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Inspired By.....de Havilland Gnat I, 601 Sqn, RAF Hendon Air Display 1937

Started by kitbasher, March 03, 2022, 07:00:58 AM

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kitbasher

The Inspiration...
...is Mike's collection of '1940-ish Hendon pageant' builds (see Grumpy Old Modeller - Vaults 'They say that this Hendon's a Wonderful Place!', 'Your carriages await, Sire...' and 'Meanwhile, back in 1940....' – about 3/8 down the page; there are several Hendon Air Pageant whiffs on this forum's Hendon Airshow 1940 thread.).  I must admit I was a bit of a biff when starting the build - I originally (and inexplicably) assumed that the Pageants stopped in 1936, making Mike's builds whifs of things at a whif event!.  Well, subsequent delving confirmed there had been pageants right up to 1939 (d'oh!) but I carried on with the build regardless as the inspiration hadn't changed.





The Subject
The de Havilland Gnat was a development of the famous de Havilland Dolphin Schneider Trophy winner of 1934.  The Air Ministry was so impressed by this aircraft it issued Specification F.1/34 to de Havilland to develop a fighter aircraft from it, in order to provide the Royal Air Force (RAF) with a modern monoplane fighter aircraft fitted with four machine-guns, replacing the earlier F.7/30.  De Havilland responded accordingly with the Gnat.  Development of the Gnat (primarily of wooden construction – setting a trend followed by the later Mosquito) preceded swiftly; the Dolphin fuselage was further developed, to which new wings housing the four machine guns required by F.1/34, a new tailplane and fixed 'trousered' undercarriage were fitted. 



The first prototype flew in September 1935, by which time specification F.5/34 had been issued, this seeking eight guns (amongst other more advanced features).  The Gnat's wing was not capable of carrying any more guns, but such were the Gnat's flying qualities the Air Ministry decided to continue with the type's development as an interim fighter pending fulfilment of F.5/34 by the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire.



Formed at Northolt on 14 October 1925 as an Auxiliary Air Force light bomber squadron, 601 Sqn continued in the bomber role until 1 July 1934 when it was redesignated a fighter squadron, but it was not until February 1937 before the first Gnats arrived, conversion being complete by April.  K7286 headed the flypast of Auxiliary Air Force squadrons at the 26 June 1937 Hendon Air Display.


The Gnat with the Dolphin, from which it was developed.

The Build
I'd never been satisfied with a 'Jet Comet' I'd built some years ago (It's a Comet, Jim, but.....).  Poor finish, undercarriage legs kept breaking off - ripe for scrapping. Anyway, I had kept the wings and tailplanes to use on another whif idea (don't hold your breath!), which made wings and tailplanes from that kit available for something. The concept had been rattling round my head for some time before Mike's untimely death, so I thought I'd crack on with this small contribution to the Tribute Build.

So, things kicked off with dismantling the Jet Comet, stripping the fuselage and deciding which bits and bobs from the spares box to use with it. Pretty much everything seen here was used, although some changes were made on the way.



It needed the feel of my previous de Havilland Dolphin, so 1000 lb bombs (I think from an Airfix Tornado) and PM Spitfire exhausts were added.  Wings thicker than a Comet's to carry machine guns (but not as hefty as a Hurricane's) were needed, these coming from a long-dismantled NOVO Proctor. With a scrapped 1970's Airfix Spitfire I canopy fitted and the Comet rudder reattached, suitable tailplanes needed sourcing but unfortunately one of the Proctor items was missing – I remain temporarily unaware of its location – Ye Olde Airfix Gladiator items looked a good bet but looked odd against the Comet and I didn't relish reshaping them.
After some deliberation, PM Spitfire tailplanes were chosen.

Initial PSR was needed – nearly but not quite a putty monster – during which time I fashioned the main u/c trousers. Didn't want spats, wasn't going to be retractable u/c, and I'd a hankering to get a bit of a Martin-Baker MB2 feel to the build, so I used MB2 plans as my template.  Proctor undercarriage, sprue, plastic card and filler did the trick.  Said 1970's scrapped Airfix Spitfire also provided its radiator, suitably rubbed down so it could sit the underside à la Hurricane; the carb intake came from a long-scrapped Revell Spitfire Vb.



Tailplanes and tailwheel (not sure where that came from but looks like a cheap rip-off resin Spitfire part) attached, it was time for priming and final preparation of the surfaces prior to painting.  Simple pre-WW2 paint job – differing aluminium/silver paints to highlight the difference between metal and wooden components.
Propeller/spinner is a Watts/Airscrew two-bladed prop robbed from the Airfix Spitfire Va/IIa kit (A02102, essentially the A02010 Spitfire I/IIa a few additional parts for the Va).  This was painted while all of the markings were being applied.  Roundels came from Xtradecal X72111, serial numbers from Modeldecal sheets 104 and 106, with squadron markings from Modeldecal 108 (Hawker Hart variants).

Once decaling was done, the model was given a coat of satin varnish.  The engine cowling and wheel trousers were painted Xtracolor High Speed Silver and gloss varnished.  Finally, the wheels were fitted to trousers (a phrase we really should be using more often!) and the propeller attached.
What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco/Barracuda/Flatning/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR11/Hurricane IIb/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/P1103 (early)/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/I-153/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Spitfire Tr18/Twin Otter/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter

The Wooksta!

Hey!! I recognise the remains of that Proctor I gave you.  It's quite probable that the errant tailplane is still in the North East.
"It's basically a cure -  for not being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac. The potential market's enormous!"

"Visit Scarfolk today!"
https://scarfolk.blogspot.com/

"She's died?!?  Then how's she meant to get the shopping home?"

The Plan:
www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php/topic

PR19_Kit

That looks highly plausible, and an excellent pairing for my Hawker Cyclone.

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! :)

Regards
Kit

The Wooksta!

"It's basically a cure -  for not being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac. The potential market's enormous!"

"Visit Scarfolk today!"
https://scarfolk.blogspot.com/

"She's died?!?  Then how's she meant to get the shopping home?"

The Plan:
www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php/topic

Lost Cosmonauts

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"

kitbasher

Quote from: PR19_Kit on March 03, 2022, 12:15:06 PM
That looks highly plausible, and an excellent pairing for my Hawker Cyclone.

Thank you Kit, yes it would (and apologies, I'd completely forgotten about the Cyclone).

Quote from: Lost Cosmonauts on March 03, 2022, 12:42:11 PM
Very handsome and plausible looking build, nicely done!
Thank you Alistair

Quote from: The Wooksta! on March 03, 2022, 11:42:55 AM
Hey!! I recognise the remains of that Proctor I gave you.

Yup, that's the one!
What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco/Barracuda/Flatning/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR11/Hurricane IIb/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/P1103 (early)/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/I-153/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Spitfire Tr18/Twin Otter/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter

NARSES2

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

kitbasher

What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco/Barracuda/Flatning/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR11/Hurricane IIb/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/P1103 (early)/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/I-153/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Spitfire Tr18/Twin Otter/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter


kitbasher

What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco/Barracuda/Flatning/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR11/Hurricane IIb/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/P1103 (early)/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/I-153/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Spitfire Tr18/Twin Otter/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter

Old Wombat

Has a life outside of What-If & wishes it would stop interfering!

"The purpose of all War is Peace" - St. Augustine

veritas ad mortus veritas est