July 2007


Time to stop playing with the website and do some modelling!

Rather worryingly, given that the mission is to reduce my stash, last month saw a significant growth; this year currently stands at 23 new purchases, 11 completely new builds.

July is always a busy month, and building kits has not been a priority (sailing and completing the new kitchen are !). Two easy builds, then:

BAe Sea Harrier FRS1, 899 Sqn, RNAS Yeovilton 1982 (ESCI/Italeri)

I have built several of these over the years, but this is the first time I have done one out of the box since the mid 1980s! ESCI's SHAR 1 is by far the best 1/72 kit available, with excellent fit and accuracy. These are the original ESCI decals, representing an aircraft at Yeovilton immediatelt after the Falkland War. This batch were prepared and painted in the UK for South Atlantic service, using a Medium Sea Grey/Barley Gray scheme instead of the overall Extra Dark Sea Grey adopted for the initial deployment. Following the conflict, 899 retained some aircraft in the light grey scheme until the following summer, when overall Dark Sea Grey was adopted as the standard scheme.

This particular build was beset with mistakes and problems from the start, including painting it the wrong shade of grey to start with (!), then attaching the canopy before the cockpit was complete (so it had to come off again), then the acrylic-based sludge wash went wildly wrong (back to oily white spirit next time), and the Humbrol "Satin Cote" curdled on application (although it smoothed out nicely as it dried, but left a nasty run on the fin). Still, its finished now, and joins its erstwhile colleagues in the SHAR gallery !

899 SHAR 82


.... and the real thing:

899 Squadron SHAR

General Motors FM1 Martlet/Wildcat V - 1832/846 Sqn, HMS TRACKER Normandy 1945 (Hobby Boss)

OK, so I have stumbled again! This "easy build" kit is much better than the Hurricane I built last month; It follows the familiar formula; solid one piece fuselage, solid one piece wings and extra bits to add on. The cockpit is entirely adequate and there are 2 very clear canopies (2 piece and 1 piece). Accuracy wise, it looks really good; engraved detail is perhaps a bit light, and the fuselage is skinnier than my Academy Martlet. Of the 2 I think I prefer this one ! Markings are for 2 grey aircraft from the USN, but, as is my want, I chose to do a lively looking Fleet Air Arm Martlet with post D-Day invasion stripes.

However, nice though these kits are, this one cost me £3.99. Certainly not expensive, but sitting next to it on the shelf was Italeri's excellent Hellcat for £4.99. For anyone other than the beginner or those utterly lacking in patience, I reckon the extra pound is well worth it.

All was going well until the final matt coat, which went horribly wrong (white streaks everywhere) and some serious remedial work was needed! This was not altogether successful, but "c'est la vie".

Wildcat V

RIAT 2007 The entire family (minus eldest son, who thinks aeroplanes are boring) had a superb day out at the Royal International Air tatoo at RAF Fairford, although we all got somewhat sunburnt! I will upload some of my better pictures in due course, but here is a taster:

Frecce TricoloriRed Arrows

Frecce Tricolori & Red Arrows Hawks

ThunderbirdsSpitfires & Hurricane

Thunderbirds F-16s & Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Spits & Hurricane)

FRADU Falcons & Black HawksRN Black Cats

FRADU Falcons/Black Hawks & RN Black Cats Lynxs

USAF Reaper TUAVIndian Airforce Su30 MKI

USAF Reaper & Indian AF Su-30MKI

 Real Sea Harriers -1980s I have added some old pictures of SHAR FRS1s at sea to the Real Life section.


Return to Fred's Builds Index