Hallam Vac 1/72 Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer CC.1

KIT #: 503
PRICE: $?
DECALS: options
REVIEWER: Carmel Attard
NOTES: Vacuform kit

HISTORY

The prototype Twin Pioneer G-ANTP made its first flight 46 years ago  (25-6-55) and an order of 20 type CC.1 was placed by the Air Ministry which was later increased to 39 with the final seven being type CC.2, which had structural modifications. Originally the two power plants consisted of Leonidas 514 engines (550 HP). These were later replaced with Leonidas 531s (640HP). The first CC.1 series flew on 29-8-57 and trials were carried out at A&AEE at Boscombe Down, followed by other trials in tropical terrain and conditions.

 In August 1959 78 Sq at Khormaksar received some Twin Pioneers to supplement its single engine Pioneers and by August 59 it completely re-equipped with the Twin type. The Twin Pioneers were busily engaged in moving troops and supplies around the wilderness and on occasions, lending support to the Sultan of Oman who was facing a similar problem with incursions into Oman and Muscat.  A series of double engine failures caused problems with No 78 Sq. losing two aircraft on the same day. Unsuitable soft/ hard landing strips were also causes of failures during landings. 

Other squadrons that operated the twin Pioneers were No.152 Sq based at Muharraq in Bahrain: No.21 Sq, which reformed with the types at Benson in May 1959. The squadron then moved to Kenya and in June 1965 to Aden. No 152 operated around the Persian Gulf and in 1959 No.209 Sq based at Seletar  began to receive Twin Pioneers. These operated in Borneo and Malaya. Finally the last of Twin Pioneer operators was No.230 in the UK. These operated the type in interesting  camouflage colourscheme. The SRCU 9Short Range Conversion Unit) at Odiham also flew three Twin Pioneers for training of aircrews. 

Twin Pioneer XM961, the subject of the scale model assembled represents one from the SRCU squadron, while XL993, which is the subject issued in the decal which is supplied with the Hallam-Vac kit was also attached to this squadron in later life until it was preserved for the RAF Cosford Aerospace Museum after representing the Twin Force at the Royal Review at Abington in 1968. The Royal Malay Air Force also received 14 Twin Pioneers.

Interesting past movements and fate of typical Twin Pioneers that were spotted landing at Hal-Luqa airfield in Malta circa 1965-66.

Serial No            Date landed        Occasion                                             Service history and fate

XL968                 25-10-66           On transit 21Sq to UK                        AAEE, 21, 78,21   SOC 18-12-67

XM957                -------65            To   27 MU, ex21 For Storage            78,21,AAEE, 209

XL992                 3-7-65               from Khormaksar                                SOC 30-10-68

XM963                24-7-65             on transit 21Sq to UK                         21,78,21,209, SOC 14-8-68

XM939                2-9-65               From Aden to UK                                SOC   9-10-68

XM940                7-10-65             on transit 21Sq to UK                          230, SF Odiham , SRCU,  

“ “  “  “                                                                                                       78,21,152, SOC 30-10-68

XL-993                29-9-66             on transit 21Sq to UK, SMU               78,21,TO 8388m 6-2-69

“ “  “ “                                                                                                         Preserved   in RAF Museum

XL991                 10-6-65              on transit 78Sq to 27MU                     FSS, 78,209, Ditched in Malaya

 “ “ “ “                                                                                                          On    29-9-67

XM286                20-5-65              in 152 Sq markings                              78,152,21,152, SOC 30-10-68

 

Twin Pioneer CC1 and CC2 squadron operational history period

No 21 Sq,  Eastleigh and Khormaksar                                May59-Sep67
No 78 Sq,  Khormaksar                                                       Oct 58-Jun 65
No 152 Sq, Muharraq                                                          Dec 58-Sep 67
No 209 Sq, Seletar                                                               Mar59-Dec68
No 230 Sq, Odiham                                                             
Jan 60-Dec 61

THE KIT

Hallam-Vac, the vac form kit manufacturer and is well known for the release of original kit subjects has produced a very accurate scale model of the Twin Pioneer CC1. (Pattern No. 503). Several of the twin engine type of communication aircraft like the Valetta, Pembroke, Twin Pioneer and even French ones like the Flamant and the Coarse SO40, make such interesting subjects, yet are never tackled by the known plastic injection kit manufacturers. Thanks to Hallam-Vac for filling these gaps with true scale, nostalgic kits like the Twin Pioneer, Brigand, and Welkin etc. 

The Twin Pioneer kit mainly consists of white vac form plastic comprising fuselage halves, mainplane and tail plane parts, fin and rudder pieces, engine nacelle parts, and a very clear cockpit canopy that contain fine impressions to assist with painting of the outline of window frames. The front engine cowling with all the details of the front engine interior, propellers, fine undercarriage legs, wheels, parts for air intakes, and tail wheels are all produced in white metal. These had the minimum of flash apart from the joint lines, which are inevitable with cast parts but again are very minute and easily filed down with a smooth needle file.

 The plastic parts of the scale model are very accurate, measuring 7.54 inches in overall length, having a wingspan of 12.75. This means that the kit appears to be slightly more accurate in overall dimensions than the four view scale drawings supplied with the kit, which works out some 3/32 inches oversize in span. A clear strip of acetate is supplied for use with side windows, which is fitted in place from the inside of the model. However as customary with me when making vacform kits of this type, I preferred to fill the cut and shaped windows with Kristal Kleer liquid. In spite of the slightly oversize in wing span the scale plans proved to be very helpful for shaping accurately the parts and check with them. One may have to make one's own judgment and assume the placing of smaller parts as aerials and antennae, which do not always appear on the plan view. Making reference to photos of the real aircraft makes the process much easier. For that benefit I am submitting a  close up photo to indicate the size and position of the upper forward fuselage antennae. These small pieces are made from the excess plastic that accompany the vacform kit. 

An assembly drawing is also provided, and though not drawn to the correct prospective it is easy to follow to put the main parts together. However there is not the slightest indication as to the cockpit interior layout, seating arrangement etc. The clear cockpit canopy provided yearns for such details. I did some homework on this area and took some pictures with the hope that it can be of use to refer to. Additional parts such as control gear, rudder bars, seats, fire extinguisher, front coming and instrument panel, central console etc. were all made from scratch using plastic card and stretch- sprue items.

CONSTRUCTION

 In order to reinforce the wings I have found it suitable to insert pieces of sprue of the correct thickness in between the wing parts at the leading edge area. Thus the wide wingspan became sturdier with little chance of sagging in warm weather. I have used this method on my Rareplanes kit of the NA Savage and it worked miracles and retained its firm straight wing shape. One should not leave out the aileron trim tab, which with no intent seemed to have been overlooked. These are very clearly indicated on the plans and can very easily be added to both sides of the wings ailerons, being tapered at the rear with a smooth file upon drying. Plastic pieces are provided to shape out the main wheel supports and “Contrail” rod parts are recommended for the outer wing u/c supports. Incidentally, I got these Contrail rods set from Aeroclub some time ago and these are a must for likewise vacform kit modelers. These I found very handy and readily available for operations of this sort. 

Now comes the tricky part. When the aircraft is viewed from the front, the fuselage brackets that support also the wheels arrangement looks slightly tilted downwards as you go away from the fuselage. This tilt is very important to produce onto the kit itself when fitting these parts because this may be the deciding factor for the final overall “sit” of the finished true scale model itself. There are two other stages that would need more than the Norman observation during assembly. The first of these is the correct positioning of the tailplane and checking it from time to time during the process of drying. This is a simple task but is very rewarding. All it amounts to is to align the leading edge of the tail plane exactly at 90 degrees to the centreline (joint line) of the fuselage halves. As for the level of the tail planes these should be at the same straight level to the leading edge of the main planes, i.e. one behind the other, when these are viewed from the front.

 The other somewhat tricky part concerns the fitting of the fin and rudder parts at its right place with the tail planes ends. Once the oval fin and rudder parts have dried, reference is now made to the port side view of the scale plans provided with the kit. A datum line is drawn or marked in pencil the inner face of the port fin and rudder piece. This so called datum line which also corresponds with another one marked on the inner face of the starboard fin and rudder piece will now serve as a guide when it comes to assemble the parts together on the tail plane ends. Having followed this sequence there you have a perfectly aligned and accurate tail unit assembly from the first attempt. 

The final part is adding the eight or so tiny aerials, antennae etc and the rest of the white metal parts in their respective place. Two tiny outlets can be added to both sides of the under cowling air intakes and wing tip light clear parts are shaped and fitted to wing tip corners.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 Assuming all the parts are all fitted in place and the cockpit area has been painted and dried out now comes the decision as to which colour scheme you want to finish the model. In my case the Hallam-vac kit was supplied with a double identical decal sheet for a sand-dark earth camouflaged aircraft with black under surfaces. I should have elected to do this colour scheme as the Twin Pioneer XL993 was one of those I have seen in Malta and photographed myself though in a different livery of white and silver scheme, (see photo taken on 29-9-66) but it is my custom to suggest a more colourful finish with models that I do. So my fancy went for XM961 during the time it served with the Short Range Conversion Unit in the UK. This Twin Pioneer also carried the same camouflage colours but with a difference that it had light aircraft grey undersides and black serial numbers under wing and on fuselage sides. But best of all it carried high visibility dayglo orange wing tip areas, tailfin areas and trailing edge of tail plane areas.

 Even before the kit was airbrushed in the various colours, the assembled kit with all the putty at joint lines sanded down, surface detail refreshed and with a base coat of matt light grey paint, the kit looked just right and of correct proportions when compared with photos of the actual machine. I must also add that although I have not made the other kit of same aircraft produced to 1/144 scale but one thing I can say is that having seen good photos of this smaller scale kit, the Hallam-Vac model is much more convincing of the two and definitely closer in appearance to the life size immortal Twin Pioneer. An excellent kit of this workhorse with a long service history overseas in RAF service in particular.

 The Royal Malay Air Force has also used the Twin Pioneer in service. Appropriate Malay decals also appear on the market from time to time. What I can suggest is that way back in 1969, Frog used to have a good kit of the HP Herald in the RMAF markings and I believe that these markings fit exactly to the Twin Pioneer. I know because I have bought the Herald from Woolworth of Bellingham, Teesside,UK way back  in 1969.

CONCLUSIONS

 Having made the Twin Pioneer kit, this is now placed next to my other kits of the Valetta, Sea Prince and Pembroke and among them they recall a vast period of RAF history and experience that are difficult to recall in books. Only those who lived it or were near enough to be fascinated by the sound of the piston radial engine coming out of these aircraft or rather milestones of communication type of aircraft, would know what I mean.

Carmel Attard

January 2005

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page