October 2023

Lockheed Hudson Mk.III

Fi-156 Storch

Supermarine Spitfire Vb

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Lockheed Hudson Mk.III

206 Sqn RAF

RAF Bircham Newton / RAF Gibraltar, 1941.

Airfix 1/72

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The Lockheed Hudson was developed from the Lockheed Model 14 fast airliner.  With minimal modifications, Lockheed provided the British Purchasing Commission with an armed fast light bomber based on a proven airframe.  200 were ordered immediately, the largest ever order that the small Lockheed company had received up to that date.  

Hudsons were mainly employed on maritime patrols with RAF Coastal Command, but also undertook transport and communications roles, including special operations, landing agents and supplies in occupied France.  The Canadian, New Zealand and Australian Air Forces also flew significant numbers of Hudsons in similar roles.. Nearly 3,000 were built and they continued in front line roles throughout WW2, seeing much success against Axis submarines and surface ships.

The Hudson plays a small part in my Malta project;  aircraft based in Gibraltar conducted anti-submarine patrols as far as Malta and also undertook transport flights to Malta and Egypt (Sir Alex Guiness’ character arrives at Malta on one in the film "Malta Story" - it is destroyed by an air raid very soon after landing!). I can't determine which squadrons did this, although I do believe that some of the early Hurricane pilots were transported out there by an RAF Leuchars based Hudson squadron).

Building the Airfix Lockheed Hudson kit:

The Airfix hudson kit was first issued in 1963, with its most recent issue in 2006.  Mine is a 1998 issue with superb Roy Cross box art on the disproportionately large box. This one came to me very cheaply (£4) because it had been started - the previous owner had attached the cockpit parts and painted some of the interior in a green cockpit colour.  This is a Heller-era issue of this kit, which immediately rings "decal alarm bells" for me, although they look OK in the box. I've not built one of these before and first impressions are good, with a little flash, but otherwise a crisp moulding.  Fit is reasonable although filler will definitely be required. The fuselage halves seemed to fit together well in a dry-fit, but were less convincing with glue, so I attached them bit by bit, starting with the tail surfaces, then the nose, then the underside and finally the top. Having knocked the nose windows out when I dry fitted it the previous evening, I applied my trusty spring clamps very carefully!

Wings went together fairly well, but there was a large gap between the engine/undercarriage nacelles and the wing lower surfaces. Once the fuselage and wings were joined and the worst gaps filled, I sanded off most of the oversized rivets to give a more realistic surface.  I added some scratch detail in the cockpit, including the navigator's floor seat. Two replacement aircrew figures were added (replacing the rather crude kit ones)  The canopy is nicely clear, although the frames are very lightly marked, making painting a bit of a guess. It doesn't fit particularly well, although not a disaster;  it is a little too wide and there were gaps at the back, which I filled with Krystal Klear (PVA glue). The rear turret, a very prominent part of this aircraft, is quite strangely shaped and a little too prominent.  My rear gunner figure was damaged (and then lost) so my turret is unmanned!

Link to more RAF WW2 aircraft on my Friends & Allies pages

October 2023 - Fiesler Storch

Link to October 2023 Part 2 (Fiesler Storch) >>

Part 1

© IWM CH 996 A Hudson of 224 Sqn based at RAF Leuchars

A quick coat of Klear acrylic floor polish was applied to ready the surface for the decals, at which point I realised that my concerns about the "Heller-era" decals were well founded.  The white layer was slightly misaligned (not obvious on the white backing paper) leaving a small white edge around many of the decals and requiring a delicate touch-up on completion.  Well, at least they didn't fall to pieces on touching the water, but this is another reminder of why the separation of Airfix from the failing Heller Trun operation was long overdue and much celebrated!  

To finish I marked out some of the main panel lines in light pencil, added a light oily wash over the panels, plus some exhaust stains and then applied a matt coat of W&N acrylic varnish to finish.

In conclusion, this really is a kit of its age.  Crude in detail, with some significant accuracy issues and a slightly tricky build due to its “so so” fit.  

For a long time this kit was the only available option for this aircraft type, but there are now more modern and accurate (but no less tricky) kits. However, for £4 it definitely kept me busy for a few weeks and provided a good dose of nostalgic fun !

The real thing:  An Australian-built Hudson at the RAF Museum, Hendon

The real thing:  An Australian-built Hudson at the RAF Museum, Hendon

A screenshot from “The Malta Story” - The Hudson in the background is about to be bombed !

© IWM  E(MOS) 263

A Bolton Paul turret similar to that fitted to the Hudson