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  1. Claudio is correct. Although there was a proposal to fit .303s in the Martlet I (G-36A), it was decided not to do so and all versions of the Martlet were armed with .50s only. The guns were purchased under seperate contract and furnished to Grumman for fitting in the USA (there is a great deal of correspondance dealing with this in the PRO files). American made ST-1A gunsights were fitted to both the G-36A and G-36B in the USA. This was an "export" version of the N-3/3A sight. The British considered all US gunsights inadequate, and British Barr & Stroud sights were retrofitted.
  2. I spoke without checking the sprues carefully enough. No, it does not. My apologies. There are two series of photos of NX26874 that I have seen. The photo I posted above is from a sequence showing the aircraft on the ground. The other sequence shows the aircraft airborne. I assume that it was taken on a different date. It shows the aircraft fitted with the braced windscreen. Although no gun barrels are visible, the wing has the 4-gun "double bay" configuration used on the production F4F-3/3A and G-36B. Flying under a civil registration, I would assume that no armament was installed and the gunports were taped over, but thats just a guess.
  3. Hi Bruce While there lots of "profiles" and mis-captioned photos floating around, actual photos of AM954-963 seem to be rare as hen's teeth. I found two in a file at the PRO (SUPP9/2, USA TYPES L-Z). This recorded the arrival of various US types with photos and a technical description upon arrival and assembly in the UK. The Martlet II file shows AM958. One of the photos is a side view, widely available, which you correctly used in your article and Claudio has posted in his first response in this thread, so I won't repost it again. The second is a head on view. I posted it in an earlier thread, but had some trouble doing so and not everyone could view it so I'll try it again. It clearly shows the engine and cowling congiguration. The only other photos I am aware of are a series of pictures of a pre-delivery aircraft. Here is one. These pictures were published (probably for political purposes and publicity) captioned as an aircraft of the "Greek Order". It is clearly not. While the full true story of the "Greek order" is beyond the scope of this post, those 30 aircraft were not commercially contracted for, they were standard US Navy F4F-3As (BuNo 3875-3904) requisitioned under the Lend-Lease Act. This aircraft is not an F4F-3A. It displays all the physical characteristics of the first 10 G-36Bs with the fixed wing.It is finished in the camouflage that was applied to those aircraft. It bears British national markings, temporarily covered, and a US civil registration NX26874 to allow it to be flown in the US. An Air Ministry serial has not yet been issued or applied. Photos of this aircraft have been widely published, invariably mis-captioned as a "Greek" aircraft. This is a shame, as aside from the confusion it creates about the Greek aircraft, it has masked the availability of a sound reference on the rare first ten G-36Bs. The Eduard F4F-3 release contains everything you need to build one of these aircraft except a Sutton harness and GM2 gunsight. Its a beautiful kit. Happy modeling!
  4. Not a Brit question, but the wealth of knowlege on this site is vast, so I am reaching out for information regarding the P-38 (s) flown by Major John Mitchell while he commanded the 339th FS in 1943. I have combed my extensive resources, but so far all I have is a vague reference suggesting that his personal mount was A/C modex "110", and that it was named "Squitch". The only photo I have of this aircraft shows the nose in the background during the awards presentation following Operation Vengence (Yamamoto shootdown). 110 has been miss-captioned as Barber's "Diablo" in several references, but that is an error ("Diablo" was modex "125"). The photo shows seven victory markings. No name is visible. The F-86 that Mitchell flew in Korea was named "Mitch's Squitch", so I am open to the idea that his P-38 was similarly named. I would really like to do his fighter, as in my opionion, it was his leadership and competence that made Operation Vengence a success. There are lots of models of Lanphier and Barber's A/C, but he has been somewhat neglected. Any SOLID evidence, or a steer towards it would be appreciated. A search revealed that there was a thread on another forum eight years ago, but the links it refered to are long dead.
  5. Okay, let's try again. Here are the two diagrams, the Vokes filter and the different oil tanks.
  6. My apologies for the unreadable posts. I'm trying to trouble shoot. Is this any better?
  7. It is the external fishplate that reinforced the main fuselage longeron. The airframe was reinforced at various points to enable catapult launches and handle the stress of carrier operations better This was introduced on the IIC, the first production varient of the Seafire. Seafire IBs, converted from Spitfire airframes, didn't have it. See the picture of MB200 in the hangar deck that is in the original post above.
  8. More than that. The entire tank was different. Tropicalization of the single-stage Merlin Spitfire/Seafire was a more complex matter than generally realized. Fitting the large fairing for the Volkes Aero-Vee filter required a complete rebuild of the lower nose. As you note, as originally designed the oil tank formed the center of a three section aerodynamic fairing below the nose. In order to fit the Vokes filter fairing, the tank and the fairing sections fore and aft of it all had to go. A new, larger (8.55 vs 7.5 gal) oil tank, shallower and of an entirely different shape was fitted. It was completely internal and hidden from view by the filter housing. This arrangemnt was regarded as superior, and an internal oil tank was used on all subsequent Spitfire/Seafire marks, tropicalized or not. If the filter and housing were discarded, the original style oil tank would have to be retrofitted and undernose fairing sections obtained. Replacing these components could be done, but it's a big job. The speculation that it was (and that the rebuilt lower nose got a fresh coat of an unknown shade of blue paint) is not without merit, but I haven't seen anything in writing to confirm it. As to that blue color, it does not appear to match any RN color. If it was a MAP color, it would likely be Sky Blue, but I don't know any reason why this would have been used when the correct MAP Sky would more likely have been available. Still, we have the evidence,of the color itself, and so it can be modelled correctly, even if we don't kow what to call it! Many of the photos of Indomitable working up in 1943 were taken by Charles Brown. Several 899 NAS Seafires displayed artwork, MB195/ 6-S being perhaps the most photographed. Here's the best image I have of the cartoon: A cat sitting next to a block of cheese from which a bite has been taken. There's no mouse in sight, just a smug smile on the face of the cat.
  9. Hello I've been looking over my references, hoping to find a concrete answer to your question, but so far it has eluded me. Your observations appear to be correct (good eye!), all I can do is confirm them and add a few additional ones, particularly regarding the British Martlet varients. I have found four configurations: 1) No hole or scoop 2) Hole only 3) Hole and scoop 4) Scoop only (tentative-the hole may be there, but taped/sealed over) Breakdown by varients: USN F4F-3 & 3A: All photos show no hole or scoop, with the exception of the "oddball" last 100 F4F-3s (12000 series BuNos) that were built after F4F-4 production had ended. Apart from the fixed wing (which defined them as -3s) they were essentially identical to late production -4s. I can confirm that they had both the hole and scoop. F4F-4: Mix. Very early production display neither. Hole appears to have been introduced first, as some airframes have it without the scoop. If the scoop was introduced at some later point, the hole was retained, as I cannot find an example that has the scoop without the hole. FM-1: Somewhat to my surprise, they are a mix. What I have found so far is either no hole or scoop, or both. FM-2: Again, a mix. Operational photos show no hole or scoop. Some restored examples have both, but this may be an inaccuracy in the restoration. FAA (British) Martlet I (G-36A): No hole or scoop. Martlet II (G-36B): Hole only. This includes the first ten fitted with fixed wings. Their fuselages were built in Dec 1940, so I believe this is the earliest example of this feature. Martlet III (F4F-3A): No hole or scoop (these were stock F4F-3As requisitioned from USN inventory for Lend-Lease). Martlet IV (F4F-4B): Mix, Most in service have both hole and scoop. Martlet V (FM-1): Most have both hole and scoop. Some appear to have scoop only. Martlet VI (FM-2) No hole or scoop. Richard Dann has stated that the scoop was for avionics cooling. I don't know what his source is, but he has had extensive access to Grumman's archives and files, In any case, it is apparrant that the scoop provides ram air venting into the fuselage where the radio gear is located. The hole might also provide airflow, either as an outlet or inlet by venturi effect (if that is its purpose). I cannot find any photos of the interior that show the hole or scoop from the inside. Looking at reports and requests for modifications, I cannot find anything noting a need for increased cooling of the radios. (My sources are admittedly limited). What I did find was considerable correspondance from the British regarding carbon monoxide levels in the cockpit. The USN make a brief mention of it, but considered the problem "corrected". Not so the British, who were very concerned with the matter. The problem was found to be that the exhaust, vented down and below the fuselage into the slipstream, was sucked back in through openings in the rear fuselage and drawn back to the cockpit by venturi effect. Each mark of Martlet was evaluated independently. and all were found unsatisfactory to some degree. They undertook all sorts of modifications of the exhaust pipes and interior sealing. The report on the Mk IV is interesting. It notes that the aircraft tested (FN111) had a small sccop fitted to the starboard fuselage aft of the cockpit, providing ram air inside the aft fuselage, countering the venturi effect and helping to prevent the exhaust from reaching the cockpit. So perhaps this was the intention of the scoop. The jet exhaust of the FM-2/Martlet VI alleviated much of the problem, and could be why they do not have the scoop. That's all I know. The lack of a clear pattern is frustrating, Hopefully someone with better access to Grumman's files can say more.
  10. Still having problems with the photo host I use to embed. Sorry. I'll try again. Let me know if this remains stable.
  11. Hi Claudio Thanks for the feedback, you've given me several new insights to pursue. But as to the commonality of G-36A side panels, I have to disagree. They are not the same length. You are correct about the number of fasteners, but the distance between them did change. The engine mounting bulkhead was further forward because the lighter single row Wright engine had to be mounted further forward for CG considerations. Please look at the following comparison between the FAA Museum Martlet I and a P&W installation with the panels removed. On the Martlet, you can see the "extension" of the framework that runs from the leading edge to the engine mount bulkhead. Hope this helps. The three Wright powered varients (Martlet I, Martlet IV, Martlet VI) were each unique. However, while the Martlet I and IV had different subvariants of the engine and their cowls were different, AFAIK the engine position was identical on these two marks. So they would appear to have used identical fuselage side panels, but I haven't looked into it enough to say that for certain.
  12. Since my last post, I have been going back through references, trying to determine the rhyme and reason for the altered design of the engine mounting bulkhead (that I dorked and called a firewall, i really do know better). So far the search has revealed as many questions as answers. You zeroed in on a discrepency I havent been able to resolve yet. While the combination of bulkhead/panel construction shows a consistent pattern for US Navy F4F production. the G-36Bs fell outside of this and reveal anomolies, Some examples in the early AM serial range did not have the blister. What bulkhead was fitted? I spent the weekend looking for answers, re-examining photos and comparing the time line of F4F-3/3A and G-36B production.. I am reluctant to make guesses where I haven't found certainties, the waters are muddy,but here is what I have so far. The earliest example of the revised engine mounting/side panel construction that I have found is the XF4F-6. Both the USN and the British displayed Interest in a single-stage R-1830 powered version I don't know which came first,. The British specified this engine for the 100 G-36B s in July 1940, at about the same time (date unspecified) that the USN ordered a single additional airframe fitted with the military version of the same engine. Designated the XF4F-6, it was completed before G-36B production began so it would appear to have been the prototype for the single stage engine installation. It first flew in October 1940, and was delivered in November. Photos are few, the best resolution I have found is in Doyle's Legends of Warfare, pg 47. It had the "late" style bulkhead and "extended " side panels. However, the panels do not have the blisters. There were no intercoolers so they weren't necessary. The entire setup suggests to me that the firewall and panels were altered as a reflection of the change of engine, perhaps in order to take the opportunity to simplify structural components that no longer were required to accomodate the intercoolers. This is strictly hypothetical, the change may have been for an entirely different reason. Claudio has speculated that dimensional differences might have been the cause for the redesign. I believe that the dimensional differences quoted were due to differences in the accessory sections of the engines, and that the crankcase was mounted to the bearers in the same position for all models. However, that doen't rule out changing the bulkhead in order to give more space for the accessories, and this may have been the case. The first 10 G-36B fuselages (AM954-963) were constructed in December 1940. Construction of their folding wings was delayed, so the fuselages were placed in storage. They were eventually fitted with fixed wings and delivered in March, but a lot of production changes occurred in the interim. Again, photos are rare, but they appear to exactly mirror the XF4F-6, with the "late" firewall and extended panels without blisters. Further construction of G-36B fuselages was suspended for six months until the folding wing was ready for production. From this point, more questions than answers arise. The USN decided to install the single-stage engine in 95 F4F-3 airframes, redesignating them F4F-3A. Construction began in February 1941. All of them (BuNo 3875-3969) were built with the revised bulkhead /side panel arrangement of the XF4F-6, except the side panel has the blister. Why? It isn't necessary. it has been suggested that it was for commonality with F4F-3 production, and this seems likely, but it raises another question: When did the two-stage engined airplanes adopt the new style of bulkhead and forward panels,, and why? Doing so required the introduction of the blisters, they were neccessary to clear the intercooler flange..Commanality of construction? Was there something that made the revised bulkhead preferable (or required) for all R-1830 powered versions? The last F4F-3 of the first order (BuNo 2538) left the factory on February 21, 1941. It was -76 powered, and had the early "rounded" bulkhead/plain panel arrangement. The first 19 F4F-3s of the second order (BuNo 3856-74) are a mysterious lot. Their BuNos preceded those of the -3As, and it has been suggested that they were built concurrently, but delivery was delayed due to lack of (or trouble with) their -76 engines. Their cowling configuration was altered, but what the bulkhead/side panel arrangement was used in their construction? Original or revised? After the last -3A was delivered, -3 construction resumed in June with BuNo 3970. From this point, all subsequent P&W powered F4F/FM-1 production had the -86 engine. All had the revised bulkhead, with the blistered side panels. What about the 90 remaining G-36Bs? Construction recommenced in June. All 90 had the revised bulkhead. Some of the first airframes (AM964 and AM 966 are known examples) had side panels without blisters. It has been speculated that these were panels fabricated back in December before a decision was made to standardize on producing all panels with blisters, and they were used because they were available. This explanation is reasonable and logical (and so it should be regarded with great suspicion ! Thanks to all who are chiming in. Sometimes if you flog a dead horse enough, it makes a comeback, wakes up and does something useful..
  13. A new twist in the "blister" saga. The first rule of research is never make assumptions. I had assumed that the addition of a blister to the forward fuselage panel was a reflection of some alteration immediately beneath it, and that the panel itself was otherwise identical. It is not! The panel itself is dimensionally different, Aircraft without the blister all have a different style of firewall, and the panel is "shorter" at the forward edege where it fastens to it. Once I found what to look for, it's unmistakable. The firewall on the early aircraft (without blister) has a rounded profile. The rear of it is aft of the rear edge of the cowl. On aircraft with the blister, the firewall is shorter in cord and less rounded. There is no joint line visible, since the aft edge is in line with the aft edge of the cowl. I have gone through my references. In every example, I find that the blistered panel is fitted to aircraft with the later style firewall, and never to aircraft with the earlier style. This holds true for all P&W powered varients, regardless of what engine was installed. This suggests that (for some reason) it was found necessary to alter the design of the firewall, requiring that the panels aft of it be revised, and that this caused some sort of interference between the intercoolers and the panels. The change was in the panels, rather than the intercoolers. I have no idea what necessitated the alteration to the firewall.. Any input or information from others would be very welcome. (You may have to uplink the photos as files. I apologize, I still don't have a good method of embedding. If you can't access them, look at the photos in the Bell, Dann, or Doyle books.)
  14. Without seeing the BuNo I can't be sure, but it has all the features of a F4F-3A The photo is in NARA, #NH97493. The uncropped original negative is USN Neg 418415, and is annotated "FAPUA 421-2-42, F4F-4". FAPUA was the Fleet Air Photographic Unit Atlantic. I don't know whether this identifies the source of the photo or the unit that the subject aircraft was serving with, but either way it seems likely that the picture was taken on the East coast in February 1942. It has the 4-gun fixed wing, and is clearly not an F4F-4. I don't see intercooler air scoops in the cowl, indication of an F4F-3A, but I cannot definitively say that they are not there. The BuNo. is partly readable. The first digit is a 3 and the fourth is a 7. The second must be an 8 or a 9, and the third appears to be a 6, 8, or 9. I've looked at the possible combinations. 3867 F4F-3 from the 19 aircraft of the second order. Service unknown (VF-41?) 3887 F4F-3A from the first 30, requisitioned Land-lease Greek/British and served with FAA. (Martlet III). 3897 F4F-3A from the first 30, requisitioned Land-lease Greek/British and served with FAA. (Martlet III). 3967 F4F-3A from the remaining 65, possibly serving with VF-5 (left behind on East coast when Yorktown redeployed to Pacific in December with VF-42 aboard). 3987 F4F-3 from the the 88 aircraft of the third order. Wrong cowl configuration (internal carb intake and 8 cowl flaps).This BuNo. served with VF-2 and was lost with Lexington. 3997 F4F-3 from the the 88 aircraft of the third order. Wrong cowl configuration (internal carb intake and 8 cowl flaps). Service unknown. It is either 3867 or 3967. My guess is F4F-3A 3967, but its just a hunch.
  15. You did not. I acknowledge that the choice of that word was solely mine, I was trying to express thr view that opinion on this matter is diverse and subjective. If in doing so I caused any misunderstanding or misrpresentation of your personal view, I sincerely apologize, You are entitled to your viewpoint and I have no right to attempt to state it for you. This is what I was trying to say. I agree. That fairing and its introduction continue to bug me. Too many inconsistincies. I had time last week to drop by Terminal 2 at ORD and have another look at F4F-3 BuNo. 12320 on display there. You can get right up close to the airplane (although the Chicago Airport Authority won't let me go crawling over it or taking off panels) so I had a good look in the gear wells and can confirm that the bulge is positioned exactly in line with the upper flange that connects the ducting to the intercooler. There isn't space for anything else there, it must be to accomodate that flange. I have been trying to find pictures of early production F4Fs, to see what changed there. I believe that the flange itself was redesigned ,being larger, heavier, and using more bolts. I have lots of pictures of the flange, but only one shows what appears to be a less robust flange on an early airframe, and even this is questionable. I don't believe the ducting change had anything to do with whether the engine was a -76 or -86, the ducting and intercooler were not unique to either as far as I know. Of course, aircraft fitted with the -90 wouldn't require the bulge (no intercoolers) but apparantly all F4F-3As had it. The use of components with unneccesary fittings is not without precedent, standardization was required in the interest of mass production.
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