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Fairey Swordfish MkII - Trumpeter 1/32


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Great job, and remembers me of my own build of this. I had an even longer break of I think about 4 years, but then got the mojo back and really enjoyed finishing it. But must admit that my build lacked a lot of detail (and background information) compared to yours. Great one, will follow! ūü•É

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Just picked up on this amazing build thread. Lots of very interesting stuff to read and a rather splendid model of a rather splendid aircraft seems to be evolving here.

 

Will follow along.

 

Terry

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Well you probably thought I'd abandoned this build/thread again but I did warn that progress will be slow.

 

Thank you for the kind responses they are very much appreciated. 

 

@bigbadbadge I did consider following the panel lines but I want to stay away from straight and square with the transparent viewing window since the Swordfish isn't a very square aircraft. I'd even like to feather the edges of the paint if I could but not having an airbrush will likely make that impossible.

 

@Terry I took a quick look at your Vosper thread Terry, amazing work, to be honest I'd seen your submarine first, it too looks amazing but I couldn't help think "Oh for something as simple as that" then when I saw all the scratch stuff on your Vosper I just sat staring at the screen in awe. I haven't had a proper chance to look through any current threads on the forums but it's perhaps for the best as the standards here can be more than a little intimidating at times. Very informative though and with tons of great ideas.

 

@Chief Cohiba Four years is a very long time, I'm guessing you built other things in that period though rather than a complete break right? Mine would have been buried under dust after fours years I reckon, you can still see one of the cobwebs in the photos.

 

Anyhow. I have done a little, baby steps. I added the fire extinguisher tank and another which I was unable to identify. I took some liberty and placed the fire extinguisher on the starboard side rather than the port since that's the side which should be visible. I also added a couple of junction boxes and terminated the elastic cables I've had dangling about for over two years. I realise that most of the work won't actually be visible but I enjoyed it and that's what counts, it's also an easier re-entry working on parts that won't be visible as my mistakes shouldn't be either. My objective was simply to make the compartment front of the fuel tank look a little busy as it actually was rather than just an empty space. 

 

In the end I build from front to back although I did have to break off my frame extension to get things to fit, in hindsight I should probably have extended the frame after putting all the other parts together. I fit the new frame around the firewall simply by cutting a couple of the struts and sliding it in. Fortunately, and uncharacteristically, the whole fuel tank/firewall assembly seems to have quite a lot of leeway when it comes to fitting most unlike the other parts so far. Perhaps it's down to the parts being added later to give something to look at with the addition of the transparent sides.


IMG-1158.jpg

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IMG-1170.jpg

 

 


Right, a little more on the story of LS247 and her crew.

 

The last image showed the aircraft just after impact with the TAG  and observer just starting to exit the cockpit. This next image is the first indication of just how quickly HMS Tracker was moving assuming the photographer was winding and clicking just as quickly as he could. It's difficult to make out exactly what is happening around the cockpit in this one but it does appear as though both the pilot and TAG are helping John Stretton out of the cockpit.


Image-1a.jpg


Of interest though is the liferaft compartment, remembering that this is pretty much a brand new aircraft, we can see that the panel was popped open as the liferaft began to inflate (Top right wing near the center) triggered either by the immersion switch or the pilot himself. We can also clearly see gas of some kind streaming from the compartment, I think it would be fair to assume that this is the air which should have been inflating the liferaft. The port wing had taken a bump as the aircraft fell of the carrier but this can be seen on the very tip of the upper wing and doesn't look particularly severe.

So then, a faulty liferaft, on a brand new aircraft?

 

Another point which is also quite frightening is just how quickly these aircraft go down once in the water.

 

Now I'd like to talk a little about the pilot Sub Lt. CSN Bissett.

 

Clifford Norman Smyth Bissett, born on 1st March 1915 to Mr. and Mrs N. A. Bisset, was an ordinary man, like most of us. He was born and lived, prior to the war, in Dunedin, New Zealand and at the time of the LS247 accident was almost 29 years old so quite mature for most servicemen of that period.

Before the war he was working as a simple school teacher in NZ with a degree in Psychology and partial qualification in accountancy. Almost immediately after the start of the war Clifford volunteered his service and joined the NZ army as an infantryman on the 3rd July 1940. 
His potential must have been recognised as he transferred to the New Zealand Air Force on the 29th March 1941 for training as a pilot. Quite the jump from teaching school kids to flying aircraft in just eight months. The Air Force wasn't the end of Clifford's bouncing about though as he then transferred to the New Zealand Navy six months later as Acting Sub Lieutenant and was immediately transferred to the British Navy at HMS Daedalus presumably for his flight training.


The following years saw Clifford bouncing between several land based RN bases these being HMS Jackdaw, HMS Condor and a return posting to HMS Daedalus. In February 1943 he was assigned to 781 Squadron but still land based. Clifford hadn't finished his bouncing around though as three months later he was transferred to 816 Squadron on 17th May 1943. At the same time Swordfish DK706 was transferred from 833 squadron to 816 squadron and became Cliffs first Swordfish although still land based. Up until this point the only aircraft I can link him to is a Percival P-28 Proctor serial number P6076. I have to admit I haven't, so far, tried to find any information on this aircraft which might reveal a little more about what Cliff was up to since being a different model to the Swordfish I am building its a whole different search area.  

 

Finally Cliffs training was over and on 15th August 1943 he joined HMS Tracker as part of 816 squadron. Here he was assigned his third aircraft Swordfish LS238. 

 

So from schoolteacher in NZ to his first real ship and aircraft in the Fleet Air Arm in just three years, he'd spent nearly twice as long training to become a teacher. An ordinary bloke but an extraordinary three years.

Two weeks after his posting aboard ship Clifford experienced his first accident landing LS238:

 

30.9.43  LS238 816 Sqn Tracker, heavy landing, ship pitching 30.9.43 (S/L C. N. S. Bissett RNZ )

 

Try and put yourself in Clifford's shoes for a second or two, all that moving about, all that chaos and within two weeks of his arrival onboard a real ship he has his first accident. As I mentioned in an earlier post accidents were not a rare occurrence aboard HMS Tracker during that period. If it were me LS238 wouldn't have been the only thing taking a heavy landing, my confidence would have come down with a bump too. All this occurred before the accident with LS247, which occurred just three days later.

 

Reading this you might suspect I am about to be a little hard on Cliff regarding the accident which resulted in the loss of LS247 and the life of Sub Lt. John Victor Stretton but you couldn't be further from the truth. I give you this background on Cliff so that you might sit for a while and try to imagine his journey, his mindset up until the point of the LS247 accident. 
He'd only been onboard ship for six weeks and judging from the accident reports it wasn't a gentle holiday cruise around the Mediterranean, conditions were rough and he was inexperienced. I don't mean to suggest that Clifford was different to many others merely to give an idea of just how he (and others) arrived where he did.

 

So six weeks aboard ship, one accident under your belt already, first to return and land on a heavily bouncing deck, your aircraft topples over the side and into the cold water, your Observer is injured, a huge intimidating aircraft carrier looms over you churning the cold water even more than it already is and your aircraft is sinking FAST. What would you do?

 

Well we will find out exactly what Cliff did in future instalments, but please, ponder on it for a while, out of respect for those men. 

 

 

 

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Wow, that was intense ! What a journey. They were all brave men.

I now can't wait for the next installment.   

Great work again the cabling and details look great .  Cracking work and back round you are providing. 

Chris

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I finally found time to do a little today, I removed and tidied up all the engine parts and did a dry fit but then I became distracted.

 

I have seen several models where people add extra wires and pipes to the engine to provide more detail and I noticed the small lugs on the engine cylinders:

 

Engine-Lugs.jpg

 


I wondered what they were supposed to be and then I fell into the world of the Bristol Pegasus Radial Engine. Turns out the the MkI Swordfish were equipped with a Pegasus IIIM3 690HP engine. A very few of the first MkII's retained this engine but it truly was only the first few off the line as they were almost all fitted with the Pegasus XXX engine and any MkII you build which has the large oil cooler was certainly using a later version of the Pegasus.

Excerpt from "Swordfish in Action" by Don Greer.

 

DonGreer.jpg

 

 

As I began researching to determine what the little lugs actually were I was surprised to discover that none of the engines I found had the lugs. It took a lot of research and all the time I had allotted to building before I could actually satisfy my suspicions. The engine detailed in the Trumpeter kit of the MkII Swordfish is actually a Pegasus IIIM3 which was only ever fitted with the smaller oil cooler, therefore a MKI Swordfish engine. A trivial detail I know and it really doesn't concern me overly but interesting nonetheless.

This IIIM3 taken from the service and repair manual shows the lugs and attached pipes:

 

Service-Manual-1.jpg

 

I have not been able to determine what the pipes do but suspect they are part of the oil cooling system, perhaps an engineer might have a better idea. Images of the IIIM3 were extremely difficult to come by, probably because there are none of them left.

 

A Pegasus X:

 

Pegasus-X.jpg

 

 

Another Pegasus X (I couldn't find an image of a XXX but all the X,XX,XIV etc I did find had the extra pipe missing). This next image though is interesting as the other engine in the back ground could actually be an earlier Pegasus II or IIIM perhaps:

 

Pegasus-2.jpg

 

They really want to sort out their wiring issues at that museum though right?

 

Oddly enough whilst researching I came across the refurbished W5856 and also discovered this video which wasn't released last time I was researching Swordfish: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVVAA7oJsuQ

 

It's an interesting watch with lots of juicy information for anyone building the aircraft. I found it amusing though how they are selling the refurbished W5856 as a Mk1 when it is fitted with a Pegasus XXX engine and oil cooler, obviously either confirming my suspicions that there are no IIIM3's left or perhaps that they were under-powered for the aircraft in the first place and modern day restrictions wouldn't permit such a small engine to be fitted?  Who knows. W5856 had already been refitted with a later version Pegasus and oil cooler when British Aerospace acquired it as can be seen when they are loading the parts onto the truck. With that replacement and all the other replacement parts it makes you wonder if it is actually even W5856 or certainly how much of it is. I absolutely do not mean to belittle what those guys did though its a remarkable job and wonderful to see a Swordfish still flying.


Anyway, just trivial information I figured I'd share and the image above is a great colour reference for the engine itself. There does seem to be a lot of confused information on the Pegasus and even Don Greer's book (above) states that the Mk XXX was 750hp which seems unlikely in light of the other information I have found. For example the image below from a manual shows the earlier Mk XXII and states that it produced 1010hp, it seems unlikely they would reduce hp in later models, certainly not by as much as 250hp.

 

Back to the model I didn't have the time for after my research...

Despite most of the parts fitting together with a push and a click I found that the induction pipes at the rear of the engine didn't actually connect with the cylinder heads. Since these are visible from the rear of the engine cowling in the finished model my next job will be to sand down the center column on part D21 to bring the two pieces closer together. 

 

Pegasus-Detail.jpg

 

To be continued... but don't make me responsible if you hold your breath.

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On 10/30/2020 at 2:17 AM, KelT said:

@Terry I took a quick look at your Vosper thread Terry, amazing work, to be honest I'd seen your submarine first, it too looks amazing but I couldn't help think "Oh for something as simple as that" then when I saw all the scratch stuff on your Vosper I just sat staring at the screen in awe. I haven't had a proper chance to look through any current threads on the forums but it's perhaps for the best as the standards here can be more than a little intimidating at times. Very informative though and with tons of great ideas.

 

 

Thank you for your very kind comments on my Vosper build. That is a challenging project for me as it is my first 1/72 boat, and as you saw, involves much scratch building, of which I have done some, but not very much at all! It is taking some time because of that (over two years now) and so in between I am modelling other subjects such as the submarine you also saw, and lately some 1/72 AFV's which I have done a couple of RFI's for. The crazy thing is my main interest is aircraft, in 1/72 but also 1/144 and now 1/48 as well as 1/350 ships! Anyway, the hobby is a complete escape for me and allows me to indulge some of my many passions.

 

It's been a while since I caught up on this one, and wow what a catch up certainly in terms of background as well as some superb engine background and internal detail modelling! Your work on those internals is very impressive.

 

Splendid modelling, back story and research! There has to be at least one Swordfish in my future, and this thread will certainly be a key reference.

 

Thanks again.

 

Terry

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4 hours ago, KelT said:

Turns out the the MkI Swordfish were equipped with a Pegasus IIIM3 690HP engine. A very few of the first MkII's retained this engine but it truly was only the first few off the line as they were almost all fitted with the Pegasus XXX engine and any MkII you build which has the large oil cooler was certainly using a later version of the Pegasus.

 

 

20 years ago I published an article examining the change-over to Pegasus XXX engines in Swordfish production (Air Britain, November 2000). Much of the Blackburn production record is still extant at TNA, but it is still not possible to determine exactly when the switch from Pegasus IIIM3 to Pegasus XXX occurred. The first three contracts for 500 Blackburn built Swordfish specify Pegasus IIIM3 engines. The subsequent contract for a further 400 Swordfish placed in November 1941 specifies a Pegasus XXX engine. This is the first mention of the new engine in any Air Ministry contract for Swordfish production. Thereafter it is used consistently in all contracts. Despite this, however, there are reasons to doubt that all of the first 500 Blackburn Swordfish were fitted with the IIIM3 engine. First, extant documentation from Bristol Aeroplane Co indicates that only 280 Pegasus IIIM3 engines were supplied to the Blackburn Aircraft Co. Secondly, photographic evidence shows clearly that many of the Swordfish produced under the first three contacts were fitted with the more powerful Pegasus XXX engine

 

From the extant Blackburn production documents the change-over probably occurred around May or June 1941 (Blackburn production had started  at Sherburn in November 1940).  If so, maybe as few as 120 Blackburn built Swordfish were fitted with the Pegasus IIIM3 engine. This timing roughly accords with Admiralty instructions given in CAFO  549 of 31/7/41, which advises of the change in engine type. This timing implies that aircraft up to about V4440 were fitted with the older Pegasus IIIIM3 engine. Thereafter, Vxxxx serial aircraft in the V4417-V4455 production block could probably have been fitted with either engine as supply was used up (an unknown number of the 280 Pegasus IIIM3 engines supplied by Bristol Aeroplane Co. would have been retained as spares for older Fairey built aircraft). Probably all Wxxxx and certainly all DKxxx serial aircraft of the first production contracts would have been fitted with the Pegasus XXX engine and enlarged air cooler. I have never seen a photograph of a Swordfish in these production blocks with the older Pegasus IIIIM3 engine. Indeed, the latest Swordfish with a Pegasus IIIM3 engine I've seen a photograph of is V4417 and the earliest with a Pegasus XXX is V4438, which was delivered in June 1941.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by iang
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6 hours ago, KelT said:

 

I have not been able to determine what the pipes do but suspect they are part of the oil cooling system,

Most likely cylinder lubrication injection point. To improve lubrication between piston rings and the cylinder walls a small shot of oil is injected at the top of each stroke between the cylinder wall, piston and piston rings. The lug you are referring to is a banjo connection to the non return oil injector. This appears to be a feature of early Pegasus engines, and doesn't appear on later engines, presumably due to improved piston ring design to retain the oil and oil distribution through the piston to the rings.

 

6 hours ago, KelT said:

Anyway, just trivial information I figured I'd share and the image above is a great colour reference for the engine itself. There does seem to be a lot of confused information on the Pegasus and even Don Greer's book (above) states that the Mk XXX was 750hp which seems unlikely in light of the other information I have found. For example the image below from a manual shows the earlier Mk XXII and states that it produced 1010hp, it seems unlikely they would reduce hp in later models, certainly not by as much as 250hp.

The Mk XXX was 775hp, the Mk XXII was 835hp, the 25, 26, 27 & 29 all produced 1010hp.

The Pegasus was a family of engines which had different marks tailored to different applications, each mark wasn't necessarily the next development of the previous mark. In the case of the Mk XXX, this was a direct development of the IIIM specifically for the Swordfish.  Both these engines were a moderate 6:1 compression ratio with medium supercharging - the engines with higher outputs all had higher compression rations (up to 6.55:1) and were medium or fully supercharged. The rated horsepower is nominal - the Mk XXII, nominally 835hp could deliver 1004 hp at +4.32lb boost, but this was only permitted for take-off to 1000ft or one minute.

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Wow you guys are amazing. I know nothing of modelling, aircraft or WWII but sometimes something just catches my attention and following it up opens up all kinds of wonderful information and insight. I only have Google to work with, well Google and a few other search engines, but they have their limitations. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to add their buckets of knowledge to my pitifully empty pot.

 

@Grey Beema My apologies the image I posted wasn't very clear as I look back at it now, I always try to keep size as low as possible but it's often a trade off between that and information. The lugs are actually just below the exhaust outlets with only one per cylinder. In the kit the pipes for the exhausts are on the cowling part itself.

 

So then... the simple method of distinguishing between a MkI Swordfish and a MkII by checking for the large oil cooler - I have been using - is entirely inaccurate. I went through some of my images and read a few pages more and now I know what I am looking for it's pretty obvious, there are plenty of MkI's with the larger engine/cooler I just never noticed before. So the only way to distinguish between a MkI and MkII (apart from the serial number of course) is the rocket rails and perhaps the extended exhaust, which wasn't fitted to all MkII's - as far as I can tell - but certainly not fitted to any MkI's?

 

I just checked the Trumpeter instructions for the Mk1 and, unlike the Tamiya, they include decals for W5984, which although it was a MkI aircraft it would undoubtedly have been fitted with the larger engine and oil cooler. 
It's interesting how my obsession with those tiny little engine lugs has led me to all of this new information. Perhaps I was alone in thinking you could differentiate between the two Mk's by the oil cooler alone but perhaps this information will prove useful to someone else too.

 

Thank you Dave for answering my question regarding the purpose of the small pipes/lugs.


I am not so obsessive with accuracy that I will go so far as to remove them from my model, they really aren't going to be very visible but I was toying with the idea of adding in the pipes themselves prior to learning all this new information, which is what began my study into the Pegasus in the first place. I am learning something about myself too it seems, I do love details, perhaps it's due to the fact that they often, inadvertently, lead to bigger pictures.


It never ceases to blow my mind just how knowledgeable you guys here at BM are and just how helpful, thank you all.

Edited by KelT
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1 hour ago, KelT said:

 

So then... the simple method of distinguishing between a MkI Swordfish and a MkII by checking for the large oil cooler - I have been using - is entirely inaccurate. I went through some of my images and read a few pages more and now I know what I am looking for it's pretty obvious, there are plenty of MkI's with the larger engine/cooler I just never noticed before. So the only way to distinguish between a MkI and MkII (apart from the serial number of course) is the rocket rails and perhaps the extended exhaust, which wasn't fitted to all MkII's - as far as I can tell - but certainly not fitted to any MkI's?

 

Admiralty records set out  particulars of different Swordfish marks (CAFO 173 27/1/1944) as follows:

 

Mark I:  The original type, fitted with ASV Mark IIN, front gun, facilities for high-level bombing and F.24 camera. Either internal or external overload fuel tank could be carried.

 

Mark II:  As Mark I, but fitted with R.P. installation. No provision for front gun, high level bombing or F.24 camera in later production aircraft. A number were fitted with a special version of ASV Mark XI that permitted a crew of three to be carried (referred to as Mark II ASV Mark XI)

 

Mark lll:  As Mark II, but with accommodation for two crew only. ASV Mark XI with equipment in rear cockpit. RATO gear installed. Internal fuel tank could not be carried, and external tank only if ASV removed.

 

The details of modifications for the Mark ll are described in a letter from the Aircraft Maintenance and Repair Department to the Director of Aircraft Production, dated 14.3.43.  Modification 414 covered the R.P. installation, moveable adaptor frame, modification to the blast plate to fit the adaptor frame and the installation of a master selector switch. Modification 376 specified a requirement for 24 volt electrics and Modification 431 specified a sight for R.P.s

 

 

 

 

 

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So just to be clear, the change in engine was unrelated to the change from Mk I to Mk II Swordfish.

 

Mk I all Fairey built with Pegasus IIIM3 and Blackburn built with Pegasus IIIM3 or Pegasus XXX

Mk II all Blackburn built with RP installation. All had Pegasus XXX

 

Of the 1,699 Swordfish produced by the Blackburn Aircraft Co., 834 were Mark I, 545 were Mark II and 320 were Mark III. The number of Mk IV  is not recorded in the Blackburn records, though it is known that the numbers were quite small (the Mk IV was a modified Mk I for training duties in Canada, the main modification being the installation of a perspex hood).

 

It is unlikely that Mk IIs would have been produced sequentially at first, as Modification 414 sets were in short supply in June 1943. It seems likely that the Mk I/Mk II break is somewhere in the serial block HS579 to HS625. Both types were likely to be found on the production line side by side for a while.

Edited by iang
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Not mentioned by iang, part of the conversion to Mk II for the RP installation was the change from fabric covering to metal skinning on the lower wing lower surface.

 

 

10 hours ago, iang said:

A number were fitted with a special version of ASV Mark XI that permitted a crew of three to be carried (referred to as Mark II ASV Mark XI)

I don't suppose you have any more information on this? The distribution of the ASV equipment in the fuselage (in particular what would have been visible in the cockpits)  for the 3 crew fit has been rather elusive. The aerial fit is well documented photographically but I've yet to find any clue as to where the receivers, displays etc would be and still leave room for the 3 crew.

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11 minutes ago, Dave Swindell said:

 

Not mentioned by iang, part of the conversion to Mk II for the RP installation was the change from fabric covering to metal skinning on the lower wing lower surface.

 

 

Oops - yes, I forgot to add that. However, the partial, non-structural, metal skinning of the undersurface of the lower wing pre-dates the switch to Mk.II. When exactly this modification was incorporated into the production of Blackburn Swordfish is not clear, but it  probably commenced in the production block following the the DKxxx serial block. The DXxxx  block were to be produced with the existing type of wing, but an option was obtained for the aircraft to be fitted with the new type of wing before delivery. Whether this option was exercised I do not know, but it is taken from a letter dated 16.4.40 from the Air Council Committee on Supply - long before the the first RP trials on Swordfish, which were carried out 8.10.42 - 8.1.43 at Boscombe Down.  What is clear is that the partial metal skinning (not strengthening as it is sometimes referred to) was a modification incorporated into Mk I production by Blackburn Aircraft Co.

 

 

 

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@dogsbody I may be trying to teach you to suck eggs here (I am new remember) but in my search I came across the thread here on BM from 2017 and from your post above where you say "the only image" I have to assume you haven't seen the aircraft at IWM Duxford? There are several images which show the radar layout including these two:

 

Swd-Cockpit-Radar1.jpgspacer.png

 

 

It still doesn't address the problem of where they put the third man of course, I too am curious about that now. I am also curious as to the role of the third man if there is information.

 

11 hours ago, Dave Swindell said:

The aerial fit is well documented photographically

 

@ Dave Do you have images of three men in a pregnant Swordfish? I couldn't find any.

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I just check out the historical photos at the IWM. Restorations, as a rule, can't be relied upon to be totally accurate. 

 

 

 

Chris

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Right. Understandable, I figured there was probably a reason but thought it wouldn't hurt to post the images anyway just in case. Apologies.

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9 minutes ago, KelT said:

Right. Understandable, I figured there was probably a reason but thought it wouldn't hurt to post the images anyway just in case. Apologies.

 

Hey, no worries! If you don't ask, you'll never know. That's what this forum is for.

 

 

 

Chris

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The ASV installation in the MkIII took up most of the central Observers cockpit as illustrated above, so only flew with 2 crew members in this configuration

The ASV installation in the MkII permitted the 3 original Swordfish crew members to be carried - Pilot, Observer (who did the navigation) and the Telegraphist/Air Gunner.

This is clearly illustrated in the photo of the Swordfish ditching on page 1 of this thread, all 3 crew members are in the cockpits (making a fast exit!) and the aircraft is equipped with ASV - the transmitter aerials are clearly visible along the upper wing centre section leading edge.

To avoid repetition, my thoughts on Mk II ASV fit with links to further info on the subject are discussed here (which I believe @KelT has already found

and here, which contains the only photo I've found so far which may hint at the MkII installation ( @iang as per PM)

IMG.jpg

 

13 hours ago, KelT said:

@ Dave Do you have images of three men in a pregnant Swordfish? I couldn't find any.

I'm assuming here you're talking about the Mk III Swordfish with the radar scanner between the undercarriage legs? 3 crew in these was brought up by @tonyot, I don't recall seeing any photo's of this, but then I've been concentrating on the Mk II. Given Tony's form, if he hasn't got or seen photographic evidence of this he'll have found written records of it somewhere for him to have stated this.

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1 hour ago, Dave Swindell said:

The ASV installation in the MkIII took up most of the central Observers cockpit as illustrated above, so only flew with 2 crew members in this configuration

The ASV installation in the MkII permitted the 3 original Swordfish crew members to be carried - Pilot, Observer (who did the navigation) and the Telegraphist/Air Gunner.

This is clearly illustrated in the photo of the Swordfish ditching on page 1 of this thread, all 3 crew members are in the cockpits (making a fast exit!) and the aircraft is equipped with ASV - the transmitter aerials are clearly visible along the upper wing centre section leading edge.

To avoid repetition, my thoughts on Mk II ASV fit with links to further info on the subject are discussed here (which I believe @KelT has already found

and here, which contains the only photo I've found so far which may hint at the MkII installation ( @iang as per PM)

IMG.jpg

 

I'm assuming here you're talking about the Mk III Swordfish with the radar scanner between the undercarriage legs? 3 crew in these was brought up by @tonyot, I don't recall seeing any photo's of this, but then I've been concentrating on the Mk II. Given Tony's form, if he hasn't got or seen photographic evidence of this he'll have found written records of it somewhere for him to have stated this.

The aircraft flown by the Fleet Air Arm 1944-45 over the North Sea from the UK and later Belgium appear to be Mk.II`s which had the ASV antennae and dustbin added between the u/c legs,..... retaining the 3 man crew and some even had the old Yagi antennae still fitted to the wing struts.

Cheers

         Tony

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Thank you again everyone, you answered questions I didn't even have yet but which are just as fascinating. I never realised (or noticed to be honest) the ariel along the upper wing and hadn't considered or paid much attention to the ASV at all but undoubtedly would have since - as Dave mentioned - the ariel is seen on LS247. Since there isn't one included in the kit I guess I'll have to make one of those. Eventually. 

I suppose I had previously assumed (I know, never assume anything) that the ASV required the "dustbin" to be fitted and took all the observers pit which then pushed out the gunner. From what you have said here it seems the reverse is true the gunner was no longer required and so the ASV allowed to spread out a little. Lucky for him since they were likely all being irradiated.

 

20 hours ago, dogsbody said:

Hey, no worries! If you don't ask, you'll never know. That's what this forum is for.

 

That's really good to hear since I have another question. Continuing with my dry fit and cleanup I wondered about this part (D6):

 

D6.jpgspacer.png

 

The three bracing rods are found on all aircraft but the outer ring and it's three triangular standoffs are found on very few indeed. I haven't been able to find it on any MkII's and only a few MkI's. Normally it is painted black but from the second image it's obviously stainless tube, there is the one fitting at about 4 o'clock and a second fitting at about 10 o'clock. All I could think of was that it may have been a post production, in the field, temporary fix for an oil heating problem just prior to the larger cooler being added? Or perhaps it was added only to aircraft operating in certain areas at higher temperatures, that is if my suspicion about simple oil cooling is correct.

 

Interesting though that it is also fitted to W5856 in her restoration along with the larger oil cooler and Pegasus XXX so perhaps my oil cooling theory is off the mark.

 

Either way it certainly isn't found on any of the 816 aircraft aboard HMS Tracker so I shall have to remove it but it is curious how such a hard to find (photographically) part ended up in both the Tamiya and Trumpeter MkI/MkII kits.

 

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4 hours ago, KelT said:

The three bracing rods are found on all aircraft but the outer ring and it's three triangular standoffs are found on very few indeed. I haven't been able to find it on any MkII's and only a few MkI's. Normally it is painted black but from the second image it's obviously stainless tube, there is the one fitting at about 4 o'clock and a second fitting at about 10 o'clock. All I could think of was that it may have been a post production, in the field, temporary fix for an oil heating problem just prior to the larger cooler being added? Or perhaps it was added only to aircraft operating in certain areas at higher temperatures, that is if my suspicion about simple oil cooling is correct.

 

 

As far as I'm aware, the ring you see in front of the engine in current day Swordfish (which is inaccurately copied onto model kits) is part of the modern fire extinguishing system. The ring should be removed for a WW2 Swordfish.

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Don't you just hate it when someone says something so logical that all you can think is "now why didn't I consider that?".

 

Thanks MeneMene that does make sense. I was misled by two things, firstly the fact that the colour image above is taken from the book "How to Build Tamiyas Fairey Swordfish" by Geoff Coughlin. The accompanying text is as follows:

 

Ground-Crew.jpg

 

The second thing was that I was convinced I saw at least one old B&W image with the ring but I cannot find it again so it was probably weariness. I can't blame Geoff or his book for the misleading information though if the ground crew had told me that the ring was black in the war I would probably have believed them too, especially since it is included in all the model kits and you'd assume they'd been researched properly. So don't let the above put you off Geoff's book there is some interesting information and tips in there, especially for a new player such as myself.

 

I have removed the ring from my own model, I also removed the lugs for the cylinder lubrication points since after dry fitting everything they were quite visible. I intended to begin painting the initial black coat today but instead decided I'd add some spark plugs and wiring if only to put off the painting I admittedly confess I'm a little afraid of after so long away.

 

I'm beginning to feel a little spoilt with this kit, there are some minor seams in some obvious places but aside from that everything clicks together so well they could almost advertise is as "No glue required". I have to use a scalpel to prise the bits apart again. There is one section on the cowl which has a small gap and of course I had to adapt part D19 so that the induction pipes actually met the cylinders but overall this kit feels like quality so far; if you don't include the obvious lack of proper research of course. 

 

 

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I managed to get the engine painted and assembled after some difficulties getting used to my paints once again. I much prefer the Vallejo personally I find it brushes much more easily and without the constant thinning maintenance but some colours I only have in Tamiya so needs must.

 

Engine-3.jpg 

Engine-1.jpg

Engine-2.jpg

 

 

I tried using 15 Amp fuse wire for the spark plug cables, the cylinder end was simple I just drilled a hole either side and threaded the wire through but the other end was proving difficult since I had sanded the collar of D21 down for the induction pipes and there really wasn't enough room to drill holes for the wire or apply enough glue to hold it. In the end I ripped them all out and went with the much easier tried and tested knicker elastic, it was so much easier than the wire I wish I'd thought of it first.

 

 

Now a little but more about Cliff...

 

Two weeks on the actual job at sea, extremely inexperienced, his second crash in three days, freezing cold water, this thing looming over you churning up the water:

 

Tracker-2179.jpg

 

You've just pulled your injured Observer from the rapidly sinking aircraft and you're a great swimmer, high school swimming champion in fact. As Ex-FAAWAFU pointed out many airmen couldn't swim but I suspect there were probably a higher number of proficient paddlers from NZ and Australia since it was a more common activity in this part of the world.

 

What do you do next?

 

It would be easy to think that Cliff might be a little flustered, not thinking perfectly straight, panicked even but instead of leaping into the water and paddling like a kayaker approaching Niagara Falls in order to get away from that rapidly disappearing air-plane Cliff instead calmly limbs onto the wing and attempts to recover the dysfunctional life-raft:

 

 

Cliff-1.jpg
Cliff-2.jpg
Cliff-3.jpg

 

As you can see in the last image he was still working on the deflated life-raft even as the plane disappeared beneath him. The speed with which LS247 falls away from HMS Tracker is an indication of just how quickly all this happened and further testimony to Cliff's clear headed actions is the fact that while he struggled not one of the hundred or so onlookers had similar presence of mind to launch a life-raft (of which there were at least eight seen in the photo below) from Tracker herself or even that life-ring visible in the last photo. 

 

Norman Alvey in his book "A Sprog Goes to War" writes of the accident (I posted this earlier but a reminder):

 

Quote

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.  The pilot and air gunner of the crashed aircraft were picked up by the sloop but S/Lt Stretton, injured in the crash, was drowned. 

 

I think it likely Norman was mistaken about the smoke float accidentally going off since it isn't visible in the earlier images, it's more likely that the second Swordfish observed the difficulties and had the presence of mind to fly over and drop the smoke to mark the position of the aircrew.

 

Cliff didn't run solo uphill to take a machine gun nest or fire the torpedo which sank the Bismark but nonetheless I think this act of bravery, attempting to recover the raft even as the plane vanished after helping the other crew from the plane, is none the less heroic. It's also a testimony to his character and suggests that the conditions for those inexperienced pilots were indeed awful and all the accidents were not simply a result of nerves or muddle-headedness.

 

Tracker-in-Clyde-1194.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by KelT
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