No. 144 Squadron handley page Hampdens....

Discussion in 'Questions on Kits, Decals, Tools and Pilots' started by Lucky13, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    After buying the old vintage 172 Airfix, I've been playing with the idea of getting the Valom 1/72 Hampden, to see what's what, because I suspect that the Airfix Hampden out now, is re-pop of the old molds, right?
    This time I was thinking a No. 144 Squadron bird..

    On 11 January 1937, No 144 was re-formed at Bicester as a bomber unit and was equipped, at first, with four Boulton-Paul Overstrand aircraft (loaned by its "foster-parent", No 101 Squadron.) No. 144 was flying Handley Page Hampdens from RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire, at the outbreak of the Second World War but did not get an opportunity to do any operational work, until the war was nearly three weeks old. Then, on 26 September 1939, its chance finally came when it was ordered to despatch 12 Hampdens to search for and attack enemy naval vessels which had been reported in the North Sea. Flying in two formations of six, the Hampdens approached to within about 12 miles of the German coast but the only naval vessels sighted were two submarines-presumably of unknown nationality and the aircraft returned to base with their bomb loads intact.

    The squadron's next mission, another armed reconnaissance over the North Sea on 29 September, was a very different story indeed. Eleven Hampdens, split into two sections - a section of five led by Wing Commander JC Cunningham, the CO, and a section of six led by Squadron Leader WJH Lindley - were detailed to search part of the Heligoland Bight to within sight of the German coast. Cunningham's section left Hemswell at 4.50pm and was not heard from again. Lindley's section found two enemy destroyers in the search area steaming east in line astern at 20 knots but, owing to the destroyers' manoeuvres and "flak" umbrella, only three Hampdens were able to attack; the results were not observed. All six Hampdens returned safely to base.

    In the ensuing months the squadron "stood to" for shipping searches on several occasions but only once - on 14 December - was it required to operate; the mission was uneventful.

    The first occasion on which No, 144 Squadron flew over the German mainland was the night of 24/25 February 1940, when propaganda leaflets or Nickels were dropped on Hamburg. On 6 March, by which time it had Nickelled several other German towns and by which time also it had flown a number of security patrols, the squadron took part in Bomber Command's first attack on a German land objective - the minelaying-seaplane base at Hornum. Just over two months later (by which time minelaying had been added to its duties) No 144 shared in another notable "first" - the first big bombing attack on the German mainland (the exits of München-Gladbach).

    The Squadron continued to operate with Bomber Command until 1942, and during this period, in addition to its normal night-bombing attacks and minelaying expeditions, it occasionally undertook certain other tasks such as daylight bombing against German warships at Brest and night-intruder operations against enemy searchlight installations. One night in November 1941, one of the squadron's Hampdens bombed from a very low level and set on fire a 10,000-ton merchantman - the largest of several vessels in an enemy convoy - off the Frisian Islands. It was learned afterwards that Major-General Felix Varda, the commander of the Western anti-aircraft defences, was on board this ship and was among those killed as a result of the Hampden's attack.

    On 21 April 1942, the squadron's association with Bomber Command ended when it was transferred to Coastal Command.


    Are these 5 Hampdens still reported as missing, that's how I read this, that they disappeared....anyway to find out codes besides their PL?
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Jolly good old boy. Squadron codes were originally NV, changed to PL. There's a photo and profile of PL-J, serial number AE436, in the book I'm sending you. Also scale plans, interior shots and other useful stuff.
     
  3. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff Jan!

    The new release Airfix Hampden (which I have) is indeed the original moulding (which I also have)

    Judging by review photos, the Valom kit is better choice, with engraved panel lines, etc and better detailed bomb bay, engines and wheels (the wheels look like Italeri Ju 88 items - no kidding!).
    Formwise however I personally suspect it is a reworked Airfix kit, though they have corrected the wing tips and upper fueslage thankfully. Damn shame they're so expensive though...
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Very cool, I like the Hampden.
     
  5. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Aye! Seen from £19.99 up to £35! Did the, do the Airfix incorrect wingtips?
    Thought that it would interesting to do one of the missing Hampdens, if one could find out the codes...

    If not maybe,

    First Operational Mission in WWII:

    26th September 1939 : Armed reconnaissance over North Sea to within about 12 miles of German coast by 12 Hampdens.

    First Bombing Mission in WWII:

    29th September 1939 : 3 Hampdens bombed 2 enemy destroyers in Heligoland Bight during an armed reconnaissance.
     
  6. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    The Airfix wingtips are rounded affairs Jan, which is incorrect. They need to be squared off a bit. (Have scale plans if you need any, from one of Björn Karlström's books)

    As far as Hampden schemes go, I say ANY! Will join you when you start with a 489 (NZ) Sqn machine, Hampden TB.Mk.I XA-L in Grey/ Light blue scheme...
     
  7. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #7 Wurger, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
    I agree with Evan.

    Here the Airfix Hempden wings and the Valom one.. the Valom kit looks much better.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. woljags

    woljags Active Member

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    i've got one of these old kit to restore myself and was hoping to finish it as the hampden i saw in a scrap yard at manston in the 60,s if i can find the old avation news that showed pics etc of it
     
  9. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good Bob, be great to see you back in with a new build!

    And dzieki Wojtku, that is indeed the best comparison! Note the Valom nacelles are also better shaped than the Airfix items too.
     
  10. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Wonder how Airfix could make such a boo-boo of the wingtips?
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Jan, do you reallt think that there was a manufacturer of plastic kits who would take care of that accuracy in the past? Business is business...
     
  12. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  13. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    It is about 3,45 EUR oficially.
     
  14. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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  15. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Cheers lads! That's what I was thinking, the ones that I found at this Czech shop is the Airwaves ones...
    3.45 Eur, that should be something about £3 or thereabouts...
     
  16. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Looking at these rasin parts and their price for a set I'm wondering if it wouldn't be cheaper to cut these wing tips off , attach some of polistyrene and shape them correctly. Or use some of Milliput two-component filler or something similar to that.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Exactly Wojtku! (and good to see you back my friend! )

    For my Academy Mustang I did just that - cut the incorrect tips off and superglued spare resin blocks in place, then sanded to shape 'in situ'. Will do the same for my Airfix Hampden.
     
  18. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  19. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Don't have your expertise chaps!

    Agree, nice to you again Wojtek, my friend! :wave:
     
  20. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I don't think you don't have Jan. The correction is very easy to carry out. Do you remember Bill's work on the Zero wing tips?

    Glad to see you too. :wave:
     
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