A Second Childhood…?

This is a story with a rather complicated beginning…

About a month ago, I was in Antwerp with my girlfriend, we went to the docks to see some of the entrants for the 2010 Tall Ships Race. Some of those there were of the old, wooden variety, and, having visited a Tintin shop earlier in the day (well, we were in Belgium, I practically had to…!) a number of things began to collide in my memory.

The sight of these ships, along with the Tintin influence, reminded me of ‘The Secret Of The Unicorn’ in which parts of a map revealing the location of buried treasure are hidden in the hollow masts of models of a ship, The Unicorn. This in turn made me yearn for the models I used to build as a kid.

Not long after that, I was in Bluewater, and spotted ModelZone. In there, I bought myself a model Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which I put together¬† a few days ago. [Edit: I’ve lost the photo somewhere on the internet, sorry!]

I chose the Lightning because I like its unusual design. Instead of the traditional single fuselage with two wings sticking out each side, it has the shortened central nacelle and twin booms either side, each housing an engine and attached to the tail.

For some reason, I particularly like World War 2 aircraft. I think it’s because I find the World War 1 planes too flimsy-looking, and modern jets are less eye-catching somehow.

I have already decided on my next two models. Both are German planes from WW2, both are non-combative (as I see it anyway – though both were armed, primarily for defence) and they are both from the same company; Blohm und Voss.

The first is the Blohm und Voss BV222, a massive flying-boat, and it is claimed to be the largest flying-boat to enter service in WW2. It had six engines, and looked like this:

Blohm und Voss BV222

Blohm und Voss BV222

In fact, this page is an account of someone else building the same model I’m about to attempt.

I also have a particular liking for flying-boats, and remember building a Short Sunderland as a youngster, though that model is no longer around (I had a tendency to sit on them a few weeks after they were built).

The second of the two is the BV141. This is possibly the most unusual aircraft I have ever seen. For a start, it’s asymmetric. Now this seems to go against everything my limited understanding of aerodynamics would consider to be necessary. How can something asymmetric fly? Wouldn’t it be unbalanced? Well, apparently, I’m not alone in thinking so – it is claimed that the German authorities were reluctant to accept the design on account of its bizarre shape.

Blohm und Voss BV141

Blohm und Voss BV141. The most asymmetric plane ever, apparently.

Note that the tail wing isn’t symmetrical either, in order to properly balance the plane.

I’ve chosen each of these as they have something unique about them. I find these far more interesting than the likes of the Spitfire or Hurricane, Messerschmitt Bf 109 or Mitsubishi Zero, all of which followed the same basic template with only the minor details changed.

I’ll post more photos as my models progress.

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