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Convair XP6Y-1


ajmm
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I hope this is the right place to post this - I cannot see a What If section, and weird though this is it is not Sci-Fi! Please do move it if not.

 

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I don't post many of my builds on here but this is a bit of a rare kit and aircraft so I thought I'd share it (apart from anything else, despite searching the ends of the internet I can find no images of completed models of this aircraft in any scale so this might help the one other human on this planet who might want to build this kit!). 

 

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This was a genuine but unbuilt anti-submarine patrol seaplane from Convair. It kind of looks like a Martin Marlin on acid, I think. Either way - it's damned ugly. If this had entered service, I think there's good money on it being called the pelican (in fact, half way through this build I realised what it reminded me of - Nigel from Finding Nemo!).

 

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Info on this design is very scarce but I managed to track down some decent three view drawings (Secret Projects Forum has a lot of helpful info if anyone is looking for it). The history of this aircraft is intriguing. In 1957 Mother Russia decided to fit SCUD missiles to their Zulu class submarines, giving the Soviets their first ballistic missile subs. This caused great alarm in the US, and a strong fear that the existing sub picket lines on the Atlantic and Pacific needed upgrading. So an aircraft was sought to replace the Martin Marlin and Lockheed Neptune - the designs of both were nearing ten years old. Both Convair and Martin submitted proposals (XP6Y-1 and XP7M-1 respectively), with two prototypes of the Convair aircraft ordered before budget cuts forced the navy to see sense and decide on a long range land-based aircraft which ably fulfilled this role until only a few years ago - the Lockheed P3 Orion, of course. The idea was this would fly along, land - dunk its sonar and sit for a few hours waiting for a Russian sub to amble past. Spare a thought for the unbelievably seasick sonar operators in the back! It would then take off and repeat the exercise somewhere else. To actually hunt the sub, it would have flown a similar pattern as the Orion subsequently did and use its extendable MAD boom at the rear to fix the sub's position before dropping depth charges or homing torpedoes. Here's the small scale model that was built in 1958:

 

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It's only as I put this together that I've really appreciated what a whacky thing this was. The whole design was centred on reducing the stall speed in order to enable this to land and take off in short distances in any sea state the Atlantic or Pacific might throw at it. So it had absolutely massive 'blown' flaps suspended from a flying wing - like a Catalina in a way, just less aircraft and more scaffolding. The height of the wing would presumably have kept the flaps out of the spray on takeoff. To power it off the water, the aircraft was designed with five (5) engines - and a rocket. The three massive Wright R-3350s in the nacelles are obvious, but the central nacelle also housed two jet engines which could be angled over 150 degrees up or down (although quite why you'd want to angle it up I don't know). There was also a JATO rocket in the rear just in case none of this was really enough oomph for you. This would have been able to carry a colossal array of weapons - I was puzzling over what looked like two massive cargo doors in the side of the model amidships (I feel very nautical when I say words like amidships - after this, I must go and don some chunky knitwear and gaze thoughtfully at the middle distance). Actually these were bomb and torpedo bays which rotated through 180' when needed. Similar to the Canberra bomb bay arrangement.

 

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The Navy actually liked the design quite a lot - more so than its competitor the Martin Submaster (of which a partial, full-scale mockup was actually built). It ordered two prototypes built before budget cuts led to these being cancelled.

 

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Anyway - history aside, there's a WIP in a thread here on Kampfgruppe144 if you're interested. This was largely built out of the box, but I had to source beaching gear from the spares box (these came from a Constellation) and a few other bits and bobs were scratch built like the searchlight. The paint scheme is entirely speculative but I have gone for how I imagined the first prototype (147206) might possibly have looked when it rolled out of Convair's San Diego factory for the top brass - painted in the contemporary white over seaplane grey that Marlins wore, complete with dummy depth charges. I borrowed quite a lot of paint ideas from pictures of the Marlin - especially the props. I don't usually love What If aircraft but there was something fairly liberating doing this knowing there was no prototype let alone production aircraft to base this on. 

 

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It is surprisingly large. 

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It's not often in modelling in 1:144 that you can fit the entirety of your smartphone camera underneath the wing of the aircraft you're photographing!

 

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I say surprisingly, because it was only when I finally put the wing and fuselage assemblies together properly last night that I really appreciated this properly. 

 

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Quite noticeable next to the Sikorsky Dreadnought I built last year...

 

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And particularly so next to what would have been a contemporary naval fighter (even if the Cougar was fairly petite).

 

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thank you very much for looking and for reading if you made it this far!

 

Angus

p.s. I'd be very surprised if another one of these appears on this forum anytime soon. If one does, I promise to eat my airbrush!

 

 

 

Edited by ajmm
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21 minutes ago, ajmm said:

It is surprisingly large. 

Nigh on as big as some of the submarines it may have been hunting I venture to guess.  Cracking model in a great scheme.

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12 hours ago, ajmm said:

I hope this is the right place to post this - I cannot see a What If section

Yes it is the right place to post. There is a What-if section but I and others would have told you to post here as well to get a bigger/better audience for such a fabulous bird (seems the right word for it after the Nigel remark).

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Its a beautifully rendered model of an interesting subject. I knew a little about the Martin SubMaster; not quite as much about this one. Its PBY DNA is unmistakable. Strange marriage of a slender, streamlined swooshy fuselage and tail, with a decidely retro-looking, Radial-Engined parasol wing.

 

No shortage of radical flying boat ideas from the guys in San Diego.....

 

-d-

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A beautiful model  and display base of an amazing looking Aircraft. I think they threw every idea in the book at this one. 

It's probably best that the Orion turned up though. I love that Sikorsky too. Another one I'd forgotten about.

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Excellent model, excellent base, excellent history and this is particularly excellent;

 

On 12/02/2021 at 14:51, ajmm said:

(I feel very nautical when I say words like amidships - after this, I must go and don some chunky knitwear and gaze thoughtfully at the middle distance).

 

:rofl2:

 

Wonderful modelling!

 

Keith

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11 hours ago, David H said:

 I knew a little about the Martin SubMaster; not quite as much about this one. Its PBY DNA is unmistakable. No shortage of radical flying boat ideas from the guys in San Diego.....

 

Thanks David! Now you mention it - there is a whiff of PBY about it. I think it looks a lot like the Marlin too. I'm curious though - this followed the Tradewind - so advanced in so many ways. A lot about this feels quite a step back - noticeably the radial engines - was that because the demands of the mission were very different so turboprops were overkill do you think? Anyway, Anigrand are shortly going to release the Submaster by the way - so I'll aim to do that soon.

 

Thank you @Pete in Lincs and @keefr22! I've since been formally banned from wearing nautical knitwear at home by my wife and children. I've also been told to replace all the red light bulbs and stop shouting 'ALARM - DIVE, DIVE' at mealtimes. Well we must all get through lockdown somehow.

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I think the choice of radial engines was driven largely for reasons of endurance and loiter time, given its mission requirements (i.e., down at lower altitudes at pretty low patrol speeds with higher ambient temperatures...not to mention that by this point the R-3350 had developed into a fairly reliable engine and was something of a known quantity); once it matured (sort of), the P5Y/R3Y Tradewind had been redefined as a transport, so it woulda spent most of its time at high altitudes in cruise. The infamous Allison T-40 probably eliminated it from consideration for the P6Y early on, too.

 

It's worth pointing out that some of the proposed concepts did not go un-noticed; i believe the Shinmeiwa PS-1/SS2 Flying boat used a blown wing for boundary layer control when it was first developed.....a plane that also looks like it got some DNA from the Martin Marlin.

 

Purely informed speculation.

 

-d-

Edited by David H
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