Aussie Sea Fury
This one has a fairly unusual peace time ‘kill’..
On the morning of 30th August 1955, one of the oddest ‘shoot downs’ in the history of military aviation occurred; No 805 Squadron would be called upon to fire on an unusual ‘enemy’ in the skies over Sydney.
That morning, Mr Anthony Thrower hired an Auster J.4 Archer light aircraft registered VH-AET from Kingsford Smith Aviation Flying School. He had completed a short training flight when the aircraft’s engine failed as he was coming in to land at Bankstown airfield, 26 kilometres from Sydneys CBD area. Having successfully landed, Mr. Thrower jumped out and swung the propeller (there was no self starter). The Austers engine roared to life and started to motor down the runway. Mr. Thrower made a brave attempt to board the aircraft as it gathered speed, but was forced to jump clear and could only look on as the plane lifted off and gaining height, started a lazy circle around the airfield.
After circling Bankstown for about 15 minutes, the Auster began to climb and drift towards Sydney and then crossed the coast. A nearby RAAF Wirraway had been called in with orders to dispatch the runaway when it was five miles off the coast, however, by the time the Wirraway had contact, both aircraft were at more than 10 000 feet. The Wirraways initial shots missed and with temperatures approaching minus five degrees, the gunner hands were sticking to his hand-held Bren gun and he was unable to reload. The Wirraway left the scene and an RAAF Meteor F.8 was called into the fray, but its canons jammed after firing just a few rounds. The Auster, it seemed, was living a charmed life.
At around 11.35am, two Sea Furies from 805 Squadron arrived on the scene and Lieutenants John Bluett and Peter McNay, flying VW645 109/K and WZ650 107/K respectively, duly opened fire sending the ‘little plane that could’ into the sea approx 10 miles North east of Broken Bay.
Lt. Bluett was awarded the ‘victory’ and his aircraft, was marked with a yellow “Kill” symbol in front of the canopy. Just to top off the episode, the Sea Fury pilots weren’t even Australian, they were Royal Navy officers on duty with the RAN.
The kit isn’t bad but i find i struggle a bit with the softer plastic over the harder stuff. This one was weirdly pliable compared to the other kits i have done, must be an Airfix thing i guess. The only issue was the badly fitting engine cowl sections which are par for the course with this kit. Not wanting to shell out for the aftermarket replacement part, i sprue braced it inside after joining the sections that make up the cowl to force better fitment to the fuselage…which mostly worked. My rescribing was fairly average over the top of the then needed putty work though. I don’t think i really committed myself to be honest, pulled a bit of a lazy one..check out the front wing gaps. Ugh. I also did zero weathering for once, excepting a tiny bit in the wheel bays and tyres. I reckon she looked too nice clean to go dirtying up.
Despite buying new glasses i have also discovered my eyes must be absolutely ratsh/t. The base is simply some 1k grit wet and dry with a quickly painted runway stripe, trimmed to fit… and i thought it looked pretty good. On camera inspection it looks daggy as heck and needs more trimming! Getting old is the pits!
At the end of the day she still looks decent in the cabinet. Shout out to my daughter for spinning the prop while i took pictures 😀
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.