Martlet – second build since return
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 Wildcat 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 Tamiya Wildcat – which I know is not wholly accurate having looked at photographs from the time.
The Martlet 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!
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.