Intermission – Trumpeter Vickers Wellington Mk. III VS Airfix vintage Vickers Wellington Mk. III

My Forgotten Hobby is fast becoming a sitcom…with my Spitfire Mk Vb still on hold with “unhinged” canopies.

Last week I was contacted by someone who wanted me to build two Airfix Vickers Wellington Mk IIIs he had bought a few years back. One would be for him and one for me.

Nice box art!

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I told him I did not not see any problem except that these two model kits were vintage kits and although they could be quickly built they were lacking details.

So I went shopping around on Amazon.ca…

There was only one Trumpeter Wellington Mk. III left on Amazon.ca.

And only one Mk. X on Amazon.com.

Looking for information about them, I found both model kits are almost the same except for a few extra parts to build the other one.

I had always wanted to buy Trumpeter 1/48 scale version of the Wellington B III. The Wellington B III was flown by RCAF 425 Squadron at Dishforth in 1942 and the squadron flew the Wellington Mk X at Kairouan in Tunisia.

There was one Trumpeter 1/48 scale Wellington Mk III available on Amazon.com but it was too costly being almost four times the asking price for the Trumpeter 1/72 version of the Mk. III. So with the fear of passing up a great deal, I had decided to follow Jeff’s advice and buy the 1/72 scale version although that scale is not my favorite scale.

This model kit will be built instead and the two vintage kits later… 

One will be build as RCAF 425 Alouette squadron Wellington Mk III call sign KW-E and the other as a Mk X serial number HE268, call sign KW-K.

There is so much history behind RCAF 425 Alouette squadron. You just have to Google 425 Alouette squadron on the Internet, and you will probably stumbled on what I have been writing on that squadron since 2010.

Writing about unsung heroes is what I like to do best even more than building model airplanes. Unsung heroes like Jacques Morin who had never talked to strangers before about his service in WW II before I met him in 2011.

 

Intermission – Remembering Flight Lieutenant Gonay

I am still figuring how to attach the canopies on the Spitfire. I had seen better fitting canopies  before since 1958. I had glued the rear section but in doing so I had managed to smudge the clear part. 

I have decided to take it off and start procrastinating.

While procrastinating I did a little more research on RAF 238 Squadron, I had found this tribute about a Belgian pilot on this Website.

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THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN LONDON MONUMENT

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” The Airmen’s Stories –

P/O H A C Gonay

Henri Alphonse Clement Gonay was born on 21st July 1913 at Theux and joined the Belgian Air Force in November 1931. He was promoted to Corporal on 24th May 1933 and posted to the 2nd Regiment de Chasse at Schaffen (Diest), equipped with the Fairey Firefly (pictured below). An exceptional pilot, he was transferred as instructor to the Flying School at Wevelghem in November 1938.

Gonay was transferred as Adjutant to the 3rd Escadrille at Deurne (Antwerp) when the Germans invaded Belgium. His unit left the country three days later and went to Tours (France) and later on to Bordeaux. After the capitulation of France Gonay and his colleagues Phillipart, Dieu and Buchin deserted and boarded the Dutch ship Queen Emma at Bayonne. It sailed for England and they arrived at Plymouth on 23rd June 1940.Gonay was commissioned in the RAFVR as a Pilot Officer on 12th July and went to 5 OTU, Aston Down to convert to Blenheims. He would be known by the nickname Moustique (Mosquito) during his RAF service.Gonay joined 235 Squadron on 5th August. He shared in destroying a He59 off Cherbourg on 8th October. He was posted away on the 23rd to instruct at the French-Belgian Flying School at Odiham. On 23rd June 1941 Gonay was posted to 58 OTU to convert to Spitfires.Promoted to Flying Officer, his next postings were 123 Squadron at Drem followed by 64 Squadron and then 131 Squadron at Atcham on 28th September where he became commander of ‘B’ Flight, this was composed entirely of Belgian pilots.

131 Squadron Spitfire NX-?

131 Squadron Spitfire MK Vbs

By then he was an Acting Flight Lieutenant.He was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Belgium ) (gazetted 21st July 1941).On 14th October 131’s commanding officer, Squadron Leader JM Thompson, moved with twelve Belgian pilots, Gonay amongst them, to RAF Valley. There they formed the first completely Belgian fighter squadron, 350 Squadron.Gonay next went to 232 Squadron at Atcham on 17th April 1942 and was awarded the Croix de Guerre (France) for the Dieppe operation on 19th August. He was posted to command 129 Squadron on 31st August as a Squadron Leader and led it until September 1943. After a course at the Central Gunnery School he converted onto Hawker Typhoons and took command of 263 Squadron on 24th February 1944 at Beaulieu.On 14th June 1944, whilst leading a formation of 8 Typhoons, his plane was hit by flak whilst attacking 2 armed coastal vessels off Jersey. Gonay was killed trying to force land on the north western part of the island. A house was destroyed in the ensuing fire, but the occupants, realising the approaching danger, escaped.He was buried in the St Helier War Cemetery. His remains were exhumed and reburied in the Brussels-Evere Military Cemetery (below) after the war.

Gonay’s award of the DFC was gazetted on 2nd July 1944, the citation stating that he had completed 138 operational sorties.Photos and additional research courtesy of Andre Bar at www.bamfbamrs.be/RAF/index.htm

In 2014 a previously unnamed road in the Jersey parish of St Ouen, close to the crash site, was named Rue Henri Gonay after a campaign by local resident, Bernie Morel.

Present at the ceremony were Gonay’s daughter and grandson, the latter wearing his grandfather’s wedding ring. This had been found at the scene of the crash in 1944 and hidden from the German occupiers until it could be returned to the family after the war.Photograph courtesy of Bernie Morel via Geoff Simpson.

Intermission – RAF 232 Squadron

My Forgotten Hobby III is much more than a just forgotten hobby. It’s more than building model airplanes since the 1960s. My Forgotten Hobby has been about a learning experience and sometimes about preserving the past of unknown heroes who gave so much.

It is hard to decide how I will finish my Spitfire Mk Vb…

Buzz Beurling’s Spitfire?

 

While researching how to paint my Airfix Spitfire Mk Vb I stumbled upon this image taken on the IWM Website.

This is the description they give.

Supermarine Spitfire Mark VC, ER557 ‘EF-D’ “Mustapha”, of No. 232 Squadron RAF awaits the signal to start up in its dispersal at Tingley, Algeria. It formed part of the fighter escort for a force of North American B-25s of the 12th Bombardment Group Detachment USAAF, one of which can be seen taking off at right.

The caption says Spitfire Mk Vc, but while researching more I think RAF 232 squadron was not flying Spitfire Mk Vcs but Spitfire Mk Vbs. 

As I was trying to find out the difference between a Spitfire Mk Vb and a Spitfire Mk Vc just to be sure I found this information. The Spitfire Mk Vc had the “c” wing which could carry four 20mm cannons. However most of the time the pilots would prefer having only two 20mm cannons instead of four.

So IWM is probably right unless I prove them wrong…

I know this won’t matter because I won’t modify what I am building right now. I will stay with the two 20mm cannons.

RAF 232 Squadron was somewhat special lately especially since I had this group photo shared Vicki Sorensen. Vicki’s father was Frank Sorensen.

232 Squadron - Tingley, Algeria, North Africa, early 1943 MOD

The group photo was taken at Tingley, Algeria in early 1943. It was shared by Arthur Sherwin, last row, second from the right. This photo is most interesting when we look at some Frank Sorensen’s log book pages.

We clearly see he was only flying on Spitfire Mk Vbs not Spitfire Mk Vcs. 

Frank Sorensen is the second pilot on the left in the back.

232 Squadron - Tingley, Algeria, North Africa, early 1943 MOD

I will probably build my Spitfire Mk Vb as one of the Spitfires he flew.

Progress report – High expectations

I had high expectations when I started building Airfix Spitfire Mk Vb especially since I had written so much about Spitfire pilots who had flown that version of Spitfires.

New kit, state-of-the art… in 2018.

The troubles I had was mostly with understanding the instructions. First with the cockpit assembly, then with how to glue it properly which left me checking and double checking where parts should go.

Having built model kits since the 1960s I had high expectations. The Spitfire is now almost complete except for the canopies. I have had a hard time to fit them properly. The kit has several canopies since Airfix like ICM will use this model kit for different versions.

You can see the result here as I had to file the part behind the pilot seat so I could glue the rear canopy.

 

Even by reading the instructions and dry fitting the belly tank several times I managed to glue it off center!

This is not to mentioned how I glued one tire the wrong way, the flat side up!

Live and learn…

The landing gear seems to be solidly glued and having the right stance. It does not show here, but you can trust me.

The next step will be adding a primer coat, then painting it to represent a RAF 232 Squadron Spitfire Mk Vb like this one.

It will be kind of a tribute to these Spitfire pilots posing for posterity on a group photo at Tingley, Tunisia circa early 1943.

Some of them never came back from the war.

To be continued…

Progress report – When a little progress is enough progress…

I am now reconciled with Airfix Spitfire Mk Vb and I am spending some fun time.

I am just a little bit more cautious with fitting some parts.

Dry fitting has become an obsession and I did a lot of fitting which explains why little progress has been made. Most of the time the fitting has been okay and I am sure the final result will prove satisfactory.

I am using sushi leftover trays to store small parts. This way I don’t lose any.

The main landing gear sub-assembly has been done, but it won’t be added until the rest of the plane has been assembled.