Allied aircraft
by Stephen Foster

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Kit: Conversion from Airfix DH 4 (1:72)

This was my first conversion which was not based on a published article and my first attempt at a WW1 conversion. I really wanted to build a BE 2c but could not find any suitable plans (there was no internet in the mid 1970's), so I had to use the front page illustration from the Profile publication which was photographed and adjusted to scale. I used the wings, wheels, struts and propellor from the Airfix kit and scratch built the rest, including using wood for the top of the fuselage with the grain filled with talcum powder and dope mixture. I used 20thou card cut into strips for the struts and undercarriage (there was no Evergreen strip then either), and rigged it with stretched sprue. The aircraft represents the machine flown by Lt. Harvey-Kelley and was the first RFC aircraft to land in France after the outbreak of the First World War. The style of numeral on the rudder is not quite correct but was the best that I had at the time.

Airco de Haviland DH 4

Kit: Airfix (conversion) (1:72)

This is a very simple conversion to an RAF 3a engined machine. Fill the exhaust holes and remove the bomb racks, make a new exhaust from thick card, make a new radiator from card and add a small spinner to the prop. Finally add two Lewis guns to the top wing and you have an improvised naval anti-zeppelin fighter. There were two machines in this colour scheme which were originally intended to participate in a long range photographic sortie of the Kiel Canal in August 1917 but it was called off because the engines were not reliable enough. This machine was converted to a fighter afterwards. The serial was painted over when the camouflage was added and not restored. There is a build log on the Airfix Tribute Forum site

Hanriot HD 1

Kit: Conversion from Airfix Sopwith Camel (1:72)

This conversion was based on an article in Airfix Magazine from July 1971 by G. Scarborough and was the first conversion of a WW1 biplane that I finished. The roundels were overpainted transfers and the remainder of the markings were hand painted, the rigging is stretched sprue. The pilot was the Belgian W. Coppens. This model was made in the very Dark Ages (mid 1970's) and there are good kits now available, but at the time it was the only way to have one of these in a collection unless it was scratch built.

Handley Page 0/400

Kit: Airfix (1:72)

I first made (a mess of) this kit when it was released in the mid-1960's. When I returned to modelling after a very long break I wanted to build one of these: it was the third kit I attempted. I added some extra internal details but generally the standard of the kit is very good as it stands, the more so given the age of the moulds. It represents an aircraft of the RNAS in late 1917 - all of the markings were hand painted except for the serial.

Maurice Farman Longhorn

Kit: Scratch (1:72)

This is another aircraft that I had wanted in my collection since my teenage years. This was built from plastic card, Evergreen strip and plastic rod with a push moulded nacelle. This was an early attempt at scratch building and was straightforward as there are no double curves or awkward shapes, although the rigging was a bit time consuming. Some of these machines were used for reconnaissance in 1914 and early 1915 by the RFC: mostly they were used as trainers in the UK until 1916. There is a build log on the Airfix Tribute Forum site.

Sopwith Type 806 Gunbus

Kit: Conversion from Airfix Avro 504K (1:72)

This model is based on an article in Airfix Magazine Annual No 5 (1975) by G. Scarborough. Two kits were needed to provide the wings: I also used the wheels, propellor and struts - the remainder was scratch built from card and strip. The booms were florists wire because they are stiff enough to provide a stable rear. All of the markings were hand painted except for the serial. It represents an RNAS machine of 1915, possibly at Detling, Kent where they were used for training until mid 1916. There is a build log on the Airfix Tribute Forum site.

Vickers Vimy

Kit: Frog (1:72)

This is an original Frog mould which was a repop of their old Trailblazer series kit which represented the machine flown by Alcock and Brown across the Atlantic in 1919. It therefore needed considerable modification to make it look like an RAF service machine so I set about doing so in the late 1970's. Later I wrote an article on how to do it in a minor modelling magazine and shortly after stopped modelling for over 30 years. When I returned to modelling I discovered that my article had over the years been referred to frequently (and often indirectly), by many others. It has been republished on Modelling Madness and at Work was needed on the upper decking behind the cockpit and moving the rear gunner's position, reshaping the engine cowlings and exhausts, glazing the nose, a new nose skid, new engine struts, and other details. The markings were hand painted except for the serial, and it is rigged with rolled copper wire.

Vickers FB5 Gunbus

Kit: Airfix conversion from DH 4 and Avro 504 (1:72)

In my previous modelling incarnation I started to build this together with the FB 9. I used the wings (reshaped the tips and removed the dihedral), the Lewis gun, wheels and struts from the DH 4 and the rotary engine from an Avro 504, and scratch built the rest. I used galvanised wire which had been rolled flat for the booms. I had made almost all of the parts and completed the nacelle when I stopped modelling for 30+ years. I had completely forgotten about these models until I found them in a box in the roof in the state that I had left them. Time had served it well as it was essentially intact and I was able to complete it within a few weeks. This (and most of my more recent models) are rigged with rolled copper wire: the markings were hand painted except for the serials. This represents a machine which was probably from 5 Squadron at Abeele in the spring of 1915.

Vickers FB 9 Streamline Gunbus

Kit: Airfix conversion from DH 4 and Avro 504 (1:72)

This is the second of the two models which I was building when I gave up modelling for over 30 years and found in the roof in a box. The wings, struts, and wheels were taken from the DH 4 and the engine from the Avro 504, the remainder was scratch built, including the booms which were made from galvanised wire which had been rolled between two pieces of wood. All of the markings were hand painted: there is no serial because the only good photo of one of these machines that I could find had the rudder obscured. It represents a training machine in the UK, probably in 1916. These machines were a development of the FB 5 and were slightly faster but their performance was not good enough for the conditions on the western front in June 1916 when they started to arrive and so far as is known they were only used operationally for a very short period before being seconded to training.

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