Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Airfix Westland Whirlwind stage 1 and 2

I am building this as part of the Britmodeller group build.

The rules are that you can only use what you get in the Airfix starter kit plus a few basic tools. I haven't finished a model plane kit for about ten years and that was a 1/48 one (a Zero) but I did start a 1/48 Spitfire before Christmas, much encouraged by meeting James May (not to mention Arthur Ward) and talking about Airfix kits for a while.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box, therefore was how small the blooming thing was! Only 34 parts but most of them seem to be for the undercarriage. I used to hate making undercarriages and always made my planes with the wheels up if possible and mounted them on Airfix's lovely clear stands (they seem to have stopped doing those for some reason).

So on to sections 1 and 2 of the instructions: a very basic cockpit build and then inserting it into the two halves of the fuselage.

I only have six paints to work with (and they are acrylics... ugh!) so doing any shading on the pilot figure was tricky.

I used the duck egg blue to lighten the flight suit and do the shirt collar but the real challenge was his face. I had two choices: paint his face yellow so that he looks like one of the Simpsons or go for a green-grey look so he looks like a zombie. I went for the zombie look and hope he doesn't look too bad when he is behind the canopy.
Thanks to Sue the postie for some extra rubber bands when I needed them!

After I had done the pilot (no undercoating is allowed so the paint kept rubbing off) I glued the two halves of the fuselage together. These went together really well and after the glue had dried I carefully scraped the join with a modelling knife and got a pretty good seam.

So far I have discovered the following: I reallly hate acrylics! You mix some up and its dry before you can get in on! You also have to thin it with water or its like painting with fromage frais. Then, of course, you need lots of coats. Why its so popular for painting figures is beyond me. I suspect its because people use ready made colours for shading out the pot whereas I mix all of mine on a paper palette. The brushes in the starter kit aren't too bad but I miss my Windsor & Newton No 7 sables. The Airfix polystyrene cement (the smell is nostalgic: I started using superglue on plastic kits years ago) is runnier than the Revell stuff I bought for my Wargames Factory Zulus.

Well that's the easy bit (or at least the familiar bit) done. Next step is to make the propellors and wings.


  1. excellent start almost finished painting the white on the underside of the Seahawkm Acrylics are ok with a proper primer it's just these starter acrylics!!

  2. A cracking start to a worthy effort. I can remember the smell of that glue! (Perhaps we inhaled too much as we went along in our youth to care about the end resulting aeroplane!). Chemically Enhanced Nostalgia!


  3. P.S. I see even your Postie is a girl!

    Jealous of Essex