The Balkan Baroudeur

No French speaker, I – but I remember the SNCASE Baroudeur as a French jet fighter from days of my pre-youth. The term has re-surfaced with my present enjoyment of cycling and watching its machinations on the sports channels.  A “Baroudeur” is a battler or fighter and it’s applied by the commentators to a rider who will take the fight individually to the peleton or who is a constant thorn in the flesh by breaking away from that organised group. I was struggling for a name for this painting as I always search for alliterative names for mine (A smartarse personal foible). This was how the picture started………

Halberstadt and Caudron 001

It’s now a bit more respectable as an image although with a lot to go yet…………

Halb 003

If, unlike most “aero-artists” you don’t start with a computer-scanned and corrected image drawing and drop-in a background via Photoshop or the like, or if you don’t use a direct tracing or a three-dimensional “drawing” programme, then you can always venture into the world of drawing – as folk used to do in pre-DigiHistoric times. To paint an image this way is quite humbling as the subjects always need tweaked and adjusted from the original laying-down. But hopefully  the painter gets better at it with practice and in this case the main subject is pretty close to its true shape whilst the wee Caudrons are reasonably close to factual  and  rather “painterly” in their almost casual form. We live in hope!

The Halberstadt DII as shown here was the first successful German biplane fighter – and its quarry are two French Caudron G4s – cumbersome if well-loved observation aeroplanes. The Balkan aspect is shown as mountainous country as opposed to the gently-rolling Western Front. The Balkans were flown by those front-line machines whose times had come in the over-competitive skies of France and Belgium.

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Unassailable Uhlans

I like Tauben
Amongst the first ever aeroplanes adopted by the German Military, the Taubes were manufactured by many of Germany’s early aero-makers although the type originated in Austria. Here’s a Jeannin Taube of 1914
Portfolio Taube Two jpeg

and here, a Rumpler of 1913. The name of Rumpler became synonymous with the Taube type.

Rumpler Taube

The first aircraft to ever drop a bomb on Britain was a Gotha-produced Taube, in 1914.
Here’s a Gotha of 1913 in original German Military markings

Five - Gotha WeeJPEG

Tauben. All oil paintings. Bonnie things, taubes…….

The Greatest….

For many of my generation the defining question asks if we can remember where we were when told of the assassination of JFK.
But for some of us that remembrance is also reserved for the passing of this man………
I saw this image online recently – it was take by “Sutton” and what a great picture it is.

Formula One World Championship

Perhaps the greatest Grand Prix World Champion ever. The unforgettable Jim Clark.
A sublime talent and yet an approachable and humble man.
Jimmy was able to drive anything to its limit. From a rally Lotus Cortina to a monstrous great
Ford Galaxie saloon.
Here’s another drifting picture – this time it’s a Zagato-bodied Aston Martin sports saloon.

Formula One World Championship

Jim could make them all dance. A Great Scot!

They Made Me Do It….!

…but I was very happy to conform!
When a revered Edinburgh College asked me to produce a painting relevant to their own Great War remembrances, we decided on the Bristol F2b.
The Bristol Fighter incidentally was always known to its crews as the “Biff” and not by the subsequent and baleful, press-led soubriquet of “Bristfit”.
Amongst the college’s former pupils were the three brothers Barnwell. Of those, one went to the Army but the other two, Harold and Frank were aeronautically inclined. Harold became a test-pilot for Vickers and would die in a crash in 1918.
Frank however became a designer at Bristol and would be partly responsible for the Scout shown below. This was a real pilots’ aeroplane and well-beloved by all.

Scout

Scout

After the Scout, Frank designed the M1 monoplane, an extremely efficient fighter but destined to be un-acceptable to the biased anti-monoplane thinking of the top brass.
Frank’s next design – the Bristol Fighter – was probably the finest all-rounder produced by any of the warring nations and destined to fly on almost all fronts, surviving in the RAF until 1930.

Looking to be a wee bit different I’ve pictured this one over the deserts of Palestine. A No.1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps “Biff” about to engage a Rumpler CIV in 1918.

Biff

Biff

Headin’ West……..

North -West.
The weather has been so depressing of late that I’ve decided to live in the past. Again.
So, last Summer – Ruthie and I drove up to Fort William and took a train to Mallaig. The weather was sunny and warm and the power-source was fairly warm too.

Firebox

This is the most beautiful railway line in Britain and how lucky we were to see it on such a day.
To be behind that lusty Black Five was a real treat but there was to be another and less usual steam experience later on the route.
The well-kent viaduct at Glenfinnan is quite breathtaking and all constructed from concrete by the pioneering Robert McAlpine.

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

Further down the line from Glenfinnan is another fine McAlpine bridge over the bay at Loch nan Uamh. This is followed by a tunnel and then the 1 in 48 climb of Beasdale Bank. This being a tourist train the trip was taken at a fairly leisurely pace. Too leisurely for The Bank it turned out, as the speed slowed and slowed until every piston-beat shuddered through the train.
Which finally just stopped!
This inevitably led to much discussion and sage recommendations from the knowing enthusiasts and congnoscenti within the coaches who now noticed the train was speeding backwards for some two miles. Whilst no doubt much frantic shovelling was being carried out at the Black End.
Stanier’s best then fairly belted-it at the gradient which had no answer to such a determined assault.
And so to Mallaig and a welcome meal of Fish and Chips. What else???
The journey back was largely downhill – so uneventful except for the surroundings. What a place to live eh?
All this and steam too.

en route

en route

Tales of Tailless – Two

Dunne D5

Dunne D5


Is it a Stealth prototype? Not in 1910. It’s the Dunne D5 – the brainchild of Lt. John William Dunne whose first attempts at inherently-stable sweptback flying-wings got off the ground (!) in 1907 at Blair Atholl – and in much secrecy.
After many experiments and a few more Dunnes, officialdom decided the future was in ballooning and airships.
Aye but Oh!

No secrecy involved when this one was in flight though-thanks to the sizeable rammy being created by the Vulcan’s four great Olympus BOI.3s.

Vulcan

Vulcan

What fun we can have in painting! The Vulcan of this era was finished in anti-nuclear-flash white, so I just thought it’d be nice in purple.
But it IS white, no?

Tailless in GAVA

Me163B

Me163B


.
Recently I posted this painting on Facebook and folks were interested in something from Forbes that was not Great War. Well – there are more.
For my second ever submission to the Guild of Aviation Artists’ exhibition there were two aircraft – and not a tail between them.
I just love the paintings of Turner and I’d been at his Water Colours exhibition in Edinburgh. There were a few that he’d painted on blue paper which I thought looked especially attractive. So naturally plagiarism raised its ugly head and this Me 163 is accordingly a watercolour on a blue paper….
Not a GREAT pilots’ aeroplane the 163, as you sat between two fuel tanks of corrosive stuff that exploded when mixed. Or melted skin clean off if that unfortunate skin was exposed to it. Plus, it landed on a big skid with a predictable wallop and if the fuels hadn’t been totally drained in the flight they would just explode. Aye – volunteers line up here………..
The other tailless was the more approachable Westland Pterodactyl IV. No short-range, late-war fighting rocket like the 163, this was the second flying experiment of Westland to the designs of the innovative Mr. Geoffrey Hill. It flew in 1931 and in the age of open-cockpit bi-planes here was a glazed-cabin, swept-back flying wing and the wings SWUNG to more suitable angles of sweep for the speed involved. A really amazing machine.

Pterodactyl IV

Pterodactyl IV


The Pterodactyl was my first and only Acrylic painting in an attempt to branch out from watercolours. Acrylic! Bah! Not for me. Far too quick-drying. So onto the oils then…
..and perhaps yet more things without tails.

A lucky dragon….

The Great War’s German Albatros DV was no great shakes as a successor to that manufacturer’s previous DIII. It was little better and shared its progenitor’s unhappy quality of wing-flutter in a dive – sometimes with disastrous results if the dive was continued. Not a great confidence-inspiring characteristic in a fighter.
This picture is just started but will probably be complete next year!

v Hippel

v Hippel

It shows a lucky man. Hans Joachim von Hippel. He was involved in a combat in February 1918 and during a dive the port lower wing simply failed and decided to land separately about twelve miles away from his home base. This left our Hans in a bit of a pickle. Driving a one and a half-plane and it wasn’t even his – it was the mount of his C/O, a Mr. Flashar. Flashar had had a huge red dragon painted on the fuselage sides, perhaps in the knowledge of the dragon being a symbol of good luck in the Chinese culture? It must have been given a good pat on the back when von Hippel crawled out of the Albatros after nursing it down from 13,000 feet and merely overturning at the end of a respectable landing. But I wonder if Hans still got a boot up the bum for writing-off the C/O’s personal aeroplane?
I’m trying to imagine how crossed-up the control surfaces must have been to get away with this. And that lucky dragon will take a bit of fastidious work too.
So a 2014 completion then? I hope so….

Peter Craven

He’s been here before, but last night I finished the Peter Craven picture. Just a bit more detailed than previously but hopefully in as loose a style as I can manage whilst still being recognisable as the speedy wee giant that he was.
I was at Meadowbank Stadium recently and enquired where I could see the plaque to commemorate Craven. It had been privately funded by enthusiasts and was unveiled by his wife Brenda amongst others. Nobody knew where it had disappeared to and nobody gave a bugger about the significance of it.

Peter Craven

Peter Craven

Meadowbank is “managed” by Edinburgh City Council. The same folks that gave us that internationally acclaimed tram system.
Hang your heads, you collective of useless bastards.

The Fighter that Never Was…..

Penston's Ponderous Protector

Penston’s Ponderous Protector

The BE12. Before the Great War, the Royal Aircraft Factory developed the two-seater BE2, an aeroplane to be deployed by the Army as a aerial reconnaissance machine. As such, the great priority was for it to be stable. With no great need for speed. Unfortunately the rules of warfare in the air changed when the fighter aeroplane appeared with a forward-firing machine gun. And it was a German one. The poor BE2 found itself virtually helpless and a great deal too many men were lost as the production of BE2s continued for far too long after it was found to be sadly lacking in manoeuvrability, speed and practical defence.
One answer by the Factory was to install a more powerful engine, reduce the tail surface area and delete the front seat. Fit a Lewis machine-gun on the top wing or a Vickers on the side of the fuselage. Thus making a “fighter” – they hoped.
Result? The BE12 – still rubbish! So the BE12 became a light bomber or a night-fighter.
The night-fighter above was based at Penston, East Lothian and was a defence against Zeppelins destroying Edinburgh. (That’s the capitol’s Arthur’s Seat in the background.) Zeppelins however, had stopped their visits by the time this defence had been deployed. Damn!

BE 12

BE 12

The Oil at the top was painted a couple of years ago. This is a small Watercolour of the same type of machine, but only finished a couple of days ago.