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Chris Thomas

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About Chris Thomas

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    Obsessed Member

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  • Location
    Hampshire coast
  • Interests
    Typhoons, Tempests, other RAF fighters to 1960ish, red wine, painting.

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  1. Chris Thomas

    new to me Hurricane pic, IIC, HV51?, 73 Sq

    Don Minterne's history of 73 Sqn has this to say re the mission on 16 January 1943. The CO and Fg Off Davis (sic) flew to Tauorga landing ground in an attempt stop the Germans ploughing it up. This turned out to have been completed and they turned to strafing some machine gun nests. Davis did not return. I looked at the 73 Sqn markings in the above photo with interest, as Don's book illustrates several versions - from blue/yellow to light blue/dark blue, blue/red, all red (on black Hurricanes) and all black. The photo here seems to show shades reflecting the roundel colours. Discuss ...
  2. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon gear door zig zags?

    OV-X JR201 was equipped as a bomber; 197 never used RP. X on the LE or not is a difficult call. I've only one photo from that period that shows the LE and that a/c has no letter there. Regarding JP682's possible appearance, I'd forgotten a photo which shows a 197 Sqn Typhoon, OV-Y MN859, in July 44. On the port side the Y aft of the roundel has obviously been repainted after the upper surface stripes had been removed. It still carried an additional Y below and forward of the windscreen which replaced the one which had been obscured by the stripes. On the starboard side it would have been the OV that was obscured and therefore reproduced further forward. With full stripes JP682 may well have had similar temporary markings. CT
  3. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon gear door zig zags?

    No, you don't have to worry about the 'zig-zags' on JP682 but a historically accurate depiction of the aircraft on and after D-Day is going to be difficult. The cover painting was done by John Batchelor, a well-known aviation illustrator, in response to Jimmy'd directions. It shows Jimmy's first 'op' on D-Day. Jimmy was convinced that his squadron did not paint the D-Day stripes over the upper surfaces and we had some discussion about this. But having interviewed many (well into 3 figures) veteran Typhoon pilots I know the fallibility of memory when compared with records and photos. I would still back my opinion that 197 Sqn followed orders and full set of stripes were applied. 197 Sqn was part of a 146 Wing which, during the Invasion period, was based at Needs Oar Point - one of the temporary airfields built for the invasion. Few photos of the period have come to light but there is one of a 193 Sqn Typhoon (one of the other units of the wing) with full stripes and there is one of a 197 Sqn Typhoon wreck in Normandy which seems to have stripes completely round the fuselage (the stripes were applied in distemper and wore off quite quickly). If you go for full stripes, there is then the question of how the code letters were dealt with; some units painted over them and re-applied them in some form on the forward fuselage or tail fin. They would very probably have been applied over the bomb carriers (on the outer black stripe as you suggest). They were applied in a hurry on June 3/4 as D-day was expected on June 5. JP682 had been built as a 'car-door' Typhoon (and, incidentally, was the subject of the well-known Charles E Brown colour photo, with the serial partly taped over) and saw service as such with 56 Sqn as US-L. it went for canopy and RP mods in February 44 and went to 197 Sqn after that (c,May 44). It was damaged on 13 July 44 and after repair went to 183 Sqn as HF-O. So, 3-blade prop, small tailplane (horizontal stabiliser!). Returning to the original photo you posted of OV-Z, Jimmy's aircraft at the time was OV-X EK141 and would have been virtually identical but for the serial number, codes and S/L's pennant (and probably the zig-zags). This aircraft was destroyed on 20 November 43 when a returning Halofax bomber made an attempt to land at Tangmere but crashed into the servicing hangar, killing all the crew and writing off 6 Typhoons, including 4 from 197 Sqn. Jimmy soon got a replacement, JR201, one of the last 'car-door' jobs but with a whip aerial. Hope this helps more than it hinders! CT
  4. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon gear door zig zags?

    I knew Jimmy Kyle quite well and helped him find photos for later editions of his book and wrote the Foreword. The photos of Typhoons with the zig-zag marking all depict the same aircraft, as illustrated above; JP504 OV-Z, Sqn Ldr 'Jacko' Holmes' aircraft. It has appeared on a few decal sheets over the years, usually omitting the interesting markings, although I believe Eduard have got it right in a recent 1/48 boxing. The aircraft also featured a prominent white (or possibly yellow) 'Z' on the LE edge of each wing, between the cannons and the wing root. One of the photos in the book shows Holmes in front of the aircraft, with a clear view of the zig-zag on the black inner side of the main undercarriage leg. The photo also appears in 'Typhoon and Tempest Story' p.64. The purpose of the markings was to identify the CO's aircraft when forming up on the ground prior to take off. Other examples are known, primarily 182 Sqn, who used stripes or chequers to identify squadron or flight commanders' aircraft. The zig-zag actually follows a line of rivets on the inner skin of the doors; I believe it could have been tape to protect the rivets from corrosion. I have another photo taken in early 1944 which shows the zig-zag in similar fashion but without (apparently) a background colour. Incidentally, the inner side of the doors and the whole wheel bay were normally painted in 'Aluminium', not 'interior green'. It is quite difficult to interpret the markings on the inner (small) doors because of the low angle and brightness of the sun, but I think they were black with white tape(?) too. On the other hand, they could be Aluminium with just the tape added. CT
  5. Chris Thomas

    Tempest units carrying rockets?

    An amendment to the above. Checking the sparse photo evidence and the ORBs for 33 and 56 Sqns (the latter was renumbered 16 Sqn at the end of March 1946) it is apparent that (while equipped with Tempest V) neither unit used RP but were equipped for and practised bombing techniques. Both 16 and 33 used RP later, on their Tempest IIs.
  6. Chris Thomas

    Tempest units carrying rockets?

    Then why not model a postwar Tempest V? When the last Typhoons had left BAFO (as 2ndTAF had become) The remaining Tempest V squadrons took on the RP role and their aircraft were fitted with the lightweight aluminium MkIIIa rails as used on Typhoons from late 1944 (as in the kit). The units were 3, 16, 26, 33, 41, 56, 80, and 174 Sqns; by August 1946 most had renumbered or re-equipped but 3 and 80 went on to 1948 with Tempests and RP.
  7. Chris Thomas

    Typhoon MN527 and other 263 squadron examples

    Hi Ross Ive never seen photos of 263 Sqn at Harrowbeer or Bolt Head, other than the ones posted by Jerry. The 263 Sqn group is the only Typhoon photo I have seen where the aircraft is fitted with the 25lb anti shipping RP heads. I had access to Pinkie's log and photo album; no help there I'm afraid. I think the French profile is probably fiction, but probably pretty accurate except for one or two details on the Typhoon. MN527 could well have had a 4-blader - it was in the range where Typhoons had the large tailplane but most still had a 3 blade prop due shortage of oil seals for the 4-blader. As a flt commander Pinkie would have a priority. The '2ndTAF' book would not help as 263 did not join it until it left Bolt Head - it was under 10 Group ADGB. Next stop was Hurn and I do have some notes made by a spotter there. He recorded HE-R MN139 with a black spinner, but other B Flight aircraft had blue spinners - S/MN295, U/R8923 and V/MN407. So it seems HE-X may have been blue too. Don't ask me what shade ... CT
  8. Chris Thomas

    1/48 Hasegawa Typhoons.

    Can I lift the lid one more time on humanitarian grounds? It may ease a little pain. Arthur Bentley's plans show three lengths for the u/c and, comparing these with the kit part, it appears that Hasegawa have gone for the "fully loaded" position. So if you want to model an empty Typhoon ... SLAM Lid back on.
  9. Chris Thomas

    1/48 Hasegawa Typhoons.

    I agree, HH-N sits higher off the ground than ZY-B. This is probably due to compression of the undercarriage legs under a full load on ZY-B and possibly low fuel, no underwing stores, maybe no cannon ammo, on HH-N. ZY-B was photographed in Normandy at a time when the squadron was based at Hurn but landing in France after its first op each day, refuelling and re-arming in France through the day and returning at dusk; so it had probably received a full load of fuel and cannon ammo and was just taking on the last few rockets. HH-N was one of 175 Sqn's first Typhoons at Colerne and the ground crew are practicing loading bombs (concrete practice rounds). So if your Tiffie has a full load, do you need to shorten the u/c legs? I guess so ... mmm
  10. Chris Thomas

    1/48 Hasegawa Typhoons.

    Hello Roger The specs you have listed for each of these aircraft are correct. In general, earlier Typhoons, although brought up to date with new canopies and RP fittings, were not modified with larger tailplanes unless it was part of a complete rebuild. Even then, most retained the small tailplane and 3 bladed prop. MN317 was one of the first to come off the production line with the Tempest tailplane but had a 3-blde prop due to a shortage of effective oil seals for the DeH 4-blade prop. When it was built (it was delivered to the RAF on 1 March 1944), MN317 would have had the later version of the exhaust fairing, as seen on Hendon's MN235, but by the time it was wearing the markings in the kit (based on a photo taken c.15 June 1944) the fairings had been removed from most Typhoons as they were believed to cause overheating. So the type of exhaust in each kit is correct but they are a poor representation of the real thing; the Ultracast exhausts are a definite improvement but there may be better ones out there (Barracuda?). CT
  11. Chris Thomas

    Typhoons and Limejuice

    Yes, Limejuice was a callsign - I believe for one of the FCPs (Forward Control Posts) which organised close support in the latter stages of then war (these had replaced the better known VCPs (Visual Control Posts) developed during the Normandy campaign. Napalm was dropped by Typhoons during the last weeks of the war, on a small number of operational trials by 193 Sqn. The containers were 90-gallon ferry tanks (twice the size of normal Typhoon LR tanks) with a detonator attached. Eduard's BFC has just offered a 1/48 kit of one of these Typhoons in colourful postwar markings, complete with the weapon.
  12. Chris Thomas

    1/48 typhoon

    Well, here as promised, is the answer to the PR-M c. D-Day conundrum. Once again my memory has let me down; PR-M was in fact MN131, Flt Lt 'Manu' Geerts' aircraft. This is confirmed by the 609 Sqn Ops Record Book which shows Geerts fying MN131 during this period. So 'MN130' in the Typhoon Warpaint book was a typo; MN131 in 2ndTAF Vol 1 is correct. Perhaps I ought to post out another Typo in the warpaint book - ZY-B of 247 Sqn on D-Day and while after, was MN317, not MN316. Which resulted in at least one set of incorrect decals.
  13. Chris Thomas

    1/48 typhoon

    The serial of the PR-M on DDay began with MN not MR. I'm away from my records at present but from memory (hmmm) 130 is the correct number. Can check next Thursday ...
  14. Chris Thomas

    RAF Mitchell II MQ-A FW130 226th Squadron

    Rudolph has saved me a job - those are the photos I would have posted.j
  15. Chris Thomas

    RAF Mitchell II MQ-A FW130 226th Squadron

    Roman, in answer to your two specific questions ... Yes, it is almost certain MQ-A FW130 had a small A marked below the fin flash on both outer surfaces of the fins. I say "almost certain" as there are two photos of this aircraft on a sorties after D-Day but the tail unit is not visible on either. However there is a third photo of MQ-A in a formation before D-Day which shows it has the small 'A' on the fin - all of 226 Sqn's Mitchells seem to feature this code letter repeat, and they are still there after D-Day. The two 'D-Day plus' photos do show that the port wing had a large roundel and the starboard roundel was much smaller (same size as in the drawing above). The larger roundel fills the space between the aileron and the de-icing strip and almost touches the D-Day stripes over the wing. In addition there appears to be a small 'bomb log' ( a row of vertical bomb sillouhettes, probably in yellow) just below the port nose glazing. Un fortunately it is not clear enough to show detail on the photo. I will see if I can post the photos later. Stever219's remarks are certainly appropriate. As a rule of thumb, the more prolific the profile artist, the less accurate the depiction. When time is money and deadlines are pressing, in-depth research, or even diligent observation, can be casualties. Of course some are better than others. CT