Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

IWM Duxford

If you have seen Big Lee's miniature adventures, then you'll be passingly familiar with IWM Duxford.  It really is worth the visit, even if you live in Byzantium.  There is something about being in a room full of aeroplanes that reduces crowds of grown men to small boys. 

We may stand around discussing aviation as it relates to the sunset of the British Empire and the decline of our manufacuring industry, but inside we are all Biggles.  Thoughts ranged from defending our beleaguered island from the Luftwaffe to 'You wouldn't get me up in that' to just 'wow'.  I stood under the Vulcan, reached up and touched it. If you don't get why that's exciting, your probably a girl.  Check now.
This is a Eurofighter Typhoon.  In the restoration hanger.  Already.

The Lancaster.  I have a grest uncle in a cemetary in Holland somewhere, he flew one of these. until 1943, having transferred out of the Royal Artillery.  He also spent part of his career flying Blemhiems from RAF Bicester, so there are plenty of family connections there (Royal Artillery, Bicester etc).

Yours truely.  I was amazed that it was so big; but then considering the crew and ~20 tonne payload was also amazed that it was so small.

I had a great day out with a lot of my friends.  (Sounds like 'what i did in my hollydaze')  These picures are from the 'Avaiation Hall' which shows quite well why we won (innovation and 'having a go' on a massive scale) and then lost (too many ideas, not enough focus) an Empire, all in aeroplanes.

We visited the American Hall, which is possibly more impressive, being laid out specifically to display the exhibits it holds, rather than a shed that happens to fit all the 'planes in it. (See previous paragraph).

And the Land War hall.  Which has in it things I remember from what seems like not too long ago.  My early working life is in a museum, that really makes me feel a bit funny.  This was outside.
Yes, it is a Hydra, yes the weathering is suberb.

We got around about half of the place and spent a fortune on books in the shop.  My personal highlight:

From the Sea Power conservatory.  If ever there was a plane built for one thing (hitting Soviet warships) this is it.  So ugly, it's beautiful.  If I had an aircraft carrier, this is what I'd want to fly off it.

There is precious little magic in many people's day to day lives.  This place had a handful of grown men with responsibilities wandering about wide eyed.  Marvelous. 


  1. Do they still have the little yellow bus that scoots you around? Going as a young child (well, a youngER child) I seem to remember being equally fascinated by that as the Land Warfare Hall. Been a while since I've been but I'll have to pop over again I think. Some good photos there.

  2. There was a bus for limited mobility people, but I didn't notice a 'general use' bus.

    What I really loved was actually feeling excited about something, like a small kid at Christmas. My job gives me good stress, bad stress and the very occasional soupsans of satisfaction; so this was a special day. I still remember my dad taking me to Hendon 37 years ago - my sister and I ran and ran and ran around the house when we got back, until I missed a doorway and ran into the wall at full chat (as one does at that age).

    It may sound a bit weird, but it is nice to let one's inner child out - we let a bit of it out in this hobby. But the whole five year old Zzzzzz came out at Duxford. How many 'planes can you name without looking at the labels ? Steve and I missed about four in the entire day ! I award myself a new car ! Hurrah !

    Oh well, back to work.

  3. "So ugly it's beautiful" is such a perfect description!

    And yeah, you're right about Duxford - it's ace. I saw (felt) a Vulcan fly overhead whilst there, and it set off every single car alarm in the carpark. Quite literally hundreds - and I do mean quite literally.

    Awesome. Again, in the literal sense.

    I saw the Battle of Britain Memorial flight that day too - I can take or leave Spitfires, but Hurricans and Lancasters - I have to say - do get me a little moist.