My Models

And my opinions…

I have been making model kits since I was four years old. I started with the Airfix WWI tank and then the Leander Class Frigate. Back then Airfix Series 1 kits came in plastic bags and cost just 18p each!

I stopped modelling once I started drinking, driving and having other kinds of teenage fun. Then work, kids and the rest of life took over.
Back to modelling now that I am older and wiser (yeah, right!), as I knew I always would.

I focus on British WWII and post WWII aircraft although I have built the occasional AFV.
Spitfires and Seafires get most of my attention. And nearly all in 1/48th scale.
Typically it takes me about 3 months to complete a 1/48 Spitfire – when I’m not interrupted – but some of these kits have been spread over a number of years (work just gets in the way!). I like to spend hours researching and collecting photos – thank goodness for the internet – and most of my build-focus is on final painting (I hate the fitting and sanding stages). I’m particularly obsessed with replicating (or trying to replicate) the apparent worn and faded condition of operational airframes – although I have a long way to go with this. The last couple of models I built I counted around 26 different paint layers! Generally, I lay down an airframe silver colour which is sealed. After that I lay down colour layers in between chipping mediums – it’s not always successful.

Couple of other things I’m obsessed about;

  • Undercarriage geometry; particularly on Spitfires and Seafires. So many modellers get this wrong and it, for me, ruins a good model. Some of the Spitfire/Seafire kits are tricky to get this right – the latest Tamiya kits for the Mk1a show how it can be done.
Spitfire Mk 21
The XIX;s gear is not as splayed as the F.21 on the right. The wider track improved ground stability. On the F.21 the gear was also raked forward more to counter C of G issues due to the bigger engine.
My MkVb (pronounced ‘mark five, bee’, not ‘vee bee’). Note that the gear legs are slightly spayed out, yet the wheels are ‘toe in’, called positive camber. On ‘modern’ warbirds where hard runways are used instead of the war-time grass fields, geometry is changed to prevent excess tyre wear.
  • Canopies; they are part of the airframe so I don’t understand why these are added last by some modellers, after all the other seams have been filled and sanded and all the painting is done. A good example of this are aeroplane kits of the Sunderland, B-17 and B-25 where the windscreen and side windows are fitted into the fuselage – and there should be no seam/gap where the clear plastic part joins the main body. It’s only the rear of bubble-top canopies or centre sections on Spitfires that get added last after all the painting. All other canopy parts are added with carefully applied regular polystyrene cement and have their seams filled and blended while the glass panes are masked. Against my better judgement, I added the windscreen of my Hunter F.6 last and for me this still doesn’t look right (in fact, it later fell off after a slight knock!).
  • High Speed Silver (HSS); is not a Natural Metal Finish (NMF). Most RAF aircraft that appear to be ‘silver’, this includes Meteors, Vampires and Spitfires, are painted in a silver-coloured dope. They are not bare polished metal – like many USAF types. Though this isn’t a 100%, bare metal is rare. For me, HSS tends to dull down and look like a grey with a hint of silver which is quite a different look to a polished aluminium. It’s also more consistent across the airframe rather then having panels of different reflectivity, It’s really obvious when one sees a ‘silver’ Vampire or Mosquito since these aeroplanes are mostly made of wood they couldn’t be ‘polished’ or ‘bare metal’. Very shiny Meteors just don’t look right to me. Typically I’ll add a drop of white into the silver to get a duller look. This works well on inter-war biplanes where you want a difference between the polished metal engine cowl and fabric doped in silver.
  • Scalemates; use this website! Before you buy a kit and get all bent out of shape because it’s fit and detail is bad, use this site to research the production history – and find out how old the mould is! Get your expectations set right in the first place before you buy. You can also get copies of instruction sheets too! On each of my model pages I provide a link to the kit details on Scalemates.

So modelling is a journey to every closer authenticity and realism and there’s always more to learn and more to see if one looks carefully enough.

My Models

Hawker Hurricane Mk I (Tropical) Airfix 1/48 scale Kit
Airfix's 1/48 scale Hurricane MkI Trop... done as a machine from 73 Squadron, North Africa in 1942.
Airfix’s 1/48 scale Hurricane MkI Trop… done as a machine from 73 Squadron, North Africa in 1942.
Supermarine Seafire Mk XV (RCN) Airfix kit bash
Seafire Mk XV, serial PR479, “L”, of 803 Squadron on board HMCS Warrior during November 1947
Seafire Mk XV, serial PR479, “L”, of 803 Squadron on board HMCS Warrior during November 1947
Supermarine Spitfire F Mk 21 Airfix kit bash
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 21
Supermarine Spitfire Type 356, Spitfire F Mk 21 of 600 Squadron (County of London) RAuxAF, Biggin Hill, 1947
North American P-51K/MkIV Mustang airfix 1/48th scale kit
P-51K Mustang Mk IVa RAF in 1/48 scale
P-51K Mustang Mk IVa RAF in 1/48 scale
Supermarine Spitfire Vb 1/48 Airfix kit
Spitfire Mk.Vb 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, USAAF at Debden August 1942
Spitfire Mk.Vb 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, USAAF at Debden August 1942
Gloster Meteor F.8 airfix 1/48th scale kit
Meteor F.8 74 Squadron
Early Meteor F.8 74 Squadron RAF, Horsham St. Faith, 1950. Airfix 1/48th scale kit from the box expect for Xtradecals X48-043.
Hawker Hunter F.6 (RAF in 1958) 1/48th Scale Airfix
Hawker Hunter F.6 of 19 Squadron at Church Fenton in May 1958
Hawker Hunter F.6 of 19 Squadron at Church Fenton in May 1958
BEDFORD MWD Airfix 1/48th Scale
Airfix 1/48th scale late version Bedford MWD in RAF service.
Airfix 1/48th scale late version Bedford MWD in RAF service.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX (early Version) 1/48 scale Airfix
Spitfire Mk XIX (early)
Spitfire Mk XIX (early) RM643/Z of 541 Sqn, RAF Benson in late 1944
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX (Later Version) 1/48 Scale Airfix
Spitfire Mk XIX (late)
Spitfire PR Mk XIX of the THUM (Temperature and Humidity Monitoring) Flight from RAF Woodvale in the late 1950’s
Supermarine Seafire Mk XVII 1/48th scale Airfix kit
Seafire Mk XVII
Mk XVII Seafire SX358, No 800 NAS, Fleet Air Arm on HMS Triumph and at Hal Far, Malta in 1947
Grumman Hellcat Mk II 1//48th scale Eduard kit
Hellcat Mk II
Hellcat Mk II JZ931 ‘C3-M’ of 800 squadron, SEAC, at Trincomalee in October 1945
Supermarine Seafire Mk XV 1/48th scale Special Hobby kit
Seafire XV 1/48th scale Special Hobby
Seafire Mk XV 13-9/T (serial number unknown) of 806 squadron, Fleet Air Arm based at Trincomalee in 1945
Supermarine Spitfire F Mk 22 1/32nd old Matchbox kit from the 1970s
Spitfire Mk 22
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.22 Royal Aux. Air Force, 613 (City of Manchester) Sqn.
Bristol F.2B Fighter 1/48 scale Eduard kit
Bristol F.2B Fighter
Bristol F.2B Fighter
Lockheed F-104G StarFighter ‘NATO Fighter’ Hasegawa 1/48th Scale
F-104 Starfighter
Lockheed F-104G Starfighter, DE Bundeswehr Luftwaffe JaboG 32 July 1983 ‘Bavaria’
Martin B-57 1/72nd scale Airfix kit from the 1980s
Airfix B-57
B-57B 52-1574/H of the 71st BS, 38th BW Laon Air Base in France, 1957
North American B-25H 1/72 scale Hasegawa kit
North American B-25H Mitchell
North American B-25H Mitchell