September 2011
Handley Page Hampden
FV 601 Alvis Saladin Armoured Car


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PoppySelected WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:

The period from September 1941 to early 1942 marked one of the lowest points in the war for the Allies. In Russia, the Wehrmacht continued its inexorable progress toward Moscow, with the capture of Kiev and siege of Leningrad. With Britain struggling against the U-Boats in the North Atlantic, the focus of the war for the Western Allies remains in the Mediterranean and North Africa, where the Allies struggle against renewed German and Italian offensives that threaten Egypt and the Suez canal. However, despite the considerable efforts of the German and Italian Air and sea forces, the besieged and battered island of Malta still remains a vital thorn in Rommel's fragile supply lines to Africa from Sicily.

7 Sept 1941 - RAF Hampden and Wellington bombers conduct heavy raids on Berlin

8 Sept - The 900 day Siege of Leningrad begins.

11 Sept - General Zhukov is appointed commander of the Leningrad defences and the next day sees the first snow of winter on the Eastern front. In the Atlantic, although the US is not yet at war with Germany, President Roosevelt orders USN ships to sink on sight any Axis ships found in US waters.

15 -21 Sept - The Battle of Kiev. Wehrmacht Army Group South and Army Group Centre complete the encirclement of Kiev. 600,000 Soviet soldiers are taken prisoner

Between 2009 and 2015, I will be pursuing a general modelling theme that marks selected 70th Anniversaries from WW2.

Handley Page Hampden, 49 Sqn RAF Bomber Command

RAF Scampton, August 1940.

Airfix 1/72.


The HP52 Hampden medium bomber was designed to the same specification as the Whitley and Wellington, but adopted a rather different design approach, placing the crew in a very narrow forward pod and adopting a long slender boom to hold the tail assembly, not unlike Dornier's "Flying Pencil" Do-18 bomber. Of roughly similar performance to its RAF stablemates, the Hampden first flew in 1936, but like so many other aircraft of that fast moving era, by the time war came it was being left behind and quickly proved to be no match for the Luftwaffe's fighters. Nearly half of the 1430 Hampdens built were lost in combat, typifying the dreadful casualties suffered by Bomber Command Crews during WW2.

Hampdens quickly assumed the less risky night bombing role, including mine laying of German ports. Along with the Wellington, they bore the brunt of the RAF medium bombing effort during the early years of the war and participated in many of the early bombing raids on Germany, including raids on Berlin 70 years ago this month.


Later on, Hampdens were fitted with torpedoes and used very successfully by Coastal Command and the Soviet Navy in anti-shipping roles.


Another re-issued Airfix gem, the Hampden kit is surprisingly good for its age and gains a new set of finely printed decals in its latest guise, including the ones that I have used. The aircraft depicted was flown by Flt Lt Roderick Learoyd RAF when he led an attack the heavily defended Dortmund-Ems canal in August 1940, for which he was awarded the VC. Building the kit was straight forward with a good fit in most places, although the undercarriage proved fiddly and fitting the fragile guns to the clear parts without damaging either was difficult. I added quite a lot of scratch detail to the cockpit, but of course none of this can be seen through the very clear, but also very thick windows (typical!).


More RAF WW2 aircraft on my Friends and Allies pages


Alvis FV601 Saladin Armoured Car

JB Models 1/76 (re-issued by Airfix).


The Saladin was another member of the highly successful British FV600 series, sharing drive train and mechanical components with the Saracen APC, Stalwart truck and the Salamander Fire Tender. Maneuverable and well armed with a 76mm gun, Saladins saw service across the spectrum of British Army activity from the 1950s to 1970s, and saw active service, in some cases until very recently, in the armed forces of many other nations.


This is another JB Model, recently resurrected by Airfix. Although it shares parts (and I suspect sprues) with the JB Saracen APC kit, the Saladin is a much more convincing model when finished. This one has a suitably modified Airfix Commando as its commander, plus some rolled foil cammo nets to add some interest. Its an easy kit for the beginner, but also offers some detailing potential for the more experienced or adventurous.


More tanks and other AFVs on my Dark Side pages

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Background Image: HP Hampden in the air - Crown Photo

© 2011