Archive for ‘Aircraft’

June 9, 2017

Merlin Rubber Band

Supermarine – the balsa Spitfire is taking great shape. Indeed the classic elliptical wing designed by Canadian aerodynamicist Beverley Shenstone is obvious. RJ Mitchell’s overall layout is pure in form and elegant in execution. Tissue paper covering next!

March 22, 2017


Spitfire! The V12 Rolls Royce Griffon engine belches into life of one of the most marvelous machines ever created. This is a Mk XVI 

August 12, 2016

Fiery Flame

Nose Art Tattoo – Bonneville Belle takes the saddle on this graphic trackster steed. Looks ready enough to be emblazoned across the fuselage of a B-17 Flying Fortress. 

June 28, 2016

Bandits at 3 o’clock

Fun on Three Wheels – as I was wandering the motorcycle show this vehicle trundled up. A couple with big grins where sat as pilot and navigator. Gleaming v-twin engine afront, grey fuselage, and amaranth wire wheels with knock-off hubs. As British as tea & scones with a whiff of a WW1 ace heading into the French skies to see off Hun. “Smoke me a kipper I’ll be back for breakfast!”

May 30, 2016

In Memorium

Motorcycles in Wartime. This weekend sees another time to appreciate what others did to ensure a less troubled world. Sacrificing your life is the ultimate act of selflessness for freedom. I’m posting this image of some Harley Davidson Rotax engined dirt bikes used by troops probably somewhere in Southeast Asia. A Cobra stands idle behind.

More dirt bikes being utilized; this time the dry sandy conditions of the Middle East. It’s one way of traversing rough terrain quickly.

January 13, 2016

Got Glue?

As had been mentioned before when I was growing up I loved to build model kits. Aircraft, tanks, spaceships, the odd car; but I never got around to motorcycles. Well did I miss out! I could’ve had fun with kits such as this Revell treat. A 1/8 scale Triumph Tiger.

The full page advert for their particular lines is a period piece from the mid-sixties. Even Ed Roth hot rods are featured. “Wot is… Is.. Wot. ain’t…. Ain’t!!!”

September 28, 2015


One of the most important pieces of Mid-Century Pop Art is 52 today. Created by Roy Lichtenstein it uses classic comic book imagery of war with crisp enlarged pen and ink line work filled with stipple coloring seen in the pulp illustrations of the day.

The original dynamic visuals are brought to stark graphic life to create one of the most iconic art pieces of the last fifty years (along with Warhols Marilyn…).  

It’s a large 11’x 5′ canvas two piece ‘diptych’and hangs at the Tate Modern in London. He saw his pieces as fun industrial art. 

A pencil study shows a clean composition with each hand being able to stand on its own yet coming together in stark visual drama.

Alternate versions exist like this hyper real rendering of the F86 Saber coming in for the kill.

Or this Star Wars version of a rebel X-wing pilot destroying an Imperial Tie-Fighter.


Contemporary commentary. Pilotless drones destroying remotely… 


Or a commentary on Pop Art itself…
Side Note:

Jackie Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier in a Saber in 1953. Here with fellow supersonic pilot Chuck Yeager. Look her up she’s one helluva gal!

June 1, 2015

Chuck Yeagers ride

It is known that Ian Fleming, the creator of none other than James Bond 007, also wrote the children’s yarn Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A tale about an inventor called Caractacus Potts who took his children on voyages of land, sea and air in their old rebuilt racing car with speedboat carriage work. Well if you’re going for a two-wheeled version then a period Triumpg Speed twin is a suitable candidate; rocket powered too. Not steam punk more rocket-punk. 50’s style technology. Hey I’ve just invented a new genre…

Looks like Leonardo would have been proud of those wings! I believe the front mudguard registration plate holder acts as the vertical stabilizer… (Aka pedestrian slicer)

Concept art by 

Side note: the original Chitty was a 20’s race car built by Count Louis Zbrowoski who used a Mercedes chassis with a 23 liter 6 cylinder aero Maybach engine…  

… Just add wings!  

September 21, 2014

Limping ‘ome…


Fall temperatures are here, and with them a bit of color to add to the backdrop to a ride-out. Color was my language too with six breakdowns on the ride home. Engine cutting out. After fettling a couple of loose connections under the seat, twiddling air screws on the Amals and pulling the plugs to view their condition. It’s all pointing to an electrical issue somewhere… A gremlin has taken up residence in the workings and I need to flush ‘im out….


May 27, 2014

Nose Art Tank


Another example of the aggressive shark tooth’d grimace seen on the warbirds of WW2. This would look smart on the Tiger Cub tank. Not too much more room for the bomb ridin’ gal though. Olive Drab and red backed pointy teeth gives a nasty bite! Gnash!


February 13, 2014

Mach One

“There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, 750 miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it: The Sound Barrier. Then, they built a small plane, the X1, to try and break the sound barrier. And men came to the High Desert in California to ride it. They were called test pilots. And no one knew their names.”
from Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff

Today is Brigadier General Charles “Chuck” Yeager’s 91st birthday. Over a colored aviation career stretching from P51 Mustang fighter piloting through flying AND testing many of the worlds fastest aircraft through the majority of the jet age he had surely ‘seen it all’.

His warbird in the European theater was called Glamorous Glennis. After his sweetheart.

Kitted for supersonic flight in an F-100 Super Saber.

Here his sits in the nose of the bullet shaped Bell X1. Another Glamorous Glennis in which he pushed through that Demon Barrier and forged a new age of aviation onwards. Remember this is only forty five years after Wilbur and Orville took Flyer One across the dunes of Kittyhawk North Carolina.

January 18, 2014


Nope! Not for a boot; nor an antimacassar doily neither: but the front wheel. Getting things sorted and ready to build the front wheel for the Cub. A 21″ alloy hoop, to match the rear 18″ one and forty new Buchanan spokes.

There are four different spokes for inner and outer hub rim as well as left and right side.

When you look at the typical pattern it has a geometrical elegance to it. A ferris dance of tensions on the ‘cycles primary component of conveyance. The wire spoked wheel was invented by Yorkshireman Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) who was also the father if aerodynamics. Understanding the principles of flight a century before the Wright Brothers. The optimism and supporting scientific and engineering progress of the times were truly present in “Eeh bar gum! Ar George” .

January 4, 2014



When cars were named after heroes: the Triumph Spitfire was one such; a two-seater 1500cc powered roadster that heralded the best of British spirit. WWII ace Ginger Lacey cheekily grins from his flying cap, he saw tremendous action in the 1949 Battle of Britain over the southeast as well as flying over Japan during the close of hostilities. This car needs a white silk scarf a-flutterin’ behind the driver to evoke its namesakes legacy. Ginger is true ‘boys own’ stuff  with 28 definite downed aircraft to his name he gained the DFM with Bar.

July 18, 2013

North East connections


10 Tiger Cubs all wrapped up for an overseas flight aboard a BEA Vickers Vanguard to some foreign land. The aircraft was one of the last mid size turboprop passenger planes before the jets really took over. It eventually became a purely freight carrier well into the nineties. The engines are the powerful Rolls Royce 4000hp Tyne model. Apparently pilots could cruise at 10,000 ft with three engines feathered and a remaining outboard at max power – a feat unmatched by an  early contemporary Lockheed C130.

The Tyne is of course the river that flows through the heart of Geordieland!  And Vickers Armstrong was a major Tyneside engineering company in both shipbuilding and military manufacturing; with a workforce of Geordie’s all!