A few weeks before North Ballachulish went out to Railex, during the short trip down to the pub from the clubrooms, I was discussing with Ian Worthington about when the detailing of a layout should stop. Now North Ballachulish is a very small village and my view that more than 20 people on view on the layout was possibly getting on the verge of overcooking it, the same with road vehicles and scenic items.

By the time we were safely ensconced in the Flying Horse more had come into the debate and I stated one of my favourite moments walking in the Glencoe area was sat on the summit of Buchaile Etive Mor  eating my lunch watching a succession of Hawk trainers and Tornados flying below me. So much so you were actually looking down into the cockpit. Put an aircraft on then came the suggestion.

There then followed a long chat about what was flying around there in 1970 -72, with the consensus being it really should be an air sea rescue Wessex, but then what colour were they flying in then – the sea blue and red nose or yellow? By this time beer was taking over from reason, and whilst the idea of the erstwhile whirlybird appealed, it had just not got the cachet of a fast mover. Of course Leuchars was flying my all time favourite Lightnings intercepting Breshnev’s best. But then again everyone puts a Lightning on if they are going for that (Chee Tor infamously once had a duel between their Lightning and  Copenhagen Fields Zeppelin)

Salvation came though in reading that whilst they were off Ark Royal, 892 squadron RNAS’s FG1 Phantoms were based at Leuchars backing up the interceptors, so it therefore followed their training would be done in the West Highlands! So straight away to get a box of Airfix bits. Now the last time I build an aircraft kit was probably around when I was 14, coincidentally one of my last was a USAF Phantom, so when the box arrived and I opened it I was a tad gobsmacked.  47 years ago that Phanton was an A4 sheet of instructions, about 30 parts and two dozen transfers at most. This model was a complete re-tool last year and I think a Brassmasters Black 5 has less parts, and the transfer sheet – there’s hundreds on there!

phant 2.jpg

Finally having stocked up on the appropriate paints I decide to start work on it today and although its quite daunting, its turning out to be fun. Today I finished the cockpit interior, there’s around two dozen parts in that alone. But most of all its fun, like being 14 again.


Got to say though I’m really looking forward to weathering this one 🙂

phant 4