A ‘Flight’ of Airfix Hawker features

A ‘Flight’ of Airfix Hawker features

Welcome to this latest edition of Workbench and all the news, updates and exclusive announcements from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling. As we suspected, it appears as if the enduring popularity of the Supermarine Spitfire shows absolutely no sign of abating and the exclusive announcement of our 1/48th scale Spitfire FR Mk.XIV new tooling project in the previous edition of our blog attracted an incredible level of interest. Thank you to everyone who kindly shared the blog on social media and helped to publicise it to their groups and societies – you all helped to make this one of the most popular blogs since we began the production of Workbench.

If the previous edition of our blog was dominated by the announcement of our first new tooling project for 2019, featuring a later incarnation of Britain’s most famous fighting aeroplane, this latest edition features several aircraft from a rival British manufacturing company and one which can claim to be arguably the most influential in the history of British aviation. Since the first Hawker designed Duiker reconnaissance prototype took to the air in 1923, aircraft from this prolific manufacturer have been serving air forces around the world, with their Hawk trainer still in RAF service to this day, 42 years after the type was introduced. Interestingly, at one point during the 1930s, Sydney Camm designed aircraft (Hawker’s chief designer) accounted for no fewer that 84% of the aircraft in service with the Royal Air Force, a quite astonishing statistic. In this edition of Workbench, we will be bringing you updates and features encompassing three Hawker aviation classics, the Hurricane, Sea Fury and Hunter and will be including exclusive artwork reveals, future kit scheme details and an imaginative build project in what has turned out to be something of a tribute edition to this famous aviation manufacturer. As always, Workbench readers will be the first to see several of the images we are featuring, so without any further delay, let’s start with Hawker’s classic jet fighter and one of the most attractive aircraft to see service with the Royal Air Force.

A flying thing of beauty

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Hunter F6 artwork A09185 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Exclusive first reveal of the beautiful artwork which will accompany the release of our new 1/48th scale Hawker Hunter F.6 kit

As far as the Airfix modeller is concerned, there are just so many interesting projects on the go at the moment, that each edition of Workbench is packed with updates and information from new model releases which are all fast approaching their scheduled release dates. One new kit which will certainly be high on the future build schedule of many a modeller is the 1/48th scale Hawker Hunter F.6 and this magnificent new kit takes a huge step towards its much-anticipated release with the unveiling of the captivating artwork which will grace the box presentation of this model. There will be few who argue against the Hunter being considered one of the most attractive jet aircraft ever to take to the skies, however, the first Hawker designed jet to enter RAF service was much more than just a looker, proving to be an exceptionally versatile aircraft and a huge export success for the British aviation industry. With its sleek lines and distinctive saw tooth wing leading edge, the F.6 was the definitive fighting version of the Hunter, a real pilots aeroplane and one which provided the Royal Air Force with one of the most capable jet aircraft of the early post war era.

For an aircraft which looks as capable as the Hunter and one which impressively continues to support military flying operations to this day, it is interesting to note that the prototype aircraft took to the air only 12 years after the first flight of the world’s first jet powered aircraft, the Heinkel He 178 back in 1939, an aircraft which looked very different to the sleek and purposeful Hunter. With many notable ‘firsts’ to its name, a specially prepared example of the Hunter managed to capture the World Speed Record for Britain and with 1972 Hunters eventually being produced, these magnificent aircraft would go on to have long and successful operational careers, many serving in the colours of several international air arms and some being involved in combat operations. Even though the Hunter was designed as a capable fighting aeroplane, the one word which is almost universally associated with the aircraft is beautiful – this really is a most attractive aeroplane and one which makes many contemporary designs seem a little dull by comparison. As mankind finally achieved a mastery of the air, could the Wright brothers have ever imagined that such a handsome aircraft as the Hunter would one day allow a man to visit the playground of the gods and soar amongst the clouds for a few precious moments? This may sound a little fanciful, but when admiring the impressive artwork featured above, it is easy for us to imagine just how extraordinary an experience this must be for the relatively small number of people who are fortunate enough to earn their wings and keeps the rest of us dreaming of one day becoming a pilot ourselves.

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Hunter F6 artwork A09185 on the Airfix Workbench blog

The lead scheme presents this attractive RAF No.63 Squadron Hunter, which was adorned with this distinctive tail as part of the squadron’s Battle of Britain commemorations

The new Hawker Hunter F.6 box artwork features an aircraft which benefitted from distinctive tail markings, applied in commemoration of the pilots of the famous ‘Few’ who fought so gallantly during the savage air battles during the summer of 1940.  Hawker Hunter XE597 was constructed as an F.6 fighter at Hawker’s Kingston-upon-Thames factory in 1956 and taken on strength with the Royal Air Force on 31st August the same year. It joined RAF No.63 Squadron at Waterbeach on 7th November 1956, where it was coded ‘A’ and later becoming the commanders aircraft. In preparation for the 18th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Squadron’s annual Airshow commitments, it was specially presented with a striking black and yellow checked tail, which must have looked rather spectacular on this already handsome aeroplane. XE597 was photographed wearing this scheme at a number of events during 1958, although it is not known how long it retained the scheme following the end of that Airshow season. On 6th May 1959, XE597 returned to Hawker Siddeley for conversion to FGA.9 and a new career in the close air support role.

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Hunter F6 artwork A09185 on the Airfix Workbench blog

A state of alert – this is how the Hunter will look when it greets you in your local model store from next month

Hawker Hunter XE597 would go on to enjoy almost 30 years in Royal Air Force service, operating in the colours of Nos. 66, 63 and 56 Squadrons as an F.6 and Nos. 208, 54 and 1 Squadrons following conversion to FGA.9. It would end its service career with No.229 Operational Conversion Unit at Chivenor and finally the Hunter Tactical Weapons Unit at Brawdy. Following the end of its flying days, it would spend time as RAF Bentley Priory’s gate guardian and finally an instructional airframe, before being scrapped, with just the nose section surviving. This has now been beautifully restored and can be seen displaying at Airshows and cockpit meets up and down the country to this day, helping to bring the many virtues of the Hawker Hunter to a new generation of admirers.

The Hawker Hunter is undoubtedly one of the most significant aircraft to see service with the Royal Air Force and a genuine classic amongst post war jet aviation types. Its handsome good looks are about to woo a new modelling audience and produce a stylish addition to many a display of model aircraft. Hawker Hunter F.6 A09185 is fast approaching its scheduled November release date and if you were hoping to secure one of these magnificent new models, you need to act now. As has been the case with many recent new tooling releases, we expect this kit to sell out really quickly and it may be several months before further kits become available. To ensure you don’t miss out on one of the first batch of kits, please contact your usual model supplier or head for the Airfix website and hunt down your Hunter now.

Hawker Sea Furys under foreign skies

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog

In support of the second release from the new Hawker Sea Fury tooling, the artwork features the two RAN Sea Furys flown by Royal Navy exchange pilots during the 1955 shooting down of a rogue Auster Archer off the coast of New South Wales

Sydney Camm and his Hawker design team did not just possess an impressive record in producing attractive jet aircraft for the RAF and Fleet Air Arm, they could also boast arguably the most aesthetically pleasing and certainly one of the most potent piston engined fighters amongst their unrivalled design credentials. The Hawker Sea Fury can trace its origins back to the accidental landing of a Luftwaffe Focke Wulf Fw190 fighter at an RAF airfield in South Wales, presenting British military planners with a pristine example of this new fighter, which had ruled the skies since its introduction during the late summer of the previous year. In order to combat the threat posed by the Fw190 and its subsequent variants, the Air Ministry issued a requirement for a new high performance fighter, which should be more capable than any other aircraft currently flying. Based around flight data obtained by evaluating the captured Focke Wulf, the new aircraft was to be lightweight in design, heavily armed and utilising the most powerful engine that could be married to its diminutive airframe - Hawker’s design submission bore an uncanny resemblance to the Fw190, but replaced its rugged, workmanlike appearance with that of a cultured fighting thoroughbred. Although the new fighter was later dropped by the RAF, the Fleet Air Arm were delighted with this potent new fighter and welcomed the Hawker Sea Fury into naval service in 1945.

There are some kit releases you just know are going to be popular with modellers all over the world and that was certainly the case with our 1/48th scale Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 which arrived earlier this year – a larger scale example of one of the most attractive aircraft ever produced and another product of the prolific Hawker design team. With built examples of this new kit gracing the Airfix stand at last year’s Scale ModelWorld show, it seemed as if everyone was planning to add one of these beauties to their 2018 build schedule and we are certainly hoping to see plenty of examples on display at this year’s show. Indeed, the release of this kit was slightly delayed at the beginning of the year and it did prove rather difficult to obtain an example of the Sea Fury at first (if it had not been pre-ordered), with available stocks only just arriving in model stores over recent weeks. The exclusive artwork reveal featured above confirms that the second release from this popular new tooling is also just around the corner and this time features Sea Furys which operated under the colours of overseas air arms – Export Furys. This new kit will be supplied with three attractive scheme options, each one possessing an interesting story all of its own, but perhaps none so unusual as the one attached to the lead scheme and the incident which inspired the fantastic box artwork.

Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 VW645, No.805 Squadron, Royal Australian Navy, Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, August 30th 1955. Aircraft flown by Lieutenant John Bluett (RN), who shot down an unmanned Auster J/4 Archer (VH-AET) over Broken Bay.

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog
Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog

Full scheme details for the Auster killing Sea Fury FB.II frown by Fleet Air Arm exchange pilot Lt. John Bluett on 30th August 1955

As Royal Navy Officers Lt. John Bluett and Lt. Peter McNay prepared to embark on their latest training sortie on 30th August 1955, little did they know that this day would see them involved in one of the most bizarre incidents in the history of Australian aviation and allow one of them to apply a unique kill marking to his Hawker Sea Fury FB.11. The men were on exchange posting with the Royal Australian Navy, which allowed them to fly their aircraft in conditions which were usually much better than the weather back in the UK and spend some valuable time with another major Sea Fury operator. As they planned a gunnery practice sortie, both Sea Furys were fuelled and armed in readiness for what should have been a routine training flight and another uneventful entry in their respective log books.

On the same day at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport, a private pilot had hired an Auster Archer J-4 for some practice flying and a series of take-off and landing circuits at the airfield. Flying alone, his first landing proved to be rather eventful, with the engine cutting out on final approach, but as the aircraft was only ten feet above the runway, he gently brought the aircraft down and safely came to a halt. With the brakes applied, the lone pilot set the throttle, climbed out of his seat and attempted to swing the propeller himself, confident that the aircraft did not have an underlying technical issue – the engine sprang into life and immediately resulted in the unmanned aircraft accelerating down the runway. The brakes had failed to hold and despite his best efforts, the hapless pilot was unable to prevent the Auster from gaining speed and climbing into the air without him, narrowly missing the control tower but seemingly in a relatively stable manner. Circling the airfield for a few minutes, a rising wind altered the course of the unmanned aircraft, sending it in the direction of the city and the much larger international airport. Clearly now causing significant concern, a general alert was issued and a navy aircraft was diverted to intercept the Auster and shadow it, providing real-time reports on its position and flightpath to authorities. It was soon joined by a pair of RAAF Sabres, but as these were unarmed, there was little that they could do and left the scene after being informed that an armed Wirraway trainer was on the way, with orders to shoot the Auster down.

That should really have been the end of the situation, but it proved to be just the beginning of a bizarre series of events which saw this incident last much longer than it should have done. With the pilotless Auster now over the sea, the Wirraway was cleared to shoot it down, but as this was being done using a hand held Bren gun fired from the open rear position and the aircraft were now at much higher altitude, the aircraft made two unsuccessful passes, using up the entire magazine – unfortunately, the operators hands were now so cold that he was unable to change the magazine and the Wirraway had to withdraw from the chase. The matter appeared to be firmly in hand when a No.75 Squadron Meteor arrived shortly afterward and lined up behind the Auster, with the aircraft squarely in its sights. Firing its guns, strikes were noted on the wing of the Auster, but after only ten rounds were unleashed, the Meteors guns jammed and the unmanned aircraft continued on its course – Auster 2, RAAF 0.

The Meteor pilot tried everything he could to bring the Auster down, performing a series of close-up, high energy manoeuvres, attempting to disturb the airflow around the aircraft, but with his guns firmly jammed and with the Auster happily maintaining its course, his fuel situation necessitated a return to base and another RAAF Meteor being ordered to the area. The radio chatter had been picked up by the two British Sea Fury pilots who were by now in the air in their armed aircraft and ready to lend their expertise. Informing the incident controller of their availability, the two fighters quickly arrived on the scene, just before the second Meteor and made short work of their civilian target. Having circled the rogue aircraft for a short while and ensuring the necessary clearances were in place, Lieutenant John Bluett lined up the Auster in his sights and gave it a short burst, sending it crashing into the South Pacific Ocean and ending what proved to be a rather eventful morning. The pilotless Auster had managed to fly itself for over two hours, taking a track over the suburbs of Sydney and up the coast of New South Wales, before falling to the guns of one of the world’s most capable piston engined fighters.

The two British exchange pilots landed their Sea Furys at Sydney’s International Airport, before returning to their base at Nowra, presumably to enjoy the attention of their now famous exploits, although they will have probably cited low fuel as the reason for their divert. On arrival back at Nowra Naval Air Station, the pair were greeted enthusiastically by ground crews aware of their unusual ‘victory’ and it was not long before Hawker Sea Fury FB.II VW645 was adorned with an unusual kill marking on its port side fuselage, under the front canopy framing.

Hawker Sea Fury FB.II TG113, No.803 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Warrior, Canada, 1948.

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog
Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog

The handsome colour scheme adopted by the Royal Canadian Navy certainly helped to highlight the stunning good looks of what is considered by many to be the ultimate piston engined fighter

As one of the most potent piston engined fighter aircraft ever produced, the Hawker Sea Fury entered service just too late to see action during the Second World War and occupies a place in aviation history where the ultimate piston designs were having to give way to the advent of jet powered aviation. Even though the Sea Fury could match the performance of many of the first generation of jet fighters, it represented the zenith of piston powered technology and with jet power clearly set to define aviation development in the years to come, the world’s navys were already looking to get jet aircraft on their carriers. Despite this, for a few glorious years, the Hawker Sea Fury proved to be an extremely effective fleet defender and strike/attack aircraft and secured some lucrative overseas orders for Hawker Aviation, who by now were already working on aircraft such as the Sea Hawk and what would become the Hunter.

With a requirement for a capable fleet defender and replacement for their ageing WWII types, the Royal Canadian Navy were admirers of the Sea Fury and would eventually take 74 aircraft to serve from their carrier HMCS Warrior and at land based stations, protecting their ships and providing cover for other more vulnerable naval aircraft. Identical to the aircraft serving with the British Fleet Air Arm, the Canadian aircraft were initially drawn from existing Royal Navy inventory, with later batches constructed under new contracts. The Canadian’s loved their Sea Furys and used the aircraft successfully until the summer of 1956, when their aircraft were placed in storage and their carriers saw the arrival of their first jet aircraft, the American McDonnel F2H-3 Banshee. It seems that a number of the stored Canadian Sea Furys had very few hours flying time on their airframes, some as little as 4 hours, having only been flown during post production test flights. Stored in a large wooden hangar, it appears that many were destroyed when this hangar set ablaze, before the aircraft could embark on a new career as unlimited air racing aircraft in the US.

Sea Fury FB.II TG113 is a fine representation of a Royal Canadian Navy Sea Fury FB.II and wears the classic scheme applied to these beautiful aircraft whilst in Canadian service. Although the colours appear similar to the ones applied to Fleet Air Arm machines, the Canadian Government published specific painting instructions for their Sea Furys, although these were written guidelines, supplied without the benefit of any physical colour references. This has led to some modelling confusion over the years, with many simply assuming that standard Royal Navy colours were applied to all Canadian aircraft. This has proved to be incorrect, however the lack of definitive colour references ensures that this remains something of a hot topic and one which still requires exhaustive research. Thankfully, whatever colours are applied to the Sea Fury, it is not possible to detract from the handsome profile of this magnificent looking aircraft.

Fokker built Hawker Sea Fury FB.Mk.51 6-46, aircraft flown by LtZV1 Rolf Idzerda, ‘Aerobats’, VSQ 860, Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service, NAS Valkenburg, The Netherlands, 1953.

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog
Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog

As the first export customers for the Hawker Sea Fury, the Dutch Navy were also the recipient of some licence built Fokker constructed aircraft, including this machine, which represented VSQ 860’s ‘Aerobats’ formation display team in 1953

Significant as the first export customer for the Hawker Sea Fury, the Royal Netherlands Navy were early admirers of the potent naval fighter and used the aircraft from both their land bases and on board their carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman, formerly the British Colossus class aircraft carrier HMS Venerable. The Dutch were also granted a production licence for additional aircraft, which were manufactured by Fokker and designated FB Mk.50 for the FB.10 and FB.Mk.51 for the definitive FB.II variants. Despite their admiration for the aircraft and securing production rights, the Dutch would only use the Sea Fury for a relatively short period, replacing it with another Hawker design, the jet powered Sea Hawk in 1957.

Dutch Hawker Sea Fury FB.Mk.51 6-46 initially served with the Fleet Air Arm, but was transferred to the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1946, where it was assigned to HNLMS Karel Doorman. Wearing these distinctive markings, it was one of four aircraft which made up No.860 Squadron’s aerobatic display team, ‘The Aerobats’, who performed precision aerobatic display demonstrations using this most potent of piston powered aircraft. In the summer of 1953, the Aerobats unexpectedly attended the large NATO air display held at Soesterberg air base - led by LtZV1 Rolf Idzerda, the team delighted the huge crowds with their thrilling displays of aerial prowess and the striking appearance of their specially presented Sea Furys, which were resplendent in their bright orange cowling and spinners. In August the same year, the team were awarded second prize at the Dutch National Formation and Aerobatics Competition, quite an accolade for a team which operated these mighty fighters, with their huge propellers and powerful engines – not the most appropriate aircraft in which to fly formation aerobatics. August 1953 would prove to be a significant month for this particular Sea Fury, as it would go on to suffer a landing accident whilst recovering to its home carrier, sustaining damage which was serious enough to see the aircraft written off as uneconomical to repair – a sad end for a rather distinctive Sea Fury.

Exclusive new Airfix Hawker Sea Fury FB11 Export Edition artwork A06106 on the Airfix Workbench blog

With three attractive scheme options to choose from, this November release will be a popular choice for a little Christmas build project

With three interesting and attractive schemes to choose from, it is going to be difficult to decide which of these export Sea Furys to finish our models as, following the November launch of this second 1/48th scale release, but as each one tells an interesting story in the history of this most potent of piston powered fighters, it not a problem that will cause us too many sleepless nights. Perhaps the most pressing issue will be whether to compete the Auster killing Sea Fury as it appeared during the shoot down incident or following the addition of its unique artwork applied afterwards – such modelling pressure.

Destination Telford

Airfix New Tooling announcement at this year's IPMS Scale Model World show at Telford 2018

There will be plenty going on at the Airfix stand at this years IPMS (UK) organised Scale ModelWorld Show

With the 2018 Scale ModelWorld show now only a few weeks away, we can all begin to get a little excited about this modelling extravaganza and the opportunity to see all the latest developments in our beloved hobby. The Airfix team have been putting the finishing touches to our plans for the show and we will have a large team in attendance on both Saturday and Sunday, with a display stand full of Airfix goodies for your delectation. As usual, we will have plenty of model samples and first kit builds on display and the team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about our current and future model ranges (although please don’t ask about projects too far in advance). If you are making the trip to Telford, please do drop by and say hello and don’t forget to mention that you are a Workbench blog reader when speaking to the team – it will be nice to hear from the people who have helped to establish our blog as the most popular across the various Hornby websites, over the past four years.

We know that many of you will be wondering if we will me announcing any new models at this year’s show, even though we have just brought you news of our fantastic Spitfire FR Mk.XIV kit. Well, even though this information is under strict embargo at present, if you are at the show at 11.00am on Saturday 10th November, you might want to make your way to the Airfix stand, as we will be unveiling a BIG new tooling announcement at that time. For those who will not be at the show, please keep an eye on the Airfix website and social media channels, as we will be bringing you all the important details as they happen and a delayed (by one day) edition of Workbench will feature more detailed information regarding whatever we will be revealing at the show. This is always an extremely exciting time of year and we are really looking forward to bringing you details of what we think will be an incredibly popular new tooling announcement.

Something different for Hurricane build

Battle of France Hawker Hurricane model build on the Airfix Workbench blog

Christopher Ellul had a very clear vision on what he wanted to achieve with his latest Hurricane model build

One of the fascinating aspects of the modelling hobby is how different people can interpret the same subject in many different ways and just like art, what one person considers a thing of beauty, others might view with a certain amount of indifference. When embarking on a model aircraft build project, will the completed model look most appealing if finished as a newly produced aircraft, recently delivered from the factory, or one which exhibits signs of combat use and even slight battle damage. There is no doubting that the majority of modellers will opt for the former, lavishing much time and attention on producing a beautifully presented representation of a famous aeroplane, which looks as good as the day it was first pushed from the production line, but in some cases, that simply will not do. Military aircraft are hard working machines and from the date of their first flight, the appearance of the aircraft started to look a little dishevelled, whether that be staining from the engine exhausts, or paint wear appearing in areas where pilots and ground crews need access to the aircraft. Perversely, from the perspective of the modeller, making an aircraft kit build appear less than pristine will always require more effort and often a little prior research and preparation than a standard build.

A recent submission to the Customer Images section of the Airfix website provided a fascinating illustration of how different modellers approach the same subject and featured a 1/72nd scale Hawker Hurricane build which was anything but pristine and actually presented the aircraft in the final moments of flight, having sustained significant combat damage during the Battle of France. Mounted on a display base, this imaginative build was certainly worthy of further investigation and we contacted Christopher Ellul to discuss the ideas which resulted in a truly distinctive model build. Living on the Island of Malta, Chris comes from a place which has a rich aviation heritage and if you are a modeller, there will be no shortage of inspiration for your latest build project. Chris informed us that his love of modelling began whilst watching his uncle build kits and as he grew older, the pair would enjoy building kits together. Becoming quite proficient over the years, Chris explained how work, marriage and children saw him neglecting his hobby for several years, but interest shown by his eldest son around 2 ½ years ago saw him retuning to something which brings him a huge amount of satisfaction.

Battle of France Hawker Hurricane model build on the Airfix Workbench blog

Chris described how this project required quite an amount of prior research and advice from other members of the modelling community

Battle of France Hawker Hurricane model build on the Airfix Workbench blog

His latest build project was based around the Airfix 1/72nd scale Hawker Hurricane kit, but from the outset, he was determined to do something a little different with this build, inspired by the box artwork and the history of the subject aircraft. Conducting a little research in advance of the build, Chris decided that he would try to depict the final moments of the aircraft which was part of the RAF Advanced Striking Force during the Battle of France and had been mortally damaged during combat with the Luftwaffe. Initially, his intention was to have this example of one of Britain’s most famous aircraft flying over the white cliffs of Dover, however, his research showed that the aircraft was damaged over the French coast and in the interest of authenticity, he had to alter his initial plans. Having never previously attempted a build of this complexity, Chris’ research included viewing modelling websites and asking for guidance from fellow modellers on a modelling Facebook site of which he is a member. Once he had enough information and advice to make his idea become a reality, it was time to begin. The model build itself would prove to be relatively straightforward, however, much time would be spent in producing both the display base and understanding how he could represent the damage to the aircraft, effectively attempting to make it look as realistic as possible.

The display base was an integral part of this build and would not only be used as an appealing backdrop for the model but would also need to support the stricken Hurricane. Using dry modelling clay on a suitable wooden base, the cliffs were formed and allowed to set, before being airbrushed and benefiting from the addition of some flock grass. The beach and sea were also created using the clay, with the sea being given a more realistic appearance by using a hot glue gun to represent the wave tops – everything was then painted and the glue gun further employed to perfect the look. A final coat of gloss varnish gave the appearance Chris was looking for.

As for the Hurricane, the Facebook group Chris is a member of suggested that a glycol leak would produce lighter smoke than an engine fire, so that was the direction he took with the build. Attached to the model with a strategically placed length of wire, painted white to make it less visible, the smoke representation was simply cotton wool attached around the wire and trailing back down the length of the fuselage as if caught in the slipstream. The moving propeller required the help of a modelling friend and adapting the kit parts to accept this bespoke addition – the Perspex disc was cut using a laser, with its circumference matching the propeller part included in the kit. This was finished by airbrushing the propeller blur to give the impression of movement, before the wings and fuselage were peppered with a liberal sprinkling of machine gun strikes to show that this Hurricane had been forced to endure a particularly bad day. The model was attached to the base by another piece of Perspex and fixed into place using the hot glue gun once more.

Battle of France Hawker Hurricane model build on the Airfix Workbench blog

Although pleased with the results of his efforts, Chris says that he learnt a lot during this build and would do things slightly differently if attempting a similar project in future

Battle of France Hawker Hurricane model build on the Airfix Workbench blog

The finished model looks rather effective and is certainly grab the attention of anyone inspecting Chris’ collection

Chris openly described how the entire project was a case of trial and error and there are many things that he would have done differently with the benefit of hindsight. In total, the entire build took around two months to complete, grabbing a couple of hours here and there around his other family commitments. It is interesting to see how Chris had a vision of what he was trying to achieve and how he was forced to develop new skills and seek the advice of fellow modellers in his attempt to make this vision a modelling reality. The resultant model display is something really unusual and one modellers fascinating interpretation of an individual aircraft’s history and its creative scale representation. A striking centrepiece for any model collection, it remains to be seen if the effort involved in producing the display will spur Chris on to greater things in the hobby, or to stick with less ambitious builds in the future. He did confirm that he has already started his next project, a Vought F4U Corsair, but did not elaborate as to whether this would also be a diorama build – perhaps we will have to keep an eye on the Customer Images section of the Airfix website for confirmation of this. We would like to thank Chris Ellul for sending us his build pictures and allowing us to include them in this latest edition of Workbench.

Airfix date with the Historic Aircraft Collection

The Historic Aircraft Collection Spitfire, Hurricane, Fury, DH9 and Messerschmitt on the Airfix Workbench blog

With the date fast approaching for the inaugural HAC ‘At Home Day’ featuring an Airfix production talk, the organisers have asked us to confirm that there are still a couple of places available for what will surely be an extremely memorable day at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. The day will feature a presentation by our Lead researcher Simon Owen and will be followed by the opportunity to experience unrivalled access to the HAC aircraft collection, which includes a unique Great War de Havilland DH9, Hawker Fury, Hawker Nimrod, Hurricane and Spitfire. Attendees will also have the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of famous Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb BM597, one of the most active airworthy Spifires on the UK Airshow circuit and mount of one of the world’s most experienced Spitfire pilots, Charlie Brown.

For all the relevant details of the event, please click on either this HAC website link, or head for their Facebook page.

That’s another mighty edition of Workbench completed, but we will be back as usual in two weeks’ time with a further selection of Airfix modelling delights for your enjoyment. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for subjects you would like to see covered in a future edition of the blog, or ways in which we could enhance your enjoyment of Workbench, please do not hesitate in contacting us. We can be reached via our usual e-mail address workbench@airfix.com or by contributing to our Workbench thread over on the Airfix Forum. If social media is more your style, you could access either the Airfix Facebook page or our Twitter channel, using #airfixworkbench where you will find plenty of modelling news, views and discussion. Whichever medium you decide to use, please do get in touch, as it is always interesting to hear from fellow modelling enthusiasts and the projects you have on the go at the moment.

As always, the Airfix website is the place to go for all the latest model release information, with our New Arrivals, Coming Soon and Last Chance to Buy sections all accessed by clicking on the above links. As updating the website is a constant process, a quick search through each section of the Airfix web pages will reveal new information and updated images in many of the product sections and this is always an enjoyable and rewarding way to spend a few minutes.

The next edition of Workbench is due to be published on Friday 26th October, when we look forward to bringing you all the latest news, updates and exclusives from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling.

On behalf of the entire Workbench team, thank you for continuing to support our Airfix blog.

The Airfix Workbench Team


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