De Havilland Comet, Bill Matthews, 1/72 Airfix kit


The comet is well known for its part in the MacRobertson England-Australia race of 1934. Three Comets competed in the MacRobertson race, G-ACSP (black), 'SR (green) and 'SS (red). The latter won the race, and 99.9% of the Comet models are finished in red. Just to be different, I made mine as 'SR in green. 'SR arrived a day late in 4th place having lost its way, but turned almost straight round, and set a record for the out-and-home time. It was sold to France, and is believed to have been destroyed in a hangar fire in 1940. The kit is by Airfix, and is in 1/72 scale. It was first issued in 1957 (!) and has been re-issued many times. It is a crude kit by later standards with a number of inaccuracies and ill-fitting parts. First, I made a new canopy, as the one in the kit was far too thick. I then made a full cockpit interior, complete with instruments etc. The information for this was taken from a cutaway drawing in Air Enthusiast issue 10. The Comet had a one-piece wing whereas those in the kit are separate. Correcting this involved a lot of filing and filling. The engine nacelles were reshaped, and bearings made to allow the propellers to spin freely. The airflow exhausts above the wing were cut out, as were the oil cooler grilles in the sides of the nacelles. Bulkheads and rudimentary engines were fitted inside the nacelles. The wheels came from my spares box. The tailplanes were on different levels, and this was corrected. A transparent landing light was fitted to the nose, and small discs on the fronts of the prop spinners. These changed the pitch of the props. When complete, the model was sprayed green overall, and the paint polished to a high gloss.

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