The Museum has a large display of models of aircraft. These range from small plastic models with intricate colour schemes to WW1 fighters showing the construction details.
Spitfire Mk. 9
Some of the most noticeable of the large models are suspended from the roof of the hangar. These large models give the appearance of being in the final stages of the landing approach. The Canadian Forces DC-3 and Grumman Albatross, RAF Spitfire and DH Mosquito are tribute to the talents of the master builder, Cliff Oswald. Cliff had specialist help from long-time model builders, Rick Hall and Jim Ramsay.
Cliff Oswald, Jim Ramsay, Rick Hall and Cyril Meadows at the Museum
Cliff spent time in Army service and saw Spitfires in action, making this aircraft a natural for model building. The aircraft is in authentic squadron colours for D-Day and is a ¼ scale Spitfire Mk. 9. The model took two years of labour to complete and has a large percentage of fibreglass in the construction. Rick and Jim did cockpit details – a fact that is, unfortunately, not obvious when they are ‘flying’ overhead.
The DC-3 model, a tribute to the 16,000 built and still in use worldwide, is finished in the colours of the Canadian Forces where it served from 1943 to 1989. The model is constructed of fibreglass and wood and took one year to build.
The de Havilland Mosquito keeping guard over the CMF fleet in the hangar is a spectacular example of Cliff’s talents as a model builder. The details of the model are almost exactly the same as the production aircraft from the factory. Wooden construction is used with the fuselage built in the traditional way of two halves that are joined together; the wing a one-piece unit attached later. The aircraft is a 26% scale of the original and took an incredible four years to build.
And does it fly? The model was designed to fly, however, after the time and money invested it was decided not to attempt a flight. There are no comparable Mosquito models available and Cliff generously donated the project to the Museum.
But it doesn’t stop there! Cliff took on the project of refurbishing the P-51 Mustang at the Museum that now keeps an airborne watch over the hangar. Other projects by this team on view are a DH Chipmunk, a Beech Staggerwing classic biplane and a Cessna 310 light twin.
In the Gift Shop at the Museum entrance is an extremely detailed model of a 1935 Stinson SR5 built by Maxse Tayler. This beautiful model is built in such detail that it has leather seats and magazines in the door pockets!
Display cases show the intricate details of the construction of WW1 aircraft such as the SE5. Overhead flies a huge model of a Nieuport 17 built to 1/2 scale by Lou Hansen. Other aircraft of this period on display are the Fokker D VIII, SE5A and the B.E. 2.
WW2 is showcased by Lancaster and B-25 bombers, with Harvard and Stearman trainers in their high-visibility yellow finish. A model Westland Lysander floats alongside the actual Lysander while a tank-busting Hawker Typhoon looks for another target.
As well in the hangar are models of a classic Canadian bushplane, the Norseman, in RCMP colours, and the Stranraer flying boat that flew on coastal BC waters in military and civilian colours.
Model of SE5A
This detailed and very accurate 1/4 scale Model was built by Lea Sheppard of Gibsons, BC and is on loan to the Museum.
The SE5A before taking to the air in the Museum hangar.
Lea has been a keen modeler since his young days and spent about two years - with some interruptions - in the construction phase of the SE5A. It is one-quarter scale and is made from plans by Bob Holman. During its first flight an engine control failed resulting in Lea and helpers having to fly the model for 40 minutes until it ran out of fuel. Lea considers it a wonderful model to fly.
The attention to detail is demonstrated in this close-up of the cockpit area.
And he should know, having constructed about 15 1/4-scale models, including a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, Fleet Finch, J3 Cub on floats, Curtis Robin, Fairchild 22, DHC Beaver and a Tiger Moth.
During his research he visited the RAF Museum in Hendon, UK and was paying a lot of attention to their SE5A. When the curator realized that he had a genuine interest, he was allowed unlimited access to the real aircraft. This shows up in the attention to detail visible in the model hanging in the Museum hangar - come and see for yourself. Then compare it to the Museums flying SE5A - a replica flying aircraft.