Jump to content

1:72 CMR de Havilland Sea Venom FAW.53


Recommended Posts

Hi mates,

 

I think I have recovered enough from my dual Fairey Firefly builds to start a new project. The lucky kit that worked its way to the top of my stash is the 1:72 CMR de Havilland Sea Venom FAW.53, which I'll build as WZ895/870-NW of No. 724 Squadron RAN, as it appeared at NAS Nowra in the summer of '59.

 

Ah, the summer of '59 - I was five years old and constantly mad at my older brothers for monopolising the gramophone with that lousy rock 'n' roll music. I wanted to play my Mickey Mouse records! And my folks - I really didn't care that Castro just took over Cuba, or that the Soviets crashed some spaceship into the moon, or any of that Red Scare stuff. I was just seven years away from my first encounter with injection moulded styrene...and eyeing my brother's model collection with envy. Hey, he won't even know that I'm playing with his model cars. Oops...

 

Let's take a look at what's in the box (and a sturdy box it is!). As is the case with most CMR kits, the main ingredients are resin, augmented by photoetch, vacuform, and canopy masks. You can see the landing gear have been cast in a black resin, which is much stronger and will not deform under weight (but that hasn't prevented one of the main gear legs from breaking off from the pour stub):

 

100_6943

 

CMR also provide two vacuform canopies, since they know about my skills in cutting those guys out! I also purchased the optional folding wing kit which is in the next photo, along with the two decal sheets, pre-painted photoetch, and the canopy masks.

 

100_6944

 

As typical, the instruction sheets are extremely well done and run to 14 pages, with an additional 2 pages for the folding wings, and 4 pages of historical information and photos. Several of the photos were provided by Tony O'Toole and Steve Long, both ardent contributors to Britmodeller.

 

100_6945

 

Speaking of Steve, the choice of markings for this model is my appreciation of the help that he provided while I was building my Firefly TT.4. It wouldn't have been the same model without his guidance. It doesn't hurt that this scheme has nice dark blue wing tanks either! Steve helped restore a Sea Venom which was painted as WZ895/870-NW (hence his Britmodeller profile name of NAVY870). Hopefully Steve will be around to tell that story and stop me from doing anything stupid with this model.

 

So, I'm off to don my hazmat suit and start sanding some resin! The Sea Venom will make a nice addition to my previous CMR resin builds of the Buccaneer and Scimitar. :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

  • Like 15
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised you can find anything in that collection PC, let alone someat as small as a Sea Venom.

Looking forward to another Navy Bird masterpiece and how different the Sea Venom is/was to the normal Venom

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to this one Bill (I missed the last build) so I'm pulling up a chair for this one :)

You can't have too many Sea Venoms

Trevor

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good choice Bill!

Two comments to your otherwise sterling introduction, firstly the date quoted by CMR of 1959 is incorrect.

Petr Buchar included WZ.895 as a thanks you for services rendered (Bless him) The details I supplied were

of 895 after her restoration when she was owned by the RANFAA museum. In 1959 she was still on 805 Squadron

sailing the ocean blue onboard HMAS Melbourne.

The restoration to running and taxying was done by me and me alone. I have seen more than a few stories of a group

of RAN personnel involved but I dont remember seeing a one of them. There were two who steered me straight and true, CPOATA

Kev Camm, a true gentleman and wise in the ways of DeHavillands finest and LSATWL Kev Grantham, a very good mate sadly missed.

Both taught me the ways of Venom wrangling and were always on hand to answer my endless questions.

Good men both.

Honourable mention to CPOATWO Rob O'Connor, who "found" many many bits and taught me how to load crackers and fix Martin Bakers

let down system, ABATWO Ashley Davis and ABATA Rod Tremlett without whom the grunt work would never had been done.

If you'll indulge me I'll post a brief history of NAVY 870 presently.

Edited by NAVY870
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

DeHavilland Sea Venom WZ.895 (C/N 12752) was built at DeHavillands Christchurch plant under contract 6/Aircraft/10501

CB.9 (a) She was delivered to the Royal Australian Navy on the 27th of Febuary 1956 and promptly loaned straight back

to Dehavillands to become the pattern aircraft for the long overdue installation of ejection seats in RN and RAN Sea Venoms.

She sailed for Australia onboard HMAS Melbourne in 1955. She served with 808 Squadron as 804/Y 805 Squadron as 865/M

724 Squadron as 867/NW and finally with 816 squadron B Flight as 870/M.

Unfortunately no photo's have been found of her in service.

She escaped the Sea Venom cull of 1964 when all high time aircraft were removed from service and stored at Bankstown airport

(one of the better of these aircraft was WZ.907 another of my girls) 895 continued in service until 1965 when a crack was discovered

in the rear spar of the port wing. With an airframe time of 525.55 hours she was transferred to the Air Training Department at NAS Nowra

Two shots of her in the ATD's "C" Hanger

1_zpsmgmytxw9.jpg

2_zpsbg2swthl.jpg

She found her way to the original RANFAA Museum but was relocated to 805 Squadron after the H hanger fire of 1974 and the need to relocate the replacement S-2G aircraft

in the museum hanger. At some stage she was repainted in 724 Squadron colours by 724's air engineering officer (Bazz Garrett, an effing legend God rest him) and became 870/NW.

She remained in J hanger with the A-4's and Macchi's of 724 and 805 occasionally being taken outside for a photo or a bath.

3_zps0pgqpe0h.jpg

Then in November 1980 I posted to 724.

Edited by NAVY870
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the least enjoyable things of being in the military is military logic.

When I joined 724 squadron it was deemed we new rawbones were not qualified to work on aircraft.

Fair enough you might say but in their infinite wisdom the powers that be decided that the only way we

could become qualified was to work on actual aircraft, That didnt work out at all well.

So four of us were detailed to look after the two museum aircraft in the hanger, a very ratty and gutted Sea Fury

and WZ.895. I wanted no part of the Fury, I didnt much like the look of it and 36 years later I still dont.

So I was sent off on my own to clean up and generally keep out of the way on 895.

Under the guidance of Kev Camm I had the hydraulics working again and sourced a few of the many missing parts.

When the RAN finally woke up to itself and put me on the job I was supposed to do, I neglected 895 but still took an interest

in her welfare, if she required moving or such I usually got dragged up to do it.

In late 1981 I was posted to the ground support section, shortly after most of the museum aircraft held by various squadron were

moved to the GSS hanger (except the Gannet, nobody wanted it) so 895 found herself sharing with two Fireboxes, the Fury a Vampire T-22

and another Venom (WZ.931 a former pole sitter and pretty well just a shell)

I got permission to see if 895 could be returned to running condition and with guidance from the two Kevs and 7 months of hard work we took her up to the

run up base for her first run. CPOATA Greenaway did the first start, she started on the first attempt and ran for about 5 minutes before disgracing herself

by blowing a fuel line. The bears (airfield fire fighters) came charging up fearing the worst as they had never seen a cartridge start before. We told them to nicely bugger off

then discovered we had a nice little fire in the tailpipe. Interestingly her starter timer failed the day before first start and I found another one in the hulk of 931, about the only

still in the cockpit.

I carried out her second run 2 weeks later and she behaved like the lady she is.

5_zpswks9uzkc.jpg

We ran her every week with Bob O'Connor and myself sharing the throttle duties.

The next step was to get her moving so I pulled the wheels and serviced them and the brakes, did a retraction test (just in case) and made sure everything would work

as advertised. Radio's were the biggest issue, she had a TR.1936 fitted but no crystals and the entire UHF set up was not to be found.

I had an oppo working in the avionics workshop who found the missing black boxes and crystals (they were from a Huey that schmucked in on the Western pad)

These were duely "back doored" and fitted.

Feb 1982 and we were ready. I did the start up as we had no Venom pilots left, after start up I swapped seats with the station CMDR(A) John Hamon who was

Vampire qualified and could handle differential braking. I got to do the call to the tower "Nowra tower NAVY 870 ready to taxy"

6_zps3haryuia.jpg

7_zpsoiwjjq82.jpg

8_zpslnxn8t3g.jpg

Most of the air station came out to see her strut her stuff that day.

She became a regular at base airshows, usually doing a fast taxy to start the festivities.

It wasnt long before she was seen hanging with those Douglas tarts

9_zpss4vt4y2j.jpg

We had the station phots take a PR shot of her to sell in the Museum shop. Ever the lady 895 duley peed on the ground during the shoot.

4_zpswwh5jjma.jpg

In 1984 the RANFAA had its guts ripped out.

Edited by NAVY870
  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites

We had waited for the Government to announce the replacement for HMAS Melbourne (HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes) but a change of oxygen thieves in

Canberra saw the hammer dropped on us. 805 and 816 squadrons were to be decommisioned immediately with their aircraft

placed in storage and 724 & 851 squadrons would go in July 1984.

A fixed wing farewell was held on the 26th of July 1984 to say goodbye to the A-4's & S-2's of 724 and 851.

WZ.895 along with Firefly WD.826 lead the fleet out, I had the honour to be in the right seat of 895 with the base commander,

Commodore Neil Ralph driving.

10_zpsgxwoefjj.jpg

11_zpsthundthk.jpg

12_zpskw6c3vpb.jpg

13_zpseb37qgk4.jpg

14_zpspkk9jiol.jpg

15_zpss6wxb7uc.jpg

16_zpshqwabhpc.jpg

She was present when the Kiwi's took our A-4's away.

17_zpsxejstmhh.jpg

Edited by NAVY870
  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1985 the RAN Historic Flight was formed and 895's restoration to flying began. First order of business

was to repair the cracked wing spar so off came the wing.

A very young me with CPOATWL Pete Dickinson, dreadful man!

19_zpswjmoeuqv.jpg

We got a zero time engine for her and were making progress until we found nobody willing

to sign off any wing repair. I left the Navy some time after and lost contact with 895 though I heard

a group of civvies had taken her over.

Fast forward to 2015 and I was finally reunited with her. Now the faint hearted should read no further as it aint pretty.

The civilian restorers had utterly gutted her, there was no reason to do so but they did anyway. Then they walked away and left her

in bits until she was bundled up and jammed into a couple of shipping containers.

The current condition is appalling and the custodians who allowed it to get this way should hang their heads in shame. I wont name names as

I have more honour than these people ever will. They have also ruined two Dakota's and allowed the Sea Fury to rot away as well.

20_zpsaixfuujs.jpg

24_zpsuqztpnt9.jpg

23_zpsnhvnlhqx.jpg

22_zps3wtfekg3.jpg

21_zpse6saten3.jpg

27_zpsfsntjchn.jpg

26_zpsmzvdumz3.jpg

25_zpsjpiymz4q.jpg

I cant comment on her future at the moment but I have offered to rebuild her if not I'll damn well buy her!

Edit- My above comments in no way reflect on the current staff of the RANFAA museum. A dedicated and first class group who are a credit

to the preservation of the aviation history of the RAN. The museum director is one of the worlds true gentlemen, its a privledge to work with him.

Edited by NAVY870
  • Like 14
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a little disappointed that you're not making a Spitfire, or even a Spiteful, Bill, but I'll be following anyway.

That's a wonderful story, NAVY870, albeit one that doesn't have a happy ending (unless you buy it and rebuild it).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I am going to be glued to this one as I have the CMR Venom NF3 to build and this might just be the push I'm needing (Bill will make it look easy even if it isn't).

I liked Navy870's potted history too, these are the things that make this site great IMHO.

Duncan B

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad story, but hopefully will have a happy ending.

I will be following this build as well. I don't have the CMR kit, but i do have the Premiere re-boxing of the old frog kit and plan to spend a fair amount of time on it n the future.

popcorn on order.

Al

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to "like" Steve's last post, but I couldn't click the button. Not when I could see the condition that WZ895 is in today. I almost cried, what a shame! Are the pieces now owned by the Camden Museum of Aviation?

 

In any event, I shall endeavour to do my best to honour the fair lady WZ895 with my build. I finished preparing the cockpit and fuselage pieces yesterday, and today we'll do some painting. For sure, I'm not going outside - it's minus 6 Fahrenheit, that's minus 21 Celsius for your folks on the other side. Brrrrr!

 

Cheers,

Bill

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to view a Buccaneer at Bournemouth airport a few years ago as potential spares for XX894 and XW544 and just lay around the grass were 5 Swiss Venoms that had been bought straight after retirement (in full flying condition) along with a number of containers of spares. The then owner tried by all accounts to sell them at quite a stiff price and got no takers. They were then just left to rot - literally. It was the most maddening scene of absolute waste of epic proportions to my mind.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are the pieces now owned by the Camden Museum of Aviation?

At this stage no, but CMA really doesn't have the space for her.

I wont say too much at this time, lets see what progresses

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be good Bill! :popcorn:

I hope you do get your hands on her Steve, its disgraceful that she should be in such a state!

Martin

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I 'Liked' Steve's final post more for the fact that he had taken the story to the present date. I am hoping that in time we will all be able to 'like' his full sized WIP of her too.

Crack on Bill, we need to see some pictures of your progress. Strangely, the thing that has put me off doing my NF3 is the question of how I'm going to apply the etched wing fences and paint over them.

Duncan B

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...