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.

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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 Almost as soon as they popped silk, the pilot rescinded the order when the Libby came back under control (presumably the de-icing boots finally succeeded in shifting the ice) but it was too late for Ted and his crew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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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…

Wingnut Wings 1/32 Fokker E.III (Late)

The impending advent of a brand new model company, comparatively infrequent though it is, always causes a tsunami of excitement amongst plastaholics. That this one pertained to WWI aviation, in arguably that genre’s ideal scale – 1/32 and was backed and bank rolled by Peter Jackson and underpinned by the world class expertise of PJ’s The Vintage Aviator Ltd, was pure jam on top of jam, swamped in cream, with a side order of a bucket of custard.

The launch advertisements gave promise of a ‘Hisso’ engined SE5a, Bristol F2B, Junkers J.1 and an LVG C.VI. WWI modellers were beside themselves when the kits were announced and many in need of hospitalisation in the immediate wake of kit reviews of the extant plastic, brass and sundries. Wallets were emptied and non-essential body parts sold (not all of which, legally owned by the vendor) to fund the hunger for these exquisite jewels of the kit maker’s art.

More remarkable still, there was no real teething issues with the kits (beyond a minor and resolvable query connected to the J.1’s aileron length). It was as though they had been in business for decades – right from the outset. Fit and engineering were exemplary. Accuracy beyond reproach. Quality the equal of Tamiya. The instructions were a revelation; heavy, glossy paper, colour coded directions and reference photographs! Wingnut Wings did not merely feed the appetites of existing WWI buffs – they drew in many new converts and remain today an object lesson for all other companies, established and fledgling, in delivering top drawer kits at fair prices.

It wasn’t long before I had a dozen or more of these beauties in the stash and when editor, Chris Clifford offered the late Eindecker E.III for my third AMW build I snapped his hand off, simultaneously discovering that mild concussion nodding ‘yes’ is indeed a medical reality.

The build was a joy and our courtship, a flurry of rose petals and softly whispered sweet nothings, until we both lay back on consummation of our lust, sated and happy. “I wonder if she has a sister?” I naughtily pondered and indeed she has – three, an E.I, an E.II / III (early) and an E.IV. All this might suggest that that concussion should’ve received medical attention but ‘once a Wingnutter, always a Wingnutter’ and I remain incurably and incorrigibly smitten.

Laminated wooden propellors have several methods of creation. This may be the first and only time AK Interactive’s ‘Track Wash’ has been used in this capacity. The first layer dried rapidly and just one more application (and the Mk.I steady hand) created the dark lamination seen here.

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The kit readily lends itself to sub-assembly methods of construction.

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There are various ways of approaching Fokker’s signature ‘beaten metal’ cowl decoration but I chose Alclad II ALC103 Aluminium as a base with Tamiya’s Chrome Silver brushed on top. From ‘viewing distance’ (not as close here) it works effectively to convey that type of finish.

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Rigging was a combination of Bob’s Buckles, Gas Patch fittings, and Japanese Reflo monofilament fishing line (very soft, flexible and strong).

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It’s not many kits that include a teddy bear in the presentation…

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Even Wingnut’s rigging diagram wasn’t enough to convince me of the correct rigging layout, so a trip to the Science Museum in London was a suitable excuse to unravel the conundrum via their E.III example.

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Bad Wolf

 

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!

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Bad Wolf

How The Other Half Lives…

Welcome to the home of what will be an increasing number of images from other modellers around the world, whose output I particularly admire and enjoy.

I guess it’ll prove to be a fairly eclectic mix of kit bashers, covering aircraft, armour, figures, science fiction, dinosaurs and more.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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