Airmodel 1/72 Pembroke/Sea Prince
Carmel J. Attard
Basic Vacuform kit.
The military version of the civil
Percival Princess was sold abroad in fairly large numbers for training, aerial
survey, and communication duties following an intensive sale campaign. At the
time the then
was among the overseas countries to receive the Pembroke which received 33
CMk54s. These were used for training purposes as well as communication work.
Germany was also the largest overseas operator of the Pembroke in military role
in fact in due course and unlike most other countries it has camouflaged it’s
aircraft in NATO standard grey and green with day-glow
areas in its training and utility roles.
of the most prolific of vacuum manufacturers is the German firm of Airmodel.
Apart from being one of the Pioneers in this field it used to have a very
comprehensive list of complete aircraft kits and conversion kits to its credit.
Airmodel has since deviated into producing prolific resin kits in addition to
several of the earlier vac-form kits. One of the earlier releases and which is
still available is the Percival Pembroke. Although not a straight forward kit to
make and therefore represents something of a challenge even to experienced
modellers it comes at a very reasonable price and with a little alteration and
detailing it can be turned into a Pembroke up to the standard of nowadays.
By current standard the kit is
somewhat basic, lacking parts for the undercarriage and propellers. These have
to be found in the ‘Spares Box’ or otherwise manufactured from scratch. The kit
comes on a single sheet of white acetate, which carries the two fuselage halves,
4 main plane parts, 4 tail plane parts and 4 engine nacelle halves. The cockpit,
nose clear part and set of side windows for the fuselage comes in thick clear
acetate. The instruction sheet depicts an exploded view indicating how the 18
parts kit go together and also suggest four colour schemes which include two
German machines, one being silver overall finish and the other in camouflaged
form. A clear sketch of the undercarriage and propeller gives indication of
their size and shape so that one can make his own.
The Airmodel Pembroke was the
first of its type to appear on the market in kit form and being a popular
aircraft in European skies it must have been the attraction to many. I have
built three Airmodel Pembroke kits, one of which was converted to a Sea Prince
which had clipped shorter wings, while the other two were made into a C Mk 54.
The Sea Prince were based at Hal Far for a good number of years where they
served as a navigation and signals training 750 squadron, for Royal Navy new
recruits. My second
was built as all silver with day-glow areas, a type in service with the German
Navy and my more recently built one was made as a C Mk54, camouflaged and with
day-glow areas again a German Navy machine.
Just like any vac form kit, the
parts are scribed around with a sharp Exacto blade and broken away from the
sheet in the normal way. The next stage is the rubbing down, removing the excess
plastic in doing so. This is done on a piece of wet and dry paper secured to a
board. The cabin windows moulded on fuselage halves are drilled and filed out to
shape. I did not use the clear thick plastic windows provided but left them open
until a later stage to glaze them with Kristal Kleer.
engine nacelles are cut and shaped, a 9-cylinder radial engine front that was
scratch built from a plastic disc with stretch sprue cut to lengths to form the
9 cylinders. Wheel well roofs was also added to provide base for the
undercarriage oleos. The interior of fuselage is built using spare plastic from
the kit carrier sheet. Front and rear bulkheads, cabin floor, instrument panel,
all measured and cut, inserted and glued. These strengthened the whole fuselage
structure. Also added seats and crew figures all from spares. Interior was
painted light grey. Nose weight also added to a closed nose compartment. The
tail fin and rudder were of the wrong shape and what I did was I drew the
correct tail outline on a thin plastic card and inserted it in between the tail
unit so that putty is added and faired at the periphery where it showed increase
in area. Fuselage was closed and cemented using locating tabs to align the two
halves. When the tail area was attended to, surface detail in form of straight,
horizontal parallel lines were scribed on the rudder. These were repeated on the
elevators and ailerons.
Cockpit interior painted and crew inserted on their
seats. Cockpit canopy was cut and trimmed to fit. The nose Perspex incorporating
a part of the forward nose area was fitted. This component came from a spare
nose that came with the Special Hobby kit and replaced the vac for kit one, as
it was too narrow. Again this was faired using Plasto putty. The engine nacelles
were too small at the rear and were each built up with plastic card and faired
with putty so that the shape conforms to the profile appearing on the issue of
Aviation News. To provide a rigid wing to fuselage joint a wing spar made by
cutting a section from plastic sheet aprox 85mmx 5mm depth. Slots cut in wing
shoulder at their thicker spot and the spar is pushed through and glued at right
angles to the fuselage. The spar now serves to locate port and starboard wings,
which were then glued to the fuselage making sure there is correct alignment.
Port and starboard tail-planes also added and the engine nacelles, with reshaped
rear, are cemented in place. The undercarriage that was made out of sprue of
correct thickness and wheels added etc was stuck in place in the nacelles and
nose area. Only small wheel well doors for all three undercarriage legs remain
open, doors being made from thin plastic card. Propeller blades were cut from
plastic card and the hub was shaped from a thick sprue using a file and these
were assembled to form two 3-bladed propellers.
Three Airmodel Pembroke kits were
built over time. One was completed as a Sea Prince
with code 666 on the forward fuselage and HF base letters indicating it was a
750 Squadron based at Hal-Far,
Sea Princes were a very common sight in
sometimes flying in a formation of 6 aircraft, other times in pairs or single.
In 1964-65 I have logged several landing at Hal-Luqa airfield:
Prince WM738 ‘674’ HF
Prince WP320 ‘669’ HF
Sea Prince WF120 ‘665’ HF
Prince WF118 ‘667’ HF
Sea Prince WM735 ‘666’HF
Sea Prince WP320 ‘669’ HF
The type were painted in white top
of fuselage and the rest silver with day-glow areas at wing tips main planes,
and tail planes, nose area and fin and aft fuselage. There were two types. A
different version with a small thimble nose front was overall silver with old
style yellow trainer bands to wings and aft fuselage. I opted for the other
colorscheme. Decals came from an assortment of ‘Model Decal’ sheets.
The other two kits built as
Pembroke CMk54 of German Navy, one being silver overall with day-glow areas as
depicted in an early colorscheme and the other was in Nato dark grey and dark
green upper and silver grey under surfaces. XA1004Dark Sea Grey and XA1004 Dark
Green, Xtracrylic brand, were used for the camouflage version. I have on two
occasions spotted German Navy
Pembrokes landing at Hal-Luqa and these were:
29.6.65 Pembroke Mk 54 BF-562
Pembroke Mk 54 AS-551.
Decals for SE-514 were acquired
from the spares in Escadron kit.
The kit was given a coat of Future
and finally airbrushed in semi gloss Model Master lacquer. In the end Kristal
Kleer glazed the fuselage side windows.
Three Pembroke kits completed as
indicated above will now join the other two, a Belgian and another in RAF 60 Sq.
that I made earlier. This completes a chapter giving a tribute to a long time
type that was based and visited
Aviation News Vol5 No16
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