Sunday, December 6, 2015

Queen of the North Sea sky

We often think of the air war in the Great War as one between dueling individuals. “Knights of the Air” atop their aerial steeds sparring in combat over the muddy trenches. It was the origin of the fighter pilot mythology – one man risking it all in battle with a gallant foe. As with many things the reality was much more complicated. The air war over the trenches was fought for specific aims – air photo reconnaissance, artillery observation and bombing. 

But a second, less glamorous air war existed. One that was as important – if not more important – to the ultimate outcome of the war. That was the air war at sea.  While naval aviation had no direct effect in the rare battles between the fleets, aviation was critical in the areas of naval patrol and interdiction. Airships and aircraft of both sides patrolled the North Sea on the hunt for u-boats, enemy aircraft – including airships, light coastal craft, warships and mine layers. In a defensive role, they escorted their own forces through dangerous waters. 

By late 1916 The Felixstowe flying boats were the premier patrol aircraft in the North Sea. Possessing great range, a good bomb load and impressive armament for the day, these aircraft were the Queens of the North Sea sky. 

Overhead view - roundels from Dom's Decals.

Felixstowe F2 early model ready for action. The red lines on the base denote various firing arcs.

Wings of War included the Felixstowe F2 (And Curtiss H-12) in the expansion game “Flight of the Giants”. You thought the Caproni and Gotha were big – think again! The Felixstowe is huge with a broadside of enough machineguns to make any German pilot think twice about engaging in combat. So much so, that the Germans would throw flights of W12 and W29 at a Felixstowe to even the odds a bit.  

Several nice models of the Felixstowe can be had from Shapeways from either Decapod or Colinwe. I ordered mine in the standard White, Strong and Flexible material. The model is an impressive piece of resin. The wingspan actually exceeds the length of the range ruler for the Wings of Glory game.
I didn’t model a specific historical paint scheme for this aircraft. Many of the planes were painted in a dazzle paint scheme. It was not as much camouflage as it was a colorful easily identifiable pattern to help identify a plane. Unfortunately this is something that is beyond my skill set to paint. 

Good port quarter shot of the model.

I went with a fairly bland combination of PC 10 for the fuselage and camel for the wings. It’s a fairly conventional scheme. To make it somewhat unique, I used decals from a variety of sources to put identification marks and symbols on the aircraft hull. 

The flag was scavenged from a set of decals for an Avro CF-105 kit.

Good shot of the magnets joining the model to the flight peg. The grain of the White Strong and Flexible surface is visible here, but when back up to normal game viewing distances the grain fades from view.

A strong rare earth magnet was attached to the bottom of the hull and paired with a magnet on the flight peg. This ensures the plane is not likely to tip over or fall off it’s stand. The magnets came from K&J Magnetics

The base ships without color. I had to paint all the lines and text. This is easy - the lines are laser cut and a paper backing protects the surface of the base while you paint. In hindsight - white is a better color choice for the altitude numbers on the acrylic base. The black numbers fade into the playing mat when not on the straw colored field,

The custom base is a product of the Aerodrome store

I know - I can't paint a straight line. 

Now to get this beast onto a table for a game!


  1. Your planes continue to amaze!

  2. Nothing fancy here - just time and patience. The real work is getting the seal coat down on the WSF. That just took repeated coats of clear gloss spray paint and some light sanding.