Welcome to the Workbench.
It was a query from a couple of my distinguished colleagues on the Milton Keynes Aviation Society that turned my thoughts, and perhaps my ears, towards the Gloster Javelin. Knowing my interest - oh very well, addicton - to colours and markings, particularly RAF, they wondered if I knew why the Javelin's fin flash apparently bore little relation at least in size and shape to those of other RAF aircraft of the same period. I offered the quick and immediately obvious response; the Javelin was of course an all-weather fighter, and when called on to scramble its crews would therefore have to find it quickly on an dark and inclement night; the navigators would therefore easily be able to spot the big white stripe on the base of the fin (I've worked with a few of them in a later life) across a crowded pan.
This was greeted with some scepticism, but it had raised my own interest, so I got in touch with Paul Lucas, he of Colour Conundrums, who has spent much time studying official Air Ministry specifications and documentation of such matters; he was unable, to my surprise, to come up with a definitve answer, though he did suggest that Gloster could be a little non standard. We wondered if the 1940 Hurricanes with more-than-usual red on the fins might have been Gloster built. It was around this stage that I thought that it would be interesting to see what one or two would look like with alternative fin flashes and possibly colour schemes, realising with I could start with a Heller T.3 that I kept seeing on the fringe of my stash, and pleading not to be put to one side. As a T.3 it seemed a good idea to put yellow T-bands on it, and pursuing the logic further to leave it "silver" (this was perfectly acceptable for Hunter T.7s). There's been a recent burst of Javelin decal sheets from Print-Scale, including one wth the markings of 228 OCU, which were/are rarely seen; research through a couple of Javelin tomes, and the Warpaint, revealed that the OCU T.3s were identified by numbers rather than letters.
Print-Scale also offered the squadron marking for my second Javelin. The basis for this started with a set of DK decals for SEAC Spitfires, and to my surprise and delight included an VIII for of 67 Squadron at the beginning of 1945; I've never seen this illistrated before and this was, ten years before I joined it, "my" squadron. I'll return to the Spitfire, but it led my thoughts to a slightly improved Javelin based somewhere round Malaya in an extended Confrontation period. The first problem was solved by Kit Spackman, with a Frog FAW.7 in dark blue and rather hard plastic; the panels were marked by fine raised lines rather than engraving, but when painted this wasn't intrusive. I added a pair of Red Deans - from a Fantastic Plastic Supermarine 559 - to wing tip launchers, and two Freightdog radar Red Tops, and although you can't see it I modified one of the underfuselage fuel tanks to be rocket assistance to help with the extra weight. My first tdea was to revive 67 Squadron for this detachment to follow the Spitfire, but the 89 Squadron light and dark blue bar on the Print-Scale Javelin set echoed the SEAC roundel colours, and the variation to the fin flash which started the whole "project" off.
67 Squadron, on which I spent a year, was one of those less-known units that came and went, in the Middle East in WW I, in Burma and India in the Second World War and in Germany for the beginng of the Cold War. My time with them, and subseqently 148's Valiants, must have contributed to my abiding interest in squadron histories and markings, particularly RAF, and has been a constant factor in much of my modelling. I have seen a few pictures of 67's aircrft over the years, but I've only ever seen one of a Spitfire in Burma; so to find one included on the DK decals was a real treat, not only when it identified it's pilot as the Squadron CO, Sqn Leader R. Day (confirmed by the invaluable John Rawlings whose "Fighters" book fostered and confirmed my squadron addiction) but also revealed the name Mary Ann on the nose (any further information on a postcard, please). I've had a Hasegawa Spitfire VIII lurking on one of the nearer fringes of my stashes for several years, and pleading to be used even though I'd stopped making single-engined Spitfires; the arrival of the DK decals was obviously A Sign, and to be on the safe side I added a Freightdog pointed rudder.
It's occurred to me that my younger reader may not know just how big the Javelin was but everyone knows the size of a Spitfire; here's a hint
I do like SEAC roundels!
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