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Michael Woodgate
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Australian Desert Biplane Ace

February 6, 2022 · in Aviation · 20 · 1.5K

Here is a model of a Gloster Gladiator II fighter flown by Australian Ace Alan Boyd.

Alan was born in Quirindi, New South Wales, on 17 March 1916.

He was a regular RAAF officer before the war. In 1940 he served with 3 Squadron RAAF in the Middle East.

At this time the Squadron was flying Gloster Gladiator II biplanes.

In the period between 19 November and 26 December 1940, Alan had claims of six destroyed, two or three probables, and 2 damaged.

All his Middle Eastern claims were against Italian CR42 biplane fighters.This included, in a single engagement on 19 Novermber 1940, three "confirmed destroyed" plus one "probable". This was the very first occasion that 3 Squadron tangled with the enemy over the Western Desert.

On 13 December 1940 Alan claimed two aircraft off Bardia, but his Gladiator was one of five 3 Squadron aircraft shot down on that day, and he force landed. He repaired the damage to his flying wires himself in the desert and was later able to fly back to base.

After this period of combat, Alan was rested, finishing his tour as one of a rare breed of WW2 "Biplane Aces".

Returning to Australia, he flew as Flight Commander with 75 Squadron, in defence of Port Moresby. Here he shared in the destruction of a Zero fighter and damaged a further two. He subsequently served with 76 and 84 Squadrons, before commanding 101 and 110 Fighter Control Units during 1944. He ended the war as Commanding Officer of 67 Squadron RAAF, He was discharged on 17 October 1947.

Alan Boyd passed away peacefully on 20 June 2014 at the age of 98.

The ICM 1/32nd Gloster Gladiator kit is very well detailed and the fit is great, no problems at all.

I used an AIMS decals for Alan's Aircraft. The decals are very good quality.

I used RB Productions Sutton seat belts.

I mixed Tamiya paints for the camouflage colours.

I have included pictures of 3 Squadron Gladiators.

The picture of three pilots walking away from a Gladiator shows Alan Boyd on the right.

I also included is a picture of a Fiat CR42 shot down by 3 Squadron with it's markings removed by souvenir hunters.

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome 1 

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. Superb result, Michael!
    Build, painting, weathering and rigging are all excellent.
    Thanks for the great story of Alan Boyd.

  2. Thank you so much Spiros. You are always the first with a kind comment.

  3. Excellent build, Michael @michaelwoodgate
    Nice work on the painting, especially the tone differences between the upper and lower wing.
    Rigging also looks great, what material did you use for that?
    Thanks for sharing the history of Alan.

  4. Thanks John I'm glad you like my Gladiator. The tonal diffidence is because of the biplane four colour paint scheme. Dark Earth and Dark Green upper wing and fuselage surfaces and lower wing surfaces and lower fuselage surfaces painted light Earth and light green. It was called the biplane shadow camouflage scheme.

    For the rigging I used very fine steel wire. I find it much easier to work with. I'm happy you like Alan Boyd's story. I like researching and telling the stores of the brave pilots who fought for freedom.

  5. That’s one very fine Gladiator.

  6. Since I was a child, I have always thought that a gladiator is a cute old trash 🙂 Very beautiful work, camouflage in particular. And an interesting story. I was always drawn to the history of the fighting in the Western Desert, as the forces of both sides were initially limited. Both land and air.

  7. Superb, would be a good word to describe. I think British camouflages are one of the hardest to paint on a model and getting all the edges of paint to be finally feathered is a art form. Also, Michael you have added a fine patina of desert dust? Or a good application of dull a coat. It seems to balance all of the colors so that everything works together. The rigging is smart and tight. The decals looks like they where painted on. Some strong work that belongs in the "Gold Category" or if there where such a thing "Model of the Month".

    A good article and the photos of fighter ace Alan Boyd make things relevant for building.

    Thankyou, for sharing your gifts and talents.

    After thought, my only "niggle" is that I can't see the build in person.

    • Thanks Steven!
      I'm glad you like my painting of the Gladiator. It's a mixture of preshading, painting on the camouflage, then marbling with lighter and darker colours over the camouflage colours to age and weather the paint then painting over the marbling with a very diluted camouflage colours. I'ts very time consuming but the end result is worth the effort. For the flat finish I use Future and Tamiya flat base mix.

  8. That's a really nice result there. I like the Gladiator a lot and this is an excellent example.

    Thanks for the history lesson I didn't know before.

  9. You did a very fine job. Thanks for sharing Boyd's story with us.

  10. Oh man, what a splendid model and a great bit of aviation history to go with it Michael! I bet Flight Commander Boyd would heartily approve and buy you a short, stubby cold one to celebrate your result. And the fact that he lived to the ripe old age of 98 is so inspiring! This great build may certainly inspire me to take that (ex-Impact) 1/48 Lindberg Gladiator down from the shelf and have a go at it! Thanks for posting this @michaelwoodgate!

  11. Beautiful Gladiator! And some nice history to go with it. Well done!

  12. G'day Michael (@michaelwoodgate),
    It is great to see another Aussie pilot being celebrated in plastic.
    This is a lovely build.

  13. G'Day Michael.
    Thanks mate! I'm glad you like my Gladiator.

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