Air Racing (DH88 Comet)

Chaps and Chapettes,

Most of the motorsport I cover on this blog consists of vehicles with four wheels, there’s no reason why that should be the case though. People across the world not only race vehicles on land but in the water and in the air too.

As with cars people have been racing aeroplanes for nearly as long as they have been around. The first major event being held in 1909 just 6 years after the first flight of the Wright Brothers.

Also, as with cars there are a number of formulas, disciplines and ways in which the races are run. Most are cross country or cross continent, so the aircraft start in one place and race to another, the quickest there wins. There are also pylon races such as the Red Bull Air Race where the aircraft have to fly between a course of pylons and the Aero GP in which pilots have to navigate pylons whilst fighting for airspace with up to 7 other aircraft.

Air Racing is something that I really don’t know a huge amount about and is definitely a good, untapped source of material from this blog.

I’m trying to keep the content of this blog as affordable and as “copyable?” as possible so every one can get involved. As you would have seen as much as I do event coverage and stuff with my own real cars I also do a lot of models, slot cars, RC, etc so those that don’t have/can’t afford/are not in the position to own a car can take something away from the blog. With air racing it will be no different as, sadly, not many of us can afford to run a real plane or even learn to fly for that matter. I will try to get out to events to do coverage but I will also be doing some RC and models because I enjoy doing that too.

Today we will be having a look at a really really old Airfix which is still in production and can be yours for as little a £6.20. The “Grosvenor House” DH88 Comet.

Grosvenor House was owned by a gentleman named Mr A.O Edwards and was named after the hotel he managed in Mayfair, London. It was flown to victory in the MacRobertson Air Race, from London, England to Melbourne, Australia, by Charles Scott and Tom Black in 70 hours and 55 minutes.

The kit itself is extremely basic, as one would expect from a casting from 1958. You’ll read a lot of reviews on the internet about how it’s a terrible kit but for a beginner or someone who want to get over a long project like my Omnibus slot car it is perfect! If you wanted to make a really nice model  but as the forums will suggest you will have to do some modification and use some filler.

It went together quickly though. It’s certainly one of the most simple things I’ve built in a while, I didn’t even need any wiring!


The painting techniques that I’ve used to paint just about everything from full size cars to slot cars can be applied here too. Halfords primer as a base, a top coat from Halfords or elsewhere if Halfords don’t make the colour you are after, a clear lacquer and Vallejo acrylic brush paints for the details.

The article on how I use waterslide transfers which most airfix-type kits use can be found here:

For the canopy rather than try to paint the metal strips on I used very thin strips of sign writing vinyl. It seems to look ok and it’s a pretty good colour match. If I had tried to brush paint that I would have got in a pickle!


All in all, I think it’s a good little beginner kit. I really want to do some more aeronautical stuff though so please do let me know some other interesting bits of air racing history, interesting kits to make, be that static or RC and some events that I really, really must get to!

Thanks for reading and as always be sure to follow me on Twittube and Faceagram!

Twitter: @Garage_RFrancis
Instagram: @motorsport4mentalhealth

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