Scout XT617 Restoration Blog

Work has enthusiastically started today, 29 January 2023, on the Westland Scout – service number XT617, under the care and guardianship of Wattisham museum.

Westland Scout AH1 XT617 prior to work

Peter and Bee have spent several Sundays over 2022 reorganising the museum workshop space to accommodate the Scout and to ascertain and note what there is to affect the restoration successfully.

Scout moved inside the workshop

Whilst there were some tools already available in the museum’s workshop, several specialist bits of equipment would need to be bought, begged, or borrowed, and the not-so-shy Bee has already put the feelers out via email to kindhearted and knowledgeable souls. The good news is her emails have garnered a few positive responses already.

So, before we start this journey, let me introduce you to Peter and Bee: –

Peter is now retired but has spent the last 10 years volunteering at Wattisham.  This is not his first stint here on base, as during his working career he helped install various heating systems as a contractor on base. Peter might be retired but still keeps his mind and hands active by tinkering, decorating, and shooting. He is a time served City & Guilds fitter and certainly knows his way around tools and things.

Bee has a 12-year background in panel beating and spray-painting.  Together with her husband Simon they own and run Hangar 53 Custom Motor Works restoring Land Rovers and all manner of Military Vehicles and Artillery; of which they are the custodians of The Gulf Collection, centering on the 1st & 2nd Gulf wars with a small but slowly growing overspill into Afghanistan.  Bee is a relatively new member (joining in 2019), and only becoming hands on active during 2022.

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5
Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10
Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Day 15
Day 16Day 17Day 18Day 19
Click the Bookmark links above to jump straight to whichever day you need.

Day 1

An early-ish start of 9.45am on a cloudy Suffolk morning, Peter and Bee convened in the museum car park to head out to the HAS. Today was the day when work would start in earnest. A learning curve for both of them, but a challenge eagerly accepted.

First things first, Peter got his trusty flask out and offered Bee a cup of sweet tea, she wrinkled her nose (sugar bleurgh) and politely declined. Peter then donned a set of overalls and fetched a few bits from his car. In the meantime, Bee found a torch in one of the drawers and they both did a close-up survey of hinges, catches and handles, taking photos as they went to record the condition, damage and progress.

Some work is needed

Treating the Scout as if it were a car (as will be explained below), they both agreed that when labelling what they took off, it would be called offside (O/S) and nearside (N/S). To them this made perfect sense and so sandwich bags and marker pens were set to one side to dutifully capture loose nuts and bolts; all bagged and tagged, with a note in each bag explaining the dismantling procedure.

There certainly is something to be said for the joy of going around what is supposed to be moving parts and giving it the WD40 treatment for that “just in case it’s sticky” situation.

Within about 10 minutes of figuring out how the doors should come off, the WD40 did its job and all 3 gave up the goods effortlessly.

Let me explain why the doors had to come off: –

              Broken perspex sheeting
              Brittle perspex sheeting
              UV damaged perspex sheeting

All needing some kind of replacement or TLC further down the line.

Scout cabin roof

The museum had already been blessed with a wonderful gift of some replacement perspex windows and these will, in the not-too-distant future grace the Scout in its beautification and restoration process.

Once the 3 damaged doors had been removed, they both set about figuring out how to dislodge the “slidey” part of the N/S and O/S front doors. It took some logical looking at, but they soon figured out that the “pretty” panel over the stationary side of the window was actually the guard to keep the “slidey” part from falling out.

I know, I can hear audible gasps from the gallery, but these are serious aviation technical terms, and we intend to use them wisely.

Now that the “slidey” and broken windows were separated from the doors, un-riveting and re-riveting is next on the agenda.  Conventional rivets are both understood by Peter and Bee and the process is pretty straightforward. However, these are domed rivets and require a different process of extraction and reseating, which neither Peter nor Bee have experience in.

Close up

However, Bee has been given a privileged opportunity of spending some time with a technician who will be teaching her this process.  This knowledge she will share with Peter, and they will both be wiser for it.  

This concludes several very fruitful and successful hours today and we both thank you for going on this journey with us and the museum………

Peter and Bee will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 5 February 2023 to tackle the 2 severely damaged roof panels, 1 above the pilot (O/S front) and 1 on the N/S rear area, so watch this space.

Day 2

Scout cabin

The weather seems to be taking a turn for the better, this morning Bee and Peter convened in the museum car park with a spring in their step, there were blue skies, a very gentle breeze, and some warmth in the sun too.  However, it was noted and observed that the road gritter was out on base and they wondered if someone knew something about the weather that they didn’t know.

Today was going to be dedicated to the two roof panels (mentioned at the end of the previous blog post). The one above the pilot (O/S front) and the one on the N/S rear. Both had severe UV damage and had become very brittle and also having two gaping holes (see photos), meant they had to come out. The N/S rear having had a “repair” to it (see photo of cross-stitched copper wire and blobs of silicone), but really needing more attention than a patchworked effort.

Damaged roof perspex

The trusty WD40 came out and a pre-dismantling squirt was administered. Initial trying, but not very successful attempts at unscrewing framework holding the domed perspex in place yielded no satisfaction. Age and weather have aided in the rivnuts now being non-functioning and so every screw tried, just turned and turned with no release.

Both Peter and Bee know from experience that once a rivnut has “let loose”, the only way is to gently and carefully insert a prybar between the outer and inner surface, giving some pressure and seeing if this will help get the screws to budge. That worked to a fashion, but it was awkward working from the same angle, so, it was agreed that the perspex had to come away to create a hole for Bee to be able to stand up inside the heli, whilst Peter could stand on the outside.

Safety glasses, gloves and some elbow grease later saw the 2 roof panels give up their last bits and pieces (see pic of pile of perspex gathered together). This gave a stable platform for Bee and her prybar and Peter could then huff and puff (with the occasional insult directed at the hardware) and get the screws out of the frame.

Damage to perspex

It took an hour and a half for the first frame to come off and about 45 minutes for the second one (obviously learnt some lessons along the way), they have now been set aside to be worked on.

For next week, Peter has graciously accepted the delicate job of separating the top and bottom frame from each other and to remove the remnants of sandwiched perspex whilst Bee will clean up the bonding paste from the Scout frame, sand it down and start preparing it for corrosion treatment, paint and reinstallation once new perspex is sourced.

This concludes several very fruitful and successful hours again today………and Peter and Bee will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 12 February 2023, so watch this space.

Day 3

It’s funny what you chat about when you’re beavering away on tricky parts. I don’t know how the conversation on eye sight came about but I, (Bee) learnt a very interesting thing today about sighting and knowing which is your dominant/lead eye.

Peter said, that years ago when he started his favourite hobby clay pidgeon shooting, this technique was explained to him. He quickly learned that he was better at clay pidgeon shooting (both eyes open) than target shooting.

He then explained what to do and so I went outside to put this to the test. I put my finger up to cover an object (a traffic cone) in the distance (both eyes open), closed my left eye and my finger was still covering the cone, then i closed my right eye and opened my left eye and……

Oh my goodness i could have fallen over because i am sure that my finger moved off the cone by at least 15 foot to the right! in fact when i walked over to the point my left eye had placed my finger and paced it back to the cone, i was shocked that it was 23 of my size 8 feet. That’s a massive difference. This obviously explains why i wear glasses now, but also explains that when i write on an unlined page, i can never keep my writing in a straight line it bends down towards the right and it makes no difference how i angle my page either!! It’s interesting, isn’t it!

Roof area before cleaning

Anyway, i digress and that’s not why you’re here, so let me get back on track and tell you about how we got on today.

Last week, Peter had graciously accepted the delicate job of separating the top and bottom frame from each other to remove the remnants of sandwiched perspex and Bee thought her time would be best spent cleaning off the bonding paste from the frame and generally getting it tidied up for the new perspex.

Roof section strip-down

An interesting discovery (well to them anyway) was made when the first frame finally separated to reveal the broken shards of perspex. Both Peter and Bee were convinced they were working with 2 thin aluminium strips either side of the perspex and was rather disappointed when a stress fracture broke as they both had been so very careful and delicate with it. But, it’s fibreglass (see photo) and so it can be easily mended when it goes back together again…..phew!

Most of what they had agreed to do this week got done, but ….notice i said most…..the second frame fought hard, so hard, that by 2pm and a 1/4 of the way into it, they both decided it needed more WD40 and for it to sit and think about itself and its reluctance to give up the goods.

Rusty pip-pin

After cleaning up the frame and roof area, and periodically helping Peter with some of the stubborn fixings, Bee decided that the co-pilot (and currently only) seat in the Scout, also needed a squirt of WD40 on the pip-pins (they are quite rusty – see photos).

This is in preparation for next week, when it could and should be taken out and put to one side for a later side-restoration project when work slows down on the main project. The other thing on next week’s agenda is carefully taking off the pouch on the pilot’s door (it’s rather brittle) and using it as a pattern to make another one. Yes, Bee isn’t just a spray-painter, restorer and panel beater, she can sew and thoroughly enjoys it too. This skill will also at some point come in handy at re-covering the seat base of the co-pilot seat (see photo).

Co-pilot seat base

Having the seat out of the way also means that, that area of the Scout can get a good brush down, hoover and a damp cloth, and then the task of dealing with the flaking paint and any broken bits can commence.

Well folks, this concludes our 3rd day on the old girl, fruitful in some ways and frustrating in others but, Peter and Bee will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 19 February 2023, for more tinkering.

Day 4

Today was a really productive day at the HAS despite having a visitor walk in the door halfway through it and introduce himself as David with his accomplice Tootsie.

What this man has forgotten about helicopters is not worth remembering. I think he was impressed with how far Peter and myself had come with the Scout, considering today is only the 4th day of sympathetic and careful tinkering, with limited amount of tooling. But what we have at our disposal is backed up with a lot of common sense, some bantering and working towards a common goal on behalf of the museum.

David and Tootsie stayed for about an hour, and he promised to visit Hangar 53 very soon too. I promised the kettle would be ready for when he did, and I’d show him around our Gulf Collection and he could fill in some gaps for us as he did a few tours during that time too.

Co-pilot seat

After he left, we both felt really enthused and energised by his visit. I personally felt mega proud of what Peter and I have achieved thus far and with people like David to impart knowledge, we certainly will get this project looking smart.

As mentioned last week, we had a small list of THINGS TO DO TODAY which were: –

(1) The remaining roof section that needed coming apart, so we could get the perspex shards out, and once again trusty WD40 and some hard thinking about its reluctance over the week was just what was needed to tick this job of the list.

(2) I (Bee) had hoped we could remove the co-pilot seat and put that to one side for a side restoration project and with some WD40, huffing and puffing, a few taps with a hammer, the pip-pins finally let go and the seat lifted out with no fuss at all.

(3) Drilling out the pop-rivets on the inside of the pilot’s door (that’s O/S front) so that I could salvage what was left of a very brittle door pouch to use as a pattern to make a new one. I am pleased to say, it did come off, but also held a very fat (and very dead) hornet in one of the creases. I did squeal, but only a little bit and the body was quickly disposed of in the rubbish bin.

Sanding some damage

With all three main jobs ticked off the list and to make up for visitor time and being distracted by the curly haired Tootsie, some sanding of flaking paint and damaged areas commenced, as well as the big brush down of cobwebs and dust and debris both inside and out too. This brought us up to 2pm, which meant that it was time to pack up and head home.

As mentioned in the Day 1 blog post, Bee had been given an opportunity to spend time with a technician and it has been a case of learning patience and waiting for things to fall into place.

Co-pilot floor section

Well, when she got home, there was an email asking her to come for a Risk Assessment meeting before any paperwork could be signed off. With a lot of excitement and also some nerves, this was her thoughts (see below) as she drifted off Sunday night (she wrote it down at 6am on Monday morning as she wanted to add it to her blog)…………

Dear Lord, let me not have a clumsy day at the risk assessment meeting, where I trip over my own shadow or fall over my own feet.

Let me also not choke on my cuppa and spew its contents out through my nose and over everyone or spray cake or biscuit crumbs when I talk. And if I should have to go up and down stairs, please don’t let me fall up them or miss-step down them either.

Lord let me leave my menopause brain at home too, I really can’t be forgetting everyday words, have a hot flush and want to strip down to my underwear in desperation, cause it ain’t a pretty sight, trust me…….oh and put a guard on my mouth too please especially when it comes to the f-word, cause sometimes it just slips past my lips when I talk.

And finally, Lord, if they ask me any questions, please let me know the answers cause it really is all about common sense and I know I have a lot of that…..thank you…amen

Sanded down damaged area

Well folks, I am pleased to say, it went well, I now await a date to step into my overalls and spend some very valuable time with a technician who will teach me what i need to know. I shall be Rosie the Riveter for a day!

This concludes our 4th day on the old girl, and we will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 26 February 2023, for more tinkering.

Day 5

Two interesting things happened today, totally non-Scout related, so before I tell you about the Scout, I’d like to tell you about this.

(1) The wind has been rather merciless today, especially on the hands and face, but apparently it’s been a good day to fly gliders. Peter and I met this dear little lady with beautifully curly hair (she was on a mission to find her gloves) and had a rather brief chat with her….. I nipped off to the toilet block and when I rejoined Peter in the workshop again, he said to me….. “you won’t believe it but that lady just told me she used to be a Lynx pilot, she couldn’t chat much as she was about to get launched in her glider, so she had to hurry back” ………………… Absolutely AMAZING, how flipping cool is that, I’d love to chat to her on another day for sure
#girlpower #lynxpilot #admirationforsure

(2) Just as Peter and I were getting ourselves ready to go home, Nathan pulls up saying “we have an interesting visitor popping by in about 1/2 hour or so, he is bringing over old framed photos of his time on base. He is none other than Tony Alcock“….. I said, “well you’re welcome to show him around, but we’re heading out now and I’ll pop in to the museum for a bit to meet him and to scrounge a cuppa tea as I’m frozen

Well…..what a charming, very upright man, with a firm handshake as well. It was such a pleasure to hear him talk about some of his career and we talked paint and gloss paint and grey gloss paint too…….so once I’ve done writing this blog update, I will go and do some research on Mr Alcock because Nathan was giddy with excitement to meet him.

Looking alive – clean windows

Righto……….let’s get to today’s update.
Peter had the last of the shards to dismantle and dispose of and Bee got on and gave the old girl a real good hoover and scrape inside, as well as putting water to a rag and cleaning the front screens in the process.

To tell you the truth, it seemed like she (the Scout) woke up and looked alive after her peepers were cleaned inside and out and today Bee fell just a little bit in love with her (see a photo of her cleanly washed). And…… Bee now believes the Scout is not just going to become a restoration project, but that she has firmly placed her skids into Bee’s heart and a whole new love of all things helicopter is being cultivated here in the museum workshop.

Bee has taken quite a few photos (which will be uploaded in bulk to the museum’s FB group page) and would like to ask specifically here if people who know the Scout and/or Wasp, know what some of these loose bits are:-

Before I ask, I just want to say that they may just be random bits of trash thrown into the Scout over the time she’s stood outside, but until I have a manual to look things up (it’s on its way), I’m going to tap into your knowledge-banks if I may.

Photo 1, below, is of this wooden something or is it wood, or is it kevlar perhaps, Peter thinks its bakelite…. I’m not sure. It is rather tactile and a pleasing shape, but does it belong on the old girl?

What is this (1)?

Photo 2, below, is of a rectangle piece of aluminium; to me it looks like the “tag” holder on a filing cabinet, but this one is definitely painted Nato Green. What is it and where does it belong?

What is this (2)?

Photo 3, below, is of a bar on the rear bulkhead (it had to come off so we could get the kevlar floor up to clean underneath it), it looks like it should take a strip light but the underneath is perforated. We believe it sits under the rear seats (she didn’t have her seats). Is it a light? Peter thought a type of heater perhaps because of the perforations, i can’t see a heating element inside though, so what is it’s purpose, we know where it goes but we don’t know what it’s for.

What is this (3)?

Well then, that’s it for today, so to sum up, scraping, wiping, hoovering, picking up random bits lying around on the floor and putting them in a MISC bag of stuff and things……..also taking off this light/heater bar so that the the floor could come up for hoovering and scraping purposes……..

Next week will consist of the continued job of scraping and brushing and hoovering but with the added job of starting to do a few repairs on the bodywork with fibreglass and filler.

This concludes our 5th day on the old girl and we will be returning to the HAS next Sunday 5th March 2023.

Day 6

Today has been so satisfying listening to Peter scrape and lift off old flaky paint, he did however have the help of Nitro Mors to aid him in this process. Whilst packing up a few hours later, Peter said that he was chuffed with progress and looks forward to every Sunday now…………….they certainly make a good team.

Filler and Nitromors

Bee on the other hand started the old girl’s beautification on the outside with the help of a box of fibreglass and resin, a little travel hairdryer (it was so cold that it would take hours before anything else could get done) and a pot of filler to skim over all the other imperfections as well.

Today has also consisted of Bee excitedly talking about her upcoming day at the base workshop with a skilled technician and how much she was looking forward to it too. Bee also informed Peter that she was going to dress up as Rosie the Riveter (which she did) and would also be taking home-made cakes as a thank you (lemon cake and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing)…….

Fibreglass repairs

Well, the cakes went down a storm and throughout the day various bodies wandered into the workshop for a slice, all commenting on the fact that there was a real-life Rosie the Riveter with them today and that Rosie could certainly bring cakes again.

Nick (Bee’s tutor) made her feel very welcome (well everyone did actually), he was methodical, patient, answered questions and also concluded that another day had to be organised to learn how to re-rivet.

I bet you’re thinking, “but it’s only a small sliding section/window of a door” and yes you would be right, but once Bee had a good look under the guidance of Nick she realised that there were numerous amounts of rivets that needed to be undone, some hidden and others so thick with paint, they were only discovered because Nick was so good at his job.

Tuition in progress

What a lovely man Nick was and Bee being Bee teased him for his accent because his Welshness came out strong every time he said the word “here”……Bee would then copy him, point at a few other rivets and say “and here (with a Welsh accent) and here and here”……. he really was generous with his time and enthused by Bee’s interest and at the end of the day, said that Bee could borrow one of his prized books on riveting until she could track one down and get her own copy….. yes, she is now the proud owner of a “Standard Aircraft Handbook”.

Bee left at 3pm and whilst in her car in the car park, made a quick call to David (the visitor a couple of Sundays ago who had a companion called Tootsie) and asked if he was still about and could she disturb his day for 1/2 hour or so. David was available and Bee excitedly ambled over to his place of work.

Excited …….much…… wobbly knees…..much……had to contain herself…..for sure, David guided Bee into this immaculate workshop, the first thing she did was walk over to one of the sexiest helicopters ever and kiss it square on its nose. David laughed, shook his head and said…”come on woman, let me show you around”……what was supposed to be 1/2 hour, was nearly an hour, it consisted of much oooh-ing, aaaahhh-ing and also crawling on all fours underneath to look up into the belly of this magnificent beast……

Like a professional

To tell you the truth she could have just sat there breathing in the fabulous smell of aviation fluids and fuel for the rest of the afternoon, but people had work to do and she had to get home to get ready for her lindyhop lesson that evening…..

To make sure that no helicopter felt left out, she made it her mission to give each one a kiss on its snout before leaving the building………….

#lifegoalsrightthere #icingonthecake #apachetopofthefoodchain

And breathe……. right, so another day is in place for Nick to teach Bee how to re-rivet and she is looking forward to that day too, she had promised to bring in another home-made cake or two as a thank you and she will certainly let you know next week how that session went….

This concludes our 6th day on the old girl and Bee’s 1st day of 2 on riveting. Now to get back to the HAS next Sunday 12th March 2023 and teach Peter the ins and outs of aviation rivet-drilling…….

Day 7

This morning started with a bit of confusion (well on Bee’s part that is). As she stopped at the gate to show her credentials, the young man said “someone was asking about you this morning, about 10 minutes ago” I said, “oh…..was it someone called Peter?” He said, “yes, he asked if a yellow mini had come through the gates for the museum” ……I said “OK, that’s strange, i hope he’s OK” and off i drove to the car park (no Peter), then onto the guardroom (no Peter), i stopped, hunkered down at the window and said “has anyone signed out the museum keys this morning?” The lovely guy said “Yes, not 15 minutes ago” I said, “So where the heck is he then, surely he hasn’t gone off to the HAS without me, I’ll go back to the museum car park and just wait“…….

Well, mystery solved, it was Peter, but not my work buddy Peter, it was the other Peter and his other half Julie and they had made it their mission early this morning to give the Hunter a good dust down and some serious elbow-grease-polishing before the museum opens its doors in a couple of weeks – phew, I really had a mini-meltdown not knowing who would be wanting the keys on a Sunday and it not being either myself or Peter!

High build primer

Anyway……..Today has really been very much dedicated to scraping, sanding, nitro mors-ing, more scraping and getting last week’s filler profiled on the nose section as well as a small squirt or three of high build primer on the area too, so I’m happy to say that it has now ticked that job off the list YAY!

Peter was on form today:-

1) I got schooled by him in the art of nitro mors-ing… he’s kind of taken that job on and when there was an area he couldn’t quite reach, he asked me to help him out. I took the tin and the brush and “painted” the area that needed doing…..”oh no, not like that, oh no, you’re doing it all wrong, you don’t brush Nitro Mors, you dab it“……I laughed and started dabbing furiously and said, “like this, dab dab dab…….you know, I’m gonna put that into the blog Peter“……he laughed and said, “well it says so on the tin, you can’t just follow your own rules, you’ve got to read the instructions“…hahahahaha…….anyway, now i know if i am ever to be trusted with Nitro Mors again, I’m going to have to remember to dab!!

Scraping flaked paint

2) I also had scraper-envy……….yup, my scraper is rather pants, in fact, it’s downright pants, so I bemoaned the fact that my scraper isn’t working as well as his and that I’d very much like a scraper like that too. So bless his heart, not only did he let me use it for a bit (whilst he wire brushed stuff down), he said he would rummage through his toolbox at home and see if he has another scraper that i could have. So I’m excitedly waiting and have fingers crossed that by next Sunday I will have my own fabulous scraper for the job at hand…..

Well…… that’s all for today, but that doesn’t mean I’m done writing this blog, day 2 of riveting is happening this Monday (13th) and I shall let you know how that goes below. I did say in my previous blog post that today I would show Peter the art of de-riveting, however that didn’t happen because we had so many other things to do and it’s all about moving forward and ticking the jobs off the TO DO list. He did however borrow the book I now own (thanks to my husband who bought it for me) which is “Standard Aircraft Handbook” for some light bedtime reading.

Fiddly cleaning

I’m off home now to bake more THANK YOU cakes for my workshop day tomorrow…….

That’s it………… 2 fantastic days spent with Nick plus the bonus of extra tuition from Paul at the workshop and I cannot thank everyone involved enough for getting me into the workshop for this wonderful learning experience, I shall cherish this forever.

Today has seen a couple of banana loaves as a THANK YOU offering from me. They disappeared as quickly as last week’s cakes hahahaha…… I didn’t dress as Rosie the Riveter this time, just plain old me in my Swiss army camo trousers and dezzie-boots; with a smile on my face and an eagerness to get stuck in and learn.

So, what did I learn today…….well, I learned how to drill holes (properly), how to drill countersunk holes (need I say it again…properly) and I got to rivet, solid, countersunk and cherry max rivets, I also undrilled a few to get the hang of that technique and I used 3 different types of pneumatic riveters as well as a hand riveter which required some muscle flexing on my part.

Grid for drilling and riveting

As you can see from the photos, I marked my mistakes and compared my work to Paul’s and even joked with Nick that I’m “gunning” for his job……he looked up from his workbench and did a big roaring belly laugh; I don’t know why he found it funny, I was quite serious, hahahahaha. I was also told that I could take my sample plate home with me and it will certainly take pride of place in my craft room once I’ve shown Peter and talked him through each row.

Completed tasks

And that folks concludes our 7th day on the old girl. Can you believe it a whole WEEK OF SUNDAYS we have spent in the HAS working on the Scout! Next Sunday 19th March 2023 will once again be dedicated to the ongoing de-flaking and sanding, so I hope you’re not getting too bored with that task. I shall try my best to keep the blog interesting and engaging, so watch this space.

Day 8

Today was a busy day, we had last week’s Peter and Julie in again, this time there was no confusion, this was pre-organised as they had volunteered to put together a really smart display unit for the museum. It has been agreed that this display unit is going to house some of the museum’s merchandise during open season.

Donated instrument

Once it was put together and positioned artistically, “something” interesting had to be found for the very top to just kinda “finish” it off…… 2 ideas were brought to the table, but the one that won in the end was the one with the face on it….. yip, put a load of artistic souls together and they are bound to look at screw and knob placements and see a face staring back at them! It just needs a quick wipe over before the museum doors open in April, but it’s all good to go.

We also briefly had the lovely company of Margaret at the HAS, and Bee neglected her duties for 1/2 hour or so (poor Peter was left scraping and a nito morsing).

Donated instrument

This last week has been another week of excitement for Bee, her kind and dear friend David, certainly pulled out all the stops and Bee thinks it was her offering of banana loaf that triggered it all off……… hahahaha. Thursday just gone, Christmas had arrived early, or could Bee claim it as an early birthday surprise (in restoration terms that is).

Well now you’re thinking, what could be so epic that it could be classed as Christmas and/or birthday, let me tell you……….perspex roof panels and a box full of defunct instruments, all graciously donated via David through the sheer kindness of people.

Roof Perspex and windows

If you have every wondered how much stuff can be fitted into a little yellow mini, just ask Bee….. let’s just say, all of it!! So….. a huge THANK YOU to David (he’s the one with Tootsie as a sidekick), without him the process would have been pretty slow!!

And, during the week, Bee had also been chatting to another David. That’s 2 Peter’s and now 2 David’s, how lucky can one girl get hahahahaha!!

This David has been following the blog posts each week, is also involved with 3 other museums, so knows his way around various projects. It’s just wonderful of him to get in touch to say that he has a few instruments available if we are interested and that he also has his beady eye on an instrument panel for the Scout too.

From rear bulkhead. What is it?

YES YES YES…..that would be another huge step forward as well. I mean, how truly blessed to meet, chat and get to know all these amazingly kind people, all with a common goal in mind……….to restore and preserve.

Well, i guess you probably want to know what we actually did on the Scout today……….scraping, hoovering, nitro morsing, measuring and counting holes and rummaging through the paint cabinet to see what we have available. Not much, but Peter and Bee will be making plans for when the old girl gets her Nato green clothes on.

In the process of scraping down the rear bulkhead, they also took off some webbing in a cross shape (see photo), if anyone knows what it kept strapped in, drop us a message via the museum’s Facebook page, thank you.

This coming week Bee will be downloading the manuals given to her on a memory stick by David (tootsie’s dad) and getting to know XT617 intimately, she certainly needs interesting bedtime reading material.

So before Bee finishes writing this blog, she’d like to ask this simple question:-
How come learning at school was just so hard, not fun and such a drag, when learning as a grown up is fun, interesting and exciting?

Thanks for sticking around…………..this brings day 8 to a close and Peter and Bee will back for another round next Sunday 26th March 2023!

psssttt…… Bee has a pukka scraper now, thanks to Peter, he’s a legend!!

Day 9

It was a nice surprise to see Peter and Julie at the HAS again today, they are still putting things in place for next Sunday 2nd April 2023 when the museum is “OPEN FOR VISITORS” – now, if you want to visit, please book via the website here.

psssssstttt………..don’t just turn up at the gate as you won’t be allowed in, you really have to prebook 🙂

Red painted exhaust outlet

Peter and Julie also brought along with them a small tin of red paint, Peter explained that the exhaust outlets (they are capped off) should be painted red (visual representation of it being hot) so thank you P&J for the information as well as the paint.

It’s also been a really fruitful day for Peter and Bee as they had a couple (well let’s call it a slack handful really) of things they wanted to try out.

(1) Grey paint for the inside of the Scout.

Last week they both rummaged through the cabinets looking for suitable grey paint for the inside. Several tins were found but after stirring and then a small dab, it was agreed that all the greys were the wrong tone. Peter said that he has what he believes to be the right tone of grey and would bring it in today. He only had a small tin but there was enough of it to paint a sample area.

Yes…….they both agreed that they liked it, it dried to the right tone and so Peter will be purchasing a bigger tin for next Sunday (see pic of sample area – btw it was still wet when the photo was taken and the panels to the side and below might look lighter, but they had gone through nitro mors and scraping treatments).

Grey painted interior

You might be horrified to see brush strokes in the sample area, but……. hear Bee out…..the whole inside looks like it had been hand painted at some point. Both Peter and Bee have discussed this over the past few weeks as they’ve been getting rid of flaking and bubbling paint and the only conclusion they have come to is that at some point she’s had a quick spruce up whilst she had all her gubbinses (very technical aviation term) inside her.

Yes, she is very stripped back this time around and Bee is on the hunt for various bits and bobs to go back in her, however they can only guess that it would have been a big undertaking to strip her out for spray-painting, so some apprentice was asked to give her a freshen up with a brush and paint around stuff and things.

So, it was agreed that she will be painted inside the same way she was found. As for the outside, well, spray-painting equipment will be used for that task further down the line as she was certainly spray-painted on the outside before.

(2) Rivnuts/Nutserts for the roof sections

Last week when Bee got home and told Simon (her husband) about their day at the HAS, she mentioned that at some point Rivnuts/Nutserts would need to be bought, as it is not going to be that many weeks before the replacement roof panels go back.

Bee had at the time of her rivet tuition, made enquiries with the workshop as to the best solution for the roof panels. Sadly, as the Scout has been out of service for so long, the workshop did not have anything suitable in their stores for the old girl. However, Bee was advised to purchase the right diameter ones on civvy street.

So armed with this information and with the help of Peter, a vernia caliper and camera (photo evidence of hole size) and a plastic school ruler (for the machine screw length) Bee went home armed with this important information which also included the amount of holes on each aperture……..a whopping 44 each on the rear panel(s) and 38 each on the front panel(s). They only have 3 perspex roof panels to replace (thank goodness), but that’s some rivnutting/nutserting going to be happening right there!

Rivnut toolkit, and success

With this information to hand, Bee’s husband Simon then contacted his go-to supplier (Suffolk Fasteners) on the Monday and they were ready for pick up on the Friday. Simon then very kindly donated his spare rivnut/nutsert tool kit (see photo – thank you Simon, a great asset to the museum workshop) and so Peter and Bee had to try it out on the frame (see photo)…..

Boy oh boy, it took some squeezing, huffing and puffing, but Bee managed to get 2 in, one on the tube framework and one on the cross-member….. that’s only 2….blimey……that was hard going!! Bee doesn’t know how Simon made it look so easy when he was doing it at their workshop!!

(3) To see if they could salvage the “poppers” from the very rotten webbing Bee took off the week before.

Poppers from the webbing

The mystery of the cross shaped webbing turned out to be the straps that hold the Scout’s first aid kit onto the rear bulkhead. Bee will recreate it (Simon thinks he has that size webbing at their Hangar somewhere) and so Peter kindly and very gently pried the 2 poppers out of the old and very rotten webbing. They will be reused…

#makedoandmend #recycle #upcycle #reuse #repurpose #noteverythingisnew

So…….. a successful day all round for Peter and Bee……They are back next Sunday 2nd April 2023, with the bonus of it being the museum’s open day but an even bigger bonus for the workshop as it will mark 10 days of tinkering!!

Day 10

Let me start by asking a couple of questions before i get stuck into telling you about today.

The first question is:-
In the process of getting the Scout looking more loved, we’ve come across 2 stickers on the rear bulkhead (giving information), they were rather weather-beaten and scabby, so not worth saving (see photos), however, where in the world would we be able to get replacements please?


The second question is:-
On the centre console and next to the co-pilot’s knee/calf area, you can see half of a sticky label saying “AC????” from the shadowing (see photo now artistically outlined in red) it looks like a fairly longish word, what should it say please and is it related to the thing below it?

If you know, drop us a message on the Museum’s Facebook page please. It would be incredibly helpful to us and you’d be very kindly helping this restoration along as well……thank you…….or if you fancy, on a postcard…..

Actually if you’re anywhere in the world or even in the UK and you’re following our progress, do send a postcard, we’d love to bluetac it to the back of our workbench in our work area whilst we do the restoration. And once it is all said and done, Bee is thinking of putting together a scrapbook as part of the Scout’s visual portfolio for visitors, which means, your postcards will go into it too………..thank you!!

Oh, and mark it for the attention of :
Peter & Bee, Scout Restoration Team,
Wattisham Station Heritage Museum,
Wattisham Flying Station,


Right, let me get stuck in and tell you how our day went.

Busy for us but also for the museum, first day of the season and 28 curious and interested souls passed through the museum and HAS doors. Peter and Bee kept their heads down and managed to make good headway until 2 very special gentlemen walked in with Tom (our IT guru)…..

Tools were downed, no further work happened and both Peter and Bee spent enthusiastically chatting with David H and Alan A until they really had to go (they had other plans for the remainder of the afternoon) and Bee reluctantly said goodbye as she could have talked Scout, Wasp and Lynx all afternoon.

It seems, there might be a bacon sarnie or two on the horizon with David H, Alan A and Bee and rummaging through bits and stuff and things for the museum’s Scout!! To say Bee left the museum this afternoon buzzing, is just a little bit of an understatement……

Yip, that girl is so easily pleased and no shoes or handbags or designer labels were involved, just mutual admiration and knowledge-sharing for all things restoration and preservation related.

There is nothing more wonderful than being encouraged and complimented on the work already done and advice and guidance on the work to be done, thank you to our guests and especially to Tom who organised this meeting, what a wonderful and much appreciated surprise young master Tom, you know just how to make a girl’s day go well.

So what did Peter and Bee actually achieve before being sidetracked by such wonderful guests, well……

Roof frame

As you know Port rear and Starboard front perspex roof panels were removed because of severe damage…..pssssttt did you notice no N/S and O/S references, yip, learning the right terminology (thanks David H and Alan A)…….however, Starboard rear perspex was also damaged, not as noticeable at first, but certainly not weather tight should it have been left the way it was, so before any visitors arrived, Peter and Bee removed it (see photo) and cleaned up the framework ready for Rivnuts in a week or so. That will be a total of 3 now for replacement and the Port front perspex roof panel has been gone over with a fine toothed comb and is 100% OK and can stay.

Peter removed the aluminium rain channel and door stay brackets carefully off the section of the Starboard rear panel, labelled them up (so we don’t get it wrong when they get transferred onto the new panels) before the big refit happens. Once the framework had been cleaned off and given a quick sanding down Bee then carried on sanding and prepping the inside, ready for painting.

Another lovely discovery was made whilst reading through the Scout manual (great bed time reading i can assure you) of how the stretcher assembly fits into the rear (Bee was so excited she printed off the picture for Peter – see photo) and enthusiastically explained about some of the fixings they had pondered over. Now to get a mannequin to represent a casualty being transported and the visual aspect can come to life (of course, many other things have to happen before that, but this is the end goal).

Before leaving off today, a quick walk around the old girl compiling next week’s TO DO list and adding a few extra bits onto the list to make up for time off (well spent for sure) on the job today.

Back next Sunday 9th April 2023, yip, i know, you just can’t keep us (Peter and Bee) away not even being Easter Sunday………. 10 days down and many more to go…….stay tuned

Recent donation to Museum

PS:- Oh goodness, almost forgot! A lovely man walked into the HAS annex first thing this morning (he’s from the glider club) bearing a gift (see photo) for the museum, she needs a bit of cleaning and then can be proudly displayed…..THANK YOU squire for thinking of the museum!!!

Day 11

So, day 11 actually started on good Friday! Bee went on a road trip to North Weald to meet up with David H and Alan A who were going to introduce her to a lovely man called Fran, and what a lovely man he was too!! This was also a great opportunity to take down banana loaf and home-made jam as a thank you for the defunct dials and gauges Fran had donated for the Scout a few weeks before.

North Weald

Wow, busy and buzzing with driving experience days, light aircraft, a Jet Provost (that took off and flew around – goodness me, spectacular) and Helicopters. They have a great cafe on site, nice garden area with seating and a play area for little legs and if the weather isn’t great then you can sit inside where it’s cosy. Food was really nice and very well presented and the tea and coffee, hot and wet and made just the way you like it.

Of course, Bee could not go down without banana loaf and home-made jam for David H and Alan A either, so Thursday night was spent baking to say THANK YOU

A full and wonderful experience on a fine and sunny day. Bee also came home with more generous gifts (an instrument panel, information board and tooling), overwhelmed by such kindness of strangers who all support this whole journey and know the frustation of scouring for parts. Generous with their time, goods and experience these strangers are all now classed as friends.


pssstt……Bee was asked to bring down a “shopping list” and so she did. No greed involved, just a list of the most important missing bits to make the old girl look whole again.

Let’s start telling you about today

0930 and ready to rock and roll, Peter in his trusty LR and Bee in her yellow Mini, plus a new and interested party in a little red car travelled in convoy over to the HAS.

Proof that work does happen

Please meet Sarah: –

She works at Flying Station HQ’s, studied history at uni and has a real passion for all things heritage (and she’s only a young-un). She wholeheartedly believes that it is important to represent as much of a location’s history (in this case Wattisham) and make it user friendly and accessible to future generations (amen). In her spare time she loves to read non-fiction, study various historical key events as well as attending air shows, live music gigs and play video games online, and……she sews as well yay……(only bags at the moment), but Bee will soon get her sewing all sorts!!

Peter and Bee wholeheartedly welcome her into the team, she brings a fresh set of eyes, willingness to muck in, contacts in her own right and extra banter, laughter and creativeness. They believe she’s already a great asset because what was supposed to be an introductory visit, turned into mucking in and helping out! ………………She’s a keeper!!

#yaygirlpower #poorpeter #peterisarosebetweentwothornsnow

What did we do in between chatting and getting to know Sarah more

Well, Bee had gifts to show-and-tell from Alan A, David H and Fran, before any work was done. Once all the things were looked at and handled and then safely locked away, overalls were donned, and the continued task of sanding down and cleaning the frame commenced.

An extra rivnut tool (also donated) means that when the rivnutting starts, both Peter and Bee could be working on it together, which will make the job feel less like hard work.

TO DO List Blackboard

Sarah picked up a paint brush and created the restoration workshop’s first “TO DO” blackboard (see photo – it’s still drying) and it was agreed that a blackboard has now become necessary part of the project so that 3 people can keep track of jobs that need doing.

Once that task was accomplished, Bee directed Sarah into the actual HAS and left her to oooohhh and aaahhhhh for 15 minutes or so, in that time Peter and Bee took the final bit off the Starboard rear section (see photo evidence of work being done) and Peter then proceeded to clean it up. This left Bee to scrape off all the muck and loose bits of paint and give it a quick sand-down too.

The urgency and necessity for a compressor is becoming more and more evident each week as the project progresses. It will help in so many ways as there is only so much a hoover can do, and trying to manually blow into nooks and crannies isn’t as efficient as a proper air gun made for the job. Fingers crossed that the promised compressor will arrive soon!!

Next week Sunday will be a girl-only restoration team (Peter has been sent to rehab as working with two chatty girls was just too much for him hahahahaha) and also the first time the new blackboard will come into its own.

One of the first jobs to go on it is: –

(1) taking off the final two rotors (they all need restoring in their own right) and thanks to a full and concise copy of THE WHOLE MANUAL (THANK YOU Alan A), Bee is now able to swat up on how to best preserve the blades. Bee has also passed the memory card to Sarah to download and study so that two brains will function better than one when it comes to knowledge sharing!

BTW, taking off the rotors will only happen when we have more hands to help. Whilst us girls might feel brave, and probably could do it alone (because we are bloody-minded and strong), we also have to be sensible and safe, and so that task might be on the board for a few weeks yet before it is ticked off as done.

Instrument Panel

One of the wonderful gifts that came home with Bee from North Weald (and actually made Bee rather teary eyed) was the instrument panel (see photo) and the mounting frame (THANK YOU Fran and David H) and Alan A gave Bee one of the missing pieces off the centre console too!!

The last bits today to be taken off (see photo) is the port and starboard front clear nose panels, the silicone rubbers will get cleaned up to look nice and white again and the perspex frame itself will get either Dark Earth or NATO Green, depending on what the manual dictates should be done when it comes to the camo pattern being painted!

Please note, when the blog is uploaded to the Museum’s Facebook Page, Bee will also add her photos from North Weald, they are mainly for Bee’s reference, but she is sure you would enjoy looking at them too.

As noted above, Bee and Sarah will be back next Sunday 16th April 2023……..hopefully they will also find Sarah’s lip stud as that seemed to have gone walk-about at some point during the day……probably worked its way loose because of all the chatting back and forth hahahahaha……….stay tuned

Day 12

The organisation of day 12 actually started earlier in the week (Monday I think) with a message to Sarah from Bee saying, “don’t go to Wattisham first thing on Sunday, come to my house for 08:30“.

Later in the week (Wednesday I believe) there was another cryptic message to Sarah from Bee saying “I have a surprise for you on Sunday

Then at 07:30 today (Sunday) Bee sent Sarah another message saying “Bring a warm coat, not saying why, but it is necessary

Updated TO-DOs

Bless her, 08:30 sharp, the little red car pulls into Bee’s drive, a quick hello and let’s go and both hop into Bee’s mini…… Yes, plans have been afoot all week and today they have come together.

The trip out before Wattisham Scout day, started with a trip to Hangar 53, to meet Simon, have a look around the workshop and to swap cars again, but this time to a vehicle capable of carrying larger than mini capacity goodies for the HAS. Thankyou Simon for suggesting we take your little Land Rover lightweight; it was a fun day out with it!

Lightweight Landy and Lynx

The lightweight is a little stripped back with no doors but has a canvas roof and sides and sturdy seatbelts, so then the penny dropped with the message of “bring a warm coat“.

In the back of the lightweight was a gift from Hangar 53 for the Scout. Meet Mr Manny Kin. He will be representing a casualty in the back of the scout on the stretcher once the project comes to an end.


Also in the back of the lightweight was a compressor and an airline. It is on loan for a short period of time and really is a stopgap until the actual HAS compressor turns up. But Peter, Bee and Sarah can make great inroads with this handy and much needed bit of kit. For Hangar 53 it is the mobile compressor that covers the bigger projects outside of the spray booth and as they don’t have a large project in for at least a few weeks, it is now serving its purpose where it is needed at the HAS. Thank you, Simon, you are just the best.

It was fun pitching up at Wattisham in the noisy sand coloured lightweight and having to register at the main gate for a pass. There were a few admiring looks around her too and a “huh” when the dismantled mannequin parts were spotted in the back, this made Sarah and Bee laugh. After picking up the keys from the guardroom, they both agreed they should have been sassier at the gate by saying….. transporting body parts in the back for disposal on site………hahahahahaha!!

Anyway, once the keys were picked up, Bee said to Sarah, “fancy driving her to the HAS“. Sarah’s face was a picture, and she was so nervous, but for the first few 100m’s of struggling to get the hang of no power steering and the strange configuration of the gearing, she soon relaxed and enjoyed the drive. The first thing she did when we parked up at the HAS was get out (smiling from ear to ear) and phone her dad excitedly telling him about her drive in an Army Land Rover with no power steering!

So………..our day, well, first things first, unload the lightweight, open both the annex doors and let the beautiful day flood in. Set compressor up, untangle airline and put Mr Manny Kin back together and dress him in a woolly-pully onesie (army issue I assure you). He now stands patiently waiting for when it’s his turn to shine, but in the meantime, he will stand watch over proceedings.

Sarah dived into the Scout and started blowing and brushing and scraping, this kept her busy till 14:45 when both of them realised that time had just run away, and they should really be packing up and heading home!!

Tools in use

So, whilst Sarah was beavering away and getting lost in the process, Bee started filling up the TO DO blackboard with the most immediate TO DO’s including the Sunday’s Bee would not be there to help. Once that was done Bee decided that as Sarah was doing so well inside the cockpit, she would start on one of the jobs on the list, which is de-flaking and sanding the seat frame. Next week will be a continuation of that task and once it’s deemed ready for paint, she will move onto the seat padding and take that home to refurbish it with a new cover.

Scout seat

If all goes well then Peter, Bee and Sarah will be at the HAS next Sunday 23 April 2023. Let’s see what Peter thinks of Mr Manny Kin, the compressor and the progress made today…….stay tuned!!

Day 13

A full compliment of bodies at the HAS today (Peter, Bee and Sarah) plus Peter and Julie as well. They popped over to start cleaning down and re-varnishing the gorgeous Camp Bastion REME sign which will hopefully grace the dedicated AAC wall in the museum soon.

Bee had also organised (through the right channels) a car and site pass for her friend Rares (pronounced Rah-Resh) to join them for a few hours to assess and dismantle the 2 small rear perspex windows that face the engine (cracked and sun damaged) for the possibility of reproducing them for the Scout.

Rares working on a Scout window

According to several people who have worked on and still work on Scouts, these 2 windows are as rare as rocking horse manure, so getting Rares involved was a must (he has a great talent for all things fibreglass and perspex) and Bee could not think of anybody else to offer this challenge to (see photo of Rares getting stuck in – permission to use photo granted).

Should it be successful (am absolutely sure it will be), then perhaps this might be a way to help out other museums in the rocking horse manure department in the future.

Bee and Sarah had never heard Peter talk as much as he did on Sunday!! It must be having male company that did it……..hahahaha!!

But before work started for the day, Bee and Sarah wanted to know how his rehab weekend went. He said the food was great and he ate too much, but it was worth it. He also approved of Mr Manny Kin, was impressed with the compressor (although complained that it was loud when he was trying to talk to Rares) and also approved of the other gift Bee brought along on Sunday.

Kindly donated by Simon at Hangar 53, were 2 mounting boards and a large black bag full of linbins. They will be put up over the following weeks in between restoration work and will certainly be put to good use too (thank you Simon).

Whilst Peter and Rares were occupied in the cockpit, Bee and Sarah did a walk around the Scout to ascertain the condition of the paintwork, and to discuss getting that prepped in the meantime for future paint. Sarah started at the tail section (see photo) and Bee sat down with the seat (see photo) to continue with the prep work she started last Sunday.

Flaking exterior paint

When the two windows were dismantled and the broken bits taped back together and safely deposited in Rares’ car, Peter then spent some time (probably half an hour or more) in the HAS showing Rares around the Phantom and Hunter with a talk about their history and restoration thrown in for good measure. Later that evening Rares messaged Bee to say he thoroughly enjoyed his few hours at the HAS and that Peter was very good company too.

Rares estimates it will probably take him a couple of weeks, then the replacement windows should be ready for reinstating (thank you Rares, your help is very much appreciated).

Sarah made good headway on the tail section, Bee made good headway on the seat and Peter had a good day all round. When Rares had gone for an ogle at the Lynx, Peter took the opportunity to tell Bee and Sarah that he thoroughly enjoyed talking and working with Rares today. Bless him, he can pick up where he left off when Rares comes back with the rocking horse manure in a couple of week’s time…..

Seat restoration progress

Before heading off home a quick team talk about next Sunday’s jobs were discussed. Peter will be back in the cockpit getting that ready for paint, Sarah will continue her journey on the paintwork on the outside and Bee will finish off the final bit of sanding on the seat frame.

Bee might even take her sewing machine and fabric in and make a start on the seat pad re-covering once the sanding has been done……

The heavens opened just as they were locking up and so they all scrambled to their cars and headed home.

Tune in with Peter, Bee and Sarah next Sunday 30 April 2023…..pssstt ……….we will be celebrating 14 days, that’s 2 weeks of work on the old girl!!

Day 14 – 2 whole weeks

2 weeks of work done, can you believe it, 14 Sundays and 14 blog posts so far!!

Whilst we (Peter, Bee and Sarah) celebrate this milestone Bee felt it only right to start this blog off by THANKING all the wonderful people involved in this project in one capacity or another.


  • For the physical donation of parts
  • For the verbal donation of encouragement, time, knowledge and skill
  • And for the monetary donations received thus far

It all goes towards purchasing paint and consumables as well as the odd missing bit of equipment here and there too.

Scan here with your PayPal app

If you do feel you could contribute in any of these ways, please do get in touch via the Facebook Page or kindly use our 21st century technology (left) and mark your donation as “Scout Restoration” via the museum’s QR code and the Museum’s PayPal account!!

If you’re physically visiting the museum on one of our open days (please make sure you pre-book here), the same QR code is available to scan in the museum too, thank you, it really means a lot to us!!

Also, do come and visit Peter, Bee and Sarah in the HAS annex, we would be happy to chat and show you around and you’re welcome to take photos too. Don’t be shy, just ask and we would also be happy to take a photo of you standing next to the scout as well. Your encouragement is what makes this project fun for us and also gives us writing material for our blog (please note, Bee and Sarah will always ask your permission on the day should they want to include you and your photo in their blog post).

So in keeping with this milestone of 2 solid weeks of work, Bee has some wonderful news to share with you as well…… EPIC ROADTRIP!


If you remember, in the day 1 blog, Bee mentioned putting out the feelers to various people and having a few positive responses back, back then, well the positivity has grown tenfold and Bee has been cheeky, chatty and a little bit forward, but also happy to make and give in return by baking cakes and gifting homemade jam as a THANK YOU along this journey, and finally a week ago a wonderful email popped up in her inbox with an invitation. It made her squeal with delight, do a happy jig and shed a couple of happy tears too.

We, that’s Bee and Sarah, have been invited down to Middle Wallop to pick up a bushel of parts and, to make a copy of the cowling (that’s the visor thingy that goes over the top of the instrument panel) so that Bee’s friend Rares can replicate it in fibreglass. Apparently this is another rare and hard to find piece, or as Middle Wallop said, it’s as rare as hen’s teeth, so Bee is going armed with stuff and things to take a realistic cast of it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this is something that we could offer other museums as well!

We might just go into the business of supplying rocking horse manure and hens teeth in the future……….hahahaha!!

Anyway, the countdown to Middle Wallop has begun and we are planning to leave bright and early (3 hour drive) spend the whole day there, take home-baked goods as a thank you, stay the night (we are so humbled by the generosity of a twin room, THANK YOU) and leave nice and early the following morning (3 hour drive back) to get back to Suffolk!

So… this space 🙂

Rivnut tool working

Now, let’s tell you about day 14……

Peter very generously offered his muscles today and started the process of reinstating the rivnuts into the framework. Bless him, it took some huffing and puffing, but he finished one of the quarter apertures (see photo) before heading out for the afternoon with his wife to visit the bluebell woods nearby, it was a splendid day for visiting the bluebells.

Rivnut installation

Bee occupied herself with flatting, sanding and chatting, sadly Sarah couldn’t make today, she was feeling a bit under the weather, so when Peter had to go and spend precious time with his wife, Bee had to go as well, but it wasn’t a wasted afternoon because she went home and did some much needed laundry and made a start on the pilot’s door pouch too – no rest for the blessed.

Peter and Bee also had 2 visitors today, both of which (Bee decided in her infinite childish wisdom would be funny to hide behind the door) got a loud BOOOO shouted at them as they walked through into the annex, one visitor didn’t even blink or flinch – solid as a rock he was, but the other visitor however did jump and also said….”I could have killed you right there” and did air-karate moves to prove his point! This made Peter and Bee roar with laughter!

I know, I know….. funny though, you have to agree!!

Anyway, before Bee signs off, she’d like to tell you about a strange discovery today……. she and Peter were a little perplexed by it and wonder if anyone has an explanation.

You know the TO DO blackboard that was created a few weeks ago and subsequently had been filled up with TO DO’s as well as Bee’s show dates….. well, the annex either has a ghost or someone came into the annex during the week and willfully (why though, why would you do that???) ran their fingers through the chalk writing and smudged it across the board (see photo)……!! We really don’t understand (firstly) why someone would do that and secondly, wonder what they doing in the annex anyway???

That’s it……………thanks for reaching this milestone with us. Back next Sunday 7 May 2023 to continue with the long list of jobs. The museum is also open for visitors, so if you haven’t booked a slot yet, please do it ASAP.

Day 15

A delightful day spent at Wattisham, not only entertaining our 20 or so guests as they visited the museum and then the Phantom and Hunter in the HAS, but also because exciting things were happening in the Annex too…….

Rares joined Peter, Bee and Sarah in a very neat convoy at 9.30 as they headed towards the HAS. Rares having the much anticipated missing pieces for the rear of the cockpit in his car and Bee having a few more donated bits to add to the Annex workshop. The museum had its 2nd open day of the year too and the sun was making an appearance to bless the day ahead!

HAS doors open (for visitors) and Annex doors open (for light and the day to flood in), plus 3 excited bodies waiting patiently or impatiently (depending on how you looked at their anticipation…… hahahaha) for Rares to show them the new rear windows……

So before Bee tells you about the windows, let her set the scene here……

Friday evening Bee sends Rares a message saying, “Are you all set for Sunday?
Rares said, “Yeah, but I’m not sure if it’s going to work
Bee said, “I am sure it will be fine Rares, what makes you think it’s not going to work?”
Rares said, “Well, I couldn’t get the right product, so I’ve made them out of fibreglass
Bee said, “Honestly Rares, I would be over the moon no matter what, it means we can make it water and weather tight and I would still be most proud to have it on display
Rares said, “OK (thumbs up symbol from him), well I will see you Sunday

The little tinker…..him and his poker-faced sense of humour, he certainly had Bee going, but Bee still stands true to what she said, that as long as it looked right and fitted and meant that it would make the scout water and weather tight, she would be happy with however he made it!! ……… out of the back of his car came the most beautifully crafted clear plexiglass panels…….. WOW…….well, actually double WOW, this man is talented (see photo of the old next to the new).

Rares then brought in the rest of the things and tools he needed to dry fit the windows, this included the cutest mobile workbench which Rares has donated to the Annex, THANK YOU, you’re a star and yes, it’s a very handy little bench which will be used a lot!!

Peter was going to carry on his muscle flexing job of rivnutting today, but the excitement to get involved with Rares and the panels were just too tempting, this means that the rest of the rivnutting will have to wait till the giddiness of it all has died down.

Sarah’s work in progress

Once the 2 boys were settled in their witty, bantering routine, Bee and Sarah gathered themselves and each took on a job that didn’t interfere or get in the way of Peter and Rares and their important mission for today.

Sarah took the little portable sander and started the delicate job of firstly scraping any loose or bubbling paint (this is all about the outside of the scout) and then feathering in the edges, minding the rivet heads and discovering the old girl’s history under the layers of paint (see photo 1 and 2 of Sarah’s progress) – the girl is doing a sterling job!

Pilot seat

Bee finally got the last of the seat rubbed down and then the exciting job of giving it a coat of paint commenced (see before and after photos). The seat back pad is in good condition and will go back without any repairs needed, but it also now means the seat base pad is next on the agenda for repair – yip…..sewing machine to be brought down and possibly also using Rares’ cute workbench as a sewing table!!

There was much too-ing and fro-ing with Peter and Rares as the metal strips needed to support and sandwich the rear glass and port rear roof glass had to have a good clean up and sand down before fitting.

Rear windows

OH MY GOODNESS (see photos 1 and 2) the dry fit has gone exceedingly well!! Which means that next week it will all come off again so it can be fitted properly with the right sealant before the big bolt down happens.

During a quick break to have a drink, Bee and Sarah discussed Rares and how much of an asset he has been and certainly could be going forward with the restoration team. They also agreed that every time Rares has been at the HAS, they have seen a very animated and talkative Peter and that Rares is a good egg all round.

Bee will now put an application forward for Rares to join the restoration team, and once his application is approved, Bee will do a little write up and introduce him to you all, so watch this space.

Before the team left for the day, there was one last important thing to do, and that was……. (see photos of Peter and Rares) ticking off jobs on the TO DO board – how very satisfying!!

Crossing off the TO-DO list

Well folks, that’s it for day 15……….

Next Sunday 14 May 2023 will see Peter, Sarah and Rares at the Annex (play nicely you lot and have fun). Bee however will be at “Temple at War” with Simon and their team displaying The Gulf Collection.

If you’re anywhere near Cressing Temple Barns, do pop in, if you’re a veteran or if you’re currently serving, please present your MOD card at the gate and come and enjoy this very varied and exclusive little show.

Sarah will be responsible for the day 16 blog and Bee could not think of anyone better to string a page or two of words together for you, so keep an eye out for next week’s update on the shenanigans and progress made on the old girl!!

Day 16

Hello everyone, today it’s Sarah writing the blog on our lovely Bee’s behalf whilst she is working hard at Cressing Temple Barns for their “Temple at War” weekend. We can’t wait for the stories next week!

Yet another lovely day was had at Wattisham, although the Annex and HAS felt decidedly emptier this week… After the excitement of our second successful open day of the year, the team (minus one busy Bee) headed over to the HAS for an eventful day at work!

Upon arrival and unpacking, Peter and Sarah were treated to some sweet snacks courtesy of Rares, whose birthday it was the following day: Happy Birthday Rares! The donuts and brioche proved essential to keeping the team going throughout the day.

Rotor blade holders

That wasn’t the only gift that Rares brought with him this week – he had lovingly made two rotor blade holders for the restoration team. This could mean only one thing… today was the day that the other two rotor blades could be taken off! With Peter working at the business end loosening the bolts, Sarah and Rares helped to take the weight and remove the blades, placing them snugly into their new home. Another job ticked off the To-Do board… Now, on with the rest of the day!

Rotor blades removal and stowage

After a brief word to the boys about her and Bee’s plans for the week (more on that later), Sarah carried on with the paint sanding, starting with the other side of the rear section to avoid getting tangled up with Rares and Peter working in the cockpit area. Peter decided to make a start with repairing the punctured wheel to get another job ticked off, and Rares continued with the rear windows and assessing what parts could be done and moulded next.

Sarah made a fair bit of progress on the tail section, being careful to mind the rivet heads and took the time to prepare some more of the materials that she would need for the following week.

Peter was attempting to make headway on repairing the wheel, however this job proved to be more difficult than initially thought, so we will need to return to that another time. Rares also offered plenty of helpful ideas to get the wheel apart for its eventual repair.

Working on a “difficult” wheel

Speaking of Rares, he was settling in even more today, keeping himself busy with his own work on the rear windows and panels as well as being a photographer on Sarah’s behalf, and familiarising himself with the work that the other team members were undertaking on that day. As usual, Sarah was happy to take a back seat and enjoy listening to the boys talking so animatedly about plans for the restoration – it gives one a warm feeling to hear people getting so excited about it! Rares truly feels like a part of the furniture at this point, just like the rest of us!

Towards the end of the day, the boys removed the damaged glass panel at the front of the cockpit to get a closer look and assess the best approach to getting a replacement for the future.

Working on the windscreen

With that, the workshop was cleaned up and day 16 was officially done.

Rares will not be joining us next week due to celebrating his birthday, but we have Bee’s triumphant return to the annex to look forward to!

As discussed in the Day 14 blog, Sarah and Bee were due to travel down to Middle Wallop and have a look around their Scout and pick up some parts that the team over there had so generously set aside for us. However, there has been a slight hiccup and that trip will have to be postponed for another time – it is no problem, as the ladies will be ready and raring to go when the opportunity arises again.

Keen to make the most of their time, Bee and Sarah will attempt to get an extra day of work done on the Scout this upcoming weekend, and Peter will (hopefully) be impressed and surprised with the progress made in his absence upon arrival to the annex on Sunday 21st May.

Bee will also be back to writing the blog posts, so stay tuned and we look forward to you joining us next time!

Day 17 – Bonus Blog Post!

Hi everyone, it’s Sarah again. Bee is back to writing our regular blog posts as of day 18, but I am lucky enough to write about our extra day in the HAS!

As mentioned last week, Bee and Sarah had originally planned to visit Middle Wallop and see what goodies and information they could glean from the team over there, however that had to be postponed. (We have since had word that we may be able to reschedule soon, so watch this space!)

Keen to make the most of their time, the ladies decided to get into the annex and try and get some more jobs done before returning to the normal running order on Sunday.

Workshop with sewing station

Upon meeting at the HAS, Bee told Sarah to close her eyes, as she had a surprise for her! After nervously obliging, Sarah was delighted to see that the restoration team had been gifted two tool kits (thanks to David Parks) which will be incredibly useful when it comes to working on some of the more intricate parts of the Scout! After letting out a squeal (who would have thought that a toolbox could be so exciting?!) the ladies brought the kits into the annex. Bee also brought in her trusty sewing machine to set about ticking off another list on the jobs board!

Sarah carried on with paint sanding but began at the nose/ cockpit area as she wouldn’t be getting under Peter’s feet. Bee set up her little workstation with her sewing machine and set about making a replacement pouch for the cockpit door. After a brief time, the ladies heard a very familiar voice call out “there’s two labourers in here!”, causing their heads to pop up from their work… Peter had arrived! He was escorting a visit to the HAS, so he was dressed considerably smarter than when the ladies usually see him. After having a brief look at what the pair were getting up to, he left them to it and got the main HAS doors opened to showcase the jets in all their glory. As the doors opened, Sarah noticed some movement and saw a little toad friend hiding in the tracks of the door… He is officially called Tony the Toad and is the unofficial mascot of the restoration team!


After a few hours of hard work, Bee and Sarah stopped and decided to refuel, enjoying a lovely lunch, with some extra company. The legend that is David Parks popped over to partake in lunchtime activities and chat about how things were progressing with the restoration, but not after Sarah expressed her deep thanks and excitement over the new toolboxes! David’s visit felt all too brief, and once again the ladies got back to work.

Bee managed to make some good progress on the pouch, before lining up the holes to secure it to the door- another job ticked off the list. Sarah made progress in the cockpit section, but before the pair knew it, it was time to pack down and close the annex for the day. Bee closed the main HAS doors, but not before checking that Tony was safely out of the way!

A successful day was had all round, and it was a major treat spending some time with Peter and David. The trio of Peter, Bee and Sarah will reunite for more hard work on Sunday 21st May. Unfortunately, there will be no Rares until next week as he is busy celebrating his birthday… how inconsiderate! But he should hopefully be back the following weekend, Sunday 28th May.

Day 18

This morning saw Peter and Bee in a 2-car convoy head over to the HAS; don’t you worry, Sarah joined them at around 10am and this made up 3/4 of the dream team this Sunday. Rares had family commitments, so we let him enjoy his time with his loved ones.

Bee was back from her weekend away at Cressing Temple Barns and spent 1/2 hour or so excitedly telling Peter about the wonderful weekend displaying their Gulf Collection and the amazing feedback received from the public and the show organisers, including being awarded Best in Show as voted by the public and appearing on the front page of the local newspaper too. Simon also did an interview with BFBS Colchester and the new audio side to their display was also very well received by all. Bee had already excitedly given Sarah the lowdown on her weekend away when they both spent a bonus extra day with the old girl on Friday (see Sarah’s blog post day 17).

Bee was surprised and delighted that Russell (our museum chairman) decided to pop into the Temple at War show and see what all the fuss was about. It seems a meander around the different displays and trade stalls ignited a keen desire to purchase a little something for himself and so he left later that afternoon with a small souvenir of his day out.

Inside of Scout door

As Sarah has mentioned in her day 17 blog, Bee brought her trusty and very hard-working sewing machine to the HAS to get a few more projects ticked off the TO-DO board list. With the pouch for the pilot door done in an afternoon meant that the next job to be tackled would be the inside of the pilot’s door. Today saw that job successfully done with much scraping and sanding before a coat of the dark grey paint could be applied.

By next Sunday the newly fabricated pouch can be riveted onto its final resting place where it belongs. The old brittle pouch has been disassembled and patchwork-fixed and has now been relegated to a pattern archive should any other museum require one made for their project.

Brand new pouch

There is nothing more satisfying than making great inroads into a TO-DO list. It seems that once the first job had its tick, others have followed rather quickly. It’s wonderful to have a visual reference of where this restoration is at and it also serves as an inspiration to complete the rest of the TO-DO’s on the list.

Today Peter flexed his muscles and (bless him) got the last of the rivnutting put to bed. He has certainly done an amazing job at putting in some wrist-breaking, top lip sweating, upper arm squeezing, energy-groaning and lower arm trembling effort into preparing the top of the roof sections ready for the big refit soon. THANK YOU Peter!!

Today Sarah continued her brilliant refurb of the outside of the old girl with her trusty scraper, little portable sander and her airline with the powerful air nozzle attachment. She is certainly making great inroads and moving along at a steady pace. Peter also did some sanding across the top of the windscreens.

Every little bit helps move the jobs along and it’s great that one person can just seamlessly fall into a job where the other person has left off, except for rivnutting, that was certainly a Peter job!!

Time always seems to fly on a Sunday and before you know it, someone is saying, OH MY GOODNESS IT’S TIME TO PACK UP, today being no exception, except Peter said that if Sarah and Bee wanted to work a little longer, he would leave the keys with them. Both girls said that they would be happy to carry on tinkering for another couple of hours. However, the HAS had other ideas, at 2pm sharp, just as Peter had taken his toolbox to his car, the electricity went off.

First things first, Bee walked to the door and shouted across the car park saying…..Peter, the power is off, do you think the HAS is telling us to go home…….back indoors and check the electrical supply, but that was still on, so it’s certainly not down to user error, then Peter walked back into the HAS to check and double check that it wasn’t something silly on our part, he confirmed it wasn’t and then noticed the emergency lighting on.

A quick sprint to the toilet block (no electric) and the gliding club (no electric) meant that the end of the tinkering day had most certainly been dictated by this event. Bee asked Peter to report this to the guardroom when he handed in the keys and hopefully it’s a very temporary blip and that order will be restored by the next tinkering Sunday.

Next week Sunday (28 May 2023) will see Peter, Bee and Rares at the HAS with young Sarah spending quality time with family. Stay tuned and chat next week!!

Day 19

Another delightful day spent at Wattisham, this time the team consisted of Peter, Bee and Rares. Our Sarah was spending the long weekend catching up on much needed family time and we certainly hope (1) she missed us and talked non-stop about us to her family all weekend (2) that she actually had real soul-nourishing quality time with her parents, sister, niece and nephew too. We missed you Sarah and look forward to seeing you next Sunday.

Well then, this blog post is going to be slightly different, in as much as we would like to dedicate this to a friend of Rares (Julian Lovett) who, selflessly and very kindly donated his time and money to refurbish the old girl’s wheels. As a team, we are truly grateful because it means that she is mobile and can be wheeled outside for a good wash down and also wheeled to her final resting place when she is done.

Our gratitude towards the kindness of people grows weekly and we are humbled by all the help we have received so far.

So…… come with us on a wheel refurb restoration journey.
(Julian kindly gave permission to use his photos and write-up
of the process, THANK YOU)

A couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from my friend Rares (we work together during the week and some Saturdays we also work on Rares’ own personal project – (more on that at another time). Rares knows my skillset as well as my CAN-DO approach to an interesting challenge, and this certainly was an interesting challenge.

This was how the phone call went: –

Julian, you know I am helping out on this Scout helicopter restoration with my friend Bee, well the helicopter’s wheels haven’t seen love and attention for a lot of years and they really need to come apart and be looked at properly if we are to get the helicopter moving again. Peter and I have tried, but we are struggling to get the two halves of the rim apart so that we can look at the inner tube and also look at the very tired tyre and see how we can fix it. Let me send you a picture so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about. I will be bringing it into work on Monday, I hope that’s OK. Rares sent me a picture of a very sad and tired wheel.

On Monday morning I received a wheel, with a bag of bolts, nuts and bearings. First things first was to clean up the area where the bearing should be seated. The old grease had hardened to a rock-solid paste and the ingress of water over the years had also helped make this somewhat untidy and unusable. The rim itself went through a wire brushing process and the corroded aluminium was carefully cleaned up too. The bearings were freed off with the help of a petrol bath/wash and repacked with clean fresh grease and refitted. Once the rim/hub portion of the wheel assembly was done, I moved onto the inner and outer part of the wheel.

Unfortunately, the inner tube was badly perished including the angled valve assembly. A Google search soon gave me the information needed to order the correct inner tube with the correctly angled valve assembly, but sadly Google wasn’t as helpful with regards a new tyre for this refurbishment, so a new approach had to be made to get the tyre back to working condition. I have previously been involved in rubber/tyre refurbishment and so my knowledge was put to good use here. The old, perished rubber was ground off the side walls and then using my best plastering skills, new rubber was evenly applied to the tyre. This was then left in the sun for a couple of days to cure and after a quick flat down (I am happy to say) the tyre has a new lease of life and was ready to go back together.

The inner tube arrived a couple of days after ordering it and using the best talcum powder possible for the job, the inner tube and tyre became firm friends again (SCOUT1905). This was a great opportunity to also inflate the inner tube so that it would be out of the way of the rim/hub assembly going back together.

With all the parts cleaned and given a new lease of life, assembly was so easy and straight forward. Taking it apart however was not so easy, but I really enjoyed the challenge very much.

I am proud to have been able to help my friend Rares and in turn help the museum restoration team move forward on their project.

Thank you Julian for everything you have done, we really appreciate it!!

So what did Peter, Bee and Rares do today…….

Well…..we got to the HAS, opened the Annex doors, fitted the wheels and pumped them up too (thank you to Simon at Hangar 53 for donating another very handy and much needed bit of equipment – see museum’s FB page for all the other photos not able to be uploaded here in the blog). With the wheels pumped up, and with a bit of huffing and puffing the old girl was moved outside.

Rares came up with a plan to play a trick on Sarah, so he asked Bee to take a photo of the empty Annex, send it to her and say “WHAT THE HECK??? We opened the Annex doors and the Scout is gone!!!

We know…….so cruel, but also so funny…. about 5 minutes passed and a “NO WAY!!” came back, followed very swiftly by a phone call, which Bee ignored!! Poor Sarah, by the time Bee had called her back, (we are sure) she’d had kittens!! The first thing she shouted down the phone was “You better be pulling my leg and telling me this is a joke!!“…….

Rares profusely apologised and Bee quickly sent another picture to show the scout just outside the doors, ready for her big wash down………we are sure that by next week Sarah will have forgiven our silly prank, or she might actually be secretly brewing a prank of her own!!

Whilst Peter and Rares took turns to pressure wash the old girl down, Bee busied herself with updating the TO-DO board, getting washers and cherry max rivets ready for the pilot’s pouch, prepping the bench area for cutting out a new seat base covering, straightening up some of the bits and pieces standing against the wall and spending some time outside in the glorious weather watching the boys do their magic on the Scout (she certainly was a dirty bird).

It took a few hours of work to get years of muck, foliage, spider webs and flaking paint washed off her. And they all agreed that it most definitely was easier to wheel indoors than when they initially wheeled her outside (probably cause she was so much lighter). It was also agreed to reposition her slightly better so that there was more working space on the starboard side than previously available.

Once the hose was put away and neatly rolled back up onto the reel (that hose felt like it was a mile long and at one point Peter wearily asked if Bee could see if the end was in sight – it was hahahahaha……… it was just about ready to re-enter the HAS)…. they all gathered in the Annex to complete the next important task before going home which was to tick another 2 jobs off the list (the wheel(s) and the big wash down) – well done Peter and Rares!!

Right, well next week Bee will introduce Rares to you properly and tell you a little bit about why he is such a great addition to the team.

Oh and before i forget, it’s the museum’s open day on Sunday, so should you want to visit, prebook here. We would be happy to see you in the Annex too.

There is a definite plan for next Sunday, but you will have to wait for blog 20 to find out if that plan came together. The dream team will be gathering for another fun filled tinker on 4 June 2023.

pssssstttt….. Tom, our IT man, completed a side restoration on a very battered old sign for the museum, please go read his blog, it’s really good!!