CAC Wirraway

There was a search of Thomo’s Hole recently where the search term was “An RAAF Wirraway circa 1943 set for use with Mustangs”. No result was returned to that search term, even though in the gallery behind Thomo’s Hole there is indeed a picture of an RAAF Wirraway circa 1943 set for use with Mustangs. That is the picture there to the right.

The model is 1/300th scale Collectiar model and was originally purchased from Stronghold Miniatures of the UK although I am not certain if he is still operating as there is a note on his home page that says that he is “shut until further notice. I have some personal issues which include separating from my wife.”

Scotia Grendel Productions in the UK now sells the Collectair line however and the Wirraway (along with the other classic Australian aircraft of World War 2, the Boomerang) is available from them.

The Wirraway has the distinction of a World War 2 David and Goliath victory. The Wirraway was a converted trainer, used as a stop-gap measure and mostly used for tactical reconnaissance and light bombing roles. It certainly was not a fighter. On 26 December 1942, Flying Officer John Archer along with his observer, Sergeant J L Coulson, both of them from Melbourne, were flying a tactical reconnaissance sortie over Gona in Papua. They spotted a Japanese Zero (Zeke) passing beneath them.

Archer then dived at the Zero and fired a burst from the machine guns, hitting the Japanese plane and causing it to crash into the sea to the cheering of several hundred Australian troops at Gona at the time. Perhaps even more remarkable than the Wirraway shooting down a Zero was the signal sent back to Headquarters. It read,

Archer has shot down one Zeke, repeat one Zeke. Send six bottles beer

Archer’s Wirraway, A20-103, is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

To the Collectair model I added an aerial and pitot tube, both from 20 thousandth of an inch (0.020″) brass rod. I painted the Wirraway in a 1943 colour scheme, lightening the blue on the roundels as at 1/300th scale, the darker blue used by the RAAF disappears into the green. The paints used are from the Games Workshop Citadel range, the green being Snot Green and the white, Skull White. The darkened panel lines were achieved using Citadel’s black ink and a fine brush.

Interestingly, Australia built 755 Wirraways and only 250 Boomerangs.

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