Sunday 18 November 2018

New VSF Aeronautical Contraption – The Daley Brothers Attack Balloon!

It was late in the day as Flugmeister Franz Bottums-Upsch glided his Fokker Dragon Fly gracefully over the countryside of Kent, he was on his third mission of the day and looking for British Flyers returning to their bases and another easy victory. Flying over enemy territory Franz was alert and wary so continually scanned the skies above him whilst he sought another victim. Twisting and turning among the clouds he sighted a British Sopwith Blimp below immediately he started to bank to attack but then he heard several loud bangs as his machine shuddered. The Fokker lurched and there were awful grinding sounds as the flyer’s right two wings drooped limply. Franz found it difficult to maintain control as he anxiously looked about to see who had taken him by surprise! Then he spied his assailant, it was a craft he had never seen before! He noted its ungainly appearance, there was an armoured gondola below a large round balloon. He wondered how he could have been bounced by such an antique looking contraption...but his train of thought was interrupted as the other pair of his Dragon Fly’s wings failed and he plummeted to into oblivion in the ruin of his flyer!


Captain Darling was taking the latest British flyer, the Daley Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Attack Balloon Mk II for yet another test flight over the skies of southern England when he noticed a lone German skulking about between the clouds. He immediately thought, “Bloody Boxhead, on the hunt for some unsuspecting British Airman no doubt, well I’ll give him what for!” Against his orders to not engage any enemies while testing the newest British fighting machine he dropped altitude rapidly and was in a matter of moments on the tail of the Fokker. In the extremely responsive Daley he lined up his target quickly and once it was in his sights he gently pressed the firing button on his control column. The two auto loading Holland & Holland Elephant Guns barked into life and in seconds several rounds were fired buffeting Darling’s machine and smashing into the surprised German. “Take that!” Darling commented coolly as he saw the enemy Airman look around in shock as his stricken Fokker rapidly fell earthward...

The demise of Flugmeister Franz Bottums-Upsch ensured the secret of the new British fighting flying machine was safe!


The Great Steam War continued to rage and during September 1878 the Fokker Dragon Fly Scare was adorning the front page of virtually every news sheet. These menacing flying machines in the hands of expert Germanic Aces were scything British Flyers from the skies with ease. While the Sopwith Company worked on improving their Blimps another Company, Daley Brothers displayed their newest development to the British Government and the Boffins of S.O.E., the Daly Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Attack Balloon Mk II. It looked dated to all those who saw it but when demonstrated before the Queen's ministers and given to the best British Aviators everyone was surprised at its speed and agility. Its heavily armoured gondola and hard hitting weaponry in conjunction with its astonishing ability to quickly descend and climb (due to vents in the balloon and a super heater on the top of the fighting compartment) gave it characteristics that everyone believed could end the Fokker Scare that was currently decimating the Imperial Air Fleets. An order for 12 machines was placed and when delivered they were given to the front line Squadrons for the best Aces to evaluate before full production was to commence. The reports from top Airmen like Darling and Queensford-Smith were promising and so orders were placed and series construction was begun.

Captain Darling in the New Daley Company Flyer stalking a German Fokker...

The Daley Steam Powered Armoured Attack Balloon Mk II model

This scratch build was long in the making, I started it early this year but our overseas trip interrupted construction and I just got to it again!

Parts list
Foam ball from a fabric shop
Styrene sheet
Plastic tubing
Metal washers for port holes
Pins for rivets
Balloon super heater is a couple of LEGO bits
Smoke stack is part of an electric toothbrush head
Some wire
The Elephant Gun barrels, propellers, and bottom hatch are all old 1/35 left over model kit parts

Unfortunately I do not have many WIP build pictures just these...

Here’s the finished Flyer on its homemade stand....

Next time - some more stuff


  1. Wonderful job Captain.

  2. An excellent scratch built contraption.

  3. Creative and wonderful job!

    1. Thanks Phil, that's the good thing with VSF you can go wild!

  4. Excellent work Captain!
    I can imagine the headlines in the Times. "Fiendish Fokkers beaten by brave British balloonists!"
    Captain Darling was quick to see that with his better climb rate he could out manoeuvre the Fokkers.