Osprey rigged for action

OK, so I decided to go for a biplane…


The Hawker Osprey dates from the birth of 800NAS. The Osprey Mk.I was taken into service in November 1932 in Nos. 404 and 409 Flights, and in the changes of 1933 No.404 Flt amalgamated with No.402 Flt (with Hawker Nimrods) to form 800 Naval Air Squadron.


The kit is from A Model, as the only one available really. They also do a Mk.IV Osprey which I will get hold of at some point. There are five sprue of components, a small clear plastic sheet and some decals. The markings supplied are for 801 Squadron (I think), anyway, I need to do my own markings. Now, A Model moulds are distinctly old. The plastic they use is of poor grade and there is tons of flash around the components.

In general, all the fitting lines are quite poor and there is considerable filling to do to get components to match up. However, the mouldings are detailed enough to see where rigging lines would have gone through the fuselage to the rudder and elevator, so I have used 0.3mm brass wire for this.

Then I decided to do most of the painting as I went along. With the fuselage put together, I masked off the blue squadron stripe and sprayed with RAF insignia blue. One dried and hit with a little varnish, I put the mask over the stripe so I could paint the rest of the aircraft later.


Once I had the lower wings installed, I sprayed the engine cowling with aluminium and the rest of the fuselage with silver with 1 parts in 8 white added. I think this gives a nice ‘silver dope’ look. Then I finished the rest of the fuselage.


The rudder was painted separately, with the red white and blue stripes sprayed. looks pretty sharp, I think. More wire bracing added too.


The inter-plane struts are a bit of a problem in terms of assembly. I remember from a recent Airfix Swordfish that they had an ingenious way of fitting them. Not so A Model. So I used a couple of pots of weathering powder to support them on the lower wing while the glue set up enough for me to fit the upper wing (pre-painted).


Problem is, the struts actually lean outward, so the thing to do is wait for the glue to start welding but before setting. Then you can line up the struts with the holes in the upper wing and use various things to hold it in place while the glue sets up. Once dried, the struts between fuselage and upper wing go on. This really sets the wing in place and allows ups to turn to the small matter of the rigging.


For each bit, I cut the wire to approximate length, offer it ups to check the fit, trim as needed then fix with a tiny blob of PVA glue. This has the benefit of being transparent when set and it shrinks back quite a lot too. There are bracing wires on the undercarriage too.

One thing that is a bit of a pain is the windshield. This has to be cut out of a sheet of acetate – a tiny thing (number 1 in the picture) that also needs to be scored where the frame would be. This then has to be fitted, the central bit with PVA then the two sides are fixed with a dab of superglue. Then we paint the rigging. I used a grey acrylic primer brushed onto the brass wires, then a coat of black. Also some bits of soot and oil staining.


In all, I am very pleased with the result. A Hawker Osprey of 800NAS on HMS Courageous in 1934. I’m actually looking forward to the Osprey IV kit whenever I get it as I have learned a lot of lessons in this build.

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