Back in July I took a trip to Cosford to see some large scale model aircraft flying. The season is over now and instead the owners are hard at work building more models. This means it’s time for the same association’s exhibition at the Gaydon Motor Museum. This is less than 10 miles from me and I’ve always wanted to go so it seemed like a good excuse to kill two birds with one stone.
The museum costs £9 to enter but this ticket makes you a member and allows repeat visits for a year. Great value is you like classic cars, especially British ones. Not being flush with time I had a quick look around and decided a return visit was in order. Just to whet your appetites, there is an MGB sliced in half length ways and several racing cars from eras when they looked like racing cars, as well as prototypes and oddball motors from years ago.
The exhibition was on the first floor accessed up a curved staircase, in the middle of which was the fantastic Vanguard I’d seen in the air. Close up it’s even more impressive as the thing is massive.
Upstairs the real reason I wanted to visit was found. While Cosford had flying models, Gaydon has half finished ones and these are fascinating.
First though, a chat with the owner of an English Electric Lightning. The wingspan is a model 8ft but since they are swept wings, you still end up with an impressively huge model. Naively I asked what provided the power and was introduced via a hatch at the back to a pair of real live jet engines. Surprisingly small they gobble 1 gallon of fuel every 9 minutes at full chat (look a technical term, do you like how I’m getting the lingo ?). The model splits into three sections and just fits in a van for transport.
Next door though was a real beast. A Vulcan bomber. When complete it will have a 20ft wingspan. Made of wood (in fact all of the models were wood covered with more wood except those WW1 jobbies covered in material) the big surprise was that it is a kit. All the parts are laser cut, although you need to do a bit more than simply slot and glue them together to achieve a finished model. Imagine that next time someone moans about your unbuilt kit collection – “Well I could cut back to just two or three…”
Further down the line was a team building a DC10 refueling plane. One of the wings was on display and wired up so visitors could watch the correctly operating flaps. Amazing engineering as these tilt and slide exactly as they would on the real plane.
I wandered around enjoying close quarter examination of models that I had seen before and many that I hadn’t. They are a heck of a lot bigger close up, especially the half scale tiger moth. Rather than ramble on I’ll let the pictures do the talking. I’ve still no real desire to have a go but have even more admiration for those who put all of this effort in knowing that at some point they will have to point it up in the air, and even worse point it back at the ground again for landing.
Large Model Association website (stop sniggering at the back it's aeroplanes)
Heritage Motor Centre