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Heather Kay

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Heather Kay last won the day on January 4

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  1. A bit of spare time rootling round the recesses of the interweb turned up some useful detail images. I now have a good idea of how the upper and lower rear guns were set up, how the rear bulkhead and door work, and far too much information about the navigator/bomb aimer's station at the sharp end. Now all I need to do is work out just how much of any of it will be visible through scale four-inch-thick glazing!
  2. Awesome! Thanks Dave. I shall have a think. It looks, in those photos, a spigot mount for either a single gun, or a pair of guns on a mounting bracket. All useful stuff.
  3. An update before I clear the bench for paying work. No piccies, though. I’ve taped the fuselage together to get an idea of how the land lies, particularly regarding transparencies. Earlier I suggested the upper nose glazing was a bit wide and the fuselage join might need shimming to match. Well, in fact, it seems the nose glazing is right. It just needs pinching in to match the fuselage width. That’s going to be a pain in the wotsit, but achievable. At the back end, it’s a bit different. I’m sure there’s something amiss as far as the upper and lower gun compartments are concerned. Apart from the lack of gun mounting, alluded to earlier, there’s not much for the upper rear gunner/radio operator to stand on. There’s a tiny stool he can perch on, but I assume he would stand while popping a few .303s off at an attacking fighter. Currently, he'd fall through the missing floor into the ventral position, which would be suboptimal on many counts. I have a cutaway drawing which I will study further to see if it throws any light. There's also the matter of the missing bulkhead just ahead of the rear upper compartment. You shouldn’t be able to see straight through from the pilot's position to the tail. The rear transparencies completely kybosh fitting any weapons at all. There should be slots for the barrels to sit in when the canopies are shut. Once I have measurements I can make the slots fairly easily. However, my brain cell is wondering if I can hack the clear parts about to represent them in the open position. That means I need to find out how the lower guns were rigged to a mounting. Another one to add to the ponder queue.
  4. I'm pretty sure the designers at Airfix do. I understand test runs are given to other team members to try and fit together as well. You really can’t beat a good ponder, I find.
  5. I try to set goals when I’m having a session at the bench. Today's goal was to try and get as far as joining the fuselage halves. How did I do? Let’s see. First, I set about modifying a control yoke from my Bits Box. Not having suitable plastic rod in stock, I tried stretching some sprue. Getting really thin stuff was dead easy. Regulating the stretch so I got slightly thicker material was not so easy. Anyway, from the discarded heap I found enough bits that would let me adapt the open yoke to the spoked version in the Hampden. It’s a bit lumpen, but once painted it looks okay. At least it’s a bit more to scale, compared to the ship's wheel in the kit! Next, titivating a pair of Pegasuses (Pegasii?). You see that lovely fine moulding achieved for the cylinder cooling fins? Then why in the blue blazes can't they ever mould the flippin' push rods as well? More stretched sprue, unmodified on the left. Next, engines into cowlings. The port and starboard cowling halves are numbered as 29 and 30. They are, however, different. This is shown by the blocks inside, which is where the bulkhead goes. The port and starboard cowlings are slightly different as the rear, where they will meet the nacelle in the wing, has a slight angle. Some care is needed to ensure the engraved detail outside aligns properly. Annoyingly, the engine and bulkhead must be installed before the halves meet, which means it’s not possible to paint the inside of the collector ring to nearly match the outside. Matt black it is, then. It took me a couple of dry runs to figure out how to put these together. Ideally, it would have been possible to insert the engine and bulkhead through from the rear, but no such luck. Note must be taken if the engine's orientation in the cowling, with the little dongle whatsit vertically down - which also means the opposite cylinder is vertically up. Got that? Good. Can you try and remember it for me next time, thanks. Not bad. Shame a lot of the engraved bits get a bit lost when cleaning the seams. If I’d designed this, the collector ring would be a single part glued on the front, which would allow the engine to be fitted from the front as well. But, I didn’t design this. Another thing I’d redesign is the main undercarriage. Airfix had the same issue, getting that hoop behind the main wheel to fit. Why not mould it as a separate horseshoe shape, especially since it appears to be removed on some aircraft as far as I can see? I’ve resorted to UV CA to try and hold the parts and act as filler. I’ll fit the wheels a lot later, perhaps even fit the whole undercarriage after the painting is done. It ought to possible to install it easily enough. Famous last words! This is where I am. Most internals have been installed. Perhaps because the kit was to make the Swedish machine, the ventral pair of Vickers have no way to fit them. Also, like the upper pair, there is no allowance in the transparency. Things to think about. The side windows in the ventral position are a tiny bit smaller than the apertures. I’ve had to use canopy glue to fix them in place, so gawd knows how I’ll mask them! I'll probably get some paint and mild weathering done inside before closing up. I’ll have to work out how to fit the lower guns as well. Off to ponder.
  6. Again, correct. The seat's too small, too, and lacks armrests. There are limits, and I think rudder pedals being too wide will have to remain. They’re not going to be seen once in the fuselage and under the canopy.
  7. Thanks Chris! They look much the same as what I have already. A trial fit earlier this week seemed to show most parts fitted just fine, with just the upper half of the nose glazing seeming a little wide - though that may have been the fuselage sides bowing in a bit.
  8. You're right, Ian. I shall have a think and a bit of rummage to see if the Bits Box has anything more suitable.
  9. Slow progress. I always get bogged down a bit with internals, even when a kit only has simple detail. The kit has fairly decent sidewall detail, certainly for the quality of the transparencies anyway. I’ve slapped interior green about the fuselage, and picked a couple of bits out in satin black. I may throw a very dilute black wash around once the cockpit and bomb bay parts are in place. The real aircraft's fuselage was only 3ft wide and, from a photo I found via the Wikipedia entry for the type, the cockpit was crammed with stuff. The kit looks a little bare, but under clear plastic it will hopefully suffice. While the early sections of the instructions cover the internals, it also has you make up the tail. This involves - shock, horror! - a bit of fabrication. A block 2mm high by 3mm wide by 5mm long has to be glued in, and a 1mm diameter hole drilled for the tail wheel to fit into. The tailplane still needs some fettling. The engines and cowlings, and the main undercarriage, are also constructed around this stage. I found the plastic needed a quick squizz with washing up liquid and a stiff brush, so I’m now sort of stuck while the sprue frames dry. Anyway, the cockpit tub has been coloured in, the radio gear has been partially assembled (nothing will be seen where it lives, but I’ll dry brush silver to bring some detail out anyway) and the instrument panel detail painted. The cockpit photo referred to earlier seemed to show the IP a pale colour, with the central six instrument block black. I assumed interior green. The panel really needs some colours, like reds, yellows and perhaps even brass, here and there, but without a colour reference this will probably do. Perhaps I’ll dry brush silver while I’m doing the radio stack to bring out some detail. When I bodged built the Airfix Hampden, I had problems with the rear upper gun position. By the middle of 1940, the single Vickers gun originally installed had proven inadequate for defensive purposes. The C-in-C of No 5 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Arthur Harris, took it upon himself to organise a twin gun mounting system for the Hampdens under his command. The problem I encountered was with the guns fitted the rear clamshell transparency wouldn’t fit. There were no slots for the guns to poke out of, because the guns were not able to be shipped inboard when not in use. This kit has the same problem. Obviously, I could just file two slots in the transparency. I did that in the Airfix bodge build. The same problem will occur in the ventral gun position, which also has a pair of Vickers in. Some thought may be required, including whether I can hack the upper transparency so it fits in the open position. That will, sadly, lead to it being obvious there’s quite a bit of missing internal detail in the area. Let’s not even start worrying about the missing bulkhead and door… Anyway, slow progress, but things are moving steadily.
  10. Ye Olde Airfix Hampden isn’t all that bad, but the copy I had showed its age with lots of flash and rubbish Humbrol era transfers. I threw an Airwaves set at it, and it mostly scrubbed up okay, but the aftermarket markings let it down. I am almost tempted to break it for some of the brass bits, but I can’t bring myself to. Anyway, it begins! First, an adventure in things that will never be seen again. First job with PE is to chemically blacken it. This gives a bit of a key for later paint, as I rarely prime things so small. While the instrument panel was still on the fret I used canopy glue to attach the acetate film instruments behind it. Construction begins, as is traditional, with the pilot's office. The IP has been glued to the plastic panel, and then, since it was a smidge over size, carefully filed down to match the backing piece. Hopefully it’ll fit in the fuselage nicely. The cockpit floor has the seat and control yoke parts glued on, followed by some more PE bits. The instructions would have you glue the rudder pedals to the compass on the floor. The throttle quadrant levers are horribly thin and I couldn’t get them to attach. I ended up drilling two holes for some 0.4mm brass wire replacements, which have been given PVA knobs. I reckon the seat harness is a bit chunky, but the height adjustment lever is very fragile. It may succumb during paint, in which case more brass wire will be used. In fact, as I typed that, I thought I might as well pre-empt the inevitable! By the time you see it all painted up, that lever will be replaced. The next few sequences are making up sub-assemblies of things like engines and undercarriage, as well as installing bits in the fuselage for the crew. I’m tempted to add some more details, but I know most will never be visible. I think a bit of photo study will be repaid during this stage of construction.
  11. *mutter mutter mutter* Another kit I’ve got to add to my collection!
  12. Welcome, one and all! An itch I have to scratch. Day job can go to blazes - for now. I need to dig around what I have planned. I've already noted I've started reading in some depth the background to the Hampden, and as I've already intimated that's the first kit to be started let's have a squint in the box. Two grey sprue frames. The engraved detail is nice. I like Václav Lomitzki's kits. He's served us well over the past few years with some nicely obscure interwar British airliners and transports, and long may he continue! I bought this kit from a fellow BM member. It is the boxing for the sole Swedish HP53/P5 Hampden, but included the conversion kit for the RAF HP52 Hampden torpedo bomber and standard RAF bomber configuration. Only the one Hampden ended up in Sweden. The intention was to use the aircraft for coastal reconnaissance, fitted with interchangeable floats. In the end, Sweden decided to buy some Heinkel He115 floatplanes instead, and for various reasons the Handley Page offering fell through. The second prototype remained in Britain and was converted to the prototype Hereford, with Napier Dagger engines in case the supplies of Bristol radials ran out. The production "Dagger Hampden" retained the HP52 type number. The Herefords suffered from engine problems, mostly overheating when running on the ground, and were mostly used for training in the end. I don't think I'll open the bomb bay, but I may fit the wing crutches and 250lb bombs. The mask is of the vinyl type. I'm not keen, so I may see if I can do some skulduggery and convert it to yellow masking tape. The transfers, obviously, won't be needed. I will probably attempt some home-brew paint masks. Behind the transfers is a sheet of PE, which will be needed, and you can just make out the acetate instrument panel nestling in the bag there. I'm quite looking forward to properly starting this build, and I'm sure you're keen to see how it turns out, too! That day job keeps nagging me.
  13. I am not good at accepting praise, but thank you. My comment was meant as tongue in cheek. Today, I have mostly been diving into the background history of the Hampden and trying to choose an aircraft to reproduce. If anyone was wondering where 5 Group went, well, it was started up in 1938 and was full of squadrons of Hampdens. It was also commanded by someone called Arthur Harris. I wonder what happened to him?
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