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Supermarine Stranraer - Interior Photo's Wanted, and Question about Underwing Pods


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Good evening all,

 

On the way in the mail is the old Matchbox Stranraer, a kit that I plan to scratch a healthy amount of interior detail for, similar in nature to the stunning job done by @Vulcanicity. While I plan to follow his build for interior reference, I'm also looking for any interior photo's I can get, particularly of the middle gunners section, the navigation section, and the cockpit itself.

 

Additionally, I have a question as to the appearance of pods underneath the wings of some Stranraers as seen below. Are these supply pods? Podded liferafts? Any info would be appreciated.

Stranraer Pod Stranraer Pod 2

 

Thanks all,

Tweener

Edited by Tweener
Added photos of pods.
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The best source I know is the Mushroom pubs book on the Walrus & Stranraer but nearly all the photos are of the preserved example so probably not representative. PM me your email address for scans.

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Author Carl Vincent wants to add this:

 

 I have between 150 and 200 photographs of RCAF Stranraers which I would be pleased to share although I cannot see posting that number and clogging up the thread. Anybody who wants to PM me can have a moderate degree of access.

            Underwing pods.       These had a number of purposes. The initial reason was to protect the bomb racks from freezing spray. It was the RCAF’s experience with the Stranraer that made it speedily go off flying boats and concentrate, as much as possible, on amphibians. Some excellent photos exist on the file showing this installation over the bomb racks but I do not believe I have copied them and, as the Archives are now closed up tighter than the proverbial, it would be some time before I would be able to do so, even if I wished. However, I attach a couple of photos showing an alternate and, possibly, more frequent use, i.e. long-range fuel tanks. In this case, the nosecap and the body of the pod has been temporarily removed for access.

 

Carl

 

 

50919648877_a4bd1eac3f_b.jpg

 

50919648917_35f5f9f363_b.jpg

 

 

 

Chris, for Carl.

 

 

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Hi Tweener,

 

Thanks for the mention, and glad you're embarking on a Stranraer odyssey! Are you planning on building an RAF or RCAF example?

The Seawings site and Mushroom book should be a good starting point for you (I can also supply scans of the latter), although bear in mind that 920 at Hendon is almost completely stripped of interior equipment so the interior photos in the Mushroom book, although pretty much the only ones I was able to find, aren't that helpful for a service example.

 

I used the linked plans at Seawings (drawn by GAG Cox and dating from a 1950s modelling magazine) pretty extensively to indicate the position of interior equipment, although the scans of the Cox plans are tantalisingly almost but not quite good enough quality and caused much head-scratching. I chickened out of doing the bow compartment because the Cox plan was just too confusing and I didn't have good enough photos even showing the structural details here.  I also have a decent cutaway in an Aeroplane Magazine Archive booklet on "Flying Boats of WW2" which I can scan for you - no idea of the provenance but it largely agrees with Cox. I'm not sure of copyright so PM me for a copy.

 

@dogsbody those are terrific and if Carl has any period interior shots I'd love to see them  - if only to laugh at how much my guesswork got wrong! I have quite a few RCAF images I have trawled from off the internet but nothing like 150.

 

Images of RAF Stranraers (except for the prototype K3973 and the often-published take off photo of camouflaged K7292 BN-L) are vanishingly rare, although I have a few pre-war shots of 228 squadron aircraft which can be found by internet trawling.

 

One other thing I definitely can add are the results of my trip to the National Archives to photograph the AP manual. My hopes of nice labelled black-and-white photos of all the crew positions were dashed, and it's nearly all text but there are a few useful details of controls, rigging and weapons. I will paste these in another post below.

 

Lastly a few heads-up about some things Matchbox got wrong (mostly via copying 920 at Hendon):

 

  • Engine cowlings are too parallel-sided and are closer in shape to the postwar P&W cowling fitted to 920 . They can be reprofiled to match the original RAF Pegasus cowling shape as I did, although be aware that many RCAF aircraft featured a deeper-chord Pegasus cowling. The engines are pretty lousy - I used CMK resin replacements.
  • There is a conspicuous forward facing bulge on the forward strut underneath the nacelle on the real aircraft - apparently absent in the postwar engine installation and not present on 920, but seen in all Stranraers with the Pegasus engine. This needs adding.
  • The landing light on the port lower mainplane is doped over on 920 and was missed by MB - needs adding
  • The MB kit features the large post-war freight door seen on 920 - needs sanding back flush and a window adding in its place
  • The MB kit has no recessed bomb cells in the underwings as they are doped over on 920. If Carl's photos don't show these clearly I have some RCAF images which do.
  • There is a porthole in the cabin roof with protective bars over it which MB missed. This is not easily seen from the ground and there are few good walkaround images of it. - I have one which is no longer findable online and can send it to you if desired
  • I'm not sure where MB got the idea that the rear gunner's windshield was a clear glazed part - it's a curved metal screen. The kit part is a very bad fit and can't be posed folded down/stowed without serious surgery.

That's all I can think of for now but feel free to pick my brains if you have any queries - I will help if I can!

Oh - and do watch this - it's wonderful!

 

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Some additional notes I made from other bits of the AP which I didn't photograph:

 

Wings

Span: Top mainplane 85’, bottom mainplane 75’

Dihedral: Top and bottom mainplanes 3° ± 10’, tailplane nil

Incidence: Top and bottom mainplanes 6° 30’ ± 20’, tailplane 3°

Sweepback: Top mainplane at outer strut 20° 26’ ±1’, bottom mainplane at outer strut 19° 51 ±1

 

Hull and Bottom Centre Section (verbatim from AP)

General

2.The hull framing and plating and the bottom centre section of the main planes, which is an integral part of the hull, are built of alclad. The stainless steel fittings on the hull are separated from the plating by zinc plates. The flooring of the hull is built in removable sections which give access to the drain plugs in the bottom of the hull. Limber holes for drainage are provided on all the frames.

Crew positions

3. In the bow of the aeroplane is the front cockpit which is a gunnery, bomb-aiming or mooring and anchoring position. In the extreme bow, the front cockpit has a door, hinged at the top and opening outwards. The door is spring-loaded to assist in opening it against the force of the air in flight and care must be exercised in opening it when the aeroplane is at rest; before releasing the catches the door handle should be held in readiness to resist the opening force. Forward of the main planes, accommodation is provided for the pilot on the port side of an enclosed cockpit; for instructional purposes dual controls may be fitted on the starboard side. Aft of the pilot are the navigating instruments. The main entrance door to the hull is on the starboard side just forward of the main planes. Between the frames at the front and rear main plane spars, is the wireless operator’s and engineer’s compartment. A rubber-sealed hatch, opening inwards, is provided in the roof of this compartment. Aft of the rear spar frame is the amidship gun station. There is also a gun station at the extreme tail of the hull. Except for a sliding door separating the pilot’s cockpit from the bow cockpit, intercommunication from end to end of the aeroplane is uninterrupted.

Watertight compartments.

4. The hull is divided into seven compartments that can be isolated from each other by by swash boards that fit into the lower part of frames C, E, H, L, O and R, rendering them watertight to a point well above the water level. The board for frame C is stowed on the aft side of Frame C; the boards for frames E, H, and L form part of the flooring between frames E and H and are lettered to indicate their respective positions; and the board for frame O is stowed between frames Q and R and is also used to form the firing platform at the amidship gun position. The swash board at frame R is fixed. Particular care should be taken that the removable swash boards are not damaged in any way.

Bottom Centre Section

5. The metal covering of the bottom centre section is treated on the top surface to forma non-slip walkway. Control cables and rods and electrical leads are housed in the nose portion. An air-cooled auxiliary power unit is mounted in the starboard centre section and is protected by a watertight lid. Inspection doors are provided at the necessary points, and for access to the fuel cock cables the trailing portion of the centre section is hinged about 5 in, aft of the rear spar.

 

 

General

48. The pilot is accommodated on an adjustable seat on the port side of the cockpit. For instructional purposes dual controls may be installed on the starboard side. The pilot’s seat gear is a complete unit in itself and can be remove by releasing the four bolts at each end of the support members. Provision is made for the installation of automatic controls. Locking gear for the controls is provided. The elevator and rudder trimming tabs are controlled by handwheels at the side of the pilot. Fig. 10-15 show the layout of the controls.

 

Control column and rudder pedals

49. The first pilot’s control column is mounted at its lower end on a layshaft supported by self-aligning ball bearings mounted in brackets on the control frame (see fig. 10). The head bearing of the control column carries a four-spoke 16-in. dia. handwheel for the operation of the ailerons.

50 The rudder pedals are each mounted on, but not affixed to, separate layshafts supported in bearings on the underside of the control frame (see fig. 10). Movement of each rudder pedal is transmitted to its layshaft through the adjusting gear, which besides being attached to the arm of the pedal, is also joined to the end of a plate lever housed inside the arm of the pedal and secured to the layshaft by a socket with through-bolts. Adjustment of the rudder pedals is made by rotating a screw-gear that projects from the forward side of each pedal arm, thereby rocking the pedal arms on their axes, approximately 2-in. adjustment each way is obtainable. The toe strap is also moveable, a small nut on the outside of each pedal spindle limiting the rotation. The layshafts are interconnected by gear sectors.

Rudder and elevator trimming tab controls

54. The elevator and rudder trimming tabs are controlled by handwheels at the pilot’s left-hand side through a system of chains and cables (see fig. 12 and 14) …

Control Locking

55. The control column is locked by means of a strut that is universally attached to the instrument panel. The other end of the strut has a screwed pin universally attached to it and the pin should be screwed into the head of the column through a hole in the aileron sprocket. When not in use the strut should be folded back along the instrument panel and retained in position by screwing the pin into its stowage socket…

Automatic controls

57. The rudder and elevator automatic control units are mounted underneath the control bearers and are housed within an airtight compartment; the aileron unit is mounted on the aft side on the pilot’s bulkhead and is enclosed in an alclad covering…To give access to the aileron unit the chart table above it can be moved aft out of the way.

Armament.

General.

58. The bomb load is carried at the inboard ends of the bottom outer planes. The types of bombs are indicated in fig. 16 and 17. The bombs are fuzed mechanically by means of cables from the starboard side of the front cockpit and are released electro-magnetically. Three Lewis guns are carried and are mounted on scarff rings at the front, amidship and tail cockpits.

Bomb sight.

59. A Mk.VII bomb sight is stowed on the starboard side of the hull forward of the sliding door. In the working position it is fitted to a slide on the port side of the door in the extreme bow of the hull. To allow the door to close, the bomb sight may be swung into the vertical position without removing it from the slide.  The mounting spigot for the sight is stowed on the port side near the roof forward of the bulkhead. The azimuth control is fixed on the port side in line with the bomb-aimer’s seat and is enclosed in a portion of the firing platform.

Gun positions.

64. The three Lewis guns are mounted on scarff rings, of which the forward one is type 15C, the amidship one type 10A, and the aft type 17. The forward ring is mounted on a rail allowing it to swing down and slide aft clear of the cockpit opening to permit mooring and other marine operations. The amidship and rear gun rings are mounted in the normal fashion, being bolted direct to the hull. The forward gun is stowed in position beside the scarf ring. Both the amidship and the aft guns are stowed just forward of the amidship gun station, on the starboard side of the hull. Pegs for five drums of ammunition are provided at each gun position.

From the MAEE report 1936

Wireless:

R1082 and T1083 seem to be accounted for in the “summary weights” section of the MA&EE report of the prototype K3973, however later it suggests R1124 and R1125 and R1110, perhaps these are later fits to service machines?

Lewis Guns, Bombsight, etc

Three Mk. III carried, with 15 spare magazines, five in each position. Course Setting Bombsight Mk. VIIIB and 8x 20lb antisubmarine bombs fitted. Main electrical Control Panel is starboard side between main plane spar frames.

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I'm sure @Carl Vwill see this and send me any interior photos he may have.

 

There's is this build from a year ago, with lots of information.

 

 

 

 

Chris

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@VulcanicityMany thanks for the scans and information. I've been spending some time today debating the extent to which I plan to detail my build, having just completed work on the cockpit and station immediately behind it. I think that I will forego adding much in the way of detail to the middle gunners station, as I feel the opening is too small for much to be seen and will likely be faired over on my build, but I may just try to detail the nose gunner position. In any case, I'll need new decals as the included ones aren't any use. I feel inspired to build a RCAF machine with depth charges and Browning MG's in place of the Lewis guns, perhaps #912 if I can find suitable numbers in each of the 3 required sizes. If nothing else works, I may just buy a second kit for the decals alone.

 

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21 hours ago, Vulcanicity said:

Oh - and do watch this - it's wonderful!

 

It most certainly is !  Thanks for posting:)

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Apologies if these are old news @Tweener,  I'm pretty sure they will have been mentioned already by those who have done much more intensive research than me, they are the only period images I can find of the interior of the Stranraer. (A Canadian built one)

I'm trying to decide if that's silver paint, or interior grey/green.

I have found a very good cutaway of the Scapa, and I wonder how different the airframes actually were.

 

(Galley photos are half a dozen shots down in this online album)

http://silverhawkauthor.com/canadian-warplanes-1-canadian-vickers-supermarine-stranraer_695.html

 

 

 

 

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Not old news - that website has been updated since I built mine and I have never seen those, or any other period photos of this area - what wonderful images! You can almost smell the bacon sandwiches and coffee.

I think it's aluminium rather than a very high gloss (and well-lit) Interior green, which is interesting as the interior of 920 at Hendon is green. I assumed that the stove tops doubled up as firing steps for the gunner and those images seem to confirm it - at least there doesn't look like anything else up to the job of supporting someone's weight!. Not sure how that works if a fighter attacks immediately after bacon is served - your feet would get cooked!

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21 hours ago, Vulcanicity said:

Not sure how that works if a fighter attacks immediately after bacon is served - your feet would get cooked!

Perhaps an incentive to aim very, very well 😉

Magnificent thread, this !

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20 hours ago, dogsbody said:

Does anyone know if a Stranny was ever attacked by an enemy fighter?

 

 

 

Chris

Well, there is a famous photo of one taken through the nose of an He111? But I don't know if it was attacked or not. I'll try and find it ...

 

Edit Edit - It's a Saro London, not a Stranrear, thanks for the gen @Carl V

 

Edit - it's in this Hughie Green link, taken over the Shetlands but little other detail.

https://www.a-e-g.org.uk/supermarine-stranraer.html

 

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On 2/22/2021 at 10:11 PM, Vulcanicity said:

Not old news - that website has been updated since I built mine and I have never seen those, or any other period photos of this area - what wonderful images! You can almost smell the bacon sandwiches and coffee.

I think it's aluminium rather than a very high gloss (and well-lit) Interior green, which is interesting as the interior of 920 at Hendon is green. I assumed that the stove tops doubled up as firing steps for the gunner and those images seem to confirm it - at least there doesn't look like anything else up to the job of supporting someone's weight!. Not sure how that works if a fighter attacks immediately after bacon is served - your feet would get cooked!

They are crystal clear too aren't they? You just wonder if the same chap took some shots of the cockpit ... 🤞

 

There are good galley views in this pdf as well, but newsprint quality as it's a 1935 Flight article.

https://www.seawings.co.uk/images/Articles/Article PDFs/Stranraer - Flight - 1st August 1935.pdf

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1 hour ago, Quiet Mike said:

Well, there is a famous photo of one taken through the nose of an He111? But I don't know if it was attacked or not. I'll try and find it ...

 

Edit - it's in this Hughie Green link, taken over the Shetlands but little other detail.

https://www.a-e-g.org.uk/supermarine-stranraer.html

 

spacer.png

 

Must have been an interesting moment for both crews!

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1.         In the interests of accuracy, this aircraft is Saro London K6525 of 240 Squadron and the encounter took place on 19 December 1939.

2.         This photo and a reasonably full account of the incident is found on pages 143-44 of Fledgling Eagles, Christopher Shores et al., Grub Street, 1991.

Carl

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2 hours ago, Carl V said:

1.         In the interests of accuracy, this aircraft is Saro London K6525 of 240 Squadron and the encounter took place on 19 December 1939.

2.         This photo and a reasonably full account of the incident is found on pages 143-44 of Fledgling Eagles, Christopher Shores et al., Grub Street, 1991.

Carl

 

Thanks for the correction Carl

 

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On 2/24/2021 at 9:39 AM, Carl V said:

1.         In the interests of accuracy, this aircraft is Saro London K6525 of 240 Squadron and the encounter took place on 19 December 1939.

2.         This photo and a reasonably full account of the incident is found on pages 143-44 of Fledgling Eagles, Christopher Shores et al., Grub Street, 1991.

Carl

Ah, the SARO London... What I would give for Matchbox to have produced one!

 

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I have just heard back from Carl.

 

He's been feeling a bit under the weather for a while and hasn't been here or much of anywhere online.

He doesn't have any Stranny interior photos, unfortunately.

 

 

 

Chris

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