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1/72 Airfix Folland Gnat target drone

Gallery Article by Dave Bailey, aka "The Rat" on Jan 4 2012

Silly Week 2012

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As the venerable Gnat neared the end of its service life a decision was made that they should, for the most part, go out in a blaze of glory rather than suffer the ignominy of being melted down. Ejection seats were removed in order to lessen any danger to civilians should a drone crash in a recoverable area, and ballast installed. The wing tanks were also saved for scrap value, as they would not be necessary on a short one-way flight.

 

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There were a few teary eyes in the aircraft which shot them down, as most of the pilots had trained on some of these. But all agreed that it was a better end than becoming pots and pans.

This was the old Airfix kit, picked up at a show for a couple of bucks. The only piece missing was the nose glazing, and after messing about with this kit I almost wish that all the rest of the bits had gone missing too. But I persevered perversely, and finally won the battle. The nose glazing was replaced with a piece of clear sprue which was filed, sanded, and polished to shape, and the cockpit was blanked off with sheet styrene, as were the intake ducts. A cheap imitation of a Sidewinder was located in the spares box, it was painted the standard gloss white with the distinctive 'rollerons' picked out in silver. A hole was drilled in the Gnat for the nose of the missile, and a hole was drilled in the missile's tail for the 'flame'. This was a toothpick which was painted yellow for the hot flame at the immediate end, red for the cooler flame further back, and cotton wool was used to imitate smoke. I honestly can't recall if the Sidewinder has a smokeless flame or not, and I don't really care, because first, smoke looks cool, second it's a 'what if', and third, MFM! The decals were extremely fragile, and applying them was 'touch and go' for a while, but I finally got them mostly in place without them turning to dust. The ejection seat decals were left off as I may want to use them on something else some day. Rather than try to replicate buckled metal at the impact point I decided that this soon after impact there wouldn't be any, so there. Any JMNs who disagree will be summarily ignored.

Dave Bailey, aka "The Rat"

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Photos and text by Dave Bailey, aka "The Rat"

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