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Spitfire VIII Landing Gear


Tempestwulf

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A belated evening from Levin, New Zealand

I'm not far from starting another 1/72 Hasegawa Spitfire VIIIc and have collected so nice after market bits for it that will dress it up nicely. Got some Quickboost fishtail exhausts & wheels, Eduard pre-coloured PE cockpit set and this morning brought a Kits at War set too. I'll be making an RAAF Spitfire VIIIc "Avagrog" of 79 sqn, Morotai 1945. I'm sure in saying that the parts I brought equated more than the original kit (Hasegawa "Against Japan" double boxing) but that's normal in this hobby.

I hope some of you can assist me in specifying if the Spitfire VIIIc had scissor links on the main landing gear. I've seen many photo's that confirm they have them but I'd like some clarification if that's possible to confirm that they did. The PE set above doesn't have any scissor links in so I've scrounged some from an old P-47. I know it's not 100% accurate but it's the illussion, especially in 1/72 (I hear many bemoaning "What's the point in baille scale" - it just is lol)

Now, I have just read up on Wiki and confirmed late model Spitfire IX's & assuming VIII's alongside had these. But I'd still like some insight if that's possible

Regards

Bradley

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Yes, VIIIs introduced the link gear during their production. I can't offer an approximate serial without careful photo analysis, but if Avagrog is a later HF.VIII I would stick my neck out and predict that it DID have the link gear. Don't forget that when the scissors were added an extra little bit (flash in 72nd) was added to oleo cover, and a corresponding clip was made to the gear well cutout. The structure of the oleo cover was actually a bit different, but I'm not sure you need to worry about that in 1/72.

bob

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This is one, in which the manuals seem to be at variance with the modification leaflets, and drawings. Provision for a Castle Bromwich oleo was introduced in November 1943; this involved removing a small triangle from the front "corner" of the oleo channel, where it met the well, to make room for the forward-facing torque links. However, the mod leaflet mentions two other legs, which would not need the cut-out (in fact it was supposed to be "repaired" by a triangular fitting,) even though they, too, had torque links, which seems to indicate that they had the links on the back of the leg. It's impossble (so far) to say with certainty, but it rather looks as though early VIIIs & XIVs had oleos with aft links, while forward-facing links were made possible from 29-11-43; I'd say that, in 1945, you're fairly safe with forward-facing links, since they were readily interchangeable, and needed regular servicing.

Edgar.

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This is one, in which the manuals seem to be at variance with the modification leaflets, and drawings. Provision for a Castle Bromwich oleo was introduced in November 1943; this involved removing a small triangle from the front "corner" of the oleo channel, where it met the well, to make room for the forward-facing torque links. However, the mod leaflet mentions two other legs, which would not need the cut-out (in fact it was supposed to be "repaired" by a triangular fitting,) even though they, too, had torque links, which seems to indicate that they had the links on the back of the leg. It's impossble (so far) to say with certainty, but it rather looks as though early VIIIs & XIVs had oleos with aft links, while forward-facing links were made possible from 29-11-43; I'd say that, in 1945, you're fairly safe with forward-facing links, since they were readily interchangeable, and needed regular servicing.

Edgar.

Awesome Edgar, thanks heaps for that. I tell you sometimes this stuff goes right over my head and i almost got lost in your reply but I understand it fully. Seems safe with the forward links, it's much appreciated. I did build a IXc without them (didn't have any links available) so I won't have to worry there.

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Attached below is a blow up of a pic of A58-517, (ex MT594). The scissor links can be seen above the wheel. You can be fairly safe in assuming that all Mxxxx series Spitfire VIIIs had these links. However, as Edgar pointed out, some of the early production Mk.VIIIs retained the splined oleos.

Peter

A58-517_07c.jpg

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Attached are a couple of pics that may help to clarify the differences in the wing and doors for scissored or splined oleos.

Both are of the Mk.VIII. The first shows an A/C with splined oleos, the second two show an A/C with scisor linked oleos.

Note on the latter two shots how the front of the outer section of the oleo channel has been cut out, as described by Edgar, and also how a small fillet has been added to the front of the U/C fairing at the junction of the oleo cover and wheel cover to fill in that gap when the U/C is retracted.

Peter

A58-315_01ac.jpg

P6975-0019.jpg

P6975-0027.jpg

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1/72 Hasegawa Spitfire VIIIc and have collected so nice after market bits for it that will dress it up nicely. Got some Quickboost fishtail exhausts & wheels,

These bits will certainly improve your Hase Spitfire. I think the major problem in the looks of them (and it's quite apparent in 1/72 - no apologies needed) is the anorexia of the rear fuselage and the propeller blades. By the time you add some propeller blades, you may have passed the cost of a CMR Spitfire! Post it up when you build it - always nice to see RAAF Spitfires!

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This is one, in which the manuals seem to be at variance with the modification leaflets, and drawings. Provision for a Castle Bromwich oleo was introduced in November 1943; this involved removing a small triangle from the front "corner" of the oleo channel, where it met the well, to make room for the forward-facing torque links. However, the mod leaflet mentions two other legs, which would not need the cut-out (in fact it was supposed to be "repaired" by a triangular fitting,) even though they, too, had torque links, which seems to indicate that they had the links on the back of the leg.

Edgar.

There ya go Graham, highlighted in BLUE!!

Paul

P.S. Edgar, sorry about the paraphrasing.

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One thought occurs looking at your photos. What equivalent changes were made to the door, and the well, in the case of the aft links?

Graham,

I am unaware that aft facing links were used before the 20 series Spitfires. On those aircraft the modification of the rear shape of the U/C door is quite obvious.

Until Edgar's post I had thought that all earlier Spits used a splined fitting on the oleo to prevent rotation and, that the forward facing links were the first such links used on the Spitfire. Edgar suggests that maybe aft facing links preceded the forward facing variety but, it is only a suggestion. He is not claiming it as a fact.

Like you, I believe, (based on the U/C geometry), that if the links were aft facing there would have had to have been a similar mod at the rear of the door and well. (As occured with the 20 series aircraft). In my humble opinion the oleos would have to have been shorter, allowing the links to be fitted lower down the leg, if aft facing links were to be used without having to make mods to the door and well. That would seem to suggest a total redesign of the U/C legs with a shorter oleo travel. Not impossible, but unlikely in the middle of a production run and, why would you fit new geometry legs and then revert to an earlier geometry?

Maybe Edgar or one of the other Spitfire Gurus can help out here.

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by feropete
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Maybe Edgar or one of the other Spitfire Gurus can help out here.

This might give you a taste of what researchers come up against; Spitfire modifications first:-

832 To introduce torsion link type oleo leg (IX, XII, PR XI, XIII) 12-9-45

838 " " " " " " " (VII, VIII) 19-6-44

972 Reinforce oleo leg fairing (V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XI, XII) 4-5-43

1056 To make provision for CBAF link type oleo leg (VII, VIII, IX, XI, XIV) leaflets in November 1943

1057 To introduce CBAF link type oleo lrg part no 91986 & fairing (see mod 1056) (VII, VIII, IX, XI, XIV) no date, but the RAF note it as appearing 29-11-43

Note added :- 1056 & 1057 supercede 832 & 838.

1324 To introduce oleo leg 92178 in lieu of 91986 & 91901 (a) prod (letter b, not a blasted smiley) retro 91986 axles only 91901 complete oleo.

1374 to modify wheel well structure to accommodate oleo 92178 in l;ieu of 91986 (XIV, XIX) leaflets June/July 1945.

1536 to introduce strengthened oleo leg (92216) (FR XIV, XIV R.V., st XIV, XIX) No date, but the RAF list it as 20-5-48

1545 To modify wheel well structure to accommodate oleo 92178 in lieu of 91986 and wheel AH8392 (IX, XVI) leaflets June/July 45

1568 To introduce oleo 92238 or 91776D as alternative (21, 22) 1-10-46

1782 To introduce Seafire type oleo leg fairing & oleo door (21, 22, 24) CEAF July 46

Seafire

332 To modify u/c fairing to give greater clearance for deck arrester cables (all Marks) leaflets July 1944

451 to introduce oleo 92216 (Spit mod 1536) (15, 17) No date

481 To introduce longer stroke oleo with no toe-in (15, 17) No date

485 To introduce oleo 92228 (long stroke) or 92360 (interim type) complete with fairing (15, 17) leaflets July 1946

Added note:- this will be superceded by 491

491 To introduce oleo 92245 (long stroke) mod 640 must be embodied 47 No date

640 To modify wheel well housing 47 No date

Note:- there is a distinct lack of Seafire mod leaflets in Kew; possibly held in Yeovilton?

oleo legs

I have some oleo illustrations and drawings (by no means complete, though.)_

91776 for 21-24 manual and ill. say aft links

91901 ill. shows no links XIV manual says aft links

91986 ill, drawing & XIV manual say forward links.

92178 ill, drawing & XIV manual say forward links.

92216 drawing and XIV manual say forward links

92238 for 21-24 ill & manual say aft links

There are parts lists, in Kew, but they are mainly just lists, with no illustrations, so little help.

Edgar

Edited by Edgar
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An impressive list, although several of the later ones can be fairly directly linked to the 20-series redesign, with an intriguing link to Seafires for this.

If we look for those linked to 2-stage Merlin fighters we have the two pairs of 1056/1057 (dated 1943) replacing 832/838 (dated 1944/45), plus 972 which appears to be independent. It seems likely that the associated dates for 832 and 838 is in error, something which has been suspected earlier in your Spitfire studies, IIRC. From the limited information in Spitfire the History, modifications around these numbers appear for the Mk.V in early 1943 and for the Mk.VIII in late 1943.

1056/1057 go with oleo 91986 and thus are the forward facing links, as illustrated and described, leaving 832/838 as possibly referring to some earlier arrangement of these links, and oleo 91901.

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Hi All,

The Spitfire Mk VIII aircraft that were delivered to Australia only used three types of oleo struts, the strut types are as follows; 91545, 91901 and 91986, all three before mentioned oleo struts were used on the F and LF Mk VIII aircraft while the HF Mk VIII only used 91986 struts.

The 91545 Oleo Strut Type used a splined ram.

The 91901 Oleo Strut Type used torque/torsion links, as noted in Australian, Directorate of Technical Services Archival Documents dated 26 October plus 8 and 12 November 1943 as well.

The 91986 Oleo Strut Type used torque/torsion links.

United Kingdom, Air Ministry Archival Documents dated 7 April and 28 June 1943 include the following oleo struts amongst others; 91244, 91244/L, 91901 and 91986 types. It should also be noted that a British Air Ministry document T.O. No. 3534 dated 5 November 1942 makes no mention of link type oleo struts. So 7 April 1943 is the earliest date I have been able to find that mentions oleo struts with torque/torsion links.

As an aside Spitfire Mk Vc Tropical aircraft that were delivered to Australia only used two types of oleo struts, the strut types are as follows; 91244 and 91244/L.

The 91244 Oleo Strut Type used a splined ram and was the most common type used on almost all Spitfire Mk Vc Tropical aircraft as delivered to Australia. The exception being one or two airframes that featured 91244/L Oleo Struts that used torque/torsion links as delivered which was noted in an Australian Archival document dated 25 November 1943. Unfortunately to date I have not been able to find which individual airframes were the exception in this instance. As to spares Australia received quantities of both 91244 and 91244/L oleo struts for their Mk Vc aircraft.

Edgar mentioned the following in his interesting list above, "832 To introduce torsion link type oleo leg (IX, XII, PR XI, XIII) 12-9-45, 838 To introduce torsion link type oleo leg (VII, VIII) 19-6-44" the dates in these instances are very interesting being 19 June 1944 and 12 September 1945, which is significantly later than British Air Ministry mention of Mod 832 and 838 according to extant archival documents.

Shown below are some extracts from a 7 April 1943 document that was promulgated by the British Air Ministry;

Spitfire and Seafire (All Marks) - Servicing of

Undercarriage Oleo Struts Special Instruction S.M./194.

0 Type 91244/L is type 91244 converted to torsion link type for

fitment in embodiment of Spitfire Mod.838 (VII & VIII), Mod.832

(VC, IX, XI, XII, XIII) and Seafire Mod. 110

x Type 91986 is the new design production torsion link type for

above modifications.

In summary it is fair to say that by late 1943 Australia had received some Spitfire aircraft that featured torsion link type oleo struts which confirms their presence during 1943 in conformity with extant British Air Ministry documents dated from April 1943.

Looking at photographs of the Spitfire LF Mk VIII: MT594, A58-517 I would assert that in this instance it is highly likely that it used 91986 Type Oleo Struts.

Cheers,

Daniel.

P.S. Spitfire Landing Gear Oleos on Britmodeller

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It seems as though Type 91901 is the candidate for an interim standard betwteen the splined and front link types. Without drawings, I'm not sure where that takes us. Perhaps over onto another board where people who restore Spitfires may have additional data? I'm thinking of a posting on Key Publishing's historical forum.

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Hi Graham,

Although Australian Archival documents describe the Type 91909 struts as having links instead of splined rams I am yet to turn up anything further and strongly suspect that at least on the Mk IX the Type 91909 struts did not have links.

Which leads to the question why did they turn up in Australia as described and were they subject to another mod (as yet unknown) that saw them appear with links instead of a splined ram?

As to Key Publishing that's not a bad idea, at the least it can't hurt.

Cheers,

Daniel.

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Daniel, I presume you mean 91901, not 909. I agree that FlyPast (Key Pubs) forum is our best hope for confirmation, though I may jump the queue and e-mail Peter Arnold ("Mark 12").

bob

Edited by gingerbob
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Hi Bob,

Yes I do mean 91901, I also might add I have found nothing that suggests that 91901 featured aft links at all, that is a suggestion from Edgar, I am not sure of his source for this (which I'm sure he will be happy to provide). All I can say is that the Type 91901 strut was noted as being significantly different ('with torque links instead of splined ram as on V.C') from other struts which had been received by the RAAF at the time.

Cheers,

Daniel.

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Well, I heard back from Peter Arnold, and he agreed that 91901 had aft links. However, the only documentary evidence he included was the same page (or a different version of the same) that Edgar showed. Oh, for a photo showing one in place!

bob

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Hi Bob,

Thanks for posting that pic very nice. So if Mk VIII's had 91901 struts with rear links (circa late 1943), did Mk IX's have 91901 struts with with rear links from late 1943?

Cheers,

Daniel.

P.S. Thanks Edgar as well for posting the XIV manual stuff.

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Comparing to this photo (seemed a good one for reference):

spitfire_xvi_15_of_28.jpg

Source: http://www.primeport...ndex.php?Page=1

Looks like the link would be hidden behind the wheel, though should be seen against the far wheel (I'm not saying that this photo shows an aft link type) and might not require much change to cover/clear when leg is at full extension. I did see a photo of a Mk.XIV on which the aft "corner" (where the line that parallels the oleo leg meets the semi-circle that covers the wheel) was slightly radiused, instead of an abrupt corner- I wonder if that might be related?

Spitfires- they're all the same, right? :hypnotised:

bob

Edited by gingerbob
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This is a drawing for a 91901 oleo, and 351-- = Mk.VII, which introduces a further complication; note a couple of references, top right and centre, to "link type," which implies that the oleo could be fitted with links, or not, according (presumably) to operational requirements.

35150SHT5HUCOleo-1.jpg

Edgar

Edited by Edgar
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Whilst the AP manual illustration and the Vickers drawing show leg 91901 to be an internal spline type leg, the Mk XIV AP data indicates it is an aft torque link type...a conundrum.

The answer I believe lies in the sketch in the lower portion of the Vickers drawing 91901 in Edgar's post. It shows that at some point in its modification history it was possible to fit and clamp a collar to the existing main leg body to facilitate the fitting of a top pivot for a scissor link. This modification would require a new axle for the bottom link pivot. Why do this? With the harsher operating conditions in Australia subjecting the internal torsion control splines to greater load and wear, here was a way of modifying legs in the field to reduce the wear, with interchangeability, without resorting to a complete oleo replacement. Worth noting just what the published cost of the 'alighting gear' was of the overall cost of a Spitfire. £800.00 for the undercarriage when the wings cost £1800.00.

I think a closer scrutiny of the left hand modification column of Edgars drawing would be revealing.

undercarriage91901PeterArnold001.jpg

Edited by Mark12
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