Book Review: Flight Craft 18 “Special” – British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft The Golden Years 1945 – 1975

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Flight Craft 18

This volume of the Flight Craft series differs somewhat to those I have reviewed previously. Typically, the books concentrate on a single aircraft type such as The Spitfire or the ME-109 for example, this one differs in that it covers a genre of aircraft.
Prototypes and test aircraft are always at the forefront of development, and they can often be radically different to the aircraft they are intended to replace, this book covers British Test and Evaluation aircraft during what was probably the busiest period of aircraft development for the British industry, 1945-1975.
This post war environment and the rapid shift in predicted warfare tactics this period bore witness to massive developments being made in everything from avionics to electronics, weapons to power plants. This volume concentrates mostly on the colour schemes and markings of these aircraft during this period.
The book starts in the 1940’s with 1945-1950 being looked at. The chapter begins, as do the others in the book, by describing the conditions and developments the period was to bear witness to and there plenty of fantastic photographs and the superb full colour profiles of aircraft that we are by now used to finding in this series of books. There are profiles of some fantastic and unusual aircraft in this section including the Armstrong Whitworth AW.52, Saunders-Roe’s SR.A1 and De Havilland 108 Swallow.
Next, we move into the 1950’s, a decade that due to the Cold war saw much development of British aircraft, it witnessed the quest for supersonic fighters. There are profiles of what have become very famous aircraft in the Gloster Meteor, the English Electric Canberra and the Hunter, accompanying these are profiles of test versions of the Lincoln B2, the Avro Lancaster B.1 (special) and the Fairy Gannet amongst many other aircraft.
The 60’s is looked at next, which was a decade of decline really for the British aviation industry, the cancellation of the TSR.2 project is often looked at as the focal point of this decline. This was a project that so much of the British aviation industry was focused on that its cancellation was to have massive repercussions for the sector. The increase in development costs for new aircraft types was causing more collaborative efforts with other countries to come to the fore. Still this meant that aircraft such as the HP.115 and BAC 221 which were produced as part of the Anglo-French Concorde project for example. The 60’s did see the birth of one of the real highlights of British aircraft design the Hawker P.1127 was developed into what was to enter service as the Harrier. There are also references for aircraft such as the Javelin and some rotary wings in the form of the Westland Scout and Whirlwind.
Finally the book moves into the 70s and there are more variants of the Canberra, Javelin and Hunter looked at along with things like the Vickers Viscount, Handley Page Hastings, there’s even a VC-10 and a Shackleton to name just a few of the aircraft in this chapter and there are again rotary wings in the form of Westland Wessex and the Sea King.
Overall this book is a fantastic resource for the modeller, again as with all Flight Craft books this should provide great references and inspiration to maybe get a conversion or two on the bench or look at reproducing some of the fantastic and rarely seen schemes the test aircraft of the post war period wore with pride. The photographs and profiles are good quality and the accompanying text and captions are informative. This volume is definitely one you should pick up if you like aircraft of the period.

I would as always like to thank Pen and Sword books for allowing me the opportunity to review this book. You can pick up your copy of this book, along with many more great titles at their website.

Building resumes.. Kind of!


Well it certainly has been a while since I worked on a kit, and whilst not technically building I did manage to dig the Revell SR-71 from the bowels of the cupboard it’s been stored in for the last however many months it has been and look it over.

Truth be told I couldn’t really remember what I was doing with it before it got boxed away so whilst my workbench isn’t actually back in location I managed to set the spray booth up on a coffee table and get a coat of Vallejo black primer down on her to have a look see at the state of play.

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A quick coat of Vallejo Black Primer went down on the SR-71

So whilst the coat wasn’t the most even I have ever put down it did show up a couple of issues, a slip with the scribe became obvious as did an area near the cockpit that would need a little further attention with the filler and a sanding pad.

Whilst these aren’t too major an issue I think I may need to wait until I have my bench set up again before I tackle the issues.

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Nothing a little filler and sanding can’t fix, although I am puzzled as to how it occurred.

Workbench should be going into place later this week, although I am also looking to increase my work area with the addition of a new bench, the better half is also going to be joining me in the studio once her jewellers work bench arrives and then I am also looking to add a laser cutter / engraver to the studio too.

Exciting times are ahead but first of all we have the largest show on my calender this year, the Scottish National Scale Model Show 2019. Whilst I don’t think I will be in much of a position to enter anything this year, truth be told I will struggle to add much to the clubs display either as many of my built models have been damaged during the home renovations.

Whilst the damage for most of the kits should be easily repairable it does give me the opportunity to cherry pick the ones I actually want to put back on display, whilst replacing those I don’t want back on display is providing a good reason to get back building regularly again.

 

 

Drone moves to paint

Main assembly on the D-21 completed
Main assembly on the D-21 completed
First coat on the D-21 using AK Extreme Metal
First coat on the D-21 using AK Extreme Metal

Well there wasn’t much construction to the drone itself as you can imagine, so I have put down my first coat of paint on her. For the paint on this I am going to be using AK Xtreme metals and the first one down is the White Aluminum. I will be picking panels out individually in alternative shades to try and get a convincing natural metal finish on this. We will see how it actually ends up looking though!

Two big pieces of plastic get stuck together


Ok first of all sorry for the blurry photo, but here’s the cockpit installed into the fuselage and two of the largest pieces of 1/72 scale plastic I have ever seen have been fitted together.

The fit between the two halves is not great, there are some fairly big gaps in the seam but fortunately the seam is on the underside so even after I take remedial action it won’t easily be seen anyway. It appears that Mr. Dissolved Putty is going to be my friend on this one.

Revell 1/72 SR-71 Blackbird


Well it’s time to get another new build on the go I think! So I picked out the venerable old Revell SR-71 in 1/72 scale from the stash, I am not sure why I chose this one from the stash, I know its not the best kit due to its age, but I am sure with a little effort we can over come many of the issues.

I did briefly consider sanding down the raised panel lines etc and giving it a re-scribe, but to be frank it’s not something I have done before and the thought of doing this on an aircraft this size was somewhat daunting (despite the scale the aircraft is a decent size, in fact its larger than many of the 1:48 kits on my shelves!).

I will be finishing it as Rapid Rabbit, after all it would be rude not to when the decals for her are included in this boxing. It does mean however that the aircraft will be being painted the traditional all black scheme rather than one of the more exotic natural titanium finishes, but I may pick up the Academy kit or something to do that with in the future.

Enough with the talk! Here are the box and sprue shots, I will take some photos of the more obvious issues that can be seen on initial inspection of the contents, wish me look as I am going in!

Headless Flogger!


That’s the tail and tailplanes fitted and the jet exhaust primed and ready for a coat of the lovely Vallejo jet exhaust funnily enough, my do some highlighting on the “petals” with some of the Mig Xtreme Metal colours, not sure yet as they’re quite small!

In the mean time though I best get this Flogger a front end so time to assemble the cockpit area and get that nose cone off the sprue and dry fitted!

Academy 1/72 MiG-27 Flogger D


Well my Spitfires decals were settling so I was stuck for something to do so I decided I would make a start on one of the builds I would like to do for the From Russia with Love GB over on the Britmodeller forums.

This ones just going to be a quick out the box effort on Academys 1/72 MiG-27. I know the kits got its issues, I beleive the nose is wrong for a D and the cockpit detail is almost none existant but I’m just looking for a quick build again at the moment and not get bogged down with corrections and detailing etc on this whilst I’m waiting on parts for a couple of other builds I want to get done for this and another gb so onwards.