Calendar Plane of the Month July: Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2

Agent Triple P has not been keeping up with our regular posts due to the Olympics and our new job but we will attempt to catch up in the next two weeks or so.

July's Airfix plane is the iconic 1st American Volunteer group (Flying Tigers) version of the P 40 Curtiss Hawk, known as the model 81 for the export market. The ones used by the Flying Tigers in China in 1942 were originally destined for the RAF so were painted as such.

Flying Tigers in 1942

The distinctive shark mouth on these planes, which went on to have a long life amongst US aircraft until low visibility colour schemes put paid to them, were actually copied by US pilots who had seen them on RAF 112 Squadron P40 Tomahawks in North Africa.  The RAF pilots had, in turn, copied these from Messerschmitt 110s of  Zerstörer Geschwader 76 flying out of Crete.

The shark mouth design was used for the underrated film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, although the plane used was a model 87 Kittyhawk as used by the RAF in North Africa in 1943.  

This is a new (2011) kit and like most produced since Airfix were taken over by Hornby, has had good reviews.  1:72 is too small for Triple P these days.  If it had been 1:48 we might have been tempted!
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The Dutch Hockey Team

What a selection!

We can't let our Olympics coverage pass without mentioning the Dutch Hockey team, or the Netherlands Hockey Team to be more accurate.  Hailed as the "most beautiful team" of the games they are also the reigning Olympic champions and are poised to repeat that success this year.

Fifteen identically lightly-tanned, identically pony-tailed, identically toned lovelies who are also the team to beat in this Olympiad's competition.

Sophie Polkamp

Agent Triple P has always been partial to a girl in hockey gear and remembers having a discussion with one once, when accompanied by Agent DVD, on the train home from Waterloo.  She had obviously been playing one of those City team matches and was bedecked in her uniform; including a very short skirt.  We would venture that part of the appeal is something to do with the heavily armoured calves and expanse of vulnerable-looking toned thigh below the skirt.

Ellen Hoog - that's what we call a well toned thigh!

Triple P played hockey just once, against the girls at the school next door in a supposedly "fun" match.  It was absolutely brutal and the scratch team of rugby players, footballers and sprinters we put together not only lost by an embarrassing score but ended up covered in bruises as well, as the little vixens hacked at our unprotected legs with malicious glee.  A few joking suggestions about sharing the showers afterwards were met with steely glares and raised sticks.  Hockey girls are not pushovers!

Fancy a shower?

The splendidly named Naomi van As.  5 feet 11 inches of  leggy gorgeousness

Who wouldn't want to be hugged by Naomi ?

Naomi: same ponytail, different clothes

Not surprisingly the Dutch magazines are not immune to the charm of their hockey girls and the girls don't seem to be to concerned about displaying their charms either.

Here is Ellen van Hoog relaxing out of uniform.  Compared with the lofty Naomi, Ellen, from Bloemendaal, is a relatively petite 5 feet 4 inches tall.

The only girlfriend we had who had played hockey was the 6 feet 3 inch tall T, who by the time we knew her had given up hockey for rowing.  She actually went to the school we had had our terrifying match against but had left the school before the encounter in question.  We met T at the wedding reception of one of our school friends and, thanks to quite a lot of Champagne, ended up in her flat in Tufnell Park just a few hours later.  We never did see her in hockey uniform, sadly...

Sophie Polkamp smoulders

Yesterday, the Netherlands beat New Zealand in a penalty shoot out, after a 3-3 draw, to advance to the final where they will take on Argentina who knocked out Great Britain yesterday, so we know who we will be supporting!

The equally lovely Charlotte Harrison of New Zealand flashes her adductors during yesterday's semi-final.
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Jessica Ennis Gold Medalist!

Triple P was really worried for Jessica Ennis.  The chances of a slip up in a multi-round schedule are so high (as Tom Daley discovered in the synchronised diving) and so catastrophic.  She seemed to be over stretching herself in interviews and photo shoots as well.  To deliver such a convincing victory and to round it off with a victory in the last event shows real focus and character.  Just wonderful!
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Victoria Pendleton redeemed

From tragedy to triumph in 24 hours and a great show of character from the divine Miss P.



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Bradley Wiggins and Team GB in the Olympic cycling time trial

Bradley Wiggins at full pelt on the Portsmouth Road

Agent Triple P went out to watch the Olympic road time trials yesterday and cheer on Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome (and, indeed Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley too; who both rode very well in a very strong field).

Emma Pooley

We were surprised how many people were out on the road to cheer them on.  Cobham has a big American school, which takes people from many nationalities, so we saw people from Norway, Spain, Netherlands, America, South Africa, Australia, Denmark and Germany waving their flags too.  The crowd was a mixture of gnarly cyclists and families, with some pretty elaborate picnics on display, as you would expect in this area.

Everyone cheered every rider as they flashed past.  Fortunately it was a bright afternoon so we managed to get 1/1000 of a second shutter speed, which you certainly need in order to try and capture the cyclists as they whizz past, sometimes only about five feet from you.  Indeed Lizzie Armistead was so close we had trouble photographing her at all.

Lizzie Armistead passes about five feet from Triple P

The time trial makes for a much better spectator event than the, blink and you'll miss them, road race and it was interesting to see who had passed the rider ahead from the original start order.

The police motorcyclists seemed to be enjoying every minute of the event, waving at the crowd and getting cheered as they went by.  Triple P enjoyed this fine specimen of the constabulary as she ensured the crowd got their feet out of the road before each rider came past.

Chris Froome gets some female support

We didn't find out that Bradley Wiggins had won the gold medal until we were on our way back home when there was a great cheer from those with radios.  Froome was a good bronze medal winner as well but we suspect Mrs Wiggins will have to get used to being Lady Wiggins next year!

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Olympic babe: Federica Pellegrini

Federica stretches during  training in London last week

Britain has Jessica Ennis but Italy's Olympic poster girl is swimmer Federica Pellegrini who has been in action in the pool this week.

Most female swimmers, we are afraid to say, are indistinguishable from male ones, given the masculine frame needed to succeed in this sport.  Pellegrini, however, looks like a girl and her fashion model proportions (she is 5'10") have caught the eye of Italy's photographers.

Pellegrini, who is from Mirano in the Veneto, first came to international recognition when, as a sixteen year old, she won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in the 200m freestyle.  She was Italy's youngest ever individual Olympic medallist.

At the 2008 European championship she took the world record and gold medal for the 400m freestyle.  She would eventually hold three world records in 200m and 400m freestyle.

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 she won the gold medal for 200m freestyle.

Despite possessing the rangy frame needed for swimming she possesses some enticing curves as well.

She has appeared several times on the cover of the Italian edition of Vanity Fair, perhaps never more effectively as she is in this gold paint look.

Sadly, the only negative thing we have to point out about her is that she seems to have followed this strange addiction to have more and more tattoos, which wreck her otherwise lovely skin.

Out of the pool she caused something of a stir by moving on from her boyfriend Luca Marin, a member of the Italian men's swimming team, to his teammate Filippo Magnini halfway through the World Championships in Shanghai last year.

Federica and Filippo get friendly during training in London last week

Sadly, Federica, couldn't recapture her Beijing form and failed to medal in both her events in London; a big disappointment in Italy as she was expected to be a top medal hope.  Sound familiar?

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