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67 Squadron

30 Aug
2012

model aircraft accessories

Just after completing last month’s column, and the review of the On Target

Profiles, I went to my first air display of the year at Duxford, which, in spite of a rather thin flight line, gave me a little food for thought, sparked by the markings on the No. 16 Squadron Jaguar.

As well as a black fin with a yellow ‘Saint’ emblem – this always drags me back sharply to my adolescence and the slightly guilty enjoyment of Leslie Charteris’ tales of derring-do – the aircraft carried an inscription on its RWR pod which proclaimed the unit’s, or perhaps the station’s, award of the Freedom of Norwich in recognition of an anniversary. I believe that when a regiment is granted a

similar honour it is entitled to march through the streets of the city with bayonets fixed and colours flying. I have this unlikely vision of four suitably be-weaponed Jaguars in battle formation doing a couple of laps of honour of the ring road. You will see from the photo that the rather elegant script is either side of the city’s coat of arms, and would help make an attractive model. However, while you might, even in 1:72nd, cope with hand painting the matchstick figure and its halo, and maybe even the cross keys on the intakes, the RWR inscription would tax even a manuscript illuminator

When I started my fascination with unit markings of whatever service, the use of an 00 brush and a steady hand was really my only way to show the ‘ownership’ of the model, unless the kit company had been kind enough to include the marking on its transfer sheet (decals were a later invention). A fairly early buy of the Airfix P. 1127 (in 1962 or 1963?), gained a small radar nose, probably the back end of somebody’s

drop tank, and was suitably finished in Extra Dark Sea Grey (or at least the contemporary Humbrol approximation) and white. It was adorned with a small white shield with a red cross on its fin to show that it belonged to HMS London, and the tern’s head of No. 897 Naval Air Squadron on its nose, to me one of the most attractive of the then current British unit markings. Both of these markings and probably the nose and fin codes, were the results of Humbrol, an 00 brush or two, and a very steady hand.

Hunters and ‘109s

From the same era I recall a variable-sweep Hunter – the wings were from the ВАС One-Eleven – of No. 67 Squadron, with equally carefully applied squadron colours, and a Frog Scimitar with that wickedly-curved blade on the fin, again manually applied. It can’t have been long after that that I acquired from, I think, BMW Models, a sheet of markings for Luftwaffe units both fighter and bomber, but I must have hand painted the occasional Bf 109 geschwader badge before that. However, afterwards, my modelling was more and more determined by what was available in decal form rather than, say, being inspired by a photo or drawing. For a while, thanks to a friend of a friend, some surplus copies of Frog kit decal sheets found their way to my workbench, at a time when they were being designed by Dick Ward, frequently for reboxed examples of Hasegawa kits such as the Lightning F. Mk 6, but also for Frog kits like the Gloster Javelin (this aircraft seems to have been featuring strongly in my consciousness recently). In my hands they found their way on to types for which they were not necessarily intended. Then the first Model decal set appeared, with its six Lightnings of assorted marks.

Previous to this event, I had used other decals, notably those of Max Abt, which introduced me to the fascinating heraldry of French unit markings. Still though, if I wanted to make a post-war British fighter, and my attraction to their squadron markings and histories was already well-developed, then the steady hand and the 00, or even 000, brush were my weapons, not so much of choice as of inevitability. Fortunately many of these markings were relatively geometric and straightforward, being based as often as not on a rectangle, with not more than two colours. I do remember hand painting – although the subject aircraft is a little misty, but may have been an F-100 – a No. 66 Squadron aircraft with the pennant variation on that unit’s blue and white rectangle. This was as simple as its more conventional equivalent, though coming to the required really sharp point would have needed care, patience and a clear head, even in my (relative) youth.

model plane flying

I’ve picked the three photos with this column to make related, if different, points (and not just that tail art can be as significant as nose art). The Jaguar I’ve already mentioned, and the Tucano presents a different marking problem. Airfix has reissued its kit of this trainer in the currently favoured – at least until a new AOC Training is appointed – colour scheme of black with yellow trim, which has, I know, high-visibility intent, but which reminds me somewhat of the sort of ‘go-faster’ stripes associated with Minis and GTIs. I believe the unit has a reserve squadron identity – No. 72, I think, though I would be interested to know its allocated war role – but the only marking I could find on the aircraft was the No. 1 FTS badge above the fin flash. This has the standard approved heraldic

background, with a pair of crossed swords and a crown, and it’s just as well it’s included on the revised kit decal sheet; having to paint one of these by hand would give me problems, particularly with the device in the centre of the badge. Perhaps there’s a case for a few ‘blanks’ to be included on the margin of someone’s decal set, somewhat in the manner of the old Esci sheets.

Luscombe art

The last photo is of the fin of a Luscombe – a Silvaire, I think – that was in the flight park at Kemble for the Great Vintage Flying Weekend in May. I can’t see that this, like so much nose art, would, or could, be reproduced on a model other than by hand-painting, but then when did you last see a Luscombe in plastic? Apart from recalling the sheer elegance of this aircraft, which I’ve always admired, I thought it would show that not all these examples of individual aircraft decoration are applied to warlike heavy metal (and I’d like a Silvaire kit, even if I know the prospects are five-eighths of very little, and B’S NEEZ are seriously impressive).

One last comment on hand-painting; when I started writing this Tailpiece I was only thinking of detail painting, but when I raised the subject at a meeting of IPMS members hosted by those good chaps of the Avon Branch, one modeller at least in the audience said that he still preferred to paint his entire model by hand, rather than use an airbrush. Though

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I suspect he and I may now be in a minority – and I have the utmost admiration for the finishes that can be applied with an airbrush – I still get my satisfaction and, in 99 cases out of 100, relaxation, from brushing. And it’s so much cheaper than therapy.

Connected themes: model trains, scale aircraft modeling, airplane wood models, 67 Squadron, model of aircraft, model plane, rc model jet planes.

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1 Response to 67 Squadron

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peintre

April 14th, 2013 at 2:13 am

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