Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Ex-FAAWAFU

  1. What have you purchased 9

    Punch-tastic! Though I find that the tiny circles of gorgeous punch-dom often stay in the die until fished out, rather than becoming scattered. Still, you can never have too many specialist tools... (& I LOVE my RP P&D set).
  2. I am almost certain that is the aerial (or rather pair of aerials) for the doppler system (whoch some quick checks tells me was the Ryan-Teledyne AN/APN-97 Doppler, itself an upgrade of the AN/APN-79). P.S. As also fitted to this gorgeous Wessex HAS1 at Duxford.
  3. Fabulous! I have always loved this bizarre monster since building a ?Frog kit of it in the 60s
  4. Blackburn Roc Floatplane Target Tug

    I'd actually forgotten about how much work you'd already done to the Roc's water-boots, so nice to see them again. I for one will be amazed if your calculations aren't proved correct, even if you had forgotten them! Great to see Tamiya-San's Stringbag beaching gear being put to such excellent use.
  5. Which shape do you mean? On the belly? If so, sone early ASW helos had a sonar body that looked like an inverted mushroom. I suspect this isn't what you're driving at, but more info needed. P.S. She continues to look superb. Well up to your usual precise, clean standards.
  6. As my ludicrously long Sea Vixen build finally shows signs of drawing to a close, thoughts turn to what to build next. I always try to have two things on the go at any one time, with the other being my never-ending Ark Royal build - but there is a limit to how much 1/350 scratch building and detailing I can stand at any one time, and I need to have something in 1/48 (my aircraft scale of choice) to keep me going. I thought about a twin Buccaneer build - an Anti-Flash White S1 and an Ark Royal (4) final commission S2D. Those will come at some point, since I have the kits and the necessary conversion materials. But watching the splendid work of Steve (Fritag), Debs (Ascoteer) and others has convinced me that it is high time I built something that I actually flew myself. Sea King or Lynx, Sea King or Lynx... much indecision was finally tilted towards the Queen of the Skies by all the press coverage of its retirement from RN SAR service earlier this year (though the ASaC7 Baggers will soldier on for a while yet), and by markdipXV711's excellent build of an 819 SAR cab which he and I flew in together 20-odd years ago. So, since 819 (my other Sea King squadron) has just been done, I have finally plumped for an aircraft from my first tour. Pull up a bollard and listen to a true dit. 820 Naval Air Squadron, 1988, 18 months into my first front-line tour. We were part of Ark Royal (5)'s CAG (carrier air group) throughout my time on the Squadron, and in July 1988 the ship plus 801 (8 x Sea Harrier FRS1), 849B Flight (3 x Sea King AEW2), a detachment from 845 (2 x Sea King HC4) and 820 (9 x Sea King HAS5) set off for Australia, via Malta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei and Subic Bay (Philippines), and home via Mumbai and Gibraltar. 6 months away, and a bloody good time was had by all... Less than 2 weeks after we sailed, we were taking part in a NATO exercise in the approaches to the Med; basically we were playing the bad guys trying to force a passage through the straits, and a number of RN, USN and Spanish units were trying to stop us... including HM Submarines Torbay, Otter and Opportune. The aim of these exercises is not to be 100% realistic, but to make sure that there is maximum interaction, so occasionally there would be a 2 hour pause where the submarines, having come right inside the screen and "attacked" the hell out of the ships, would withdraw 30 miles and start again. We would knock off tracking them and leave them alone to reposition. In those long distant 1980s Cold War days, ASW was our bread and butter, and on the whole we were pretty good at it. Most of the time we did passive ASW - chucking huge quantities of sonobuoys out of the aircraft and finding submarines that way, often working with our Nimrod and P3C brethren, and often working against USSR boats rather than friendly exercise ones. In my first few weeks on the squadron we rippled 3 (3 cabs airborne 24/7) all the way from Norfolk VA to Harstad in Norway, including several days of tracking 2 Victor IIIs that were taking an interest in our games. It was pretty exhausting, but we could keep it up almost indefinitely. For the guys in the back, passive ASW was often good fun; 3-dimensional chess, and all that. But for the pilots it was skull-shatteringly dull, flying around at 4-5,000' (nosebleed territory for any self-respecting helicopter pilot) and stooging at 70kts for maximum endurance for hour after hour after hour. But on this occasion we were doing active ASW, the task for which the Sea King was originally designed. Active ASW in the daytime is enormous fun for the pilots, especially when you are in contact. At night the aircraft flies the profiles for you, closely monitored by the pilots (since you are down at 40', you want to keep a close eye on things in the pitch black; it can be a tad buttock-clenching at night). In the day, however, you generally fly it all yourself ("manual jumps" as the jargon goes) without any assistance from the AFCS (automatic flight control system), and it's a blast. So there you have the scene. I am 18 months into front line flying, and have reached the dizzy heights of being captain of my own crew. My P2 for this trip is a hugely experienced USN exchange pilot (way more experienced than me, but flying as second pilot while he gets up to speed with RN procedures). We do 45 minutes of active Torbay bashing, but then reach the pre-briefed pause while she repositions. Rather than disrupt the flying programme, we simply keep going, so we have taken a plastic milk float with us (hi tech, I tell you) and are doing some grappling training; chuck the milk float out of the back and practice SAR with it - much harder than it sounds, cos the milk float thrashes around in the down wash, so it is great training for the back seat in conning the aircraft and the front seat in hovering it precisely. A few minutes into the grapple work, with Jim the USN guy on the controls, the port engine stops... or so we thought. The Nr (rotor speed) decays as the good engine runs out of puff (too hot and too heavy to hover on one engine) and we subside rapidly onto the water yelling Mayday and punching the windows out. Phil Smith, the Observer, says he had never seen anyone strap in as fast as poor old BJ Sandoe, the Crewman who had been lying on the floor of the aircraft with his head sticking out, conning Jim onto the milk float, when suddenly the Atlantic Ocean came up to greet him. As I reached up to shut down the No 2 engine (cos you sure as heck don't want to abandon a helicopter while the rotors are still turning) it became apparent that the No 1 engine had not in fact failed, but simply run down to flight idle. The fuel computer had developed a fault and tried to shut the throttle, but there is a physical interlock built into the system for precisely this emergency, called the Flight Idle Stop, which is basically a screw jack that prevents the throttle from closing beyond a certain point - the very last thing you do when starting up is to engage it. So we over-rode the computer and managed the throttle manually, the Nr came back up to where it should be and shot off the surface of the sea like a startled rabbit, downgraded our Mayday to a Pan, and flew back to Mum. A Green Endorsement much later (still on the wall of my loo) and very shaky legs for a few hours afterwards. Well, it has to be this cab, doesn't it? So I present to you ZE419 / 014 / R of 820 Naval Air Squadron in July 1988; a bog standard Sea King HAS5. Dark blue (this was just before the days when everything became grey), black markings. Photos of the real aircraft to follow, I expect, but for now she is one of these in the distance (photo taken the day before we sailed from Pompey, so about 2 weeks before the ditching): The aircraft will be built much as in this photo, actually; folded, included the tail, with engine blanks in. The cabs in the photo have tip socks on, but I will probably build mine with the more robust blade support system known as "Forth Road Bridge" gear (as in this Mk 5 at the Fleet Air Arm Museum): The basis of the model will be the Hasegawa 1/48 Sea King, using the "Ark Royal HAR5" [no such thing; it should be HU5] edition (which for some reason Photobucket refuses to rotate, so turn your head): ...and the excellent Flightpath conversion set, which contains all sorts of goodies important to this build - notably weapons carriers, assorted aerials and a tail rotor much better suited to having a gust lock fitted to it. Herewith statutory sprue shot: ...and pic of the contents of Flightpath box and a couple of other aftermarket goodies: As it happens, I also have a Hasegawa AEW2a kit (acquired before the Mk5 kit was released, as the only game in town for a future Mk5 build). This will also be useful, since it contains a number of applicable bits such as Orange Crop ESM aerials (removed from the HU5). And since all the Hasegawa boxings are variations on the same theme, the kit already contains some parts that I will use - e.g. the HU5 has the sand filter in front of the engine intakes, but in my era we simply had the "barn door"; similarly the HU5 has the sonar removed and a blanking plate fitted. The kit contains both a barn door and a (sort of, -ish) sonar. [i also have a second complete "Ark Royal HAR5", designated eventually to be an 819 SAR aircraft... but not yet]. There will not be much progress for a few days, while I get the Vixen over the line.... Herewith photo of the appropriate log book entry (bottom line:
  7. More weapon carrier stuff. As I think I have said before, I am using the FlightPath HAS6 conversion set, which was produced for the basic Hasegawa SH-3 kit, long before Hasegawa produced their AEW2a or "HAR5" boxings. I have been able to leave the Sea Searcher radome, sponsons and other excellent FlightPath stuff in the box for future Sea Kings - but the weapon carriers (and winch - see earlier in the build) are superb, and worth the money on their own. I actually have 2 FlightPath sets, acquired on the assumption that they were the only likely game in town for my planned builds (i.e. this 820 NAS HAS5 and a future 819 NAS HU5). Since the SAR cab won't need any weapon carriers at all, this gives me 4 carriers for this build, which is what I need. They were clearly designed to fit stations 1 & 2 (under the stub-wings), because of the shape of the white metal parts - especially the bits representing the brackets connecting the carrier to the fuselage. Under the stub-wings, the fuselage is pretty slab sided, but further aft they are going to need adapting to fit the shape of the fuselage. Here are a couple of pictures of the starboard aft carrier on the FAA Museum's HAS 5 - first seen from ahead, second from behind: Note the shape of the connecting brackets; some future work. Before I get to that, however, I have been assembling the basic carriers; in the foreground you can see one I built (or rather mostly built) a while ago - that's destined for port fwd. On the right you can see the white metal "core" that sits inside the PE exterior. And here the same view from above, this time showing the PE which I built this evening - even those two represent 4 PE parts each, with 4 more still to be added.... and that's before I touch the wiring! Finally, a shot of the start I have made in adapting the white metal section of the two aft stations; you can see that I have filed away a lot of the "bracket" section - my plan is then to add a new bracket made from laminated card carved to shape, with a brass pin drilled through it to stiffen it and attach the whole thing to the fuselage. [Not very well explained, but I know where I am going with this... I think!] More soon Crisp
  8. It was always officially called a SACRU, Colin - though I accept that a two-syllable word probably was beyond the scope of many Junglies...
  9. Look back a few pages (pre-tractor) & you'll find a section where I built some battered yellow exhaust blanks. They sit happily in a strong, safe location - alongside the tail pylon / tail rotor / gust lock. I won't actually fit them until pretty late in the build; PE handles etc are a bit prone to damage when you're working close by. Thanks, all, for enthusiastic response to oil dot. If you really want to learn more, Abteilung 502 have produced an excellent book called "Mastering Oils". The examples are all AFV models, but this technique & several others are very well explained - including an excellent section on colour theory; chosing appropriate colours for your dots is not as obvious as it might seem (sone of you might, for instance, have wondered about the magenta on a dark blue Sea King). Recommended.
  10. I thought it might be worth bringing you up to date with what's been happening in Sea King land while all this tractor stuff has been going on. I am a devotee of the so-called "oil dot" technique of adding subtle differences to otherwise bland expanses of the same colour; I also use it as part of my weathering regime. The technique is much used in AFV modelling, I understand (not having built an AFV of any kind since I was approximately 11); I certainly nicked it from watching what a friend has achieved on assorted Tigers and Panthers. The good news about this technique is that you can keep on adding layers until you are satisfied with the overall effect - this means "less is more" when it comes to initial application; as with so many techniques, you can always add more, but it is much harder to take stuff away once it's dry. The bad news, of course, is that oils take a L-O-N-G time to dry, so you have to be pretty patient. It is also not very easy to photograph; iPhone pics tend to even out subtle differences, I find, which means that you might wonder from the following photos why I am bothering. Trust me; 1. I haven't anything like finished yet and 2. the aircraft already looks much better in real life. Anyway; here is the starting point of today. You may or may not be able to tell that the section forward of the stub-wing has already had one preliminary layer of oil dotting, as has the area behind the exhaust. The area abaft the stub-wing has not been touched yet, nor has the ECU door; even setting aside the loss of gloss (and you DEFINITELY need to gloss coat your model before doing this!), you can probably also see that the rivets are much more prominent in the un-treated areas. [I would say too prominent - and part of the reason for doing this is to tone down the rivets without covering them altogether. It will probably take several goes before I get this to where I want it, but as I say you can keep on adding layers as often as you like]. Here is a close-up of the section behind the stub-wing, with the oil dots applied. It looks here as though the dots are magenta, white, blue & black - but in fact some of the "black" dots are in fact Dark Blue, Burnt Umber or Payne's Grey. You can use pretty much any colour, though understanding colour wheels helps. Incidentally, as with any oil paints, I start this process by putting dabs of the paint onto a piece of gash cardboard and leaving it for several hours; this draws out the excess linseed oil, which makes the paint better for modelling purposes. Once the dots are in place, you then take a broad, flat brush and just slightly dampen it with white spirit (I use Winsor & Newton "Sansodor", which is far less smelly). It is really easy to get too much spirit onto the brush - that won't do any harm, but will simply over-dilute the oil paint, which means it will either coalesce into one single colour (acting as a filter, but not adding the variation), or simply end up being removed altogether; not a disaster, but rather a waste of time! This happened to me a lot when I first started doing this. You need a tiny amount of spirit; I typically dip the brush in, and then rest it on a piece of kitchen roll for a second or two - you still have easily enough loaded onto the brush after that. In the end it comes down to trial and error. You then use the brush to work the dots, using a series of light strokes in the same direction (I usually go up & down, but there is no rule about this). At this stage it is a bit of an act of faith; you think you have wrecked your lovely model the first time, panic and wash everything away. But eventually you realise that, provided you keep on unloading the brush on your kitchen roll, you gradually end up with very subtle changes in shade in the original paintwork. If you overdo it or make a mistake, you can simply take all the [oil] paint off and start again. You are going to have to trust me a bit here, because this shot doesn't really appear to show much. You might just be able to make out some diagonal oil smears running top right to bottom left across the prominent central double row of rivets that runs up from the SACRU foot. I can see it, but only because I know exactly where I am supposed to be looking. Anyway, this is pretty much done - the full subtlety will not really reveal itself for a couple of days, because it takes that long for the paint to dry completely. The final shot is an attempt at an After photo to compare with the Before pic (which I will repeat to save you scrolling up and down like a madman). Here you can at least see - I hope - that the section behind the stub-wing has already toned down quite a bit - compare the fuselage wall with the (as yet un-touched) sponson, for instance. What you can't really tell from this is the variations in colour. There is still a lot more of this to do (including adding further layers on top of the stuff already done), but it takes a long time because of the drying thing. Luckily I have plenty to get on with, what with making weapon stations, preparing for the wiring etc. Sorry if this isn't very obviously informative, but I tried. I love iPhones, but for subtle stuff their software compensates too well for variations in light (especially in gloomy conditions); great for happy snaps, but less so here. I just didn't want you to think that the Sea King itself had somehow not been touched for ages. More soon Crisp
  11. Sorry I'm late, chaps; traffic. My round, I guess. Was the beer run Spit also converted into an Airbus? For a single-seater, that's an awful lot of pilots
  12. Top Halibaggery. Top thread. Excellent use of the word "bottom" at every opportunity, with associated sniggering in the cheap seats (does BM have any other kind?). Thanks; BZ.
  13. Navy-ating Bucc's fizzzing along

    I assume the TSR2 galley was scheduled for the Mk.2, Steve!
  14. I knew I should have consulted @MarkdipXV711; after all, as a pilot one had a Chap to do this sort of manual labour... and he was that Chap. Joking aside, I'm not surprised to learn that the "yellow stripe" wasn't used on ASW cabs; as I was describing it I realised that I could not recall ever seeing it rigged during a pre-flight walkround, but decided that must be because we so rarely flew with the SACRU (yes, it's Semi-Automatic Cargo Release Unit, @71chally - thanks, Bill). [Edit: for the avoidance of doubt, the way I described the "yellow stripe" was correct - it's just that it seems that ASW cabs didn't use it much, doubtless because rigging it was a faff.] @hairystick... "Puppet show"? Speak softly, for you're treading upon the Queen of the Skies here! All helicopters are Swiss Army Knives to some extent. A few (Apache, Bag) are specialist, but most are capable of doing a huge range of jobs, most of which aren't terribly sexy; you wouldn't catch a jet pilot load-lifting tons of spuds or nipping ashore for the mail (though they'd he sure to moan when they didn't get any...). And being capable of doing many things without extensive maintenance work to re-role the aircraft means being festooned with gadgets, gizmos, johnsons and scrinsons... and of course they don't need to be smooth & aero-dynamic because parasite drag is pretty much irrelevant anywhere on a helo away from the rotors. But no, they never became tangled; despite appearances and banter, we did know roughly what we were doing... Actually, that's been a huge part of what I'm doing in this build; to my eyes, after flying them for 1,200 hours or so (my logbook is almost exactly 50:50 Sea King:Lynx), Sea Kings just don't look right when smooth and un-festooned, but that's how most models depict them. Hence the fact that about 85 of these 100 pages are taken up with adding assorted lumps, bumps, vents, aerials, pipes, wires and rivets. And more to come... @Fritag - bat bashfully raised. The odd inside edge for 4, but they all count. Fresh guard, please, umpire.
  15. You are making a seriously old and challenging kit look simple. We know better! Great stuff
  16. Navy-ating Bucc's fizzzing along

    Since TSR2 never dropped anything, even in practice (except maybe the odd loose panel), that's complete conjecture. It might - might - have been a world-beater, but personally I think a large part of its mystique stems from the fact that it never had to deliver all those things it was claimed it would do. There were reasons why the cost spiralled out of control; the technical challenges of what it was being asked to do (with 1960s technology) were formidable. See also Avro Arrow. But we'll never know, will we? I stand by my claim re the Bucc. Paper / cancelled "superior" aircraft are just guesswork. Leg restraints? In 1/72? Bill, I salute you as a fellow nutjob!
  17. Westland Sea King HAS/R 5

    That's a very good piece of moulding on ?Revell's part; it represents the Observer's station of a Sea King sufficiently clearly that even a front-seater can identify it. Even the Master Compass is clearly visible. How are you planning to colour the radar screen?
  18. A pair of Airfix Hawks in 1/72

    The Jungly book is indeed excellent - and it has a companion volume (from memory also called "Fly Navy") which is a similar collection of dits from the ASW, AEW and fixed-wing fraternity. Indeed, the Jungly book was issued in response to the other one - not the other way round. From memory, both of them came out around the time of the centenary of Naval aviation celebrations. [Sorry, Steve; WAFUs clogging up your tales of Mud-Moving-With-Style. And superb modelling, ├ža va sans dire].
  19. Navy-ating Bucc's fizzzing along

    I have a 1/48 ASW Gannet in my stash. When I build it, it will have folded wings. Just saying, Bill, just saying.
  20. Westland Sea King HAS/R 5

    Those things on the sponson weren't there in my day, but at a guess I'd say they're NVG formation lights
  21. A pair of Airfix Hawks in 1/72

    Harry Benson's "Scram!" is good, too; the Falklands as seen through the eyes of a bog standard squadron Joe on a Junglie Wessex squadron.
  22. Westland Sea King HAS/R 5

    Pretty much everything ahead of the Broom Cupboard was black on an NVG cab - which, conveniently, is where your moulded detail extends to. The rear of the Broom Cupboard might well have been grey. Left hand seat & floor: Looking up & back, including Broom Cupboard: Hope that helps. Crisp
  23. A pair of Airfix Hawks in 1/72

    I managed 168 kts in a Lynx once. True story. But then I suppose I could also stop, fly backwards, land on small ships, etc. Horses for courses! The "Boys" series of books are indeed very good - though with the notable exception of the Buccaneer volume they are VERY Light Blue-centric. The Toom book (Vol 1 - I don't have Vol 2), for instance, manages 2 chapters out of 19 about RN Phantom ops - and even they are written by an RAF pilot (could they really not find a single ex-RN Toom driver? I know half a dozen!]. Similarly, Vol 1 of the Harrier book has 25 contributors, of whom only 1 (Moggy) is RN. This isn't some Crab-bashing rant, but for those of us who are interested in all aspects of operating these aircraft, it does feel a bit skewed. For all that, they're excellent reads - I particularly enjoyed the 3 V-bomber volumes, and the Bucc book is brilliant. I have recently acquired the Hunter volume, but not read it yet. I very much doubt we'll ever see a Sea King equivalent; helicopters don't generally sell books in the way that noisy Plank-Wing things do. Having said that, if you're interested in rotary stuff, Larry Jeram-Croft's recent Lynx book is excellent. I saw him at the Lynx farewell bash a few months ago, and I understand he is working on a Wasp equivalent at the moment, and hopes to do a Sea King version in due course.