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Fairey Swordfish MkII - Trumpeter 1/32

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So this is my next model and the one I really wanted to build since I discovered this fascinating pastime. My wife started all this with a gift at Christmas but I think she prefers it when I finish a kit rather than when I just start one. Finishing means she gets the temporary return of her nail scissors, nail clippers, hair dryer, tweezers, nail files, cotton buds and sewing box. It also means that the spare room is permitted to be vacuumed without risk of sucking up a fallen part, but as I am happy to remind her, she only has herself to blame :)




There are a lot of sprues so I won't photograph them all but the one above is of particular interest since it offers the option for a clear fuselage. This is something I hope to take great advantage of but if you can see all the innards then they need to be done well, right? Hmmm. Hold that thought.
This will be a slow build, it is my intention to add a lot of extra detail to the model most of which is probably way beyond my skill level but you know what they say... he who dares ends up with a sticky mess.




I will write a little of the story about the aircraft I chose to focus on as I go along this time and patch it all together for the RFI at the end since I have already done a lot of research. As the photo shows the kit presents two possible aircraft and I fancied attempting the white one HS158 designated 'B' of 816 squadron, so as is my wont I began looking up the aircraft itself.


Well, it turns out HS158 never went anywhere near 816 squadron, in fact it is highly unlikely she was ever designated 'B' either, the closest it came was as '4B' during it's time with 813 squadron. It's history is as follows:


Deld 28.5.42; 813 Sqn ('4B') 12.42 - 2.43; 860 Sqn from 9.43; Evanton SS 11.43; 825 Sqn, night landing, hit barrier, Vindex, Cat Y1 31.12.43 (S/L DG Trussel); ATA Ratcliffe to W&E Flt RAE 3.7.44 (Harvest Moon tests); 778 Sqn Crail/ Arbroath 14.8.44; Left 3.2.45; 731 Sqn Easthaven ('E3E') 3.45; Fast landing, sheared off u/c, off barrier into sea, Cat ZZ 30.8.45 (Lt RH Ayrton OK)


So I wondered how Trumpeter could possibly have such a simple piece of information wrong? It turns out the Trumpeter kit is heavily based upon the Tamiya 1/48 kit which also offers HS158 of 816 squadron designated 'B' even daring to place it aboard HMS Tracker in 1943 which of course it never was. The closest it came was when it was aboard the newly completed HMS Vindex at the end of 1943 long before Vindex joined HMS Tracker for the Atlantic operations. So Tamiya have it wrong also, curious. I delved deeper and the first instance of HS158 wearing the designation 'B' is this one by Airfix from 1958:




Neither the packet nor the instructions make any mention of it being part of 816 squadron or HMS Tracker.


The only images I have been able to secure of HS158 are the two below. As you can see she carries only a pilot and has no squadron designation whatsoever since these images were taken during her test flights carried out by test pilot H.P. Wilson. It seems likely that these images were the source of the original HS158 models and since modellers were probably a lot less particular in those days Airfix simply gave her the letter 'B' designation because they could. Over the years different manufacturers have carried on the tale of HS158 embellishing it with extra details as they went, it does seem peculiar that none ever took the time to check their facts but I guess that's big business for you.







Not convinced that these images were the basis for Airfix's original perversion of HS158? Well then check out this third photograph from the series which I cannot post here since it appears to be copyrighted, compare that image with this one from a later Airfix kit (1966) with clearer box art, does that man look familiar ;) I have to say someone did a very poor job of drawing in the TAG and I have no idea what kind of gun that is but if he doesn't at the least need some serious dental work after firing it then it looks likely to blow the poor guy out through the prop.


Third Photo



So, anyway, since the story behind the model HS158 is one of fabrication the brothers Grimm would have been proud of and hundreds of modellers had already built this imaginary plane I decided I would focus on a different aircraft altogether, which one I will reveal in my next posts. Please be patient.

Edited by KelT
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I'll be watching if you don't mind.  There are a lot of people in the forum with Swordfish knowledge so don't be afraid to ask.  You could decide which aeroplane you want to model by first deciding on campaign, then find you unit, then the aeroplane.  Markings are not difficult to come by or paint for yourself..

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@Grey Beema I already have the aircraft I will be building and it's complete history, I'm just waiting on the pilots service records from NZ, but I will no doubt be looking for help and advice as I go so thank you for the advice.


@amblypygid Thank you, I've already printed the decals I need, I got lots of practice at that with my last kit but this time at least I only need black lettering so it's easy.


I spent a day studying the instructions both the Trumpeter ones and the Tamiya ones. There are a few obvious differences besides the Trumpeter model being bigger of course. The inclusion of the PE bracing wires in the Trumpeter kit (the Tamiya ones are an extra purchase) and the option for a clear fuselage and one or two other clear parts. Tamiya has the aircrew included where Trumpeter doesn't, Trumpeter offers a couple of minor optional parts such as variety of pitot tubes and this one:



I have no idea what this part is, if there is a Swordfish expert looking in perhaps you can enlighten me, it looks like some kind of breather tube or vent. It is directly above the oil tank so perhaps it's related to that? It's not even labelled on the Haynes cutout drawing.

Before opening the plastic bags my very first problem became apparent. Trumpeter were kind enough to include clear fuselage certainly and to help make what you saw if you use them more appealing than simply empty space they included the fuel tanks, oil tank and the firewall between the engine and the tanks. They were also kind enough to include chassis parts for the tail end of the aircraft. What they - for reasons only they can possibly know - omitted to include is the chassis for the front of the aircraft around the fuel tanks.

So using this image of the dismembered HS491 now residing at the Maltese Museum I bought some styrene today and had a go at re-creating the framework.




The angles aren't perfect I know, they were better until I test fit it and realised I had to work around the Trumpeter fuselage moulding so I had to cut and alter it a little. I left the vertical bar which terminated the original Trumpeter chassis for strength and also because it contains the locating pin for the fuselage. The round members are also 0.2mm to fat but I'm not worried about that especially since Trumpeter moulded the top rail as a rectangular piece instead of round anyway. I've only done the starboard side as that's the only side I'm intending to use the clear fuselage on.





My next problem is this part:




The one on the left is the Tamiya cockpit floor, the one on the right is Trumpeter's idea of a copy. As you can see the Trumpeter one doesn't have the texture detail of the Tamiya part, are there any of you expert modellers reading this that might be able to give me an idea as to how to reproduce the texture on the Trumpeter part?

I will say that from my experience so far, perhaps I was a little spoilt with the beautiful precision of the Airfix Spitifire VB kit, there has been a lot of seam cleaning so far on this kit. Nothing major, not big globs of plastic or anything but enough to keep me busy, every single side of the chassis parts had a seam line to be cleaned. Not the end of the world but I hope it's not indicative of things to come.




Edited by KelT
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I'm building the mk1 version of this kit at the moment and to be honest whe the fuselage is closed up you can hardly see the floor, not sure you'd see much more of it even with the clear fuselage ?




PS... The photo etch is really tough to cut !

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Hi Alan


Thanks for the info. I had given up on the cockpit floor after having tried several things the best of which was PVA gluing a piece of stretched nylon stockings to the floor. This actually wasn't too bad apart from the fact the I'd then need to cut perfect circles for the bomb hatch and other fixtures.


Do you get a clear fuselage with the Mk1 kit? To be honest I'm trying not to think about the PE, I've never done it before and I am leaving it completely out of mind until I reach that point then I'll do some reading. I just found your WIP thread, I shall follow along for sure.


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I managed to paint up the fuel tank although I had a little trouble determining the colour for this part. Trumpeter labels it as Model Colour H3 (Red) and indeed there are countless models on the internet with a bright red tank, however I could only find one aircraft with a red tank:




This isn't a wartime aircraft but a more modern reconstruction as you can see the red tank has a little sparkle and texture to it. Checking out the images of HS491 in Malta again a little red can be seen in the top right of the tank but it appears to be exposed due to paint rubbing off.

The Swordfish tanks were aluminium construction with a self sealing design, this is only a guess and perhaps someone has information I haven't found but, I considered that the red coating was part of the self sealing rubber designed to react with the fuel and re-seal the tank. It is likely, as in several other photo's I have, that this coating was then painted over with the standard aircraft interior colour. This is what I decided to do if only since a bright red tank stands out like Julian Clarey in a military parade. I thought about having a little red showing through for effect like HS491 but since my aircraft is only a few months old I figured it'd be unlikely. I added some fill caps and a couple of steel pipes which will eventually join up with the engine if all goes to plan.





In the end I did manage to overcome my problem of chequer-plate texture for the cockpit floor. I embossed some kitchen foil over a standard wood file then glued it to the cockpit floor using PVA. Once dry I rubbed it down into the features with a cotton bud and cocktail stick. After painting it with XF-71 and letting it dry I gently rubbed a thinner soaked cotton bud over it to reveal the tin foil beneath. It still needs a wash for a little grime but I'm quite happy with the results.






The steering wheel ;) was subjected to some of my finest sewing with black thread before being painted with PVA then Tamiya semi-gloss black. I'm not completely happy with it and I am still trying to come up with a way to add a little shine to the cotton. This too needs a little distressing once it's complete. The wire is just some copper filament painted black and will eventually join up with the main loom, again if all goes to plan.


For those of you that are thinking "hey that there's some mighty fine sewing and I got my brothers wedding coming up soon. Perhaps this fella will make me a tailor made suit an all." Forget it!



I also painted up the chassis and again had problems as there seems to be no two aircraft around today which agree on an internal colour scheme. They range from everything in "cockpit green" to most of the cockpit in "cockpit green" and the chassis in a darker green, "cockpit green" and what looks like medium sea grey, "cockpit green" and black, I even found one with "cockpit green" and brown. In the end I decided on the "cockpit green" (a given) and the slightly darker chassis simply because it adds a little contrast for the models aesthetics. I made the darker green using Tamiya XF-71 (cockpit green) and adding XF-81 (dark green) at about 1:1.

(I get a dollar every time I use the words "cockpit green" by the way)





So which aircraft did I decide to model. Well by sheer co-incidence, or perhaps not as it was brought about through researching HS158 but unlike HS158, my aircraft did serve with 816 squadron, it was aboard HMS Tracker in 1943 and it did wear the squadron code "B". Below is a photo of her aboard HMS Tracker taken in 1943 by a naval photographer Lt Oulds. The aircraft is LS247. I know this despite not being able to see the serial since Lt. Oulds was only onboard the Tracker for a couple of months, it is indeed likely that he flew out in one of the brand new Swordfish as they were delivered to 816 squadron. In fact it's also likely that he flew out because the Swordfish were brand new and also because they were using a new classified weapon. The Swordfish MkII was introduced in early 1943 with the metal protective plate under the wings allowing the first use of rockets on the aircraft. This new design was first put into service two or three months prior to these photographs and so the rocket technology was still very much classified, in fact the images at the time were censored.

The photograph below is not the one that inspired me to model LS247, I will get to that one later, but it is an excellent image and I show it here because - a little more speculation here - I suspect that this image, commonly available on the net might be the one that further consolidated the HS158 fantasy precisely because it is 816 squadron, "B", onboard HMS Tracker in 1943 and you cannot see the serial number.




I'm not sure where this photo is from, there are so many copies floating about, but the copy on IWM describes it as:

"Striking down" or folding the wings on a rocket firing Fairey Swordfish of No 816 Squadron Fleet Air Arm after it had landed on board HMS TRACKER from an anti-submarine sweep in the North Atlantic.

Edited by KelT
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@dogsbody  Sorry to drag you over here dogsbody I didn't want to hijack Alan's thread. Do you have any idea what this part is supposed to be:






D23 in the Tamiya kit and E7 in the Trumpeter one. Tamiya seems to have it attaching to the upper part of the cockpit where Trumpeter don't seem to know what to do with it. I've been unable to find it in any images or figure out what it might be, they must have included it for something right? In the images I have the place where is connects to the cockpit floor has a blanking cover on it but no lever. I'm considering just leaving it off myself but I would be interested to know what it is and then perhaps why they included it.

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I got the cockpit built up after a lot of fiddly work:

  • Removed the plastic straps on the foot pedals and replaced with Band-Aid.
  • Thinned out the pilot seat so it didn't look so much like it was made by Little Tykes.
  • Made my own seat belts since the PE ones with the kit were designed for gnomes. For some reason they seem to come from the lower back region, it's like Trumpeter forgot to scale them up or something. Mine were made from Band-Aid since it already has the holes in it, has a material pattern, is self adhesive and is readily available for free at your local swimming baths.
  • Thinned out the bucket in the TAG's pit.
  • Removed the plastic handles from the spare magazines and replaced them with foil ones. The foil is from those little tea candles, it's my new favourite material even holds a rivet with a pin pushed into it from behind. I learned the hard way to wash it in warm water first though as the wax residue doesn't like paint.
  • Hollowed out the handle on the drawer below the radio.
  • Oddly Trumpeter don't provide decals for the radio, I toyed with printing my own but the raised detail on the part was so good a decal wouldn't have sat properly so I ended up hand painting it.
  • Put a back on the radio and added some cables, my first for the loom and likely the longest. For the cables I used elastic from standard knicker elastic, I found that soaking it in hot soapy water for a minute allowed you to pull out extremely long lengths at a time. It's actually surprising how many strands of elastic there are in a 10mm wide piece. Don't use the stuff out of your own underwear though as it can lead to discomfort and chills.




I have to be honest, despite all Trumpeter's errors so far this kit goes together extremely well. Several parts such as the pilots seat, the top of the stool and the joystick click together so well you don't even have to glue them. (Of course they'd fall off after you'd completed the thing if you didn't and spend the rest of their lives rattling around in the tail as you raced around the kitchen making airplane noises.) You could even attach the chassis without gluing as it goes together so effectively, which is great for test fitting. I'm finding that even though the parts click together like Lego bricks the tolerances aren't as fine as with my last kit, (the Airfix Club Specialist Spitfire Vb) which is actually a good thing as a little paint doesn't interfere with the joint nearly as much.

The fact that they included PE is great but it's completely useless if it's not to scale which can be seen even in the instructions as you can see from the image in my previous post. Providing the transparent fuselage is wonderful too but they failed to refine many of the parts that will be visible if you choose to use it, such as no backs to the small canisters or toolbox.



Now for a little more about LS247 for anyone who might be interested. Below is the image of LS247 which captured my interest:




The caption below the image read:



A fight for life. Photographers aboard Royal Navy aircraft carriers were daily witnesses to life and death struggles as exhausted airmen brought their aircraft home after long and demanding missions. Here, the three crewmen aboard a Fleet Air Arm Fairey Swordfish from HMS Tracker struggle to release their harnesses before their “Stringbag” sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic and takes them with it. A series of photographs in the collection of Richard Allnutt starts with this image, likely taken as the Swordfish (from 816 Squadron) slid down the starboard side of the carrier past the island superstructure and ends with a number of images that show that the aircraft sank within 100 metres of the ship and that the crew got out safely. Photo from the Collection of Richard Mallory Allnutt

The caption isn't quite correct but we will get to that later. The image above isn't from R. M. Allnutt's collection either, I was fortunate enough to track down and make contact with the stepson of one of the crew aboard HMS Tracker at that time. He was kind enough to scan his copies of the series of photographs for me as it seems there were several copies given/sold to Tracker crew at the time. Below is a photograph of Maxwell Turner the crewman for whom I am grateful for these photographs and whose stepson Keith I am greatly indebted to for taking the time to scan them for me.




So how did LS247 come to end up in the Atlantic in the first place? Below is an excerpt from A Sprog Goes to War, the story of Norman Alvey who was the radio operator onboard HMS Tracker at the time. The photograph below shows Norman receiving the Ushakov medal at the age of 92 for his service with 816 Squadron aboard HMS Chaser escorting convoy's in the Arctic:





The planes of 816 Squadron had been allocated to HMS Tracker while she was still being converted in an American shipyard and she was now ordered to the Clyde to embark her aircraft. These arrived on August 14 to the pipe “Hands to flying stations. Stand by to receive aircraft”.  The Seafires (Mk Ib) landed first as they had less endurance than the Swordfish (Mk II) which could stay airborne for about 7 hours. The Seafires landed without mishap which was remarkable considering that, with a top speed of 359mph, they took only 4 seconds to traverse the heaving flight deck. One Swordfish (DK683) did slide overboard with a burst tyre and, though Sub-Lt AE White was rescued, Sub-Lt R Boakes and Leading Airman G N Jenkins were killed. Captain Donal Scott McGarth, a former destroyer skipper, had taken over command from Captain Dickens who was injured when inspecting the ship’s catapult. A period of hard training followed preparing the squadron for escorting convoys across the ‘air gap’ in mid- Atlantic which could not be reached by land based planes from Britain or America.

Having returned to Greenock for fresh supplies Tracker set out on October 18th to help escort another eastbound convoy HX262 across the gap. On a calm day sailing past the distinctive shape of Ailsa Craig with dolphins sporting in the bow wave and gannets diving for the gash food thrown over the stern the Firth of Clyde can be very pleasant, but now the Atlantic showed its rough side. Coastal Command had been giving air cover but then Tracker ran into a south west gale and was unable to maintain her position in the convoy. She was obliged to weigh anchor at Melville, Northern Ireland. The Admiralty signalled that, if there were no signs of U-boats in that area, Tracker should leave the convoy and sweep over an area to the south, sailing as far as 490 north. It was decided to send off an air search with three Swordfish.

 The wind was rising and there was a long Atlantic swell so taking off was not easy.  An hour and a half later the Swordfish reported seeing nothing and the first Swordfish returned. It made a good approach but, when about to touch down the aft of the flight deck rose sharply and the plane bounced badly. The deck then dropped. And the plane began to stall, the nose slewed round and it plunged into the sea, its wing striking the signal platform, buckling the railing and knocking out two signalmen. It hit the water hard but it did not break up immediately and, as it went down, nose heavy, with its tail in the air the crew scrambled free. A smoke float had gone off accidentally providing a useful marker for rescuers. Tracker which had been steaming into wind at 15 knots to land aircraft dashed past the three airmen.  She stopped and turned back but it is difficult to manoeuvre such a large ship at slow speed in a rolling sea. Eventually Captain McGarth abandoned the rescue attempt on learning that one of the sloops and a tug were on their way. He now turned his attention to the other two Swordfish which had been flying around for nearly half-an-hour. They both made perfect landings.

You can read the rest of Norman's story here, it's a lengthy read but very informative and interesting and you can read about his award here.

So an accident on landing. Careless? Well I did a little checking and found that during the four months 816 squadrons Swordfish were aboard HMS Tracker there were a total of twenty reported accidents, nineteen of which were during landing. It's not really surprising, I've worked in the Atlantic the weather is fierce and quickly changeable, the swells can be huge. A small vessel such as HMS Tracker would do more bobbing than an apple festival. When in combat the often joked about sluggishness of the Swordfish was a great advantage but perhaps when approaching a rapidly bouncing flight deck it was a severe disadvantage. For LS247, only four months old herself, it meant the end.

Imagine going out to work each day, a dangerous job where you may well be shot at and killed. Bad enough in itself but what if you stood just as much chance of being killed when returning home and driving your car into your drive? These men did this time and time again in the defence of shipping convoys and we should never forget their bravery.

I will reveal more interesting details to the story of LS247 in further posts.


Swordfish accidents aboard HMS Tracker between Aug-Dec 1943.

25.8.43		LS261 		816 Sqn Tracker. Heavy landing 25.8.43 ( S/L A. E. White); 
26.8.43		DK683		816 Sqn Tracker, Night DL, over side Tracker, Cat Z (S/L AE White unhurt; S/L R Boakes & LA GN Jenkins killed)
4.9.43		HS645 		816 Sqn, Tracker ran into another a/c taxying on deck Tracker 4.9.43 (S/L A. Muir); 
4.9.43		HS641 		816 Sqn Tracker ('B') 7.43; HS643 crashed through barrier into HS641 4.9.43 (S/L R. F. Creighton); "Miss Blandish"
4.9.43		HS643		816 Sqn Tracker, missed wires, through barrier into HS641, tail unit wrecked 4.9.43 (S/L R. F. Creighton);
4.9.43		DK697		816 Sqn ('M') Heavy landing (S/L JF Mason) - Aircraft repaired sent to 766 Sqn 3.44
30.9.43		LS238 		816 Sqn Tracker, heavy landing, ship pitching 30.9.43 (S/L C. N. S. Bissett RNZ )
3.10.43 	LS247		816 Sqn Tracker. Bounced landing in gale, swung over side (S/L C. N. S. Bissett RNZN OK; observer S/L  J. V. Stretton killed).
11.10.43	LS294 		816 Sqn Tracker, u/c collapsed landing on rising deck 11.10.43 ( S/L E. B. Bennett);
27.10.43	HS674 		816 Sqn Tracker broke port u/c landing Tracker 27.10.43 (S/L R. F. Creighton);
27.10.43	LS248 		816 Sqn Tracker. Slow response to DLO's signals, damaged 27.10.43 (S/L A. Muir); 
27.10.43	LS324 		816 Sqn Tracker movement of deck landing 27.10.43 (S/L . E. White);
29.10.43 	LS238		816 Sqn Tracker. Movement of deck while landing (S/L R. E. Cocklin & LA A. Liddell OK).
31.10.43	LS156 		816 Sqn Tracker Violent manoeuvre of ship while hook engaged, rose 6ft, stalled, broke port oleo caught wire, Tracker, Cat X1 (S/L PJ Beresford)
6.11.43		LS248		816 Sqn Tracker movement of deck, damaged 6.11.43 (S/L F. H. Boriace);
26.11.43	HS674		816 Sqn Tracker landed with drift, went over edge 26.11.43 (S/L A. Muir OK).
17.12.43	LS321 		816 Sqn Tracker; roll of ship, crashed on landing Tracker 17.12.43 (S/L R. E. Cocklin);
19.12.43	LS164 		816 Sqn Tracker u/c collapsed landing on rising deck Tracker 19.12.43 (S/L E. B. Bennett); 
21.12.43	LS169		816 Sqn Tracker. Crashed on landing (S/L P. J. Beresford OK).
21.12.43	LS248		816 Sqn Tracker u/c collapsed on landing 21.12.43 (S/L J. F. Mason); 


Edited by KelT
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Got some more fiddly stuff done. Modifications made to kit:


  • Filed out the bracket which holds the Vickers, drilled through and inserted a cut-down pin. The gun now rocks back and forth, couldn't figure out how to make it rotate though, not without fabricating a whole new bracket.
  • Bored out the barrel of the Vickers.
  • Removed the ejected cartridge capture bag as it looked like one of your grandad's old socks.
  • Left the magazine off the Vickers as it is unlikely to have been left loaded while the aircraft is unmanned.
  • Made a new tarp above the radio out of rolled up masking tape as the original looked a little blobby.
  • Trumpeter again don't include any decals for the instruments in the observers pit or the pilots, again I toyed with printing some but ended up hand painting them instead.
  • Removed the lump of plastic that was supposed to represent the seat belt guide bar on the bulkhead above the pilot seat. Replaced with some 15amp fuse wire and passed my seatbelts through it as they should go.
  • Used the rest of the pin from the gun mount to make a T-bar for the fuel valve (that was the most fiddly part by far, gluing two pieces of 1mm steel pin together) and some extra knobs and buttons.
  • Added a foil cutout around the thrust levers to give them a little more depth.
  • Completed cabling on port side, although I still need to add some piping for the rudder controls.

To be honest it felt like I did a lot more but these tiny bits take some time, I have been very thankful for my magnifying lamp that's for sure.





Now a little more on LS247:

There were three crew members aboard when she went over the side, the pilot (Sub Lt. Clifford Norman Smyth Bisset), the observer (Sub Lt. John Victor Stretton) and a TAG whom I have been unable to identify.

John Stretton, shown below writing at his desk a few days before the accident, unfortunately lost his life in the crash. John - son of William and Annie Stretton {Watkinson}, of Creswell, Derbyshire - was 21 and only recently qualified as an observer, in fact this posting onto the Tracker a mere two months prior to the accident was his first active posting. Sub Lieutenant Stretton wasn't killed by the impact of the aircraft hitting the water but he was injured by it, his injuries proved to be too much as he struggled to stay afloat while awaiting rescue. Unfortunate indeed but even more so than normal as we will see in further posts.



John Stretton writing at his desk aboard HMS Tracker. Also in the photo are Sub-Lts Duncan and Richardson.

For now though you might be interested to take another look at the last photo of LS247 I posted. The Swordfish was fitted with an immersion switch in the engine compartment of the nose, upon sustained contact with water it was designed to automatically inflate the aircraft's liferaft. As you can clearly see from the image, with the nose well immersed in the cold Atlantic, this didn't happen.


John Stretton is remembered on the FAA war memorial at Lee-on-Solent on panel number 4.




Edited by KelT
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Great stuff.  Since both my Uncle (pilot) & Father (Observer) flew Swordfish, you certainly have my attention.  Re S/Lt Stretton’s death, my Dad told me that most RNVR aircrew were very fatalistic - especially about drowning; “I could barely swim in those days [borne out by his service docs, which say “only just passed swimming test” at St Vincent on joining!], but the instructors all said ‘That’s not a problem - if you ditch where you’re going you’ll die anyway, & swimming just makes it last longer”. 


Single engine, open cockpit biplane over the sea on Arctic Convoys?  Respect!

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU
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@Ex-FAAWAFU That's very interesting.


I knew nothing about Swordfish, the FAA or the men who were part of it prior to starting this model so my knowledge is limited to what I can find on the net. With every piece of information I discover my respect for those men grows and studying a small group in particular, such as the crew of LS247, makes it very real and somehow personal for me. I read about the lives and see the faces of men such as John Stretton who never made it into any painting or onto the pages of books but were no less brave than those that did and it humbles me. I feel both sad and honoured to learn about people like J. Stretton who would otherwise have gone unnoticed and, with the passing of Cliff Bisset, forgotten. In his short life he features in several photographs, the one above and the series on the crash, and yet it is the photographs themselves that have garnered the attention not the men in them. At the same time it is those same photographs that have preserved their memory for those like myself who are prepared to look a little deeper.


Yet there are many others who did not stand in front of the camera but who were no less courageous and just as deserving of remembrance, until I began this modelling a short time ago I was one who remained shamefully oblivious. The war does not interest me, nor the aircraft or armour that fought in it, but coming into contact with the lives of the men who lived in those times somehow makes me more appreciative of my own life and gives me cause to look at those around me, both elder and younger, with a little more respect.


Thank you for sharing some of your Dad's memories and experiences.

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 8:43 PM, KelT said:

@dogsbody  Sorry to drag you over here dogsbody I didn't want to hijack Alan's thread. Do you have any idea what this part is supposed to be:






D23 in the Tamiya kit and E7 in the Trumpeter one. Tamiya seems to have it attaching to the upper part of the cockpit where Trumpeter don't seem to know what to do with it. I've been unable to find it in any images or figure out what it might be, they must have included it for something right? In the images I have the place where is connects to the cockpit floor has a blanking cover on it but no lever. I'm considering just leaving it off myself but I would be interested to know what it is and then perhaps why they included it.


Sorry, KelT! I just noticed this. I didn't get a notification about it and as I usually just look at 1/72 scale, this totally blew by me. As to the part, I have no idea what it might be.


Your kit is coming along nicely. You're doing a great job. I'll be watching more closely now.




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  • 1 year later...

Well I just returned to this thread and, hopefully this model, having done neither posting nor modelling in the interim. Thank goodness for Britmodeller as reading through my own posts has been the best reminder of what I had in mind for this aircraft.


I was hoping to do a search and find dozens of other Swordfish builds completed since my last visit so I might have used them as guides but sadly that doesn't appear to be the case. This was only my second model back in 2018 so I knew very little back then and I have forgotten twice as much so the road to continuation is likely to be a slow and very bumpy one. On the upside time and a little dust seems only to have added to the effects of the so far completed sections.


@Fogold Sorry I wasn't here to respond to your post and now you are likely not here to read my reply but wth.


I agree the rudder pedals do appear, in the model, to have been built for someone with legs three times their body length. Looking at the image below though where the pilots knees are virtually touching the instrument panel they may not be as unrealistically far away as the seem. They were also adjustable according to the Aircrew Manual (the text snippet below) so despite how that were possible not being obvious in the actual model perhaps the distancing from the seat is not actually so bad. 





Now I have hundreds of images to study again and lots of PDF's to re-read and that's before I look to see if all my paint has gone solid. I'm looking forward to continuing this build but I am also very afraid to do so, I just keep reminding myself, it's all about the fun. Hopefully this thread has not only been severely necromanced but will also be filled with new life over the coming months.





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Started reading your thread and catching up, I  have to go out soon so need to get ready and will catch up later.  Great start and interesting history.  

Like your extra details in the cockpit.   I have the MkI kit to do.


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Just caught up and great cockpit details and framing and the wiring too.  The backround information is tremendous and really personalises your build.  Good to see this one.  I have the MkI boxing which is not far from the top of my stash and have even contemplated starting it recently,  however I have stalled builds I want to get done first.

The MkI does also have the clear fuselage halves 

Great work 


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I too have just read this through again.  By the way, the C11 / C12 part you asked about on top of the nose is the oil breather pipe - and I think you’re right that it was one of the visible differences between the Mk.1 & Mk.2 (besides the deeper oil cooler and the metal lower mainplanes)

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Thank you to both of you. This is likely to be a very slow journey to completion, just catching up on all the background is keeping me very busy and I continue to find new information I missed the first time around.


I can understand why I put the model away two years ago as I had reached a point where I can only cease to refer to the instructions as such and have to begin calling them a guide instead. In deciding to use the transparent side for the Starboard it invariably means much will be visible which Trumpeter neglected to include, in particular all of the equipment in the front engine bay. It looks like I am going to have to fabricate my own for a while, a daunting task for a beginner. I am hoping to put aside the "Instructions" and instead construct the entire chassis as a complete unit which can then be inserted whole into the fuselage, in this way I can add whatever I like before it gets encased. My main concern - which probably isn't a big deal but I am managing to procrastinate over more than adequately - is how to assemble/align the pilots console and gun. The second is how I am going to address the frame (my extended forward frame) passing through the firewall.

I will get there but nerves and caution are making it a slow process and I keep getting caught up in the story of the aircraft instead, well it serves as an great excuse anyway.


I never intended to use the transparent starboard side as a whole making half of the aircraft clear but instead "hope" to be able to create a more flowing view window. I was struggling to visualise how this might work and what exactly would be exposed so today I took two sets of photos, one with the transparent shells and one without. By placing the opaque image in a layer above the clear one in Photoshop and then using a brush to erase the general area I am hoping to keep clear I was able to get a better idea of what I am aiming for and what can/can't be seen. The Port image is clearer due to lighting which is typical since it's the starboard I will be making clear. The port does show how much extra work would be required to complete the rear of the equipment on that side, fortunately the starboard doesn't have the same problems.






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Hi I admire what you are doing here , it's a heck of a project.  Would it be better to paint in the areas around the panel lines along the side and those would then divide the viewing areas into sections if you know what I mean.  Also if the internals behind the engine did not work out those panels could be painted also and would not look out of place.   

Just a thought incase it helps.  You are doing a cracking job though so carry on !!!


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