Wednesday 27 February 2019

Finally Sketching RAF Hendon

RAF Hendon Kitty Hawk When I heard that USk London's latest sketchcrawl was going to be at the RAF Museum Hendon, I couldn't resist. I was planning a quick trip to England anyway to see family and go to a wedding, so I just came a few days earlier. I am from Burnt Oak, which is very close to RAF Hendon (which is in Colindale), in the northern edges of London, and my family are still there. Yet the thing is, I've never been inside RAF Hendon (I know, right? Not even with school! We just never went). I was blown away by just how big it was - so many planes! I was joined by my nephew and budding apprentice urban sketcher, Sonny, who produced an impressive amount of sketches, and happily chatted away with the other sketchers he met. RAF Hendon Sonny sketching The first plane we both sketched was the Curtiss KITTY HAWK III, at the top of this post. With its painted mouth, this was an obvious favourite. We then moved on to draw a couple of others, the small red CHIPMUNK plane which is post-WWII, and had cool black and white striped propellers, which must have created a great effect while spinning. Ohhhh, like the stripes on a chipmunk's back, I get it. Next to it was the golden yellow HARVARD, but I didn't catch the name of the plane behind it.  RAF Hendon Chipmunk and Harvard
Below is the TORNADO, which is one of my absolute favourite planes. Back in the 1980s when I was in primary school (which is not far from here, at Goldbeaters), pupils were divided into four houses, which were if memory serves 'Phantoms' (green), 'Jaguars' (blue), Harriers (red, I think?) and 'Tornadoes' (yellow). I was in the Tornadoes. We would get House Points for all sorts of things, sometimes for sporting achievements (we would be split into our houses on sports day), but also good behaviour, good academic work, and other such things. If I recall I got us a few House Points for drawing, but not as many for sporting prowess (I was good at chess though). Anyway, that's why I like Tornadoes. Also, just look at it. It looks like a Transformer (yep, I was a child of the 80s).RAF Hendon Tornado Quick five-minute sketch of the enormous LANCASTER bomber, which I will definitely attempt again some time, it is an enormous flying fortress. It brought to mind the great flying battleships of Castle In The Sky, one of my favourite Miyazaki films. Also, the first part I drew was the round bit at the front, the one with the strange screaming emoji face on it. RAF Hendon Lancaster When I was a kid my older sister went out with a bloke called Neil, who worked at British Aerospace. When he came to visit once he brought me all these posters of modern British fighter planes, which I hung on my wall, and I tried to design new, faster, more weapon-filled versions. I was a little bit into jet fighter planes. Yet I still didn't visit RAF Hendon. The magnificent flying machines were very much part of our local lore - RAF Hendon is at the site of the great Hendon Aerodrome, which spanned the area now covered by Grahame Park Estate (where many of my school friends lived, and my sister lives on the adjacent Douglas Bader section), named after flying legend Claude Grahame-White. He had established a flying school here in 1911. Of course, two of the most famous of all RAF planes were the heroic fighter planes of the Battle of Britain, the HAWKER HURRICANE, and the forever popular SPITFIRE. So my last two sketches are of those beauties.RAF Hendon Hawker Hurricane RAF Hendon Spitfire And here are some of the sketches my nephew Sonny did. Newest urban sketcher! A fun time was had by all. Thanks for organizing, and hope to see you all on a future sketchcrawl!