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Folkbox1

Fleet Air Arm AvB.42

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Having found this artical on Wikipedia (I would paste the link but can't see how to do this on the new style forum so it is edited down a bit) I have opted to build this. I would prefer to do it in 144th scale but due to difficulties in getting a donor kit I might be butchering the the Revell kit (the old Impact kit hasn't been seen for decades!). Anyway her is the article:

In 1944 the British Pacific Fleet was protecting the western flank of the American push towards Japan. Due to the threat from the Japanese air force, especially the Kamikazes, the Admiralty were desperate for a long range airborne warning and fighter control system based on the latest developments in air to air radar systems. The final concept was for a large, long ranged airplane to patrol 300 miles or more from the fleet with a loiter time of at least 8 hours on station and providing about another 150 miles of radar coverage. The theory being that the Japanese could be intercepted at least 40 minutes before they got to the fleet and any that got through could be mopped up by the squadrons kept for close air cover before even seeing the fleet. Finally, due to lack of suitable runways in that part of the Pacific it was felt that a flying boat was the only option which also, in good weather, enabled the craft to be replenished by one of the fleet tenders without having to return to an island base. It was to be operated by the Fleet Air Arm rather than Coastal Command and the pilots and engineers were highly experienced Sunderland crew members seconded into the Royal Navy for the duration.

For technical reasons that were classified in 1945 (and inexplicably won't be declassified until 2015) the Short Sunderland was highly unsuitable and the Shetland wouldn't be available before 1947. It was therefore decided that the engineers at Blackburn, after their success with the B-20, would convert 10 Mk.1 Avro Lancasters into flying boats with Marconi fitting the electronics. Specification R6/44 was written to match the work being carried out.

In the end only 7 AvB.42 "Morecombe" (as the plane came to be known (Morecombe being the port district of Lancaster) were built and only 4 saw active service before the end of the war. Of the other three one was destroyed by a careless workman before the conversion work had finished and two were used as test beds for the feasibility of large jet powered flying boats.

To save weight and to increase endurance the Morecombe was unarmed; the theory being that the early warning would give them time to get "lost" in the vastness of the Pacific and, in fact, none were lost. The forward and rear turrets were replaced with hatches for mooring. The dorsal turret was removed and fared over. The landing gear was completely removed and replaced with extra fuel tanks within the undercarriage faring. All unnecessary fixtures and fittings were removed or, where practical replaced with light-weight alternatives. Finally, the wings were strengthened internally and the wing tips were modified to swing down in the same manner as the B-20's to give stability to the craft when in the water. The maximum take off weight of the Morecombe was about 2,500 lbs lighter than that of the normal Mk.1s bombing Germany at the time, cruising speed on four engines was a respectable 185mph and a maximum of 243mph could be attained in favourable conditions. The Morecombe was also capable of cruising (at 135 mph) on 2 engines for greater endurance. The nominal range was a very healthy 1850 nautical miles. The maximum service ceiling was 20,000 feet.

The last Morecombe left front line service in January 1946 and there are no survivors - all were broken up to ensure no trace of the secret technology carried remained.

As a footnote it has never been established why the chief architect of the Morecombe project, Douglas Adams, chose the number 42 for the production aircraft as it fitted in to neither Avro nor Blackburn naming or numbering conventions. To this day it is a source of endless debate amongst aficionados of British aircraft.

I will post photos of the kit when I start.

Edited by Folkbox1

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You've got me hooked. As for Douglas Adams, my Grandad worked with him and reckoned he had a thing about Norwegian Fjords.

Regards, Steve

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Fantastic back story Darren, welcome to the GB, look forward to seeing a Lancaster flying boat take shape.

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Nice backstory. Totally believable. This could be a nice companion to my 6 engined SuperCatalina. Two flying boats in one What-If GB. Loving it :)

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:popcorn: and comfy chair at the ready. Watching with interest!

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*PEDANT ALERT*

Morecambe has an 'a' in it. It is also a bit a of dive. Incidentally, Lancaster had a port of its own until the River Lune silted up too much to allow ships against the quays. Big in Lino apparently.

Nice idea by the way.

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I have finally got around to starting this build (life does get in the way doesn't it?)

The kit is the recent Revell Lancaster:

IMG_2613.jpg

And I have got Yanks in Roundels part 3 as the source for the decals (not sure exactly which ones but they're the blue ones with the white bars.

IMG_2610.jpg

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Did wonder how you were getting on with sourcing a suitable kit. Now we can all look forward to watching your progress :D

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A bit of progress on the build (hopefully will speed up soon). As per the instructions starting with the cockpit area. I had to use the armoured pilot's seat for navigator/wireless operators chair and cut of the armoured head rest. Experimentally, the interior was painted white to help keep the plane cool in the tropics and most of the windows were painted over so the next step is to put the glass in and paint the interior of the plane.

IMG_2619.jpg

Thanks to a kindly donation from FZ6 some 32nd scale Tiger Moth floats will serve as the basis for the wingtip floats. Thanks Mark.

IMG_2623.jpg

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Good back story there, and should be quite a model when done.

Dan

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Apologies, due major changes in my lifestyle over the past few months I have not been able to do any more modelling. I still plan to build this What If but it will be in the normal section of BM

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No apology required Darren. Thanks for sharing the idea with us and I'll look forward to seeing it take shape in the future.

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As a footnote it has never been established why the chief architect of the Morecombe project, Douglas Adams, chose the number 42 for the production aircraft as it fitted in to neither Avro nor Blackburn naming or numbering conventions. To this day it is a source of endless debate amongst aficionados of British aircraft.

I'll bet you that Stephen Fry knows !!

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I'll bet you that Stephen Fry knows !!

Doubtful,he only works to a script.

Corking idea Folkbox,I look forward to waching this in Works In Progress.

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I would love to see a sketch of this beastie (or better still the final product)

And with those floats, did you think of a seaplane version? :evil_laugh:

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