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A Taranto Swordfish - 815 NAS “4A” ***** FINISHED *****


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Posted (edited)

As I come close to the conclusion of my HMS Wren build over in the Maritime section, I'd like to drop a place marker for the next project.  

 

On the night of 10/11 November 1940 21 Fairey Swordfish Mk.I's launched from HMS Illustrious and Eagle in two waves on a six hour round-trip to attack the Regia Marina in its harbour at Taranto.  The mission was the culmination of a highly coordinated operation by the Royal Navy involving six separate Forces and two convoys.  The total RN units engaged was three carriers, a battle squadron of four vessels led by HMS Warspite, a destroyer squadron of 12 destroyers, plus another 33 vessels of varying types.  

 

The plan of attack was elegantly simple; two waves were sent an hour apart.  Approaching their targets from the west, two Swordfish were tasked with dropping flares along the eastern side of the harbour creating backlighting to sillouhette the target capital ships at anchor in the Mar Grande.  Each wave comprised both torpedo and bomb armed aircraft - those with torpedoes attacked the capital ships and those with bomb went after the cruisers and destroyers in the Mar Piccolo.

 

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The attack was a success, aside form the not inconsiderable damage caused, it had the additional effect of pinning the Italian Navy in its northern ports for the remainder of its involvement in the war.  Two of the attacking Swordfish were lost, one of the crews was picked up and made POW, sadly the other perished when their Swordfish sustained a direct hit hit from shore-based AA fire.

 

I am building the Tamiya 1/48 scale Swordfish Mk.I more or less out of the box for this project.  I haven't decided which of the attacking aircraft I will mark mine up as, but I'm erring towards either L4M flown by Lt H. Swayne of 815 Squadron off HMS Illustrious or L5F flown by Lt. E. W. Clifford of 819 Squadron also off HMS Illustrious.  For reasons I'll touch on later, both of these pilots had epic nights, even more so than their squadron-mates if that were possible.

 

I'll likely begin the build in a week or so I expect.  I know we have a lot of FAA experts on board, I look forward to my continuing eduction of all things FAA with this build.

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

Edited by mark.au
I like this title better :-)
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  • mark.au changed the title to Pearl Harbour Wasn't the First Airborne Attack on a Fleet in Harbour - A Taranto FAA Swordfish

Ooh nice subject, I’ve been wanting to build one of the Taranto raid string bags but not been able to get hold of the Tamiya kit for a reasonable price so I will be living vicariously through your build and taking notes. Chair pulled up front and centre.

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13 hours ago, Biggles87 said:

One of our friends had an uncle who flew on the raid, so I’ll follow if I may.

 

John.  🇺🇦

 

You may indeed, there more the merrier.

 

3 hours ago, bigfoot said:

Ooh nice subject, I’ve been wanting to build one of the Taranto raid string bags but not been able to get hold of the Tamiya kit for a reasonable price so I will be living vicariously through your build and taking notes. Chair pulled up front and centre.

 

Welcome aboard.  I was able to pick up a kit from for a reasonable price a guy in Canberra who was selling off part of his stash.  It's actually the "Clear Edition" with a clear plastic fuselage included, though I won't be using that for this build.

 

2 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Great intro Mark and great subject too, will tag along I do like an FAA subject. Got some Swordfish in the stash too.

Really looking forward to this

Chris

 

Cheers Chris.  You could always start your Swordfish too, you know, in the spirit of presenting it complete by 11 November.  Just a thought...  You too Mr. @Dunny....

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1 hour ago, mark.au said:

You could always start your Swordfish too, you know, in the spirit of presenting it complete by 11 November.  Just a thought...  You too Mr. @Dunny....

Damn that's tempting. Also bl**dy tight given that there's a certain GB lurking around the same time!

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A great subject indeed! I'll keep an eye on your progress.

 

Small interesting fact: The japanese used the Taranto raid as the inspiration and basis for their Pearl Harbour attack.

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*ahem* I'll just slide my chair right up and watch you do the hard work. This is going to be a good one, I can tell. 

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4 hours ago, Dunny said:

Damn that's tempting. Also bl**dy tight given that there's a certain GB lurking around the same time!


Easy, finish the Swordfish by end of October leaving at least six weeks for the P-38.

 

You know you wanna…. 😊

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7 hours ago, mark.au said:

Cheers Chris.  You could always start your Swordfish too, you know, in the spirit of presenting it complete by 11 November.  Just a thought...  You too Mr. @Dunny...

Crikey,  pick up that gauntlet off the floor Mark 😉😄  I was going to do my 32nd scale Swordfish but, with what I have got on the go I would not get finished by the November deadline,  I do have an Airfix 72nd Taranto raid machine so could poss do that one possibly , will have a think.

Chris 

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4 hours ago, hairystick said:

A great subject indeed! I'll keep an eye on your progress.

 

Small interesting fact: The japanese used the Taranto raid as the inspiration and basis for their Pearl Harbour attack.

 

Indeed, while there’s some evidence that Yamamoto conceived the idea earlier there’s no doubt that the Japanese were intently interested and sent a delegation to Italy to learn more about the attack.  The challenge the RN overcame that the Japanese were concerned about was the shallow water for an airborne torpedo delivery.  Although they took a different route in solving that, the Royal Navy / FAA showed it could be done.
 

One of the ironies of the operation was that the RN had a USN observer at the operation (strictly speaking against the US neutrality laws…) who relayed the news that the shallow depth at Pearl Harbour was not the protection against air launched torpedoes the USN thought it was.  His report was ignored.

 

3 hours ago, Jeff G said:

*ahem* I'll just slide my chair right up and watch you do the hard work. This is going to be a good one, I can tell. 


Welcome, thanks for the interest.

 

12 minutes ago, bigbadbadge said:

Crikey,  pick up that gauntlet off the floor Mark 😉😄  I was going to do my 32nd scale Swordfish but, with what I have got on the go I would not get finished by the November deadline,  I do have an Airfix 72nd Taranto raid machine so could poss do that one possibly , will have a think.

Chris 

 

Think quick!  😂😊

 

 

Just teasing….

 

 

Sort of.

 

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12 hours ago, mark.au said:

Indeed, while there’s some evidence that Yamamoto conceived the idea earlier there’s no doubt that the Japanese were intently interested and sent a delegation to Italy to learn more about the attack.

Thanks for posting that as it is more accurate than the earlier suggestion the IJN didn't have such plans before Taranto (which is certainly not the case if you look purely from a logistics & training viewpoint). 
For some more insight on the PH planning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkQ9gv6ubck&t=1140s  (Drachinifel)

 

 

And a very recent Taranto one from an Italian researcher together with Dr. Alexander Clarke : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8LPB3DS3pg

 

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Hey Mark, another interesting topic from you. Thanks for the info re the attack, which as an ex FAA rating, I should have known. I don't have the kit but one of our club members has just finished building it. He showed it at the meeting last month, Impressive looking when finished as yours will be.

 

Colin

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It my.memory serves me correctly, very shortly after the Tamiys Swordfish was released there was a book published specifically dedicated to building and detailing the kit. Do not know who the publisher was unfortunately, but would imagine the book would be of great help to anyone building this kit.

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G’day, time to post some progress.  After my [first] excursion into ship modelling came to a successful close at the beginning of this week, I took a couple of days and began the Swordfish.  The first thing that struck me was the significant difference in 1/48 scale compared to 1/350th !

 

The work begins with the cockpit and as is my usual practice I assembled as much as I could before beginning to paint.

 

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I began with a base coat of black to begin building depth in the finish…


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…and then applied a modulated coat of Hataka grey green.  The results were what I was looking for.

 

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Next I began on the details.  I painted the doped canvas red brown and then modulated that with a thinned lighter variation of the base colour.  With that done, I brush painted the stringers and frames and the blended with a wash of darker red brown than the base.  Staying with

 

 

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…the fuselage halves, I painted in the details, including the flares.  After a dry brush and tidy up, I applied the final flat coats set them aside.

 

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Moving on to the cockpit proper, I followed much the same process.  I used Bare Metal Foil for the floor just because.  It won’t be seen but it’s there.

 

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Lastly I finished off the decking and side framing, again using the same process.

 

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That’s the current state of play.  The Taranto Swordfish had a fuel tank installed behind the pilot, I need to figure out my solution for that.  If I can find something for the fuel tank I hope that over the weekend I can button it all up and have the fuselage closed.

 

in other progress I have bought the Tamiya PE set though I’m not 100% sure I’ll use it.  In some photos it looks way over scale while in others it doesn’t look bad.  There’s time before I have to decide.

 

Cheers.

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9 hours ago, AliGauld said:

All looking up to your usual high standards.

Cracking stuff.

 

Cheers,

Alistair


Thanks mate, I was happy with how that all went.

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Looking really sharp so far. How do you keep the drybrush so tidy? My efforts always tend towards blobbiness, leaving a powdery finish.

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Somehow I managed to miss this thread, Mark.  You've done a lovely job so far and I'll enjoy watching it progress.  I'm always fascinated by anything involving the Swordfish and the almost pathological bravery of their crews.

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1 hour ago, Ngantek said:

Looking really sharp so far. How do you keep the drybrush so tidy? My efforts always tend towards blobbiness, leaving a powdery finish.


Thanks!  The key to dry brushing is a really dry brush, much dryer than you think and to work slowly in multiple passes.  It’s easily overdone otherwise.  The other important aspect is short flexible bristles on the brush; too long and they’ll reach into areas you want left alone and too stiff and it’s impossible to control.
 

20 minutes ago, jackroadkill said:

Somehow I managed to miss this thread, Mark.  You've done a lovely job so far and I'll enjoy watching it progress.  I'm always fascinated by anything involving the Swordfish and the almost pathological bravery of their crews.


Thanks JRK, it’s a pretty new WIP so you’re forgiven :) 
 

The Swordfish crews were indeed brave, I was very close to doing a Channel Dash Swordfish to commemorate the most extreme example of that but  opted for Taranto because I wanted to do a positive story.

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Mark,

 

Superb work - those flares are a thing of beauty. Look forward to seeing what you can do with this wonderful kit,

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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  • mark.au changed the title to A Taranto Swordfish - 815 NAS “4A” ***** FINISHED *****

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