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Vought Chesapeake MkI


Dunny
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Hi All,

 

My next project is Academy's 1:48 Chesapeake MkI, as the SB2U-2 Vindicator was called in FAA service. A batch of 50 Vindicators was originally earmarked for the French Navy, but following the fall of France the order was diverted to the FAA. The Chesapeake was modified to FAA standards, including an extra fuel tank, armour for both crew and 4 wing-mounted 0.303 machine guns. The aircraft were delivered to 811 Sqn at RNAS Lee-on-Solent in July 1941, where it quickly became apparent that the modifications to the aircraft had made it even more underpowered for their planned role of anti-submarine patrol. They were replaced within months by Swordfish and relegated to training duties or squadron hacks. 

 

Despite an inauspicious and short career the Chesapeake make an interesting addition to an FAA collection. Released in 2019 Academy's kit is a reboxing of the Accurate Miniatures kit. Here's the box art:

 

20200808-094443.jpg

 

Here's the sprue shots. Detail looks to be fine and crisp, although the wing fabric effect looks a little exaggerated on initial inspection:

 

20200808-104218.jpg

 

20200808-104226.jpg

 

The decals look to be very nice and in good register, with options for 3 FAA aircraft and an Aeronavale version. I'm going to complete as AL924 of 811 Sqn FAA. Here's a photo of the aircraft:

 

download-1.jpg

 

Here's another shot of a sister aircraft which shows the unconventional font used on  the serial number, which the kit decals capture correctly:

 

0427-038-o.jpg

 

Here's artwork of the aircraft - there is much speculation as to the colour scheme, so I shall do some further digging. My initial feeling would be to complete in ANA equivalent colours, but I'm not committing to that just yet.

 

unnamed.jpg

 

Here's a couple of shots which show interesting detail:

 

1200px-thumbnail.jpg

 

Vought-Chesapeake-at-Royal-Naval-Air-Sta

 

Anyway, on to the build! Thanks for looking,

 

Roger

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The Vindicator is a very interesting aircraft. I lived in Florida back in the late 90ies and saw the one they were restoring there in the Pensacola Naval Air Museum in its bare bones. It looked absolutely fantastic. Sadly I left FL before it was finished but I think it’s in the museum now.

I’ve been wanting to get the Accurate Miniatures kit now for a long time. 
I’ll be watching this one closely.

chris

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3 hours ago, CTDavies said:

I left FL before it was finished but I think it’s in the museum now.

I’ve been wanting to get the Accurate Miniatures kit now for a long time. 

Yes, they did, and yes, it's beautiful! The last time I saw it at the museum they had many of the fuselage access panels removed so you could see the interior and internal equipment. It is a magnificent restoration! See the links below for some nice photos of the restored aircraft, the only known survivor.

Mike

 

https://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/sb2u-vindicator/

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/remember-the-vought-xsb2u-1-vindicator-here-are-24-images-to-remind-you.html

 

http://www.arcair.com/awa01/501-600/awa522-Vindicator-Flagg/00.shtm

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5 hours ago, CTDavies said:

The Vindicator is a very interesting aircraft. I lived in Florida back in the late 90ies and saw the one they were restoring there in the Pensacola Naval Air Museum in its bare bones. It looked absolutely fantastic. Sadly I left FL before it was finished but I think it’s in the museum now.

I’ve been wanting to get the Accurate Miniatures kit now for a long time. 
I’ll be watching this one closely.

chris

Good to have you aboard Chris!

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1 hour ago, 72modeler said:

Yes, they did, and yes, it's beautiful! The last time I saw it at the museum they had many of the fuselage access panels removed so you could see the interior and internal equipment. It is a magnificent restoration! See the links below for some nice photos of the restored aircraft, the only known survivor.

Mike

 

https://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/sb2u-vindicator/

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/remember-the-vought-xsb2u-1-vindicator-here-are-24-images-to-remind-you.html

 

http://www.arcair.com/awa01/501-600/awa522-Vindicator-Flagg/00.shtm

Some great reference material in there - @72modeler thanks for sharing the links! My main concern at the moment is interior colours, and as we all know restored aircraft can lead you down a rabbit hole! Nevertheless, these are gold - thank you,

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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2 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Hi Roger nice looking machine, I will tag along if that is okay.

Chris

 

1 hour ago, moaning dolphin said:

Lovelly subject, always fancied building one up as a FAA subject from when I first saw the AM kit. Looking forward to seeing how it goes together!

Bob

Good to have you aboard gents!!

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Hi All,

 

I've been doing some digging, and have found this interesting cutaway (image copyright Pilot Press/Air International):

 

16-1.jpg

 

From this I'm able to approximate the shape of the pilot's back armour, and the position of the 4 wing-mounted .303" machine guns (these were only fitted to FAA aircraft). The schematic also incorrectly shows the US 'peashooter' gunsight, noted as item 31. It does say that on British aircraft an ST1A gunsight was fitted, whatever that is - any ideas, oh great hive mind?? :worthy:

 

I'm also heading towards an interior colour choice. I've seen reference to a Blue-Grey cockpit, as these aircraft were originally destined for the French Navy. This could also be a rabbit hole referencing the sole-surviving restored example in Pensecola, as referenced in @72modeler's  excellent link below (thanks Mike!):

6 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Yes, they did, and yes, it's beautiful! The last time I saw it at the museum they had many of the fuselage access panels removed so you could see the interior and internal equipment. It is a magnificent restoration! See the links below for some nice photos of the restored aircraft, the only known survivor.

Mike

 

https://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/sb2u-vindicator/

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/remember-the-vought-xsb2u-1-vindicator-here-are-24-images-to-remind-you.html

 

http://www.arcair.com/awa01/501-600/awa522-Vindicator-Flagg/00.shtm

 

The below photo looks like an aluminium finish, but it could also be a mixture:

 

88055ffeb3b09402a427b430ab2aa384.jpg

 

The below shot has better contrast, and almost certainly shows a mixture of natural aluminium and painted surfaces:

 

SBU2-cockpit.jpg

 

As I can't find any definitive reference I'm going to go with cockpit walls and internal structure in natural aluminium, and other sections in Dull Dark Green (Bronze Green?). Vought used this for early Corsairs, which were in development at the same time these aircraft were delivered, so it is not a long bow to draw.

 

There are two final modifications which I can see being required. The current windscreen has a slot for the peashooter gunsight, so I shall probably in-fill this with Krystal Kleer. Also, the rear 0.303" gun is very poorly reproduced. If only I'd just build a MkI Hurricane, so I could use the breech mechanism from one of that kit's guns...

 

Now, on to the build!

 

Thanks for looking,

 

Roger

 

 

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16 hours ago, Dunny said:

My main concern at the moment is interior colours

Roger,

 

If you don't already have it, the Naval Fighters  NF106 monograph on the Vindicator as well as the Warship Pictorial #2 by Dana Bell would have interior color references. I have both of these, and I can hoist myself up to the archives and see what's there, if you like. I think @Dana Bell  is working on some more reference books regarding Navy aircraft colors, so maybe we will be graced with some new information in the near future.

Mike

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11 hours ago, Dunny said:

I'm going to go with cockpit walls and internal structure in natural aluminium, and other sections in Dull Dark Green (Bronze Green?)

I seem to recall that this is correct; IIRC I vaguely remember reading somewhere that before the Battle of Midway, aircraft that had  been repainted had the cockpits   painted interior green, but not sure on that or that aircraft bought by France/Great Britain may have had their cockpit interiors painted as specified by each nation. Perhaps @Dana Bell  or maybe @Nick Millmanwould know for sure. Hoping they are both OK and staying safe/

Mike

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I wish I knew more about the Chesapeakes - since they weren’t built under Lend-Lease, there’s not much info in the US National Archives.  The Academy kit appears to be a reboxing of the Accurate Miniatures kit - one of my all-time favorite models.  Every built example that I’ve seen has been wonderful.

 

The Chesapeake seems to include features of the SB2U-2 and SB2U-3 - the Dash-3's provisions for four wing guns and the factory-installed bombing windows, without the -3's engine, extra dihedral, wing tanks, or enlarged stabilizer.  The only thing missing from the kit is the spoiler on the leading edge of the left wing.  While that’s clearly seen in the photo of the two Wrens by the front of the aircraft, it’s a minor enough detail that I’ve never seen anyone add it to a buildup.  (The spoiler ripped off Pensacola’s Vindicator when the aircraft crashed in the 1940s - the restoration team left it off their display too.)

 

I’ve no good information on interior colors.  The SB2U-1s and -2s were all delivered with aluminum-painted interiors, while the -3s wore Dull Dark Green.  But the Chesapeakes could have worn French colors from the original order, or they could have been repainted in British colors.  And - of course - the fabric surfaces showing through the framework in the aft cockpit would probably have only clear dope which had soaked through from the exterior.

 

I have the Vought December 1940 factory drawings showing the A and B camouflage schemes (labeled I and II schemes in the drawings).  The first five aircraft (AL908 thru AL912) used Scheme I, the second five Scheme II, alternating through the end of the production run.

 

The drawings specify duPont colors and duPont thinners for the insignia colors, Dark Slate Gray, and Extra Dark Sea Gray.  The exception - of course - is the underside camouflage, which is listed as:

 

SKY TYPE ‘S’ GRAY DUPONT #71-021 OR EQUIVALENT [sic]

 

I don’t want to start any arguments here (oh, this is abuse, arguments are the next room down the hall) but American manufacturers were clearly confused about British colors at this time.  The underside color is the only notation marked “or equivalent” - and that marking is added in a different hand with the word “equivalent” italicized.  I can’t tell you with any certainty what color to paint the undersides of a newly delivered Chesapeake - and of course the FAA may have repainted the aircraft after delivery.

 

I can’t post photos to BritModeler, but if you (or anyone else) would like a copy of the factory scheme drawings, just drop me an e-mail at danabell-at-earthlink.net

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Dana

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8 hours ago, 72modeler said:

I seem to recall that this is correct; IIRC I vaguely remember reading somewhere that before the Battle of Midway, aircraft that had  been repainted had the cockpits   painted interior green, but not sure on that or that aircraft bought by France/Great Britain may have had their cockpit interiors painted as specified by each nation. Perhaps @Dana Bell  or maybe @Nick Millmanwould know for sure. Hoping they are both OK and staying safe/

Mike

 

5 hours ago, Dana Bell said:

I wish I knew more about the Chesapeakes - since they weren’t built under Lend-Lease, there’s not much info in the US National Archives.  The Academy kit appears to be a reboxing of the Accurate Miniatures kit - one of my all-time favorite models.  Every built example that I’ve seen has been wonderful.

 

The Chesapeake seems to include features of the SB2U-2 and SB2U-3 - the Dash-3's provisions for four wing guns and the factory-installed bombing windows, without the -3's engine, extra dihedral, wing tanks, or enlarged stabilizer.  The only thing missing from the kit is the spoiler on the leading edge of the left wing.  While that’s clearly seen in the photo of the two Wrens by the front of the aircraft, it’s a minor enough detail that I’ve never seen anyone add it to a buildup.  (The spoiler ripped off Pensacola’s Vindicator when the aircraft crashed in the 1940s - the restoration team left it off their display too.)

 

I’ve no good information on interior colors.  The SB2U-1s and -2s were all delivered with aluminum-painted interiors, while the -3s wore Dull Dark Green.  But the Chesapeakes could have worn French colors from the original order, or they could have been repainted in British colors.  And - of course - the fabric surfaces showing through the framework in the aft cockpit would probably have only clear dope which had soaked through from the exterior.

 

I have the Vought December 1940 factory drawings showing the A and B camouflage schemes (labeled I and II schemes in the drawings).  The first five aircraft (AL908 thru AL912) used Scheme I, the second five Scheme II, alternating through the end of the production run.

 

The drawings specify duPont colors and duPont thinners for the insignia colors, Dark Slate Gray, and Extra Dark Sea Gray.  The exception - of course - is the underside camouflage, which is listed as:

 

SKY TYPE ‘S’ GRAY DUPONT #71-021 OR EQUIVALENT [sic]

 

I don’t want to start any arguments here (oh, this is abuse, arguments are the next room down the hall) but American manufacturers were clearly confused about British colors at this time.  The underside color is the only notation marked “or equivalent” - and that marking is added in a different hand with the word “equivalent” italicized.  I can’t tell you with any certainty what color to paint the undersides of a newly delivered Chesapeake - and of course the FAA may have repainted the aircraft after delivery.

 

I can’t post photos to BritModeler, but if you (or anyone else) would like a copy of the factory scheme drawings, just drop me an e-mail at danabell-at-earthlink.net

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Dana

Gents,

 

Wow - many thanks for the extra information! @Dana Bell I will have to look for more detail on that spoiler. Based on this invaluable advice I feel comfortable with the interior colour choice, and I will now go with Dana's recommendation of DuPont equivalent DSG and EDSG, and a suitable 'Sky Grey' substitute. Many thanks gents - this is why I love this forum!

 

Stay safe,

 

Roger

 

 

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Hi All,

 

Some progress made yesterday. As I'd decided to leave the interior cockpit walls unpainted, I sprayed the rear section with Tamiya Red Brown to simulate doped fabric, and then picked out the framework in aluminium:

 

20200815-150739.jpg

 

I then set about the rest of the cockpit, with the base colour a home brew of schwarzgrun and mid-stone.

 

20200815-154705.jpg

 

Here's the front section of the cockpit following detail painting and dry-brushing. The side wall locations are a bit vague, so dry-fit is the order of the day:

 

20200816-104150.jpg

 

Next I'll move on to the observer's position, which looks nicely detailed, but with some fiddly parts. First though, here's the observer's 0.303" as presented:

 

20200815-113130.jpg

 

The barrel isn't bad but the breech mechanism is non-existent :banghead:

 

Fortunately I've got 8 of these sitting round from my last Hurricane build:

 

20200815-113152.jpg

 

Some minor surgery using one of these and the kit barrel should produce an acceptable amalgam!

 

Finally here's a shot of the windscreen as presented - as you can see it has an opening for the US telescopic gunsight which was not fitted to FAA versions. I think I've got a spare PE gunsight knocking around from my Maryland build so I think I'll fit that instead.

 

20200815-113220.jpg

 

Anyway, that's all for now - thanks for looking,

 

Roger

 

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Hi All,

 

Some good progress today! Here's the observer's position in a completed state - the oil wash is still a little damp:

 

20200822-133747.jpg

 

This should be quite visible with the cockpit open, so plenty of attention to detail! Next I turned my attention to the instrument panel. This is presented as a transparent component, which I painted black. When I went to apply the main IP decal, I noticed that the instrument detail was transparent rather than white (rather confusingly the second panel and observer's instruments ARE white) :rage:

 

I therefore picked out the instruments in white to provide a backdrop:

 

20200822-120050.jpg

 

I then applied the decal, ending up with this:

 

20200822-123317.jpg

 

Now although the lower panel looks fine, the main panel is rather... bobbins. :poop:

 

Not to worry! Out with the old faithful:

 

20200822-123732.jpg

 

A little bit of firtling later, a flat coat and instruments picked out with gloss:

 

20200822-141605.jpg

 

That'll do pig...

 

Time to bring the sub-assemblies together - here they are located in a fuselage half. I scratched the pilot's armour and a headrest:

 

20200822-140521.jpg

 

And here's the fuselage buttoned up:

 

20200822-143557.jpg

 

That's all going to be nicely visible even with the canopy in place - happy with that!! Next I decided to address the front windscreen. I taped a section of shiny plastic card into place over the gap in the windscreen. 

 

20200822-151316.jpg

 

Once I'd shuttered the end of with another slice of card I poured in a healthy blob of Krystal Kleer:

 

20200822-151516.jpg

 

I'll leave that to dry overnight and hopefully that will be sufficiently clear! :whistle:

 

The main wings and tailplane went together easily - a little filler around joints but painless overall. I drilled some holes in the leading edge where the wing-mounted 0.303" guns are located. I also sanded down the fabric effect on the wing upper & lower surfaces, as they were far too pronounced. I am enjoying this build immensely!

 

20200822-155655.jpg

 

Finally I masked off the canopy using the kit-supplied masks. That's all for today - thanks for looking!

 

Roger

 

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18 minutes ago, bigbadbadge said:

Hi Roger

Crikey I am away for a few days and you are almost finished!!!

Great work on the cockpit and will be very interested to see how the windscreen comes out when dry .

Keep up the good work 

Chris 

Cheers Chris - I reckon this one's right up your street! It's a lovely build so far...

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28 minutes ago, Dunny said:

Cheers Chris - I reckon this one's right up your street! It's a lovely build so far...

Ah yes anything FAA and I am hooked fella.   I would like one one day, but may be looking to downsize my stash a bit in the near future  so may have to leave unfortunately.  Still I am happy watching your model progress. 

Great work fella. 

Chris 

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I'm enjoying this, even though not my scale, my first vac form was a Rareplanes Chesapeake, complete with the advised underside colour in Humbrol Authentics Azure Blue. What were they thinking. 😮 I can assure you that wasn't right. I've a Specially Hobby one to do & info from this build will be of great help with that.

Steve.

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12 minutes ago, stevehnz said:

I'm enjoying this, even though not my scale, my first vac form was a Rareplanes Chesapeake, complete with the advised underside colour in Humbrol Authentics Azure Blue. What were they thinking. 😮 I can assure you that wasn't right. I've a Specially Hobby one to do & info from this build will be of great help with that.

Steve.

Thanks for the kind words Steve! Based on @Dana Bell's sage advice I'm going for Dupont versions of EDSG/DSG, and I'm currently leaning towards a Sky Blue/Grey - not sure which yet but all will be revealed tomorrow!

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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Hello Dunny !!

Great choice and great work on it !!

I'll follow up if you don't mind !!

I have 3 Wind indicators waiting in the stash !!

Chesapeake Huh, I must find a fourth one now...

Keep up that fine job Sir !

CC

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On 8/11/2020 at 10:09 AM, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

A dive bomber whose wings rippled in a dive...  a true dog of an aircraft, so anyone who flew one in action must have had cojones!  

US Marines.... And French Aéronavale as a level bomber since they never received the bombs launchers...

Now, that's interesting but the first Kamikaze attack has been performed by a Vindicator at the Midway battle...

Sincerely.

CC

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5 minutes ago, corsaircorp said:

Hello Dunny !!

Great choice and great work on it !!

I'll follow up if you don't mind !!

I have 3 Wind indicators waiting in the stash !!

Chesapeake Huh, I must find a fourth one now...

Keep up that fine job Sir !

CC

Merci bien Alain - welcome aboard! 3 Cheesecakes seems excessive, but another Chimay will make it easier!

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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