So, we move from elementary trainer with the Miles Magister on to the front line as it was in 1946 and the Supermarine Seafire XV.
Just after the end of the war, 800NAS found itself at RNAS Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, equipped with the awesome Grumman Hellcat II. The squadron then came home, reformed with new aircraft and joined HMS Triumph in the Mediterranean Fleet. The aircraft issued was the Mark XV Seafire. The first batch had an A-frame arrester hook under the fuselage, but later models had a ‘stinger’ style hook at the base of the tail fin. Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC HonFRAeS RN, to my mind the finest pilot ever to come from our shores, much preferred the stinger type as being easier to nail the landing. However, it did lead to more stress at the rear of the fuselage, many FR.47 Seafires were written off due to buckling under the tail.
Anyway, the first of the ‘stingers’ was the late Mk.XV, and this is what I built next.
The kit is from Sword, maker of the Mark XVII Seafires already done. Stupidly I delayed the decision to buy this from Kingkit, as they had the sword early Mk.XV available second hand as well for a while. We all know what happens to he who hesitates, and all that…
So, a single sprue of plastic, some resin parts for the cannon barrels and exhausts and a clear canopy.
The usual gripes about Sword kits – nothing is labelled on the sprue so it is best to go and number everything yourself. There are no alignment pegs, so keeping everything in place while the glue sets up can be an issue. The multiple parts used to build the engine covers are a pain in the backside and appear to serve no purpose. But, apart from that, the parts are clean enough apart from large injector posts that need chiselling away.
I gave it the markings the squadron used on a cruise east of Suez in late 1946, the Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky type S that was to be the mainstay of the FAA until the 1960s. The roundels are SEAC type (South-East Asia Command) which even after the end of hostilities didn’t include the red circle of Japan. The good thing about the Sword kits I have done so far is that the panel lines are etched nicely, so they are easy to highlight with a bit of weathering and rust. I also sprayed on a bit of brown exhaust soot.
The squadron returned to the Mediterranean station, were issued Type XVII Seafires, then ended up going to the Far East to Malaya and Korea with the FR.47.
So, getting really close to the end of the project. Next up is a rarity – a kit I have been looking out for on the second hand market for a while but have only now got one at a sensible price. Bring on the roar of twin Rolls-Royce Avons…