Friday, 9 January 2015



While recuperating from a recent major operation and, at the same time, receiving 30 doses of radiation away from my home town, I had the opportunity to take some model kits with me and to spend quite a few hours doing what I love doing - butchering kits and creating something totally new and unique. Not having done any modelling for a while, due to health reasons, it seemed a good pastime to take my mind off what was happening around me and to get some practice in while I had the hours to spare.
Having acquired many aircraft kits over the past few years, it seemed the safe option to take as many of them away with me as I could transport in the car. It took quite a while to choose which models would best lend themselves to my kind of "butchery" and, along with repacking the smaller ones into larger boxes to save space, I ended up with about eight kits that would be good starting points to create Gerry Anderson-like models that could have appeared in "Thunderbirds", "Captain Scarlet" or "Joe 90". These kits were as follows:

Hobbycraft 1:48 scale CF-105 Arrow Fighter
Hasagawa 1:48 scale J35 F/J Draken
Monogram 1:48 scale F104C Starfighter
Academy 1:144 scale B-58A Hustler
Airfix 1:72 scale SAAB Draken
3 kits of the Academy 1:48 scale Mirage III R Fighter


 As well as these particular kits, some of which would be familiar to devotees of Gerry Anderson shows, I also threw in some bits from my spares box, along with all the tools that I'd need for the six weeks away. Amazingly enough, all this fitted into a single large box for transportation purposes.
The idea was to make as many different models as possible by using just the pieces in these kits. Lacking the space for an airbrush and other major tools, I was limited as to what I could get done on each model, however automobile spray cans for painting were purchased as needed, along with lengths of brass tubing for wing support and undercarriage additions to be made at a later stage.
The same techniques were used on each model - sorting through the kits to see what parts suited each other; trimming or in some cases, totally removing large sections of the parts; gluing everything together securely; sanding and puttying with car "bog" to achieve a smooth finish, priming the model with automobile grey primer; spraying the basic colour(s) from auto cans; masking off areas for respraying; touching up small parts and sections with a brush; adding pencil lines, generic decals and car pinstriping tape; providing lead pencil weathering to dirty each model down; adding clear coats to protect the finishes. In all cases, the models needed to be transported back home in order to complete them, such as the addition of landing gear, decals and weathering etc. Where I was modelling only allowed me to get to the basic colour stages with the models.


The first one I worked on. I removed the nose of the Arrow Fighter and replaced it with other parts to make it more interesting. The Arrow's fuselage was used, minus the wings, while a pair of Mirage Fighters became the engines midway along each wing. The Mirage fuselages were reversed and new outer wings were added by using the 1:144 scale Hustler wings. All sections were pinned for strength using brass tubing and copious amounts of Araldite, two-part epoxy glue. I added four vertical wings from the Mirages to the top and bottom of the main wing area, again fixing them very securely with tubing and Araldite. For the front undercarriage area, I inserted a section of brass tubing permanently into the models where the undercarriage could be "plugged" into the aircraft when it had been made later on from brass, kit parts and toy car wheels. The rear undercarriage would need to be completed back at home as I didn't have the necessary parts to construct the housings for these sections.


Basically I worked on two or even three models at any one time. This one was very pleasing to design using the front section of the Starfighter and the main fuselage from the Draken in 1:48 scale. With a little "encouragement" one just plugged neatly into the other. The large wings at the rear came from the Arrow Fighter, while the Draken provided its own vertical stabiliser. To position the two sets of brass tubes into the undercarriage areas, I had to add two drop tank halves to the upper fuselage in order for the brass tubing to have something to be glued into. I'm rather pleased with the shape of this aircraft - just different enough to be interesting, but not too outrageous to be too fanciful. This was the first model given a colour spray - Toyota Silver for the overall colour and Venus Orange for the added colour after everything was completely masked off, the inspiration coming from, believe it or not, the Treehawk in Gerry Anderson's "Terrahawks".


I had some small bits and pieces left over after all this creativity so I decided to put some of them to good use by combining the 1:72 scale Draken fuselage with a pair of extra wings, the wingtips from the 1:144 scale Hustler and a pair of engine intakes from same. A new nose was kindly provided via a droptank. I can't say that I'm overly happy with the resulting design, however it was a quick build. Being such a small scale, I didn't worry about providing it with any landing gear. The basic colour is called Dark Grey.

Aircraft #4

All throughout "Thunderbirds" is featured a helijet that was created from a pair of Kaman Husky kits joined rear to rear. I've always wanted to do my own version of this technique.


While visiting my local hobby shop I chanced
upon a pair of Airfix helicopters, the 1:72 scale Westland Sea King, at what I thought was a reasonable price at the time. After sorting through the parts closely before creating my helijet version, I was absolutely appalled at the quality of the injection cast pieces, the very worst I've seen in many years. Whether this was because of the age of the kit or not, I'm unsure, however if I was the quality control person at Airfix, I'd throw the towel in right now. I'd have to be a world-class modeller to assemble anything remotely decent from this terrible kit. You have been warned!

I began by removing the tail section from both kits and dryfitting them together to get some ideas for an overall shape of the fuselage.

After a couple of hours of rummaging around in the spares box I had produced the four undercarriage sections from a conglomeration of various kit parts.

 Wanting rotating vertical thrusters to be positioned mid-fuselage necessitated the use of a length of brass tube with a pair of kit parts glued to both ends. The thrusters themselves were cobbled together using a number of cut down drop tanks from the trio of Mirage fighters. Detail was provided from landing gear and other bits from the kits mentioned previously.

 A collection of kit pieces from the above kits became the detail on the helijet, as well as the rear wings and forward thrusters attached to each of them. Kit parts were also used to cover up a few join lines and fitting problems that resulted from the poor quality of the original helicopter kit. A small amount of putty  completed the helijet, after which it was thoroughly primed.


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