Sunday, 23 December 2012

Westland Whirlwind a "mini" Mosquito or another Strategic Fighter misfire?

As you know I seem to have been in a "plane mode" or at  least "looking to the skies" with my modelling as of late. At the time of the "X-Wing incident (see previous post) I also was checking out the clearance section of a certain high street Hobby retailer (Hobbycraft) and spotted a peculiar kit that I had never got my mittens on before, the Westland Whirlwind Mk I in a starter pack (see below for current state of the painting tray, Mosquito and Whirlwind together):

I put a little bit of TLC into painting the pilot (see below), but I am not sure it comes out from my BlackBerry photograph:

After I had sorted out the painting inside the cockpit area it was a pretty quick build (see below):

The Whirlwind was a curious little beast with a short (and in the end very specialised combat role) in 1942/43 before being replaced by the Typhoon. The concept was drawn up in 1938 and it could have been a war winner like the Spitfire. A two engined singe seat fighter that could out perform ant single seat equivalent, packing a hell of a punch with four x 20mm cannon in its nose (remember the RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes didn't get cannons until 1941/42). Originally 400 were ordered but the Pegasus engines let it down. She was brilliant at low altitudes (even out performing the Spitfire) but in the middle to high altitude "battle zones". The usual tonic (aka the Mustang and Manchester-to-Lancaster) of converting to Merlin engines couldn't be done on its airframe. Hence the Whirlwind equipped two squadrons that protected the Channel Convoys and had noted success against the German Me-109 at low altitudes. 

I always thought it looked like an emaciated Mosquito, they even stuck a few light bombs and rockets on it to attack shipping (see below) or is it my over-active imagination at play? Anyway I have acquired a kit that escaped me as a child and given its status in the "clearance section" it may well disappear from the shops in 2013 (or am I just scare mongering)?

One notable victim of the low-level Whirlwinds (and Typhoons) was the German blockade runner "Munsterland". Those low-level "dock strafing" over a heavy defended port (Cherbourg) would be my least favourite mission of all time.

The kit itself was easy to make and trouble free (although alas my propellers are too stiff to turn), the "free" starter pack paints offered good coverage and I was please to say that there was no danger of the paint 'running out' (something I had previously "feared" would be the case in these 'starter packs'). I am debating to myself if I like the Airfix/Humbrol #30 Green or whether I need to mix of a bit of my Tamiya Dark Green/Olive Drab in with it. Likewise I may follow the Mosquito with its "satin grey" as there is insufficient differentiation in the camouflage scheme for my liking.

As per usual I am dragging my heels with the decals ;) 

PS: Please note the interesting newspaper used as a backdrop for the last two photographs.


Paul said...

I really like the Whirlwind, must be the odd shape.

You are setting a cracking pace this month mate. Merry Christmas!

Giano said...

Nice! the Whirlwind is one of the best looking ww2 fighters in my opinion. didn't know that Airfix had one in its range...

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Paul, the cracking pace is a little bit of a catch-up on some old photographs

The planes tend to build quick for me ;)

Giano the Whirlwind was one of the more interesting "lesser known" aircraft of WWII.

The Fw189 was another Airfix favourite of mine

I must do my "Fairey Battle"

PS Paul, be warned I have some Renaissance photos to finish off 2012 before WWII kicks in in 2013 ;)

Tim Gow said...

I too always rather liked the look of the Whirlwind - though I've never had the kit. Lots of guns and a spare engine - what's not to like?