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Everything posted by Ex-FAAWAFU

  1. Time I picked this up again (as several of you have hinted in not entirely subtle ways of late...) It's been 6 months since I last did anything to this model, so some of you might not even be aware of it. If so, I hope you have some spare time, because if you are really interested you have a mere 103 pages of build log to get through... "Fill yer boots" as they say in the Navy. The original build has already walked through: a. the back story (I ditched this aircraft in July 1988, flying from Ark Royal just outside the mouth of the Med); b. the planned configuration of the eventual model (RAF Blue Grey paint job, folded tail, folded rotors, engine blanks, lashed down); c. lots of banter with the much-missed Debs (@Ascoteer) about Cold War ASW; d. some basic explanations of rotary-wing aerodynamics (and push-back against the inexplicable myth that Plank-Wing things that go whoosh are more attractive than Useful Aircraft); e. droop stops, what they are for and how to build them from brass; f. a great deal of discussion of rivets; whether to add them to Hasegawa's entirely smooth fuselage, and if so how. The short answers for those who want to skip the 103 pages is "yes" (because the Seaking has a pretty bumpy skin) and "using HGW rivets". HGW rivets are absolutely superb but be warned; they are not easy to use. I ended up doing them badly once, stripping them off and doing them better the second time - after having to visit Yeovilton and produce my own drawings (Fearless wasn't the first!) to work out where to put them. g. the difference between Sikorsky seats and Westland ones; h. weird Seaking details like the collector cans, pee tube, sonar snub ring & sonobuoy chutes; i. in-flight refuelling from ships (HIFR); j. a minor diversion into restoring an earlier damaged Gazelle model; k. discussions of SACRUs, "Coke cans" and other such load-lifting goodies; l. correcting Revell's Sea Searcher radome (which happily Hasegawa got right); m. the relative merits of masks vs decals/transfers/stickers (& how excellent Maketar Masks are); n. building a tail rotor gust lock & what it was for; o. me being persuaded into adding sliding pilot's windows & other such mad details; p. the joys of a proper micro-chisel in embedding PE convincingly; q. embarrassing accidents involving Seakings landing on top of Sea Harriers; r. the right recipe for RAF Blue Grey paint in Gunze Sanyo lacquers; s. the superb-itude [which isn't a real word, but should be] of the FlightPath 1/48 Seaking conversion set; t. custom-build apparatus for extracting windows which the ham-fisted modeller has shoved into an already sealed fuselage; u. red & yellow engine blanks and how to build them; v. just how sexy a Seaking looks in all black; w. nylon & chain lashings on RN flight decks; x. a second diversion, this time in building a flight deck tractor to tow my aircraft; y. oil dot fading; and z. John Beattie ditching the RNHF Sea Fury... Just to remind you and/or give you a clue about where I'd got to: The tail pylon, Barn Door and tail rotor (complete with gust lock) - plus the beginnings of some weapon stations: Engine blanks! The exquisite FlightPath rescue hoist: A Flight Deck tractor: The rotor head (very much still a work in progress): ...and the aircraft itself (this one wasn't taken today, because it shows the cab before I re-applied masks to the windscreen)... and before I knocked the tail wheel off for the umpteenth time! As she looks today (glossy in preparation for further oil dot fading etc: Still to do? Three main things, all quite complicated: 1. the rotor head (specifically, the snakes' wedding of hydraulic pipes and wires around the blade fold); 2. the weapons stations and associated wiring; 3. the Forth Road Bridge gear ...plus putting it all together. I have just had 6 months away from it, but even before that it had taken me well over a year. Take your seats, Ladeez 'n' Gennelmeeen More soon Crisp
  2. The line is the leading edge protective strip. Which is neither colour. Let. It. Go.
  3. Equally, if at some point they were going to the trouble of changing the finish of the blades, why would they change 90% of the blade... but leave the sling bands as they were before? Without finding some definite paint / finish directive, we’re never going to agree on this, are we? [And as we’ve already both said, staining and general weathering combined with “paint what you see” make it pretty academic anyway, unless you’re modelling a factory fresh aircraft]. The MoD never spends money for the sake of it. There is absolutely no advantage in changing the colour (of the blades, that is, not the aircraft itself. So why would they do it? [So, those black bands on the 771 blades; what’s that about? Exit left, ducking & weaving]
  4. I am with Bill, too; paint what you see. My final word on the colour conundrum is this... the hulls of these two ships (HMS Queen Elizabeth & RFA Tidespring, a few weeks ago) are painted the same colour, but only on a tiny bit of the lower bow would you believe so with the naked eye: P.S. No modelling today because interview in London; cross your fingers, boys & girls!
  5. I really didn't want to get into a prolonged discussion about this - but I am extremely dubious about this photo! [For reasons that i'll try to explain]. If nothing else, this discussion readily illustrates a fact that all modellers already know; colour is a problem! It's a problem even with modern photography - differences of light, processing, white balance, post-production "enhancement" etc (and that's before you go anywhere near personal perception). But the era I am modelling is 30 years ago, when digital photography for private individuals was unheard of (the first digital camera I ever saw was in the early 90s when a RN Phot man used it in intelligence gathering from the back of an 819 Seaking of mine. The camera alone cost many thousands). So you now have to factor in the fact that the colour shots from 1988 that we find on the interwebs have arrived via scans of film (or more likely of prints), thus building all sorts of additional variables. So I am trying to go back to first principles, to remove as many of those variables as possible - and this is where we get to why I am dubious about the photo above. THE Bible for FAA rotary wing is "Fleet Air Arm Helicopters Since 1943" by Lee Howard, Mick Burrow and Eric Myall. Expensive, but superb - and incredibly well researched; if there is a disagreement between the book and, say, a Revell painting guide, the book wins every time for me. This might seem like a digression in a thread about Seakings, but I am going to use one of my own photos of a pair of Lynxes to illustrate the point. The Lynx started off Oxford Blue all over, as we know. Over to the Bible (p344, Camouflage Schemes & Markings): "In late 1982 the Lynx HAS2s began to enter a programme of re-finishing in overall Dark Sea Grey (DSG) BS381C-638), with black codes and red/blue tactical roundels. ... Then, in 1988, the DSG scheme... began to give way to an overall Medium Sea Grey (MSG) (BS381C-637) finish with white codes and titles)". The re-finishing programme took a while. On Broadsword Flight (I was Flight Commander 1989 - 1991) I had a DSG cab with black markings; in 1990 we were augmented to a two-aircraft flight for a few months, while operating off West Africa. We borrowed Gibraltar Flight's cab (and crew), which was MSG with white markings. Here they both are on deck, and the difference is plain to see: The ANTI-SUBMARINE Seaking fleet missed out the DSG stage. "In 1984 the RAF Blue Grey scheme for ASW Seakings began to change to the much lighter MSG with white codes". Clearly the cab in your photo is a Bagger: they DID have a DSG phase: "Despite their ASW counterparts changing to MSG in 1984, the AEW aircraft only began to receive this scheme in 1986, with some still in DSG as late as 1993." This explains this photo, of 3 AEW2s & an HAS6 on board Ark - with the Baggers clearly in 2 different schemes: The pic you posted, however, is nothing like either scheme - it's much too blue and much too dark. I suspect it's been played around with in Photoshop or whatever to "make it look better". Anyway, back to the blades. Look again at the Baggers above. The roots of the blades - where they are stained with exhaust gunk etc, are reasonably DSG-ish (though I reckon considerably paler). But the rest of the blade - i.e. the bit without the staining - isn't anything like as dark as that. And a similar shot (taken in Malta in 1990 after I had left the ship)... do those blades look dark to you? Cos they don't to me. This being 1990, the SHAR is still DSG; I don't think the blades match it. OK, so let's fast forward to a professionally-taken digital photo from 2016. This was taken during the farewell buzz around Scotland by 2 Gannet SAR cabs to mark the end of military SAR. Ignore the yellow blade, but look at 1. the obvious exhaust staining at the root (especially at 2 and 4 o'clock as we look, which suggests these are Nos 3 & 4 blades, which sit in the exhaust gas when folded) and 2. the similarity between the blades and the (undeniably) MSG parts of the aircraft: It is possible that the colour of blade finish was changed at some stage, but I haven't been able to find any evidence of that, and no-one I know recalls it - and I don't see why MoD would bother. Alas, none of the RAF BG shots I have from 1988 really show the blade colour at all. Of course - that would be too easy! I am 100% certain from examining those blades on Saturday that the main colour is the same on both sides. I suspect you disagree, Andy, which is entirely your right. However, what is certain is that the blades got pretty stained and weathered (see above, for instance), so this discussion is pretty academic. Ho hum. More soon Crisp

    Catching Pictures in the Air

    The magnets tend to understate the... uhhh... hugeness of the object. Please tell me that none of the design for this build was performed on the back of a napkin.
  7. So what do you need to know...? Mine are HGW rivets, as discussed at length in Part 1 of the build. Incidentally, if you think this build has been über-anal / über-dedicated (delete depending on point of view), you wait until my next attempt at a Seaking, which will be an 819 NAS SAR cab with full (-ish) interior... as well as another go at the rivets [Not likely to start for a long time!]
  8. You're not joking, Dave. I went to the Museum today (among other places - see below), and this is a photo of their HC4's tail rotor. A LOT chunkier than the TR of most Seakings - from the markings it almost looks as though a conventional SK TR blade has been grafted on to a different leading edge (though surely that can't be the case!): ...and here, FWIW, the same aircraft's Carson blades: The other place I went (and the main purpose of my trip out today) was to the 2nd Historic Helicopters Open Day, near Chard. A bunch of admirably lunatic ex-RAF & FAA types who have acquired a Whirlwind HAR10 (which they have already made airworthy), plus a Wessex HC2, 2 x Wessex HU5s, a Seaking HAR3a and a Seaking HC4... all of which they intend to return to flight in due course. I took zillions of photos, as you can imagine - many of which I will send to Julian for the Walkrounds section. But a little 60s helo porn for you - the Whirly: ...and John Beattie turned up in an ex-South African Wasp (the blur is not dirt on my camera; it's grass from his approach!): Anyway, while I was there I think I have solved the Seaking composite blade colour conundrum for once and for all (at the very least, sufficiently for me to paint my blades!). As I suspected, both @andyf117 and I are half-right. I am right in that both faces of the blade are the same colour, and Andy is right in that the sling marks are different colours top and bottom. This isn't terribly easy to photograph convincingly because of shadows etc - you might have to trust me on this, but to the naked eye the two sides are DEFINITELY the same colour: Top: Bottom: Only partly successful attempt to show top & bottom at the same time (note the blades in the background are from assorted Wessex, just to confuse you a bit more!) You should also note that this rack contains blades from both the HC4 and the HAR3a - they are clearly marked on the roots, and the ones with yellow sling marks (and yellow tips on the upper surface) are from the HAR3a. All of them have yellow tips on the underside. More soon Crisp
  9. HMS Sultan is in Gosport. Despite being on the site of one of the very first military airfields, for a very long time it was the place where “Clankies” / Stokers (i.e. ship’s, not aircraft, engineers) trained. The FAA equivalent trained at HMS Daedalus - RNAS Lee on Solent. When Deadalus closed I assume they moved all engineer training to Sultan - makes perfect sense. For many years - maybe still - the Admiralty Interview Board was at Sultan. It was therefore the first sample of a Naval Establishment for generations of nervous schoolboys. Including me; I did AIB at Sultan in 1975, aged 15
  10. Any more than we Brits all sit around drinking teain front of Royal Weddings. Eh, Silvio? Salvatore? Gian Luca? Or whatever your name is...
  11. Good question. I don’t recall ever seeing a blade like this, but I agree that it certainly looks as though it’s worn through the surface coating. The additional rigging half-way along the blades (supplementing the tip socks) is a new one on me, too. Edit: XZ576 has been a ground instructional airframe since 2002, used to train engineers etc at Gosport. I bet that’s where the photo was taken. Hence no weapon wiring, no carriers, no gust lock, and a very tired looking finish. However, I think this is a photo taken at one of the MoD surplus disposal sites. For that reason I’d be wary of drawing too many inferences from it about blade wear etc. Those blades have not turned in anger in a very long time - they may or may not be serviceable (I’d guess not).
  12. Strange that they get tail rotor blades only from RAF cabs... (Much more likely that they are simply deeply ignorant and think that if it flies it belongs to the Crabs) [€770? I guess the target market doesn’t include riff raff like me!]
  13. OK, you’ve convinced me about the bands. Less so about the blade colour itself. Watch this space. But thanks anyway!
  14. Ooh! Now that had never occurred to me. However, as it happens I am off to the Museum tomorrow, so I will be able to check - the monstrosity that is the bogus half-and-half HAR3/HU5 (which was actually an HAS6) has composite blades. It is by no means too late for me to rework these completely!
  15. No, Giorgio, you’re not - the error is all mine; I deliberately used very thin paint (for reasons that will beome apparent in due course, but essentially to do with weathering - you will have noted the staining on ZE419’s blades in that pic) - probably twice as much thinners as my normal brew. It worked beautifully... but of course thinner paint is more prone to creeping into places you don’t want. my mistake. I’m not fussed; there’s nothing there that can’t be sorted.
  16. As so often, what felt like about an hour's masking for 30 seconds of spraying: Not perfect (especially the further three blades, where there has been some creep), but nothing that cannot be tidied up and made to look respectable: More soon Crisp P.S. If you are wondering why paint rather than transfer... I have black stripes for the blades (as in modern composite blades) and yellow ones (as in metal blades)... but the early composites had a pale grey stripe, and inevitably it's this era I am modelling. Here is ZE419 in 1991 at Fairford, after conversion to HAS6. [I also still have to mask and paint the leading edge metal strip, which is clearly visible in this photo]
  17. I love these inter-War beauties (& those possibly a little less beauteous - this was not Naval aviation’s sleekest era!). There are nothing like enough good quality modern kits of them. I shall watch both avidly - but particularly the Nimrod. (And why wasn’t the 60s MPA called “Nimrod II”, a la A7 Corsair II, F4 Phantom II & F35 Lightning II)?
  18. Ex-FAAWAFU

    Supermarine Stanraer Matchbox 1/72

    TWO concurrent Stranraers? Truly a golden age!
  19. Ex-FAAWAFU

    Catching Pictures in the Air

    Big. Shiny. Aeroplane-y. Me like. A lot. Did I mention that it’s big? Unexpectedly big.
  20. I know precious little about either type, but I’m loving your exemplary work
  21. Exactly; that’s why they are at roughly ⅓ & ⅔ length, so the blades will be balanced when lifted (in a sling/cradle). But the marks are not where the FRB blade supports fit, cos they have an entirely different purpose (and anyway the blades are supported at the root).
  22. Ex-FAAWAFU

    HMS Queen Elizabeth Sea Trials

    Well she was a Steward; hardly the most warlike of branches. I take your point, but it’s not like she joined an infantry regiment.
  23. Ex-FAAWAFU

    Hunter as D-558 in The Right Stuff

    Worth re-reading several other things of his, too - notably “Jousting with SAM and Charlie” (pubpished in his Mauve Gloves & Madmen collection of essays, from memory) - one of the best descriptions of flying from a carrier ever published. A brilliant writer.