This plane is a pre-war French aircraft and is little known, even in France, despite the fact that one of them became famous during the war.
Three planes were delivered to AF in 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII, they were designed to fly mail between Paris and New York.
Because of the war, they were never put into service, they were assigned to the French Navy and used as maritime patrol aircraft instead.
One of them tried unsuccessfully to locate the pocket battleship "Graf Spee".
After a Paris bombing by the Luftwaffe, appropriate measures had to be taken and bombing industrial targets near Berlin was considered, so one aircraft was converted into a "strategic bomber".
On 6 June 1940, an especially modified plane took off from Bordeaux, setting course to the North, it flew over the Channel between France and UK, along the Belgian and Dutch coast, crossed the Jutland peninsula, flew over the Baltic sea and heading South, went to Berlin which was reach around midnight.
An hostile aircraft couldn't be expected coming from the North.
Checking progress on a map could be useful.
Flying over Tempelhof, the Berlin airport, the aircraft simulated an approach followed by a go around and ran to its target, the Siemens factory near Tegel.
All the bombs were dropped except a few, so a second bombing run was decided.
The plane managed to escape the searchlights, the flak and the fighters and returned safely to france after a 14-hour flight.
The nazi regime did not appreciate and made clear that it will never happen again.
Three days later, the same aircraft and the same crew flew to Rostock, bombing airplane factories.
17 missions were made deep over Germany and Italy without any escort, all this in 1940.
Lancasters and B 17s came to Berlin much later.
After the armistice, the plane was ferried to Marseille in the non occupied zone.
To avoid its capture by the Germans who were approaching, it was finally blew up by the French Resistants.
The model shows the aircraft as it was before its take over by the French Navy.
Under the cockpit is the Air France Transatlantique logo.
It is an HBM resin model, not a plastic kit, the pleasure and the work are not the same.
Finding a solution to install the engine nacelles to the fuselage was not easy, finally, the struts are made from staples, landing gear from scratch (staples, paperclips, O'rings), landing gear doors from an (empty) beer can, the glazed nose was another problem, decals come from my printer, propellers are courtesy of Martin Beacom.
Thank you Martin.
As a fellow modeler told me one day : "Half the fun of making a model is facing the challenge to do it".
I really enjoyed and I am very pleased to have come all the way, it is so easy to ruin everything in the last leg, and finally, I was lucky.
The model sits now quietly in my AF glass cabinet.
Last edited by AIR FRANCE 340; 09-30-2015 at 03:27 PM.
Wow!! What a fascinating story. I just love these "but-against-all-odds-we-did-it" stories. Impressive for sure.
But what is even MORE impressive is your work on this model and the resourcefulness to bring it to completion using 'found' items. And the final cherry on the icing is the crisp, clean, nicely colour balanced beautiful photos. Bravo!!
Yes -- I'm very impressed with this!
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Thanks for sharing this build and history with us.
I feel that the history makes the model even more interesting as it opens ones eyes and makes you realize of what it represented and what the real airplane was, the sense of attaching the part of history to a particular airplane represend with a model which by the way, is fantastic.
Very clean build and great work with these extras that gives to the model a detailed and realistic feeling.
It's true that there is a story behind each plane.
The aircraft that bombed Berlin was the F-ARIN.
The F-AROA, my model, was shot down after the armistice by an Italian fighter during a commercial flight.
The aircraft was wearing the full Air France livery with markings permitting a rapid identification imposed by the Armistice Commission.
The pilots were Guillaumet and Reine, two legendary pilots.
The Commission of Inquiry concluded it was a "mistake".