Welcome to the Workbench.
Eventually I've found my way back to modelling, or at least the assembly of plastic kits; there's been a continuing, if modest, flow of inbounds since the beginning of this year - I'm so glad that postmen are essential - but you know what an optimist I am. I wondered for a while which subjects I should start with, not least to check out what if any of my modelling habits - I shrink from the word skills - would need a degree of honing. With XF317 waiting for very careful attention I needed to check out the fingers and eyes, even though the unaccustomed 1:48th scale should help with the smaller pieces, but it'll be a while before it appears on these pages; and while this cogitation was going on I decided that as Xtradecal have thoughtfully included the markings for J-734 on the same set of decals to add the aircraft's second existence.
I decided that before I started on the first Hunter to practice using one plastic and one resin aircraft. Neither of these has finished in in the way I first intended; I normally know exactly how I'm going to finish a model before I start it, but I had to change my mind somewhat as I went along. It must be twenty-five years or more since I made this three-engined Blohm & Voss; it was an early, and probably green, Czechmaster resin and the idea and consequences of its layout fascinated me, not least trying to work out given the position of the cockpit how the pilot decided when he should round out. I made the first at a time when thanks to a large extent to Toad Resins I ran a constant production line of Luftwaffe 1946, reflected by a large wedge of refences on my bookshelves, which I continued to expand well in to this millenium (and which I fell back on when this model was nearly finished (I found the book that identified it and gave details while I was "tidying"). All those years ago I remember being the P.170 being the most expensive resin kit I'd bought; it was £50.00, which by some chance was the same when I succumbed to the lure of this Planet Model kit. Whin I saw the weapons racks moulded on to the underside of the wings I thought that they would be ideal for a pair of torpedoes, and when I couldn't find any in the accessories listed by the search engine Our Leader Martin kindly sorted them form one of his boxes of bits. This led rapidly to the thought of a maritime Ju 88 scheme, with an aircraft based on the edge of the Bay of Biscay in late 1944, and wearing a wavy squiggle pattern and if possible with a KG 40 emblem; this led to the first hiccup, when even Paul Davis couldn't find a marking, and after consulting the Hikoki Luftwaffe Colours 1935-1945 by Michael Ullman I abandoned the squiggle scheme and decided to use the late greens 82 and 83. I await the contemporary colour photo proving that I'm wrong. You'll notice that this one has been seized for testing at Farnborough; I just wish we could find Eric Brown's report.
The second model, reuniting me with polystyrene, was a new Meng for kids kit, this time of a C-17. I really didn't know what this was going to look like until the box was lurking on the fringe of my workbench, bit it would be simple and qick to assemble, indeed as it turned out push-fit. An obvious and eye-catching anachronism would have been the "Aden withdrawl" or psychedelic bomber scheme , bit I'd used this a couple of years back for an A400 and HS681. It was while contemplating a slightly battered Modeldecal set 36 that I spotted the Air Support Command titles; I don't often use this legend, but I remember it back in my London Airways days when I realised why the Lyneham and Abingdon based customers used the callsign "Ascot" (not presumably the 1 and 54 Squadron Hunters). Having decided on these titles and a white top scheme I realised that it would be sensible to apply them to the fuselage sides before fitting the engine nacelles, adding which would at least be facilitated by the push-fit facility, and by the time I got to this stage I'd added an "RAF 100" logo from the Model Art decals thanks to J-P Desprez as an idea for for a retro tribute finish. It was indeed sensible, but then I discovered when fitting the first of the inboard nacelles that "Air Support" would be totally obscured. All I need now is the chance to put it on a What If? SIG table, and explain that it's an ostrich-egg plane. 17.05.20
Small yellow is Good!
You will know I'm sure that I have been a Harvard fan since January 1955, and, apart from putting my back out when climbing into one many years later at Oshkosh shortly after I retired, my memories of my 185 Canadian hours in the World's Best Trainer range from merely good to really enjoyable, especially the Cuban eights. It helped of course that the Harvards were yellow, the only proper colour for North Anerican's - or in my case Canadian Car's - finest. This may well have been a factor when I saw the boxtop of KP's Cessna Crane; there are three others in various liveries, but as soon as I saw it unexpectedly on the Future Releases page the RCAF trainer suddenly became a Must Have Now. As well as looking like like a twin-engined Harvard sibling the kit had the virtues of simplicity, and small size without the parts trying to escape my grasp; there was a momentary pause in my indecision when I realised that it didn't fit in to any of my usual categories self-established to help limit my modelling, bit I quickly came to a conclusion that I would Enjoy this one regardless.
And so I have. It's an eye-catching little aircraft, even if I can't find anywhere except these pages where I can show it off. This does have several advantages, not the least being the avoidance of stiffly raised eyebrows from those who have spotted imperfections - mine, not the kit's, of course. I found myself when getting the markings ready realising that there were on or two self-inflicted blemishes on which I should have spent more time, but I went ahead anyway; after all the time I hadn't spent over the last few months I fell back - as I do increasingly - on the phrase I learned from an intelligence chap at Upwood in 1971, "close enough for government work". I've enjoyed getting it to this state and putting the markings on, always my best bit before the write-up, and recommending it to others. And not least I'm back in to something of my modelling routine, and there's another unlikely kit waiting next to the cutting mat which I really want to see finished - if I don't drop any of the smaller bits!.
I'll just pick up the starboard fuselage half....
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