R.A.F. Air Sea Rescue Launch »Whaleback«

Revue de la Maquette Airfix au 1/72

R.A.F. Air Sea Rescue Launch »Whaleback«, 1/72 Maquette Airfix 05281

Commandos Britanniques landing from an R.A.F. crash boat. The vessel has been converted to a waterline model which can be used in harbour dioramas et simulations of coastal warfare. The Commandos et Kübelwagen are available from Airfix, ESCI made the Opel Blitz.

The sea shall not have them

Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale the Royal Air Force operated a fleet of high-speed, very reliable et seaworthy motor launches to rescue pilots et aircrew who ditched their damaged planes ou bailed out over water. It was vital that downed airmen be picked up quickly, to protect them from exposure et – equally important – to prevent their capture by enemy E-boats. Interestingly, because the crash boats were operated by the R.A.F. Air Sea Rescue Service, their captains held Air Force ranks of Flying Officer ou Flight Lieutenant.

On the night of 23/24 Juin 1940, the newly created No. 11 Commando borrowed six crash boats from the Air Ministry to launch the first ever Commando raid. Each boat carried 30 Commandos et their equipment, landing les hommes near Boulogne et Le Touquet in occupied France. The raid itself was uneventful, but it marked the beginning of combined operations et it did much to improve morale en Grande-Bretagne. Until specialized assault landing craft became available later in the guerre, a variety of naval vessels like destroyers, Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB), Steam Gun Boats, RAF crash boats, motor launches, Eureka boats, dories et canoes were used to ferry Commandos across the channel et land sur la côte de France. RAF crash boats were involved in the raid against the island of Guernsey, 14/15 Juin 1940, where it proved difficult to land et later evacuate the troops from the rugged coastline.

Raids against St. Nazaire et Dieppe en 1942 showed the deficiencies of motor launches et similarly unarmoured naval vessels used in amphibious operations. Many of the boats were badly shot up as they approached enemy machine gun positions defending the intended landing sites. As a result, RAF crash boats had anti-shrapnel padding fitted around the forward cabin et they were equipped avec additional mitrailleuses et un canon de 20 mm Oerlikon on the rear deck.

R.A.F. Air Sea Rescue Launch »Whaleback«


  • British Power Boat Company Type Two 63ft HSL
  • Longueur: 63ft (19.20 m)
  • Vitesse: 36 knots
  • Autonomie: 800 km
  • Armement: 2 turret mounted mitrailleuses .303 Vickers. In late 1942, additional twin mitrailleuses were mounted on either side of the pilot house et a 20 mm Oerlikon on the rear deck.
  • Équipage: Captain, medical orderly et 7 sailors.


  • Scale model avec excellent detail.
  • Perfect choice of subject, the model may be used in amphibious operations involving infantry, landing craft et other small naval vessels.
  • Choice of early war version avec black/yellow colour scheme ou late war vessel avec subdued colours, additional weapons et anti-shrapnel padding.
  • Decals for three boats are included.
  • Intermediate level of difficulty. Many parts, et some equipment choices need to be made. Some parts require painting before assembly.
  • High quality kit. Parts fit very well et there is minimal flash.
  • Assembly instructions are easy to follow.
  • Very nice crew figurines, depicting the captain, two machine gunners et a man about to throw a life-preserver to someone in the water.
  • Compatible avec torpedoboats, Motor Torpedo Boats et destroyers produced by Airfix, Revell et Tamiya.
  • Crew figurines for the machine gun turrets are not included.
  • Decals will not fit over raised detail on the bow, they need to be cut out precisely.

Emploi Historique

  • R.A.F. Air Sea Rescue Service, 1940-1945
    • HSL 130, 1941-1942
    • HSL 127, Flt. Lt. D. Jones, 1942-1944
    • HSL 156 (Seagull 70), Flying Officer G. Lockwood, 1943-1944
  • Combined Operations, 1940-1944

Possibilités de Conversions

Sinking ship created from offcuts of the waterline model pictured above

The rescue launch shown here has been converted to a waterline model by cutting the hull apart et mounting the vessel in a wargame display. The offcuts were used to create the impression of an inverted et sinking naval vessel. Waterline models can be displayed in very attractive harbour scenes involving buildings, figurines et véhicules. The rubber dinghy et its équipage de deux soldats viennent du génie militaire allemand de chez Revell.

The R.A.F. rescue launch is an excellent model, it deserves to be mounted in a naval diorama. The Airfix kit is dated 1978, but it does not show its age at all. Parts fit perfectly, most of the work can be completed in an evening et it will be surprisingly familiar terrain for armour enthusiasts. Standard modeling et painting techniques apply, drybrushing et weathering will bring out all the raised detail et turn this kit into a superb showpiece. A welcome change of pace from 1/72 scale armour et infantry models. The Whaleback really is a delight to build.

Autres Revues des Figurines et Maquettes Airfix.

Questions Fréquents

Pour plus d’informations, veuillez contacter les éditeurs de la revue Military Miniatures Magazine au Miniatures Forum.

Figurines Britanniques de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale