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My virtual Display shelves - 55+ years of model building!

December 2023


For my last completed models of 2023, I have gone firmly back to my modelling roots, with 2 more Fleet Air Arm aircraft.  



The Fairey Gannet, with its twin turboprop propulsion, was sufficiently different from existing aircraft to merit a dedicated trainer version.  These were operated by the HQ Flights of most Gannet Squadrons, including this Gannet T.5 from 849 Sqn at RNAS Brawdy in 1969, built using the Trumpeter kit.



The 1950s were a period of rapid transition and growth for the Fleet Air Arm, with the Cold War ramping up and jet aircraft beginning to take over from propeller driven older types.  The Supermarine Vickers Attacker was the RN’s first jet powered carrier-borne aircraft, and although its service life was short, it pioneered the use of jets at sea.  This is the old FROG kit, with markings for an aircraft of 800 Sqn, based onboard HMS EAGLE in 1951.

August 2023





This year’s RIAT airshow at RAF Fairford seemed to be dominated by the F-35A, with quite a few F-35Bs in attendance as well.  So it is with my modelling builds for this month.


First up is an F-35A of  331 Sqv Royal Norwegian Air Force, based at Orland in northern Norway.  This aircraft carries the stealth drogue parachute pod used to assist with landings on icy runways.


Second is (another!) F-35B, this time using the new Airfix kit and wearing the markings of 617 Sqn “The Dambusters” during the 2021 Carrier Strike Group deployment of the carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH to the Far East.  

August 2023





This year’s RIAT airshow at RAF Fairford seemed to be dominated by the F-35A, with quite a few F-35Bs in attendance as well.  So it is with my modelling builds for this month.


First up is an F-35A of  331 Sqv Royal Norwegian Air Force, based at Orland in northern Norway.  This aircraft carries the stealth drogue parachute pod used to assist with landings on icy runways.


Second is (another!) F-35B, this time using the new Airfix kit and wearing the markings of 617 Sqn “The Dambusters” during the 2021 Carrier Strike Group deployment of the carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH to the Far East.  

September 2023





This month I have built two more “Malta WW2” subjects, both fighter aircraft.  


First up is a Reggiane Re2000 Falco of 377a Sqn,  based out of Palermo in Northern Sicily.  The Falcos were quite unusual, having been rejected by the Italian Air Force just before the war.  Nevertheless, a single experimental squadron operated them with some success against Malta and as escorts for supply ships heading to Libya.


Second is one of the aircraft that the Re2000 would have met in the air above Malta, a Sptifre Vb of  249 Sqn RAF, from Qrendi airfield.   This aircraft and its pilot Sqn Ldr Johnny Lynch, were credited with the 1000th victory over Malta in 1943.  

October 2023





Not strictly Malta this month, but still WW2 in the North Africa/Mediterranean Theatre.  Both of my builds use classic Airfix kits from the 1960s,  albeit with more modern decals.


The first is a Lockheed Hudson of 206 Sqn RAF, based out of Bircham Newton and with detachments to Gibraltar .  The Hudson was a remarkably successful adaptation of a passenger aircraft into a maritime strike and anti-submarine bomber.


Second is a Fiesler Storch of the Luftwaffe Wüstennotstaffel, providing rescue cover, special ops insertion and VIP transport to Rommel’s army in North Africa during 1942.

November 2023





This month I have returned to what is probably my favourite modelling subject, Cold War Royal Navy aircraft,  with one new build and a refurbishment of an older model.


The first is a Fairey Gannet AEW.3 of A Flight, 849 Sqn from HMS HERMES (naturally) in the late 1960s.  This is the Sword kit released in 2015 (and about to be re-released).    It’s not the easiest kit to build and has some shortfalls, but looks the part when complete!


Whilst  looking out my older Gannet AEW.3 kit  for comparison, I came across a build that I completed in 1991.  It’s the older Airfix Buccaneer S.2 kit, in markings of  800 Sqn in HMS EAGLE.  Its decals had deteriorated badly over the past 32 years, so time for a repaint and spruce up!



The Hunting Percival Sea Prince is an aircraft that has fascinated me for years.  Looking slightly like an upside down Lockheed Hudson, it  has some unexpected tricks up its sleeve, including radar, a bomb bay and wing racks for practice ASW weapons !  


This is the Special Hobby kit of the Sea Prince’s sister, the  Percival Pembroke, but using the extra parts included in the kit to build a Sea Prince T.1 ASW/Navigation trainer of 750 Sqn Fleet Air Arm during the 1970s .

January 2024


Another New Year and the world seems to be an even less happier place than it was 12 months ago.  Specifically, for the people of Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, I hope very much that 2024 ends better than it has begun.

I read an academic study paper recently that  identified some very significant benefits to the mental health of veterans from the hobby of modelling.  I can understand that, since I find modelling is one of the best ways I know of de-stressing myself.

Escaping into the detail and concentration of building miniature replicas is always a worthwhile pastime.  However, to make it work you need to accept that ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your model turns out well or not; it is more about the journey than the end result.  And it REALLY doesn’t matter what other people think of it.  It’s your model !

June 2024

Back to my Malta Air War project this month, with two fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe’s  X Fliegerkorps, based out of Gela and Comiso air bases in Sicily



The Messerschmitt Bf109 was the main Nazi fighter throughout WW2, fighting on all fronts and holdling the record for most aircraft shot down.  The 109-E, or “Emil”was introduced just before the invasion of Russia and fought during the Battle of Britain.


As the Italian campaign in North Africa faltered,  in 1941 the Luftwaffe sent Fliegerkorps X, including many of  its most battle hardenend veterans to Sicily to help suppress Malta and protect Rommel’s supply chain across the Mediterranean.   My first build this month is the Bf109-E7 aircraft of  7/JG26’s Commanding Officer, using the Airfix kit and some Xtradecal markings.


The Luftwaffe returned to their attacks on Malta again in early 1942, bringing with them the latest Bf109 variant, the Bf109-F, or “Freddie”, featuring an improved engine, better aerodynamics and a ground attack capability.  My second build, based on the Italeri kit and Xtradecal markings, is a fighter bomber Bf109-F4 of 10(Jabo) /JG53 that crashed on Donnalucata beach in Sicily in March 1942 when returning from a raid on Malta.


May 2024

Whilst I catch my breath after the marathon P-8A Poseidon build, for this month I have built two old FROG kits, one exactly as FROG intended, and the other a little bit more colourful!





The De Havilland Vampire saw widespread service with the RAF, then with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.  This is the ancient FROG kit, built “out the box” to represent a Vampire Mk.5 of 502 (Ulster) Squadron of the RAuxAF.






The Gloster Meteor also served as one of the RAF’s key fighters of th e1950s, but saw its final days as radio controlled pilotless target drones.  This is another ancient FROG kit, this time as a Meteor U.15 drone of 728B Naval Air Sqn at RNAS Hal Far in Malta during 1960.


April 2024

And here it is, my first “big model” of 2024.  It has taken me since Christmas to assemble this lovely kit, but it was well worth it !




The Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-role aircraft is based on a highly modified variant of the Boeing 737.  120 and 201 Sqns of the RAF have been operating the Poseidon MRA.1 since 2021, based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.


This is the 1/72 BPKkit.  Not an easy build, but it is a good kit and certainly provided me with a lot of fun.  As with my previous large kit builds, photographing, displaying and then storing something this size can be a bit of a challenge !!!



March 2024

I am steadily working my way through a BPK 1/72 P-8A Poseidon.  Progress is slow, but I’m reasonably confident that I will finish it this month.  In the meantime…….




The Grumman Hellcat was probably the best carrier fighter of WW2.  It saw extensive service with the Fleet Air Arm in Europe and the far East, often from small escort carriers.  


This is an Academy kit, using Freightdog decals for an aircraft of 808 Sqn / HMS KHEDIVE, at Trincomalee immediately after the war ended.


The Fairey Albacore was intended to replace the Swordfish, but in the end its predecessor outlived it.  Nevertheless, after a shaky start in Norway, Albacores saw much success in the North Sea, as well as flying from Malta and over the Western Desert.  


This is a Pegasus kit of an 826 Sqn Albacore in the Western Desert  that I built some time back, which I have repainted and given a general tidy up.



February 2024

I have a BIG build planned for next month, so I’m making a little headroom now by building 2 smaller kits, both from roughly the same period of WW2.




The P-51D Mustang was built to British Purchasing Comission requirements and became one fo the best Allied fighters of WW2.  Its massive range meant that bomber raids could be escorted all the way to the target and back.   This is the 1974 Airfix mould of an aircraft from 352 Fighter Group in eastern England during 1944.



For most of WW2, Italian fighters sufferred from poor engines and a lack of firepower.


The 5 Series fighters changed that, adopting the powerful German DB605 engine and heavy canon armament.  The Fiat G.55 was one of these, excelling at high altitude, and proving a good match for Allied Spitfires and Mustangs.  This is an Aliplast kit of a G.55 of the Nazi puppet Aviazione Nazionale Repubblica (ANR), also in 1944.