Cobham Aviation

Cobham_plc_logo

History

Narrative Summary

Sir Alan Cobham was a noted pilot who undertook a succession of record-breaking long distance flights in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1932 he formed National Aviation Displays Ltd which operated a collection of up to 14 aircraft for barnstorming and joyriding around the country. This operation was very successful and introduced a large number of people to aviation.

Cobham’s experience with flying aircraft heavily laden with fuel from undeveloped airstrips caused him to be become very interested in the idea of in-flight refuelling. Using this system, an aircraft could take-off at relatively light weight, greatly boosting its take-off performance in one of the most hazardous phases of flight, and then top-up with fuel once airborne. In early 1934 he brought up the ‘crossover’ aerial refuelling concept invented by RAF officer Richard Atcherley and began to refine it into a practical system. After initial aerial refuelling experiments with two D.H.9s, in September 1934 he embarked on a non-stop England-to-India flight with an Airspeed Courier refuelled at regular intervals along the route. Unfortunately the Courier experienced a mechanical failure and he was forced to land in Malta and abandon the attempt. Soon afterwards, Cobham founded Flight Refuelling Ltd (FRL) to concentrate on the development of aerial refuelling systems. Initial experiments used aircraft from National Aviation Displays, which was closed down at the end of 1935, but FRL soon obtained its own dedicated aircraft. Some aircraft were configured as tankers and others as receivers. By 1939 FRLs looped hose refuelling system was practical enough to be regularly used to top up Imperial Airways flying boats departing on the transatlantic service.

During World War 2 FRL concentrated on aircraft modifications, including the development of an extra long range version of the Avro Lancaster for the RAF ‘Tiger Force’ that was intended to operate against Japan, following the end of the war in Europe. Although the Japanese surrender meant these aircraft were never used, the experience allowed FRL to modify and operate a fleet of Lancaster and Lancastrian aircraft to ferry fuel into the besieged city of Berlin during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. These aircraft operated from FRLs new base at Tarrant Rushton.

In the meantime, FRL resumed development of the looped hose aerial refuelling system and from 1945 began testing it using converted Avro Lancasters as tanker aircraft. In 1946 a series of successful hook-ups with Lancasters of British South American Airways (BSAA) led in the following year to a contract for FRL to provide aerial refuelling from a base in the Azores to BSAA aircraft flying non-stop to Bermuda. This resulted in 21 out of 22 flights being successfully refuelled. Between February and March 1948 FRL Lancasters also conducted refuelling experiments with a BOAC Liberator 2 flying the North Atlantic route. In early 1949 FRL developed a completely new in-flight refuelling system known as ‘probe and drogue’, which later became the system adopted by many air forces worldwide. On 7th August 1949 a converted Meteor 3 jet fighter with an in-flight refuelling probe in the nose was able to stay airborne for more than 12 hours by taking on fuel from a Lancaster tanker. The Royal Air force and USAF quickly adopted the new system and generated plenty of conversion work for FRL.

With the withdrawal of the Lancaster tankers in the early 1950s, FRL ceased to operate its own aircraft. However conversion and modification work continued and during the 1960s it produced numerous Meteor target drones, and its replacement in the 1970s the Sea Vixen D.3. FRL subsequently became involved in purpose-built target drones and UAV launch systems.

In the 1980s FRL began to explore the opportunities for operating aircraft under contract to government agencies. In 1983 it won the contract for managing and staffing the Royal Navy’s Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit (FRADU) at Hurn Airport, taking over from Airwork Ltd. The FR Aviation (FRA) division was formed in 1984 to perform this task. Under the contract several Dassault Falcon 20s were leased and subsequently purchased to replace the Canberras then in service. The first examples entered service in 1985. The Hawker Hunters used by FRADU remained the property of the Navy but were flown and maintained by FRA personnel. The Hunters were replaced by Hawks from 1994. FRADU itself was disbanded in 2013, but in the meantime FRA had obtained contracts to support operation of the Falcon 20s from Hurn (Bournemouth) and Teesside Airports for operational readiness training of UK and European military forces.

FR Aviation also provides Oil Spill response aircraft under contract to cover the North Sea production areas, and a separate Flight Inspection division provides calibration services for electronic air traffic navigation aids.

Flight Refuelling changed its name to Cobham in November 1994, to better reflect its actual activities.

Key Dates

1932    National Aviation Displays Ltd first formed
24 September 1934    start of long-range flight to India supported by experimental in-flight refuelling
29 October 1934    Flight Refuelling Ltd (FRL) established
1939    Looped hose refuelling system introduced into commercial service
18 August 1940    Luftwaffe air raid on Ford aerodrome destroys most of FRL aircraft fleet.
7 August 1949    Probe and drogue refuelling system demonstrated
8 October 1984    FR Aviation division formed
1985    Flight Refuelling Ltd renamed FR Group
November 1994    FR Group renamed Cobham plc

Current Status

In the United Kingdom, Cobham Aviation Services provides operational readiness training, including electronic warfare training, mission rehearsal and target towing for the UK Armed Forces. It also provides an Oil Spill response aircraft under contract to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAFF), later renamed DEFRA. Cobham Flight Inspection provides navaid calibration services throughout the UK and Europe.

Future Plans

The Falcon 20s must be due for replacement in the near future.

Markings

Special Markings

Pre-war FRL aircraft operated in a natural metal/silver dope colour scheme with FLIGHT REFUELLING LTD titles on the fuselage, except for the Harrow, which retained its RAF camouflage pattern with military markings deleted. Post-war FRL aircraft operated in similar markings.

The Dassault Falcon 20s initially operated in a white colour scheme with dark and light blue fuselage cheatline extending up the tail fin. FR AVIATION titles appeared on the forward fuselage and the logo of 2 linked speedbirds was shown on the fin and behind the cockpit, all in dark blue. This scheme was later modified to have the rear fuselage and fin in dark blue with a white rudder, a revised dark blue FRA logo on the forward fuselage and linked speedbirds in white on the fin. This scheme was replaced by an overall dark blue colour scheme with a white fuselage cheatline that extended up the leading edge of the fin. The FRA and speedbird logos appeared in white on the forward fuselage and fin respectively. The current colour scheme sees the FRA logo replaced by COBHAM and the speedbirds deleted from the fin.

The oil spill Dornier operates in a white colour scheme with red nose and tail fin. ‘Oil Spill Response’ titles appear on the fuselage sides in black. A small white COBHAM logo appears under the cockpit.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Aircraft operated by Flight Refuelling Ltd/FR Aviation/Cobham Aviation carry United Kingdom civil aircraft registrations, eg. Falcon 20 G-FRAO. (Although the Falcon 20s initially operated with United States registrations for legal reasons, e.g. N900FR).

Fleet List

All-Time List of Serials/Registrations

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Beech Super King Air 200 2 2 0 Flight Calibration
Beech Super King Air 350 2 2 0 Flight Calibration
Dassault Falcon 20 17 12 0 EW Training
Diamond DA42 Twin Star 1 1 0 Flight Inspection
Dornier Do 228-200 3 1 0 Oil Spill Response

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

None known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Cobham plc, Brook Road, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 2BJ, United Kingdom.

Organisational Structure

The UK flight operations today of Cobham plc are divided into Cobham Aviation Services and Cobham Flight Inspection Ltd. The former includes the Cobham Helicopter Services (formerly FB Heliservices Ltd) which runs the Defence Helicopter Flying School at Shawbury, and Cobham Special Mission (formerly FR Aviation Ltd) which provides electronic warfare and aggressor training services.

(Another subsidiary, Cobham Aviation Services Australia, operates a charter airline and the delivers contractor maritime surveillance services for Coastwatch and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority).

Current Unit Assignments

Cobham Aviation Services:
6 x Falcon 20 at Teesside Airport, County Durham
6 x Falcon 20 at Bournemouth Airport, Dorset
1 x Do 228-200 at Bournemouth Airport, Dorset
Cobham Flight Inspection:
2 x Beech Super King Air 200, 2 x Beech Super King Air 350 and 1 x DA42 Twin Star at Teesside Airport, County Durham

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

All aircraft are currently based at Bournemouth Airport and Teesside Airport.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

FRL was originally formed in 1934 and moved to RAF Ford, Sussex in January 1936. Flying operations ceased after its aircraft were destroyed in a Luftwaffe air raid in 1940. The company moved back to Ford in 1945. In-flight refuelling experimental flights were conducted from Staverton in 1945-1946 and a tanker aircraft was based in Santa Maria in the Azores in 1947. In 1947 flying operations moved to Tarrant Rushton, Dorset. In early 1948 tanker aircraft were based in Shannon, Gander and Goose Bay to support transatlantic flights. Later, defence contractor operations commenced from Bournemouth Airport, Dorset and Teesside Airport, County Durham.

More Information

Books

In Cobham’s Company: Sixty Years of Flight Refuelling Ltd., by Colin Cruddas (Cobham plc, 1994)

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

wikipedia: Cobham plc

Official Cobham plc Website

FRL Lancasters Refuelling

Cobham Aviation Services

Cobham Aviation Services aircraft

Flight Refuelling Ltd

Frog 1/96 Lancaster TK (conversion)


Fleet List
Cobham Aviation

This a fleet list for the UK-based aircraft of Cobham Aviation and its predecessors. (Australian aircraft will be listed separately).

Serial/Reg’n. Aircraft Type C/No. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate
G-EBMM Handley Page W.10 W.10-1 1934 (National Aviation Displays Ltd)
G-EBMR Handley Page W.10 W.10-2 1934 (National Aviation Displays Ltd)
G-ABXN Airspeed AS.5 Courier 7 1934 Impressed 12 June 1940
G-ABAJ Westland Wessex IV WA1897 OO-AGC 1935  
G-AFRL Handley Page HP.54 Harrow K7027 6 Mar 1939 w/o 18 June 1940
G-AFRX Armstrong Whitworth AW23 AW1251 3 Apr 1939 w/o 18 Aug 1940
G-AGUN Avro Lancaster B.I PP744 ? 24 Feb 1949 scrapped Jan 1950
G-AGWI Avro 691 Lancastrian C.Mk.3 1281 TX276 18 Jan 1949 scrapped 26 Sep 1951
G-AGWL Avro 691 Lancastrian C.Mk.3 1284 ? 18 Jan 1949 scrapped 26 Sep 1951
G-AHJT Avro Lancaster B.I S4VA/2505 LL809 13 Aug 1948 scrapped 25 Jan 1950
G-AHJU Avro Lancaster B.III VA.3094 LM681 25 Apr 1946 scrapped 26 Sep 1951
G-AHJV Avro Lancaster B.III LMOS/MVA30257 LM639 25 Apr 1946 scrapped 25 Jan 1950
G-AHJW Avro Lancaster B.III RSLB.127336 ED866 25 Apr 1946 crashed 22 Nov 1948
G-AHVN Avro Lancaster B.I D2285 ? 17 Jul 1946 scrapped 26 Sep 1951
G-AKDO Avro 691 Lancastrian Mk.10 KB729 CF-CMV 19? Scrapped Sep 1951
G-AKDP Avro 691 Lancastrian Mk.10 FM185 ? 1950 scrapped 1951
G-AKDR Avro 691 Lancastrian Mk.10 FM186 ? 1950 scrapped 1951
G-AKDS Avro 691 Lancastrian Mk.10 FM187 ? 1950 scrapped 1951
G-AKFF Avro 691 Lancastrian C.IV RY/LC/59110 TX284 28 Dec 1948 wfu Apr 1951, scrapped Sep 1951
G-AKFG Avro 691 Lancastrian C.IV ? TX286 28 Dec 1948 wfu Apr 1951, scrapped Sep 1951
G-AKTB Avro 691 Lancastrian C.II ? ? Apr 1949 wfu Apr 1951, scrapped 26 Sep 1951
N809P Dassault Falcon 20C 35 18 Dec 1991  
N900FR Dassault Falcon 20DC 223 N22FE Feb 1985 to G-FRAH
N901FR Dassault Falcon 20E 270 N37FE Jan 1985 to G-FRAI
N902FR Dassault Falcon 20DC 132 N2FE Jan 1985 to G-FFRA
N903FR Dassault Falcon 20DC 20 N5FE 22 Feb 1985 to G-FRAJ
N904FR Dassault Falcon 20DC 151 Jan 1985  
N905FR Dassault Falcon 20DC 213 Jan 1985  
N906FR Dassault Falcon 20DC 214 1985 to G-FRAO
N907FR Dassault Falcon 20 224 17 Apr 1985 to G-FRAM
N908FR Dassault Falcon 20 207 8 Apr 1985 to G-FRAP
N909FR Dassault Falcon 20 209 8 Apr 1985 to G-FRAR
G-FFRA Dassault Falcon 20DC 132 N902FR 28 May 1992  
G-FRAA Dassault Falcon 20F 385 ? Apr 1987  
G-FRAB Dassault Falcon 20F 356 ? 1987  
G-FRAC Dassault Falcon 20F 254 ? Apr 1987  
G-FRAD Dassault Falcon 20E 304/511 9M-BDK ? Apr 1987  
G-FRAE Dassault Falcon 20E 280/503 ? Sep 1987  
G-FRAF Dassault Falcon 20E 295/500 N911FR 1 Sep 1987  
G-FRAH Dassault Falcon 20DC 223 31 May 1990  
G-FRAI Dassault Falcon 20E 270 N901FR 17 Oct 1990  
G-FRAJ Dassault Falcon 20DC 20 N903FR 24 Apr 1991  
G-FRAK Dassault Falcon 20DC 213 N905FR 9 Oct 1991  
G-FRAL Dassault Falcon 20DC 151 N904FR 17 Mar 1993  
G-FRAM Dassault Falcon 20DC 224 13 May 1993  
G-FRAO Dassault Falcon 20DC 214 N906FR 23 Oct 1992  
G-FRAP Dassault Falcon 20DC 207 N908FR 12 Jul 1993  
G-FRAR Dassault Falcon 20DC 209 N909FR 2 Dec 1993  
G-FRAS Dassault Falcon 20C 82/418 31 Jul 1990  
G-FRAT Dassault Falcon 20C 87/424 31 Jul 1990  
G-FRAU Dassault Falcon 20C 97/422 31 Jul 1990  
G-FRAV Dassault Falcon 20C 103/423 30 Jul 1990  
G-FRAW Dassault Falcon 20C 114/420 31 Jul 1990  
G-FRBA Dassault Falcon 20C 178/459 OH-FFA 16 Jul 1996 wfu Dec 2011
G-FPLB Beech Super King Air 200 BB-1048 ? wfu May 2011
G-FPLD Beech Super King Air 200 BB-1433 15 Jul 2002  
G-FPLE Beech Super King Air 200 BB-1256 20 Feb 2009  
G-COBH Beech Super King Air 200 BB-944 D-ICFI 5 Jun 2009 wfu May 2011
G-COBI Beech Super King Air 350 FL-424 D-CFIA 3 Feb 2010  
G-COBM Beech Super King Air 350 FL-124 D-CFIS 5 Jan 2010  
G-COBS Diamond DA42M Twin Star 42.MN020 ? 30 Jan 2012  
G-MAFE Dornier Do 228-200 8009 21 Dec 1992 wfu 10 Feb 1998, later scrapped
G-MAFI Dornier Do 228-202K 8115 10 Feb 1998  
G-OMAF Dornier Do 228-212 8112 10 Feb 1998  
G-MAFF Britten-Norman BN-2T Islander 2119 1982 w/o 21 Feb 1985
G-FCAL Cessna 441 441-0293 19 Mar 1996  
G-FRAX Cessna 441 441-0207 4 Sep 1987  
G-FRAZ Cessna 441 441-0035 14 Sep 1987  

Additional information is welcome

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Cobham Aviation

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Handley Page W.10 2 19?? 19?? UK
Airspeed AS.5 Courier 1 1934 1940 UK
Westland Wessex IV 1 1935 19?? UK
Handley Page HP.54 Harrow 1 1939 1940 UK
Armstrong Whitworth AW.23 1 1939 1940 UK
Avro Lancaster B.I 3 1946 1951 UK
Avro Lancaster B.III 3 1946 1951 UK
Avro Lancastrian C.II 1 1949 1951 UK
Avro Lancastrian C.3 2 1949 1951 UK
Avro Lancastrian C.IV 2 1948 1951 UK
Avro Lancastrian C.10 4 1950 1951 UK
Dassault Falcon 20 22 1985 current Fedex
Beech Super King Air 200 4 2002 current USA
Beech Super King Air 350 2 2010 current USA
Diamond DA42 Twin Star 1 2012 current Austria
Dornier Do 228-200 3 1992 current Germany
Britten-Nor,am BN-2T Islander 1 1982 1985 UK
Cessna 441 3 1987 19?? USA

Royal International Air Tattoo 2016

Weather Report

The weather over the weekend was highly variable. Mostly cloudy and dull in the morning and breaking up a bit in the afternoon. The clouds on Sunday morning were especially dark and produced a bit of rain mid-morning.

Highlights

The European debut of the F-35 was the highlight of the show, with both F-35A and F-35B variants in attendance and flying on all three days. Other highlights included the F-22 Raptor display, the long overdue attendance of the Polish F-16s and the final display season of the Ramex Delta team. Many aircraft featured special paint schemes, including the Greek F-16, Polish MiG-29, Ramex Delta lead Mirage 2000 and a number of aircraft in the static park, (Luftwaffe Typhoons, Belgian F-16, Pakistani C-130 etc).

This was the second show under the leadership of Andy Armstrong, since he took over from RIAT founder Tim Prince in 2014. Judging by his first two shows, the RIAT is in safe hands.

List of prize winners to be added.

Flying Programme

To be added.

The planned flying programme is shown above. Sunday weather limited the early part of programme. The Turkish F-16 and Patrouille Suisse were only able to taxi along the runway due to the cloud base being below their display minima.

Photo Gallery

Attending Aircraft Checklist

A crowd-sourced list with full details of all the aircraft attending this event will be added here as soon as it has been compiled and checked.

Links

Official Air Tattoo website
Facebook: The Royal International Air Tattoo
You Tube: The Royal International Air Tattoo – Official

Air Combat Collection (1) Contents Listing

See the full magazine details.

No.1 March 2003
Panavia Tornado; Hawker Typhhon; Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (Diecast model: Panavia Tornado GR.1, 617 Sqn RAF Dersert Storm colours)
No.2 March 2003
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom; Eurofighter Typhoon; Boeing B-29 Superfortress (Diecast model: McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom II US Navy)
No.3 April 2003
Grumman F-14 Tomcat; Republic P-47 Thunderbolt; English Electric Lightning (Diecast model: Grumman F-14 Tomcat, US Navy)
No.4 March 2003
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka; Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor; Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’ (Diecast model: Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Luftwaffe)
No.5 March 2003
Boeing AH-64 Apache; Lockheed P-38 Lightning; Avro Vulcan (Diecast model: Boeing AH-64D Apache US Army)
No.6 April 2003
Dassault Rafale; General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark; Junkers Ju 88 (Diecast model: Dassault Rafale)
No.7 April 2003
Lockheed Martin F-35; Supermarine Spitfire; Tupolev Tu-95/142 ‘Bear’ (Diecast model: Supermarine Spitfire)
No.8 May 2003
Boeing F-15 Eagle; North American B-25 Mitchell; English Electric Canberra (Diecast model: Boeing F-15 Eagle)
No.9 May 2003
Sukhoi Su-27/30 ‘Flanker’ family; British Aerospace Sea Harrier; Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (Diecast model: BAe Sea Harrier)
No.10 June 2003
Northrop B-2A Stealth Bomber; Grumman F6F Hellcat; Vought F-8 Crusader (Diecast model: Vought F-8 Crusader)
No.11 June 2003
Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk; Hawker Hunter; Yakovlev Yak-1/3/7/9 (Diecast model: Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk)
No.12 June 2003
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter; Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack; de Havilland Mosquito (Diecast model: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter)
No.13 July 2003
Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II; Convair B-58 Hustler; North American P-51 Mustang (Diecast model: North American P-51 Mustang)
No.14 July 2003
Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’; Grumman A-6 Intruder; Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet (Diecast model: Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum)
No.15 August 2003
Avro Lancaster; North American F-86 Sabre; SAAB JAS 39 Gripen; (Diecast model: North American F-86 Sabre)
No.16 August 2003
B-1B Lancer; Vought F4U Corsair; Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-23/27 ‘Flogger’ (Diecast model: Vought F4U Corsair)
No.17 2003
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress; Focke Wulf Fw 190; SAAB 37 Viggen (Diecast model: Focke-Wulf Fw 190)
No.18 September 2003
Dassault Mirage III; Sukhoi Su-24 ‘Fencer’; Hawker Hurricane (Diecast model: Dassault Mirage III)
No.19 October 2003
McDonnell Douglas AV-8 Harrier II; Messerschmitt Bf 109; Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ (Direcast Model: Messerschmitt Bf 109E )
No.20 October 2003
Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’; Nakajima Ki-84; Convair F-106 Delta Dart (Diecast model: Mil Mi-24 Hind)
No.21 November 2003
Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’; Northrop F-5; Heinkel He 111 (Diecast model: Northrop F-5E Tiger II)
No.22 November 2003
Boeing F/A-18 Hornet; Mitsubishi A6M Zero; Sukhoi Su-7/17/20/22 ‘Fitter’ family (Diecast model: Mitsubishi A6M Zero)
No.23 December 2003
Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon; Tupolev Tu-16 ‘Badger’; Bristol Beaufighter (Diecast model: Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon)
No.24 December 2003
Kamov Ka-50 ‘Hokum’; Gloster Meteor; Consolidated B-24 Liberator (Diecast model: Gloster Meteor)
No.25 January 2004
Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot; Messerschmitt Me 262; Republic F-105 Thunderchief (Diecast model: Messerschmitt Me 262)
No.26 February 2004
Dassault Mirage 2000; Boeing B-47 Stratojet; Ilyushin Il-2/10 Shturmovik (Diecast Model: Dassault Mirage 2000)
No.27 March 2004
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk; Dassault Mirage F1; Messerschmitt Bf 110 (Diecast model: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk)
No.28 April 2004
North American F-100 Super Sabre; Hawker Tempest; Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire (Diecast model: Hawker Tempest RAF)
No.29 May 2004
Convair B-36; SEPECAT Jaguar; Douglas SBD Dauntless (Diecast model: SEPECAT Jaguar)
No.30 June 2004
Lockheed AC-130 Hercules; Handley Page Victor; Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (Diecast model: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk)
No.31 July 2004
Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-17 ‘Fresco’; Handley Page Halifax; Eurocopter Tiger (Diecast model: Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-17 Fresco)
No.32 August 2004
SAAb 35 Draken; Bell AH-1 Hueycobra; Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Diecast model: Bell AH-1 Cobra)

Air Combat Collection (1)

Air Combat Collection 22

‘Air Combat Collection’ was one of the first magazines to try the magazine-with-a-model combination that is now very popular around the world. Each 16-page A4 issue covered one warplane type from each of three eras: Pre-1945, 1946-69 and post-1970, including cutaways, technical specifications, side views, both colour and black and white illustrations, plus a cover-mounted 1/100th scale model of one of them.

Further information:
Air Combat Collection

[*] Contents Listing, Air Combat Collection

Fighter Aircraft Collection

fighter-ac-colln-uk-28

‘Fighter Aircraft Collection’ was a fortnightly partwork which comprised a 16-page full colour magazine and a diecast scale model of an aircraft. The series built-up into a collection of the world’s most important fighter aircraft over the past 100 years. The printed magazine described and illustrated the aircraft type featured in the model, with some very nice photographs and colour profile artwork.

The model was supplied in a cover-mounted bubble pack with a display stand and came in 1:72 or 1:100 scale, depending on the size of the original aircraft. The model was finished in realistic colours and markings. The complete UK collection consisted of 60 models over a 2 year period from September 2010 – an extra 4 models of bomber aircraft where supplied free to subscribers, making a total of 64 models. The choise of some subjects, such as the Fairey Swordfish, Fairey Gannet and A-4 Skyhawk where not exactly in line with the overall fighter aircraft theme, but proved to be quite nice models.

This title was also published in a number of Commonwealth countries, with a slightly different sequence of subjects. The Australia/New Zealand version ran to 64 editions, while the Malaysia/Singapore version had only 42 editions.

Further Information:
Australian Edition
Malaysia/Singapore Edition

[*] Contents Listing, Fighter Aircraft Collection (UK Edition)
[*] Contents Listing, Fighter Aircraft Collection (Aus/NZ Edition)

Fighter Aircraft Collection – Contents Listing (UK Edition)

See the full magazine details.

No.1 September 2010
Supermarine Spitfire (Diecast model: 1:72 Spitfire Mk Vb W3458/YQ-X of 616 Sqn the RAF, 1941)
No.2 September 2010
Messerschmitt Bf109 (Diecast model: 1:72 Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 ‘~ + 5′(yel) of JG54 the Luftwaffe, 1942)
No.3 October 2010
North American Mustang (Diecast model: 1:72 P-51B 2106839/B7-E ‘Bald Eagle III’ of 374 FS/361 FG the USAAF, 1944)
No.4 October 2010
Harrier Jump Jet (Diecast model: 1:72 Sea Harrier FRS.1 (no serial) of the Royal Navy, 1982)
No.5 November 2010
Fokker Triplane (Diecast model: 1:72 Fokker DR.I 425/17 of JGI of Imperial Germany, 1918)
No.6 November 2010
Hawker Hurricane (Diecast model: 1:72 Hurricane IIb(trop) Z5226/CQ-37 of the RAF, 1941)
No.7 December 2010
Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-15 (Diecast model: 1:72 MiG-15 3244 of the Czechoslovak Air Force, 1954)
No.8 December 2010
Sopwith Camel (Diecast model: 1:72 Sopwith Camel F1 B6313 ‘1C’ of the Royal Flying Corps, 1917)
No.9 January 2011
Mitsubishi A6M Zero (Diecast model: 1:72 A6M3 Zero Y-1151 of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1942)
No.10 January 2011
Lockheed Starfighter (Diecast model: 1:100 F-104S-ASA 999 of the Italian Air Force, 2004)
No.11 February 2011
SPAD S.XIII (Diecast model: 1:72 SPAD S.XIII ‘0’ of the United States Army Air Service, 1918)
No.12 February 2011
Boeing F/A-18 Hornet (Diecast model: 1:100 F/A-18F Super Hornet AA/200 of VFA-11 the US Navy 2005)
No.13 March 2011
Messerschmitt Me262 (diecast model: 1:72 Me 262A ‘8’(white) of the Luftwaffe, 1944)
No.14 March 2011
F-100 Super Sabre (Diecast model: 1:100 F-100C FW-076 of the USAF, 1955)
No.15 April 2011
Albatros D.V (Diecast model: 1:72 Albatros D.V (no serial) of the Imperial German Army, 1917)
No.16 April 2011
Panavia Tornado (Diecast model: 1:100 Tornado GR.4 ??/DE of the RAF, 2006)
No.17 May 2011
Grumman F6F Hellcat (Diecast model: 1:72 F6F ‘9’ of the US Navy, 1945)
No.18 May 2011
Gloster Meteor (Diecast model: 1:100 Meteor F.8 WL164 of the RAF, 1954)
No.19 June 2011
Gloster Gladiator (Diecast model: Gladiator I Lxxxx/YK-I of the RAF, 1940
No.20 June 2011
Mikoyan MiG-29 (Diecast model: 1:100 Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum-C 44 (blue) of 234th GvIAP of the Russian Air Force, 1991)
No.21 July 2011
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a (Diecast model: 1:72 SE.5A D276/A of 74 Sqn the RAF, 1918)
No.22 July 2011
Hawker Hunter (Diecast model: 1:100 Hunter T.7 XL579/92 of the RAF, 1962)
No.23 August 2011
Focker-Wulf Fw190 (Diecast model: 1:72 Fw 190A-8 ’13’ (black) of the Luftwaffe, 1944)
No.24 August 2011
F-22 Raptor (Diecast model: 1:100 F-22 03-042/FF of the USAF, 2005)
No.25 September 2011
Fairey Swordfish (Diecast model: 1:72 Swordfish I ‘4A’ of 815 Sqn of the Royal Navy, 1940)
No.26 September 2011
Yakovlev Yak-3 (Diecast model: 1:72 Yak-3 15 (yel) of 157 IAP of the Soviet Air Force, 1944)
No.27 October 2011
English Electric Lightning (Diecast model: 1:100 Lightning F.6 XS921/M of the RAF, 1969)
No.28 October 2011
Sukhoi ‘Flanker’ (Diecast model: 1:100 Su-27SK 38 (blue) of the Chinese PLAAF, 2001)
No.29 November 2011
F4U Corsair (Diecast model: 1:72 F4U-1D ’51’ of the US Marine Corps, 1945)
No.30 November 2011
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom (Diecast model: 1:100 F-4D 40-829/FG of the USAF, 1967)
No.31 December 2011
Bristol Bulldog (Diecast model: 1:72 Bulldog K2159 of the RAF, 1931)
No.32 December 2011
P-47 Thunderbolt (Diecast model: 1:72 P-47D 225044/HV-Z of the USAAF, 1944)
No.33 December 2011
Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-21 (Diecast model: 1:100 MiG-21MF 6814 of 3PLM of the Polish Air Force, 1999)
No.34 January 2012
Grumman F4F Wildcat (Diecast model: 1:72 F4F 9-F-1 of the United States Navy, 1942)
No.35 January 2012
F-16 Fighting Falcon (Diecast model: 1:100 F-16C 4040 of the Polish Air Force, 2006)
No.36 February 2012
BAE Systems Hawk (Diecast model: 1:72 Hawk T.1 XX326/A of the RAF, 1984)
No.37 February 2012
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (Diecast model: 1:72 P-40B ’68’ of the American Volunteer Group, 1942)
No.38 March 2012
Republic F-84 Thunderjet (Diecast model: 1:100 F-84 11158/132 of the Republic of China Air Force, 1958)
No.39 March 2012
SEPECAT Jaguar (Diecast model: 1:100 Jaguar GR.3 XX738/ED of 6 Sqn of the Royal Air Force, 2007)
No.40 April 2012
Junkers Ju87 Stuka (Diecast model: 1:72 Ju 87B-2 J9+AL of the Luftwaffe, 1941)
No.41 April 2012
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk (Diecast model: 1:72 A-4M 8194 of the US Marine Corps, 1981)
No.42 May 2012
Boeing F-15 Eagle (Diecast model: 1:100 F-15A 76-020 of the USAF, 1985)
No.43 May 2012
Morane-Saulnier MS406 (Diecast model: 1:72 MS.406C1 989 of the French Air Force, 1940)
No.44 June 2012
A-10 Thunderbolt II (Diecast model: 1:100 A-10A 149/IN of the USAF, 1994 in D-Day stripes)
No.45 June 2012
De Havilland Vampire (Diecast model: 1:72 Vampire FB.9 WP990 of the RAF, 1955)
No.46 July 2012
Dassault Mirage 2000 (Diecast model: 1:100 Mirage 2000C 5-OP of the French Air Force, 1991 – Desert camouflage)
No.47 July 2012
Grumman F-14 Tomcat (Diecast model: 1:100 F-14A 101/NF from USS Kittyhawk of the US Navy, 20??)
No.48 August 2012
Heinkel He162 (Diecast model: 1:72 He 162A-2 ’11’ (yel) of III/JG1 the Luftwaffe, 1945)
No.49 August 2012
Eurofighter Typhoon (Diecast model: 1:100 Typhoon F.2 ZJ924/QO-H of 3 Sqn, RAF, 2008)
No.50 September 2012
Messerschmitt Me163 (Diecast model: 1:72 Me 163B (no serial) of the Luftwaffe, 1944)
No.51 September 2012
Fairey Gannet (Diecast model: 1:100 Gannet COD.4 XA454 264/H of 849 Sqn of the Royal Navy, 1970)
No.52 October 2012
Dewoitine D520 (Diecast model: 1:72 D520 343 ‘M’ of the Vichy French air Force, 1941)
No.53 October 2012
Hawker Tempest (Diecast model: 1:72 Hawker Tempest I JN751/R-B of the RAF, 1944)
No.54 November 2012
F9F Panther (Diecast model: 1:72 F9F-2B 127207/WL of VMF-311 of the US Marine Corps, 195?)
No.55 November 2012
Messerschmitt Bf110 (Diecast model: 1:100 Bf 110 nightfighter C3+EF of the Luftwaffe, 1944)
No.56 December 2012
Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-3 (Diecast model: 1:72 MiG-3 (no serial) of the Soviet Air Force, 1942 – white with red stripe)
No.57 December 2012
F-86 Sabre (Diecast model: 1:72 Canadair Sabre 6 JA-344 of the West German Air Force, 1963)
No.58 January 2012
North American T-6 Texan (Diecast model: 1:72 LT-6G 83579/LTA-579 of the USAF, 1953)
No.59 January 2012
Dassault Mirage III (Diecast model: 1/100 Mirage IIIC ’10-RF’ of the French Air Force, 1969)
No.60 February 2012
Fokker D.VII (Diecast model: 1:72 Fokker D.VII ‘Lo!’ of the Imperial German Army Air Force, 1918)

Mushroom Model Magazine – Contents Listing

See the full magazine details.

Vol.1 No.1 Summer 1996
Aussie Challenge – building a 1/72 scale Wirraway; Defiant – survey of all available kits, decals & accessories; Bulldog! – the last Bristol Bulldog; Three wheels or four? – Very small scale classic car models; Books reviews;
Monumental tank – Polish T-34 survivor described & illustrated; Talking point – the “In Action” series: reference or rip-off?
Vol.1 No.2 Autumn 1996
INTERNETional Modelling – using the Internet and Web; Japanese WW2 Cockpit Colours -Part One: IJNAF colours; Some Laws of Modelling – not quite serious rules from IPMS Huston; Two Horses, Four Wheels – modelling the “Deuche” (Citroen 2CV); PWS-10: a Pole that went to Spain – history, modelling details & colours; Hot off the Workbench – the review section; Barry’s Modelling Page – F-82G, F-16A/B & RF-18 models from Barry Francis
Vol.1 No.3 Winter 1996
Dornier Do 17/215 Nightfighters – colour schemes & modelling tips; Japanese WW2 Cockpit Colours – Part 2, IJNAF; Tasman – the Rex Barker story – the history of Tasman & Kiwi Wings; Albatros – de Havilland’s elegant airliner; Hot Off the Workbench – reviews of the latest from Accurate Miniatures and many others; Not on the Workbench – sorry saga of a mistaken purchase!
Vol.1 No.4 Spring 1997
Scratchbuilding Novice – Peter Westbrook’s award-winning Fokker FIII; Hot Off the Workbench – Zlin, Halberstadt, DH 91 – detailed reports on building the Aeromaster, Skybirds’86 & AirCraft Model kits ; Modelling & Internet – Including Norwegian He 115s and USN interior colours; Red Starry Skies Part 1: Yaks – Modelling WW2 Soviet fighters – 1st of a new series
Vol.2 No.1 Summer 1997
Balkan Emils; Slow But Deadly #1; Return to Sender?; Hot off the Workbench
Vol.2 No.2 1997
Fatally Flawek Foker?; Asian Triumphs; Spanish Fokkers; Balkan Emils Part 2; Hot off the Workbench; Blenheim – Survivor’s Tales; Modelling & the Internet
Vol.2 No.3 1997
Marcel Bloch MB 150 Series; Super Shturmoviks – Accurate Miniatures’ Il-2 Shturmoviks; He 170A in Hungarian service; Adam’s rib. Point of view from a modeler and kit producer’s wife. (Aeroclub); Chiltern Show and the IPMS UK Nationals; Readers feedback, new models info and reviews, comments; Hot off the Workbench; Hints and tips
Vol.2 No.4 1998
Boeing B-17E – Colors and markings; Scratchbuilt Lloyd 1903 motorcycle; “Flaming Galahs” New aerobatic team Royal Australian Air Force; Lotus 25 – The “Clarkmobile”; Warships of the Spanish Civil War; Readers feedback, new models reviews and comments; Hot off the Workbench; Hints and tips
Vol.3 No.1 1998
Aeronavale aircraft 1939-40, part 1 (French naval aviation 1939/1940 – Information and color schemes of various aircraft of the service); Aeroclub, the inside story; 1/72nd scale Il-2 Shturmoviks – complete kit survey; Australian F/A-18 display team colours; Readers feedback, new models reviews and comments; Hints and tips
Vol.3 No.2 1998
Aeronavale aircraft 1939-40, part 2 (French naval aviation 1939/1940 – Information and color schemes of various aircraft of the service. List of kits available); Fieseler V-1 (scale plans, detail drawings, etc); McLaren MP 4/5B, detailing Tamiyas F 1 car; Airbrushes for modellers; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.3 No.3 1998
Aeronavale aircraft 1943-5 (French naval aviation 1943/1945 – Information and color schemes of various aircraft of the service); Avro Shackleton AEW2 (conversion from Revell kit); McLaren MP 4/5B, detailing Tamiyas F 1 car; Moto Guzzi V-8 scratch built; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.3 No.4 1999
Hawker Fury biplanes over Yugoslavia. History, kits; Polikarpov I-16 fighter. Kits and accessories survey; Seafire XV, converting Academy and Model News; Spitfire kits to naval configuration; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.4 No.1 1999
First jets in the USSR, MiG-9 story and modelling details; Heinkel He-70 in Spain. Story and color schemes; French Aeronavale update; Stearman Kaydett, color schemes and models; Yugoslav Fury update and corrections; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.4 No.2 1999
Yugoslav Hurricanes. History of JKRV aircraft in the Balkans and how to build the model; Researcher’s dilemma !! Finding an authentic paint scheme for an Australian P-51D Mustang; My first “Hot Rod” – ’32 Ford hot-rod; Luftwaffe WW2 Machine Guns. MG 15, 17, 131, 81; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips; PT-19 & PT-20
Vol.4 No.3 1999
Fairey Firefly part 1 – early versions. Side views, sketch, detail photos of aircraft; Gallic ghost, a Russian engine in a French MS.406. Morko-Morane history & model details, photos, side views; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.4 No.4 2000
Gloster Gladiator Mk.I. History, colors, model details of this biplane; Rigging biplane models. Useful comments; Ford Woody 48 classic station wagon car; Fairey Firefly update.Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.5 No.1 2000
Gloster Gladiator Part 2 – Gladiator Mk.II & Sea Gladiator (markings, 2½ pages of tone profiles, Sea Gladiator conversion); Soviet Union’s sole DH Mosquito (photos and modelling); Original Fairey Battle drawings (3 pages); Polikarpov Po-2 (photos, history and 1/48 models available); Readers feedback; New models reviews; Hints and tips [24 pages]
Vol.5 No.2 2000
Gloster Gladiator Part 3 – in Irish service; An aircraft modeler tackles a tank kit…. (Tiger I); Planes of the Spanish Museo del Aire, Madrid; History and colors of the Romanian Hurricanes (colour 3-view drwgs); Hawker Nimrod 1:72 plans; Readers feedback; New models reviews (8 pages); Hints and tips
Vol.5 No.3 2000
Vought SB2U Vindicator kits review and conversions; Ryan STM in Netherlands and Australia; History and colors of the Yugoslavian Hurricanes; Curtiss Hawk biplane of Udet; Superdetailing a Fw 190 wheel bay; Readers feedback, new models reviews; Hints and tips
Vol.5 No.4 2001
“Glacier Girl” : P-38 Lightning restoration in colour; Photo-recce Lightnings; Bloch MB.151 in Greek service; 1/32nd scale BF2C-1; Udet Hawk feedback & photos
Vol.6 No.1 2001
RAAF Mirage IIIO – part one; “Ekranoplans”; B-17E/XC-108 restoration
Vol.6 No.2 2001
Dornier Do 18; Mirage IIIO Part 2 – kit survey; contest-winning Mustang; Panzerjaeger IV L70; Czech B-24 Liberators; Polish pin-up girl – striking Mustang nose art!
Vol.6 No.3 2001
Avia BH-33 in Yugoslav service; Dornier Do 24; 1/72nd scale Blenheims
Vol.6 No.4 2002
Dornier Do 26, Part 3; Heinkel He 219 in Czechoslovakia; A Brace of Tunnans (SAAB J-29); A Modeller’s Evolution, Part 1; Mirage IIIO in RAAF Service; Arado Ar 79; Nailing a Perfect Finish
Vol.7 No.1 2003
Hellenic Battles (colour profiles); Hampden photo-feature; Balkan Air War 1944-45
Vol.7 No.2 2003
“What If?” models; AC-47 gunship; 1/32nd scale Mirage IIIO; Air Operations Over Yugoslavia 1944-45 part 2
Vol.7 No.3 2003
Photo Finish; Hellenic Henschels; Mirage in Blue(s); Cross Kitting 1/1 scale; A unique contra-prop Spitfire PR.XIX; Dangerous Dakotas 2
Vol.7 No.4 2003
America’s First Jet P-59A; A Modeller’s Evolution Part 4; Dangerous Dakotas Part 3; Hot off the Workbench; Book Reviews; Yugoslav Fjuri II
Vol.8 No.1 2004
Spirit of Adventure!; And I ’m feeling Glad all over…; The Hellenic Henschels part 2; Jumo Junkie; Air Operations over Yugoslavia 1944-5; Hot off the Workbench; Book Reviews
Vol.8 No.2 2004
A Modeller’s Evolution – part; “Spirit of Adventure” Part 2 of the Sikorsky S-38 & S-39 story; AFVs of the Spanish Civil War, #1; That’s No Mirage!; Bulldogs with a Difference; Red Radial Hurricane Revisited; “File o’Facts” – Airspeed Oxford; Hot off the Workbench; Book Reviews; Bell P-59A – an encore; Details of more Airacomet kits
Vol.8 No.3 2004
Arado Ar 65 in Bulgarian service (history, and two ways to make the model – resin and conversion); Surf’s Up! Revell’s 1948 Ford Woody, with boat and surf board; The Magnificent Mars (Background to the new CMR kit, photos, 1:144 scale drwgs); Hot off the Workbench; Book Reviews [24 pages]
Vol.8 No.4 2004
Douglas DC-2; Yugoslav Spitfires and Hurricanes; T-28 Trojan in 1/48; Gift-wrapped Mirage IIIO; Airbus & B757 Makeovers; Ikarus S-49; Oxford Revisited; Hot off the Workbench; Books reviews
Vol.9 No.1 2005
Hellenic Gladiators; Westland Wyvern 1/48; WM21 Solyom; Comper Swift; Hot off the Workbench; Books reviews
Vol.9 No.2 2005
The Hellenic Gladiators part 2 Modelling the Greek Glads in 1/72nd; Dutch DC-2 addendum Dissent over the accuracy of the Cloudmaster decals!; Blohm und Voss BV 40 The Luftwaffe ’s most unlikely fighter,described and drawn
by Brian Marshall; Tractor Oruga Industrial Blindado Rusty Sprocket with more SCW armoured cars; “Accurate ” Yaks? Aleksej Ilic in despair at the accuracy of current Yak kits; A Blue Parrot on My Shoulder Christian Boehm battles to make an accurate Privateer in 1/72nd; EZ-Mask update News from Chris Loney about his canopy masks and related products; Hot off the Workbench 18; More goodies (and baddies) revealed; Book Reviews
Vol.9 No.3 2005
Bulgarian Fw 58 Weihe; Arkhangelsky Ar-2; Helicopters over Algeria; Dazzle – painted Mustang; Hot off the Workbench
Vol.9 No.4 2005
Vampire De Havilland vs Classic Airframes; Late Corsair cowlings; Fw 200C scale plans by Arthur Bentley; VIP Condors; Small scale detail; Hot off the workbench; Book reviews
Vol.10 No.1 2006
ACW Naval Vessel; BP Defiant kit survey; Bottisham then and now; Junkers W34 detail photos; Hot off the Workbench
Vol.10 No.2 2007
Amphibious C-47; Bell 47 over Malta; Phantom. Pembroke & Spitfire; Junkers G38 & Ki-20; Hot off the Workbench; Books reviews
Vol.10 No.3 2007
Yellow & Black – Martinet and Lysander target tug models; Dewoitine D.510 in China Alex Crawford finds an unusual colour scheme for the old Heller kit; Spanish Foreign Legion – A first for MMM? Figure modelling details!; Automitrailleuse Citroen 2CV – An unlikely AFV from Ley Reynolds; Vickers Wellington Mk.II – Steve Woodward puts Merlins on his Wellie; Forty-Eighth Firebrands – Robin Powell has fun with some Magna Models resin; Culver Continued – More on the little Culver PQ-14 from David Money; Hot off the Workbench – More goodies (and baddies) revealed; Book Reviews
Vol.10 No.4 2007
No information

Additional information is welcome

Model Art International – Contents Listing

See the full magazine details.

Issue No.1 December 1991
Plastic Classics: Italian Fighters of World War 2 by Steve Di Nucci (11 page detailed survey of relevant kits); Lifting the Lid – kit reviews; Under the Spotlight: Heller’s 1:48th Etendards; Master Class: Heller’s 1:24th Focke Wulf 190A (8 page super detailing feature)
Issue No.2 January 1992
Plastic Classics: F-104 Starfighters by Steve Di Nucci (11 page detailed survey of relevant kits); 1991 Japan Hobby Fair News; Under the Spotlight: Airfix 1:72nd Harriers GR.5/7/10; Lifting the Lid – kit reviews
Issue No.3 February 1992
Plastic Classics: Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury (11 page special on kits from the 1950s to date); 1 to 1: Scottish Aviation Bulldog (flying with the RAF’s University Air Squadrons); Master Class: Monogram 1:48th F-102 by Steve Di Nucci (9 page super detailing feature); Lifting the Lid – kit reviews
Issue No.4 March 1992
Plastic Classics: Avro Lancaster (9 page survey of kits from 1:125th to 1:48th scale); 1 to 1: Lancaster NX611 (and a story of RAF Coastal Command Lancasters post war); Master Class: Revell’s 1:72nd Focke Wulf Condor bomber (5 pages of super detailing and updating the kit); Under the Spotlight: Hasegawa’s 1:48th F-18 Hornet; Lifting the Lid – kit reviews; 1992 UK Trade Fair News
Issue No.5 April 1992
Plastic Classics: Lockheed TR-1 and U-2 (8 page feature on kits over the years); Lifting the Lid: Revell’s 1:72nd F-101B Voodoo (with colour page); Master Class: Modelling the HH-3F, HU-16 and C-130 of the US Coast Guard (7 page feature); Sidewinder colours (keyed drawings for the AIM-9 used by different air forces); Lifting the Lid – kit reviews; Under the Spotlight: JMGTs 1:48th resin Bloch 152
Issue No.6 May 1992
Plastic Classics: Heinkel He 219 (5 page review of kits including the new Dragon kit); Vertical launch F-104 Starfighter in 1:72nd by Steve Di Nucci (6 page feature); Lifting the Lid – kit reviews