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Found 6 results

  1. So this is in response to a couple of entries in the HMS Indomitable colours thread, where the colours of her sister ship, Illustrious, and specifically her colours at the time of the Taranto Raid, were briefly alluded to. I shall, hopefully, shortly be embarking on a project to build Illustrious at Taranto in time for the 80th anniversary next year, so I've been doing a little research. What I've seen is a rather confusing, as some sources state she was overall dark grey, while others state she had been given a disruptive camo scheme in time for the raid. So what is the consensus of opinion of the more learned members of this forum?
  2. In 2003/4 (!) I started two Heller 1/400 Illustrious kits: one as Illustrious in January 1941, and another as an Indomitable 1942 during Operation Pedestal. I finished neither - partly because I'm a slow builder, partly because I lacked 1/400 Sea Hurricanes for Indomitable and partly because, as time progressed, I fully expected a 1/350 scale new tool kit. I still can't source 1/400 Hurricanes and a 1/350 new tool Illustrious has not materialised (1/200 would be even better), but both unfinished kits continue to wink at me in their cases on my shelf of doom, so 16 years after I started them, and 10 years since I last touched them, I thought I'd try and finish Indomitable at least. It is unlikely that a new tool 1/350 or larger Indomitable will be produced (I'm still hopeful for an Illustrious/Victorious), and the conversion was quite demanding, so I'm not sure I would do it again even if a new tool Illustrious materialised. In the intervening decade, I've discovered more information about both ships and there has been significant revision to Royal Navy WW2 colours. My Illustrious is sitting resplendent in old WEM medium grey 507B and light grey 507C finish and Indomitable in a MS2, grey B5 and MS4A finish. Both will need repainting with new NARN Colourcoats in more likely camouflage colours. Originally, the progress of my Indomitable build was documented on the Model Warships, but this seems to have disappeared years ago, so I thought that I'd recap here before continuing. The main changes to the Heller Illustrious hull, for the Indomitable conversion were: 1. Added scale 6ft above the upper deck, to create an extra galley deck as in Implacables. This involved re-arranging the position of the boat decks aft. 2. Altered the deck and hull contours aft to increase the useable flight-deck length and reduce the round-down. The shape was altered too to produce a narrower and more squared-off round-down, compared with as built Illustrious/Formidable/Victorious. Indomitable as fitted had an extra 50ft of usable flight-deck as per the modifications to Illustrious, Victorious and Formidable when re-fitted in the US. 3. Reduced the depth of the rear gun sponsons. This is a unique distinguishing feature of indomitable. On Illustrious/Formidable/Victorious, the gun sponsons were all the same depth. Indomitable was the reverse of Indefatigable/Implacable, which had shallow forward gun sponsons and deep rear sponsons. 4. Increased the length of the quarter-deck and (eventually) provide eight openings. This is another unique feature of Indomitable, until the quarter-deck length was shortened later in service (1944 US refit/repair) 5. Flight-deck modifications: moved the forward lift scale 16ft aft and increase forward lift width to scale 33ft wide (from 22ft), moved the aft lift a scale 24ft forward. The work in this area is made more difficult by some accuracy problems with the Heller kit. Neither lift is the right size – even for Illustrious, Victorious or Formidable. The forward lift is too narrow (which the conversion to Indomitable takes care of), but the rear lift is too wide. The flight deck shape forward needs to be modified and the catapult and reinforcement plates to port added. 6.The sponsons for the rear HACS at galley deck level were lowered, and their shape modified. The HACS directors were Mk V, rather than the Mk IV fitted to Illustrious/ Formidable/ Victorious. 7. The oversized cut outs in flight deck were reduced and shape modified and the overhang of the crane/boat deck altered 8. The solid sponson for the bow search-light platform was modified as it had an open structure. Here are photos of the basic conversion (with some comparison photos of Illustrious - itself heavily modified from the Heller original) :
  3. Fairey Swordfish Mk.1, (E)5H/P3999. 824 Sqn. Taranto raid, Nov.11, 1940 Pilot: Lt(A) J. Welham Observer Lt. P. Humphreys Model: Matchbox 1/72 When I began this Matchbox build back in March, WIP here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234999297-another-matchbox-swordfish/page-1 I naively assumed it would be a relatively simple undertaking. Nearly six weeks of research and obsession later I feel able to present my first RFI on this forum of a Swordfish from the Taranto raid. I'd like to start start with the words of the pilot, John Welham, describing the run in as part of the second wave: 'There was some light cloud but it was a beautiful starlit night with a rising moon, and I remember that it was surprisingly cold. When we were more than an hour's flying time from Taranto we could see flickering lights on the horizon, and when we were closer this was clearly the mother and father of all anti-aircraft barrages.' (Sturtivant, Ray. The Swordfish Story p.60) A Matchbox mystery... I don't intend saying anything derogatory about the limitation of the kit - it was fun to make as a teenager in the 70s and just as much fun to do again now. However, as I started doing a bit of research online about the 824 Sqn aircraft option offered in the kit (and featured in the typically evocative box art) I started to get rather confused at the lack of clarity on aircraft 5B/K8419, as an aircraft seconded from HMS Eagle with this designation didn't seem to have taken part in the Taranto raid. Not being a naval historian, I put this down to my inexperience and duly posted a query on this forum about the matter. I'm greatly indebted to 'Seahawk' who solved this conundrum, pointing out that John Welham's autobiography (p.85) clearly states that (E)5B was ashore at Deikhela airfield in Egypt at the time of the raid. Indeed, the last page of Stuart Lloyd's magnificent Fleet Air Arm: Camouflage and Markings reproduces a photo of 5B undergoing repairs in the Western Desert in late August of 1940. For the Taranto raid in November, Welham was flying (E)5H instead, so by a process of elimination regarding aircraft from Eagle, the Matchbox box art and decal option would appear to be wrong. The individual aircraft histories in Sturtivant's Swordfish book backs this up by indicating that 5H/P3999 did take part in the Taranto raid. 5B's only engagement is listed as the Bomba Bay raid on 22/23 Aug (when presumably it sustained the damage seen being repaired in the photo in Lloyd's volume?). Last night I discovered an apparently correct illustration of 5H from Replic magazine (issue 100), reproduced online here: http://wp.scn.ru/en/ww2/b/564/9/3 Mentioned in dispatches.... A number of other individuals have also been provided invaluable help on the build: 'iang' did his best to keep my colours and markings matching the historical record (though I'd already applied 'Sky' undersides by that time and decided to live with the shame..). 'John Aero', 'Ex-FAAWAFU' and Nick Millman also weighed in with info and images on the Observer's 'monkey-chain' that stopped him pitching over the side. 'Seahawk' also confirmed the weapons loadout. 'Spadgent' just made me keep buying more gear - watch that lad.... The build... This marked a number of firsts for me: airbrushing, scratch building, photo-etch, custom decals, rigging. Some plan views: And some obliques: Technical matters For those interested the following changes were made to the basic kit: 1. Opened up rear cockpit and added long range fuel tank. 2. Cut Observer in half and rebuilt him as standing figure. 3. Built a new arrestor hook and carved out a recessed channel for it to sit in. 4. Added sleeves to oleo legs. 5. Rebuilt torpedo with more detailed prop/fins at rear and added detonator. 6. Built new torpedo cradle. 7. Added a pitot tube and wiring to port wing. 8. Added torpedo sights. 9. Built a new rear cockpit interior, including a (slightly) more accurate mounting for rear Lewis gun. 10. Added control horns for elevators and rudder. 11. Added control cable shrouds, ballast inspection hatch and catapult attachment to mid/rear fuselage on either side. 12. Scribed sides and undersides of fuselage/wings, added fastener details. 13. Added dinghy housing to port topside wing. 14. Added x4 mountings and azimuth compass to rear cockpit. Also added leather trim. 15. Built (Marabu M72011) PE flare racks and a flare. 16. Added folding wing tie-backs onto underside of tail planes. 17. Added canvas cover to housing for rear Lewis gun. Decals Roundels and tail flash were OOB, serial and tail number added from Ventura V7252 RN number set. (I'm aware that the tail number/letter should be a bolder style but I only had the ones in this sheet to work from...) Weathering Tamiya acrylics for paint scheme, home-made pin wash, various W&N black/umber/sienna oil washes for detailing. Powdered lavender chalk for final fading/weathering prior to final matt varnishing. Thanks for reading and to all who pitched in on the WIP. Now to try and choose the next build. Meteor or Stranraer - anyone any preferences? Regards to all, Tony
  4. Valiant Wings Airframe Extra No.4 The Battle of Taranto. Many modellers these days seem to like building subjects based on a theme, which can often be historical events. This series of books from Valiant Wings will look at specific areas, and events in the history of aerial warfare with this in mind. Each title will cover the history and details details of these event. Each will contain period photographs, and colour artwork from Richard J Caruana. More importantly to the modeller each will contain kit builds in all three major scales (1/72nd, 1/48th and 1/32nd) from modellers; Dani Zamarbide, Steve A. Evans and Libor Jekl. The books are A4 soft cover format very well printed with clear text, good artwork and clear build photographs. The forth book in this series covers probably one of the most famous Royal Navy Fleet Air raids of all time; The Battle of Taranto. The colour artwork features many aircraft taking part from both sides. The five models features in this volume are; Azur 1/72 Martin Maryland. Italeri 1/72 Cant Z.501 "Gabbiano". Airifx 1/72 Fairey Swordfish. MPM 1/48 Fairey Fulmar Mk.I. Italeri 1/48 Fiat CR.42 Falco. Also of interest to the modeller is a list of commonly used colours of this period with reference to commonly used Enamel and Acrylic paints. Conclusion This is a great third book in the series from Valiant Wings. Highly Recommended. Special offer on the first four books: Review sample courtesy of
  5. Hi all! Time for my next WIP thread. This project was born out of the fact that I find biplanes stressful. Indeed, Ms. Vulcanicity teases that she can tell when I'm building a biplane because the noise levels in our flat go up considerably! Because of this, biplanes build up in my stash. I currently have a Bristol F2B, RAF SE5A, Stranraer, Siskin, Gladiator, Swordfish, Demon and Tiger Moth sitting there waiting to be built... I have therefore decided on a bold course of action which will help clear the backlog: building two at once! However, fear not for the state of Ms. Vulcanicity's hearing! The theory is that by synchronising all the stressful stages like assembly of the upper wing and rigging, the stress caused will be more than building just one or the other, but not as much as the total of building both separately... The synchrony is further helped by the fact that I'm planning to build these two in a similar scheme. I like the OOB scheme for the Swordfish, so it's going to be a Taranto machine. I have also always wanted to give into that ultimate wartime RAF cliché, the Malta Gladiator. So the Glad is getting the "Faith" treatment as N5520 (I just couldn't do N5519/R - it's just so clichéd!). Anyway, here goes! These are such nice kits that relatively few scratchbuilt additions should be necessary, which will be pleasant after my Lightning build The 'fish is much more of a complex interior, so I'm kicking off with it in order to get a bit of a headstart. The pit builds up into some nice sub assemblies before priming. One of the first things I noticed about the 'fish is that the pilot's seat is tiny. Even a relatively lissom 1:72nd pilot couldn't squeeze his posterior into it. Just the effort of trying to do so has probably given the poor chap a complex. Here's the Gladiator seat for comparison. Helpfully, I've got a resin Gladiator seat in the stash courtesy of a Pavla set I bought for the Heller kit (for some reason I scratchbuilt my own seat for that build!). So I've decided to swap the Gladiator kit seat for the Swordfish one. The shape may not be spot on, but at least the aircraft's theoretical pilot can come off his diet of lettuce and cholesterol-reducing yoghurt drinks. That's about as far as I've got! Hope you enjoy following the build
  6. Hi -- Building HMS Illustrious (Heller 1/400 + WEM PE) at time of Taranto (Nov 1940) I've seen photos of the Illustrious at sea/at port with the hinged W/T masts all up, or all down. If I were modeling the Illustrious when it was launching Swordfish - would the masts be up or down? I can appreciate how the task force might not be transmitting to maintain secrecy but were the towers 'up' in order to receive commo from, say Alexandria? Thanks
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