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1/72 Academy/Minicraft RAAF 

Lockheed Ventura  

by David Fredericks

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During World War 2, the RAAF used a multitude of different aircraft types from both Britain and, later in the war, the United States. One of the lesser known types used was the Lockheed Ventura. Three RAAF squadrons used this type, but only one of these squadrons (13 SQN) used the aircraft on Australian home soil. The other two squadrons (459SQN RAAF and 464SQN RAAF) flew their aircraft in the northern hemisphere within the RAF command structure.

All up, 75 Venturas made it into service in Australia, being B-34 and PV-1 marks. They were serialled in the sequence A59-1 to A59-20 (B-34s) and A59-50 to A59-104 (PV-1s). The type saw considerable service in the northern regions of Australia during the war, with 13SQN finally disbanding in Jan 46, and with it the end of the Ventura’s service in the RAAF.

A little known fact is that a previous Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honorable E.G. (Gough) Whitlam, saw service flying the Ventura with 13SQN as a navigator. More information on this can be found at www.adf-serials.com .

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I used the Academy Minicraft 1/72nd scale kit of the Lockheed PV-1 Ventura Gunship as the basis for my model.  It was made effectively OOTB, with the usual cockpit additions given the amount of cockpit glass. Misalignment of the seams on the kit did result in the use of a lot of putty and considerable amounts of filling and sanding. But in the end, a smooth result was achieved.

To represent a 13SQN aircraft, I used decals (RRD7202) produced by Red Roo Models here in Australia. This decal sheet provides markings for one aircraft, A59-75. Aside from the usual decal application instructions, Red Roo provides an excellent A4 colour diagram of the colour scheme and decal application sites. Also included is a wealth of information on the history of the aircraft and 13SQN RAAF, as well as specific information on some of the issues related to the colour scheme of this particular aircraft. 

Overall, the aircraft colour scheme is as per US Navy camouflage during the war, with a combination of non-specular sea blue, semi-gloss sea blue, intermediate blue and insignia white.  In the main, the national markings were modified US markings, with the American ‘stars’ over-painted with the RAAF roundel (white and blue circles) but with the US ‘bars’ left protruding to the left and right sides. One interesting note is that A59-75 had the normal white and blue RAAF fin flashes as worn during WW2 applied, but in reverse order with the blue to the front and the white to the rear.  

All up, a most enjoyable build and another interesting addition to my collection of lesser-known and/or intriguing aircraft flown by the RAAF.

David

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Photos and text © by David Fredericks

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