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TheBaron

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Everything posted by TheBaron

  1. The night before the humiliations of a previous war were symbolically exorcised in a railway carriage at Compiègne, an Avro Anson took off from RAF Wyton and headed north. The crew of two consisted of a pilot, Flight Lt. (as he then was) H. E. Bufton, and a radio operator Cpl. Dennis Mackie - neither of whom had been briefed as to the true nature of their mission. What these two men achieved in the night sky on June 21st, 1940 (itself a culmination of intelligence efforts on the part of many unheralded individuals) was as critical to the war effort as the mission report was dry and undemonstrative: 'I. There is a narrow beam (approximately 400 to 500 yards wide) passing through a position 1 mile south of Spalding, having dots to the south and dashes to the north, on a bearing of 104O(284OT). 2. The carrier frequency of the transmissions on the night of 21/22 June was 31.5 mc/s, modulatedat 1150 cycles andsimilar to Lorenz characteristics. 3. There is a second beam having similar characteristics but with dots to the north and dashes to the south synchronized with thes outhern beam, apparently passing through a point near Beeston on a bearing lying between 60°+ and less than 104°.' In one of the earliest SIGINT missions, Bufton and Mackie had picked up signals emanating from German Knickebein radio transmitters used to guide Luftwaffe raids on Britain. The story is well known - not least to those of you like myself who can recall first hearing about it in William Woollard's memorable depiction of these events for the BBC-TV series The Secret War back in 1977 - yet the existing historical narrative of this flight remains largely the same one repeated over and over in print and electronic media with the same hackneyed phrases re-arranged. The best background narrative is the original one provided by R. V. Jones in his extraordinary memoir Most Secret War, whilst a good (and accessible!) technical description of the radio principles involved in this and later 'battle of the beams' technology is covered in a detailed series of articles by D. V. Pritchard in Ham Radio magazine, June-Oct 1989. Think about that June night for a moment: It was a Friday - the summer solstice of 1940, the remains of an Army had returned from Dunkirk at the start of the month and the continent was now closed-off. Invasion was expected and massed air raids a certainty. At all levels of civilian and military structures people were regrouping, fearing, training, imagining and researching ways to survive. We can't ourselves imagine what that slow realization of a 'total war' engulfing a nation must have felt like to wake up to each morning - and how each person would have been forced to confront it in individual ways. It was during this period that Bufton and Mackie rose not knowing why into a summer sky, bathed in radio and starlight, methodically collecting and transforming the former into something tangible that helped to alter the course of events in ways that they could not themselves conceive. Breakfast in the mess the next morning was probably no different from the previous morning, and the one before that. Except that now between them they had helped to change the world. I've long been fascinated by that flight and frustrated by the poor manner in which it has been recorded historically and so have tried to track down the exact aircraft flown by Bufton and Mackie that night in order to build it. Not an easy proposition. It is an Anson Mk.1, potentially one of three loaned from the Boscombe Down to the Y-Service flying out of Wyton in June 1940. I have a copy of Michael Cumming's Beam Bombers on order as @corsaircorp most kindly forwarded me an excerpt from it that @BS103 had been kind enough to dig out (isn't that always the way of things on here? Somebody knows something that somebody else passes on... ) From Ray Sturtivant's superb The Anson File I've cross referenced the airframes as follows: L7967: SAN* / BATDU**, transferred to RCAF in March 1941 N9938: BATDU, transferred to RCAF in Dec 1940 N9945 BATDU/WIDU***, crashed Stechford, Birmingham Nov 1940. *School of Air Navigation **Beam Approach Training and Development Unit *** Wireless Intelligence Development Unit. All three aircraft then were in BATDU during their secondment from Boscombe to Wyton to be re-wired with Hallicrafters radios for these beam missions. My understanding is that on 30th Oct 1940 BATDU became WIDU, before in turn becoming 109 Squadron later in December 1940. That narrows it down to three aircraft, but which one were Bufton/Mackie flying the night of the 21st? At the moment I can find no record confirming a specific serial number - even delving into the likes of the RAF Historical Assocation yields no clue. I do have feelers out in the hope of contacting a member of Bufton's family to see if this is recorded in his log books but have heard nothing as of yet. What I don't know at all either is what would be the likely aircraft code letter &etc. for an aircraft in BATDU in June 1940 - before it became WIDU - as I can find no record for either of these units. Were they such short-lived (or secretive, given the nature of the missions) units that they weren't assigned individual codes? Two of the aircraft appear to have gone straight to BATDU from the factory so must have had something on them? Here's the kit: According to Scalemates this is the 1974 boxing, the same version I made back then as a 9 year old. The instructions are succinct and rich with the Proustian smell of a warm mid-seventies Saturday morning. Have a sniff: Extras I'm going to be using as some Eduard early RAF seatbelts, an Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah from Engines & Things, necessary as the original ones won't support a 'reveal': Some hefty grinding out needed there. I can't wait to use the (typically gobsmacking) etch from Flightpath as well. It's not until you open the packet that you realize what super quality David's stuff really is, including four pages of detailed documentation! When I originally bought the kit secondhand I should have checked the contents closely as this was nestled inside it: Both canopy and turret! That was a lovely surprise and will be used as Aeroclub are another of my favourite manufacturers. For some reason there were additionally two of the original Airfix canopies in the box as well if anybody wants/needs them at all. So as it stands I'm going to build an Anson that I don't know either the serial number or aircraft codes for. Promising eh? .
  2. TheBaron

    Savoia Marchetti SM.79 Lebanese Style

    Hostage situation? Call in the lads...
  3. Yes. Yes you are! Those days when matter won't bend to the will are tres nasty but looks from here like Physical Universe 0 hendie 1. No score draws and a large dividend expected for those watching. Presumably they simply reprinted the Surrealist Manifesto with some added graphics of a helicopter... - Bentos?
  4. TheBaron

    Savoia Marchetti SM.79 Lebanese Style

    Gawd help us if the British Psychiatric Association ever discovers this forum. They'll have enough material for a decade's worth of conferences.... 'Ver' interestink. Tell me about your childhood.' 'Well doctor, I did a lot of Dogfight Doubles and used to have a Tirpitz next to Anne Boleyn.' 'My God nurse, ze patient is vorse zan I sort, first animal cruelty and zen somesink obscene in front of that poor woman. He is completely vizout shame!'
  5. Utterly. And completely.
  6. TheBaron

    Listening to the Solstice

    They're the original prototype for 'Beats by Dre' headphones: 'Syncopation Anunciators by Dr. Andrew Young, FRS.' Just keeping the seat warm for you old boy! (Until you're able to rejoin the throng.) Sincerely hope that 'busy' means 'fulfilling busy' so that there is a plus somewhere to being denied your company Crisp. A Stormbringer perhaps! Thanks on all counts Chris. Cockpit fitting continues and in the wake of @galgos's kind donation of those superb seating closeups, metal was cut: I used the original PE back as a template for the seat back, scanned it into the Silhouette drafting software in order to extend and reshape it to match Max's photos. I then cut the shapes in Washi maks and transferred these to some thinn sheet for cutting with nail scissors. These parts are for the pilot's and radio-op's seats (which are broadly similar). 'The Waiting Room': With bases added: The driver's is the one with the hole in the base, whereas the wirelessman has a door in the base of his. I know not the purpose of those details. The all-important 'are they to scale with the other bits' shot: Next tasks are the padded podium for the nav, plus folding 2nd pilot's seat and the fold-down one that sits athwart the rear wing spar to starboard. Hopefully I can continue in the current mode of grabbing 20 mins here and there during the week. Roast beef dinner later with homemade horseradish sauce and half an acre of roast spuds. I miss Lovejoy or Bergerac not being on Sunday nights..... Tony
  7. TheBaron

    Big ideas about a big wing

    Why do I find that sunshade so engaging? A human detail amidst the machinery perhaps.... Sorry to hear about the rib John but glad you're on the mend.
  8. Thoroughly enjoyed the latest article in 'H: See Too - the Airhendie inflight magazine' mon ami. Anything I have to say here about Wessexery is going to be a case of transporting nutty slack to Newcastle, however is: answered by Steve Lynes' splendid image here? https://www.flickr.com/photos/lynothehammer/45721226061/ I find this: - a deeply satisfying view, showing - as it does - that simultaneously raised and inset detail on the filler cap. The accumulation of such detail here is never less than compelling, to the weird point of regretting that paint has to cover it.... Just turning the page I notice an ad for 'Eau-veralls - une fragrance de mechaniques.'
  9. Left breathless as usual after catching-up with your updates CC! Nice to see the Hurri still coming along so well and my, what a big stack of decals you have!
  10. TheBaron

    Listening to the Solstice

    I believe there is more than one Sunderland under Lough Derg CC! Could be memory playing tricks but I'll swear to reading somewhere that more than one was lost from moorings during a wartime storm. I am thinking of calling mine 'The Martian' in honour of our dear tentacled colleague!
  11. TheBaron

    Listening to the Solstice

    Thanks for the Roth tip btw Ian! With the passage of time I'll still occasionally take a meander down Metal Avenue, though these days more likely to need something more soothing and langorous in the line of Jocelyn Pook, though M.I.A. helps when you need to scream to something when stuck in traffic on the evening commute.... Dziękuję. Mr. G! (Sorry to hear of Pawel Adamowicz's death over in Gdansk btw. These are brutal times in public life.) On our current mutual pace, that should see us both comfortably through to the next decade hendie! After that it's contemplating downloading of consciousness into a ceramic exoskeleton (that will hopefully come with a soldering iron attachment...) - and beautifully salvaged! Fully understand those instincts Mr. H. - I have not been entirely discontent myself with having to build so much framework in this instance! There is an undeniable pleasure to forming such structures. The spider living in the cockpit appears quite grateful for the shelter however Pete! I must take a pic to send into Springwatch in a few months! Now go and sit on the naughty step and have a good long think about what you've done... Wotch James! Thanks for that - she is a deserving case after all, I can't believe the the General is going to notic- Cripes! If that batman breaks wind he could deafen himself.... Surely a member of the office class warrants a soldering valet to handle such common tasks. I've had some candidates line up outside your field-tent. Chap on the right. Is that a soldering iron in his breeches or... ....or not. Mon General: if a klutz like me can learn to melt metal all over bits o' brass, I'm damn sure anyone can. Thanks Ced. You too geezer. Slept heavily last night, woke refreshed, and yet for some reason the old electric jelly ain't sparking as furioso as usual. Hence a limited buffet today (lest inattention cause some foolish error) and plenty of household tasks anyway requiring doing... Started by thinning out the nose of the bird in order to accept the cockpit and nose part of the framing: I took this shot backlighted so that you could see just how thin the walls are in places at top and bottom. There's some deformation on the outer side in those places but not really a concenr as the nose is going to be reshaped at the front and in all likellihood had a metal foil carapace to boot. In terms of routing-out such fuselage walls I've come to swear by a combination of these two in the Dremel: The cylindrical birr being perfect for getting square corners where needed, the small sanding drum ditto on internal concavities. Both have equal utility simply thinning out flat areas as well. A few minutes back-and-forth on either side and front-most framing plus the PE IP now fit inside: Even if you didn't have to thin these down for internal framing, the PE IP would probably require this to be done. The righthand side of that Ip I've since hacked off as it's not shown in either maintenance manual or reference shots in flight, (so I presume this may have been a removable element for dual instruction, along with the removable 2nd control collumn?). That little flap on the lower IP is of course the compass shelf. The PE lacks sufficient dimension for this so brass tube of course: That is iir, 1.4mm inside 1.6mm. There is a nice little inlay and some film from the PE that I will though use on top of that later once painted. Making the compass enabled me to call the most recent member to the bench: @hendie (who else?) has reccomended something similar and seeing this on offer for v. low spondoolicks tipped the scale, largely because I'd fallen out of love with the little K&S tube cutter due to it leaving a bevelled edge on cuts. One hint if you're working with much smaller tube of the kind I use for 1/72 is to unscrew the top handle part and put it in upside-down as you can see it is here in the photos. When the tool arrives it is in the other way round, which is fine for gfripping larger tubing say 3mm or above, but by reversing it as I've done lets you lock thinner diameter tubing like this firmly into place for cutting. Easy-enough modification. Off now to go make Enchiladas and sit down with the family in front of a fire to watch films for the rest of the day. Recently got hold of a copy of the Russian 2017 film 'Salyut 7' that looks rather igood. After the gormless banality of 'First Man' I'm itching to see a decent space film again... Hope you have a lovely Saturday chums and thanks for all you kind comments as ever. Tony
  12. TheBaron

    Listening to the Solstice

    Thanks Simon! The stars do seem to be aligning in that direction, don't they? and Scorpions, Michael Schenker Group, Judas Priest, AC/DC Blue Oyster Cult et al. ...followed by raves in the 90s. Oh! How we used to laugh back then musing on how deaf we'd be one day on account of it all! All together now to the tune of Flashdance: 'What a feline! Doodoodoodoo-doodoooo....' You are - as ever - too kind P. It's a tribute I guess to the original designers of the kit that well into the following century it still has ardent fans, despite more recent mouldings being available. You can't underestimate the role of nostalgia of course, in re-making something that your 10-year old self built. You....you're not a Timelord - are you? I do hope you get a chance to settle in to the sanctity of your worksbench again soon! I've two words for you. 'Nut Cups' Always knew those aircrew had cojones, but was unaware til now of cabin equipment to support this idea.... Thank-you Martian. Apparently people sending bottles of Plymouth Gin to you through the post is an old folk-cure. I read that somewhere.....probably. Большое спасибо Nikolay. When he sits on the window-sill at night and suddenly moves, it's like the darkness comes to life! Thank-you on both counts Roger! As a teenager I asked my grandad (from whom this as well as a dodgy back are genetic gifts) what it was like going deaf Bill. His answer (through the ever-present cloud of Benson & Hedges smoke)? 'Peace at last...' The BÄRÖNSÄ three-piece will be available at a metaball-hangar near you this Spring! (Nut Cups sold separately.) Help! I'm trapped in an episode of 'The Men from the Ministry'! Had the first pic already but that second one is a zinger Max - But what about when the catwalk supervisor shouts out: '...and turn and flounce. No darling, that's a mince not a flounce.....' So grim. Sorry to hear that. Loss of sight is beyond contemplation for me. I had to laugh at that revelation Simon. I similarly worked in theatre sound up to the mid-90s to pay the bills and on more than one occasion freaked out a director by saying - after the opening night of course - 'I'm sorry, that's not my good ear, let me just turn my head.' when being told of changes he wanted... 'You 'um it and I'll play the bongos along...' Blimey Ced. Can you pick up Air Traffic Control as well? I'd like something similarly discrete to tuck into the lugs but some of the prices (in this neck of the woods at least) are positively ruinous. I fear I shall have to go for the cheaper executive model: Most embarassing on the bus when it's 'Carmina Burana' playing.... 'Never read on a tightrope' is the moral here... Yes. You suddenly buying a shedload of brass and taking up soldering! I've acquired a not inconsiderable library of photos at this stage now Daddy M - give me a shout if you want same and happy to bung them upon on Dropbox for you to feast upon. Only had time to garnish bits here and there over the latter half of the week as work gets into full swing again, but pleased to say that positive progress had been made. The sky has proven incredibly distracting over the week however with the changing weather fronts over the isles. Much variety and definition in clouds, from these rolls last evening: - to what appearred to be the onset of the Apolcalypse at dusk on Wednesday: Whilst the Winter dieback of vegetation in the garden revealed The Lost Sunderland: This was the first thing I ever had the temerity to post on the forum back at the start of 2016 and is so staggeringly badly-made and painted (not having modelled since about 1981) that it quickly became a test-bed for natural weathering outside. Three winters later and I'm wondering whether it might at some stage be fun to strip and disassemble the thing for a rebuild and brass-fest. To topics of immediate interest then. I can't remember exactly at what point but late one night, after a not-insignificant struggle with angles and alignments, I menaged to get the nav's desk soldered into position: Like all such apparently simple tasks, only upon commencement does you realize it is going to take more patience than anticipated in order to avoid buckling the framework: Looks decent enough through the windows though: Latterly then, a similar struggle commenced with the radio-op's station. Queensbury rules and a cool iron: Seems to all tuck inside nicely: But not until both sides were on did the pulse settle: Proper busy now! With the extra info provided by Max I've still a rake of work to do on getting the seating sorted, plus the pilot's part of the cockpit to build, which should be fun. Also to be attended to up at the other end of the frame is to work out something to bung on top of the turrent ring: I've the Aeroclub transparencies to take care of the AW glazing, and have been researching details about the gun mounting and associated mounting inside. I've stripped the web of all available photos of the AW turret but still had problems trying to visually-integrate the internal structure until - as frequently happens - I realized there was probably something contemporary up on the Flight magazine archive. Sure enough, from January 23rd, 1936: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1936/1936 - 0205.html?search=Aw turret That's obviously the tail installation for an AW XXIII aircraft, but the actual gun/seat mounting details are the same for the Anson so this helps enormously with undertstanding what various photos of Annie's turret show. BTW. I love some of the more 'domestic' details that Flight sometimes has scattered across its pages, witness the lower right of the above: 'Mr. R. Lestrange Malone, Airwork's European sales manager, is to tour the Continent for about two months in a D.H. Hornet Moth, for contract and administration purposes.' I'm in the wrong job! Tony
  13. Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
  14. That bluey-greeny tint is so idiosyncratic on an aircraft isn't it? One begins to suspect that deep within the bowels of the Soviet aviation ministry, a covert Psy-Ops unit was subverting specifications: 'We'll issue instructions to paint the interiors 'peppermint', that will surely sow confusion in the aircrew by inducing profound and disturbing longings for matching curtains on the windows...' Nearly neglected to pass admiring comments on the work so far Johnny, but you know me feelings about the quality of your work already!
  15. As the other boys have quite ungraciously used up all of the available stock of superlatives Bill, I'm merely left with a heartfelt WoW as a response to those last few updates. Patient problem solving with those engine alignments and - something I don't usually say to other men - you have excellently dirtied your skis. Surely only a mater of time before an honorary doctorate from Miskatonic University is in your clutches for distinction in the field of 'uncanny aviation'....
  16. TheBaron

    CA-27 Avon Sabre Mk.30

    Good luck with this Stuart. Look forward to watching this develop!
  17. Delicious delineation Giorgio. You know my feelings about your paintworking. Peerless and distinctive!
  18. I couldn't help noticing that some of the plaster was missing off the walls in the background CC - are those dogs literally eating you out of house and home!
  19. TheBaron

    Savoia Marchetti SM.79 Lebanese Style

    Mr. Martian does make exceedingly good frames. Devon knows how he makes it so dreamy.
  20. I've just eaten a large and significant quantity of chocolate-covered raisins whilst catching up with your Nimrodding Ced. It's a tribute to how engaging your posts are that I've only just this minute realized that I now feel rather sick as a consequence. Your patience with this kit and associated AM is quite remarkable mate and will no doubt lead you to the sunlit uplands in due course. Huzzahs and related encomium!
  21. TheBaron

    Listening to the Solstice

    Bloomin' brilliant Max. If fact revelatory in showing that - if I understand these correctly - the padded 'podium' on which the nav sat is practically the same shape as the bases of the pilot and radio op's chairs (albeit slightly taller than they). Looks like I have some correcting ahead of me on seating too! As I indicated in my previous post I've largely abandoned ideas of using much of the PE now for much of the interior (due to its inaccuracy) and am largely 'rolling my own' instead when it comes to fitting out the rear cockpit. To whit, one scratchbuilt radio-operators' table and shelving: Ditto fot the navigator's table: About two-day's worth of work in spare moments but very satisfying to have got completed. Well, nearly completed - at the last knockings this evening I managed to mangle the vertical upright at the back of the nav's table to which the duplicate instrument panel is attached (figured I'd celebrate by breaking something I guess!), hence the oversize tubing as a temporary support until some 0.3mm replacement tubing is attached. Both candidates lined-up for a photo then: ...and in temporary residence for another picture: That is btw Version 2.0 of the nav's table as the first one I built to similar dimensions as that of the radio op's. Only subsequently did I notice that unlike the latter, it does not extend out to halfway across the cockpit width, but is slightly short of halfway (though it does have an extra leaf that can be folded up when needed, and which I've added here in the 'down' position). I knew you'd notice sooner or later if I ignored that matter, hence the second attempt. In other news, I recently saw a specialist and have since been diagnosed as going prematurely deaf. Least I'll be able to build me own ear trumpets now! Take care of yourselves til next time mateys. Tony
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