December 2014

Supermarine Walrus

Grumman Hellcat

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Selected WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:

Between 2009 and 2015, I have set myself a general modelling theme based on selected 70th Anniversaries from WW2.

The end in Europe is now very close, but the Nazis make one more attempt to stem the Allied advance in the Ardennes.

1 Dec 1944 - Himmler issues orders for the death camp at Auswitz to be destroyed before the evidence falls into Allied hands.

3 Dec – The Home Guard is stood down - invasion is no longer a credible threat.

16 Dec - The Germans begin a counter offensive through the Ardennes in an attempt to recapture Antwerp.  The Battle of the Bulge begins under overcast wintry skies, denying the Allies the use of air power.

23 Dec – Surrounded US forces in Bastogne are running short of ammunition when the skies over the Ardennes finally begin to clear and the Allied counter attack begins.

24 Dec - V1 Flying Bomb cruise missiles strike as far north as Manchester.

31 Dec – Organised Japanese resistance in Leyte ends with very heavy losses on all sides.  Mop up operations against isolated Japanese troops will continue until May 1945.

Supermarine Walrus

HMS VICTORIOUS, British Pacific Fleet

December 1944.

Revell (Matchbox) 1/72

The stubby and functional Supermarine Walrus will be a fairly familiar sight to modellers.  Designed by the famous RJ Mitchell (who also designed the far more elegant Spitfire), it firs t flew in 1933 and remained in service throughout WW2 and on into the 1950s.

Originally flown by the Fleet Air Arm as a spotter aircraft from light Cruisers and battleships, the Walrus became equally well known as an Air-Sea-Rescue aircraft operated by the RAF.

As spotter aircraft were withdrawn from ships, several Walrus remained in service operating form carriers as general communications aircraft.

The subject of the model is an aircraft used in this role, operating from HMS VICTORIOUS in December 1944 and sporting the distinctive US-style roundels of the newly formed British Pacific Fleet.  

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Background Image: Hawker Sea Fury (©  

Revell have released this excellent ex-Matchbox kit on several occasions, with markings for this 1944 BPF aircraft and an all silver post-war French Aeronavale aircraft from Hourtin Air Base near Brest.  As with many of the Matchbox biplane kits, its standard of detail and accuracy far outstrip then normal Matchbox standard, with delicate raised panel lines and detial matched to the high standard of moulding, fit and buildability that Matchbox were famous for.

The kit mostly builds well, although I found the alignment of the engine pod struts was difficult, plus the undercarriage once assembled and fitted was very weak.    I added several elements of cabin interior detail from sprue strips, plus the distinctive radio aerials and their mounting posts.

As expected, the Revell decals were very good, although I ended up with a little silvering on the walkway markings on the lower wings, despite liberal application of Klear.

I have two more of these in the stash, plus an Airfix version, and I look forward to building them all.

Have a look at my "RN Flight Deck” pages for more Fleet Air Arm models

© Crown Copyright IWM (A 29814)

Grumman Hellcat Mk.1

1839 Sqn Fleet Air Arm, HMS INDOMITABLE,

British Eastern Fleet, Indian Ocean, November 1944.

Frog 1/72

To finish the month and continue the 70th Anniversaries theme, here is another of my FROG Hellcat stash, once again using the kit decals, but this time for an aircraft of 1839 Sqn operating from HMS INDOMITABLE with the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean, toward the end of 1944.

Comparison with the Hasegawa Hellcat reveals just how basic and poorly shaped this kit is, with a strangely skinny fuselage and undercarriage oleos that are far too short.  I have addressed the latter by inserting some sprue to raise the aircraft up slightly.

This particular kit came in a late FROG box, with the deteriorating quality of moulding and unpleasant plastic suggesting that it is a very late FROG, perhaps even one of the early USSR produced kits (just before FROG collapsed and NOVO took over).