Interesting Prototypes
Dassault Mirage I – Saunders Roe SR A/1 – Aichi B7A1 (Grace)

To save myself the confusion of last week I this week locked myself in the Experimental and Prototype Gallery because I think that is where the most interesting aircraft shapes are to be found. This made finding three interesting aircraft easier, but not too easy because there are some really exotic and interesting aircraft in there.

Let’s begin by looking at the Dassault Mirage I. It began as an experimental Mystere but had changed so much that it was renamed Mirage. It was designed in the period when nations were trying to develop high speed interceptors to defeat enemy bombers carrying atomic weapons so it had to be able to climb fast and fly fast. This aircraft led to the development of the famous Mirage III.

This model was made from one of the Dujin 1/72 resin kits. It’s a little difficult to make but this is the only kit of this aircraft so far as I know so you have to stick with it. One point is to ensure the surface is perfectly smooth so the metallic finish doesn’t show any flaws

If you haven’t been over to the Special Displays recently you can find a new one there about the evolution of the Kawanishi N1K fighters. The first of them, the Rex, was designed for the same purpose as this Saunders Roe SR A/1, to create a floatplane fighter that could operate free from the restrictions of land bases or carriers. Like the Rex, however, this aircraft was not a success because there was no longer a role for it when it was ready to fly.

This is an old ID Models vacform kit that dates from 1982. All this kit comprised was a sheet of plastic card with some lumps moulded in it but, back when I made this, nobody could imagine that anyone would ever make a resin kit of it. They did, and if you can find the Planet 1/72 kit of this I’d recommend it because it has to be easier to build and more detailed than this kit.

The other aircraft to catch my eye was the Japanese Aichi B7A1 (Grace). How could it not, being painted in the bright yellow scheme of Japanese experimental aircraft. It was a powerful looking attack aircraft that came too late to have any significant effect on the course of the war. Perhaps that’s just as well.

This is an injection moulded Fujimi kit and no trouble at all to assemble. Painting it was something of a challenged because of the yellow colour scheme and the large glasshouse canopy which took a lot of masking. I seem to recall that a lot of the framing paint came off when I removed the masking so the framing was done a second time with tape or decals. It doesn’t look too bad.