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  1. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Vultee Vengeance ever since a friend gave me a partially built Special Hobby kit a few years ago. A combination of my inexperience, general clumsiness, and the use of the wrong primer saw it broken up for spare parts. Nevertheless, I was determined to complete a model of what is to me an interesting - even intriguing - aircraft. I decided to buy the Eastern Express (Frog) kit and kit bash it with the remains of my Special Hobby wreck. Armed with the Airwaves PE set, a Falcon vacform canopy and some decals from the Print Scale Vengeance sheet I set to work. I began by rescribing the (Eastern Express) airframe and working out how to fit the Special Hobby resin cockpit into it. Some scratch building was needed as the cockpit areas of both models are slightly different. My biggest headache was the cowling as, foolishly, I had somehow lost the Special Hobby one and the Eastern Express one is most unrealistic. I therefore had to make a new one out of bits of spare cowling aided by some Isopon P38 filler (I can’t praise this stuff too much; it sands and smooths beautifully but I did, as the instructions recommend, wear gloves and a respirator when mixing it)! Other than this it was the usual fun and games when cutting a vacform canopy – though the Falcon offering is apparently made for the Frog kit. Thirty-three A-31s and A-35s were supplied to Brazil carrying out a few anti-submarine patrols. Plagued by high oil consumption, fuel pump failures, lack of spares, and corrosion, they were withdrawn by April 1948. The subject aircraft was one of a batch – diverted from a British order, hence the serial AN581 - of 28 A-31s which arrived between August and December 1942. After the war the Forca Aerea Brasileire renumbered the aircraft ‘6000’. The Print Scale colour scheme depicts an aircraft in a sand, green and light grey finish but I chose to paint it in the scheme in which it was probably delivered: US equivalents of the RAF Temperate Land scheme. Colourcoats do such a set and I was very pleased with their set of enamel colours which spray beautifully and give a nice finish. Some weathering completed the model. The Vultee Vengeance is an intriguing aircraft on many levels. The most obvious feature of the aircraft is its wing which some have attributed to a mistake in the centre of gravity (CG) calculations. While I’m not an aerodynamicist my background research has suggested three reasons why this is not so: · This wing allows a broad CG range, which is useful in a bomber; · Such a wing planform (on a dive-bomber) apparently allows a truly vertical dive without the aircraft ‘walking’ [a feature of aircraft with wing dihedral] towards its target as the dive angle is increased above 70 degrees; · Finally, the later Vultee XA-41 aircraft, also a dive bomber, was designed with a similar wing - so why repeat a mistake? One notable endorsement came from that doyen of test pilots Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown who thought the (later) Vengeance IV was [‘After the Ju.87 Stuka] ‘the… best dive bomber I have flown.’ While it is true to say that the Vengeance eventually ‘came good’ as an aircraft, and gave sterling service in the China-Burma-India and Pacific theatres it did so at a time when the initial allied enthusiasm for dive bombing - mainly influenced by the Stuka – had waned. The type was largely relegated to target towing and training duties. The Australian Air Power Development Centre summarised the issue common to all nations’ poor use of the Vengeance: it ‘demonstrates the need to align force structure, doctrine and equipment.’ Thank you for stopping by.
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