Know Your Aircraft

How well do you know your World War 2 bombing aircraft?

During World War II, Bomber Command aircraft flew more than 364,500 operational sorties (when they were sent on bombing missions by the RAF). In order to do this they needed lots of different aircraft that were good at lots of different things!

Aircraft- Percy the pilot

One of our fantastic volunteers at the IBCC has made a game to help you learn all about the different aircrafts. You can play it by clicking here. Whats your favourite aircraft? You can have a go at making your very own with our toilet roll aircraft craft below.


Toilet Roll Aircraft

Somewhere in your house there is almost certainly some empty toilet rolls. There are 100’s of different ways you can use a toilet roll to make something uber cool, today we are making ours into aircraft!


You might have all of these things around the house already, if you don’t you can always replace the items with something else you can find the house that does the same job. You need:

  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • PVA glue
  • newspaper (cut into squares)
  • pencil
  • a pen that you can draw on plastic with
  • toilet rolls (one might be enough, but you might need more)
  • string
  • cardboard (an old cereal box would be perfect)
  • an old margarine container or something similar
  • paint
  • paint brush

What you need to do

First, take your toilet roll, cut little slits in it to help you shape the roll the way you want it. When you have shaped it, fasten it in place using little bits of masking tapes. If your plane needs to be longer, you could make it longer by using another toilet roll- make sure you fasten it in place with masking tape.

Aircraft 1 Aircraft 2











Then you need to think about your nose. Aircraft noses come in lots of different shapes and sizes, the Fairy Battle is quite pointy and the Lancaster is round. I made a cone out of cardboard for mine- but you could cut a ping pong ball in half if you wanted a rounder nose. Make sure you leave a hole in the middle, this is where the propeller will sit.

Aircraft 3

Before you attach your nose, you need to make you propeller. Use a pen to draw the shape of the propeller on the margarine container lid and cut it out. In the centre of the propeller make a little hole with a pair of scissors, you might need an adult to help you here.

Aircraft 4Aircraft 5









Thread the string through the hole and make a little knot in the end to keep it in place. Then thread the string (the end without the knot) through the hole in the end of the nose and pull it through. Now you should be able to spin your propeller! Look at the pictures for help if you get stuck.

Now, make sure you keep hold of the end of the string, fasten the nose in place with masking tape making sure you don’t stick the tail of the string down just yet. When the nose is in place, pull the string so the propeller is secure and fasten it to the fuselage (the body of your aircraft) with more masking tape.

Aircraft 6propellerAircraft 8










Ok, it’s time to think about your wings- how else will your plane take off?! Draw the shape you want your wings to be and add an extra centimetre on the end that will meet the body of the plane. Then cut them out. Fold a crease about a cm away from the end of the wing (the extra bit you added earlier) and attach it to the plane, where you want it, with masking tape. Put a little extra tape on the other side to keep it securely in place.

Aircraft 9 Aircraft 10








To make your wheels, draw around a bottle top and then draw a triangle on top of it. On top of the triangle draw a square (look at the photo if you need help). Do this twice and the cut them both out. Fold over the square on top and use the tab to stick the wheels to the planes wings. You can use a card support between the wheels, like I have, if you need to.

wheel shape

wheel attachmentAircraft 13








For the tail, draw and cut out the horizontal part as a whole and the vertical part with an extra cm on the end like you did with the wings. Cut a slit in the tail end of your plane and slot the horizontal part of the tail in place. Fasten the vertical part of the tail by folding the end and securing it with masking tape.

tail 1 Aircraft 15 tail









There you go! You have the shape of your plane! You can add what ever you like to this to make your plane exactly like you want it.

Aircraft 17


To make it nice and strong with a smooth surface to paint on, we are going to cover it with paper mache (my favourite!). The best way to do this is mix PVA glue and a little water in a tub, you only want the glue to be a little thinner than normal. Then using a paint brush paint the plane with glue, a little bit at a time and stick down the newspaper. Cover each bit of newspaper with glue using your paint brush. Cover the whole aircraft using this technique and leave it to dry. This could take a few hours.



Once it is dry you can paint it using most paints. Have you seen any RAF nose art before? you could decorate your plane in the same way!

This is mine, it is Fairey Battle and I made it look a little evil with the nose art.

Aircraft finished

When you have made yours, why not send a picture to We would love to see it, and might even feature it on our social media page!  Don’t forget to give us your first name and age.

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We have lots of other fun activities on our education page, you can find them here