College's tribute to war hero
A FORMER student who became a wartime hero has been honoured by The Scots PGC College.
The school has unveiled a new centre in Wilfred ‘Wilf' Arthur's honour that will feature an incredible replica of his plane.
Warwick artist Steven Parker has constructed a Second World War Kitty Hawk model of ‘Polly', a plane that has a remarkable story to tell.
In 1943, Mr Arthur was leading his troops on an air strike against Japanese planes when he realised his guns had jammed.
Rather than retreating to fix the problem, the squadron leader continued to lead the attack, distracting enemy planes while his troops attacked from behind.
Miraculously, Mr Arthur survived.
College parent Steven Parker was able to construct a replica of the plane in just two weeks.
It is made largely out of an aluminium skeleton and a thin covering of foam.
Mr Parker conducted extensive research to ensure it resembled Polly as accurately as possible.
Everything from its dimensions and shape to the camouflage pattern, colours and registration numbers was diligently recreated.
Even the word Polly was painted in the same font.
“I had nothing to go off,” Mr Parker said.
“All I knew was that it was a Kitty Hawk plane, so I Googled that and got sketches of it from the top view and side views.”
“Then with those designs I divided the outline into grids and worked from a scale to make sure the plane had the same dimensions.
Mr Parker said the materials were chosen with careful consideration.
“I used aluminium and foam because the plane needed to be lightweight so the kids could carry it,” he said.
“The foam is durable and hard to tear too.
“The hardest part was gluing the parts together at the edges.
“I went along the seam line with glue, let it dry and then had to push it together to get an invisible line where the edges met.
“It was a lot of fiddling around but I managed to finish it in time.”
Mr Parker has worked on various sets for special effects in several movies.
He took the plane to Scots in four pieces, for the students to add the finishing touches – assembling the body with its wings and propeller.
The artwork will soon be a permanent display at The Scots PGC College's Wilf Arthur Learning Enrichment Centre at the middle school.
This state-of-the-art facility, constructed with $2 million in Building Education Revolution funding, was opened earlier this month.
The original Kitty Hawk Polly now rests in the Australian War Museum in Canberra.