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My entry in this group build is the Curtiss-Wright XF15C-1 mixed-propulsion fighter that was developed for the United States Navy at the end of WWII. Only three prototypes were built, as the US Navy moved their focus to pure jet propulsion. One of the prototypes has survived, and is at the Quonset Air Museum in Rhode Island. 

 

Similar to the Ryan FR Fireball, which actually entered service on a limited basis, the XF15C-1 had both a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine/propeller up front and an Allis-Chalmers J36 turbojet (aka de Havilland Goblin) under the tail. The mixed propulsion concept was devised to counter the slow acceleration of the early jets, a characteristic that limited their appeal for carrier use. Including the radial engine allowed for safe carrier launch and recovery. Having the turbojet in the tail would contribute to higher cruise speed, or so the theory went. 

 

The need for further development of the mixed propulsion concept for carrier fighters was negated by improvements in jet power, and the Curtiss-Wright XF15C was never ordered into production. This kit represents the T-tail design as incorporated into the second and third prototypes after the crash of the first.

 

The kit is made by Olimp Models in the Ukraine, and sold under their Pro Resin brand. I picked this up at a hobby shop in Germany for an incredible $13 USD. How can you pass up such a deal?   :) 

 

 

IMG_1171

 

This is a simple kit, and there are not that many parts. However, what is here is very nicely cast.

 

IMG_1173

 

IMG_1174

 

Two schemes are provided, both from the Naval Air Test Center (NATC) in 1945. These represent the second and third prototype. The first prototype was lost in a crash, and featured a different tail design. That aircraft is provided by Olimp Pro Resin in a separate kit.

 

IMG_1172

 

The inclusion of a small photoetch fret provides some nice detail touches. You can have any colour you like, as long as it's Dark Sea Blue.   :) 

 

This should be a fun project. Can't wait to start in a couple of days! I'm not entirely sure about the nickname "Stingaree" on the box. I haven't been able to find any references that allude to that particular name. In fact, everything I've seen so far simply refers to the aircraft as the XF15C. Most likely, it didn't get far enough along in development to actually get a name. But if someone knows different, I'd be curious to learn about it.

 

Cheers,

Bill

Edited by Navy Bird
Photobucket Eradication

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This will be an interesting build, I always look forward to your builds Bill!  :popcorn:

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Allis-Chalmers... that should've been a give away. Better known for tractorrrrs, harvesters and bulldozers than for (comparatively) hightech stuff like jet engines.

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Great choice, Bill! I actually have this kit, and it looks to be a nice one. I've always liked those Navy mixed-propulsion aircraft, like this, the Fireball, the Savage, and the Mercator. (We need to get Amodel or Modelsvit or somebody fearless like that to release an injection-moulded Mercator.)

 

Regards,

 

Jason

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5 hours ago, Rob G said:

Allis-Chalmers... that should've been a give away. Better known for tractorrrrs, harvesters and bulldozers than for (comparatively) hightech stuff like jet engines.

 

It was a license-built de Havilland Goblin. Development on the XF15C began during WWII, a time when many industrial firms stepped outside their fields of expertise to help the war effort. 

 

This Group Build starts tomorrow, right? Can't wait to start breathing resin dust again. (Not really, just a joke.)   :) 

 

Cheers,

Bill

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The Pro-resin models are actually not that bad to build as far as resin models go. I've build their XP-58 Chain Lightning and apart from the infamous resin bubbles they go together really nicely. She's certainly an interesting beast.

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I had a chat yesterday with a fellow who was a mechanical engineer at Curtiss-Wright in the 1950s over in Buffalo, NY. The XF15C was before his time at Curtiss, but he remembers it being spoken of amongst the surviving design engineers (the "aeroplane" division was sold in 1948 to North American). He says the plane's unofficial nickname was "Stingray" which was an internal project name or something similar. So I'm thinking "Stingaree" is perhaps a translation issue.

 

I think I'll just call it the F15. Sounds more successful that way.   :) 

 

Cheers,

Bill

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All right, then, step one is complete. All resin parts have been removed from their pour blocks and cleaned up.

 

IMG_1184

 

To prove that this actually was an aircraft, here is a photo of the second prototype in flight (I think it was quite nice of Curtiss to label the three prototypes with a big 1, 2, or 3 on the tail):

 

Curtiss-XF15C-1-T-tail

 

As was typical of experimental aircraft, these three went through quite a few different configurations. Only the third prototype survived, which was part of the New England Air Museum collection in Quonset, Rhode Island. Since the museum closed, I'm not aware of what happened to the aircraft in the collection. Perhaps someone here knows?

 

XF15C_06-30-2007_RC_4091

 

XF15C_06-30-2007_RC_4018

 

I've not been able to find any photos of the cockpit, so I will have to go on the assumption that it was US Interior Green. All of the period photos that I've seen are in black and white, so I can't really tell from them anything about the colours. However, in the last two photos above the aircraft appears to still be in the paint scheme she wore during testing at NATC. I think it's safe to assume that the gear legs and wells were also Interior Green (or perhaps Zinc Chromate Green). Wheels look aluminum, though.

 

Although I like the NATC markings, and they're included with the kit, I like the configuration with the spinner best. I think it looks sleeker.

 

XF15C_1_01_1024

 

Those have to be the biggest cowl flaps I've ever seen. The kit provides these in photoetch. One thing I notice is that there was a chin scoop on the bottom of the cowling. This is not depicted in the kit. Hmm. 

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. And, no, I'm not going to fold the wings. 

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Interesting subject Bill, I'll follow along if I may :) 

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The XF15C was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 up front and a Goblin in the tail. The big radial engine installation was quite typical for piston engine fighters of the day:

 

XF15C Engine 1of2 b

 

The kit, however, doesn't depict this very well. Instead, we get a choice of two parts that I suppose are intended to look like the engine once the fuselage is together - one with spinner and one without.

 

IMG_1195

 

I only have one word for these beauties - lame!   

 

I just happen to have a spare R-2800 in the Magic Box of Leftover Stuff, and methinks it might look a wee bit better up front. Especially when there is such a large opening in the cowl!

 

IMG_1196

 

So I think that's what we'll do. Stay tuned for some cockpit photos.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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And a quick shot of the cockpit. Nothing fancy here - for all I know, this is mostly fictitious, although I will say that the armour behind the headrest seems to be the approximately the right shape. That's about the only part of the cockpit that shows up in any of the photos.

 

IMG_1197

 

22040770792_281e37dc00_b

 

Now I get to fettle with that engine. Of course, it's just a tad too big to fit, plus I have to figure out a way to add that intake scoop at the bottom. The actual opening for the engine looks circular, it's only the addition of that scoop on the bottom that makes the cowling oval. So the scoop needs to be added inside the bottom of the opening, and not on the outside like I did with my Firefly V. This should be interesting!

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Well, so much for that idea. In order to make the engine fit, I will need to remove about half of the cylinder head height all the way around. I think that's a non-starter. I don't have any other spare engines so I'm going to have to go with what's in the kit. But that may not be so bad - I wanted to do the version with the spinner, and it will cover up most of the cowl opening anyway, especially if I can figure out a way to add that intake scoop on the bottom. More things to ponder...

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Good choice Bill - the nice kit parts will look fine, I'm sure, and you can save the engine for 'next time'.

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This is a great subject for the Group Build Bill, I'm really looking forward to seeing it being built.

 

Its quite a stunning looking bird.

 

 It sounds strange but if I squint (a lot) the overall shape looks quite a bit like the MiG 9.

 

The first flight of the XF-15C was February 1945, exactly the same month and year that MiG were ordered to produce the single seat jet fighter.

 

I wonder if someone over at MiG had a friend that had a friend that had a look at the Curtiss, wondered how two reverse-engineered BMW engines would fit the general shape :hmmm: ?

 

Welcone to the Group Build Bill, thanks for building and introducing us to such an interesting prototype :).

 

All best regards

TonyT

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On 3/21/2017 at 20:01, TonyTiger66 said:

It sounds strange but if I squint (a lot) the overall shape looks quite a bit like the MiG 9.

 

The first flight of the XF-15C was February 1945, exactly the same month and year that MiG were ordered to produce the single seat jet fighter.

 

I wonder if someone over at MiG had a friend that had a friend that had a look at the Curtiss, wondered how two reverse-engineered BMW engines would fit the general shape :hmmm: ?

 

Except for the t-tail, I suppose. But then, the XF15C didn't always have a t-tail:

 

Image_16

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Check this out - she's starting to look like an aeroplane!

 

IMG_1201

 

Let's see, to get to this point I added about 25 grams of ballast up front to prevent her from being a tail-setter. The cockpit and nose gear well were added to the port fuselage. The wings and the tailplane were drilled out and pinned to provide a stronger bond than what I would have had with a butt join. Next, I'll work on blending the wing roots to the fuselage, and see what I can do about the cowling. You can see that there is room for the intake below the spinner - I'm still dumbfounded on why that wasn't included. I think adding this is going to be a royal pain.

 

Ah, modelling...

 

Cheers,

Bill

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A note on the name 'stingaree' - it's a species of stingray and is valid. The box has it labelled 'Stringaree' (with an extra R), which is a spelling error.

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On 3/24/2017 at 23:27, Rob G said:

A note on the name 'stingaree' - it's a species of stingray and is valid. The box has it labelled 'Stringaree' (with an extra R), which is a spelling error.

 

Man, I don't know. In the US, Stingaree was the name of a section of San Diego (a Navy town!) that was well known as being a hangout for the city's undesirables, where all the gambling, illegal drugs, opium dens, and prostitution were based. This reputation lasted well past the time this aircraft was developed. It's well known that the US Navy wouldn't allow Grumman to call the F7F the Tomcat because it promoted female promiscuity - would they really have allowed the name Stingaree to be used for this aircraft? Even if Curtiss was trying to make an inside joke, I can't imagine the Navy allowing it. That, and the fact that my friend who worked at Curtiss said the people who worked on it remember the project name (no official nickname) as Stingray leaves me to believe that Stingaree is an urban legend. Of course, if someone can come up with any Curtiss or USN documents saying otherwise, I'll be happy to change my mind! I've been wrong before...many times! Just ask wifey.     :) 

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Hi

Interesting to note, where is the air intake for the Goblin?

I can only assume its the scoop under the engine cowl but that looks too small. Is there another one somewhere not visible in the pictures?

 

Colin

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49 minutes ago, Colin W said:

Hi

Interesting to note, where is the air intake for the Goblin?

I can only assume its the scoop under the engine cowl but that looks too small. Is there another one somewhere not visible in the pictures?

 

Colin

They are in the wing leading edge adjacent to the fuselage, both sides.

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On 3/26/2017 at 11:07, Tailspin Turtle said:

They are in the wing leading edge adjacent to the fuselage, both sides.

 

Thanks, Tommy. Here is a photo that shows the two intakes:

 

21431174023_8c2c094608_b

 

This is perhaps a more clear view, prior to her re-paint:

 

01215

 

(Mr. Kistler - if you're out there and would like this photo removed, please let me know. Thanks.)

 

And a close-up:

 

21431802193_1e7cab25b7_b

 

This is another interesting part of the kit, as the shape for the intakes is cast into the wings, they are not hollowed out. Nor are the vanes provided in photoetch. You can see from the first photo in this post, that the air is directed very dramatically towards the center of the aircraft. The wings in the kit are one piece, and would present an interesting challenge to try and create the interior of the intake without messing up the wing proper. My plan at this point is to use a black decal that mimics the intake shape, and paint Sea Blue stripes to represent the vanes. Lazy way to do it, I know.

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. I'm hoping that it's just the flash used on the indoor photos, but that re-paint looks like the wrong colour. In the pictures, it looks more like Blue Angel Blue FS15050 than Dark Sea Blue FS15042. 

 

PPS. Last night, I read through a company profile published by Aeroplane Monthly in 2014 called "Curtiss 1907-1947." This purports to show nearly all of the 120 aircraft designs produced by Curtiss whether they achieved series production or not. In the cases where an aircraft had a name or nickname in addition to its designation, that is shown (like Hawk, Warhawk, Kittyhawk, etc.). The XF15C is the penultimate entry in this profile (the last being the XP-87 Blackhawk), and it is listed as simply the XF15C-1 (Model 99). This is a great company profile with 132 pages - a wonderful summary of Curtiss aircraft. Highly recommended if you can find a copy!

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Looks really cool so far, Bill.

 

Talking with Larry Webster, i think its the Quonset Museum in Rhode Island that is closing down, and not NEAM in Windsor Locks. The F-15C was originally part of the NEAM collection, but i think it got loaned or donated to someone else after the tornado in the early 80s passed through, which walloped a lot of NEAM's artifacts. Larry was telling me that the airport authority wanted the Quonset Museum out of there, so they could develop that part of the airport property for General Aviation use.

 

Surprising how unsentimental aviation can be. :(

 

-d-

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2 hours ago, David H said:

Looks really cool so far, Bill.

 

Talking with Larry Webster, i think its the Quonset Museum in Rhode Island that is closing down, and not NEAM in Windsor Locks. The F-15C was originally part of the NEAM collection, but i think it got loaned or donated to someone else after the tornado in the early 80s passed through, which walloped a lot of NEAM's artifacts. Larry was telling me that the airport authority wanted the Quonset Museum out of there, so they could develop that part of the airport property for General Aviation use.

 

Surprising how unsentimental aviation can be. :(

 

-d-

My understanding, also from Larry Webster, is that the XF15C is going to Hickory, North Carolina: http://www.hickoryaviationmuseum.org/

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