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david leigh-smith
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RAF Museum, Hendon, London (part two)

July 28, 2017 · in Aviation · · 25 Comments

Friday started great (Rob, your briefing makes my day) and just got better. I did some modeling, went to see 'Dunkirk' with my son, found that I really underpaid for my Adolf Galland painting (and genuine signature), pre-ordered a new Tamiya 1/20 Tyrrell P34 (with photo etch), ordered my first Wingnut Wings model (how loaded is Peter Jackson that he can start up a first class modeling business for fun?).

And now I have a glass of scotch and get to share the rest of my day yesterday at the RAF museum. Doesn't. Get. Any. Better.

The museum is currently undergoing a refit and their iconic 'Battle of Britain' hall is closed at the moment. If anyone is considering travelling to visit Hendon, please do check that this amazing part of the museum is reopen as it has truly spectacular aircraft, including an original Ju 87, He111, a really beautiful Dora, and many other genuine airplanes.

First up is one of my childhood favourites, the Kittyhawk - minus all the glue prints.

I'm sorry but I can't resist Shakespeare. "Hell is empty and all the devils are here"...the Tempest.

Nor can I resist a double entendre... a pair of Jugs.

An unusual mark of what I still think is one of the most beautiful airplanes made...

One of the things I love about this museum is how they are always looking for the less glamorous subjects to try and preserve the wider experiences of flight.


And some I missed from yesterday's post featuring WW1 aircraft...

I know this is a modelers' favourite though I don't think I've ever built one. It seems to me to look like a middleweight boxer, pugnacious and ready to fight.

When I was in my late teens I spent a lot of time with my cousin, Joe. He looked like Tom Cruise and in every bar we went girls only knew me as 'Joe's friend' - I know how the Hurricane feels.

And here's Joe...

Into the jet age...

Another beautiful airplane that I haven't gotten around to building is the Vampire, just gorgeous lines and in that natural metal she looks like a dream.

I'd know those legs anywhere...

Sorry for posting so many photos, but this place is a real 'kid in a candy store' scenario. And in August I'll be at the Tank museum in Devon...

52 additional images. Click to enlarge.

25 responses

  1. Excuse me while I now turn green with envy. Thank you for sharing your pics with us, David.

    • I'm very lucky having a great facility like this on my doorstep and often use it as a bolthole when I'm a bit stressed. Everyone could do with a little place of sanctuary at times.

  2. To quote Tony Blackburn's new Sounds of the Sixties programme on BBC Radio 2 "it's a colossal collection!". Thanks again, David, for sharing your day out with us.

  3. I remember how "muscular" the Beaufighter looked eyeball to eyeball.

    • I think there's a strand of that DNA running through some planes. The Beaufighter, the Butcher Bird, Thunderbolt, etc. Bred for function rather than form. Everyone has their preference whether it's Ali/Tyson, Munro/Hepburn or Stuka/Spitfire.
      Maybe I shouldn't post so early in the morning.

  4. What other way could they display that old Harrier ,brilliant ,it looks like a giant Airfix kit !
    Cheers for taking the time out to share these Dave.

  5. Neil, it's a great pose, isn't it? Really catches the Harrier.

  6. Great pics David, looks like you really enjoyed the day. Now how old was that Scotch you were drinking? Not one of my favorite drinks but those boys brought their distilling skills to Kentucky to produce some mighty fine Bourbon.

  7. Well, Tom. Last night it was 10 year old Glenmorangie - but I have a bottle of Old Forester bourbon for when I'm in the mood for a sippin' whiskey and I have to say it's pure Kentucky heaven.

  8. Profile Photo
    said on July 29, 2017

    Great to see these David. Thanks for posting. If I had to pick one it would be the beaufighter.

  9. Great Photos, great museum, love the Bulldog. How about some Geo. Dickel Tennessee sour mash whiskey?

  10. Ah, sour mash...I'll hunt down some George Dickel and report back. About $60 a bottle here, Robert!

  11. David, thanks for sharing, all good stuff. Need to put this place on my list (I'll have to keep that from the wife !). I'm a big WW2 aircraft fan, but like Robert Royes mentioned, theirs something about that bulldog !

  12. Great photo presentation(s) David! I really look forward to your visit to the Tank & Armour Museum.
    I've always been a Beaufighter fan, & this one looks great as are your photos of it & the other displays. I'd love to see photos from the Battle of Britain display, too.
    Thanks for sharing, David!

    • Hi Jeffry. The tank museum is just as impressive and it's always quiet, which is great for getting up close (and often inside) to the beasts.
      As soon as the Battle of Britain Hall opens I'll post photos; it ought to be open by the end of this year as it's being renovated for the RAF centenary in 2018.

  13. Thanks David for sharing part 2 of your photocollection. Impressive collection! The Beaufighter is great, and still on my "to build" list. Do like the presentation of the Harrier as well. I'll just be patient and might combine my visit with some events in combination with the RAF centenary in 2018.

  14. Ferry, I'd definitely advise waiting a bit until the whole museum is open. It's a full day to go around - and Hannants, a massively well stocked model shop, is just metres away!

  15. What an amazing collection ! It's hard for me to pick a favorite... I really enjoyed the WW1 photos you posted earlier. Now I'm really looking forward to seeing your photos from the tank museum. If you could get some nice detailed photos of their Tiger that would really be cool... Don't they have a Panther too ?

    Thanks again buddy.

  16. Louis, good to hear from you again. The Tiger they have at the Dorset Tank Museum is the the only operationally running Tiger 1 in the world (Tiger 131). Unfortunately I'm going to miss their next 'Tiger Day' (in September) where they crank it up and drive it around their specially created arena, along with a Sherman, Panzers, Matilda, and more. I think they have two Panthers, unless I'm mistaken.

    Very best, Louis.

  17. Thanks David for posting these AWESOME photos! Somehow I missed these!

  18. No worries, Morne - reminds me that I need another visit!

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