Consolidated PBY Catalina

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Established Member
30 Apr 2021
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New Zealand
Haven't been on site for a while.
The reason for that is that we have been travelling the country looking for a new place to live. There is nothing wrong with the beautiful place we now live at but it is a high maintenance property and an emerging medical condition is going to make that problematic. It is also adding an additional layer of complexity to the model making business so after nearly 100 built to order aeroplanes, the aircraftery is closing down.
Not overly happy about that but as with all things in life, you can find the bright side of a situation if you care to look for it.
And the bright side is that although I will not accept any more commissions, I will continue building aircraft models at a much more leisurely pace, as and when I feel like it. And also, I will build the models that I like to build for a change and which are not warplanes. I understand the nostalgia associated with WW11 aircraft but I am really over endlessly churning out the Spitfires, Mosquitos and Lancasters that my customers almost exclusively want. The Catalina is my first retired-person-build-for-me model and being a successful anti submarine aircraft, obviously a warplane but it has no under wing bomb racks or defensive armaments so I like to imagine the model in its post war decades long role as a fire fighting water bomber. Next on the list is the completion of a half built airship, and further down the track, a De Haviland Rapide.
The child bride has noted of course that I am a builder of models and not a collector (in fact I do not own a single one) so what she wants to know is, what am I going to do with these unordered aeroplanes? Well I will give them away and get paid in thanks. There is even a word for that in the English language - confelicity. If I remember correctly it means deriving pleasure from giving pleasure to others. Or something like that. Anyway, that's good enough for me.




Unbelievable! Just about to push the 'post' button and a fellow who bought a Tiger Moth from me three years ago phoned and asked for a Harvard. I really like that aeroplane so what could I do?


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As ever - a beautifully created piece. I have only ever heard of a 'Catalina' through playing the part of Bob McCaffery in South Pacific so your thread tittle immediately took me back to 1976 !! Even then I never knew what one looked like.
Another great model Chris.

When was an aircraft mechanic in the late 70's and early 80's wrenching Douglas A26 and DC6 fire bombers I saw the Canso (Canadian service name for the Catalina) a number of times. Big, tall and slow compared to our air tankers.

Giving your work is an honourable and generous thing to do but if you notified your past customers of an aircraft you chose to build, someone would step up in a heartbeat and buy it.

So many times I have almost pushed the button to order an aircraft from you, but have never really been in a position to spend anything on something that many would (not me of course!) consider frivolous. Now that I am almost in such a position you do this to me!
So very sad that health or other is forcing you to move and retire from taking orders for a truly wonderful skill you have. Please, please continue to post on here your future 'self' builds, I and a multitude on here marvel and wonder at your skill!
I have tried to word the above with the thoughts of others on this site in mind. The very best wishes sir!
Gorgeous, i love your plan for retirement. When I practice something tangential to my normal work it often ends up as a gift for someone, they get a handmade thing and I don't have to find homes for 10,000 practice pieces.

I dare say i will now look through your back catalogue and drool.

Have you made a Westland Lysander?
Love the Rapide, had the chance to have a spin in one at Shuttleworth. Lovely aircraft, though rather noisy 😂
All the best, and you have already given much pleasure to me and many others through posting your wonderful models.
Kittyhawk, great work as always in your models. Enjoy your time in slowing down and remember Death is natures way of telling you to slow down!
Catalina strikes a chord in me as there was a wrecked one on the beach in Diego Garcia when I served there in 1974/75. The whole story of its demise can be read on the internet (Catalina on Diego Garcia), it was a WWII RAF version wrecked by a storm in 1944.
Love the Rapide, had the chance to have a spin in one at Shuttleworth. Lovely aircraft, though rather noisy 😂
All the best, and you have already given much pleasure to me and many others through posting your wonderful models.
Yes, always thought that the Rapide was an incredibly elegant machine. A review in Flight some time in the 70s described it as a "gentleman's aerial carriage". Real Hepplewhite stuff.
I am very grateful for the kind comments received concerning my efforts with the aircraft models, and pleased that you enjoy seeing them. I am also deeply thankful to the Child Bride who has always encouraged me even though I know she would prefer it if what woodworking abilities I have would have more practical applications about the house. And her other proviso concerning my hobby is that I don't clutter up the place with models. But no chance of that, I lose all interest in them once completed which is why I don't personally have any.

But I wish to correct any impression that I may have inadvertantly given in the original post that my health is putting me at death's door. Numerically speaking, this is so. At 79 I have reached the average life expectancy for a European Male in NZ and since my parents and my brother all died at age 75, I may be exceeding my 'use by' date a little. But I am in fine health. My medical difficulties are all a result of extreme silliness and a lack of foresight. How many people do you know who have had to ultimately have surgery after being kicked in the nuts by a cow, knowing full well that I shouldnt have been standing where I was behind it in the first place.... how many people do you know that have had to undergo the indignity of a nurse unable to restrain her laughter as she picked out globules of molten polyester overalls embedded in my butt when I accidentally set my ar5e on fire..? So some years ago another bit of careless stupidity demolished an ankle resulting in the need of a stick if walking any distance. Unfortunately but not unsurprisingly arthritis has got into the joint now and standing for any length of time has become difficult. Wife suggested a stool in the workshop but I couldn't make it work. Most of what I do in the aircraftery is with hand tools and every action that you do with a saw, plane or spokeshave delivers an equal and opposite reaction which you counteract with you stance on the workshop floor. Being seated doesn't appear to be an option, hence the decision to more or less shut up shop. On the bright side though, this ankle problem is a weight bearing issue and I can still cycle in relative comfort👍
I always somehow pictured you as younger than that Kittyhawk. But yes, a fine model as always. I know the Cat well, seen a couple in the flesh as museum pieces and made an Airfix kit as a kid. You've managed to capture the spirit of the prototype.
There is a Catalina based at IWM Duxford, not far from me, and it flies regularly at displays in season. Classic Wings have a Rapide, also based at Duxford, which is used for pleasure flights, in peak season it trundles over our garden several times a day. Stately is the best way to describe it. They also do a version of their trip where passengers enjoy flying alongside a Spitfire. No photos of that, but here's the Catalina.


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