Royal Navy Monoplanes -
Sea Hornet, Firefly, Sea Fury, Seafang, Gannet, Skyraider, Chipmunk & Jetstream
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Frog's kit of the DH Hornet, in this case an early Novo issue, is another excellent example of late Frog quality. Certainly, it is basic, but it fits together well (even in this Novo incarnation) and is reasonably accurate. The very few panel lines are raised and perhaps a little heavy, whilst comparison with a set of basic drawings suggests that the nose may be a little too short, but overall the kit captures the shape of this now extinct aircraft well enough. This is a simple conversion into a Sea Hornet, by adding wing fold lines, a hook and my own decals.
As the tide began to turn in the WW2 Pacific Campaign, British aircraft manufacturers turned their efforts to designs that would be well suited to the vast distances of the Pacific. DeHavilland's contribution was one of the fastest propeller driven aircraft ever built, the elegant DH.103 Hornet, developed from the famous wooden wonder Mosquito.
Smaller, but with the same Rolls Royce Merlin power, now in even more streamlined engine nacelles, and the same lightweight wooden construction, the Hornet was remarkably fast, with an astonishing power to weight ratio and possessed a tremendous operating range (nearly 2000 miles with drop tanks fitted). Indeed the Hornet was significantly faster than the contemporary jet powered Gloster Meteor, achieving a top speed of 472mph at 22,00ft against the Meteor's 415 mph.
The Sea Hornet was a simple conversion to add a hook, catapult spools, revised hydraulic undercarriage oleos and naval radio equipment. Sea Hornet F.20s served for a relatively short time with only one first line squadron (801 Sqn from 1947 until 1951), but remained in significant numbers with second line units until 1955. A twin seat, radar equipped night fighter, the NF.22, was also produced, serving again with only one front line unit, in this case 809 Sqn.
The Airfix Firefly is nicely detailed for its time, and a straightforward build,
with a very nice wing-
The Rolls Royce Griffon-
HMS THESEUS arrived in Korean waters in October 1950 to relieve HMS TRIUMPH, with
her Sea Furies and Fireflies conducting intensive strikes on North Korean bridges
and vehicles. THESEUS' Ship's Company were confident that their Korean War mission
would end soon and that and they would be on their way home, hopefully via an Christmas
Trumpeter's Sea Fury is a huge step forward from the ancient Frog offering and a
big step on from the reasonable PM version. However, it is certainly not "Shake &
Make" with a number of fit and detail issues to be resolved. Painting that high demarcation
line on the fuselage is very frustrating; I had just got it right when the masking
tape took off all the sky paint -
Many people consider Sir Sidney Camm's Sea Fury to be THE ultimate piston engine fighter. Conceived during the final years of WW2, it was a typical Hawker design; robust, well thought out and highly capable. When it entered service in 1947, the utility of jet aircraft at sea was yet to reach a satisfactory level, but it was clear that the Sea Fury's days would be limited.
Nevertheless, its six years of front line service co-
Note: It has been suggested that Lt Carmichael's aircraft had a blue spinner, to reflect his position as Blue Flight Leader. However, evidence for this is rather scant, it would be a unusual move and even if it was coloured, then there is no way of knowing what sort of blue this would be. I have therefore gone for the standard EDSG spinner as I think it more likely (e.g. faded EDSG can look decidedly blue).
......and the real thing (Yeovilton 2004 & 2005):
The PM Sea Fury is considerably cheaper than the Trumpeter, and a much easier build. This one is essentially out of the box, but with my own decals.
The original Sea Fury X / F.10 was intended as a pure fighter and lacked the underwing hard points for ground attack weaponry. However, its stretch potential was quickly realised and most F.10s were quickly converted to FB.11s.
RN Historic Flight, RNAS Yeovilton 1976-
The RN found that the high performance Sea Fury required a dedicated 2-
This particular aircraft was operated by the RN Historic Flight until it was written off in a crash in 1990. It has since been rebuilt by an American collector and is currently (2008) for sale.
AZ 1/72 Spiteful modified. The planned main production variant of the Seafang would have been the Mk.32 with contrarotating props and folding wings, but to enable early entry into service, the initial Mk.31 was a basic version, essentially a Spiteful with a hook.
The Seafang and Spiteful were the last gasp of the Spitfire line. By 1943 it was
evident that the Spitfire airframe had reached its physical limits, so Supermarine
began work on an advanced wing to allow far higher speeds. The laminar flow wing
was thinner, with a sharper leading edge and with its thickest part further aft.
By allowing the air to flow around the wing with less turbulence, drag would be reduced
and the top speed of the aircraft would increase. At the same time, the overall shape
and construction of the wing were simplified, overcoming a long lasting production
limitation of Mitchell's original Spitfire wing design. A new fuselage was also designed,
with a lower nose overcoming the visibility issues that the longer Griffon engine
had brought, whilst a larger tail unit restored the longitudinal stability lost with
the more powerful engine and the bubble-
The Spiteful and Seafang were modestly successful and were certainly very fast, although the new wing showed some undesirable characteristics when approaching a stall. None of these were significant issues for such a radical design and could have been overcome in time, but the end of the war, the emergence of jet technology, plus the success of the rival Hawker Fury/Sea Fury and Seafire 45/47 designs, meant that further development of the aircraft was halted after only 19 had been built.
Nevertheless, the advanced laminar flow Spiteful wing did eventually see active service, evolving into the awkward looking Supermarine Attacker, the Royal Navy's first operational jet fighter.
Another Frog classic. Until the recent Trumpeter (and imminent Revell) kits, this was the best you could get. Its not bad, although the cockpit is a flat deck with the pilot's heads moulded on. This one has been built entirely out the box with no changes.
Despite being the subject of "super priority" production, Fairey's Gannet went through an extended gestation period before entering service. Powered by the revolutionary Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba turboprop engine, the Gannet was the ultimate evolution of the propeller driven, carrier based ASW aircraft.
This is the Airfix kit with the C-
For the RN, the Skyraider AEW conversion was a stop-
This is the ID Models vacform fuselage added to the Frog kit. Decals from Model Alliance.
The Gannet airframe was radically redesigned to carry an AEW Radar set. In this form it served on RN Carriers until the late 1970s, ending its days as a shore based aircraft in support of the RAF's ancient Shackleton AEW aircraft. The Gannet's organic OTH (over the horizon) radar capability was sorely missed in the South Atlantic in 1982.
So far as I know, the Airfix Chipmunk is the only kit of this versatile and long
lived trainer. It is very basic, with prominent rivets, flimsy undercarriage and
a somewhat difficult wing to fuselage join. Decals are from the original kit and
my spares box. The kit is otherwise OOB, except that I substituted the early leather
helmeted aircrew for some later ones with modern bone domes and added the anti-
This type of aircraft, from the Fleet Air Arm's initial training and grading flight, has the distinction of being the only aeroplane that I have actually flown (as opposed to flown in) . During my one and only flight, we passed up over Dartmoor, around the Princetown TV Transmitter Mast, then up to the North Devon coast for a couple of loop the loops and barrel rolls, then back south (with the canopy cracked open for some fresh air as I was, by this time, feeling distinctly nauseous) around Torbay then back to Roborough. I managed to get back on to the ground with the engine stopped before actually being sick!
The Chipmunk was the first indigenous Canadian aircraft design. Entering service
in the early 1950s as a replacement for the Tiger Moth, it continued in UK military
service until the late 1990s. During the 1960s, the Fleet Air Arm acquired twelve
And the real thing at Yeovilton in 2009.
The M&E Models conversion from the Airfix Jetstream has excellent decals, but is otherwise quite simple, matching the kit itself. It includes the new nose, replacement engines and some rather nice transfers for both RN & RAF T.1 variants. I built this kit back in the mid 1990s, when I had effectively given up modelling for a while. As a result it is not one of my better efforts.
The Jetstream was one of Handley Page's last independent designs. Subsequently built by Scottish Aviation (a British Aerospace subsidiary) at Prestwick, it had reasonable success as a regional "feeder" airliner in the US.
Royal Navy Jetstream T.2s replaced the Sea Prince for training Fleet Air Arm Observers, as well as general communication duties; the main difference from the civil (and RAF) version is the use of the Turbomeca Astazou XVI turboprop, plus a distinctive Ekco navigation radar dome in the nose.
......and the real thing (RIAT 2007):
For the 2009 Celebrations of 100 Years of Naval Aviation, Jetstreams wore this attractive motif on their tails:
PM models have a very mixed reputation, ranging from OK to very poor. Their C-
The Beech Model 18 saw widespread military and civilian use as a light communications transport and trainer. It remained in production from the late 1930s until 1970, holding the record for the longest continuous production of a piston engined aircraft.
Boulton Paul Sea Balliol T.21, MTP School RNAS Abbotsinch, 1963.
Special Hobby kits are some of the best low production moulds around and whilst this
one has a few building foibles, it builds into a colourful and interesting representation
of the RN’s lfinal pre-
This is the recent Airfix kit , which is most impressive. Slightly delicate, so not the easiest of builds, but the results are very pleasing. As supplied, the kit comes in 3 variants; two RAF Trainers and a civil version; this one has some home sourced decals from the spares box.
The Tiger Moth first flew in 1931 and was quickly established as a leading primary trainer across the world. Over 500 were in RAF service alone by the start of WW2 with an eventual production run of over 7,000, over 4,000 of which went to the RAF. Tiger Moths were built in the UK by DeHavilland, Morris and Scottish Aviation, in Canada by DHC, in Australia by DH Australia as well as in New Zealand, Sweden, Portugal and Norway.
The Royal Navy used a small number of Tiger Moths as target tugs and "air experience" machines. With an additional batch of purchased a batch of refurbished ex civil examples purchased in 1956, one of which made the last biplane landing on an aircraft carrier (HMS Eagle)in 1967.
Several air experience and hack aircraft remained in Fleet Air Arm service until
the early 1970s including the subject of this model which started out as an RAF aircraft
with serial DE395. After disposal by the RAF and refurbishment by Hants & Sussex
Aviation, it was purchased by the RN and given the new military registration XL715.
Unfortunately, the aircraft was damaged beyond economical repair in a crash shortly
Trumpeter’s Wyvern kit is a modern and very polished production, accurate and easy to build with a good range of decal and weapons options.
The Wyvern represented the last gasp of the Torpedo Fighter concept, straddling the era of propeller driven naval combat aircraft and the jet. It suffered a very long gestation period, largely due to delays in the development of suitable conventional powerplants, but eventually entered service using the Armstrong Siddeley Python turboprop.
Wyverns only remained in service with the RN for 4 years, equipping 4 front-
Although it proved a stable weapons platform with a commendable war record, of the 124 Wyverns built for the Fleet air Arm, with 39 were lost in accidents , with 13 fatalities. By 1958 it was obsolete and was quickly withdrawn from service.