1/48 Classic Airframes 

Supermarine Walrus

by Barney Dunlevy

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There are very few options for finishing the Walrus, its either WW2 camouflage or nothing…Oh Yah!  During the late 1940s, Kenting Aviation, a photo-survey company, utilized a Walrus MkII on the Labrador coast and because I like doing odd-ball models, this looked like a natural for me.  The following photo is not one of my digital fun things but the rear cover from the Canadian Aviation Historical Society magazine.

The Kit 

The kit is very well cast in grey styrene with plenty of small resin parts to really get your blood pressure up.  And a riggers nightmare!  For the most part the kit went together with few problems…until I tried gluing up the engine nacelle and the eight struts that hold the nacelle and centre section of the upper wing.   

My kit nacelle did not have any locating marks on it for the struts and of course there were no locating pins on any of the struts.  After studying a few photographs of the Walrus, I  eventually glued the struts to the nacelle then while the joints were still soft, I glued the struts to the fuselage top, twisting things to get the correct angles.

With that bit of frustration over, I glued the lower wing, horizontal tail and rudder in place…the upper wing was assembled but left off for painting. 

The nacelle to fuselage rigging was installed using fine steel wire inserted into pre-drilled holes   One very time consuming bit of work was cleaning up the small resin tear-drop shaped fairings for the wing rigging, sixteen in all.  And each one the size of a gnats eyeball.

Click on image below to see larger image

Click on image below to see larger image

The fuselage colour was in question, grey or dull aluminum dope…As I had seen in a number of post WW2 aircraft, aluminum dope was the quick and easy way of covering the hull which was wood with fabric covering.  I mixed Polly Scale Medium Sea Grey and Dull Aluminum until it looked close.  The yellow areas were then masked and the fuselage was sprayed with the mixture. 

The bottom of the hull, wing tip floats and wheel hubs were painted with Model Master Acrylic Guards Red lightened with a bit of yellow.

The wheels were painted with a dark grey Polly Scale mixture of Ocean Grey and Black. 

Final Assembly

 

With the model painted, it was time to get at the upper wing, wing tip floats and undercarriage.  The fuselage was jigged up in a small vise, then the interplane struts were installed and while the glue was setting up, I glued the top wing in place and ensured that it was properly aligned with the lower wing.  The centre section upper struts were then glued in place, as close as I could get them keeping in mind there were no locating marks.

The wing tip floats were installed and it was time to tackle the rigging.  Pre-drilling made the job a lot easier and the steel wire was much easier to handle than stretched sprue.

Click on image below to see larger image

Click on image below to see larger image

The engine and prop were finished and attached to the nacelle and the landing gear was installed at the same time.  Because of the lack of locator marks on the nacelle, the engine did not fit quite right but that is one of the problems with limited run kits. 

I added the rear hatch cover, bird cage canopy and a few other bits and then it was time to decal the beast.  I was going to try using Bare Metal Decal Paper in my Epson Inkjet printer but then all that work was taken over by Gordon Parker of Whiskeyjack Decals.

Decals 

Gordon Parker has been producing  Whiskeyjack decals for some time and his specialty is Canadian airlines and “bush” operators.  I visited his home/office in Chilliwack, BC to get a close-up look at his product line.  Gord does all of the artwork using Coreldraw and the printing is done on an Alps printer. 

The decals for the Walrus are part of a sheet of other Kenting Aviation aircraft which include a very colourful B-17 and the Sea Hornet, all of which were used for airbourne photography of  Northern Canada after WW2.

Click on images below to see larger images

As can be seen in the above photos, the markings are very sharp with a thin black outline.  With the Alps printed decals you have to be very careful in handling, and with that in mind I coated the markings with a brushed coat of MicroScale Decal Film.  Using  Testors Decal Setting Solution, the decals were slipped into place and when dry, the clear carrier was virtually invisible.

The quality of the artwork and printing is extremely good and if you are interested in Canadian civil models, then I can recommend Whiskeyjack decals.  Gord Parker can be reached at gorlem@shaw.ca .

Conclusion 

The Walrus served with distinction during WW2 as an Air/Sea Rescue aircraft both in Europe and in Canada.  After the war, those that were still serviceable were put to use as can be seen here. 

The kit has some short-comings but nothing that a bit of modelling skills and patience can’t overcome to get a good looking model. 

The Whiskeyjack Decals were of very high quality and a product that you might want to have a look at.

Barney

Photos and text © by Barney Dunlevy