1/72 Buzzby

Gallery Article by Mark Miller

Silly Week 2004



Please see the full back story on the 1/72 Shenkley write-up. Suffice it to say the Germans and the British are working together to combat the ever-threatening Japanese/American alliance. The one break in the hard and bitter fighting comes from the sponsorship of the neutral country of Russia. Every year a race is held, in the name of advancing the technology of flight. The large and insurmountable borders of Russia
provide the perfect setting for the warring parties to meet and compete in a non-threatening manner. Much like the Olympics, however, the annual victors took much pride (and a great morale boost for their fighting soldiers) when they won the race. 

Click on images below to see larger images

The design was intended to shock the as-yet-jet-free Americans and their Japanese allies. There had been jet racers previously, but they had been large and bulky, and the engines took up much room. That was before the British and German engineers shared their extensive jet knowledge with each other. Together they came up with revolutionary new designs. This design separates the stages of the compression and ignition of the incoming and outgoing air. Thus the pilots sits "in" the engine. While it is "armed" with 2x30mm cannon, the prime choice of the European fighters for downing long range B24s bombing England from Iceland, the actual guns are removed and barrel placeholders are put in their place.  This was a constant threat that this plane may be seen next time attacking, rather than racing. It was a common practice at these races.
It backfired when the performance of a plane was sub-par.

Because of the already compressed size of the engine, this plane had to be kept small and light. The landing gear was greatly simplified. To save space in the already narrow wings and cowling, the gear was designed to retract half-way. The performance loss was negligible, and that, along with an intentionally old-fashioned canopy style, were
intended to show the Japanese/Americans that even an old-fashioned design can outperform their most modern ones.

Note that the races are all low-level, and as such it was felt that a pressurized cockpit was not necessary. The cockpit was left open in the rear, a trait that the British/German designers picked up from their democratic Italian allies.

The kits are two RoG 1/72 WW2 fighters. One is British the other German.  If you have not already guessed, they are a Hurricane and a Fw190. I took the dive brakes from an old Pe-2 kit. I took the burner can from an old F-18.

I had originally wanted to build the Buzzby more than the Shenkley. I thought it would really be cool to make a jet from the propeller-less nose cowling of a Fw190. It just looked like a get intake, especially with the cooling compressor blades in place. It took some work. I thought that this would look really fabulous and the other (the leftover parts, which made up the Shenkley) would be a so-so plane. Then I really got into the other plane! hah! I made landing gear wells and redesigned the gear off the Hurricane, and got carried away, mostly because I could NOT figure out how to make the exhaust of the Buzzby! I finally found I had an old F-18 burner can and used that, to great satisfaction (fit perfectly, almost).   

So I was able to make the Buzzby. However I had no gear! The Fw190 gear was no longer intact. Over the years it had broken off. I used some old large wheels from a Bv141B and put the tail wheel from the Hurricane under the nose.

Look for my
1/72 Shenkley, as well!

Mark Miller

Photos and text by Mark Miller