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Some questions on FAA Avengers


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Hi folks,

I’m after some good gen on Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avengers. Some of you may know that for the last few year I have been fascinated with the EIF and BPF and in particular the exploits of the corsair squadrons after reading ‘Carrier Pilot.’ It is now the turn of the avenger to be modelled in 1/48 and I have the Hobbyboss kit. I have also managed to secure the observers windows from an Accurate Miniatures kit. I don’t know too much about the FAA avengers in terms of the finer points so please shout out if you have some tips.

At the moment I am looking to do JZ127, an 854 Sqn Avenger/Tarpon MkI built by Grumman (making it a TBF-Ib or TBF-Ic?) which carried some bomb markings beneath the nose and a V-1 kill. I believe the pilot Sub-Lt Davies was able to get his aircraft into position to allow the TAG to destroy the V-1 back on the Channel front. This sqn went on to serve on HMS Illustrious between December 1944 and April 1945.


From Fleet Air Arm Aircraft: Deld South Africa 11.43, To RNARY Wingfield tested after erection 5.9.44, to Atheling for Ceylon 8.9.44, 854 Sqn (H), 12.44-4.45; ship pitching, bounced, missed wires, into barrier Illustrious, CAT LQ 1.1.45, (S/L PL Hartley), port wing hit rotating prop Illustrious, CAT LX 9.2.45, S/L DP Davies.


Above is the aircraft I wish to model and below are just some other examples.





Colour Schemes:

Is it coded ‘4H’ or ‘Q4H’ like the photo above?

Is the H in a different colour to the 4? Maybe sky instead of medium sea grey?

Is the spinner white, sky or silver?

MAP paint in TSS. Hard edged.

The other aircraft in the photo (A) has had its starboard wing roundel overpainted but looks like 4H has small EIF roundels. Are they in a transitional phase in readiness for BPF bars to be applied circa Jan 1945? ‘A’ also has a different spinner colour. Are they therefore two different flight leaders ranged for T/O?

Underwing roundels may be small and further outboard of the ASV aerials, potentially the darker spot in the photo? ‘A’ doesn’t look like it is carrying any.


Cockpit colour:

Bronze green or dull dark green from bulkhead to turret with interior green in other crew areas? Grumman grey cowling? I know the photo is b+w but the cockpit doesn’t appear to be particularly dark in tone.

Observers position:

Does it have a fold down seat?  Assuming that the Observer or TAG can go from the rear cockpit to the lower compartment, is it offset?

Is that the radar screen for ASV forward of the observer?

Should there be some radar kit in the lower compartment?

Does it have a second control column stowed?

Bomb load:

Quite clearly shown in many photos are US bombs with squared fins. For a typical load 4x 500Ibs seems to be the norm.


Sutton style harness? Lap belt on lower bench?

Dinghy Stowage:

Is that the square beneath the observer’s position?

Undercarriage Legs:

White or Sky? See ‘4G’ above

Small whip aerial:

Present behind turret.


Here is a couple of passages from ‘Front Line Avenger Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ by R.G. Fletcher:

“The aircraft was a mid-wing monoplane of all-metal, stressed skin construction and had accommodation for three crew members. Behind the pilot’s cockpit, there was a central glasshouse compartment given over to the accommodation of radio and other equipment. Then came the browning 0.5in gun turret and astern of this the lower cabin, occupying the whole of the fuselage behind the bomb bay, entered by a door aft of the starboard wing. Inside there was a folding bench-type seat facing forward opposite the radio and radar sets while below these there was a Perspex panel which, when the bomb bay doors were open, provided a downwards view for the bombardier as used by the USNAS. Above the radio was the access door to the turret and, on the right there was a space to crawl into the central glasshouse. To the rear of the seat, was the ventral gun position equipped with a Browning 0.3in firing aft. The cabin was poorly lit, having only one Perspex blister and a smaller window on each side although some daylight did filter down via the turret. The use of this lower cabin by the observer and TAG proved to be unsatisfactory for the former as visibility was poor and the use of navigational charts and instruments whilst sharing the bench seat with the TAG was not conducive to effective work or amicable relationships.


However, by transferring equipment from the central glasshouse compartment, it was possible to provide the observer with a position which had excellent visibility and better facilities for his navigational duties. It also left the rear cabin for the exclusive use of the TAG apart from the very occasional passenger. With this change, some squadrons dispensed with the ventral gun.”


From this I conclude that some of the kit mentioned in the first paragraph is in the glasshouse eg radar scope seen above in the photo of ‘4H’.


I think that's it for the moment!



Edited by 85sqn
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