so that they would explode slightly above ground level therefore causing a much wider spread of schrapnel. Very effective when used as an antipersonnel weapon.
The bomb mounting gear supplied with the kit was unsuitable for this sized bomb so a new rack with sway braces was scratch built using plastic strip, plastic rod and brass wire. Also seen in this shot are the actuator rods fitted to the inside of the undercarriage doors which were also made from fine brass wire.
Bomb fitted to the very dirty under belly of this well worn war bird.
This shot shows some of the after market items used on this build, which include resin exhaust stacks from quickboost, and P/E and turned brass ring and bead gunsight from AIR MASTER. The chipped paint on the wing root area was applied with a very sharp PRISMACOLOR silver pencil. Exhaust staining and oil streaking was added using the airbrush and a fine paint brush. A watery black wash was carefully painted along panel lines and then very carefully around the canopy framework.
ME Bf 109 G6/R6 ‘Black 1’ W.Nr. Unknown 8./JG 54 Pilot Unknown Lüneburg, Germany Spring 1944.
Starboard cockpit wall with some added detail to the oxygen supply mechanism.
Cockpit tub with straps added to the rudder pedals and scratch-built seat belts added to the seat.
Bottom of the engine with extra detail.
Extra plumbing and wiring was added to the engine sides and bottom using fine copper and solder wire.
Underwing gondola cannon barrels were replaced with brass tube.
Kit decals were used for the instrument panel.
Wing radiator innards.
The navigation lights are moulded as part of the solid grey wing tips, so with some good photographic reference I painted them to look transparent.
I was very happy with the result.
Chipping along the wing roots was done using a very sharp Prismacolor silver pencil. Also in this shot can be seen grab handles on the rear frame of the forward canopy, retaining wire holding the centre canopy section and the replacement D/F loop made using scrap P/E.
Very dirty belly of this well-used machine.
The top deck’s pretty messy too.