Contrail Fairey Hendon build


Contrail kit build

A little way into this build, I learned that Contrail based this kit on prototype drawings, and the production Hendon differed in fuselage and wing form.

This build covers the earlier kit, I thought about performing major surgery to fix things, but decided to proceed with the kit with its errors and keep an eye out for a later Contrail kit of the Hendon.

Later Contrail kits of the Hendon correct the shape of the wing and fuselage, and included are metal props & spinners, exhaust parts, a pilot seat, control column & decals. My example had none of this.

Hendon_boxtop2Hendon_boxtop2 Hendon_photo

Scale drawing and a parts diagram are the only instructions provided with the kit.


Component parts of the Contrail kit:

Hendon_Srpue1a Hendon_Srpue2a Hendon_Srpue3a

Using a fine point permanent marker pen, I traced around all the component parts supplied on the vacuform sheets. This provides an easy contrast to the plastic to be sanded away and the start of the component part molding. I used to use pencil for this, but handling during sanding can erase these and I’ve not had a problem with enamel or acrylic paints covering up the permanent marks.



After all the parts were sanded down, I started with the wing.


The outer two thirds of the wing have a distinct dihedral. A structural spar is provided to do this.  I decided not to completely cut through the lower wing. Two 2.5 cm cuts were made at the front of the wing and two 4 cm cuts made on the trailing edge allowed the wing to conform to the structural spar dihedral.


There are four aerofoil shaped supports supplied, and these were added by cutting a notch half way through the spar and half way through the aerofoil support.


Like the lower wing, the upper wing is molded in one piece, but unlike the lower wing, I cut the upper wing into three pieces; a center upper section and two outer wing upper sections.


Once the inner wing section aerofoil supports were dry, the upper center wing section was glued into place. Then the outer wing aerofoil supports added.

HendonWing6Once the outer aerofoil supports were dry, the outer wing sections were dry fitted. Because of the dihedreal of the outer wing sections, a moderate amount of trimming is required where the upper wings outer section meets the center section. Overall the fit and alignment of the wing was not too bad for a vacuform kit, and the gaps to be filled were quite moderate. Importantly the dihedral looked to be correct.


Besides four bulkeads and a poorly fitting floor, you are on your own for interior detail. Images and information were hard to find online, so I used a combination of guess work and interior diagrams of the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft.

HendonCockpit4I built a simple seat for the nose gunner, and glued some strips of plastic to the inside of the cockpit area to represent stringers. A simple gunners seat was made from two pieces of scrap plastic.

HendonCockpitUsing scrap plastic, a forward bulkhead, instrument panel, seat, control column and side console were constructed and painted.

HendonCockpit2I cut the front right corner of the floor, and painted a black rectangle at the rear to represent a way for crew to get to and pass be the pilot. I reasoned the canopy must have been offset for a reason.

HendonCockpit3I doubled up the bulkheads by creating new ones from scrap plastic card. While not super detailed I feel it’s enough for a fuselage with so few windows.

With the interior dry, thin (approx. 4mm wide) strips of scrap plastic card were added to one half of the fuselage to provide a more secure and easily aligned join. Once dry filler was used to smooth out the join and the main wings were added.

DSC_0049Using the supplied aircraft blueprint, I cut two small rectangular holes to allow a plastic spar to help with the tail surface join.

DSC_0050This slides easily inside the tail surfaces, and makes location and adjustment a whole lot easier.

hendontailstabilizersAfter cutting two holes in the upper tail surface, plastic card was used inside the vertical stabilizers.

hendontailstabilizer2While setting, it’s worth checking the alignment regularly to keep the angles at 45 degrees. One advantage of the Hendon are it’s external tail section bracing spars that help with final stabilizer alignment.

To be continued…

Previous update 12th November 2015

Last update 16th November 2015

Fixing the wheels cowling