Scale trouble - but a Hampden worth building . . .
"Perhaps it is because I have no more holidays due for another year, or maybe it's just that the long spell of hot weather has got me down, but I am feeling very disgruntled with a lot of plastic kit manufacturers just at the moment. It could be, however, that a number of modellers are feeling as I do. I am sure that the average modeller likes his models to be to one scale, 1/48, 1/72 or 1/96. Concentrating on one scale enables an interesting and comparative collection to be amassed.
The trouble is that, with one or two notable exceptions, manufacturers seem more concerned with the size of the box. The result is that we seem to be getting a lot of big little models from America and a lot of little big aircraft from Great Britain.
Latest offenders are the Frog models. They have just issued a very good kit of the Handley Page Hampden bomber (3s. 6d.). This is an interesting aircraft and one not. previously available to plastics fans. Please make no mistake— I have nothing but praise for the actual kit, it is pleasant to build, neatly moulded and a satisfying model to colour.
My grumble is that the Frog Hampden, with its 8 1/2-inch wingspan is built to a scale of 1 /97th and a bit. You are likely to build many other models before you come across one of a similar scale.
Therefore I make this plea to all manufacturers : you can make 'em big or make 'em little, but please try and stick to one of the recognised scales!
Awkward scale or not, the Frog Hampden certainly merits a closer look. No doubt many modellers will want to build this, and a lot will be interested in colour scheme. Frog directions are delightfully vague on colouring. They supply you with a black model, a tube of green paint and some transfers and leave you to get on with it.
First, let's take a look at the transfers. These give the lettering " BZ.N " showing that the Hampden belonged to 106 Squadron. But records show that these letters were applied to two aircraft, serial numbers P.1320 and P.1270.
Sticklers for accuracy may wish to dispense with Frog's serial number transfer, which is, for some unknown reason, P.4032.
Other combinations of letters and serial numbers which you could use if you want your model to be different are: EA.S -X.2900 or EA.X -P.1251 of 49 Squadron; X.KM- AE.257 or К KM- AE.202 of 44 Squadron; PL.G - AD.900 of 144 Squadron.
Camouflage patterns tended to vary a little at this time of the war, but the small sketch shows the pattern which appeared on most Hampden. Colours were the usual green and brown, with black undersides.
Before the war black was used strictly for undersides only with the aircraft letters appearing in white under the wings. These letters were hastily painted out on the outbreak of war and the black began to creep steadily up the side of the fuselage. It stabilised on a line approximately level with the flight deck sloping down forward of this towards the nose. Some Squadrons favoured a straight edge to the black on the fuselage while others indulged in a wavy line.
RAF Flying Review November 1959 Vol XV, No.3"
Over The Counter
Other FROG plastics in preparation are the Blenheim, Hampden and Wellington.
Altough no price has yet been fixed they will probably retail for around 3s 6d each, and will, we are sure, be extremly popular.
Model Aircraft 1959-10
Frog's l/99th scale Handley Page Hampden and 1/115th Wellington are attractive W.W. II additions to their 3|6 range of plastics, while the Dragon Rapide (l/68th) joins the range as a "civvy" and the Lancaster (1 /96th) comes at 6|6. The pity of the new series, beside the scale variations, is the apparent lack of research for authentic markings. The Hampden carries correct B-ZN squadron marking for 106 Squadron on the starboard side, but needs correction, as on our photo, for the port side. Letters should be either grey or red.
Handley Page H.P.52 Hampden I Scale 1/99
FROG model aircraft 1932-1976, R. Lines, L. Hellstrom