Anyone who's known me for a while knows that I have always had a strong interest in vintage WW2 aircraft and building scale models of them.
There are a few very good reasons for my inherent interest in such aircraft:
1) I grew up just right next door to Hamilton Airport and it's world famous 'Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum'
-the museum houses Canada's largest collection of restored and flying vintage aircraft, including one of 2 flying Avro Lancaster's left in the world!
2) My father was a passionate scale modeler and introduced me to the hobby with my first model Spitfire when I was a young boy.
3) I would come to learn several of the heroic stories of the brave young men and women who built and flew in them including members from our family who never came home...
As a young boy I would routinely ride my bicycle over to the Museum to see various projects they were restoring and purchase new scale models from their gift shop.
I must have built about 50 or so aircraft models as a kid, all of which I donated and/or don't have anymore.
However I do still have these pics of some of the 1/48 scale models I built throughout my 20's:
L-R; Fairy Swordfish, Fairy Firefly, Bristol Beaufighter, Spitfire Mk IV.
My biggest model build during my 20's was building this 1/48 scale Lancaster model:
At the time I could only find the Dambuster/Grand Slam version of the kit, so I had to modify some details to be the standard configuration with a bomb bay.
I lettered the aircraft to be KMZ DV202 of 44 Squadron; the aircraft that my relative Reg Harding and his crew were lost in during a raid on Peenemunde Germany in 1943.
Their crashed Lancaster has since been identified there in a shallow lake, and I actually went to go find it for myself back in 2004!
Just this year a new book about their story was released called 'The Lost Graves of Peenemunde':
Several months ago as the Global Pandemic was causing us all to stay home and re-energize our hobbies, I decided to get back into building some model Aircraft.
It had been about 10yrs since my last aircraft build and I started with this neat little 1/72 scale diorama scene of a Hawker Typhoon being re-fueled and prepared for flight:
After the enjoyment of building the Typhoon diorama I was inspired to build my old childhood favourite, a 1/72 Avro Lancaster...
I recall building about 3 of these kits as a kid, and since then the Airfix kit has been greatly improved in it's detail!
I built and lettered this model to represent 'VERA' KB726 - the Lancaster that lived next door to me growing up in Hamilton -
As the story goes, the original 'VERA' was flown by an all Canadian crew until it was shot down on a mission over France. As the aircraft was going down in flames, the crew ordered to bail out, the Mid upper gunner Andrew Mynarski heroically tried to save the trapped rear gunner and sadly lost his own life in the process. The tail gunner miraculously lived to tell the story and Mynarski was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valiant efforts.
Then just a few months ago I found this limited edition kit of Britain's top scoring Ace Douglas Bader's beautiful Spitfire MkII - in 1/32 scale - a much larger scale than I'm used to building in!
The larger scale also gives opportunity for much more detail, so I added an etched brass cockpit detail set to improve the standard kit detail.
With the added detail and enjoyment I got out of building the 1/32 scale Spitfire, I started looking at other kit options in the larger scale,..
Amazingly I discovered this new 1/32 Lancaster had just been released this year by HK Models; it includes a fully detailed interior, and engines, and even comes with the option of a see-through fuselage!
I immediately fell in love with the idea of someday being able to afford this new big scale Lanc...
- I even found an electronics kit that you can add to the model that gives it full sound, lighting, and tiny motors for the 4 propellers. At the push of a button, you can recreate a fully realistic engine start up sequence!
With that in mind, yesterday my wife and I visited our local Aviation Museum here in Victoria BC.
A few yrs ago they were donated a surviving Lancaster that used to sit on a pedestal in Toronto.
They've begun a complete restoration on it and while I was there I picked up an application form to join their restoration crew!
Today on December 21/2020, as the first snow fall of the year comes down outside, I awoke to my 41st Birthday and my beautiful and amazing wife Cat has announced that she's ordered me the 1/32 Lanc for my Birthday present!!
I couldn't be happier! I'm reminded of my favourite Christmas as a young boy when I got my first model Lancaster -
Thanks again Cat - I can't wait to build it!
I will keep you all posted on the build when I get around to building it!
Until next time -