Martin Baker MB 5
Martin Baker MB 5 R2496 prototype
Martin Baker and A.& A.E.E. Boscombe Down, 1944-46
Although now better known for their ejection seats, Martin Baker produced a short series of innovative fighter prototypes in World War II, the culmination of which was the Martin Baker MB 5. Its immediate predecessor the Martin Baker MB 3, designed in response to specification F.11/39, was armed with six cannon and was powered by an early Napier Sabre. One of its design features was ease of maintenance, with external metal panels removable from the tubular structure for replacement or access to systems. Unfortunately R2492, the sole example of the MB 3, had an in-flight engine failure only two weeks after its first flight and crashed on 12 September 1942, killing pilot Capt. Valentine Baker. The Martin Baker MB 5 was similar, and based on the same specification, but powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffon; the armament was reduced to four 20 mm. cannon, and a large “teardrop” canopy gave excellent all-round visibility. It first flew from Harwell on 23 May 1944, and was subsequently passed to Boscombe Down for evaluation; it received excellent reports on both its design and its performance, being flown by test pilots Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown and Tom Neil. Unfortunately the Martin Baker MB 5 came too late to replace earlier piston-engine fighters in production, and its appearance coincided with the introduction to service of the first jets. Consideration was given after the war to an attempt on the world speed record, and trials from the Rotol airfield at Staverton recorded a speed of 484 mph. As with its potential service this plan was overtaken by the jet, with the RAF setting up an attempt with the Meteors of its High Speed Flight that achieved a speed of 606 mph.
Scale 1:72 Wingspan 5.83″ (148 mm)
Base size 6.37″ (162 mm) square (No. 4)
Weight not including base 10.5 ozs (303 grams) Limited edition of 50 only