Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bristol Bulldog in Finnish service

The Finnish Air Force signed an agreement on 24 March 1934 for the purchase of seventeen Bristol Bulldog Mk.IVA fighters. The aircraft were to be used as front-line fighters and were delivered to the country in February 1935. After the outbreak of the Winter War, the Swedish State donated two Bulldog Mk.IIAs,, which were received on 15 December 1939 and coded BU-214 and BU-216. The Swedish Air Force called the Bulldog for J7 (J=jaktflygplan which means fighter) and used twelve between 1931 and 1940. Several Bulldogs were lost when the Swedish Air Force conducted dive bombing trials in the 1930s.

The Bristol Bulldog was the first British fighter designed as an interceptor. When designed, it was thought to be fast enough to be able to catch up with the bombers of the late 1920s instead of defending own airspace by simply patrolling. The Bulldog was also equipped with both a transmitter and receiver, although the shortwave radio sets of the 1930s were heavy and of limited use. Many users of the Bulldog removed the radio sets, instead relying on hand signals of yesteryear.

During the Winter War Finnish Air Force claimed 2 victories with Bulldogs, and one Bulldog was lost in combat. The full story of the Bristol Bulldog in Finnish service can be found here:

This Airfix kit is built to represent one of the two Bulldogs donated by Sweden to Finland. The kit is from the 1970s, but it was fairly easy to build. The cockpit was scratch-built, and the front skis came from an I-153 kit, while the tail ski also was scratch-built. The rigging consists of stretched clear sprue and the small 25lb bombs that came with the kit were replaced by resin bombs. The standing pilot - admittedly quite a tall fellow for 1/72 scale - came from the spares box. The CD that the aircraft is mounted on is painted to represent a frozen lake somewhere in Finland with a snow drift to the right of the Bulldog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boeing Washington B.1

A less known operator of the B-29 Superfortress was the The Royal Air Force, which used in all 87 former USAF as a stop-gap measure between the retirement of the Avro Lincoln and the deployment of the English Electric Canberra bombers. By acquiring the Boeing bombers, resources would not have to be diverted from the V-bomber program.The first Washingtons, as the RAF called the aircraft, arrived to the United Kigdom in 1950, and they served as long-range nuclear capable bombers in nine squadrons between 1950 and 1958. The last remaining Washingtons were used as Electronic Intelligence platforms by 192 Squadron.

Two Washingtons were transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1952, where they were used by the RAAF Aeronautical Research and Development Uni to conduct trials for the United Kingdom's Ministry of Supply. Both aircraft were retired in 1956 and sold for scrap in 1957.

 Boeing B-29 Washington, WF502, Royal Air Force.

 Boeing B-29 Washington of 192 Squadron.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Algerian MiG-15bis

This is the new version of the Airfix 1/72 MiG-15, one of the first Hornby Airfix kits to be released. Much has been written about the somewhat deep and wide panel lines, but it is still a joy to build. In 1962 Algeria received five MiG-15UTI trainers as a gift from Egypt following the Algerian independence from France. The Algerian air force subsequently operated 20 MiG-15bis fighters.

U-1, a U-Boot typ IIA built in 1935

German submarine U-1 was the first submarine built for the Kriegsmarine. She was a type IIA U-boot, and she was built at the Deutsche Werke shipyards in Kiel, being laid down on February 11, 1935 and completed on June 29, 1935. Her crews were initially trained in the Netherlands.

Her pre-war service was unremarkable, and she did gain a reputation as a poor ship. Her rapid construction, combined with the inadequacy of the technology which was used to create her, made her uncomfortable, leaky and slow. When war came, there were already plans to shelve her and her immediate sisters of the Type II class for use as training boats only.

Owing to a shortage of available units she sailed on March 29, 1940 against British shipping operating off Norway, close to the limit of her effective operating range. She failed to find a target, but was sent out again on April 4 in preparation for Operation Weserübung (the invasion of Norway and Denmark).

U-1 sent a brief radio signal on 6 April, giving her position before she disappeared. The cause of her loss is unknown, but she was scheduled to sail through a minefield laid unbeknownst to the Germans by the British submarine Narwhal that same day. U-1 may have also been sunk by the British submarine Porpoise, which reported launching a torpedo at an unidentified enemy submarine subsequently thought to be U-3 on April 16 following the invasion. She was the first of over 1,000 U-boats to serve during the Battle of the Atlantic and one of over 700 to be lost at sea (Wikipedia)

The kit is the 1/400 Mirage kit, and it is detailed with the Mirage photo-etch. A simple and pleasant build that will conveniently fit in even a studio-sized apartment.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The U-826 was ordered on June 8, 1942, laid down on August 6, 1943, and launched in Danzig on March 9, 1944. It was commissioned on May 11, 1944, and commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Olaf Lübcke. The U-boat was part of the 8. Flottile, a training unit, between May 11, 1944, and December 31 that same year, after which it was attached to the 11. Flottille as a front boat. U-826 conducted one four-day training criose between Kiel and Horten before sailing on its one and only war patrol that lasted for 64 days between March 9 and May 11, 1945, when the U-826 surrendered to the Royal Navy. Lübcke did not sink any ships, but he and his crew survived the war. It seems reasonable to assume that the Schnorkel may have helped them. The kit is the Mirage Type VII with snorkel, and the Mirage photo-etch was added to the kit.

 Oberleutnant zur See Olaf Lübcke