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1/72 Omani Hawker Hunter F.73A

1/72 Omani Hawker Hunter F.73A $4.25

1/72 Hawker Hunter F.73A 1/72 Hawker Hunter F.73A

This aircraft started its life as Hunter F.6 XG237 for Royal Air Force and made its first flight on November 5, 1956. After staying in storage at 5MU and operations with 66 Sqn it was converted to FGA.9 standard and served with 43 Sqn. In January 1968 it was bought back by Hawker Siddeley, given civil registration G-9-268 and than converted to Mk.73A standard. This was the export modification for Jordan, aircraft was delivered there July 22, 1969, well past the Six-Day War. After uneventual service aircraft, registered as 828,become part of the gift, presented by Jordanian King Hussein to his friend Sultan Qaboos of Oman in 1975. The gift was royal indeed - 31 Hunter with complete support equipment and spares. This greatly enhanced strike abilities of Sultan’s Air Force, previously equipped only with BAC 167 Strikemasters -so greatly that it was decided to operate only 16 Hunters and use others as source of spares and as airfield decoys. 828 was one of lucky 16 destined to operate under the same serial with 6 Sqn from newly-built base at Thumrait, yet it seems that there never were more than 12 Hunters in active service.

It's unknown if 828 was used in Dhofar War in 1975 among other ex-Jordanian Hunters, but even if was, it was painted differently. This decal represents aircraft as in November of 1979, when it was photographed by Iain A.Mackay at Muscat air base wearing unique scallop-edged two-tone camouflage.

The exact colors are unknown, it is often stated that these were Extra Dark Sea Grey BS381C:640 and Dark Sea Grey BS381C: 638 but also it could have been some local mix.

After this photo was taken, 828 served for another almost nine years, when, after engine flameout it crashed besides runway at Thumrait August 25, 1988. Pilot, Mui. Tay. Abdul Aziz al-Baluchi successfully ejected and become first Omani national to do so. By the way, Omani Hunters were serviced by British technicians and flown mostly by British ‘exchange’ or contract pilots, Omani started to flew them only in late 1980s.

From the modelling point of view mid-life Hunter Mk.73A is almost identical to a “classic” FGA.9, there is minor difference in placement of antennae and so on. So, any FGA.9 kit will do. Late Mk.73 of the 1980s were updated with chafftflare launchers, LORAN antenna and additional wing pylons with launchers for Sidewinder missiles, but, alas, even if you are ready for some scratchbuilding, national insignias on these aircraft (including 828) were different and this decal is of no use. Yet even without these later additions 828 in its sea livery looks great and, yes, different. Nice choice for extensive weathering and color effects exercise or just simple blitz-bau with minimum masking, how do you think? Anyway, happy modelling!

1/72 Lithuanian Fokker D.VII

1/72 Lithuanian Fokker D.VII $4.25

1/72 1/72 Fokker D.VII 1/72 1/72 Fokker D.VII

This Fokker D.VII was a late Fokker-built machine, one of several secretly purchased by Lithuania after the Great War. For some time it was stored at Military Aviation Workshop in Kaunas and was returned to flying condition only by fall of 1920. Aircraft was equipped with BMW Illa engine driving Axial airscrew and most probably was completed using parts of several aircraft. So its German serial is unknown, in Lithuanian service aircraft was given number 2 and completely new paint job.

Most of the aircraft reportedly was painted in dark ochre, a brownish color that could not be matched to any paint standard. Fin and rudder were white, also there were wide white bands on upper surface of upper wing and lower surfaces of the lower wing. It was said that these bands were 2 meters wide, but it seems that their width was determined by ribs pitch, and, if on the lower wing band was 7 ribs wide and indeed close to 2 m, on the upper, unlike all previous reconstructions, it seems 9 ribs wide. Moreover, all upper surfaces of ailerons were painted white. Radiator was unpainted, upper engine cowling panels were removed. Undercarriage legs were black, as well as wing struts.

No.2 was first flown on 20.09.1920, on 02.10.1920 Lt. Jurgis Dobkevicius (former Imperial Russian aviation technician and future aircraft designer) flew from Kaunas to Vilnius on it, returning to Kaunas the next day. Four days later No.2 and Dobkevicius were on their first combat mission to intercept two Polish aircraft trying to bomb Kaunas. Engagement ended with nothing: Poles were in retreat even before Lithuanian Fokker could reach them, Dobkevicius did not get a kill and bombs Poles had dropped did not explode.

Service life of No.2 was quite short: after forced landing in 1921 it was damaged and never repaired.

Placement of decals is pretty straightforward, and their positioning is clearly seen on pictures. Really you need only red shields of insignias, but if you are not fully satisfied with them you could apply white Vytas crosses atop.

It is not known how the side number looked like on the left side of the fuselage and even if there was any. On some photos of the N°2 side number is not seen at all.

1/72 Messerschmitt Me-163S testing in USSR

1/72 Messerschmitt Me-163S testing in USSR $4.25

1/72 Messerschmitt Me-163S testing in USSR 1/72 Messerschmitt Me-163S testing in USSR

Although two-seat training gllider Me-163 S was ordered for serial production, it is unclear how many aircraft was built. Soviet troops captured at least one aircraft - some say it was the only prototype, and for sure it is the only Me-163S we have any photos of, all taken in USSR showing aircraft in Soviet markings.

Russians were highly interested in Comet, mainly from the aerodynamic point of view and were eager to see how high-speed tailless swept-wing aircraft behaves in the air. Powered flights were considered but abandoned - some say due to lack of special fuel, some - because test pilots were reluctant to risk their lives in this Wunderwaffe. So for the tests Russians chose Me-163S glider, that mostly had the same aerodynamics as the single-seater and plenty of room for test equipment in the aft cockpit.

Russians gave the aircraft number 94 and completely new paint job, but, if underside color is undoubtly Russian Light Blue AMT-7, upper surfaces color is a mystery. Most often, by the analogy with pre-war Soviet aircraft, it is considered to be Green AMT-4, but in 1944-45 there was almost no production of this paint. Moreover, in 1945 new fighters, like La-7 or Yak-3, started to leave factories with upper surfaces painted in one dark color, but, according to documents, it was not Green, but Dark Grey AMT-12. So, more probably that some test aircraft, like BI-6 and this Me-163S, were similarly painted, as it shown on pictures here. But, if you unconvinced by this, Russian Green AMT-7 is your choice.

Me-163S, called “Karas” (crucian carp) by Russians, first was tested at TsAGI wind tunnel, than in flight at Flight Research Institute at Ramenskoye by test pilot Mark Gallaj. At this stage small FRI logo was added on the fin of the aircraft, later test equipment, including fourlegged probe mast between canopies was installed. It is unclear if Russians used Scheuch Schlepper, but most probably they did. Take-off was under the tow by the Tu-2 bomber, on reaching 6000 m Gallaj disconnected Me-163S, dived to reach maximum speed and only than test program started. German aircraft proved to be very difficult to handle, especially at landing. In one of the flights Gallaj tried aircraft with slightly shifted CG that end in disaster - aircraft crashed, pilot was taken to hospital with concussion and some spine injury. This was the end of Number 94.

The kit recommended is Academy one, as it has alternative parts for single and two-seat aircraft and even Schlepper.

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