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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Sunday, 17 April 2016


... the Whitley?

So far, so good. In fact, Airfix have a winner with this kit. The planning and engineering that has gone into the kit is first rate. Everything has gone together smoothly, and the wing spars made a real difference to fixing the huge wings to the fuselage.  Here's the state of play tonight:

Hopefully, I'll get these sub-assemblies together tomorrow, and it will start looking like the 'Barn Door'.  Top kit!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

First plastic...


Not quite as exciting as first metal cut, but not as noisy either.

So, I have begun the AW Whitley, with the beginnings of the cockpit:

'Nice plastic, not too soft, not too brittle', said Goldilocks...

I've been collecting together a few bits and pieces of references on the Whitley. I've mentioned my copy of the 1967 'Profile' by Philip J R Moyes. I'm a great fan of Profiles, even with their blurry, tiny photos; they were real pioneers. Top stuff. I've got the February and March 2016 issues of Model Aircraft, with their two-parter on the 'plane, and a build review in the March SAMI. But, I  was also able to buy this:

It's by Kevin Wixey, and it's the first 'Warpaint' series I've bought, and I rather like it - a sort of updated Profile, with some good photos,  and good, detailed, useful text. I bought it on Friday, when I had a trip, with my son and grandson, to the Midlands Air Museum, a mere 10 miles from where I sit. It's located at Coventry Airport (now just for some freight and light aircraft), near the village of Baginton.  Now, if you know your Armstrong Whitworths, you'll know that Baginton was their factory, and almost all the Whitleys built were built there. Same site. Marvellous!  Sadly, this is the only major piece of the 1,814 built which survives, and is back at Baginton:

As you can see, below, I doubt the crew returned home though:

On a happier note, the little gallery at the museum devoted to the Whitley also has this pub sign, of a Coastal Command Whitley:

If you're in the Coventry area at any point, I'd strongly recommend a visit to the Midlands Air Museum. In a relatively small space, it has some cracking aircraft - Meteor, Vampire (in 605 Warwick RAuxAF colours), Mig-21, Hind, Voodoo, Vulcan (and Blue Steel stand-off missile), DH Dove, Lightening, Phantom, Harrier, Starfighter, Sea Vixen, Javelin, Sea Hawk.... and more! Also, and importantly, the volunteer staff there are very, very good. My grandson (aged 7) took two tours of the Vulcan cockpit because the chap was so informative, pleasant, and friendly. Excellent!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Happy Birthday to Me...

... I'm a hundred and three...

That being a version sung to me by my grandson. However, as he also bought me an Airfix Spitfire PRXIX, I'll forgive him.

And...the Whitley...aaaah.  A big, shiny box (a proper, tray style too), with a really rather atmospheric bit of artwork showing Whitleys coming into land:

The Whitley was manufactured just a few miles from where I live. In a neck of the woods called Baginton, now part of Coventry. That city was such an aeronautical (and automotive) powerhouse in the 1930s and 1940s. In consequence, it had zero unemployment in the mid and late 1930s, and the only notable extra-parliamentary political activity was in the form of the Greenshirts (the Social Credit types. That was just a tit bit for any VBCW chaps reading). Of course, Coventry still has an automotive edge in the form of the increasingly successful Jaguar-Land Rover; but, alas, like steel, not owned by a British concern.

Enough of all that dribbling. The kit? How does it look, out of the box?  Nice, clean, sharp, light grey plastic:

Look at those wings! Look at the chord! The thickness of the wings! This was such a feature of the Whitley. My 1967 Profile Publications; The Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, number 153, price TWO SHLLINGS, has some pilot reminiscences of the aircraft (which was, of course, frontline only 24 years earlier). The big wings produced a high degree of lift: 'When lightly loaded it tried to float quietly off the ground before the pilot had got both throttles up to take-off power. Similarly, its arrival on the ground was uniquely an affair of its own. "One motored gently in with the two Merlins singing their customary varying song, and proceed to attempt a hold-off. That part was all right, but when one tried to get the tail fully down nothing very much happened. The thing just wheeled itself quietly and softly on the ground and seemed to take no notice whatever of the driver."'

More above of the nice, crisp bits.

Now, below, the new style instructions:

I'm not sure what I think of them, but will wait and see if they are ok; they seem a bit busy.