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Navy Bird

1:72 Special Hobby Blackburn Skua

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Hi mates,

 

I've decided to take a bit of a breather from my PB4Y-1 project. I've been working on that for three months or so, and I need to refresh my modelling mojo with a smaller project. Something to clear my mind so to speak. So I figured I would take up this nice little 1:72 scale kit of the Blackburn Skua by Special Hobby. The rules say I need to have an obligatory shot of all the stuff:

 

100_4246

 

Not much to it, as you can see, so this shouldn't be a long project. The kit includes a small PE fret with goodies for the cockpit, engine, landing gear, machine gun, rudder pedals, and bomb (or is it torpedo?) rack. In addition, nicely moulded resin parts are provided for the engine, tyres, and exhaust collectors. Panel line detail is recessed, but maybe a bit on the light side. Hopefully it doesn't disappear.

 

As you can see, the marking schemes are for silver birds from 1939, both 803 and 800 Squadron from the Ark Royal. I'll do the 803 Squadron leader's mount, L2887/A7F, as it's a bit more colourful than the others. Did this plane participate in the downing of the Do 18 flying boat in September 1939?

 

First is the cockpit, and as is typical with these short run kits it wasn't immediately obvious from the instructions how everything fits together. There are very few pegs and holes in this kit, so butt joints are common, even with the cockpit floor panels. But do the bulkheads mount on top of the floor panel, or to the end? It's shown one way in one illustration, and the other way elsewhere. However it goes together, the bulkheads need to be positioned where the small cutouts in the horizontal ribbing are:

 

100_4298

 

What looks like a huge ejector pin (which it probably is) will help locate the cockpit floor, but will be hidden by the fuel tanks.

 

I decided to start by gluing the forward bulkhead in place (there are raised bosses to align it against) and then work my way aft, gluing each piece to the sidewall, one at a time, rather than trying to assemble the entire cockpit at once and then attaching it. This method seemed to work, as the bulkheads lined up to the small cutouts and it became obvious how they attached to the floor.

 

100_4296

 

Next up is a nice coat of British cockpit grey-green, or whatever it's called. I grabbed my handy jar of Model Master RAF Interior Green and found it had turned into, well, rubber by the looks of it. And no amount of Testors thinner would reduce it back into a liquid. No problem, stop by the LHS on the way home from work and pick up another bottle. Nope, sorry, there's been a run on that colour as it seems like everyone is building a Skua this week (which is really quite odd over here in Rochester New York).

 

I decided to mix my own home brew, matching the Model Master paint. I used Gunze paints and the final mix consisted of H41 Pale Green, H48 Field Grey 1, H312 Green FS34227, and H322 Phthalo Cyanine Blue. Testing this against an old Revell Hurricane cockpit that was painted with the Model Master colour showed a really good match. The cockpit was then sprayed:

 

100_4303

 

100_4302

 

With the vagaries of PC monitors, digital cameras, and the lighting in my photo booth, the photos are not an accurate rendition of the colour, which has more grey to it in real life. But it's gloss (the Gunze paints used to create it are all gloss) so this will take a wash without having to apply a separate shiny coat on top. Being generally lazy, I like being able to delete a step!

 

Well, that's the start. Dry fitting things together shows no really problems (unlike some short run kits) so I'm pleased so far. The canopy even sits down over the pilot's roll-over frame/headrest, and I've read on-line that some folks had trouble with that. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the rest of the build! A Skua! Woo hoo!     :):)

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. To deepen the insanity, there's a Roc and Defiant lurking near the top of the stash! Yikes!

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I have one of these in the stash so it'll be good to watch some-one who knows what they're doing build one.

Simon

PS The torpedo-shaped thingy is a bomb.

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On 12/20/2013 at 13:39, Beard said:

I have one of these in the stash so it'll be good to watch some-one who knows what they're doing build one.

Simon

PS The torpedo-shaped thingy is a bomb.

 

Someone knows what they're doing? Do you have a link? I'd like to see that myself! :):)

 

Seriously, thanks. Good to know what the pointy thing is, an expert on pre-war British munitions I'm not!

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Research night and some questions for the Britmodellers who know much more about this stuff than me - have a look at this photo:

 

SKUA Mid

 

Do the fuel tanks look like they're a different colour than the cockpit? They look lighter to me. Any idea what colour they were? The kit instructions say to use the cockpit colour.

 

Also, it looks like an oxygen bottle on the back of the pilot's bulkhead. Colour?

 

Lastly, the diagonal cockpit braces immediately behind the pilot's bulkhead - these look like they're on the inside of the canopy which is what I thought looking at other pictures. Special Hobby have them moulded on the outside - does everyone agree that these are on the inside, and I'm not suffering some kind of optical delusion?

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Research night and some questions for the Britmodellers who know much more about this stuff than me - have a look at this photo:

---

Do the fuel tanks look like they're a different colour than the cockpit? They look lighter to me. Any idea what colour they were? The kit instructions say to use the cockpit colour.

Also, it looks like an oxygen bottle on the back of the pilot's bulkhead. Colour?

Lastly, the diagonal cockpit braces immediately behind the pilot's bulkhead - these look like they're on the inside of the canopy which is what I thought looking at other pictures. Special Hobby have them moulded on the outside - does everyone agree that these are on the inside, and I'm not suffering some kind of optical delusion?

Cheers,

Bill

Deep down in my memory I seem to faintly recall having read somewhere a long time ago that the tanks were painted silver/aluminium. :hmmm:

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Deep down in my memory I seem to faintly recall having read somewhere a long time ago that the tanks were painted silver/aluminium. :hmmm:

Same here, from similar oracular depths. I believe it's to help keep them cool or something.

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Do the fuel tanks look like they're a different colour than the cockpit? They look lighter to me. Any idea what colour they were? The kit instructions say to use the cockpit colour.

They look like being aluminum. Also from the depths of memory, I believe the picture refers to the prototype. There might still be a chance that the finish changed in production machines?

*****************

Lastly, the diagonal cockpit braces immediately behind the pilot's bulkhead - these look like they're on the inside of the canopy which is what I thought looking at other pictures. Special Hobby have them moulded on the outside - does everyone agree that these are on the inside, and I'm not suffering some kind of optical delusion?

They look to be on the inside to me as well.

Claudio

Edited by ClaudioN

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The tanks were, I believe, painted aluminium and yes, the frames are on the inside of the canopy, Special Hobby have got that wrong on their 1/48 scale Sukas and Rocs as well. Worth fixing in this scale? possibly not as I don't think it will show that much. As for the possible oxygen tank, I'm a bit stumped on that one.

Martin

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Someone knows what they're doing? Do you have a link? I'd like to see that myself! :):)

Seriously, thanks. Good to know what the pointy thing is, an expert on pre-war British munitions I'm not!

Cheers,

Bill

Ah, self-deprecation... a delightful habit. :lol:

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I bring the following to your attention: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234935139-172-airfix-supermarine-spitfire-mk-i/

Simon

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Thanks, mates. I think I'll do the fuel tanks in aluminum, just to add a bit of contrast in the cockpit if for nothing else. Of course, I already painted them the cockpit colour, but that's easy to fix. I've got some more detailing to do in the pit, which is why I was searching for cockpit photos. Photos like that are hard to find, even if it is the prototype.

 

From these photos, it seems the oxygen bottle was mounted in that location during the Skua's service life.

 

6021191840_a9c3624097_z

 

Skua3

 

2

 

But what colour? Yellow was typical on this side of the pond, but the oxygen canisters in the Spitfire are silver, aren't they?

 

Cheers,

Bill

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If you mean the cylinders behind the pilot on the right-hand side, looking toward the rear of the aircraft, then you're right with the colour.

I've been googling for some time to find an answer but with no luck, all I can find is this old eBay auction for a RAF oxygen cylinder which isn't silver...http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RAF-Hurricane-V7200-Battle-of-Britain-aircraft-oxygen-tank-WW2-1940-/271161651340

I suspect that the cylinders for the pneumatic system would be a different colour from those for the crews oxygen system but, I'm no expert, there are loads on here so I expect some-one will be along soon.

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Yep, those were the Spitfire cylinders I was referring to. And judging from the Skua cockpit picture I posted earlier, I would think that this cylinder is for the aircraft pneumatics, not for the pilot. There are quite a few lines coming out of the bottom of that cylinder. I guess that means silver is the likely colour, which seems to agree with that photo, as the cylinder is noticeably lighter than the cockpit proper.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Great choice Bill, like the mother in law an ungainly old bird but with several firsts to her credit. I think you could be right about the tanks, I'd go for aluuminum too and yes the struts were braced on the inside. I have an old copy of SAMI which covers an SH Skua build and the author goes for ali tanks and oxy bottle too, (he seems to know what he's on about).

Look forward to progress and seeing it in RFI next week......

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Nice progress so far Bill. Joe Youngermann built one not too long ago. May be a good data point to check with.

Please tell me nothing went wrong with the 4 by 1!!

Oh, and i stole your format from the XF-10F article you did for the Corsair posting i just put up.

Fly Navy!!

david

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...bomb (or is it torpedo?) rack.

Definitely bomb; the Skua wasn't exactly stellar at anything, but it actually turned out to be a half-decent dive bomber. As far as I know it never carried a torpedo.

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On 1/12/2014 at 22:20, David H said:

Nice progress so far Bill. Joe Youngermann built one not too long ago. May be a good data point to check with.

Please tell me nothing went wrong with the 4 by 1!!

Oh, and i stole your format from the XF-10F article you did for the Corsair posting i just put up.

Fly Navy!!

david

 

The 4x1 is progressing nicely. I added some stenciling last weekend, having been delayed by the holidays and then my wife's dad passed away so we had the funeral to deal with. No problems stealing my format - my sense of humour is patented, though!

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. Corsair looks very nice indeed! :)

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Definitely bomb; the Skua wasn't exactly stellar at anything, but it actually turned out to be a half-decent dive bomber. As far as I know it never carried a torpedo.

There was one ace on Skuas, so it couldn't have been that bad!

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There was one ace on Skuas, so it couldn't have been that bad!

Some exceedingly brave men flew it, that's for sure - and yes, it had some success in the Norway campaign, mostly against Heinkel seaplanes & 111s. Against any sort of modern land-based fighter, however, it was hugely outclassed.

Its finest hour was sinking the cruiser Koningsberg, being flown direct from Hatston (Orkney) right to the limit of its range.

The Skua did a job for a few months early in the war, but when you think of the huge relief with which FAA fighter pilots received its replacement.... the Fulmar... you get a picture of how far behind the FAA was, at least until the Martlet came along.

Almost 20 years of neglect (the RN only regained control of the FAA in May 1939), coupled with some dinosaur gunnery officers in the Admiralty; together a recipe for slow, obsolescent aircraft which we're being asked to do too many roles in one airframe. It took a long time before the FAA got a truly competitive fighter that was genuinely fit for carrier work. The Martlet, and especially the Corsair and Hellcat, got them there. You could argue that the first really high class British Naval fighter was the Sea Fury.

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Hi mates,

 

I haven't forgotten this old bird! Now that I'm back from my business trip, it's time to relax in Skuaville. Since I need to finish the cockpit in order to close up the fuselage, I guess I'll finish the cockpit. So here she is:

 

100_4350

 

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And a quick check to make sure that the fuel tank filler necks reach the fuselage sidewalls:

 

100_4352

 

100_4353

 

I'm not crazy about the fit of the instrument panel and lower consoles. I couldn't figure out how on earth the instrument panel attached, until I looked at an old picture of a Skua and realized that the panel does not extend up to the coaming. There is a flat area atop the panel below the gunsight:

 

SKUACockpit-1

 

I also thought that the joystick was too tall in the kit, but looking at this old photo, it appears to be as tall as the top of the instrument panel. To verify, I found this photo of a restored Skua cockpit (without the gunsight) in Norway:

 

Skua_L2963_cockpit_preserved

 

Of course, virtually none of this will be seen once the canopy is on - story of my life, but at least I've haven't spent as much time or money for the interior as I did for my PB4Y. I would look for resin replacements for the machine gun and ammunition but it will all be hidden. Oh well...

Next up, we'll close the fuselage and add some wings! :):):)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Looking good Bill, going to put mine to shame.

Cheers,

GrahamB

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I'm watching this keenly seeing as I have one in stock, nice to get someone else for discover the pitfalls first. ;) That cockpit looks pretty good to me, but what is the gizmo sticking up from the floor that looks a bit like a brass loud hailer, I'm guessing drift site? Is that in the kit or a detail set?

Steve.

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On 1/19/2014 at 22:01, stevehnz said:

I'm watching this keenly seeing as I have one in stock, nice to get someone else for discover the pitfalls first. ;) That cockpit looks pretty good to me, but what is the gizmo sticking up from the floor that looks a bit like a brass loud hailer, I'm guessing drift site? Is that in the kit or a detail set?

Steve.

 

This is the eternal question. Just what is that thing, anyway? It's part of the kit (part C17 in fact), and my first guess was that it's a fire extinguisher. But I wasn't sure, and couldn't find any references to that fact. So what to do? Why, ask Britmodellers, of course!

 

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234953184-on-board-fire-extinguisher-colour/

 

My other guesses for this item were an oxygen cylinder or a relief tank. Brett Green painted his (in his build of the 1:48 scale kit) a bright green, so I think he thought it was an oxygen cylinder. But as I learned in the thread posted above, green wasn't used for oxygen until after the war.

 

My mind was made up when NAVY870 (Danni's father) noted that a similar fire extinguisher was in the back of the Firefly in his museum. But please, what is a drift sight? A loud hailer I'm guessing is a megaphone, but a drift sight isn't clicking in my feeble brain.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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