avatar_Paper Kosmonaut

Handley-Page HP.42 in "Kroonduif" livery, 1950s

Started by Paper Kosmonaut, September 30, 2017, 03:06:44 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Paper Kosmonaut

It's for the first time I post a work in progress here.
Here's the back story.

The story of the six KLM-owned Handley-Page HP.42's

When Handley Page announced its HP.42, which had its first flight in November 1930, Imperial Airways was not the only airline which was interested in buying the airplane. Dutch airline KLM also liked a couple to give their busy line to the Dutch East Indies a much needed boost.

Their own Fokkers were sturdy and trusty planes all right, but they also were slow and often coped with mechanical issues on their journeys and, well, most of them were starting to show their age. Fokker really tried to keep up with developments but they were very conservative in their choice of materials and the configuration of their designs. Frankly, they actually were too slow for the momentum in the aircraft industry at the time. While in the U.S. The development of monocoque aluminium airframes with low wings was in full swing, Fokker's planes still were shoulder-winged, clad with plywood and linen.
The newest plane Fokker had in development, the triple engined F-XX Zilvermeeuw, was a pretty sight with its more modern appearance. It even could have been a good comparison to the HP.42, being some kind of hybrid between the old-fashioned wooden planes and the soon-to-come modern looking shapes like the all-metal Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2. But the F-XX also had a lot of developing troubles and was still in its early test phase.
In short, KLM's main fleet of planes were ageing rapidly and the board-members of the KLM knew it all too well. Besides all that, Fokker's biggest planes only could carry up to 16 passengers, the HP.42 could carry a for that time whopping 38 people.

So in early 1931 KLM turned to Handley Page and ordered six of their big, all-metal HP42's. A little less than one and a half year later, they all were in service and flew prolifically and quickly to and from the Dutch East Indies. The KLM wanted the planes to be a bit more luxurious for the long flights, so the 38 seats were reduced to 30 seats and everyone had a bit more legroom and there was a bit more space for luggage.
The six planes got christened with names from Dutch cities: Groningen, Nijmegen, Haarlem, Enschede, 's Hertogenbosch and Vlissingen.

One of KLM's HP42's at Samakh airfield in Palestine, about 1934 (photoshop by me, original pic from Wikipedia)

By the time the HP 42's were delivered to the KLM, the thirties progressed, and KLM ordered even more modern foreign planes, like Douglas' DC-2 and DC-3. But the HP 42's performed just as well, just like their British sisters and they kept on flying, as luxurious airborne Orient Expresses.

When at the end of April 1940 war was imminent and already very much looming over Europe, two of the six HP42's (Groningen and Enschede) just had left Schiphol for respectively Java and Sumatra and two of them (Vlissingen and 's Hertogenbosch) were just about to head back. The other two were in a hangar at Schiphol. One of them was under repair and had its undercarriage removed, and the other was in the middle of a big engine overhaul. Then came that unavoidable May the 10th, 1940, and the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Schiphol was severely bombed by the Luftwaffe and although all but one of the military planes on the airport were unharmed, the KLM suffered huge losses, while all their DC-2's and 3's were painted orange as a way of showing their neutrality, which made them great targets. The hangar in which the two HP.42's were repaired got a couple of direct hits and although the Amsterdam fire brigade tried their best to extinguish the fire, the Nijmegen and Haarlem were lost.
The two planes that just left from the Dutch East Indies were about to land in Karachi. There they heard of what happened in Europe and specifically in the Netherlands and the crew decided to fly back to Batavia (the city which now is called Jakarta). Soon thereafter, they were joined by the two other HP.42's that had taken off days before the invasion.
In Batavia, the four HP.42's were put into service with the Royal Dutch East Indies Airlines (KNILM) who made good use of the planes, together with their own DC-2's and 3's and Lockheed Super Electra's.

Then the war also reached the Pacific in 1941 and in early January 1942, two of the HP.42's were chartered by a big group of wealthy Dutch people, eager to escape the imminent Japanese invasion. They set off to fly to Australia. The 's Hertogenbosch was never heard from again and probably crashed in the sea, being too heavily loaded. The other one, Vlissingen, flew from the island of Timor and reached Darwin on just fumes due to a leaky fuel line. Having only one chance to land the heavy aircraft, it came down quite rough and it broke its main landing gear and crashed. Luckily, without any casualties. Unfortunately, it left the plane with irreparable damage and its useless remains were scrapped not long thereafter. Of the other two, the Enschede was destroyed in its hangar at Batavia airport in one of the first Japanese bombing raids in March of 1942. Most of the other planes of the KNILM could reach Australia before the attacks started and were sold to the allied forces.

in this candid and grainy picture, HP.42 "Groningen" manages to escape to Merauke

Groningen, The last HP.42 in existence, managed to escape to the airfield of Merauke, a city on the island of Papua New Guinea, which also partially was a Dutch colony. Merauke was the only city on the Indonesian archipelago that never was occupied by the Japanese army. It apparently was of no strategic or other interest to them, although there have been a couple of heavy bombardments at the airfield.
Here, the HP.42 survived the war. It undertook some transport flights to and from Australia. After the war, things did not go back to normal again. Turmoil in the Dutch East Indies caused a lot of disruption, the local people demanded their independence. Using guerrilla tactics, the Indonesians kept on fighting The Dutch reacted with brute and excessive force to try and bring these revolts to a halt. But only with partial success and lots of casualties and cruelty along with it. Under the pressure of the United Nations, the Dutch finally had to give in and in 1950, Indonesia became an independent nation. But this didn't include all of the Dutch East Indies. There still was a part of Papua New Guinea which remained Dutch.
Indonesia however, had no plans to exploit a single airline between Papua and Indonesia. So for a while, air traffic over New Guinea was almost gone. No cargo flights with food, mail and clothing, no passenger flights across the dense jungle areas and mountains. The Dutch governmental department of Papua decided to charter a single Dakota from KLM to start inland flights and soon they added some De Havilland Beavers on floats and also three Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer freighters to their fleet,.

A couple of Dakota's and a Twin Pioneer on -probably- the airfield of Biak, Dutch New Guinea, 1950s.

In the mid fifties, it became a real regular airline and a daughter enterprise of KLM. A pilot of KLM became manager of the fleet. It was around this time the last HP.42 was 'rediscovered'  in a dusty hangar at the back of the airport of Merauke. They immediately brought the old plane back into service after some small necessary repairs and a bit of new oil for the engines. It quickly became the flagship of their airline company, which now was called Kroonduif (Western Crowned Pigeon). They had a very successful business. Kroonduif flew cargo and people to places at Papua New Guinea but also (with a chartered Lockheed Constellation of KLM) to Amsterdam and even Tokyo. The HP.42, which got the new name Kalong (a huge type of fruit bat also called the Flying Fox) was used for inland cargo and passenger flights and for flights to the Australian part of the island.

The old HP.42 was kept in service until 1962, when the Dutch part of Papua New Guinea became part of Indonesia and the Dutch had to leave all their assets behind. In Indonesia, the HP.42 was of no use any more and after having been a hangar asset for yet another  couple of years, the plane was eventually scrapped in 1966.


Credible? Well, most of it actually is true. The only thing that never happened is the six extra HP.42's for the KLM. In reality, there were only ever 6 built and all of them served with Imperial Airways. All of them perished in the first year of the war while in RAF service, either due to storms that blew the planes against one another and practically wrecked them, or by very clumsy landings that did about the same job for the planes. None of them survived the year 1940. A sad ending for this glorious and rather beautiful plane.

Now, for the model I used this 1/72 paper model of the plane, designed by Gary Pilsworth. I recoloured it to resemble the main livery of Kroonduif airplanes in the early fifties. I also redid the corrugated panels a little to make them more look like what they should look like. Then I reduced it in size by printing two pages of the model per one sheet of A4 paper (I use 160 gpm2). It now is about 1/100 in scale.

Now, with paper models one of the hard parts always is aligning. A fuselage like this is divided in rings, if you will. Those rings need to line up of course, seams at the bottom mostly, and while I redid the colours, the new lines also needed to align more or less. And luckily they did.

The wings have a central part in the lower wing section which goes through the fuselage. I use knitting needles to get it in shape and into place. The glue strips sticking out are where the lower wings will attach to. The rest of the fuselage is just shaping cylinders and cones (for the tail part) and using inner glue strips to attach them to one another.

Here the wings go on. The lower wing consists of four parts, since the wing has an inverted gull shape. In the bend, the engine nacelles will be glued.

Here, the main wing is seen on its sheet. The first try went wrong and the wing was severely warped. It only had three spars/formers inside and when joining the separate two parts it all looked really wrong. So I did it again. I also used a different glue, I usually glue everything with white glue (PVA). But this time I used Aleenes sticky glue. It dries slower and is workable for a longer time. I glued the two wing parts, joined them and used a couple of flat rulers to guide them into being dead straight.

This jig is used to have the upper wing aligned when eventually the struts will glue the upper wing to the lower ones.

Like so.

Time for the engine nacelles. They perhaps look a little tricky but they are in fact coming together like a dream. Perfect fit.

And on they go. The engines themselves will be coming on later because I want to make them have working propellers.

The nacelles in the upper wing are mostly below the wing and so they will have to be 'edge glued' onto the wing. This is what is common practice in plastic building but unusual in paper stuff. Here most of the time there will be strips or tabs to put glue on and stick the part with to the other surface. But edge glueing often is nice for sharp transitions like this cylindric nacelle through a flat wing surface.

Here, the two upper nacelles are on the wing too. The wing still is loose on the jig.

And here is where I am now. Up next will be the props and the struts.

Thanks for looking and I hope you like the story.

dei t dut mout t waiten!


Absolutely splendid, both the model and the superb backstory. Quite how you do those paper models defeats me, they look far too fiddly to me.

Being very JMN there were actually eight HP4x, four HP42Es and four more of the larger capacity HP45s (or HP42Ws), but they all looked identical externally. Sadly, as you say, none of them survived the early years of the war.
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



What he ^^^^ said.  ;D  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Interestingly, Armstrong Siddeley Panthers in long-chord NACA cowlings were originally specified for the HP.45.
"Conspiracy theory's got to be simple.
Sense doesn't come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated crap
actually is than they ever are about
whatever's supposed to be behind the
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014


My Ability to Imagine is only exceeded by my Imagined Abilities

Gondor's Modelling Rule Number Three: Everything will fit perfectly untill you apply glue...

I know it's in a book I have around here somewhere....


I built some paper models as a kid (Tower of London was one of them) but I was never very good at them.  Probably because I wasn't allowed a sharp knife then (sometimes I think I still shouldn't be) and used scissors.

It's looking good.


- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..


Aww... pretty. I have huge repect for paper modelers, I'd never get thing together so cleanly, and without dents and other accidents.  :thumbsup:


Superb  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

The MK show in the UK always has a paper modeller's stand and I always spend a fair time admiring both the quality and diversity of whats on display.
Decals my @r$e!


[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


Reality is an illusion caused by an alcohol deficiency

Paper Kosmonaut

Thanks everyone! And now I wait to see a twin-bodied version by Tophe. Or an asymmetrical version. Hmmm.. interesting thought here. (-:
dei t dut mout t waiten!


Quote from: Dizzyfugu on October 01, 2017, 03:55:12 AM
Aww... pretty. I have huge repect for paper modelers, I'd never get thing together so cleanly, and without dents and other accidents.  :thumbsup:

Same here, great work! :thumbsup:
"Sticks and stones may break some bones but a 3.57's gonna blow your damn head off!!"

Paper Kosmonaut

Time for some strutting stuff. It is always the hardest part. I used not the 160 gram paper I printed the rest of the model on but sturdy 270 gram hobby paper, which I doubled and cut up in thin strips. I started with turning the upper wing upside down and glueing the struts that would meet at the bottom wing. Using PVA glue which already was a little drier they were able to maintain their angle and position a bit better.

Then I carefully glued the centre piece of the strut latticework onto the fuselage. The outer struts didn't touch the lower wing yet. It had sagged a little, I think. But that was up next.

With the aid of loosely fitted rubber bands around the wing tips, the ends met and I could glue them together. The rest of the struts now are a piece of cake. They just can be shoved in and more or less clamped between the others and the wings.

VoilĂ . And although I make paper models now for a long time already, I was surprised how solid it became. There is no lateral movement possible between the wings. And I can pick the plane up on its top wing.

In the meantime while the stuff was drying, I did some work on the propellers. The engines are little cylindrical pieces with a conical front part. I wanted the props to be able to rotate so I use pins and beads for that. An inner disk with a tiny hole for guidance inside the engine part, pin-prop-bead section pushed in, bead with some CA at the back and ready is the first propeller and it rotates well. It just needs some clear gloss to keep the twist in the prop blades a little better. And a shiny prop is looking nicer, too.

dei t dut mout t waiten!


Fantastic work. Biplane aircraft AND rounded fuselages must be one of the most difficult jobs in paper modelling.
I have built a few, but limiting myself to straight lines  ;), buildings and simple ships.
Concerning the glue, I have found in Model Shows in Germany, a sort of white glue "optimized" for paper kits. It's called Kittyfix (or Kittifix, I don't have one with me at the moment) and it's very fast (must have been mixed with superglue  ;) ), and strong
Owing to the current financial difficulties, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice.


'A piece of cake'???  :o

It looks INCREDIBLY intricate and difficult. I'm SERIOUSLY impressed.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)