1/72 Horsa Glider. D-Day, Operation Deadstick – Part 1 of 3
This article is part of a series:
Horsa Glider in D-day: Operation Deadstick
A bit of HISTORY
For the commemorations of the 75 years of the D-Day landings I've chosen ‘Operation Deadstick’, better known as the capture of ‘Pegasus Bridge’. The mission was vital to the success of Operation Tonga, the overall British airborne landings in Normandy. Failure to capture the bridges intact, or to prevent their demolition by the Germans, would leave the British 6th Airborne Division cut off from the rest of the Allied armies. If the Germans retained control over the bridges, they could be used by their armoured divisions to attack the landing beaches of Normandy.
Responsibility for the operation fell to the members of 'D' Company, 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (2nd Ox and Bucks), 6th Airlanding Brigade of the 6th Airborne Division. The assault group comprised a reinforced company of six infantry platoons and an attached platoon of Royal Engineers. They flew from England to Normandy in six Airspeed Horsa gliders. Through what was later described as the "most outstanding flying achievements of the war", the gliders delivered the company to their objective. After a brief exchange of fire, both bridges were captured and then defended against tank, gunboat and infantry counter-attacks, until relief arrived.
THE KIT & BUILD NOTES:
For my build, I’ve chosen Major John Howard’s plane, who led the assault and which glider landed "buried in barbed wire and almost on the bridge".
As the Horsa is not a very popular subject, there aren’t many kits available, so I took the Italeri’s. The kit is quite simple, with few detail and sometimes bad fitting. The instructions are not that good and with some (not so minor) mistakes. The sprues don’t have numbers on it, so one has to rely on the image on the instruction sheet which has numbers.
Primer, paint and varnish by Mr Color (how ended up posting this article in their facebook page as you can see at the end).
Some important information is missing with other leading to errors: on the Horsa MKI, the doors slide up, and in the instructions that was not shown. Worse, there are some steps to attach to it and assemble it downwards ☹.
Or the pitot, that the instructions led to a wrong mounting… As always, I like to rely on the plane drawings and photos…
There are also some parts on the sprues, marked ‘not to be used’ which are in fact important. Like the main door/loading ramp, which I used.
Having that, I opted to cut the main door, ruder, flaps, etc to give her some ‘life’ and also to resemble the photos from the real plane/mission I was depicting.
Some important parts are not present. Luckily, I’ve noticed that on time (white part, here before sanding)
Not to mention pin/ejector marks…
As I opted to build the flaps open, some scratch had to be done
The interior is not very detailed but, as is not visible, opted to leave it as is.
Well, I’ve casted some stuff to put in 😊
Here the assembled and primed tail, showing some sanding already to be done
The fitting, oh the fitting… hooray for putty!
NEXT: the wing fitting… as ‘good’ as the rest…
some details were only concluded and/or scratchbuilt after painting
Time to decide if I’d paint the invasion stripes or use the decals. Reference photos helped me to conclude that the decal stripes were too wide. And slightly misplaced on the instruction drawings :-
So, lets mask and paint 😊(as I secretly wanted to)
The roundel decals where too thick and with some strange colors, so…
Now it’s time to apply some gloss varnish followed by a subtle weathering: keep in mind that those planes had a short life and that the invasion stripes where freshly painted (this is D-Day).
Hope you'll like the final result. The loading ramp is still missing as I'll only glue it when the diorama is ready. Yes, there will be a part two 😉
2 additional images. Click to enlarge.