Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Bird With A Crown

  For some time now I've been intrigued, puzzled and just plain curious about a certain piece of artwork at the station end of Portsmouth's Commercial Road.

  If you happened to be strolling along the path from the Memorial gate to Bishop Crispian way and looked up then you could just see something peeking out from the rooftops.

 It alway looked to me like something vaguely heraldic - like some Westeros clan marking their territory - and ever single time I saw what I dubbed the Crowned Bird I wondered what the hell it was and why it was there.

  Then developers bought the building next door, knocked it into rubble and the mystery only deepened.

 JCB for scale so you can see how big the whole thing is. It stretches from one side of the building all the way to the other . However I,m still no closer to knowing why the Crowned Bird is there and now I want to know why somebody has painted some kind of Dennis Wheatley invocation on the side of a shop.

Was there a Pompey band called Devilsout?  Can somebody please tell me what the hell this is?

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Big D Builds An Airacobra...Badly!


If you are expecting competition-standard model-making and a few useful tips you are going to be critically underwhelmed. 
However, if you want to see what happens when a man with ten thumbs and poor eyesight tries to glue some tiny bits of plastic together just go right on ahead. 

  I hadn't made a model kit in ages but when i happened to spot this in a charity shop window I just couldn't resist. 

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the P39 Airacobra.  Bell were definitely thinking outside the box when they came up with this design.  Tricycle undercarriage, engine behind the pilot and a cannon in the nose that was bigger than some contemporary tanks carried - that's creative. 
 Sadly the USAAC experts got at it and the results were not positive; removing the turbocharger guaranteed the P39 got asthmatic at altitude which is a failing in an interceptor.    Still, the Russians loved the Airacobra so its reputation as one of WWII"'s also-rans is undeserved. Personally I think it's an interesting aircraft and quite nice-looking too. 

Moving on to the model. the box art says it's easy build and that's definitely accurate. 

  I have a horrible feeling this kit is aimed at 10 year olds doing their first ever model. 
Perfect for my level of skill then.

Since the P39 had a tricycle undercarriage I made sure to put plenty of weight in the fuselage to make sure it was properly balanced.   

 "That should be enough. I'll glue the wings on now "

Oh bollocks

After some futile attempts to find something heavy that I could stuff down the nose I decided to move on and worry about the balance later. 

I must say this kit was very easy to put together. No filing or scraping required and the only putty was for a couple of small cracks in the wingroot and underside of the nose. The elevators slotted in with a minimum of drama and the airscrew assembly was equally easy. As per usual I didn't bother trying to get it to rotate and just glued it direct to the nose. 

Since I already had a Soviet P39 I decided to make this a USAAF version. 

Minor gripe: It turns out that "Olive Drab" can cover about 3 different colours which are nothing like each other so it took me a couple of trips to town to get the right damn shade. 

 I will happily admit that my painting skills leave a lot to be desired. I must also confess that I made the white bit way too big and the USAAF markigns needed to have a yellow spinner.  By the time I found these out it was too late.

I chickened out of painting the cockpit frame too.  

I imagine all the modellers who take their hobby seriously are gritting their teeth right now. 
Sorry guys, I admire what you do but I just can't match your skill.

Also, I wanted to get the kit finished so I could play with it.  get my kitchen table back. 

The decals were a bit fiddly as they didn't want to come off the backing paper and as per my usual rule, if I couldn't read the marking I didn't bother putting it on. 

This is the end result. 

"What's with the scissors?" I hear you ask. Well, I got around the unfortunate tendency to fall over backwards by superglueing my new P39 to a coaster. The scissors are there to weigh it down until the glue set. 

It's not stupid if it works, right?   

I enjoyed putting this kit together. I definitely shouted rude words a lot less than I usually do.

And while the build quality is on a par with the 10 year olds the kit is aimed at I'm still happy with the result.

Some of us can't climb mountains so we have to make do with  the hills. 

That's all folks. 

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