March 2024

Fairey Albacore

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Fairey Albacore

826 Sqn Fleet Air Arm

Dekhelia / Western Desert 1941

Pegasus 1/72

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The Albacore was intended as a replacement for the venerable Swordfish, but in the end its predecessor outlived it. Nevertheless, it was a reliable and popular aircraft, that achieved notable success in many roles. This was especially true over the Mediterranean and in the Western Desert, where RN Pilots provided close support and Strike missions for the 7th Armoured Division/Desert Rats, operating against Italian and German forces.

826 Sqn was  originally deployed onboard HMS FORMIDABLE, taking part in the Battle of Cape Matapan .  In May 1941, FORMIDABLE was badly damaged in a German bombing attack and sent to the USA for repair.  Her squadrons were deployed ashore as part of the Desert Air Force, where they were able to use their naval navigation skills over the featureless desert, with the very quiet sleeve valve Bristol Taurus  engine of the Albacore to allow them to conduct stealth attacks on German positions as well as  Axis naval  traffic along the North African coastline.

Link to many more RN aircraft on my Flight Deck pages


Updating the Pegasus Albacore kit:

This was a very quick refurbishment of a kit that I built way back in 2002.  It's the Pegasus short run kit, built after I had read the marvellous biography of Lt Cdr Donald Judd, DSO, “Avenger From The Sky” in which he details the amazing activities of the Albacore squadrons in the Western desert in the early 1940s.

The kit was quite crude and not an easy build, but I was very pleased with the end result, including the biplane rigging (one of, if not the first one I did), for which I used fuse wire.  

However, I was never happy with the paint job.  The matt varnish that I used (Humbrol Matt Cote)dried with an ugly white bloom in the panel lines and all my attempts to sort it failed miserably (since then I have only used acrylic matt varnish).

I gave it an update about 2 years after I built it, trying to put an oily wash into some of the panel lines (again one of my first attempts at this technique).  It helped, but the aircraft looked very tatty;  the real thing in the western desert did look tatty, but this seemed to detract from the model quite badly.  

So here we are, 22 years later, having another go.  All I've done is repainted the main colours, then re-coat with matt varnish.

This is a good short run kit, but definitely not one for the beginner.

Part 2

© IWM TR 287

© IWM A 16116  An Albacore at Malta

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March2024- Part 2

Aircraft of 826 Sqn flying over the Mediterranean coast. (Credit unknown)

The Fleet Air Arm Museum have a very nice Albacore, rebuilt from the fuselage of one that crashed during a blizzard in Sutherland in 1941 (N4172) plus parts from the tail of another (N4389).   

Sadly its been in the reserve collection for at least 10 years, so you can only see it now on a tour of the Cobham Hall, sat between a Sea harrier and a Camel.   

For many years, Mrs T and I had our model stand beneath the Albacore at the twice yearly FAA Museum Model Show!

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