In the modelling popularity stakes, there will be somewhere a virtual league table. High on this might be ‘Luftwaffe 46’, which has become a popular and well catered for modelling genre. For my part, although fascinated by the technical imagination and creativity of the German engineers, there is its counter-point in the more factual ‘RAF 46’, a still somewhat neglected, although emerging theme. True, the reality of the cash-starved immediate post-war is less colourful than the imaginative fiction of never-built drawing-board exotica. RAF 46 nevertheless is represented by a plethora of late mark Spitfires, Tempests, Hornets and early Vampires and Meteors. The Tempest II, the older brother of the wartime Tempest V, is a great example of this time.
The Ultimate Tempest
This immediate post-war late-40s/early-50s era is a fascinating time of transition and change, and one I enjoy exploring. The last, but most potent, of the piston-engined fighters passed the baton to the jet age in some style. The Tempest II is, compared to the wartime Mk V with its huge chin radiator, a more elegant and refined machine. Not as refined perhaps as its later perfected cousin, the Fury/ Sea Fury, but the Tempest II was a sleek, powerful machine. It missed out on wartime service due to problems with its engine. In modelling terms, the wartime Sabre-engined Mk V hogs the limelight and is now well served in kit form. The Centaurus Mk II was, apart from Matchbox’s mid- 1970s kit option, largely forgotten and has been generally ignored until only very recently.
Initially arriving with the RAF in early 1945, the by now tropicalised Mk II was set to join the fight against Japan, but it was not needed. In the event, the Tempests served out their time in Germany until 1949 and in the Far East until 1951, there playing an important ground attack role in Malaya during Operation Firedog. The type also served with the newly established Indian Air Force (and that of Pakistan), thanks to which a number of these late Tempests have survived for posterity, with one possibly joining the air show circuit soon.
Tempest II in Model Form
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