Profile Photo
Paul Barber
41 articles

Martlet – second build since return

December 8, 2016 · in Aviation · · 17 · 2K

Here is my second attempt since returning to the hobby after too many years. I have smiled on a daily basis watching all of the Hellcats and now a or 6 going up. And here's my novice attempt purely through coincidence. I recently read 'Wings on my Sleeve' by Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown (brilliant) and decided to build something I had never tried in my younger days. His love of, and work in Martlets inspired me to try my hand. I got hold of some Aero Master decals for Martlets and Wildcats and chose an aircraft from those depicted. I used a Wildcat - which I know is not wholly accurate having looked at photographs from the time.

The I selected was an aircraft based in the Orkneys in far Northern Scotland at RAF Skeabrae (RNAS Skeabrae). The airfield opened in August 1940 as a Royal Navy airfield. 804Sqn Gloster Gladiators and Grumman Martlets arrived at the airfield in October of that year. One of their Martlets shot down a Ju-88 on Christmas Day 1940, and the squadron claimed it as the first 'kill' of a British pilot in an American aircraft of the war and the first ever German victim for the Grumman Wildcat.

In terms of accuracy the underside was required to display the colour scheme of a land based RAF aircraft, and this plane had kept the sky blue underside and different coloured undersides to wings.The 'sky' band was also added at some point - it is probable that I should have painted it. I am not yet confident enough to start cutting up the fuselage to make the cowl perfect and the exhausts could have been remodelled but were pointing downwards so I left them alone. I am led to believe that I could have re-sculpted the panels on the wing and replaced rivets - but again that is for another time and confidence level - I wanted to build a model that gave me a feel for the planes that Brown loved, with a nod to the history of the arrival of Martlets in the UK!

Finally, apologies for the mid-build photos given the plethora of Hellcats and Martlets arriving on here - they are added so that anyone kind enough to give me some constructive comments can!

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. I am not sufficiently to comment on any inaccuracies there may be, but it certainly looks good from here.

  2. Whoops, I left out the word knowledgeable after sufficiently!

  3. Good-lookin' build, Paul..."accurate" or not - Tamiya rules!

  4. Thank you George. Thanks Craig - I smiled when I saw yours - love the last one especially - they are all really well done but that one stands out for me!

  5. Thanks for sharing this with us. You have done a magnificent job with it. I really like it.

  6. Paul, great choice of markings, Captain Brown is a hero of mine. Who but a fighter pilot could get in hack for flying past the Clipper inverted? The Lords of the Admiralty held up his promotion for that episode. Bad form! Lacking in seriousness. My kind of guy!

  7. Paul, Very nice, Martlet, and good choice using the Tamiya kit. I argue that most of us could care less about the rivet counters, so congratulations on a very nice looking model...Well done !

  8. The Tamiya Wildcat unmodified is a good Martlet II, for future reference. What you went for is a Martlet I, originally ordered by the French and about as unlike any other Martlet or Wildcat as you can get. With some modification, a Hobby Boss F4F-3 is a good jumping off point for that one.

    Nice work on the paint and weathering.

  9. A very nice Martlet, looks great !

  10. Beautiful work and article. Thank you Paul.

  11. Thanks again to all for the very kind comments - this is a wonderfully welcoming place! Bernard, I think the balance in the book is really well thought out - crashing almost Comically in front of Churchill is tempered by the parts on Belsen and interviewing the camp leaders - what a life he lived! Tom, again thank you for the steer towards the F4F-3. I have some decals left and have read little ( so it may be something I return too, as it doesn't seem to need to much modification. That Hobby boss kit is not too expensive here in Australia (I am an Ex-pat Brit just to clarify), so I am tempted!

  12. For someone who has just returned to modeling after many years, I would say great job on the Marlet.

  13. Well done Paul very nice build - looks like you are certainly on the right track!

  14. Paul - excellent build! Great detail and weathering - has a nice well-worn look to it.

  15. Excellent work. the cockpit and engine detail is fantastic.

  16. The one thing neat about the Tamiya Wildcat kit are the rivets which are a tad over scale but, represent the real A/C. There not dimples and they correspond to the real thing. Add some strong painting and weathering and the kit can be inspirational. Two thumbs up Paul.

  17. Great build with the Martlet Paul. And nice to have some history written about this subject and your interest in the subject as well. Thank you for mentioning the website about the carrier aircraft, very interesting indeed.

Leave a Reply