Big Red

One of the attractions in writing for Airfix Model World, is not knowing quite what might be heading down the ‘next project pipe’ that points in my direction. When you’ve just dressed up the big Tamiya Mosquito with a selection of brass and resin, why would Airfix’s 1/72 Autocar and F1 fuel trailer in civilian ‘Esso’ guise, seem a likely choice?

And therein lies the joy – a sharp change of pace, a departure (at least in part) from weathering and the chance to re-visit a kit previously built in US military service and refine it some.

The results are out now in the September edition of AMW.

 

AMW Sept 17

 

 

 

Bad Wolf

 

 

“A Voice From The Stars – a pathfinder’s story”

Hi folks:

Here’s a brief mention of ‘Altair’, one Liberator of (I believe) more than 19,000 built that after initial service with the USAAF, was passed to the RAF and found herself a Pathfinder aircraft with 614 Squadron in Amendola, Italy.

She was piloted by Australian Tom Scotland, who I had the pleasure and privilege of corresponding with over the project until he passed away on August 15, 2012. Regrettably, all his wartime photos of ‘Altair’ were stolen in a satchel he had in a car outside his home in Oz, so the rendition here is compiled from my detailed quizzing of Tom’s memory, who fielded my persistence with remarkable patience.
My brother Nick commissioned the build more years ago than I can bear to admit to here, the motivating factor being that ‘Altair’ was the home to our uncle, Ted Budd, while he trained under Tom in the Pathfinder role.

Tom, in the cockpit of his Halifax.

R UMAX     SuperVista S-12  V2.1 °

Ted successfully completed his training and was assigned to another crew. It was a routine flight in February 1945, that headed out over a winter Adriatic, that his Liberator iced up and began to auger in, seemingly out of control. The pilot clearly felt as such and gave the order to bail out. The great irony was that Liberators were not particularly easy aircraft to exit in an emergency but Ted and a crew mate nonetheless made it out. Almost as soon as they popped silk, the pilot rescinded the order when the Libby came back under control (presumably the de-icing boots finally succeeded in shifting the ice) but it was too late for Ted and his crew mate who’s life expectancy in winter waters would have been measured in minutes. Despite considerable efforts, their bodies were never found. I recently visited The National Archives at Kew, England with Nick and found the official 614 Squadron record of the icing incident.

Happily, Tom has three sons living in Australia and Nick and I have been in touch again to confirm their dad’s bird is now in print (Chris Clifford, editor of Airfix Model World, kindly agreed to publish the piece, which appeared in Issue 74, January 2017).

Issue 74

As my brother Nick remarked on Facebook –

“Well, here is my late relative Ted Budd’s 1944/45 Liberator in 2016 glory. Massive thanks to my brother Steven Budd, who has faithfully replicated ‘Altair’ in tribute to Flight Sergeant Ted Budd and Flying Officer Tom Scotland. This is essentially the end game to a 10 year research of one ordinary guy’s contribution, amongst hundreds of thousands of ordinary guys contributions, who were caught up in this momentous time in our history. If I would have known at the outset what I would subsequently find out about a little known relative I would never have believed it.

It’s not beyond exaggeration to say it’s fairy-tale like in what I have been so fortunate to have learned. Our family’s vague understanding of Ted’s sad death passed down the decades, only to be resolved by a one in a million response by someone who had read the privately published Australian book ‘Voice from the Stars’.

Voice From The Stars

That was the introduction to late Flying Officer Tom Scotland DFC and an emailed response saying ‘Hi Nick, yes I knew your relative’….’I talk about him in my book’. Ted’s previously misunderstood death being resolved in the chapter simply entitled ‘Budd’. This was and continues to be an emotive journey and one that has now come to an end. I do wish our Aunt Eve, Ted’s mother was around to have learnt all this. But, given the almost spiritual-like guiding nature of where this story took me and Tom’s book being called ‘Voice from the Stars’, I don’t think I need worry too much on this last sentimental postscript.”

Ted Budd (on the right).

14993408_10154694443559110_9187109595776784365_n

Ted enjoyed his last Christmas with the squadron in December, 1944. Here, the printed menu for 614, as the notion of victory in Europe finally started to gain real traction in allied minds.

614 Xmas 1944

‘Altair’, finally on the flight line.

91Altair

The nose markings were created by Mike Grant, quite some time ago and I acknowledge his great kindness here, in temporarily coming out of ‘custom decal retirement’ to respond to my pleading.

The tail codes were sourced from a generic Xtradecals sheet and the national markings and individual aircraft letter, were created from home spun masks and sprayed.

Weathering the olive drab will form the subject of a separate ‘How To’ at a later date.

88Altair.jpg

The otherwise plain and unadorned waist interior was given a gentle leg up with a little scratched and patched plastic nic nacs.

10.jpg

26.jpg

97Altair.jpg

If my pursuit of Nicolson’s ‘Red Devil’ or Roscoe Brown’s ‘Bunnie / Miss Kentucky State’ has taught me anything, it’s this; the machines are nothing without the stories and experiences of the men and women connected to them. Whether it’s an aircraft, ship, tank, car, motorcycle or something else, all are the product of human endeavour, all have a story to tell, perhaps more than one, perhaps several or thousands.

Modelling can, if you let it, become the catalyst for explorations and adventures far beyond that attractive box art and catapult you in directions you never imagined and bring you into contact with people who might otherwise have remained strangers.

Until next time…

1/48 Zoukei-Mura McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II

Chris is a fellow Airfix Model World (AMW) contributor and as you can see, a great modeller! ‘Crisp, controlled and characterful’ define builds from CJ’s stable and his delicious Phantom is a prime example of that.

It’s a privilege to call him friend and I recommend you look out for him in future editions of AMW!

32

Bad Wolf

‘Yellow 10’ – Tip toeing softly in the footsteps of Tom Tullis

Yellow 10

It had to start somewhere. Convincing editor Chris Clifford to let me squeeze through the AMW contributor door required a ‘practical in plastic’, so I chose four kits from the loft insulation and held my breath while Chris decided. Memory fails to recall the other three contenders but one thing does remain – they were all way easier to finish than the fourth…Eduard’s ‘Weekend’ boxing of their D-13 ‘Langnasen Dora’, ‘Yellow 10’, with its unique, field applied camouflage. With the gauntlet at my feet, the box lid was lifted and combat commenced.

M.jpg

The kit certainly radiated quality across the piece, along with a penchant for wearing its heart on its sleeve, in making it obvious the separate panels were intended to be fitted open throughout. Closing them was a test of patience, filler, part trimming and re-scribing.

I.jpg

Beyond that, it was all good on the construction stage and with primer on the basic airframe it was time to draw a deep breath and figure out an m/o for the camo.

L.jpg

Eventually, the solution was to clobber the undersides first and to then ‘quarter’ the airframe and deal with it in defined sections, making innumerable return trips to Tom Tullis’s superb artwork.

E.jpg

When the finished result was submitted to Chris and the nod came back, it was a great moment, one that was given an unexpected extra shine when Jerry Crandall dropped by the Hyperscale thread and described it as ‘excellent’.

Another one ticked off the modelling ‘bucket list’ and my ticket into the publishing world, so two things emptied from the bucket after all.

Until next time.

32

Mommy’s very angry…

Partially shielded within the trees of the Cretaceous forest, she stood perfectly still. Early flowering plants lay at her feet as insects moved enthusiastically among them, pollinating and feeding.

Her textured skin gently fluctuated in tone and colour, as the chameleon-like cells within adjusted to the dappled light that tumbled to the floor below through the hot and humid air. Although an adult and some forty feet long, the Rex’s muscular bulk melted silently into the background, as cold yellow eyes surveyed the bare, trampled trail some twenty or so yards away.

Her acute hearing and sense of smell tuned out the many distractions of the ancient forest until eventually they excitedly conveyed the presence of approaching prey. Outwardly unchanging, she came to a state of readiness.

The Triceratops group was larger than normal and after a successful breeding season, was swollen with numerous young, who kept close station with their mothers. Unable to traverse the crowded trail without spilling into the tree line, some individuals were forced to pick their way through the coniferous obstacles on either side, their direction undulating away and then back towards the relative safety of the herd.

Still she waited. Lethal jaws parted slightly, to better sample the scent that blew over and around her, revealing the rows of dark ivory teeth within. Still she waited.

The juvenile ‘Trike’ barked in sudden terror as he stumbled within a dozen yards of the Rex. His alarm galvanised the herd that immediately flew forwards at the gallop in a thundering desperation to escape. The young Triceratops wheeled sharply to the left, seeking out the trail and the fleeing mass of flesh. She was on him within seconds. Knocked to the ground and ruthlessly pinned beneath a clawed foot, ribs splintered and cracked, under her nine tons as the young Triceratops squealed in painful response. The Rex paused; distracted, she angrily bellowed out her roar of defiance at the Triceratops adult that stood unmoved, head and horns lowered, nearby…

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dinosaur fans around the world had much to cheer about when Pegasus Hobbies announced they were launching a series of solid vinyl kits. It’s a genre of modelling that has had a strong ‘garage kit’ presence but little in the way of quality, mainstream productions.

Until comparatively recently. The Pegasus Hobbies 1/24 T Rex and juvenile Triceratops is as heavy as it is gorgeous – no surprise when the sculpt was mastered by Galileo Hernandez Nunez. Construction is governed by  robust plug and socket joints, some which require fettling but the end result is immense security and unity; just as well, as the Rex could conceivably fell an ox with a single blow, it’s so solid.

The young Trike makes for a dramatic presentation and both this and the Rex fit and integrate into the one piece base very well.

46

While there’s no scientific evidence to even suggest it, in my dinosaur world Rex’s possessed a form of chameleon colour adaptation.

66

52T

61

Current stablemates to the Rex are an adult Triceratops and a Spinosaurus (although the ‘sail’ configuration has been revised by palaeontologists recently to one gently different to the kit – simply a reflection of the dynamic state of knowledge in this field and something that doesn’t detract from the Pegasus model at all).

Airfix Model World, March 2016

Take it easy.

My Tuskegee Hero

Chris Clifford kindly invited me in 2016 to participate in an AMW ‘special’ focussed on aircraft of the USAAF and asked what I’d prefer to contribute.

USAAF Special

US Army Air Force ‘Special’

With the 1/32 Tamiya P-51D ‘Pacific’ boxing calling to me from the loft it seemed a perfect opportunity to align it with a long time ‘bucket list’ wish to build a Mustang as my own small tribute to Captain Roscoe Brown and his wartime ride ‘Bunnie’ / ‘Miss Kentucky State’.

166.jpg

The kit sidewalls finished off with BarracudaCals cockpit decals.

64.jpg

As a side note, the P-51D on display at Hendon RAF Museum is, it seems, broadly accepted as a fine quality restoration of the marque and in its natural metal finish guise, also has wings coated in aluminium lacquer, akin to that used in wartime.

My enquiries into the factory process involved (after puttying the panel joints) one or two sprayed applications of DuPont Light Grey primer. This was then overcoated with an aluminium lacquer in the ratio of eight ounces of aluminium paste to a gallon of clear lacquer or varnish. It seems the aluminium in this mix reacted vigorously with oxygen and became aluminium oxide, a greyish material which accounts (in tandem with the grey primer beneath) for the Mustang wings at Hendon being overtly grey in tone, rather than the solid silver or aluminium normally used to portray this feature on models. Depending on whether the lacquer was new or aged, therefore gives modellers scope for a more silvery grey, evolving to the darker grey of the Hendon Mustang. The build seen here can be considered somewhere between the two.

Given the grey bias of the Hendon Mustang, a concoction of Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey (one part), Tamiya X-32 Titanium Silver (three parts), Tamiya XF-2 Flat White (one part) and Tamiya X-22 Clear (two parts) were mixed and sprayed over the appropriate parts of the wing. This gave a tone commensurate with the Hendon paint, while leaving a gentle satin finish, that was later glossed with more X-22 to more closely match the museum Mustang.

I had some dialogue with Dana Bell over this before settling on the m/o above, who kindly advised the following – “Most of the Mustang’s aluminum skin was Alclad – an aluminum alloy coated with a thin layer of pure aluminum. The aluminum coating would fix any corrosion to the surface, preventing the oxygen from migrating into the alloy core. The wings, however, were puttied to reduce friction drag, and looked like heck unless given a finish coat. On camouflaged Mustangs, there was no problem. But on uncamouflaged Mustangs, the wings needed to be painted silver for appearances’ sake. I’m attaching a shot of one of the Tuskegee P-51Bs to show how well your model matches reality.”

169.jpg

The main gear doors awaiting finishing.

117

The Alclad II Aluminium was given a grubby patina by the simple expedient of two thin applications of Michael Harding Lamp Black oil paint – these superlative oils have hand ground pigments and are much recommended over more popular brands.

165

It occurred to me, during the early part of 2016, to see if Roscoe was on Facebook and it was soon apparent that he was. A personal message drew a rapid and kind response from him and he graciously consented to my sending him three copies of the ‘Special’ to his home in New York, so two could be signed and returned – one for editor Chris Clifford and the other for me. I received the two copies together with this copy of my covering letter endorsing the build.

Roscoe Letter 5 April 2016

It was a lovely surprise to find that Roscoe had actually signed each copy in two separate locations!

USAAF 1

USAAF 2

I was very touched by Roscoe’s overt kindness and sent him a couple of gifts by return (which he wasn’t expecting) and a while later there was a soft plunk on the door mat when this arrived.

Roscoe Photo

The passage of time makes contact with veterans from WWII an increasingly rare opportunity but I’m happy beyond measure to have had the opportunity to correspond with one of my heroes and receive his generous approval for my personal tribute.

Best of all, I was upstairs one evening when the landline rang. I heard my wife coming up the stairs. “Doctor Roscoe Brown for you”. I was floored and we spoke for about ten minutes, during which he expressed his pleasure at the sight of “Bunnie” and the build article. It was an unforgettable conversation in which he said he always did his best to meet requests from those who approached him. He added that he’d been very ill over the winter and this made his kind attention to my correspondence all the more remarkable, as he must still have been somewhat debilitated.

Dr Roscoe Brown

Sadly, Roscoe died on July 2, 2016 just weeks after we spoke on the phone and has joined his Tuskegee comrades who passed before him. I wish Roscoe blue skies with the sun on his back. He was 94.

Mosquito ‘Special’

My build of Tamiya’s 1/32 belter, in the guise of a ‘Silver Bullet’ is in Scale Modelling: Mosquito – OUT NOW!

M18Clean.jpg

Mossie Speial 2

The Mosquito was one of the most famous and capable aircraft of World War Two. This 100-page special from the team behind Airfix Model World magazine celebrates that fact with five full model builds, type histories, kit/decal/accessory listings and exclusive scale drawings. Learn about the real Mosquito, and receive great instruction and advice on assembly, scratch-building, detailing and more.

History features are provided by the renowned authors Dana Bell, Malcolm V Lowe and Terry Higgins, and all are accompanied by superb period images and colour profiles.

The five in-depth Mosquito build projects are:

Airfix 1/24 FB.VI Coastal Command
Tamiya 1/32 FB.VI SEAC
Hasegawa 1/72 FB.XVIII ‘Tsetse’
HK Models 1/32 B.IV
Airfix 1/48 USAAF F-8 conversion

Pick up your copy now, direct from Key Shop – http://bit.ly/2mJuGZP – or in all leading newsagents. Alternatively, you can download a digital edition here – http://bit.ly/2mm3X2Q

Key magazine subscriber? Call +44 (0)1780 480404 to claim your £1 discount!