Monday, 27 October 2014

The Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire

This blog has been quiet for a bit as I have moved house recently and have only just got the war room into an organised state. Unfortunately, I still have little time for painting at the moment, because I'll be off to Belgium for a fortnight on Sunday, so everything is on hiatus for the foreseeable future. However, I spent this weekend in Bedford for a friend's wedding and took the chance to visit the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden. Here are a bunch of photos of some of the amazing aircraft that they have there!

When we arrived this Tiger Moth was taxiing after a flight, what an arrival!


Then it was quickly inside to see the amazing treasures held within! Like this Bristol Fighter, possibly my favourite First World War aeroplane. The cobwebs and ghoulish co-pilot are part of the museum's Halloween nonsense for kids.


Check out the rigging on that bad boy! This is partly why I don't build many British biplane models... There is so much rigging on them!





Another original plane was this lovely Sopwith Pup. A classic and beautiful little scout.



There were also two reproduction BE 2e that were on loan from a company in New Zealand, most likely The Vintage Aviator group. They were on their way to Stow Maries, a restored WW1 airfield in Chelmsford.


Then there was the classic fighter, the SE5a.Nothing more needs to be said about this great plane.





The last First War plane in the first hangar was the Avro 504K trainer.I have seen quite a few of these trainers in various museums, probably because many of them survived long after the war.


There was also a few smaller planes, such as this model of the Fokker DR1:


And this Sopwith Camel scale model, ether of which would look great in my display cabinet at home...


This little vignette of a BE2c trapped in telegraph wires was based on a contemporary photo of the same scene, a very interesting idea!


Another collection to be envious of...


In the next hangar was a Hawker Hurricane, it's always a pleasure to see these lovely birds.



The sleek lines of the Hawker Hart.


And a partly-reconstructed ME163 Komet. An absolutely nuts concept from a desperate Reich...


This drop tank was from an ME262.


If I were to start a photo collection of strange dummies used by museums, this would be the first.


Moving further through the hangars we came upon this Lysander, a very important but under recognised aeroplane.


Another treat was the Polikarpov PO-2, from Russia.


There were many civilian aircraft in the displays, this was my favourite, the DH88 racer.


Also buried near the back was this Bristol Scout, another sleek First War aircraft.


There was also many reproductions of the early attempts at flight, some of which looked downright dangerous.


A definite highlight of the trip was this Belriot XI, the world's oldest flying aeroplane, even if it is only limited to doing short hops these days.


It's hard to believe that this even got off the ground, never mind crossing the 23 miles of the English Channel!



Another early flyer was this Bristol Box-Kite. State of the art at the turn of the twentieth century!


The last aeroplane that took my interest was this original Fieseler Storch. One of very few German planes in the entire museum.




There was the engineering hangar but I didn't take any photographs in there, as the space was a bit cramped. All in all, it was a great visit and as somewhere I have wanted to see for many years, I was definitely not disappointed. If you do get a chance to drop by next time you're in Bedfordshire, I thoroughly recommend it!

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