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TheRealMrEd

Lockheed P2V-3 Neptune --A Forgotten Warrior

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Since I first saw a Lockheed P2V-3 Neptune at Lowery Park in Tampa, Florida USA in 1969, I have wanted to model one. At the time, I didn't have the needed skill, resources or references.

Years later, I ran across the plane again, around 1990 (more or less) at the Clearwater, Florida airport, outside the 94th Areo Squadron restaurant, where the plane had been donated from Lowery Park to an "aircraft preservation" organization.

At about that time, I ditched my trusty old Polaroid camera for a new Pentax K1000 SLR shooting slides. Alas, I still didn't know how to use it properly, but I shot a few pictures anyway, and determined to return at a later date to shoot better ones. For me, and many others, tomorrow never came. The "aircraft preservation" group, whose name will NEVER cross my lips again, decided around 2000 or so that "because the aircraft on hand was not 'historically significant' and too big to care for, it should become instead an artificial reef"! And it did!

Despite the fact that they knew that this aircraft was the last surviving one of it's type, it was not worthy to be saved. Good thing that this was not the last surviving Wellington or Lancaster, and the example oh hand had only served in Bomber Command as a trainer....

As you can tell, lo these many years later, I am still outraged! Nevertheless, as a memorial to the last surviving one of it's class, and arguably likely the largest aircraft ever to have flown night interdiction against road targets, on missions that may still be classified to this date, I dedicate this build.

I will also post all of the few (badly taken) photos I have , if anyone can suggest a place that will take them in and give them a home forever, because otherwise, as soon as I croak, they're gone forever.

Here is a photo of the last surviving P2V-3:

P000a-vi.jpg

It will be built using the following items:

B001-vi.jpg

The trusty Falcon conversion set:

B002-vi.jpg

The Pavla cockpit set, with some mods:

B003-vi.jpg

And the P2V-2 plans from Squadron's " P2V Neptune In Action" #68:
B005-vi.jpg

In the next post, without further pontificating, I will begin the build.

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This is going to be interesting.

I'm curious to see how you'll take on the vacform parts.

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Actually, Antoine, I'll only be using the cockpit and tail turret and turret transparencies, and only then to make copies to modify or for backup purposes. But, we'll get to that in due time..

What appears to me to be the hardest thing to model on the P2V-3 variants are the engine nacelles. The -2 had the upper and lower intakes on the nacelles. The -4 started with a different exhaust system.

The P2V-3 had a deeper lower intake on the lower nacelle front, as well as the "jet exhaust thrust augmenter" system, unique to the -3 variants. The latter has always been the problem in my mind --but, I think I've found the solution, and I will explain every detail as I go so that anyone else can model this aircraft as well.

To begin here are two of my poor photos that at least show the areas we concerned with at this time:

P000b-vi.jpg

And, showing the lower nacelle intake:

P000c-vi.jpg

Shown below are the stock kit P2V-7 parts, temporarily tacked together: The first order of business is to create the completely circular shape of the engine portion. Luckily, I found the the old Airfix P-61 Black Widow is the exact size and shape we need. Shown in the second photo below are the P-61 nacelle and the stock P2V-7 nacelle with the wrong shape:

P001-vi.jpg

P002-vi.jpg

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The first thing we'll chop up is the stock kit P2V-7 nacelle. Using my ancient many-toothed Xacto razor saw blade (128 tpi, I think -- maybe more) I sawed off the lower intake trunk along the lines where the intake trunk meets the rest of the cowling:

P003-vi.jpgP004-vi.jpg

Next, the P-61 cowing needs a section slightly wider than than the opening sawn into the P2V cowling. Then, we'll mate the two parts, carefully aligning the P-61 section so that the engine opening portion is circular in shape. The P-61 section can be cut back to about 40 percent of it's length, measured from the front. See below:

P005-vi.jpgP006-vi.jpg

Next, a temporary strip of 5 thou plastic card is glued into place to anchor the rear end of the intake onto the rear end of the cowling. This will be removed later. Next, another piece of 5 thou plastic card is temporarily glued across the top of the nacelle, the bottom of the engine opening, and the lower lip of the air intake. The distance from the top of the upper opening to the bottom of the lower opening is 4.5 scale feet, or about 19 mm. This distance may change slightly as you fill and sand later. This will hold everything together for the following step.

P007-vi.jpg

Then cut two filler pieces from 10 thou plastic card and glue on either side of nacelle as indicated. They should actually be a bit more slender than shown, as the object is to get the two intake sides nearly vertical to the centerline. My first try is shown here, and the resulted in a "v-shaped" intake rather than the desired "u" shape. I had to redo mine.

P008-vi.jpg

Then we'll add a little fine Milliput inside and out, and smooth out as well as possible with a wet toothpick or other tool. This photo was my first effort; the second was much better.

P009-vi.jpg

Allow all to dry overnight, and we'll resume another time.

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I'm missing something there, about the end-use of the P-61 cowling.

But let's see what happen next.

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Antoine, here are a couple more photos that may help. In these photos all red "P"'s are the P-61 parts. In all the above photos, the P-61 piece is the darker area within the cowl. All the P-61 part does is complete the lower half of the perfect circle for the engine opening in the cowl, where the air intake becomes a separate lower opening.

M001-vi.jpg

M002-vi.jpg

Hope this helps, Ed

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Ok, thanks.

I did already have in my mind that you were going to use the whole cowling....

my mistake...

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Resuming work on the nacelles for the P2V-3 Neptune, in the picture below, "A" represents a piece of 10 thou plastic card added for additional gluing area, to help replace what we are going to cut away, represented below by "C". Figure "B" represents a section of old drop tank found in the spares box, cut to approximate length and filed to size later.

P010-vi.jpg

Below, we glue the above pieces together. I use Formula "560" canopy glue from the R/C folks to glue the center drop tank bit, because it acts like white glue and fills gaps, but does not wash away with water in the event of wet-sanding later. I use Weld-On #3 liquid cement for most everything else on the model. After the glue dries, trim the excess off the white plastic.

P011-vi.jpg

After some sanding and priming, the new P2V-3 cowl intake should look something like this:

P012-vi.jpg

Next we need to cut off a chunk of the new intake on both sides, with dimension A-B being 4mm, and dimension B-C being 23mm MEASURED ALONG THE CURVE OF THE CIRCUMFERENCE -- NOT IN A LINEAR FASHION! Start the B-C line at the point where the lower intake naturally meets the upper intake. Figure "D" represents a slender 5 thou card strip on each side, which is where we will later anchor the cowl cooling flaps or doors.

P013-vi.jpg

Below, with the cowl temporarily attached to the nacelle, add two small strips of 10 thou plastic card so the the top of the nacelle is the same width as the top of the cowl at the rear portion. These are represented by "A" below, while part marked "X" is not part of the model -- just something to hold things for the photo.

P014-vi.jpg

We will eventually get to the tricky part, the depiction of the "jet thrust exhaust" gizmos, but I will take some time off looking at some new (for me) technology to accomplish this task. Stay tuned.

While it may be a little boring to wade through these various sub-assemblies before getting to the assembly "meat", in this case the "engineering" is the hard part of building the model. That's why I'm doing that first. After all, if it were simple, someone else would have already done the dirty deed...

Ed

Edited by TheRealMrEd

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A few fun facts about the Hasegawa kit and the P2V landing gear: the nose wheel well should be offset to the right as shown in your picture, not centered as on the kit (the -3 wheel well also has to be relocated aft and the tire is bigger); the main landing gear strut is not centered in the nacelle wheel well, the wheel and strut assembly are, so the strut needs to be relocated more inboard. Also see: http://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2014/02/hasagawa-p2v-neptune-kit.html

Edited by Tailspin Turtle

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Impressive work on those engine nacelles.

Is the Squadron book your only paper reference?

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Roger that, Antoine -- Sneak preview of coming attractions:

NG002-vi.jpg

Later, Ed

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The Squadron book is indeed my only paper reference, largely because everything else I can find deal only with later variants or "The Turtle" itself. If anyone know of another book that has much useful on the P2V-3 family, I'd be interested.

That being said, I do have around 167 or so photos scrounged on line or scanned or whatever. As mentioned in article one above eighteen of these were taken by me and never published, and I'm looking for a placed to put those into on-line storage where they won't depend upon me to save them, perhaps one of the P2V sites, if they'll have them. Most will probably end up in this build thread.

As a result, most of the dimensions I give herein are scaled from the photographs, using whatever objects within that I can objectively scale. Then I'll use that conversion factor on other items in the photo.

If anyone reading this doesn't understand how to do this, I'll be happy to explain if asked. It's not that hard to learn, and will be a life-time tool.

Since I don't have any rights to most of this stuff, I can't post it, but to anyone who wants to build one of these later on, I'll be happy to burn a cd and send to them for free, but please, not till I near the end of this build, which I expect to take 2 or 3 months if nothing strange intervenes.

Lastly, there are a couple of items of information that I cannot find for sure. One is the actual diameter of the 3-bladed Hamilton-Standard props used on the P2V-3. From the photos, I get 15 feet, but it could be 14'8" or some such. Also, if anyone knows definitively the correct color on the cockpit and interior of this type aircraft (mostly built in 1949), I would love to hear about it. I know that generally grey did not become the universal U.S. standard until 1953, but I can find no evidence that Interior Green was used either. (One color photo I have seems to show some interior green undercoating where the paint is chipped off a cowling front, but the resolution is not great enough to be certain). One other photo seems to indicate a light grey, with black control columns and mostly black seat frames, but I don't know which mark the photo represents.

Hopefully, I'll check back here before the New Year. If not everybody have a Happy!

Ed

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The Squadron book is indeed my only paper reference, largely because everything else I can find deal only with later variants or "The Turtle" itself. If anyone know of another book that has much useful on the P2V-3 family, I'd be interested.

Hi Ed,

Did you try Schiffer's?

I got it, but sorry, all my books are packed up at the moment, as I'll move soon.

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Interesting project, mind if I tag along?

Roger

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.

"That being said, I do have around 167 or so photos scrounged on line or scanned or whatever. As mentioned in article one above eighteen of these were taken by me and never published, and I'm looking for a placed to put those into on-line storage where they won't depend upon me to save them, perhaps one of the P2V sites, if they'll have them. Most will probably end up in this build thread."

You could have a word and get the eighteen you have taken added to the Walkrounds section on here. They'll be in a place where interested parties can view them instead of languishing on the old hard drive!

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To resume working on the nacelles. I have been working with something I have not tried before, jeweler's wax. It is fairly hard, easy to scrape and file and promises to be much faster for certain kinds of shaping.

Below is the type I'm trying:

E001-vi.jpg

This roll is used to design rings. It measures 1-1/16" O.D. and 5/8" I.D. -- perfect for my intended use, as you will see. First I measured the length I would need foe the exhaust part, and it needs to be not greater than the distance from the nacelle wall to the front of the engine mount piece:

E002-vi.jpg

That length was cut off with a courser razor saw, then lightly filed on the back. I used an old mil file I had laying around.

Then, I rounded off the front edge of the wax circle to approximate the shape needed for the exhaust. The center hole fits over the engine mount with a slight bit of sanding. Next, the wax is marked on the top and bottom of the piece that will become the exhaust, and the appropriate slice of the wax circle is cut out, to just fit within the opening of the nacelle assembly. After that, dividers and a file were used to layout the part-circle tubular shapes of the exhaust. Each side of the nacelle has 5 "tubes". I had to cover 23mm around the curve. I made the top and bottom tubes 5mm each and the other three central tubes were laid out at 4mm each (1mm allowed for "slop"). These were roughly shaped by scraping with some of the tools and exacto knife shown below, to achieve the part as shown:

E003-vi.jpg

E004-vi.jpg

E005-vi.jpgE006-vi.jpg

With a little scraping the new wax part fits into the nacelle, on one side. I thought at first that I was going to have to make a separate shape for each side, but some careful installation will allow me to use the same piece on either side of the nacelle. One thing to be aware of, the exhaust part stands a little proud of the nacelle at the rear, as shown in the next photo:

E000-vi.jpg

Up to this point the jeweler's wax got me to a quick and dirty master. My next step is to create a mold and make a resin copy, that I can fill and sand and smoothly finish to make the final master to mold the four needed parts for the model. I will use some of the kids' old legos to make my mold box for the exhaust (and also for a copy of the tail turret).

E007-vi.jpg

Now for the next p[iece of new (to me) technology -- Composi-Mold. I got this on-line from Micro Mark. The beauty of this stuff is that you can make a quick and simple (and less expensive) one-shot mold, and then re-use the material.For those of you that have made molds using RTV silicone, the expense is such that you can rare make many "throw-away" molds. This stuff can supposedly be re-melted and re-used up to 35 times or so. We'll see.

I can tell you that it takes only a couple of minutes to heat in the micro-wave, and it pours well. When I do it the next time, I'll probably scoop out some to use, rather than heating the whole container.

It takes quite a while for the material to cool down, so let it set for a couple of hours before molding. Below, you will see the rsults of my first effort. Notice one large air bubble! However, since this was an item I was casting to sand and fill, etc., I used no vacuum or pressurizing, and made no particular attempt to keep bubbles from forming in the resin. When I do the final versions, that will no longer be the case.

E009-vi.jpg

Now, I'll get to spend the New Years filling and sanding some more.... Happy Modeling, I guess!

TaTa For Now, and may all your benches be filled with your favorite models all next year!

Ed

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Lastly, there are a couple of items of information that I cannot find for sure. One is the actual diameter of the 3-bladed Hamilton-Standard props used on the P2V-3. From the photos, I get 15 feet, but it could be 14'8" or some such. Also, if anyone knows definitively the correct color on the cockpit and interior of this type aircraft (mostly built in 1949), I would love to hear about it. I know that generally grey did not become the universal U.S. standard until 1953, but I can find no evidence that Interior Green was used either. (One color photo I have seems to show some interior green undercoating where the paint is chipped off a cowling front, but the resolution is not great enough to be certain). One other photo seems to indicate a light grey, with black control columns and mostly black seat frames, but I don't know which mark the photo represents.

Prop diameter: 15' 1"

Early (pre mid-1950s) cockpit interior: Instrument panel, center console, avionics and electrical boxes on cockpit sides are black. Cockpit sidewalls are a light colored padding. Floor probably interior green: see http://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2015/04/cockpits.html

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Thanks for the useful information to all hands. Suggestions, observations, criticisms and opinions are all welcome. Turtle -- just curious -- have any idea why the extra inch in diameter?

Antoine, for this build I'll use mostly CR-900 resin from model mark. It is particularly strong when casting smaller, thinner elements. I also mold correct engine nacelle fronts for 1/72 U.S. type B-57's (Canberras hereabouts), and any excess I pour into the B-57 molds. Takes a while to accumulate the four fronts that I usually ship out at a time, so I try not too waste much. I would love to be able to use something like whatever Cutting Edge used to use, or like what Pavla or Quickboost are using, but I have no idea what that might be.

Roger, welcome aboard.

One caveat -- I would like to remind all that I am no longer an exact scale detail fanatic. This build will not have gobs of hidden detail in the fuse interior, nor much detail in the wheel wells for example. My models sit in a display case and unless they are being photographed or being treated to their one-a-decade or so dusting, they are never handled. Mostly I strive for the right look on everything you can see from outside the case.

Ed

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I have gotten a little bit done over the holidays, so a short update follows:

I got my exhaust part sanded, filled, primed, and the added a good coat of Future (or Klear or whatever it is now -- I'm working on the last third of a twnty-year-old bottle, so it all Future to me. In the pic below, I have a added a bit of 5 thou card to each end, which I fill trim to a closer fit. Then, I will add a reservoir area to that, both top and bottom. When that all dries, I will beging casting the final, finished parts.

E010-vi.jpg

While that's all being done, I painted the interior of all the nacelle and cowl pieces black. I like to use Model Master A/C Interior black, as is slightly less black than most, and looks more scale-like. It also dries flat.

P015-vi.jpg

I also decided to try something I hadn't tried before, but which I will need on a certain model in the future. It just so happes that the P2V kit sprue was just the right size, so I cut off some pieces of sprue, heated the ends of same with a candle, and pressed the warm sprue against a medium-tooth file I had laying about. This gave me a reasonably round facsimile of a circular oil cooler, of which the Neptune has two in each nacelle:

P016-vi.jpgP017-vi.jpg

After sawing the formed ends off the sprue using my exacto knife and miter box, I painted them a flat white primer color. Then I glued these on to the bottom front of the rear nacelle with the earlier-mentioned canopy glue, giving me time to move them around before the glue dried. I had to check the fit with the cowl in place to see that the cooler would be seen, and also that they cleared the cowls on the bottom.

P018-vi.jpgP019-vi.jpg

The glue will dry clear, and I'll touch up the slight shine with more black paint, and then give the "screen" front a light black wash to pop out the detail.

Well, that all for now, as the resin cures and the paint flies, etc., etc.

Ed

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A very interesting project, I'll be following along! Always nice to see actual modelling rather than just assembly.

Ian

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Thank you, Antoine.

Welcome aboard, Limeypilot. One of the many reasons I wanted to build this -3 mark is that I've never seen or heard of one being done before. Another reason however, is to show some techniques and ways to achieve things that are not often seen (t least by me). Some of these things I thought of myself; others, I probably heard about so long ago that I've forgotten where.

The thing that always amazed me about British modelers is that they would chop things up, fill and sand, and generally create great mayhem with the models. That inspired me. In fact, the first plane I ever remember converting was an Airmodel F9F-2 Panther to an F9F-8 Cougar with some plastic card and green putty, around 1971. To this day, I probably enjoy conversions more than straight building.

But, if someone else might be enthused by what they see here, then an old modeler has been successful!

Ed

"Dispensing the tribal wisdom for over 70 years"

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