A day at the RAF Museum

By Dave Wingate

One of the highlights of my trip last month was a visit to the RAF Museum near London. As I walked through the large complex that houses this collection, I kept thinking, "I want to build a model of that one. And that one too." You know how it goes.

Fortunately the museum allows photography (some don't, ask me how I know) and I want to share a few of my pictures here. These represent only a fraction of the airplanes at the museum, but I think you'll enjoy them, and maybe one of these historic planes will inspire you to build a scale model.

Avro 504K

Hanriot HD1

Vickers Vimy. This would be a challenging model. I guess you would use electric motors.

Sopwith Triplane

Bristol M1c

The Milestones of Flight building. When you enter this giant room with planes hanging from the ceiling, one of the first things you see is a shiny P-51D revolving on a turntable.

I like the nose art on the Mustang.

Donald Duck has some serious backup: Two .50-caliber machine guns and a 20mm cannon in each wing.

de Havilland Gipsy Moth. I didn't know they have folding wings.

Bf 109G-2

The Fokker D VII is hanging from the ceiling. Fortunately, you get a good view from a balcony running the length of the room.

Up close, the lozenge pattern looks like modern art. The doped fabric has a nice sheen.

Hawker Tempest V

Fw190A-8/U-1. You gotta love this beautiful airplane (not to mention the totally complicated designation). But if you were an allied pilot, you did not want to see this in your rear view.

B-17 Flying Fortress, Jeep, and crew.

The pilot is creepy, isn't he? I think he's having too much fun.

Fiat CR.42 Falco. A gorgeous plane but obsolete when it entered service. I want one!

1 comment:

planecrazy said...

Cool pics, Dave!!

I don't know if you are aware, but the lonzenge pattern on the Fokker DVII was actually dyed into the fabric and then clear doped. Lately, some aeromodeling suppliers have been producing both iron-on cloth and covering tissue with the lozenges already reproduced. Very handy if you're building a scale model of a DVII or DVIII or even a Dr.1 (NOT all-red - please!).

Not only did the Gypsy Moth have folding wings, but a LOT of the British light planes of the "Golden Age" ('tween WWI and WWII) had them. I think it was primarily to be able to store them in smaller (ie. cheaper) hangars.

The only airplane-oriented museum I've ever been to is the Smithsonian A&S in D.C., and that was in 1980 - it's expanded a LOT since then with the new Udvar-Hazy center near Dulles in Virginia. Well worth doing if you're ever close to it.