Saturday, 8 August 2015

Flying wheelbarrows

There are several aircraft of a particular style or design, used for both turbo-prop and jet engine planes, with twin tail-booms in a basic fuselage shape that’s nicknamed the ‘wheelbarrow’, for obvious reasons.
The De Havilland FB.9 Vampire was an RAF fighter made in the 1950s. It name fits a plane that looks like a fang-tailed devil. The diecast and plastic model is by Amercom in scale 1:72.  

Nicknamed the ‘fork-tailed devil’, American fighter the Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a lovely silvery model (scale 1:72) with some neat detailing, but I dislike the stand (with a tilt), produced by Oxford Diecast. Most disappointing, in terms of build-quality, is that the propellers are fixed. Even far cheaper, and comparatively tiny, model planes by Corgi - and others - have turning props.  

Armstrong Whitworth AW660 Argosy - was used as an RAF support command plane. A cargo transporter with a rear ramp access, this is notable for perhaps the first of its kind to be nicknamed a ‘whistling wheelbarrow’. The Amercom model is 1:200 scale.  

French air force transport the Nord N2501 Noratlas had clam-shell doors at the back instead of just a ramp built into the fuselage. This diecast model is by Atlas Editions (at a scale of 1:144), and the detail is only basic with static propellers. 

American cargo plane the Fairchild C-119, nicknamed a ‘flying boxcar’, was also used by the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare). The diecast model that I have is from Italeri, in 1:200 scale. 

Disney’s animated movie Planes: Fire & Rescue has a Fairchild C-119 as the character named Cabbie. 

A Royal Navy jet-fighter, the De Havilland 110 Sea Vixen is a large (21cm wingspan) diecast model, of merely average mostly-plastic quality in 1:72 scale, from Altaya.

Italian bi-plane Caproni Ca.3 was a heavy bomber of WW1. Its three engines included a pusher situated behind the pilot, and combo of twin booms and three tail-fins make the aircraft seem like an oddly flimsy kite design by later standards.    

Still on my wants list is the WW2 night fighter, Northrop P-61 Black Widow, produced by Air Force 1 (scale 1:72), in top quality diecast but, so far, it’s hideously expensive.