Squadron Hacks, Alternate Uses and Personal Aircraft

According to Wikipedia, a Squadron or Station Hack is defined thus…

A Station hack, in Royal Air Force jargon, is a utility aeroplane assigned to an RAF air station or squadron (that normally flies another type of aircraft in its role), and utilised for run-of-the-mill activities, including delivering to, or collecting from, other airfields personnel, spare parts, equipment, or documents; activities that would not be considered worthy of the tactical, strategic, or larger transport aeroplanes that might be operated from the same air station.


The back stories of these aircraft were many and varied; commanding officers were known to sometimes retain aircraft for their personal use when their squadron received upgraded aircraft; there was at least one captured Ju-87 Stuka in North Africa painted with both RAF and USAAF markings; Canadian pilots re-marked and used a captured Bf109G for joyrides after hostilities in Europe ceased; war weary aircraft were re-purposed for air-sea rescue missions and bombers were repainted in dazzling multi-coloured schemes for duty as assembly aircraft; miscellaneous aircraft were, let’s say, acquired for general duties and running errands, visiting friends and teaching other ranks to fly.

These aircraft were almost always unarmed, struck off charge “hacks” whose useful operational life was complete; their fighting days were over. These sheep in wolf’s clothing make for fascinating modeling subjects as well as providing interesting stories. This page will be a collection of such aircraft that I’ll update from time to time. Not all will have a full back story but all will have had something that caught my eye. I hope you find them equally as interesting.

A War Weary Spitfire MkV of the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group at Mount Farm

AR404 had an interesting life; it was originally issued to 124 Squadron in June 1942 but soon thereafter was sent over to 2nd Fighter Squadron of the USAAF’s 52nd FG. In October the same year it was belly landed and following repairs and conversion to LFVb spec (clipped wings and re-engined) it was passed on to No.416 (Canadian) Squadron. In September 1943 it found a new home with No.313 (Czech) Squadron and then, only three months later was sent back to the USAAF in the 14th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron of the 7th PRG. Incredibly, it was again belly landed and subsequently declared a “Hack” and used for local area orientation flights for the squadron’s newest pilots. In September 1944 AR404 was returned to the RAF who subsequently sold it to the Portuguese Air Force in June, 1947.

Tamiya(?) 1/48 Spitfire Mk.Vb

I have no idea when I made this Spitfire, or even what kit I used for it, but I bet it was at least fifteen years ago and I think it’s likely I used a Tamiya kit. I am quite sure I used Ultracast control surfaces but that’s where the memory fades…

I was pleasantly surprised that it still existed when we went back to Canada last year, my father-in-law must have had a soft spot for it because he’d kept it all these years.

Looking at it now, I wish I’d made a better job of it; I messed up the way the serial is marked up in the fin, for some reason thought the rudder and elevators were white, and missed the RAF roundels on the upper wings completely (but strangely put them on the underside). I like the base paint job but it’s crying out for weathering and texture.

Given the opportunity I’d fix it because the overall build and paintwork looks to be quite decent, but the model is still in Canada and I’m back in Australia. At the end of the day though, it’s an NMF Spitfire and it still looks nice.


References and Credits

Copyright: I claim original work and Copyright 2020 for the text in this article and the photos of the models. As usual though, I am indebted for the material used in research listed above in the References and Credits section. Except where noted otherwise, I sourced all other images and photos from the internet and are used under fair-use. Any copyrighted images will be removed or credited forthwith upon request by its rightful owner.

Categories: Feature Article

Tagged as: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: