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detail is everything

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  • Birthday 05/29/1966

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  1. So it seems to me that everyone refers to "Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete" as the bible when identifying the three aircraft in Crete, when the photographic evidence is chucking up inconsistencies with the accepted serials of AS419, AS420, and AX814. I think the identity of the three aircraft concerned is far from settled. As @Seahawk says ' I can't in all conscience say that's what I see, even knowing it's what I should see.'
  2. Dang! I keep looking at the picture of 7Y in Tony's post above and I keep seeing a serial starting AX5, not AX8. Am I going billy bonkers? Were serials in the range of AX501 - AX599 assigned to any British aircraft? Simon
  3. I would agree with @Ed Russell that if Crosley said they were light grey and fitted with arrester hooks, they were, given the timing and Mediterranean origin of Eagle, almost certainly Martlet IIIs. The Belgium B-339Bs were de-navalized and had no arrestor hook and, given the way F4F arrester hooks are almost entirely retracted within the fuselage, he must have had a good look at the aircraft concerned to see if the arrester hook was fitted. If they were light grey Buffalos fitted with an arrester hook they would firstly have had to have had their de-navalized rear fuselages modified to accept and withstand the stresses of a borrowed arrester hook assembly (not borne out by admittedly few and poor quality photos of a Buffalo on Eagle's deck for trials) and secondly, the light grey colour could conceivably be sun bleached TSS.
  4. I've considered this subject and studied photographs of FAA Buffalos further, Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown's account of flying a B-339B Buffalo at RNAS Yeovilton in early 1941:- "These aircraft had been stripped of all specialist naval equipment and ferried from Canada to Britain aboard HMS Furious. They arrived in July 1940 and were assembled and repainted at Burtonwood." My view is that they were painted in TSS rather than TLS on arrival in the UK. There are good photos of ASXXX range aircraft in the UK. Nearly all have the same paint finish with the spinner in one of the topside colours, rather than the usual DFS black or sky. On page 2 of Profile 217 on the Buffalo AS426, can be seen at what I believe to be a snowy RNAS Arbroath, lined up with other newly acquired American types including Martlet I AX828, itself repainted from its US delivery scheme in what was either the by then long superseded S.1.E scheme or more likely an unusual TSS with a high demarcation line also seen on some early 880 NAS Sea Hurricane Mk.1as when also based at RNAS Arbroath. Any way, the tonal values between the Martlet and Buffalo seem the same and what convinces me is the spinner colour. Another possibility is that they are in TLS with red spinners, ready to go direct to North Africa, but I think this is unlikely. There is also a picture on the internet (though annoyingly I can't find it now, it was someone's published war time photo album linked to in a topic covering from when the chap was training to Buffalos on to Martlets and onwards south out of the desert war) of an 805NAS Buffalo AX820 next to a Sea Gladiator in Egypt and assuming the latter was still in TSS, the tonal values are also comparable. Early high demarcation Sea Hurricane Ia camouflage is another topic of debate, but 880NAS flew a few Martlet Is (including AX824) whilst waiting for their Hurricanes (see p69 Osprey Wildcat Aces of WWWII and P45/51/52 RN Aces of WW2) and it seems no coincidence that it is these Arbroath Martlet Is which are photographed wearing this unusual scheme as well as their first Sea Hurricanes. So was this particular to 880NAS/Arbroath?
  5. My thoughts on the matter are that where aircraft have the original 8" serial number, probably the camouflage scheme they were delivered to the squadron in, where they have the 4" ROYAL NAVY and serial below, possibly TSS as would suggest a re-paint in an FAA maintenance unit. Just an assumption on my part....
  6. Looking at the contemporaneous photographic evidence shown above and other articles referred to, I'm sill inclined to go with the early clear doped fabric with light yellow engine surfaces and forward fuselage painted in light yellow, scheme (perhaps an anglicised version). The line where the forward fuselage is painted in light yellow on B3534 is just further forward than the usual French rear of the cockpit line (reflecting other examples of British machines with the same engine and cockpit panels painted a colour). Also a photo of A6682 in the Profile article in SAM magazine written by Jan, clearly shows a white edge to the roundel. But it is all a matter of interpretation and Jan and Berman could be right with say Battleship Grey engine and cockpit panels (hence further forward paint line) and field applied grey dope. Just seems unlikely that's all.
  7. Scale Aircraft Modelling June 2021 did an aircraft in profile on the SPAD S.VII and S.XIII, including plans and colour profiles. Including various RFC machines, including B3534. No photo of B3534. Even if there was a photo, it would be a matter of interpretation unless there is documentary evidence that the colours are what they are purported to be. Windsock Datafile No. 8 on the SPAD S.VII has a section on colours and Markings by Ray Rimmel and J Guttman. Some machines were imported from French manufacturers and some were built in Britain. So French finishes didn't always apply. Initial deliveries consisted of clear doped fabric with light yellow engine surfaces and forward fuselage painted in light yellow. Later it is suggested aluminium powder was added to a yellow pigment resulting in a solid opaque colour ranging from rich egg yoke to near beige or buff to a whitish yellow depending on age and weathering. It includes a section on British colours. It doesn't mention the use of light grey but says 'No. 23 Sqdn also had several colourful schemes - one flight at least paining red and white stripes around the radiator cowling. Again, no photo of B3534. What is obvious is that the yellow scheme shows a distinct difference in shade between the forward fuselage and the rest of the fuselage, whilst there appears to be no such distinction between forward and rear fuselage on B3534. Perhaps the British machine was painted in a similar finish to Nieuports or all-over Battleship Grey (could it be used on fabric surfaces?)
  8. The following are my notes on the subject. They are taken from other discussions such as My apologies for the plagiarism. Determining if a Harrier was a GR.7 or a GR.9 could be very tricky without some obvious clues (e.g. the “GR.9” marking on the tail) or access to reference material from a proven source. The GR.7 to GR.9 changes were mainly internal -avionics and software – and additional weapons capabilities. However, you can narrow down the possibilities. “Frogs Eyes” (fire access points) and “LERX” (Leading Edge Root Extensions) are said to aid in the identification, and they do, up to a point! There have been threads on other forums where it’s been erroneously stated that you can tell by the LERX or frog-eyes, but as I said above, that's no indicator because some 7s and 9s have had identical configurations. The majority of Harrier GR.7s were delivered with "65% LERX" and retained these throughout their upgrade to GR.9s. Part of their upgrade required them to have "Frogs Eyes" fire access points to be added as new wiring blocked the original points in the wing leading edge. This was one external difference to help identify 65% LERX GR.9s from 65% LERX GR7s. However, GR.7s ZG477-ZG480 and ZG500-ZG505 were initially configured with 65% LERX and Frogs Eyes, even though they were designated as GR.7s. At some point these same aircraft were updated to 100% LERX, the only GR7s (outside of a trials aircraft) to have a LERX upgrade. 100% LERX GR.9s are harder to spot from 100% LERX GR.7s; the upgrade was focussed on internal systems changes there was very little to see. LERX The LERX modification is an integral part of the aircraft's flying control system and designed to improve turn and roll rates, though at the expense of additional drag. There was no such thing as a "65% but bigger", Harrier II's had just two styles of LERX, the 65% and the 100%. The phrase "65%" came from the original requirement. The RAF wanted a LERX, the US Marines didn't. Eventually a compromise was reached that all Harrier II's would have a LERX that was 65% of the size of the LERX the RAF wanted. Later, when the US Marines realised they wanted a LERX all along a new one was designed, larger than the original compromise solution, and this was the LERX that has passed into history as the "100%" LERX. Just to be clear. Every production Harrier II had a LERX, and that LERX was either a 65% LERX as from the original compromise design, or a 100% LERX as from the later AV-8B(NA) onwards. Check your airframe. If the LERX looks "scabbed on" and the original wing leading edge is still visible it was a 65%, nothing else. If it's a thicker LERX blending into the leading edge, it's a 100%, nothing else. 65% LERX - These fit low on the wing leading edge, are flat when viewed from ground level, have distinct flanges attaching them to the wing and engine covers and retain the fire access point in the wing root leading edges. When present with frogs eyes, the fire access point is blocked up. 100% LERX - These by comparison have a distinct camber to them when viewed from ground level, have a prominent large flange that fairs them into the engine cover contours, protrude slightly from the front of the top engine cover panel, appear broader and fit high on the wing leading edge, requiring the fire access points to be relocated to the top of the engine covers. A Harrier built with a 65% remains with a 65%, and likewise for a 100%. No aircraft were upgraded to a 100% from a 65% (see exceptions with regard to last 15 GR7s). So you saw GR.7, 7A and 9 with either. It's serial number dependant, not upgrade status. Fire Access Inlets ("frog eyes") Like it says on the tin, the scoops are fire access inlets for the aft engine bay.. The use of 100% LERX, or additional wiring in 65% LERX aircraft, meant these had to be re-located from their original position to the top of the airframe. Where the term “frogs eyes” originated is unknown – clearly it was someone with an active imagination! 65% LERX single seat Harriers upgraded to GR.9 have the frogs eyes fire access points fitted. In a GR.7 with 65% LERX (the flat looking ones) the inlets are flush with the wing root. Batch 3 GR7s were built with the 100% LERX and "Frog Eyes". Wiring changes on the GR7 to GR.9/GR9A IWP system upgrades mean that these were blanked off and replaced with the "frog eye" type inlets found on 100% LERX aircraft. Running through the aircraft in serial batches: Gr.5 ZD318-330, ZD345-355, ZD375-380, ZD400-412, all had 65% LERX. GR.5A ZD430-438, ZD461-470 " were generally similar to the GR.5 but had minor modifications to make them easier to convert to the next mark, the GR.7". All have 65% LERX. All converted to GR.7 before service. Gr. 7 This introduced a night-time operational capability and avionics improvements. Additional avionics included a nose-mounted forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and night vision goggles, an electronic countermeasures suite, new cockpit displays and a replacement moving map system. The GR7 conducted its maiden flight in May 1990 and entered service in August 1990. Following the full delivery of 34 Harrier GR7s in 1991, all of the GR5s underwent avionics upgrades to become GR7s as well. GR.5/GR.5A to GR.7 conversions 58 GR.5s (not ZD321, ZD325, ZD349, ZD350, ZD353, ZD355, ZD412) and GR.5As (all) were upgraded to GR.7 specification. All had 65% LERX. GR.7 new builds ZG471-ZG476, all had 65% LERX. ZG477-ZG480, all had 100% LERX (all retrofitted*); e.g. ZG479/69. ZG500-ZG512, all had 100% LERX. (ZG500-ZG505 retrofitted*) *ZG477-ZG480 and ZG500-ZG505 were initially configured with 65% LERX and Frogs Eyes, even though they were designated as GR7s. At some point these aircraft were updated to 100% LERX, the only GR7s (outside of a trials aircraft) to have a LERX upgrade. ZG530-ZG533, ZG856-862, GR.7, 100% LERX fitted as standard. Technically ZG506/77 was the first 100% LERX a/c, the final 15 off the Dunsfold production line getting this fit as part of MOD-95, T.10 ZH653-665, T.10s, all T.10s had 65% LERX but with the frog-eye fire access points. GR.7 to GR.7A/GR.9/GR.9A conversions See as follows; GR.7A 30? of the surviving 69 GR.7s (some 19 being lost) were subsequently given an interim upgrade to GR7As (new engine only). Re-engined with the 23,800 lb Pegasus Mk 107 (11-61). pending new IWP system upgrades). The GR.7As were an interim upgrade and eventually fully upgraded to GR.9As (new engine and IWP system upgrades). ZD411/40A was last GR.7A in service March 2010. I cannot determine whether any GR.7s were converted directly to GR9A standards. The GR7As were to be the last Harriers to go through to be upgraded to GR9 before the Labour government chopped the project. GR.9 Those GR7s not upgraded to GR7A (39?) were upgraded to GR9 (new IWP system upgrades but old engine- not enough new engines). They had a new mission computer, an inertial navigation/global positioning system, a ground proximity warning system and a new store management system for new weapons, but retained the original 21,750 lb Pegasus Mk 105 (11-21). The Batch three jets (ZG??? serial number) were the first to go through JUMP and came out with a "GR9" sticker on the tail and ZG477 (which is at Cosford) was the first jet to be painted in the MSG scheme and was originally issued to No.800 NAS. When the aircraft went through the JUMP at Cottesmore the "Frog Eyes" were added above the wing and the original leading edge holes for the fire lance were covered up, these leading edge holes were not on the batch three jets due to the 100% LERX. All GR.9 aircraft were capable of using the new engine to become GR.9As and the new engines were fitted to airframes as operational tasking required. GR.9A Has the Mk9 new IWP system upgrades but is re-engined with the new engine Pegasus Mk 107 (11-61). Aircraft with the new higher rated engine were modified to incorporate a new metal, high-fatigue rated, rear fuselage section and some associated systems upgrades. GR.9s/GR.9As had either a 65% or a 100% LERX depending on which GR.7 airframe it was to start with. An aircraft with a 65% was NOT retrofitted with a 100% at this point. T.12/T.12A T10 with GR.9/GR.9A IWP system/engine upgrades Were there T12As? Conclusion Batch One: was built as GR5's with the 65% LERX and had a ZD??? serial number. Batch Two: was built as GR5A with the 65% LERX and has a ZD??? serial number and also had the wiring for the FLIR added. Batch Three: was built has GR7's with the 100% LERX and "Frog Eyes" and has a ZG??? serial number. Batch Four: Were all the T10, T12 and T12A with the 65% LERX and had the ZH??? serial number. Spotting the Difference Both the GR.7 and the GR.9 have three combinations as follows: (i) 65% LERX only; (ii) 65% LERX with Frogs Eyes; (iii) 100% LERX with Frogs Eyes. It should be noted, for the record, that the GR.5 has 65% LERX only, and the T.10 and T.12 are configured with 65% LERX and Frogs Eyes only. (Differentiating between T10 and T12 is tricky – camouflage schemes help, but there’s no real substitute for conversion dates).
  9. I did go through the various post war variants and features in the following topic And WW11 variants in Apologies if there are any errors but explains the main differences
  10. Some other reference sources articles on RNAS markings & camouflage No's. 61-63 AVIATION HISTORY COLOURING BOOK series history of aircraft identity markings pt1 AUG 05 SCALE AVIATION MODELLER INTERNATIONAL history of aircraft identity markings pt2 SEP 05 SCALE AVIATION MODELLER INTERNATIONAL admiralty red ring marking article JAN 80 SCALE AIRCRAFT MODELLING WW1 RNAS camouflage and markings notes p35 BOOK AIRCRAFT CAMOUFLAGE AND MARKINGS 1907-54
  11. As the Stuart Lloyd book says, there are no known photographs of 803NAS between the summer of 1939 and April 1940, So we don't know for sure what their aircraft looked like on the day of the kill (26.9.39). We have the Charles E Brown photos of 803 aircraft sometime shortly after May 1939 when just embarked on Ark Royal wearing the pre-war finish of overall aluminium paint with polished metal spinners, silver fronts to the propeller blades with the rear surfaces painted black. They carried the blue-red-blue carrier band of the Ark's air group with the full letter-number-letter identification code in white (or possibly silver?) over the carrier band. We also have photos of 800NAS aircraft on Ark Royal, taken in December 1939, still in the pre-war aluminium finish whilst hunting for the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. They didn't carry the carrier band, but carried wingtip section markings. At this time, the port wing under-surface was painted black, obliterating the under-wing roundel on that side. They didn't carry the full letter-number-letter identification code but had single letter aircraft identifier on the fin (I assume because it was the only Skua squadron on board?). Not sure where 803 NAS were at this time. So at the time of the first kill it is presumed the 803NAS aircraft were still in the pre-war aluminium finish but that the blue-red-blue carrier band would have been removed. It is not know whether they continued to carry the full letter-number-letter identification code (presumably in black?) on the fuselage or followed 800NAS' suit and used a single letter aircraft identifier on the fin. However, if both squadrons were on the Ark at the time, you would think the squadrons would be marked differently to tell them, apart, possibly a number-letter identification code. This is of course all conjecture. Any further thoughts or corrections? Simon
  12. May I point you in the direction of Matthew Willis' book on the Blackburn Shark (http://mmpbooks.com/shop2/blackburn-shark.html). A great reference source
  13. I hope the Grumman Tarpon Mk.1 kit has the FAA observers station behind the pilot
  14. Quick question regarding the T20 variant, their tail wheels and canopies. Were all T20s built with fixed tail wheels and the tripod periscope arrangement mounted between the cockpits? Looking at Navy Wing's VX281 (the second of 60 Sea Fury T.20 aircraft built as weapon trainers for the Fleet Air Arm) as now flown, It certainly does not look a standard T20 with it having a retractable tail wheel, no tripod periscope arrangement and what seem to be more streamlined canopies (though that might be an illusion). Were these modifications applied to any T20s whilst in FAA service or is this an export modification? The Navy Wings blurb says "not being intended for carrier operations the arrester hook was deleted, as was the retractable tailwheel unit – presumably the removal of the associated hydraulic jacks and piping going some way to help redress the centre of gravity issue caused by adding the second cockpit." I'm assuming those T20s seen with retractable tail wheels are mainly flown as single seaters and the rearwards travel of the CoG is therefore not an issue? I do yearn for an authentic T20 as per the old RNHF WG655. I can see that VX281 is partly used as a substitute for F10 VR930, and is accordingly painted in the markings of an F10 single-seat aircraft and is not meant to be an authentic T20. Still I would hope it would eventually be restored back to it's original FAA configuration, though in the great scheme of things, this will be at the bottom of the Navy Wings funding priorities pile! Simon
  15. May I also recommend 'Nieuports in RNAS, RFC and RAF service' from Cross & Cockade (https://www.crossandcockade.com/store/shopdisplayproducts.asp?cat=51&whatisit=Books+published+by+CCI). It has a side line drawing and colour profile. No three view. The 'French Aircraft of the First World War' is published by Flying Machines Press (https://www.largescaleplanes.com/reference/details.php?title=5281) and is a definitive work on the subject, but expensive. Regards
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