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cherisy

Blackburn Shark 755 Sqn FAA 1939/40

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Hi, Im currently working on the old Frog Blackburn Shark and intend to finish it in the colours of 755 Sqn FAA at Worthy Down 1939/1940. Apart from a couple of profile drawings online there seems to be little or no info. Im torn between the pre war colours and the Temperate sea scheme. Can anyone help?

 

Thanks in advance

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There's a photo of Sharks of 755 Sq in the recent  The Squadrons and Units of the Fleet Air Arm, published by Air Britain and credited to Theo Ballance, with Lee Howard and Ray Sturtivant.  The photo shows camouflaged aircraft, low demarcation with no visible pattern, and is dated to 1941.  The nearest aircraft is L2343, wearing early war roundels and fin flash, but no visible code.  Apparently L2359 was F, suggesting that this code was carried aft of the roundel, an area which is not visible in the photo

Edited by Graham Boak

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Ah thats helpful. Ive only got the older version of the book that only shows a 755 sqn Seamew. At least that confirms a wings aviation profile ( I am always dubiousof those with a back up photo) 

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I have a copy of Fleet Air Arm Camouflage And Markings: Atlantic and Mediterranean Theatres 1937-1941 - Stuart Lloyd.  

 

My first guess would be shadow shaded SE1(I always get that wrong) Sky grey undersides EDSG/DSG uppers with lower mainplane shadow shaded Light Slate Grey/ Dark Sea Grey.  But I'll take a look later.

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11 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Apparently L2359 was F

There is a photo of L2359 in the first edition of "The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm". This aircraft also has low demarcation camouflage and no visible pattern, but roundels and fin flash are the later C/C1 type (narrow yellow and white). A large code 'F' is carried in white on the engine cowling (like in 755 Sqn. Lysanders), standard 4-inch 'ROYAL NAVY' legend and serial appear to be just behind the fuselage roundel.

Although captioned as a Mk.II, L2359 is clearly a Mk.III (with enclosed cockpits), so you may need to find a greenhouse and a three-blade prop for your model.

 

No idea about the colour scheme, but land camouflage (dark earth/dark green) is also possible for a second-line FAA aircraft.

L2359 was converted to target tug in 1939 and served with No. 2 AACU before going to 755 Sqn. It is tempting to think of colourful yellow-black TT stripes for a model, unfortunately undersides are not visible in the photo. 

 

HTH

Claudio

 

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Great stuff thanks guys. The Three bladed prop wouldnt be a problem but the greenhouse is. I heard somewhere that the Pavla Dinah may be a good match but im not paying Hannants postage for a £1.60 item!

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3 hours ago, ClaudioN said:

There is a photo of L2359 in the first edition of "The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm". This aircraft also has low demarcation camouflage and no visible pattern, but roundels and fin flash are the later C/C1 type (narrow yellow and white). A large code 'F' is carried in white on the engine cowling (like in 755 Sqn. Lysanders), standard 4-inch 'ROYAL NAVY' legend and serial appear to be just behind the fuselage roundel.

Although captioned as a Mk.II, L2359 is clearly a Mk.III (with enclosed cockpits), so you may need to find a greenhouse and a three-blade prop for your model.

 

No idea about the colour scheme, but land camouflage (dark earth/dark green) is also possible for a second-line FAA aircraft.

L2359 was converted to target tug in 1939 and served with No. 2 AACU before going to 755 Sqn. It is tempting to think of colourful yellow-black TT stripes for a model, unfortunately undersides are not visible in the photo. 

 

HTH

Claudio

 

Think some pattern is visible on lower wing and on forward fuselage (visible between interplane struts).  Must admit that it never entered my head that this aircraft, as a land-based trainer not expected to go to sea, was not in dark earth/dark green/yellow.

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The photo of L2343 in FAA Squadrons 3rd edition is also captioned as a Mk.II but has the canopy of a Mk.III, a three-blade prop and a long exhaust.  There are no signs of TT stripes underneath.  So I looked in Air Britain's RAF serials Lxxxx to discover that all Shark orders were for Mk.IIs.  This was immediately contradicted by Sturtivant's FFA A/c of WW2, where the final two orders (including all Lxxxx Sharks) were Mk.IIIs.  This is backed by the account in the older Putnam Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 by A J Jackson.  Sturtivant also says that L2343 was converted into a target tug, but there are no obvious mods in the photo.  L2359 is recorded as being beyond repair at the makers in December 1940, yet as F with 755 Sq 4-42 to 4-43, and possibly as W6.MM at Staverton September 1943!

 

in modelling terms it doesn't matter - it has a canopy therefore it is a Mk.III.  The canopy does look from the side very much like that of a Harvard, but the two are independent and it would be interesting to know whether the sectional shape was different or a Harvard/Texan canopy will serve - I suspect several have already!

 

I agree that DG/DE has been considered normal for permanently land-based aircraft of the FAA, not just trainers, at least in the early war years.  In later years TSS appears universal.

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7 hours ago, cherisy said:

The Three bladed prop wouldnt be a problem but the greenhouse is.

Many years ago in mine RCAF Shark mk III I did greenhouse from some 11 (AFAIR) small parts glued together...

But now I will try to find some ready-made stuff like for example a plastic cover of a drill package - like that

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania drill 6 mm

Only windscreen is to be added...

Regards

J-W

 

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There is this photo showing what is said to be a Dark Green and Dark Earth scheme with Trainer Yellow undersides,.....but I`d love it to be S1E!

Image result for blackburn shark

 

 

Image result for blackburn shark

 

I wish that somebody did a conversion for the Mk.III as I`d build a few,......including this colourful RCAF target tug,...from the excellent Aviaology book Avia Dossier 1- Canadian Aircraft of WW2 ;

Image result for blackburn shark

Related image

Image result for blackburn shark

aviadossier1reviewbf_1.jpg

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17 minutes ago, JWM said:

Many years ago in mine RCAF Shark mk III I did greenhouse from some 11 (AFAIR) small parts glued together...

But now I will try to find some ready-made stuff like for example a plastic cover of a drill package - like that

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania drill 6 mm

Only windscreen is to be added...

Regards

J-W

I had seen that post. Great work. I happen to have the Matchbox Wellesley in the stash ( for the prop). I was going to take the jump and get the Pavala KI30 Anne cockpit but looking at this seems a cracking idea

 

17 minutes ago, JWM said:

 

 

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Cannot comment further on the Shark colours, but as I have just recently completed this model, I can pass on my observations.

 

My model was a Russian re-pop, with Frog decals (in surprisingly good condition). Flash was  pronounced, and required care in removal. After prep, the parts were in fair condition, with the exception of the struts, which tended to be warped (curved).

Engine is no more that a flat plate with a some lines on it. I substituted a discarded engine from a Frog/Academy Wildcat (14 cylinder P&W).

Assembly went together well, until time to assemble the upper wing and the rest of the airframe. Because it has Warren Truss struts, it is not possible to block the assembly between the wings to provide alignment. Additionally, the struts did not seem to be of the correct length, with indefinite location holes in the wings. Consequently, the final assembly was really inaccurate, with the upper wing exhibiting a negative angle of attack.

At this point, quite dismayed, I removed the upper wing. Both upper and lower were dissasembled into inner and outer parts, and reassembled as a folded wing model to hide the wing problem.

I have since read on-line of others having this problem, so it may not be exclusively my fault.

To avoid repeating my mistake and to assemble in flight mode, I would attempt to start joining the upper wing to the fuselage at the carbane struts, ensuring parallelism of upper and lower wing. It may be necessary to fabricate ALL the struts afresh, as the model parts are a bit dodgy.

It results in a rather nice model, despite my problems, and if the wing configuration can be solved, a unique addition to an FAA collection. I, too, would like to find a canopy (plus alternate engine, cowling, prop) to do an RCAF version. Maybe someone will manufacture resin and vac parts in the near future.

 

Good luck with your build.

KE

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3 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

The photo of L2343 in FAA Squadrons 3rd edition is also captioned as a Mk.II but has the canopy of a Mk.III, a three-blade prop and a long exhaust.  There are no signs of TT stripes underneath.  So I looked in Air Britain's RAF serials Lxxxx to discover that all Shark orders were for Mk.IIs.  This was immediately contradicted by Sturtivant's FFA A/c of WW2, where the final two orders (including all Lxxxx Sharks) were Mk.IIIs.  This is backed by the account in the older Putnam Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 by A J Jackson.  Sturtivant also says that L2343 was converted into a target tug, but there are no obvious mods in the photo.  L2359 is recorded as being beyond repair at the makers in December 1940, yet as F with 755 Sq 4-42 to 4-43, and possibly as W6.MM at Staverton September 1943!

 

in modelling terms it doesn't matter - it has a canopy therefore it is a Mk.III.  The canopy does look from the side very much like that of a Harvard, but the two are independent and it would be interesting to know whether the sectional shape was different or a Harvard/Texan canopy will serve - I suspect several have already!

Graham,

a few aspects about the Shark Mk. III are unclear to me. Sturtivant book "FAA Aircraft, Units and Ships 1920 to 1939" reports 95 aircraft ordered as Mk. IIIs with Pegasus engine. It seems the FAA eventually decided to retain the Tiger engine (only some Canadian Sharks were fitted with the Pegasus), making the Mk. III just a Shark Mk. II with canopy and three-bladed prop.

 

Some Sharks from the first batch of 45 Mk. IIIs (K8891 to K8935) are recorded as serving aboard carriers. I've never seen a photo of a carrier-based Shark with a canopy. Sturtivant notes Mk. III L2349 went to 820 Sqn. on Courageous for "trials with canopy" on 25 July 1938. Could it mean the canopy was a retrofit?

 

K8518, a Mk. II, actually had the closed canopy as seen in this Flight photo. It was back with Blackburn at Brough between 1937 and 1938, possibly for conversion/fitting canopy? Should it be called a Mk. III from then on?

From Sturtivant book, L2343 was returned to Brough on January 5th, 1938 for conversion to IIITT and is reported back at Gosport in June 1938. L2359 also went to Brough for conversion to IIITT, on November 24th, 1938 and work was quickly completed on January 3rd, 1939, which may suggest a rather simple conversion.

 

This photo, also from 'Flight', shows two Sharks with the same white code letter 'F', which raises the question what kind of code 'F' actually was.

A drawing of the canopy can be found in Flight magazine, 1936.

 

Claudio

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Just remember that if you want to fit a 3-blader on your Shark, you'll need to replace the engine and cowling, too. Any Swordfish kit would work for that but you would need to source a proper prop, as the Pegasus Shark didn't use the fixed-pitch Fairey-Reed.

I have this book which gives a lot of info on the RCAF Sharks.

 

 

Sha 001

 

I have some drawings that might be of use.

 

Blackburn%20Shark%205

 

Blackburn%20Shark%203

 

SharkY

 

 

 

The different prop.

 

Sharkzzz

 

 

 

Chris

Edited by dogsbody
Can't spell

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2 hours ago, ClaudioN said:

This photo, also from 'Flight', shows two Sharks with the same white code letter 'F', which raises the question what kind of code 'F' actually was.

It's a case of a code repeated within the same unit, for whatever reason and for however long it lasted.  (NB the photo was taken at a royal visit and associated photo-shoot so maybe every available airframe, whether or not currently serviceable, was wheeled out for the cameras.)  Anyway, there is a photo on p.30 of edition 71 (May 2013) of Jabberwock (magazine of the Friends of the Fleet Air Arm Museum) which shows one or the other of these 753 Sq aircraft (I think the one in the foreground but that's from memory) with code F on the cowling and code W4G on the underside of the port wing.  Serial not visible.

 

Some very useful links in your post: thank you.   As regards the canopy, from conversions I've seen on here and at shows, I think that some of the suggestions (eg Harvard) might be of the right shape and even section but could turn out too big.

 

The struts on my 2 Frog Sharks would have given a Cadbury's Curly Whirly a run for its money: enough to send them back into their boxes. 

 

I trust the Shark fans on this thread will join my campaign to have a new-tool Blackburn Shark TT.III added to the Airfix 2019 programme.  Come to think of it, it's perhaps surprising that one of the Czech companies (are you listening @Jan Polc ?)  hasn't got round to it yet: all manner of obscure Spanish Civil War types seem to have been kitted.

Edited by Seahawk

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W4 was the code for 753 Sq: W6 was the code for 755 Sq.  Therefore F/W4G was 753 Sq - the other F may have been a W6x aircraft.  Or the F was on the nose for another reason altogether.  According to Sturtivant K8913 was W4G - or possibly just one of them.  He has a lot of codes for 753 Sq aircraft, I haven't checked them all.

 

According to Jackson, the Mk.III began with the Pegasus-engined K4882, first delivered with an open cockpit but later returned to Brough for a glazed canopy.  Why the Tiger engine was retained for the last 95 aircraft is not discussed, but they are referred to as Mk.III.  Jackson was presumably working from Blackburn records.  Yet Air Britain, working from RAF records, describes them as Mk.IIs.  Assuming both are correct (unwise?) this either suggests that the designation Mk.III was applied after the transfer to the Admiralty (i.e. the return of the FAA to RN control) or that it was never an official designation but rather a practical one.  Rather like the Spitfire Mk.IXB was never an official designation but everyone knew what it meant at the time.  Until the time when someone comes up with a photo of one of these 95 with a 2-blade prop and an open canopy, I think it safe to continue calling them Mk.IIIs.  Incidentally, the earlier MK.IIs were to Specification 15/35 whereas the Mk.IIIs were to S.12/36.  It might be worth digging those out.

 

Re Target Tugs.  Jackson says that more than 20 Mk.II and Mk.II were returned to Blackburn for conversion, with the earlier machines being brought up to the Mk.III standard.  The fit included the D type wind-driven rewinding gear on the port side of the rear cockpit controlling a drum carrying several hundred feet of wire cable for towing sleeve targets.  Attachment brackets were also bolted to the top centre section for carrying the standard 16ft glider targets.  (Was this the target that FROG was making during the war?  It seems appropriate...)  Sturtivant has  K8518 as W4F with 753 Sq and it later served with 755 Sq., but it is not among the 22 conversions listed by Jackson.

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5 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

W4 was the code for 753 Sq: W6 was the code for 755 Sq.  

Thank you: corrected. 

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From Air Britain's The British Aircraft'Specifications File":  The Mk.IIs were to M.13.35; the last batch to S.19/36.  This was raised on 16.6.36 to cover the production of the Shark III, but amended on 7.7.26 to Mk.II.  Despite this records continued to list these aircraft as Mk.IIIs.  So perhaps this is when the intended engine was changed from the Pegasus to the Tiger. 

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23 hours ago, Seahawk said:

I trust the Shark fans on this thread will join my campaign to have a new-tool Blackburn Shark TT.III added to the Airfix 2019 programme.  Come to think of it, it's perhaps surprising that one of the Czech companies (are you listening @Jan Polc ?)  hasn't got round to it yet

Well I will add it to the Airfix 2021-2 thread when it starts on Rumourmonger.

We need an All the Questions about Blackburn Sharks thread............

As an aide-memoire here are some useful articles...... I have a couple of Frog kits waiting to be done.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234988960-wartime-shark/

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234987862-modelcraftfrog-blackburn-shark-finished/

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234989334-modelcraftfrog-172-blackburn-shark-with-folded-wings/

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/50677-help-modelling-172-blackburn-shark-ii/

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234915076-blackburn-sharks-in-malaya/

http://s15.zetaboards.com/72nd_Aircraft/topic/812078/1/

 

If someone felt like making a master canopy male mould, organising some high quality canopies is possible.

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7 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

According to Jackson, the Mk.III began with the Pegasus-engined K4882, first delivered with an open cockpit but later returned to Brough for a glazed canopy.

 

6 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

From Air Britain's The British Aircraft'Specifications File":  The Mk.IIs were to M.13.35; the last batch to S.19/36.  This was raised on 16.6.36 to cover the production of the Shark III, but amended on 7.7.26 to Mk.II.  Despite this records continued to list these aircraft as Mk.IIIs.  So perhaps this is when the intended engine was changed from the Pegasus to the Tiger. 

Graham,

 

thank you for the information. K4882 was one of the first three pre-production Mk. IIs. It was demonstrated at Hendon in 1936 with the Pegasus and closed canopy, Flight magazine typically emphasizing significantly improved performance. Interestingly, in his books Sturtivant reports the same engine for the Shark Mk. III and the Swordfish but, whereas in the latter the Pegasus III.M is rated at 690 h.p., power for the Shark Pegasus is given as 760 h.p. Was it really the same engine?

Sturtivant also mentions S.19/36 for the last 95 Sharks and the date of the amendment implies a very quick change of mind. One thought... Around that time, Blackburn had to accept the Perseus in lieu of the Mercury on the Skua. Maybe engine production, availability and allocation to different types had a part in this.

 

Claudio

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9 hours ago, Seahawk said:

It's a case of a code repeated within the same unit, for whatever reason and for however long it lasted.  (NB the photo was taken at a royal visit and associated photo-shoot so maybe every available airframe, whether or not currently serviceable, was wheeled out for the cameras.)  Anyway, there is a photo on p.30 of edition 71 (May 2013) of Jabberwock (magazine of the Friends of the Fleet Air Arm Museum) which shows one or the other of these 753 Sq aircraft (I think the one in the foreground but that's from memory) with code F on the cowling and code W4G on the underside of the port wing.  Serial not visible.

Never looked at the wing underside in the Flight photo!

'W4' is well visible. The individual letter, unfortunately, not.

 

Claudio

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Seahawk - yes, I am listening of course... :-)

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Re-reading Jackson, it seems that the Shark II was offered with either the 760hp Tiger VI or the 840hp Pegasus IX.  The trials aircraft for the Pegasus fit was the third of the three pre-production examples, K8882.  So it seems that the rejection of the Pegasus dates from Mk.II days not Mk.III.

 

Whilst engine production etc may well have played some part in that rejection, in that case it is difficult to see why the engines were available for the Canadian examples.  I suspect a preference for compatibility with the Sharks already in service.

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