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Jimmy Zed
20 articles

Aussie Sea Fury

July 10, 2020 · in Aviation · · 40 · 2.5K

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 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 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

Reader reactions:
19ย  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

40 responses

  1. Nice build, Jimmy. Inspires me to want to build another one.

    • Thanks man. I just went and found your build, funnily enough we both decided on the same end result regards must be that sky colour, it's just so nice ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Nice work! , and a Great story . Beautiful plane and model. Yes, fading eyesight makes one get creative to achieve excellent results nonetheless.

  3. What a great story! Surprised the "kill" marking didn't have a kangaroo or some such.Thanks for sharing.

  4. C**p eyes makes for great looking master pieces all the way. At least in one's own eyes...

    Very clean build. Love the colours. That huge bright spinner is looking smashing!

  5. What a great story about that poor runaway Auster ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lovely build as well - love that Sky and Extra Dark Sea Grey scheme.

    • Being a pilot in a high powered gun machine like the Fury i'm sure one gets an itchy trigger finger. It must have been cool to shoot down a 'live' target, especially since they knew they were not taking a life.

  6. Good looking build and interesting back story. Nice work!

  7. Nice work and a great result.

    • Thanks Tom, your older build was actually the first one i foind and when i discovered the cowl would need work. I was like 'aw man, c'mon! Another dodgy cowl kit!'

  8. Great looking build! Love the Sea Fury - I've built 2 of them so far.

  9. Bloody hell Jimmy!, if this was one of my builds it would be on the top shelf ,it looks amazing ,I have this kit in the stash and I just hope it turns out this good...Top job mate.

  10. Jimmy your selling yourself short, that is one smart, tight build with a entertaining article and some good photos. Nothing bad about that. Model looks totally bad and sick as the kids would say.

    Two thumbs up looking forward to reading and seeing another Jimmy article.

  11. Great job, Jimmy! And a very nice story too!
    ...Light years ahead of my Hobbycraft built one (both kit and build quality).

  12. Great job, and story! Sea Fury- raw radial power!

  13. Loved the story and that tiny โ€œkillโ€ mark you put on your Fury shows your eyes canโ€™t be that bad. Terrific build. As Spiros, above, says, โ€œlight years ahead of my Hobbycraft.โ€

  14. Sweet Sea Fury Jimmy, looks good clean. I didn't know the story about the "kill", so thanks for sharing!

  15. Real quality build. I really like the paint job. The fact that is an RAN scheme makes it even better.

  16. Nice history on this plane.
    Your build is realy great.
    Seems like nothing is wrong with your eyes to me.

  17. Great backstory! Stuff like that makes a model so much more fun to build, rather than just "another random plane". Good looking model too. I like what you did with the base, smart way to make a runway too, never thought of that.

  18. Great looking model, interesting background story, what's not to like?

  19. Jimmy, Great looking Sea Fury, and I really enjoyed the story as it reminded me of the battle of Palmdale California in 1956 (check it out). I always thought the Sea Fury was a gorgeous airplane, therefore I really enjoy seeing a well built model. Well done !

    • On it Terry, iโ€™m already imagining a โ€˜battle of Los Angelesโ€™ event circa โ€™42.

      Edit- well, that was certainly interesting, it seems unmanned aircraft really do lead a charmed life! A pity those Scorpion pilots had their gunsights removed.

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