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Mr T

Saro P177 RAF, Freightdog Models 1/72nd

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Not posted for a while due to family issues which are in other threads.

This model is on I finished early this year and is one of the 'might have beens' of British military aviation in the late 50's. The P.177 was developed in response to a desire to have a fast climbing fighter that was capable of intercepting transonic Soviet bombers then thought to be under development. It was thought that as bombers flew faster and higher a conventional jet fighter lacked the climb performance to intercept a nuclear armed bomber before it released its weapons and so an aircraft that had to have a climb rate well in excess of any jet.  Post war, a lot of studies had been carried out on rocket propelled fighter, probably influenced by the Me163, a number of which had been studied in the UK along with their engines. The problem with pure rocket fighters was although they had rapid climb and high top speeds, they lacked endurance. Saunders Roe carried out studies into these aircraft (perhaps as work dried up when it was realised the Princess flying boat was a dead end) and came up with the idea of using a rocket motor as the means to achieve high speed and climb rates and use a jet as a means of extending range and facilitating a safe return to base as in the SR53. In the P177 , this idea was taken further by the use of a powerful jet engine to sustain performance and allow a carriage of more weapons, radar and fuel. In 1955 prototypes and preproduction aircraft were ordered for the RAF and Royal Navy and interest was shown abroad, particularly from West Germany. Metal was cut and production was underway when Duncan Sandys unleashed his 1957 Defence White Paper that scrapped most manned combat aircraft in favour of guided missiles. The P177 lingered for a while as a purely Naval project and the hope that the Germans might buy it, but was cancelled in early 1958 and the prototypes scrapped. The Germans bought the F104 Starfighter instead. 

The kit is the original issue from Freightdog with castings by Anigrand. It was reissued last year with new masters and looks a lot cleaner. The kit is all in resin apart from in my issue a vacformed canopy (some kits have resin canopies). A decal sheet with some nice 'what if' schemes are provided. As can be seen below, the resin is tan, cleanly moulded and has a few air bubbles.

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My main references were 'Project Cancelled' and 'British Experimental Jet Aircraft' The latter has 1/72nd plans that I am pretty sure were used to design the kit

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Building the model produced a few issues. The interior was pretty much devoid of detail, apart from an ejector seat and stick. Some consoles were  on the fuselage sides, but it was left to the modeller to work out where stuff went. Fortunately the canopy is heavily framed so not that much is visible. the fuselage halves were a little bowed, but clamping and two part epoxy resin cured this and the clean up was fairly straightforward. Incidentally, the exterior detail was quite well done with recessed panel lines and intakes.  The faring for the rocket motor was a separate piece and required faring in. Both the movable  intake (modelled here in ground position) and the jet exhaust needed some work to get them to fit properly. The diameter of the hole in the fuselage for the exhaust was too small and the intake needed cutting back to match the drawings. The wings and fin  had locations pins in resin that were replaced by brass rod and horizontal tail slotted on to the fin with little trouble. The canopy more or less fitted after some careful trimming, but bizarrely the frame lines were moulded inside the canopy, which made painting fun (not) .  The undercarriage was in the same resin as everything else and  so was drilled through and brass rod added  as I do not trust ordinary resin to take the weight. The Red Top missiles were replaced by  aftermarket Freightdog ones as the originals had some serious airholes that made them well nigh impossible to clean up.

After clean up and priming Xtracyrlix Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey were applied to the upper surfaces and Vallejo white Aluminium was applied to the undersurfaces. Kit decals were applied with no problems before a coat of semigloss Vallejo clear varnish was applied. The markings are of 56 Squadron and various probes and aerials were added from plastic strip and thin brass rod .

Hope you like

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Hey very nice model but crickey it's not a looker....not sure it would have been suitable for naval use...looks like a fuel guzzler with not much of it.

BZ to you

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This is impressive Mr T.  I never knew such an aircraft existed and I learned something new in reading your brief essay.  

 

Very nice!!!!!! :penguin:

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39 minutes ago, junglierating said:

Hey very nice model but crickey it's not a looker....

Nicely built model,

 

but as junglierating  noted, she looks a right pig.  But as I used to say, they all need loving ; )

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Beautifully finished and evocative model! Quite depressing when you see all the ingenious British designs of the late 50’s and early 60’s that fell by the wayside.😞

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, junglierating said:

Hey very nice model but crickey it's not a looker....not sure it would have been suitable for naval use...looks like a fuel guzzler with not much of it.

BZ to you

I think one of the reasons for the portly fuselage was for tankage as a picture in 'Project Cancelled' shows a lot space for rocket fuel. If it ever flew my guess would be that the wing tanks would be a permanent fixture. Mind you, having short legged fighters was nothing new to the RAF, but I would the Navy would want something with endurance. I also am not sure about the 'view' from the cockpit. 

Edited by Mr T

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Thank you all  for the kind comments. The kit needed a bit of work on it, but is something a bit out of the ordinary. I do not usually do 'what ifs' unless they were being built, thus
I have built the F111K, P1154, P1121 and have the Supermarine 545 to do and the P1154RN. Too many kits to build without building ones that never got off the drawing board!

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How interesting. Had it been built many young German pilots may not have been killed in/by the Widow-maker ordered in it's place.

 

Well done and thanks for the information. 

 

👍👍

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