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Gremlin807

Miles M.52 Scratchbuild 1/48

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And Now for Something a Little Different

Just occasionally I like to set myself a challenge.  At work I have a half hour lunch break, and rather than just eat my lunch and randomly gaze at Google, I find it more rewarding to do something constructive.

So, I do modelling at home.  How about I build a model at work?

But what to build?  The obvious is to get a standard plastic kit from Airfix, Hasegawa, Tamiya etc. and plug it together one bit at a time.  Or, I could do a scratchbuild.  Then the same question.  What could I build that is not available in kit form, but is interesting enough and (in my case at least) simple enough to build without a full modelling bench of tools.

In one of my trawls of the internet, I followed a thread on the genesis of jet flight, which led to Frank Whittle and his Power Jets engines, and then the thread led to a YouTube video about a strange aircraft that was being developed during World War II by Miles Aircraft Limited.  This little silver bullet was the UKs attempt to break the Sound Barrier, and although eventually the American’s achieved it with the Bell X1, the little Miles M.52 would have achieved the fame and glory a full year earlier if the British Government hadn’t cancelled the programme while the prototype was being built.  A growing interest in the little aircraft led me to buying the book Miles M.52 – Gateway to Supersonic Flight by Capt. Eric Brown, one of the UKs most prolific war time / post war test pilots, and Dennis Bancroft, the Chief Aerodynamicist at Miles.  My copy of the book is slightly dog-chewed ‘cos the package was too big for our letter box so the delivery person chose to deliver it through an open window and our Alsatian decided it was lunchtime!  No front cover, or Foreword, but luckily all the juicy bits remained intact.  Anyway, inside the book are a host of photos and more importantly for scratch building a couple of 3 view drawings of the aircraft.  Job On!

So…  My lunchtime project has been to build a 1/48th scale Mile M.52.  Why 1/48th scale?  Mainly because I seem to be settling on that scale for my other kit purchases.  Big enough to be able to go to town on the detailing, without being too small to bother with or being too big to have a place to live afterwards (so why have I bought an Airfix 1/24th scale Harrier recently?  Another story for another day.)  Also, being a spritely slightly older than 21 year old my eyesight is not what is was, so the bigger the better so I can actually see it!

Looking on the internet, there isn’t really much about the M.52.  Several sites cover it, but all say pretty much the same and have the same photos.  I did come across a full blown Flight International type cutaway drawing and several photos of bits of the aircraft that are not in the book.  There are also clips in some YouTube videos that fill in more data.  Armed with all this research I dived into my favourite Visio programme and generated my own 3 view drawings and then worked up section drawings through the length of the aircraft. 

 

Unfortunately, as seems to always happen with me, I get engrossed in the build and failed to document the whole process.  I have captured part of the story, and if anyone wants the warts I can post them later.

Instead I am going to have to jump to the end of the saga and present the finished article (with several warts still extant!)

So here she is, complete with Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown at the controls (courtesy of a Tamiya 1/48th Mosquito).  Just think what might have been if the inept British Government hadn’t cancelled the programme?

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Photos:

IMG_1585

 

IMG_1586

 

IMG_1587IMG_1588

 

 

 

IMG_1589

 

IMG_1590

 

IMG_1591

 

IMG_1592

 

There you go.

 

As you can probably see I had a few problems with the decals, particularly on the wings!  I blame the ground crew for not cleaning the wings properly after trampling all over them with oily boots during painting.

 

Enjoy!

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Looks like a design from the drawing board of Frank Hampson.

 

Very nice model of a very interesting prototype. Just a thought – how would the pilot have punched out if something happened?

 

Meaningful modelling!

 

Kind regards,

 

Joachim

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9 minutes ago, Spitfire31 said:

Looks like a design from the drawing board of Frank Hampson.

 

Or Gerry Anderson! Nice job on that interesting 'what-if' design!

 

Regards,

 

Jason

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Hi All,

Thanks for all your comments.

Spitfire31 - The idea was to eject the whole of the conical nose section.  Explosive bolts would sever the struts holding the nose to the main airframe, the nose section would then fall away and a drogue chute would be deployed to slow it down before the pilot baled out in the normal way.  Gets over the problem of man vs supersonic air.  Neat!

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fantastic aircraft, another great project that a shortsighted govenment cancelled. lovely model.

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Great build, what's also very interesting and often overlooked was the M52 was jet powered the X1 was a rocket,  The Yanks didn't break the sound barrier with a jet until the early 50's with the prototype YF100 using the files handed over from the M52.    

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Great scratch Gremlin !!

I love that crazy prototype era !!

Wll done !

CC

 

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On 01/02/2019 at 22:10, Gremlin807 said:

I have captured part of the story, and if anyone wants the warts I can post them later.

a WIP for this would be appreciated by many on here. 

 

Very neat bit of work 

:goodjob:

 

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Thanks for all the comments.

 

Troy Smith - I've just uploaded a historical account of the build in WIP.

Apologies but it might be a good cure for insomnia!

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Oh, 

And just to follow on from Kev the Modeller - unlike the X1 we designed an aircraft that could fly itself up to altitude, do the deed then fly back to the ground. Not just a rocket powered glider!

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A very nice build of an interesting subject.  I look forward to seeing the next scratchbuild.  I'm particularly impressed by the canopy.  Well done.

Regards

Tim

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Magnificent modelling and something really different,we should have led the way with this aircraft but another project squandered and I believe

the "paperwork" handed to the American's.

 

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Hi TimB,

Thanks.

The canopy was cut from a plastic container you buy grapes and the like in.  Bent with a little heat and CA'd into place.  Not a brilliant fit - and I got dust on it when I went to Quick Shine it, but Hey Ho.

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Thanks SteveJ60.

Don't get me started!  (I probably need to be a bit careful as I work for an American company!)

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I tracked this RFI down having read your WIP and am very glad I did.  Very impressive modelling skills and a great result - well done!

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Thanks Vultures1.

I think more luck than judgement in some areas - if I had't boobed the initial fuselage diameter I would have been in real do dos, and might have given up on the project.

Having said that, I've always told my daughters that there is an answer to every problem.  (The caveat to this maxim is that it may not be you who finds it and it may not be in your lifetime - but the idea is to give a little bit of hope!)

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Just found this - I am a sucker for scratch builds and as far as I can see there is nothing to be ashamed of there. First class modelling.

 

P

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Cheers Pheonix,

Just don't look too close!

I've got a couple of 'normal' models on the go at the moment to give my brain a rest!

 

Regards

Andy

 

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