June 2011
Challenger 1
DeHavilland Sea Vixen
Junkers Ju-88

Challenger 1 Sea VixenJu-88

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PoppySelected WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:

The Western Desert campaign continues. Rommel continues his successes, but the city and port of Tobruk remains in British hands

The Siege of Malta continues with heavy bombing raids

8 June 1941 - British, Australian and Indian forces attack Vichy French Lebanon and Syria.
15 June - Operation Battleaxe, stalls and the British counter offensive against Rommel's Afrika Korps is halted at Halfaya pass. Tobruk remains besieged by German and Italian forces.
22nd June - Operation Barbarossa - Nazi Germany launches a massive surprise offensive against the Soviet Union

Challenger 1 Tank
The Queen's Royal Hussars, IFOR, Bosnia 1996.
Revell 1/72.

Challenger 1

The Challenger tank was designed around the revolutionary Chobham ceramic armour. Based on an improved variant of the British Chieftain Tank, that had been produced for Iran but not delivered due to the Iranian revolution, the Challenger shared many of the Chieftain's faults, including a less than effective gun aiming system and unreliable power plant. However, its very high protection levels and the lethality of its main armament remained powerful factors and it was quickly introduced to service with the British Army.

Challenger 1 was succeeded by the much improved Challenger 2, with the original variant withdrawn as part of arms reduction and savings measures. Some Challenger 1s were transferred to friendly nations including Jordan, where they have seen upgrade programmes to bring them to similar levels of effectiveness as Challenger 2.

Challenger 1

A fun build whilst the Sea Vixen progresses!

Revell have marketed two different Challenger 1 kits, the first based on the old Matchbox version, which is not bad. However, the latest issue is better and has appeared in several boxes with varying decals to match.

Challenger 1

Challenger 1

More tanks and other AFVs on my Dark Side pages

DeHavilland/Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen FAW.2,
899 Sqn, Fleet Air Arm, HMS EAGLE 1972.

Airfix, 1/48

Continuing from last month. Steady progress, and I have finally decided which decal option to use!

Airfix Sea Vixen

With the fuselage largely complete, it is now time to apply a little colour! After a quick wash with soapy water (not easy with a kit this size), Humbrol enamel was brush applied to top (Humbrol 123 EDSG) and bottom (Humbrol 130 satin white). On drying it was clear that a second coat of both colours would be needed.


The canopy assemblies require a lot of care to separate them from the sprue without damage. One-piece alternatives are available from A2Zee models, but with some care and delicate painting I was happy with mine. Frame and clear parts are separate, which eases painting, but is the main reason for the underlying fragility


The outer wings need to be built up on the strengthening frames, which means that they rely on a very good fit. Sanding down the joints/surfaces later is made more difficult by the size and weight of the completed assembly, but fortunately the fit of parts is very good and no filler was needed. Once attached, lower and upper surfaces were painted; the second coat, applied to the whole model a week later, was used to tidy up edges/demarcation lines etc. Clear canopy parts were also attached and were a good fit after some careful trimming.

... and that;'s all for this month. Into the final straights now!

Link to more on the Sea Vixen next month.....

Or - back to last month

More FAA Jet aircraft (including 1/72 Sea Vixens) on my RN Jets Pages

Link to my Sea Vixen Reference Pictures (warning - very picture heavy)

Junkers Ju-88A-4
1/KG30 "Adler Geschwader" , Norway 1941.
 Airfix 1/72.


The Ju-88 was one of the most successful German aircraft of WW2, serving on all fronts in a variety of roles and remaining in production until the end of the war, with over 16,000 built. The A4 dive-bomber version was used extensively in anti-shipping roles and took a heavy toll on Allied merchant shipping and Naval vessels .

KG30 conducted the first bombing raids on the UK, attacking the Firth of Forth in October 1939, followed by the sinking of the troopship RMS Lancastria off St Nazaire in 1940, with the loss of 5000 lives. This aircraft wears the markings of the 1/KG30 Commander, Werner Baumbach, one of the most decorated bomber pilots of the war. The tail markings indicate his personal tally, which totalled over 300,000 tons of allied shipping.

Baumbach saw action during the Battle of Britain, Arctic Convoys and on the Eastern Front, before taking command of KG200, the Nazi special operations unit that developed such aircraft as the Mistel and Amerika Bombers. Baumbach died in Argentina in 1953.


I purchased this current issue of an ancient kit as a "sentimental build", although it fits nicely with my WW2 Anniversaries theme - KG30 was based in Norway in 1941 but saw some of its units redirected to the Mediterranean to fight in Crete, North Africa and Malta. This is the 1964 Airfix kit; sadly another one that is well past its sell by date. The kit itself isn't too bad, although mine had warped wings and a lot of flash. The main problem though are the transparencies, which fit very badly and are ill-formed with no discernable framing, making painting the many frames a rather tedious task.

On the bright side, Airfix, in this latest (and hopefully last) issue, have provided some superb decals for two interesting subjects, including Baumbach's machine and a Free French aircraft in post D-Day markings. I can't really recommend this kit, but i do recommend the decals!



Postscript: After posting pictures of this kit on various modelling websites, I am told that Airfix may have got the codes wrong and this is not Baumbach's aircraft, but Ju 88 D-1 W.Nr. 1067 belonging to 1.(F)/120 - an Recce unit - and regular machine of Staffelkapitän Hptm. Helmuth Orlowski and Beobachter Oblt. Fritz Heidenreich. The aircraft was destroyed in an attack on Forus Airfield in Norway, on 07.01.1942.

More Axis aircraft on my Adversaries pages


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