A Suitcase that Flies! Handley Page Hampden in 1/72
This is my version of Valom’s 1/72 Handley Page Hampden, depicting AT 246 of 489 Squadron. An early version of the twin-engine fighter bomber, it was deployed in key missions before being quickly superseded by craft that were less vulnerable to attack. A beautiful and unlikely looking war plane, it’s broad wings and narrow, long-tailed body make it seem like the offspring of a bat and a pregnant seahorse.
The Valom model is no shake-n-bake: a limited run kit, it lacks any locating pins or obvious means for one piece to attach to another – beyond a butt joint and a lot of liquid cement. Made from thick and rather unpleasant plastic, it challenges you to carve and add what you need to make a replica durable enough to handle while painting. However, once the parts have something to grab onto, the fit is quite good (apart from the engine cowlings to the nacelles).
There’s a couple of sheets of PE details to figure out, plus a small sheet of misaligned decals.
The only other version of this plane in 1/72 is the vintage Airfix kit. I chose this one because of its bizarrely intense surface detail; row upon row of rivets pepper the surface, and while its certainly inaccurate for the scale, it’s fun to paint nevertheless.
I added canopy transparencies and masks from AZ Models, and a pilot from PJ Productions. Apart from that, I adapted it to in-flight mode, which required shaving the wheels down and some surgery on the undercarriage bay doors. The black underside hides a load of shaky craft trying to get this to work.
I know it’s a poor crafts-person who blames the kit, but I had to take some shortcuts with this one. Some more sanding and filling, and a few more hours with the painting would’ve produced something better. However, I enjoyed trying to wrestle this tough little kit into the unique lines of the Hampden.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.