To Catch a Fly…?

You will remember, at least you will had you read the entry on the Parnall Plover, that in the 1920s a replacement was being sought for the Nieuport Nightjar fighter board His Majesty’s aircraft carriers under Air Ministry Specification 6/22. Two types were given a shot at the job, the Plover and the Fairey Flycatcher. The Flycatcher won the competition by being a bit easier to handle both in the air and on ship.

The Flycatcher went on to serve from 1923 to 1934, although many were replaced by Hawker Nimrods and Ospreys before that. Some 192 aircraft were produced. Most particularly, the type was used by both 402 and 404 (Fleet Fighter) Flights, the amalgamation of which resulted in 800 Naval Air Squadron in April 1933.

So, there being no polystyrene kit of the Flycatcher in 1/72 available, I got hold of a couple of resin kits from Karaya, a Polish company that also does the Choroszy Modelbud kits such as the Parnall Plover. The two versions differ mainly in that the early version sometimes had a spinner over the propeller and the late version had a collective exhaust ring leading to two exhaust pipes.

As usual for a resin kit, the bits come as a loose collection of stuff with some mounted on supports and others just moulded. Everything comes with plenty of flash but this is easy enough to get rid of most of the time.

So, after cleaning all the bits with detergent and a quick spray of primer, we set off. The interior is basic but decent enough, although I found the setting of the cockpit floor a bit tricky. But I got it all glued together, then started to get things marked up. The undercarriage doesn’t have a well-defined slot for the legs, neither do the struts.

But a bit of attention with a hand drill sorts this out. I also added drilled holes for the cables connecting the upper and lower ailerons. The rigging of this will be a challenge, but until then…

Getting on with the fuselage seemed a good idea as it would be much trickier to do with the wings attached. A bit more work adds the engine and exhausts, the gun sight and the guns on this late model aircraft. The tailplane is added as well…

There are plenty of little bits of rigging to apply as well. The cables to the elevators and rudder are exposed at this point.

The biplane rig was very valuable in holding the upper wing in place for the struts, followed son after by the cross-rigging. Note that the cabane struts and their rigging is already in place.

Last to be attached were the cables linking the elevators. The brass wire was bent forward to be glued to the top of the actuator horns, then forward to the entrance points on the wings.

So, that is that. I did two of them, one for 402 (Fleet Fighter) Flight and the other for 404 Flt.

So, apart from the Nieuport Nightjar, of which there is only a vac form kit available and I’m not yet brave enough to take that on, the first biplanes in the early DNA of 800NAS have been done. Next a return to heavy metal and even more messing about with resin…

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