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    • Mike

      Ongoing DDoS Attack causing Forum Slowness   26/04/17

      In case you have missed the announcement, the reason that the forum has been slow at times since the minor version update the other day is due to a Denial of Service attack, brute force attack on our email, and judging by the lag with our FTP response, that too.  If you're feeling like you're experiencing a glitch in the Matrix, you're not wrong.  This is the same MO as the attack in September 2016 that occurred when we transitioned to the new version 4 of the software.  We're currently working with US and UK cyber-crime departments, who specialise in this sort of thing, and we're hopeful that we'll be able to track them down this time by using the accumulated evidence already held.    We are pretty certain that it's a continuation of the same attack last year, only at a reduced intensity to deter people from using the site "because it's terribly slow", rather than taking it down completely, and we're also sure of the motivations of those responsible.  Spite.   Please bear with us in the interim, and wish us luck in dealing with these.... "people".

Ex-FAAWAFU

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Everything posted by Ex-FAAWAFU

  1. 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:
  2. I wouldn't bet your house on it!
  3. Not gone away; still making progress down the starboard side.
  4. Those lashings look excellent. Any idea how you're going to do the PIN OUT lettering? I have the same problem at some stage, so any suggestions that I can ruthlessly plagiarise?
  5. I didn't get married until I was 42; no particular reason other than the only one that matters, which is that I didn't meet the right woman until I was 41. [The RN didn't help; I had an uncanny knack of meeting someone interesting a few days befoee going on a long deployment. "How about a drink..? December any good?" didn't tend to go down well]. Anyway, one of my smug married friends decided that some match-making was required, and against my better judgement I agreed to a blind date. Turned up, we seemed to be getting on well enough, though without any particular spark, until we got onto the topic of names. You know mine, and hers was unusual as well, so we were having the discussion about how careful you need to be before saddling a child with a dodgy name. I was looking away for a second, and heard "So what shall we call ours?" Since we had only met a couple of hours before, I didn't think it unreasonable to assume she was joking, so I said "I've always wanted two boys called Genghis and Atilla; I think Genghis Morton has a certain pizzazz...". Then I looked up. She wasn't joking. The Bernard Hermann "Psycho" strings chords started echoing in my head. I couldn't get out of the place fast enough...
  6. Lashings have stayed pretty much the same design for years, as far as I know- certainly ever since they introduced nylon ones in ?1960s?
  7. I have reached the stage with Ark Royal where there is a lot of sitting around waiting for layers of paint to dry fully, so it's high time (as Fritag and others have reminded me...) that I return to the world of flying machines. So here we are: Airfoil 1/48 Vixen, with Ally Cat resin conversion to FAW1, Quickboost small intakes, Heritage seamless big intake, Eduard PE and a donation from Madmusky, a fellow Britmodeller, of 4 Firestreaks which he didn't need for a Lightning build. Those of you who are familiar with this kit will see that I have already taken the plunge and cut the top half of the original cockpit off, ready for its resin replacement. (Original visible far top left, and the replacement on the right of the lamp.) This to be built as an aircraft that my next door neighbour flew as a Sub Lieutenant first tourist on 890NAS in the early 60s, and to be given to him for his 75th birthday later this year. Besides, I think the Mark 1 Vixen was a superb-looking aircraft, even if the Red Tops and extra fuel made the Mark 2 a more potent machine in real life; it just looks so much better without the sticky-out bits on top of the wing. I haven't quite decided how to pose it yet, but the current favourite is just catching an arrester wire, with everything dangling / hanging out. This will be the first time I have painted a figure in around 40 years, and that's the bit that is currently giving me the most worry! Welcome aboard; stand clear of intakes, jet pipes and exhausts - start the Vixen.
  8. Flooded flash or not, that is a thing of considerable beauty. You are tempting me greatly to acquire one in my preferred scale (which means ancient Fujimi... probably needs about as much work as you have done). Stunning, and a joy to follow.
  9. No, but you are now the third person who has recommended it in the space of a week, so I definitely plan to acquire a copy. Otherwise, top seats and very higher quality beaver research (a dangerous Google phrase, I imagine). I have every confidence in the eventual outcome.
  10. Where's Ced when you need him?
  11. Completely up to you; the flight would fit & remove weapons carriers all the time for all sorts of reasons (not a big job), so your sublime wee Wasp would be equally realistic either way. It really is a thing of beauty (the model, that is; only a Waspie could love the aircraft purely for its looks!)
  12. Great seats. I am not a riveter for hire; it's hard enough covering my own models with endless tiny silver bumps, let alone taling responsibility for someone else's masterpiece!
  13. It's one of those tools that spends a high proportion of its time sitting in a drawer - but is completely invaluable when you cone to need it. It's an Albion Alloys thing called something like "cut to lengty measuring tool", or similar. I was lucky enough to inherit it from my neighbour (he of Vixen fame), and its sole purpose is cutting sections of tube / rod that are exactly the same length - vital if you're building any kind of structure from it. [Yes, I have heard of rulers, but this is a whole heap easier, especially when you're dealing with really thin stuff that us hard to measure accurately]. I have only ever seen one other in the flesh - at a show, when the price quoted was utterly eye-watering, so had Sandy not given it to me I doubt I'd have it. And this is its first outing since Ark Royal soldered aerial days. But I'm very glad I do!
  14. More experimentation, but this time I think I have the way ahead identified, even if I foresee a fair amount of practice in my near future... The Connecto has arrived, so I set about seeing if I could create the T-joints that I gave up as too small when attempting to make them from scratch with tube and solder. It isn't easy, and it has taken me some trial and error, but... What are you looking at here? The Connecto piece is T-shaped (it came as a cross, but it is thin PE so very easy to trim a leg away) and inside the tubes; the only exposed bit of Connecto in this photo is the thinnest bit which is sticking straight up. The rest is three sections of 0.2mm I.D. tube - one section, on the left, pre-bent (to see whether bending distorts the tube so it becomes un-usable... which it doesn't), the section to the right straight (held in the jaws) and the very short third section sticking straight up. I think this could be made to work. The tube is certainly thicker than the rod I used last week, but I don't think it's so fat as to look silly. Thoughts? Crisp
  15. Never in doubt! Great stuff, Fozzy
  16. Fabulous. Can't wait to see it under some paint
  17. You won't find her in RFI yet... because I haven't put her up there yet. I am waiting for my proper (SLR) camera to come back from the menders so I can take some decent photographs of her. Could be a couple more weeks. But thanks for your kind words anyway!
  18. How on earth had I missed this build until now? As Bill says, I have learned more in two pages of your work than in some complete builds. Great stuff!
  19. I don't know how much you want to go mad on accuracy, but you might want to keep in mind that the HAR3 is like the HC4 in that the pressure refuelling point is just behind the main door, as opposed to underneath it. I think that's what those two circles are trying to represent (though even the Mk.1, 2, 5, 6 & 7 only had one circle not two). RAF Sea Kings are not my bag, so I have no photos - but Google Sea King HAR3 and you'll see what I mean.
  20. Just to confirm what @stever219 said re floor colour; the green waterproof thing is called a "sea tray", and without it you'd have all sorts of fun as water leaked into the boat hull - which contains the fuel system and some of the electrics.
  21. See PM. Operation MartianFloatingRoc could yet be on!
  22. I certainly wouldn't waste any more effort on detailing the interior, judging by how little you can see around the guys posing in the door. It looks busy and there is clearly something there - that's enough. Is this the old or new Airfix kit?