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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.'

Friday, 29 November 2013


... as I typed that, the rather cheesy theme tune from 'The Aeronauts' came flooding back to me from the 1960s. Anyone else remember walking home from school, your mum being at home, then drinking tea and eating a jam butty while watching The Aeronauts? Ah, the pleasures of the Cold War period in western Europe.

But back in the 21st Century and a time of stress and chaos, yet somehow, I'm still struggling with the products of the Cold War:

The Heller 1/170 (?!) version of the Nord Nordatlas. It's made of the sort of slightly soft plastic that the free gifts in the cornflake packets of old used to be made out of. It fits were it touches, and I suspect that despite the weight I have put in the nose, it will still be a tail sitter. The tail booms needed shims of plastic where the wing sits in order to match up the engine nacelles, but the shims also do duty in blanking off the undercarriage well.  

As you will have guessed, completing the Macchi MC200 has kicked off a model aircraft seizure, and I've dragged out a couple of old kits to bash. First off:

Possibly the worst moulding to come out of the East, striking more terror into my heart than the predicted influx of Bulgarians and Romanians strikes terror into the denizens of Park Lane (but aren't they mostly Russian in any case? I don't know, perhaps the Cold War wasn't that bad...).  Anyway, what the kit does have going for it is that it is a 109K - almost the last of the last, and given my predilection for Italian subjects, it will probably join my ANR collection.

Second choice from the pile of piles, a recent acquisition: 

Not the new moulding, but a new boxing of the old kit.

I've got some good references on the Gladiator, not least:

Gloster Gladiator in Action, Squadron/Signal Publications, 2003, an excellent work by W.A. Harrison, with plenty of photos of the rarer users of the type, including:

The doomed Latvians - click on the image above and just look at the poor chap's face. My God, we've had some unspeakable times. But, happily, I have some decals left over from a Gladiator I made about ten years ago, which, as you can see, include Latvian markings. Top banana.

Now, a puzzle. During my migration to the wood burning stove Hobbit bunker, I kept coming across odd bits and pieces, including this:

You can see what it is, but my question is: from which set of rules did I carefully copy this template??

Finally, I shouldn't be doing any of this kit bashing, wargame thinking, etc etc. I should be working on my current writing project, which includes fascinating bits of old newspapers, this one from Adelaide, 83 years ago:

Actually that wasn't 'finally' (it's this Oz wine), the aeronauts business has brought back another marvellous Cold War childhood air-minded memory - did anyone else out there read the fantastic Norwegian jet pilot books (Thunderchiefs? Thunderjets?) by Leif Hamre ? Books like, Blue Two...Bale Out?


  1. A tasty lot of projects leading into Christmas Stephen.

    At a guess I would say the template is from Operation Warboard by Bernard and Gavin Lyall.

    Model on!

    1. Yes, projects without end...aaaah.
      No, it's not from the Lyalls - I'm really stumped with this one.

  2. "The Aeronauts" - I have been trying to remember the name of that program for years. It was great!

    1. There was some good children's TV then - well, it seemed good to me as a child. The German Robinson Crusoe with the amazing, haunting music; all those east European fairy tale ones; Jackanory, of course; the Desert Crusader...

  3. My guess is you copied said template from the worst set of WW2 rules ever created: Rapid Fire.

    1. I thought you had it there! But, no, it isn't RF either. I just can't remember where it's from. It'll drive me mad(der).

  4. Interesting projects.Did you copy the template from a set of Featherstone's rules?
    Are we going to see any of these aircraft flying over the wargames table as support mounted on say a bent wire coathanger stand?

    1. Mmmm - I need to check that out. The problem being, there's so many of them.
      No, my aircraft inhabit a separate realm from the grubbiness of the wargames table. (The dustiness of the shelf?!)