COVID-19 UPDATE: Our web shop currently remains open to customers. We are constantly reviewing this in light of government advice and in discussion with our fulfilment partners. However, delays in local delivery may occur which are outside of our control - we apologise in advance for this.


Heather Kay

Signature: A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Bio: With my younger sister, we enjoyed adding details to our doll's houses. I learned to build plastic kits at my father's knee. I am particularly partial to the aircraft of 1940, although almost anything with some kind of engine fascinates me. People now commission me to build O Gauge model railway kits, so my light relief is settling down to building the new generation of Airfix kits.

All Posts

Heather Kay

313 posts

I should take issue with Ratch here, a rare thing indeed!

 

The RAF Regiment wasn't formally instituted until 1942. That means AA batteries in 1940 were manned by the Royal Artillery, but under the overall control of the RAF.

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

That's definitely a comprehensive list you've got there. Like you, I found i was slipping back into the Battle of France, and eventually it just made sense to me to cover the whole of 1940!

 

German seaplanes. Mmm, well, the He59 is a biplane. There's a few kits out there from one of the Eastern European companies, but they don't currently have the right version for the rescue planes used during the Battle. I keep looking, but it remains one of the gaps in my collection. The He115 is much larger, think He111 on floats and you'll be about right. That was kitted by Matchbox, now Revell, and I think there's one from our friends in Eastern Europe again.

 

Keep up the good work. I'm keen to see how this develops. 

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

That's ambitious, and I applaud you!

 

No Gladiator? There was a flight down on the south coast at Roborough for a few weeks until they got Hurricanes.

 

Not sure about the He115 with Red Cross markings. I will stand to be corrected there, of course. The type was used to drop mines during the Battle period, of course.

 

I started out with a plan like you. It soon turned into a slippery slope. I am now trying to model everything that operated during the whole of 1940 on all sides. The last stock take gives me 51 kits in the stash, 33 built. Once the Western European theatre is done, I shall start working on the Mediterranean and North Africa. I must be obsessed! 

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

This has been a fun project. I don't know whether you know this, but the Battle was designed from the first principles to be adaptable to any power plant that was available. Although chiefly designed for the Rolls-Royce Merlin, Fairey included their own inline engine as an alternative if the Merlin wasn't available.

Several Battle airframes went on to be engine test beds. Two were used by Bristol to flight test the Hercules and Taurus engines, so your build with a radial isn't as far-fetched as you might think! Three planes were used by Rolls-Royce for testing various engines. Planes were also fitted with a Fairey P.24 which had twin counter-rotating props, the Napier Sabre and Dagger.

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

@Pretty mediocre modeller

One quick question about the prop tips, I notice no yellow, was that a thing with Belgium aircraft?

I think so, yes. I checked as many references as I could find, and couldn't see yellow tips anywhere.

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

@T2B

Would be interested to know how your posts with images appear without being moderated, whilst mine are still waiting? Day 3 now!!

Ouch! Three days, even over a weekend, isn't good. I honestly don't know why my pictures appear so quickly. I'm not a moderator or anything, so it's a mystery. 

Yes, it would be lovely to have a new Battle kit some day. Equally, you'd think a Manchester would be on the list, too. Arguably a Manc would be quite straightforward, as it's the same fuselage as the Lancaster. Still, we are expecting a Beaufort and we have had a Whitley and Wellington, so I'm not complaining.

 

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

Fairey Battle MkI T70, 5/III/3Aé, Belgische Luchtmacht/Force aérienne belge, stationed at Evere, Belgium. Shot down on 11 May 1940 at Vlijtingen while attacking Vroenhoven bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

Another aircraft ticked off my 1940 list, and the third so far in my Belgian air force collection. The old Battle kit does respond to some extra work, and though I could have done it a whole load better than I did I've learned a few new tricks and techniques that I hope to use when I do this conversion all over again for an RAF Battle from the same kit. I must be mad!

 

Thanks for looking!

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

 

With the cockpits painted, the fuselage was closed up and work began on filling and sanding the modifications. The wings were assembled after I sanded down the famous rivets and scribed some panel lines. Various sink marks were filled, and it looks like the overdone fabric effect on the ailerons will need to be dealt with.

 

 

It took some extra strip styrene in the gaps, too, but flattened ailerons looked much better than the corrugated iron ones. The bomb cell doors were glued in and needed much sanding and filling to look right.

 

 

 

Some more scrap styrene was deployed reshaping the rudder. You can see how small it was by the original grey plastic here. Serious thought was given to scratch building the tailplane, so much additional material was being used. It might actually have been quicker and neater in the long run.

 

 

 

I decided to paint a witness coat of Humbrol 29 acrylic, which would allow me to see if more filling and sanding was needed. The plane would be camouflaged in the standard RAF dark earth and dark green, so it seemed a good idea to use one as the primer and witness coat. You can see I’ve extended the ailerons out to the wing end plate, where they should be. The wings are the wrong shape and a bit short, the bomb cells and undercarriage wells are in the wrong places, but I wasn’t about to get involved with more surgery. My original idea had been to build from the box, warts and all, but I got a bit carried away!

 

 

 

After some reshaping, the Fulmar radiator was glued on.

 

 

 

New elevators being laminated from sheet, the tail cone has been extended and a fillet stuck in under the rudder. 

 

 

 

The new radiator seems to fit nicely. The extended radiator cowling was a feature of the Belgian aircraft.

 

 

 

More work needed on the fin and rudder. Out of the whole build, this area gave me the most grief. When I come to build the other Battle as a Bomber Command plane, I will seriously consider scratch building the horizontal tailplane parts instead of hacking the kit parts about.

 

 

 

Finally, the tailplane comes together. The wings went on next, and things began to move quite fast.

 

 

 

A big problem with this kit has always been the shape of the nose. Not only was it too short, but the front end was all wrong. The shape should be more like an early Hurricane, rather than the slightly squared version seen on a Spitfire. There is also a characteristic open front through which can be seen a plate mounted to the Merlin engine. To simulate this, I carefully ground away a depression around the hole for the propeller. I also sanded the corners of the nose to make it a bit more pointy.

 

 

 

The kit prop is huge! It scales at 14ft diameter, a couple of feet larger than the Battle’s 12ft 6in diameter. The boss is also very basic.

 

 

 

After trimming down the blades, I added some Evergreen plastic rod to the centre to represent the boss, and small slices of rod to make the counterweights.

 

 

 

The canopy parts were masked, even though I was brush painting this model. It saves a lot of cleaning up round the frames.

 

 

 

The camouflage colours went on. I find the new range of Humbrol acrylics brush paint nicely. The green is from the Revell range of acrylics, and is a better match to the proper colour than poor old Humbrol 30.

 

 

 

Belgian planes were always painted with aluminium dope on their undersides. This is Humbrol Metalcote Aluminium. It needs a couple of coats to remove the worst brush marks.

 

 

 

With the undercarriage installed, final details like the front-facing machine gun and the landing lights were fitted. Paint touch-ups and a gloss coat of varnish for the transfers.

 

 

 

The early aircraft has a different exhaust cowling to the more familiar rearward ejector form we see on Spitfires and Hurricanes. I ended up modifying the kit parts with filler and carefully drilling holes. I think I got away with it.

 

 

 

The decades old transfers worked without a hitch. I was expecting all sorts of disasters. I used Micro Sol setting solution to give them a bit of help settling into the panel lines.

 

And there we are. A hacked about Battle. Not my best work, but I learned a few new techniques that will serve me well in future builds. The official portraits follow in the next post. Thanks for reading!

 

 

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

@Pretty mediocre modeller

To be fair to Airfix over the shape of the Battle, when they were originally tooling up the kit they asked Fairey for a set of plans to work from, and unknowingly to them they were provided with a set from the prototype, which had several differences from the production machine.

Yes, I understand that's pretty much what happened. Still, the old kit sold well enough over the years, and most people would have been happy with it as it was. 

Well, as it seems the Forum Gerbil has been fed and watered, time to continue.

 

 

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

313 posts

And we’re back!

 

I’d detailed up the cockpits when I left you.

 

 

A lick of paint and some masking tape for seat belts and I’m happy that will look fine under the rather thick transparencies.

 

Hmm. It seems the forum server is being a bit recalcitrant. I'll try again later. Be patient!

 

 

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Forum Rules

  • The Airfix Forum is intended for discussion of plastic scale modelling. Primarily a place for newcomers to ask questions and seek assistance from like-minded individuals, the Airfix Forum offers users the chance to join an active and friendly community.
  • Discussion of other plastic model kit manufacturers is allowed, however, active promotion or advertising of our competitors is not permitted.
  • Please keep in mind that the Airfix Forum is a publicly viewable space and you should never post personal information (including email addresses).
  • While every effort is made to contact you before any censorship, we reserve the right to amend or remove any content without explanation.
  • All customer service enquiries should be directed to Airfix Customer Services.

Useful Links

Forum Guidelines

This site uses cookies to provide users with the best experience possible, to find out more about them or how to remove cookies from your browser please view our Privacy Policy Or accept cookies to continue to use the website.
Membership Restricted Product