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    Avatar photoPatrick

    Outstanding (as usual)! I am cringing when I ask this, but I suppose everything on these lovely models was hand painted? Regardless, really nice work Dave, and thanks for sharing, it´s a real treat.

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Thanks Patrick, and yes all hand painted. No airbrushing or decals on the go.

    There are many 1:300 scale decal sheets available though if you have a look for them.


    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    Thanks for sharing these pix Dave. Great work on your Russians, your topside green turns out with a lot of character. The landing gear on  that TB-3 shows all the detail. Once again I’m impressed by the way you research and execute paint schemes on particular historical airplanes.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Thanks Zip. Glad you’re enjoying it. I’ve had a great time learning about all the various airforces and individual stories I’ve encountered on this project. I literally knew nothing at all about the Soviet Air Force before doing this. I do a little research, try to hit the big players, the most common or most significant. The fighters, the bombers and anything wired and wonderful I encounter along the way. Sometimes I’ll find a story and look up the name of the pilot to try and find a picture of the aircraft or sometimes I find a badass looking aircraft which most often leads me to the story of a badass pilot.

    This is the first historical project I’ve ever taken on and I’ve found the experience a million times more fascinating than any of the fantasy or Sci-fi gaming I’ve done. I can never forget that these aircraft were flown by real men and women. The designs, implimentation and success of which really mattered. I can’t just look at these as miniatures.

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    Interesting to read that you’ve just made the jump into historical modeling, Dave. I came to miniature wargaming first from reading and walking history, and from building historical models. Then I wanted to play with my toys,  especially in ways that increase my understanding of how they worked in real life. Fiction sometimes entertains me, but history always fascinates; it’s so much deeper than any fiction, there is always something new to learn, something more to understand.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Finally got around to bringing the USA into the war. (Think that’s an actual quote from FDR)

    I’ll kick this one off with a couple of early paint scheme aircraft from the United States Navy.
    these are both in the early 1942 scheme with the red disc in the center of the National Aircraft Insignia and horizontal red and white rudder striping.

    the absolutely beautiful Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat. These were the most versatile and widely used flying boat of the war and continued to see service long after in some armed forces as late on as the 1980s!!! Some modern day fire fighting services still use them as water bombers!

    This is the Douglas SBD Dauntless of pilot Stanley “Swede” Vejtasa who once, when attacked by three A6M2 Zero fighters shot two of them down and cut off the wing of the third in a head-on pass with his wingtip. Proper aviation badassery that.

    Next up its a few more painted planes, that is planes based on ones that were painted in American factories. The USAAF was using this kind of olive drab officially but some factories just stopped painting them altogether cutting down on production times.

    These are the mean greens.

    This is of course “Ye Olde Pub” the B-17 of USAAF pilot Charlie Brown (yes really) whose plane got shot to absolute shreds on a bombing run over Bremen. A Luftwaffe fighter, Franz Stigler took off to investigate and found it to be the most damaged plane he’d ever seen still flying. He chose not to attack the B-17 but attempted to convince Brown to land and save his wounded crew. Brown did not wish to be captured in Germany or make for nearby neutral Sweden and kept flying for England. Stigler escorted the B-17 to the coast before returning home. Both pilots met 40 years later and were friends until Stigler’s death in 2008.
    You can read lots more on The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident here.

    Next up its one of my absolute all time favourite planes the Lockheed P-38 Lightning aka “the fork-tailed devil”

    This is “Scat II” the P-38 flown by a young Captain Robin Olds. In the 479th fighter group over occupied France in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. Olds went on to fly P-51 Mustangs over Germany finishing his wartime service with a plethora of medals and awards. His long and distinguished airforce career continued until his retirement in 1973 as Brigadier General.

    Sticking with the P-38 for now (because look at these things!) but this time I’ve done a couple in bare metal silver schemes.

    No more famous flyers (that I know of) this time. Just a couple of examples of the kind of style I was seeing. Note the black anti-glare panels painted in front of the cockpits and on the sides of the engines facing the pilot. These were often done in black or the standard USAAF green.

    This sleek looking light bomber is a Douglas A-26 Invader.

    Another shiny silver scheme with invasion stripes. (It is an ‘Invader’ afterall) Though their deployment was delayed due to terrible visibility from the cockpit needing to be rectified, so they didn’t see service in Europe until September 44 missing the D-day invasion by a few months. Still there’s every likelihood a new Allied plane in Sep 44 would’ve warranted identification stripes until they were all done away with by the end of the year.

    These machines were fast and lethal ground attack and low level bombing aircraft and packed an absolute metric butt-load of weaponry compared to anything else of their type. They remained in service after WW2 on through the Korean War and into Vietnam finally retiring in 1969.
    And while we’re on the topic of Invasion Stripes.

    These are all my invasion striped aircraft so far. Given the wide variety of paint schemes from the various allied airforces involved in the invasion of Normandy you can see the need for this kind of identification marking.

    Next up I’ve taken us back to both sides of 1942 with a pair of Brewster Buffalos.
    The attack on Pearl Harbour gave the Top Brass of the USAAF a lot of thinking to do, and among the many changes to be made was a new paint scheme. Gone were the yellow wings of the 1930s and in January 1942 the National Insignia roundels were added to both upper and lower wing positions.

    This picture shows both a Brewster F2A Buffalo and a larger Douglas Dauntless in early 1942 colours.

    Then in May 1942 the roundel was revised to remove the red portion to better distinguish it from the Japanese Hinomaru, and the tail stripes were dropped too leaving just the plain blue and white insignia in six positions. Buffalos that flew in the Battle of Midway would have been painted like this.

    The Brewster F2A Buffalo was over-weight underpowered and unstable and the Japanese fighters it was up against could fly rings around it. By 1942 the much derided “Flying Coffin” was largely considered an obsolete 2nd line aircraft better suited to training duties than front line fighting. That said the Finnish Air Force made a great success of their Buffalo squadrons producing 36 Buffalo Aces.
    I’ve also done an earlier model B-17 in an early 1942 scheme.

    The B-17 D and E were two distinctly different aircraft. Following front line deployment by both the RAF and USAAF the new B-17E got a redesigned tail with a larger vertical stabiliser, a dorsal gun turret, a tail gunner position and the ventral ‘bathtub’ gunner’s position was replaced with a bubble turret.

    Thunder! Thunder! Thunderbolts! Ho!
    Yes folks, the mighty Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter bomber. These are some older Razorback models introduced in November 1942.

    The mighty “Jug” (Juggernaut) was among the heaviest single engine fighters of the war. It was a big bruiser of a fighter that could give as as good as it got and it became the real workhorse of the USAAF.

    They weren’t good climbers but man could they dive. German fighter pilots soon learned that you couldn’t dive out of a fight with a Thunderbolt like you could from a Spitfire but they had no trouble climbing up and over them. A new propellor helped solve that problem.

    This Thunderbolt was one flown by Francis Stanley “Gabby” Gabreski, the highest scoring Thunderbolt Ace of the war. Gabreski flew 166 combat sorties and was officially credited by the USAAF with 28 aircraft destroyed in air combat and 3 on the ground. He was captured in July 1944 and remained a POW in Germany until he was liberated by Soviet forces in April 1945. He would go on to become a Korean War jet ace and eventually retired from service in the USAF as a Colonel in November 1967.

    This is “Margie II” flown by Gerald Grace who Flew 96 missions with the 396th Fighter Group. Once shot down by ground flak near Soissons, France, Aug. 31,1944 in German held territory, he evaded capture and managed to make his return to base exactly 24 hours after being shot down, setting a new record for passing through Paris. His plane was named after Marjorie, his sweetheart back home, whom he married in 1945. They had nine kids together.

    The beautiful, fast and deadly North American Aviation P-51 Mustang.

    Often considered the finest piston driven single engine fighter ever produced. After an engine swap and the addition of greater fuel capacity the P-51 fulfilled a vital role as a long range, high altitude bomber escort.

    I had to paint at least one of my P-51s as one of the Red Tails of the 332nd fighter group. I remember watching the old Tuskegee Airmen movie (the one with Laurence Fishburne) as a kid and finding it a really compelling story. Still haven’t seen the new one (though I’ve read mixed reviews).

    Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Led the 99th Pursuit squadron of the “Red Tails” flying sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustang fighters. His life and career has been celebrated with countless public recognitions of his achievements in overcoming adversity and signalling an ongoing change for racial equality. He died a Four Star General in 2002.
    Clarence E “Bud” Anderson -“Old Crow” – a triple ace promoted to Major by age 22. Often considered one of the finest pilots in the force he went on be a test pilot for the airforce. At the grand old age of 95 he still retains his pilots license and gives lectures on experience.

    These are the aircraft of Ray S Wetmore – “Daddy’s girl” (green nose) And John C Meyer- “Petie 2nd” (blue nose)
    Both men were high scoring P-51 aces in WW2 who went on to fly the F-86 Sabre jet fighter after the war.
    Major Wetmore was a quadruple ace during WW2 and the youngest Major at 21 on VE Day. Major Wetmore was killed in a freak accident when his F-86 crashed in Feb 1951.
    Meyer went on to become a jet ace in the Korean war. He retired in 1974, as commander-in-chief of the Strategic Air Command.
    Another plane often hailed as one of the best fighter aircraft of the USAAF is the Vought F-4U Corsair. Seen here in tricolour night camouflage with a radar dome mounted on the starboard wing.

    The US Navy had mixed success with the F4U which had difficulty with carrier landings. Following the introduction of the Grumman Hellcat the Navy used some of its Corsairs as radar equipped night fighters.

    And lastly for now it’s probably the most significant and controversial aircraft of the entire war. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay. Which of course dropped the first atomic bomb, “Little Boy” targeted on Hiroshima.

    The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was the product of one of the biggest, most expensive, most state of the art research and development projects of the USAAF at the time. Introduced in May 1944 it was a high altitude strategic bomber capable of flight at altitudes up to 31,850 feet (9,710 m) at speeds of up to 350 mph. Higher and faster than most Japanese fighters were capable of.

    In the 1980’s debate persisted about the correct historical context for the display Enola Gay, and a 50th anniversary exhibit in 1995 sparked controversy. It has now been fully restored and on display since 2003.

    Size-wise its one of the largest aircraft in my collection so far. This is a comparison against my other allied four-engine heavy bombers. Looking at these bombers in comparison you can see about a decade worth of development in bomber design and modernisation unfolding.

    As always folks, Thanks for taking the time to look at my USAAF collection. I’m aware there a number of notable omissions here like the Liberator, the Hellcat, the Marauder and many more. I’ll return to these someday hopefully in the not too distant future so keep an eye out for those if your favourite US planes didn’t get a look in this time around.

    Avatar photocmnash

    Damn fine planes there & great reading as well! Thanks for posting


    Avatar photoPatrick

    Great stuff Dave, thanks very much for posting!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    My pleasure guys. Glad you’re enjoying the galley.

    I thought it strange that there’s always so much talk of the fighting IN France but rarely any focus on the French forces themselves so I did a little research and found it a very interesting story. I have at last finished painting my collection of French fancies so without further adieu (I couldn’t help myself, sorry) on with the show.

    In 1936 in response to Germany’s continued remilitarisation France was taking a long hard look at its Airforce and finding that it was long overdue a major update.

    Fighters like the Dewoitine D500 and bombers like the Bloch MB210 not long ago considered the very leading edge of modern aviation were already practically obsolete and in need of replacing.

    The Dewoitine 510 was still in production at the time. A beautiful little monoplane plane with long, low wings, fixed undercarriage and open cockpit it was clearly an outmoded mount yet a shipment had just been delivered to China where they saw action against Imperial Japan.

    The old Bloch MB210 had been an improved design based on the older MB200 and as such had been easily rolled into production to outfit a number of bomber groups. However both were now considered too old and vulnerable and suitable for night bombing only. They were scheduled for replacement by newer and faster bombers as soon as these could be designed, produced and equipped.

    The war came sooner than the replacements however and the old Blochs remained in service as reserve units and were occasionally pressed into service. Many French MB210s survived the war intact by dint of rarely seeing action. However the Romanian Airforce operated their MB210s with some success. Some of the even older MB200s were used by Vichy French forces in the Syria-Lebanon campaign where they were eventually destroyed on the ground.

    Many private aircraft manufacturers in France were swiftly bought up and nationalised in an effort to meet the needs of National Security. However it proved too little too late as German production outstripped that of its neighbours and by 1940 the Armée de l’Air were still woefully under-equipped to have any real hope of success against the Luftwaffe.

    One product of this nationalisation project was the Morane-Saulnier MS.406, designed to replace France’s ageing stock of 30’s fighter planes. Over 1000 were produced making it one of the most numerous of France’s fighter planes.

    Although it was a considerably more modern design than the aircraft it replaced it was underpowered, underarmed and critically outperformed by the Luftwaffe’s Bf 109E.

    Pilot Sgt. Mirolsav Jiroudek, like many airmen escaping the German occupation of their home nation, fled to France to continue his fight against Nazi Germany. He flew with Groupe de Chasse III/1, operating this MS406 during the Battle of France. Upon the fall of France Jiroudek was able to escape to Britain where he flew Hurricanes and later Beaufighters in service with the RAF. He returned to Czechoslovakia in July 1945 and flew for a Czech Air Line until 1950.

    At age 18 Pierre Le Gloan joined the Armée de l’Air at the outbreak of the war. He served in the GC III/6 fighter squadron, flying the Morane-Saulnier MS.406 from Chartres in the air defence of Paris. He scored victories against four German bombers in the battle of France. Two Do17 and two He111.

    Le Gloan’s unit GC III/6 were re-equipped with new Dewoitine D.520 fighters in June of 1940 and moved to the south of France. Le Gloan in his new D520 soon added a number of Italian aircraft to his tally before the Armistice between France and Germany. Le Gloan’s unit were sent out to Syria where he scored victories against RAF Hurricanes and Gladiators before being withdrawn back to Algiers.

    Following the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942 GC III/6 defected to the Free French. They were equipped with Bell P-39 Airacobras which Le Gloan flew until his death in a landing accident in September 1943.
    Pierre Le Gloan had shot down 18 aircraft during his flying career, four German, seven Italian and seven British making him an ace for both sides.

    The Dewoitine D.520 was the best modern single engine fighter that France produced, out-performing the MS.406 and able to hold its own against invading German fighters. However due to delays in development, production and delivery (France’s aeronautical industry being frightfully ill-equipped for the war) there were nowhere near enough available to defend France. Had more D.520’s been ready in time they might have made a much more significant contribution to the war.

    They had a great range, good manoeuvrability, powerful weaponry and handled very well. The Italians who received some following the armistice thought them excellent.

    This Dewoitine 520 was captured from the Vichy French in Lebanon by Free French airmen flying with the RAF. It was marked with the Cross of Lorraine, the symbol of the Free French Forces led by Charles de Gaul. A fine prize to be sure, to liberate one of your own, however the few D.520’s in Free French hands could only be used as advanced trainers as their radios were incompatible with other RAF combat aircraft.

    Another product of the Armée de l’Air’s desperate modernisation programme was the Lioré et Olivier LeO 45. This medium bomber was originally designed to meet the1936 B4 specification (which itself had shifted a number of times since 1933) With the imminent threat of war looming and continued delays due to engine reliability the LeO 45 was hurried into production despite known teething problems.

    The LeO 451 entered service flying reconnaissance over Germany with Groupe de Bombardement I/31, but by the start of the Second World War this unit had only five LeO 451s and eight practically obsolete Bloch MB200s. (Honestly, is the MB200 not the ugliest plane ever to lift off from the face of the earth?)

    In fact by the start of the Battle of France only 54 of the 222 LeO 451s that had been delivered were actually ready for combat. Too few in number and often without fighter escort the LeO 451 was none the less a remarkably fast and very agile bomber and enjoyed some success against Italian forces.

    Following the armistice LeO 451s continued to fly under Vichy direction in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign and a number were captured and used by both sides as unit hacks and transports.

    And the last two aircraft in my (not entirely comprehensive) French roundup are the Potez 631 and Potez 63.11

    The Potez 63 was originally designed to fulfil the role of Fighter Control, bomber escort, interceptor and night fighter. Something in the vein of the German Bf-110 or the Soviet Pe-2, you can see the similarity. Unfortunately so could many French anti-aircraft gunners and “friendly” fliers and often the Potez 631 was mistaken for its German counterpart and attacked by its own.

    Due to the French aircraft industry’s inability to produce high powered aircraft engines most German bombers were able to outrun the underpowered Potez 361 so it wasn’t much use as an interceptor, day or night.

    The most useful and therefore most numerous of the variations was the Potez 63.11 which had been developed to serve with the Groupes Aèriens d’Observation (Army co-operation squadrons) as a reconnaissance aircraft.
    It had a completely redesigned crew compartment and extensively glazed nose. The pilot’s seat was moved higher and further back to accommodate the changes.

    A note on colour schemes before we’re done. Most of what I’ve been able to find suggests the Armée de l’Air did not employ any standardisation in camouflage patterning so there was much variation in the blue/grey, green, brown tri-colour scheme.

    National cockade roundels typically were placed in the usual 6 locations with the wing roundels being located on the very end of the wing.

    Aces wore diagonal stripes and squadron codes and insignia vary a great deal.

    The Vichy era saw the addition of a white stripe and outline to the fuselage roundels, and in mid-1941 the introduction of the infamous yellow and red “Slaves’ Pyjamas” striping on the tails and engine cowlings.

    That’s it for my Focus on French fliers. Hope you enjoyed seeing them. As ever I’d love to hear your thoughts and Thanks for looking.

    Avatar photoPatrick

    Hi Dave, it´s always a pleasure to see your stuff, thanks so much for posting!


    I really love the French aircraft, especially those wonderful bombers, and they will for sure be in my next Scotia order. As for the MB200, I think you are being a bit hard on the old girl. She has a magnificent mid-thirties look that is kind of like what I used to draw as a generic bomber when I was a kid. Okay, the 451s and 631s were sexier, it´s true, but the MB200 looked like something out of The Shape of Things to Come. 🙂

    As usual, great work with the paint jobs, I totally envy your free hand skills.

    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    Dave Crowe:

    Man, those are beautifully painted minis. Bravo, sir! I especially love the Soviets but the paint jobs on the American and French planes were truly outstanding. I sit here in awe of your skill and research in painting these lovely aircraft. You do the hobby proud. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos with us all. They are inspiring. I’ll stop gushing now and go dap some paint on 15mm French armoured cars and half tracks in a pathetic and futile attempt to mimic your inspired work.


    Rod Robertson.

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Thanks Patrick. Glad you enjoyed the Frenchies, hopefully there will be more sexy bombers for you to enjoy soon. I just got a load of Italians to work on. Some from Scotia but lots of really interesting ones from H&R too!

    Thanks Rob, you’re very kind.  I’d love to see your 15mm stuff. Do you have any pics, or a blog? Glad you like the Soviets so much. I’m thinking of a Winter War set in the future so some earlier Russian bombers might be on the cards for that.

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    You keep hitting home runs, Dave. I have a lot of American planes, mostly painted by other people. Yours look better. I want at least two French air forces, Battle of France and Vichy, but it’s gonna be a while before I get to them. I’ve started a batch of Italians, but I expect you’ll finish yours before I finish mine. I’ve had a setback; bought a batch of paint down at the hobby shop, put a coat on some planes, and it’s all too dark! I’ll have to track down some better, lighter desert yellow and bottom-side grey for Il Duce’s Falcons, and start over. Ratz.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    I expect I’ll be a month or two at it. Got a pair of SM79’s on the go now and I’ve based one lighter and one darker (with a grey nose). Two different schemes going on them as it seems there was very little standardisation. I also like to keep things varied if possible so that in a game it’ll be easier to remember which one’s which. But if you’re going for uniformity and you want them all a lighter desert brown based scheme that’ll look great too.


    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Really enjoying my Regia Aeronautica right now. Almost every aircraft I’m doing has a different camouflage scheme. Its so much fun.

    Finding it a little harder to pin down specific ace’s schemes but I’ve got a few.

    Avatar photoPatrick

    Hi Dave,  how do you store all these planes? My previous planes were stored in a multi-compartment box for storing screws and the like, but with my latest batch I have officially outgrown this. Plus the B-17s are enormous and won´t fit in any of the compartments anyway! Right now I have my newly finished Luftwaffe sitting in a shoe box, a most embarrassing arrangement to be sure. 🙂

    Also, do you finish them with anything? I normally use Vallejo matte varnish, just curious.

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Well if the question was embarrassing then the answer is down right shameful. Having outgrown their shoe box my ever growing collection now resides (with the help of some 170 odd zippy bags and no foam!) in an old brief case.

    I know, it’s not big and it’s not clever. I’m not proud of myself.

    I do give them a light puff of Matt Varnish too. Which I obviously expect a lot from.


    Would love to see your collection if you have any pics.


    Avatar photoPatrick

    Ha ha, Dave we are kindred spirits when it comes to storage. I have not yet advanced to the zippy bags though, nice idea. 🙂  A lot of my gaming buddies have all sorts of wonderful boxes to house their collections, but being a poor teacher I would much rather spend my money on toys (and whisky too) rather than what to put them in. So I collect every box that comes into my house and throw them in the game room. Fortunately I live alone so no one is here to bitch about it, but from time to time even I can see that it might be time to start throwing boxes out.

    As for pictures, I will see what I can come up with, but keep in mind that my stuff compared to yours is like comparing a doodle to the Mona Lisa!

    Avatar photoRichard Partridge


    I have found this thread very interesting, not least because Southend Wargames Club has decided to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force by playing episodes from the Siege of Malta 1940 – 1942 using the Tiny Wargames mat of Valletta and Grand Harbour with 1/300 aircraft and to Check Your Six rules. The next outing is at Broadside in Sittingbourne when we should be showing the Illustrious Blitz.

    We too found that getting details of Italian camouflage difficult, but can I recommend the following two publications: No Place for Beginners – Battle over Malta, June 1940 to September 1941 by Tony O’Toole and published by Dalrymple and Verdun Publishing in 2013 (ISBN 978-1-905414-18-5) and Camouflage and Markings of the Italian Air Forces 1935 – 1945 by Richard J Caruana, 1987, and published by Modelaid International (no ISBN quoted).

    The major problem with the Regia Aeronautica is that there were at least three distinct shades of green, yellow and brown depending on manufacturer or supplier, that it was area specific, and that the schemes were simplified towards the end of Italian involvement in the war. O’Toole’s book is chock full of photographs and colour plates, and provides as much interpretation as possible.

    We also found a useful link on another site: World War 2 Air Board – Aviation Painting Guide – Vallejo WWII Air Force and Naval Color Equivalency Table, dated 23 January 2017. This provides the author’s best estimate of the mixes needed for the correct shades.

    Hope that this is some help.


    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Thanks Richard, glad you found something here to help Southend Wargames Club out on what sounds like an awesome programme of events.

    Honestly your timing couldn’t be better as I was just about to show off this lot which by the sound of things might be exactly the kind of thing you’re thinking of.

    A few more recent additions to the collection.

    These beautiful British bi-planes are all coming from Heroics & Ros (Another very nice selection of 1:300 scale aircraft to choose from. I got those Po-2’s and some of my French collection in the same order.)

    First up its the RAF’s “modern” bi-plane, the Gloster Gladiator.

    The Gladiator was developed to replace the obsolescent Gauntlet but did so only for a short time as more modern monoplane fighters like the Hurricane quickly outstripped its performance and replaced it.
    None the less Gladiators were pressed into service by the RAF and Fleet Air Arm in France, Malta and the Middle East and Gladiators saw service in many other theatres across the world with various other forces on both sides.

    The Hal Far Fighter Flight were formed during the Siege of Malta. A group of Gloster Sea Gladiators formed the air defence of the Island from June 1940 for a number of weeks under bombardment by Italian bombers. A popular myth claimed there were just three aircraft, named Faith, Hope and Charity which kept a constant patrol over the island. The fuselage of one of these aircraft (named Faith at a later date) was presented to the people of Malta in 1943 and remains on display at the War Museum at Fort St Elmo. Ongoing efforts to acquire the aircraft for full restoration by Malta’s Aviation Museum have as yet been unsuccessful.

    In September 1940 Pilot Officer Roald Dahl (yes, THAT Roald Dahl!) flying this Gloster Gladiator over the Lybian desert made a crash landing and received severe head and back injuries. Although he returned to service with 80 Squadron and had some success flying Hurricanes his injuries from this crash put an end to his flying career and he was invalided back to England. Dahl often expressed the belief that this head injury had produced the change in his personality and creativity that made him one of the world’s best loved and most celebrated children’s authors.
    Next up on our British bi-plane bonanza its Fairey’s quintessential Fleet Air Arm icon the Swordfish.

    It might have appeared practically obsolete when first introduced in 1936 but this large and rugged biplane had all the right qualities for deck flying operations and torpedo dive bombing.

    Affectionately known as the ‘Stringbag’ for its adaptable multifunctional capabilities the ‘can do, will do’ Swordfish outlasted all expectation continuing its distinguished service all throughout the war, outlasting even Fairey’s replacement the Albacore to become Britain’s last serving bi-plane.

    Famous for the attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto in Nov 1940 and the operation to seek and destroy the Bismarck the Swordfish was also instrumental in protecting Allied convoys from German submarines.

    Another stalwart of the Fleet Air Arm and of the Air Sea Rescue service is this, the Supermarine Walrus.

    The “Shagbat” as it was sometimes called, for its frankly disastrous aesthetics may not have been a looker but to anyone stranded out in the Channel seeing it swoop in to the rescue it was the very vision of beauty.

    Originally designed for catapult launch and spotting duties for the Royal Navy the old Shagbat though somewhat unsuitable proved a rugged and able rescue craft. Unable to take off from the water when carrying more than 6 men, there were countless instances of Walrus crews landing to effect a rescue knowing full well they would have to taxi back to shore often for tens of miles in mine infested waters and rough seas.

    Hundreds of men were returned safely to shore by the doughty Walrus who would otherwise have perished.

    That’ll be all for bi-planes for the time being. I’ve got some Italians finished which I’ll try and post here some time in the hopefully not too distant future.
    As ever, thanks for visiting the tiny aircraft gallery.

    Avatar photoPatrick

    Lovely biplane goodness Dave! I especially like those Swordfish. What is your secret (apart from talent) for painting those nice round roundels?

    I have quite a few WWI stuff from Heroics and Ros, and while I like them fine I must say they were fiddly as hell to get together. I had to replace the struts with pieces of the staples that sealed the bags, and the landing gear really put my patience to test. However once they were all together they were nice models.

    So how fiddly were yours? I suspect that Walrus would be quite a chore!

    Avatar photoAbwehrschlacht

    Excellent work, the only 6mm planes I have painted were the ones from the Battle of Britain game, but I used water slide decals for the numbers and markings, so hats off to you for doing them by hand!

    Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/stormofsteelwargaming

    Blog: http://www.stormofsteelwargaming.com

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    More great work, Dave, especially on those struts and landing gear.  Right now I’m assembling a set of Ros CR.42s myself, and the strut-work is going very slowly. I have another set of Raiden CR.42s that I haven’t started yet. These have the struts molded integral with the wings. I hope they’ll be a lot less trouble.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoPatrick

    Zippy if the struts you´re working with are like the ones that come with the WWI planes, then I highly recommend replacing them with some sort of wire. Like I said above, I simply used the staples that closed the pack and then clipped them to size.

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Yeah, got 2 Fiat C.R. 42 and a C.R 32 from Ros here in front of me and fidley as he’ll is a pretty spot on summary. Just using the struts from the piece. They’re fine for the job and will hold paint better than staple wire I suspect.

    The walrus wasnt too bad, it was the swordfish that took the most assembly time. But honestly these Fiat biplanes are really taking the buiscetti.

    My roundel method is all layering with thinned paint. White spot (nice and wet paint and a little  larger than you think) followed by a yellow wash, blue spot on top of that leaving just a sliver of yellow around the rim. White spot inside that and tiny dot of red ink in the middle.

    Avatar photoPatrick

    Thanks for the roundel tips Dave, I´m short of decals and might have to give it a try.

    Avatar photoRichard Partridge


    Thanks for that, and I think that our Faith, Hope and Charity are from Heroics. Our first demo. game had them trying to intercept an SM79 carrying out a reconnaissance mission over Malta on the morning after Mussolini declared war, but their inability to climb (even given the support of the radar station) meant that the Italians were back in Sicily having breakfast before they’d even reached altitude! Even giving them a two-speed prop and better fuel for the subsequent scenarios- as happened – only marginally increases their chances.

    Incidentally, if anyone is aware of a manufacturer of a 1/285 or 1/300 Cant 1007 with a single fin, could they please let me know. I’ve got eight 1007bis with the tail boom, but since (I think) both types were used in the same squadrons I’d like to include them alongside the 16 SM79s we’ve got. After all, a bombing raid needs to look like a bombing raid, doesn’t it?

    We’ve got a selection of RAF, Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica flying boats to use in scenarios built around rescuing downed pilots. I’m not too sure whether people are aware that aircraft engaged in such rescues were considered to be legitimate targets, even when displaying the Red Cross, on the grounds that (a) the returned pilot could be given a new ‘plane and be flying again the following day, or (b) it could be involved in reconnaissance.

    I’ve noted what you’ve all said about the Fiat CR42 models you’re using; We’ve got eight made up to represent two different squadrons, but they’re to 1/285 scale ones from GHQ. The struts are one piece brass etchings but the attachments to the lower wings have to be slightly drilled out to take the lugs and the upper wings have grooves that fit the top of the etching. This arrangement makes it easier to paint the struts and the underside of the upper wing, and to do the ‘splatter’ camo to the front of the fuselage and the lower wing.

    I used to paint plastic aircraft kits when I was younger and just followed the painting instructions on the box without checking further, but I then graduated to model figures where there is a plethora of uniform information. If you want to know the shape of the lace worn by the South Dorsets in 1756 you can find it quite easily, but trying to find aircraft camouflage schemes…! Are the aircraft of a particular squadron the same or are some in mirror schemes? The original Hurricanes sent to Malta came from Maintenance Units, not operational squadrons; when did these change from black/white undersides to Sky? I’m slowly building up a reference library using Ospreys, but normally these only show a port or starboard view, seldom both and certainly not a top or bottom view. Do I risk an educated guess or should I expect a rivet-counting anorack to pick me up on it? I was pleased to find that Profile Publications are still available via Adebooks, and a firm seems to be doing PODs via Amazon.

    If anyone is interested, I’ll post some piccies of the game, although John Treadaway took some for Miniature Wargames at Cavalier in February. All the best,


    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Would love to see some pics. A link even if they’re up somewhere already. I saw one shot of the game set up at Cavalier in Feb. Looks incredible!

    As far as schemes go I’d say in this case an educated guess is often as far as it goes. For years people have speculated over old B/W photos guessing colours by varying shades of greys and taking pencilled dates on the backs of prints as gospel truth. In the end some of the best refference boils down to little more than an overeducated guesses. Just politely thank the rivet-counting anorack for his insight and let him go on his merry way safe in the knowledge that his guess was indeed very educated.

    single fin tails on a CANT 1007? I’ve no supplier for you but you might just get a close approximation from a CANT Z506 without the floats. I mean if you don’t want to start sawing tails off them to replace the twin fin ones.



    Avatar photoRichard Partridge


    There were a few photos included in blogs about Cavalier 2018 (or Tunbridge Wells Wargames Show). Once I’ve finished painting up the representative aircraft for a bathtub Fliegerkorps X, I’ll link them to this site.



    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Hi folks. Glad to be able to show my first lot of Regia Aeronautica at last.

    This little batch are all from Scotia Grendel. Beautiful sculpts as ever from them and a joy to paint up. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

    Fiat G50 Frechia (arrow/dart)

    Italy’s first single-seat, all-metal all-modern monoplane fighter was much celebrated for its excellent manoeuvrability when it first entered service in 1939. Despite its inadequate armament of only two machine guns and its lack of pace and range compared to contemporary rivals it was extensively used by Italian forces throughout the war in many theatres.

    Macchi MC200 Saetta (Arrow, or a flash of lightning)

    Marginally more capable than the Fiat G50 the first all modern monoplane fighter produced by Macchi was ultimately another under powered and under equipped offering. On top of that the Saetta also had a dangerous tendency to spin out of control resulting in a hurried improvement program which soon saw the development of the C.202 Folgore to replace it. However a shortage of engines for the new fighter saw the old MC200 Saetta continue in production. Over 1000 were produced almost all of which had been lost in service by the armistice of 1943.

    Macchi C.202 Folgore (Italian “thunderbolt”)
    These fast machines were sleek and deadly. A real piece of Italian style in the air.

    Unfortunately for the Regia Aeronautica that was about as far as it went. Still with a woefully insufficient compliment of only two nose-mounted machine guns (that were quite prone to jamming) combined with faulty radios and inefficient oxygen systems meant that their pilots rarely had the support needed to push these elegant fliers to success. Still, they were widely regarded as the best fighters the Italians had and were best not underestimated.

    This is the C.202 Folgore flown by Captain Franco Lucchini of 84 Squadriglia in North Affica. Lucchini was an experienced fighter pilot having flown CR.32’s over Spain, CR.42’s in North Africa, C.200’s over Malta and then C.202’s again back in Africa. An ace of some 26 victories Lucchini was amongst the most celebrated fighters of the Regia Aeronautica. On 5th July 1943 he was engaged in a massive battle in the skies over Sicily where he was shot down and killed fighting B-17s and Spitfires.

    Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (Italian for sparrowhawk)
    The true workhorse of the Regia Aeronautica and a terror for Allied shipping in the Mediterranean the SM79 carved out its place in history as one of the fastest medium bombers and deadliest torpedo bombers of the war.

    With its three engined design and notable dorsal hump the SM79 is easily recognisable and was well liked by its pilots and crew who nicknamed it il gobbo maledetto (“damned hunchback”).

    A source of much national pride for its award winning speed and ability it often flew without escort in the Spanish civil war. Their myth of invulnerability ended when the first Sparviero to be shot down fell to a Gladiator over Malta.

    Carlo Emanuele Buscaglia flew this SM79 in 1940 as part of the Italian torpedo bomber campaign in the Mediterranean. His successful attacks on HMS Kent, HMS Glasgow and HMS Illustrious amongst many other hapless Allied ships made him one of the most celebrated pilots of the Regia Aeronautica.

    Five times awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor and also the German Iron Cross second class, Buscaglia was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor after his aircraft was shot down in North Africa in November 1943.
    Though he was badly wounded and burned in the crash he survived and was taken prisoner. Buscaglia returned to Italy in July 1944 to fly with the Aeronautica Cobelligerante del Sud, but died attempting to take off in a new American-built Martin Baltimore without an instructor.
    The 3rd Wing of the current Aeronautica Militare Italiana was named after him.

    Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Italian: bat)

    Basically a militarised 30’s airliner the SM.81 Pipistrello had already proved very capable in multiple roles during the war with Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War.

    By the onset of the Second World War despite near obsolescence there were still around 300 SM.81’s in service performing various second-line duties. Its wide fuselage provided a large capacity for bomb loads on night bombing raids or for transport of goods and troops during daylight. It was one of the most flexible, reliable and important aircraft of the Regia Aeronautica.

    CANT Z.1007 Alcione (Kingfisher)
    Originally a land-based version of CANT’s record breaking trimotor float plane the Z.506 the Alcione had a disappointing start and required a good few updates and improvements before engines, airframe and armament came together into something of a capable modern medium bomber.

    The trimotor design was a common feature of Italian aircraft of World War II, mostly because the Italian aeronautical industry were having a hard time producing an engine that could put out as much power as some contemporary German or British ones. The trimotor design could provide as much power as a german twin engine design but with the added weight of a third engine.

    The wooden structure of the Z.1007 would allow the aircraft to float if it was forced to ditch in the sea but it was a nightmare in the extreme climates. Aircraft stationed in North Africa and Russia suffered badly from delamination and cracking which caused extra drag on the otherwise very narrow and streamlined airframe.

    That’s all of now folks. I have another batch on the go, this time from Heriocs & Ros. Another selection of Italian aviation should be singing your way hopefully soon.
    As always folks, many thanks for visiting the gallery and sharing my enthusiasm for tiny planes.

    Avatar photoRichard Partridge


    Congrats on some very nice paintwork on these Italians, and they really show off the different schemes they used. I have to admit that I haven’t added the House of Savoy patch to the rudder cross on mine as I think it would just come out as a horrible ‘splodge’ even if I used a fine brush – you obviously don’t have the shakes like me!


    Avatar photoPatrick

    Amazing work Dave! Fortunately I have no plans to do the Italians, because I would never be able to do that lovely camo like you do. I also enjoy the write ups on the history of the aircraft, so thanks again for the great posts!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Thanks guys. I’m glad you’re both enjoying my stuff. Historic Gallery notes and all. I like to think that knowing a little about each aircraft helps to bring them to life as much as the paint does. I knew literally nothing about Italian’s in the air before starting this project so I’m by no means an expert. I’m very much picking this all up as I go along.

    I’ll also acknowledge that as I’m only painting one or two of each aircraft and I’m not going for any particular group or any specific theatre I’m giving myself the luxury of picking and choosing whatever I like he look of to paint up for my collection.

    Its not like I’m trying to paint up a full bomber group of twelve SM.79s to this standard. So I’ve got a couple of advantages here in terms of time and variety that might not be luxuries available to other gamers with other plans. A house of Savoy badge for instance is a perfectly acceptable omission if you’re batch painting 20 aircraft in time for the weekend. That said, yellow blob with a red blob over a blue blob on top , Bob’s your uncle’s royal household.  But yes,  I’m mercifully blessed with a good steady hand. I’m very thankful.

    The sad fact is that 90% of my collection will likely never see a game.


    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    Excellent paint jobs, and mighty fast work. I wish I could git’er’done the way you do.

    Is the ‘sand’ color on those airplanes as dark as it looks in those photos? And is the blue-grey on the front of the Buscaglia SM 79 the same color that you’re using for the undersides? I ask because they’re pretty close to the ‘Italian Sand’ and ‘Blue Grey’ paints I tried, and stopped using because they looked too dark to me. But your finished planes look great.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Yeah, I’d say the G50 and the C.202 look a little darker than real life. The Bombers are all pretty  much as is. Think I just toned them down a good bit in the later stages trying to blend the camo schemes.

    I’ll start good and light on the base coat. Nice bright sandy yellow or pale drab greens, then I’ll add the pattern in darker colours, (usually some neat inks) and use a watered down version of the same over the whole lot to tone it all together, sometimes with a little highlight to brighten dark bits and often a thinned black wash to pick out sculpt detail at the end. Turns out a little dark sometimes, but then Italy is a very sunny place so all those old photos are probably over exposed! (That’s my excuse anyway)

    as for the blue grey, I’d say yes but I think the front of that SM79 was a little darker than the underside. But then most of the time I’m jut mixing colours and layering as I go so there’s no consistency in my blue grey tones at all.

    Glad you liked them and many thanks for your comments.

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Hi folks. Sorry for the long wait. (I got a bit distracted there writing and drawing) but I finally have my second batch of Regia Aeronautica to show. This time they’re all coming from Heroics & Ros whose excellent selection of 1:300 aircraft has provided some real classics to my collection. So thanks to H&R and on with the post.

    Fiat CR.32
    Italian ace Mario D’Agostini 163 Squadriglia in 1940
    The Spanish Civil War was for the Italians (as for the Germans and Russians) a proving ground for the tactics of their Air Forces and their aircraft designers and many of the lessons learned and the aircraft developed in the 30s were carried on into the Second World War. One such lesson learned by the Regia Aeronautica was courtesy of the Fiat CR.32, a robust and highly manoeuvrable biplane that had dominated the skies over Spain.

    Indeed so enduring was the reputation of this doughty little biplane that by June of 1940 when Italy declared war on France and Britain various versions of the old Fiat CR.32 still equipped two thirds of Italy’s fighter squadrons.

    Fiat CR.42 Falco
    Italy remained firmly convinced, due to the success of the CR.32 that the bi-plane would remain the unrivalled king of the sky. And so Fiat set about refining and developing a “modern” version producing the Fiat CR.42 in 1939 the last of the great bi-plane fighters.
    Although technically outclassed by faster and more heavily armed modern monoplanes the CR.42 was none the less a dangerous adversary. It soon became known for a rugged and brilliantly manoeuvrable aircraft that which while easily outpaced was better avoided than engaged in a protracted dog-fight.

    Mario Visinti was the top scoring bi-plane ace of the Second World War with 16 (some say 20) victories. He was known as a meticulous and even scientific fighter and was a recipient of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals of Military Valour. His success, charm and gallantry made him a legend following his death in 1941. Having landed safely back at his airfield following a successful mission Mario refuelled and took off in search of his wing-man Luigi (I’m not making this up!) who had been forced down by bad weather. The weather got the better of Mario Visinti who crashed on Mount Bizen.

    As the bleeding edge of aviation technology fast outstripped the already obsolete CR.42 the inevitable call of the Night Fighter beckoned and so the CR.42 found a valuable role in intercepting night bomers. One such unit was the 377th operating out of Sicily.

    CR.42 night pilots were often up there in the dark lacking a reliable radio, any kind of radar equipment and as in the case of Capitano Giorgio Graffer guns that were prone to jamming. The hapless Capitano famously resorted to ramming is target (a British A.W.38 Whitley ) before baling out. The Whitley subsequently crashed into the English Channel on the way home making this the first successful night interception by a CR.42.

    Breda Ba.65
    This old Spanish Civil War ground attack plane was already a bit long in the tooth by the outbreak of the second World War but some 150 were still in service none the less. This was thanks largely to a number of variously unsuccessful attempts by both Breda and Caproni to produce a suitable replacement, all of which ended in failure, some spectacularly so.

    The venerable Ba.65 muddled through, an easy target for British fighters in Northeast Africa and by early 1941 they had mostly all been destroyed.

    Imam Ro 57
    97• Gr. Autonomo Tuffatori Rome-1943
    A fine example of the Italian Aeronautics industry of the era the Imam Ro 57 originally designed in 1939 might have been the long range fighter Italy needed at the time, it looked fast and mean and deadly but it would be four years in the making and by 1943 standards was considered too slow, badly under-equipped and too costly to produce for all it offered.

    Produced in limited numbers as both a fighter/interceptor and a ground attack dive bomber it saw very little use and remains a largely forgotten and sadly overlooked little gem, because just look at this thing! (I mean look at a photo of the real thing as this sculpt doesn’t quite do it justice) Ah, if looks could kill…

    Piaggio P.108 Bombardiere
    In a marked departure from the Regia Aeronautica’s policy of 3 engined bombers Piaggio looked to the engineering experience of Giovanni Casiraghi whose 4 engine heavy bomber design owed much to his time in the US. (Its a kinda B-17 lookin’ thing)

    They were very expensive to produce but the numbers crunched in Piaggio’s favour as compared to the SM79 (the Regia Aeronautica’s bomber workhorse) for the same cost comparable bomb loads could be delivered by fewer P.108’s and therefore fewer crewmen would be required.

    The P.108 was a very different kind of aircraft than what the Italian pilots were used to and early test flights of P.109 prototypes were fraught with accidents including one that claimed the life of Musolini’s own son Bruno Musolini.

    Operationally the P.108B had a poor survivability record on bombing raids and saw limited use over Gibraltar, North Africa and Sicily. Before the armistice when the few remaining P.108B’s were sabotaged so as not to fall into German hands. The Transport version P.108T saw more success however in Service with the Luftwaffe evacuating encircled German Troops from Russia.

    CANT Z.501 Gabbiano a.k.a Mammaiuto “Mamma help me!”
    Once a much celebrated sea plane for its record breaking endurance and distance flying in 1934, the Z.501 by 1940 was a bit of a relic. It was however still quite useful for sea rescue and maritime reconnaissance, and submarine hunting at a pinch and was deployed in some numbers all throughout the war.

    Unfortunately for its crews though the old Gabbiano had a reputation for being something of a death trap.
    The wartime mass-produced hulls didn’t tend to hold together very well in rough seas, the engine nacelle might collapse into the cockpit if you landed too hard, the extra weight of machine gun turrets and bombs impeded the aircrafts flight characteristics considerably and resulted in a rescue plane that was very vulnerable to enemy fighters and more likely to require a rescue than to effect one. ‘Mamma Help Me’ indeed!

    The CANT Z.506 Airone (Italian: Heron) was an award winning tri-engined float-plane used for torpedo bombing, reconnaissance and Air Sea Rescue. It was an exceptionally useful and well respected aircraft that was much more rugged and reliable than the older Cant z.501. By the end of the war many Airone’s were in service on both sides and some examples continued in post war service on into 1959.

    Although in general the CANT z.506 was quite vulnerable to enemy fighters there was one man who you definitely would want in your top turret. Pietro Bonannini, a turret gunner on Cant Z.506B and Fiat RS.14 floatplanes was credited with 8 victories (4x Spitfire’s, 3x Blenheims and 1x Hurricane) and another 2 probables making him the only non-pilot flying ace of the Regia Aeronautica.

    And finally…

    My whole collection of Regia Aeronautica aircraft.

    Well I’ve had a blast painting these. What an amazing variety of aircraft and camo patterns there were to choose from. Some of these are now some of my favourites of my collection. I really knew next to nothing about the Italians in the skies of WW2 before starting this, so I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering the Regia Aeronautica with me.

    Next on the bench I’ll be looking east toward China and also doing a little investigation into the Winter War, some early Finnish and Soviets on the way there too. Watch this space for those and as ever, thanks for visiting the tiny planes gallery.

    Avatar photoPatrick

    Hi Dave, really  lovely work! The camo is amazing, but I really love that RO 57 and Z.506. They are both very sexy Italian! And, as usual, your free hand ability with a paint brush is to be envied.


    I have a lot of H and R stuff for WWI and like them very much. I would get more from Andy for WWII but nowadays the postage and handling makes it prohibitively expensive. Thank God for Scotia!

    Avatar photozippyfusenet


    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoDave Crowe

    Hi folks, long time no planes, I know.

    Apologies, i havn’t any new ones to share just yet, I have many done but photos still aren’t taken and research is as yet unfinished.


    I am however thinking of selling a few. (gasp!)

    These Luftwaffe and

    some RAF fighters to tangle with them.


    Not sure how much I could expect to fetch for them though, or how best to sell.


    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    Hiya Dave. It’s hard to predict what painted miniatures will bring. I find it’s best to set a price that suits me, and either sell them or not. A sale of toys mainly depends on whether some buyer wants those goods at that moment, usually price is a secondary consideration. If they don’t move and you really want to be rid of them, you can drop the price in a second campaign.

    I have sold off some models that I thought were superfluous to my collection, but I’ve usually wished that I still had them before too long.

    You’re in the UK, right? I rarely sell to an overseas customer because shipping costs are so high, but you never know, someone might want them enough to pay the postage. This site has a Trading Post board under the General forum. Lead Adventure Forum has a For Sale board. Both sites have a good base of UK and EU members. bartertown.com is mostly a US site, but not exclusively. There’s also a Wargames Miniatures Marketplace group on Facebook that has mostly US, some UK and EU members. All of these sites are free to advertise, although you may have to join the site as a member, but these sites are free of charge. Once you’ve worked up your ad copy, you may as well post on all of them. The Miniatures Page allows sale ads, but you have to be a paying member to post an ad.

    Wish you success.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

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