1/72 Frog/Novo Supermarine Corbeau

Gallery Article by Dave Bailey, aka The Rat on Jan 2 2015

Silly Week 2015



In post WWII Belgium, as in many other countries, priority was given to economic recovery, and colonies that had been little affected by the war were seen as sources of easy income from agriculture and natural resources. The Belgian Congo was a vast area of the central African continent that held much promise, and securing it was seen as a precursor to exploitation. There had often been rumblings of discontent among the populace, and they saw their position as one of leverage, rather than as servants to a colonial power.


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Belgium was keen to re-arm after the war, and aircraft were procured from various sources. Britain was the obvious first choice, as it was very close, the industry was still up and running, and it was in the forefront of technology. Along with Gloster Meteors, it was decided to purchase the Supermarine Attacker (re-named Corbeau = Raven), a rugged aircraft that, it was thought, could operate from unprepared forward airstrips. It was slightly de-navalised, with the arrestor hook being removed. When it came to painting, the Supermarine shop was in a bit of a quandary, because all previous Attackers were in naval camouflage. But an enterprising young man discovered the paint plans for early model Spitfires in a back room, and it was decided that they would be finished in the earlier standard green and brown on top, and Sky type ĎSí on the underside. These were the first ones sent to the Congo, but trials showed the similar weaknesses that had caused the RAF to spurn the type. The tailwheel was an obvious problem, causing deep ruts to develop in dirt fields, along with the occasional grass fire. 

Despite these issues the aircraft was generally well liked by the pilots and ground crews, and they served for a number of years until better replacements came along. Their lack of air to ground armament was a bit of a head-scratcher for many, as any potential revolutionaries were unlikely to obtain aircraft of their own, and would limit the Attackerís usefulness to little more than patrols, with occasional strafing. The type was investigated for possible conversion to photo-reconnaissance, but this was deemed to be too much trouble, and they withdrawn from service in 1955 when the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash was acquired for that role.

This was the Frog/Novo model, and shows the typical short-comings of Soviet era plastic. The canopy is thick and streaky, and the plastic is rather brittle. Despite this, it seems an easy build, and I would do one again. It was purchased from a show, partly built, and for a couple of bucks it was worth every penny (but not a penny more!). the previous owner had carved out the main landing gear bays, saving me a bit of time. I removed the solid cockpit, and scratched a minimal interior, not much can be seen through what masquerades as a canopy. The molded-on tailhook was removed, it would have been too much work to construct an acceptable one. The kitís tailwheel is a single unit, rather than the double wheel of the actual aircraft, so that was scratch built. Rather than construct a tiny little well for it, I just painted that area in interior green, looks okay from a distance. Even better if you donít look at all. The main wheel inner doors, and the tailwheel doors, were replaced with plastic sheet. If scaled up, the kit parts would be about a foot thick. The nose aerials were also a bit of scrap and some stretched sprue. Paints were mostly brushed Model Master enamels, and didnít go on very well, not impressed with them at all. The decals came from a Hobbycraft CF-100.

Dave Bailey


Photos and text © by Dave Bailey