DeHavilland Canada (DHC) T. 10 Chipmunk, Royal Navy Grading Flight, Roborough Airport, Plymouth, 1983. (Airfix)
So far as I know, the Airfix Chipmunk is the only kit of this versatile and long lived trainer. It is very basic, with prominent rivets, flimsy undercarriage and a somewhat diffcult wing to fuselage join. Decals are from the original kit and my spares box. The kit is otherwise OOB, except that I substituted the early leather helmetted aircrew for some later ones with modern bone domes and added the anti-spin strakes in front of the tailplanes.
This type of aircraft, from the Fleet Air Arm's initial training and grading flight, has the distinction of being the only aeroplane that I have ever actually flown (as opposed to flown in) . During my one and only flight, we passed up over Dartmoor, around the Princetown TV Transmitter Mast, then up to the North Devon coast for a couple of loop the loops and barrel rolls, then back south (with the canopy cracked open for some fresh air as I was, by this time, feeling distinctly nauseous), around Torbay then back to Roborough. I managed to get back on to the ground with the engine stopped before actually being sick!
Just for a laugh, the student pilot in this model is shorter than the instructor and has a beard - yes!......its me!
Hawker Sea Fury FB.11, 802 NAS, HMS OCEAN, Korea 1952 (Trumpeter)
This was the last build of the year, and by spooky co-incidence it is the 100th aircraft in my collection. With that in mind I fancied doing something special but straightforward "Out The Box". However, I found this one rather more hard work than expected. I have to say that I am a little disappointed by Trumpeter so far, especially at nearly twice the price of the (admittedly much more basic) PM kit.
Whilst the kit looks very nice in the box, I found the parts fit less than perfect, particularly the wings (I took the locating tabs off in the end) and the main fuselage. It is also clearly not meant to be done with wings unfolded - getting the wing joins to match, whilst keeping the wings at the correct angle, was not particularly easy.
It then suffered 2 self inflicted disasters; firstly I misread the rather vague instructions and glued the exhaust stubs in upside down (then destroyed them when trying to correct the error). Then after painting the demarkation line between EDSG and Sky, the horrible Revell Sky paint came off en-masse with the masking tape (its never done that to me before - it had been drying for about 36 hrs too). Nothing that can't be fixed, but annoying nevertheless.
When I opened up the decals, I was also very disappointed to see that the roundels were misaligned - come on Trumpeter; not what I expect from a kit costing this much - even Airfix do separate red centres nowadays! I hesitated over whether to mask and paint the black & white stripes, but in the end I used the decals. Unfortunately they did not sit comfortably over the sharp gun bulges, and their edges curled when I applied Humbrol Decal Fix, so I had to do a lot of touching up in any event.
As for the finished model; well it certainly looks impressive, but I can't help feel that the fuselage looks too long, perhaps because the canopy also looks proportionately undersized. Overall, an OK kit, but not as "perfect" as I hoped.