Although I’ve got a few boats and ships in 20mm scale, I’ve never really bothered all that much with aircraft, which is surprising since I used to build loads of Airfix plane kits as a kid!
I think part of the reason is that even ground-attack aircraft fly at a speed that would mean they’d cross a wargames table in less than one move, so why bother with them! But my mate John has quite a decent collection of aircraft for the WW2 and Spanish Civil War periods and he uses them to represent air attacks in progress, which they do quite well! So, I thought I might give it a go for WW1, since planes flew a lot slower and I found some die-cast ready-painted models!
First plane in my air force was a US Air Service SPAD XIII by Amercom. The model’s quite nice, mostly metal, well-painted and even has bracing wires and a pilot. I had to remove the mis-aligned tail assembly and put it back on straight, so I gave it a coat of matt varnish as well. I’ve got WW1 US troops so it can quite happily support them. I made a scenic base, weighted with a big washer, with a brass rod that fits into the underneath of the plane’s fuselage. I carefully cut the top off the plane’s stand and super-glued it to the brass rod, so the plane can be removed for storage (which is the trickiest problem with plane models)!
Next plane was a Bleriot monoplane, by Corgi, for my Balkan Wars troops and early WW1 French. Painted the pilot’s face and hands in flesh and put a brass pin into the underneath of the fuselage that fitted into the brass tube on the base I made for it.
I got the two above-mentioned planes a couple of years ago, and thought it was about time I expanded! So last week I bought an Amercom Albatros D.V to give my WW1 Germans some air support. This is a nice colourful model and well worth the £15 I bought it for – it would take me ages to build and paint a plastic kit to look like it, even in a basic paint finish! This model fits on the SPAD’s base (since they’re both Amercom models), but I also modified the Albatros’ stand with a pin to allow it to fit onto the Bleriot’s base as well!
And while I was looking for German planes, I found an Oxford Diecasts Bristol Fighter on Amazon for £8 and bought that for my WW1 Brits! This model has plastic wings and is not quite as nicely finished as the Amercom models (it doesn’t have a crew for example) but it looks fine and I don’t need to do anything to it (apart from adding a brass pin to the underside of the fuselage)!
Not expecting to be having dogfights with these models (I can use Wings Of Glory models for that) since I’ll probably only ever use one plane in a game to conduct ground attack missions. Will probably use some weighted dice throws to determine if air support arrives and it’ll depend on whether any fighter opposition is available. In the meantime, I need to find some hangar space!