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All the Wildcat/Martlet questions you wanted to ask


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12 hours ago, detail is everything said:

No carburettor air scoop on cowling top (presumably the internal carb air scoop was a feature of the S3C4-G engine or there was no need to introduce the F4F-4 revised carburettor air scoop on cowling top from November 1941?)

If I understand it correctly, the style of the air scoop had nothing to do with the varient of the P&W engine that was installed. The ducting inside the cowl ( separate from the engine) proved to be too weak and could collapse under aerodynamic pressure. The internal inlet reduced this somewhat and was a temporary solution until stronger ducting could be designed and introduced. I don't think it mattered after that. The external scoop was reintroduced in December 1941. It made its reappearance with the first F4F-4, but that seems likely to have been coincidence, as it was the change to a folding wing that defined the change of nomenclature, and not any change to the engine. I believe that Dana Bell has looked into this, perhaps he can add more.

12 hours ago, detail is everything said:

F4F-3 (3rd group)                         February to March 1942 (seems retrograde to introduce as a front line fighter, No F4F-3s accepted during this period and you would think it would have the by then production standard F4F-4 revised carburettor air scoop and windscreen)

P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp

Internal carburettor air scoop under cowling (seems odd to return to the internal air scoop)

3 + 1 cooling flaps

Small tear shaped fairing between wing and cowling

F4F-3 wing

Braced windscreen (seems odd to return to the braced windscreen)

If by "3rd group"  you are referring to the 88 F4F-3s (BuNo 3970-4057) that were built after the F4F-3As were completed, they were outfitted just as you describe. What you note as oddities would certainly be odd if the airplanes were built and delivered in February-March 1942. Are you certain of this time frame? My resources show all of them as delivered  by Fall 1941. Lundstrom has recorded the details of O'Hare's February 20th MOH aircraft, BuNo 4031. It was assigned to VMF-211 in November 1941, was left behind when they went to Wake, and transferred to VF-3 on December 15 1941.

 

Other than that it appears to be an excellent summation.

I wish that  I knew more of the technical details of the problems that resulted in the little variances. Grumman, like most manufacturers, constantly sought to produce the best airplanes that they could. Improvements were introduced as soon as they could be without interupting production, not always reflected with a change in designation.

Edited by captnwoxof
clarity
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In 1939/40 the French ordering system gave a total number of which most were to be delivered as assembled aircraft and the remainder as the equivalent value in spares.  The G-36A order was for 100, being 81 complete and the equivalent of 19 more as spares. The Anglo French letter of intent for Lockheed Lightning was for 800 aircraft, 667 complete and the equivalent of 133 more as spares.

 

Acceptance means the aircraft has passed it tests, which introduces the statistical problem of what happens if it crashes while being tested.  Generally date order is rolled out of factory, acceptance, delivery.  For production aircraft the sequence usually took a few days or less in wartime, for prototypes it could take many months.

 

Again whatever the Grumman construction numbers or BuNos when it comes to USN Wildcats the acceptance order is the first order F4F-3, the F4F-3A, the second order F4F-3, all the F4F-4, then the final 100 F4F-3 (ex planned F4F-7).  If 19 F4F-3 from the second USN order were built before the F4F-3A an explanation is required for why they were not accepted for 2 to 3 months.  78 F4F-3 (ending February 1941), 95 F4F-3A (starting March 1941, ending May),  107 F4F-3 (starting May 1941, with 3 acceptances then another 28 in June), 1,169 F4F-4, 100 F4F-3.

 

Look at the notes about the changes to the second USN order which started out as all F4F-4.

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On 9/25/2022 at 12:25 PM, Geoffrey Sinclair said:

The 243+254 = 497 USN second order originally meant as F4F-4 end up being built as 107 F4F-3 (initially to be 67 but then another 40 added), 95 F4F-3A, 274 F4F-4 and 21 F4F-7 while the BuNo to C/N matching remains, that is lowest BuNo has the lowest C/N and so on through the sequence, their order is 19 F4F-3, 95 F4F-3A, 88 F4F-3, 274 F4F-4, 21 F4F-7.  Acceptance order however is F4F-3A, F4F-3, F4F-4, with 2 F4F-7 accepted before the last of the F4F-4.  If the first 19 F4F-3 did come off the line first they were not accepted until 2 to 3 months later.  This looks like about the only time F4F from a given order where BuNo and C/N were apparently built out of sequence.

 

I don't think the airframes were built out of c/n sequence. As to delayed delivery, I'm just postulating, but they may have been held up due to lack of engines. The -76 wasn't just mechanically problematic, it was in short supply. That was the only reason for the change to building F4F-3As, the -90 engine was inferior, but at least it was available.  Is there any correspondance regarding engine deliveries? I've always been intrigued by the statement that these 19 aircraft had either a -76 or -86. The change to the -86 was underway, they probably got whatever engine Grumman could get. Again I wish I had better references and access to the technical reports.

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One minuscule addendum to the excellent summary - not all Martlet II's lacked the "intercooler blister" - it seems to have been a hit-or-miss thing. This photo of new ones lined up at Grumman's shows that some have it (blue arrows) but others don't.

 

EF0-DDAEC-5-E30-41-C4-89-F2-CE655-DA4-B0

 

Another interesting detail on this first folding variant is that the small door for the wing crank is hinged at the rear (yellow arrows). That might have proven rather fragile, as on all later ones it was hinged along the inner edge.

Edited by MDriskill
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It is always a joy to discover yet another designation for a particular item in a different report.  R-1830 Engine production from the US War production Board report, to end June 1940 the data I have is only total R-1830, no break down by sub types.

 

Month    1-stage C3G, C4G / 2-stage C5G, C7G
Jul-40    234 / 1
Aug-40    421 / 11
Sep-40    365 / 33
Oct-40    497 / 17
Nov-40    536 / 14
Dec-40    571 / 17
Jan-41    387 / 16
Feb-41    440 / 10
Mar-41    545 / 11
Apr-41    436 / 3
May-41    423 / 16
Jun-41    457 / 30
Jul-41    577 / 40
Aug-41    498 / 54
Sep-41    521 / 52
Oct-41    431 / 96
Nov-41    531 / 79
Dec-41    575 / 100

1-stage C3G, C4G used in B-24, C-47, C-93, PBY, Beaufort,  AT- 12, P-35A
2-stage C5G, C7G used in F4F, FM-1, PB2Y.

 

According to the data in Problems of Accelerating Aircraft Production During World War II there were 98 C5G/C7G engines built in 1940, the above comes to 93 in the second half of 1940.

 

Buick built C4G engines except for 1,100 G9G in 1945, Chevrolet built C3G and C4G, Pratt and Whitney switched 2 stage production to the C9G in December 1943.

Edited by Geoffrey Sinclair
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On 9/29/2022 at 3:37 PM, captnwoxof said:

 I am reasonably certain now that when the Navy requested that the F4F-3 contract be amended to provide these airplanes, Grumman just built a couple of extra G-36As and delivered them labeled XF4F-5s.

 

In this photo of XF4F-5 Bu. No. 1846 you can see the shorter canopy and windscreen placed in a slightly arretrated position, as for the G-36A:

spacer.png

 

U.S. Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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On 9/28/2022 at 4:08 PM, captnwoxof said:

I am also interested in BuNo 7031, the airframe that was added to the F4F-3 contract to test the R-1830-90 and designated XF4F-6. Where did it fit into G-36B development? Examination of the few photos I have reveal that it too had the short canopy.

spacer.png

 

This is a photo of the XF4F-6, same canopy as the XF4F-5 (and G-36A).

Another pick from the G-36A production line? This aircraft was c/n 737, the last construction number allocated to the G-36A being c/n 736.

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spacer.png

Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

This photo is dated October 12, 1940. Note the partly concealed roundel, and the full-height fin flash, rather unusual on a Martlet. Is this the first G-36B, or one of the last G-36A?

Edited by ClaudioN
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I'm building one of the new Eduard kits, and the decal option I'm depicting shows it carrying bomb carriers/pylons, and although it doesn't show a paint code for them, they're shown as grey in the accompanying profiles.  in fact, they use the same printed colour as the wheels.  Question is, does this represent black, grey, or a dark metallic?  It's hard to tell, and Google hasn't been much use either so far.

 

Help!!! :crying:

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spacer.png

Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer (US Library of Congress), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

spacer.png

F4F-3A, SDASM Archives (Ray Wagner Collection), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

I'd go for metallic.

 

HTH

Claudio

 

Edited by ClaudioN
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:thanks: Even those pics are a bit ambiguous, but on balance I think I’ll opt for a steel-like metallic unless someone else comes up with something a bit more definitive. Incidentally, some of the profiles show the shackles as being underside colour, but this one and at least one other are adarker grey, as mentioned. 

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20 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

A test aircraft could well have unpainted parts, which would not necessarily read across to the production.

It did cross my mind.  The other thing was that would anyone leave bare metal untreated on a sea-borne "airfield"?  If it is metallic, it's probably painted.  No massive rush at the moment, as I have finish painting the rest of the airframe, and that can take me some considerable time :owww:

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On 9/30/2022 at 5:10 PM, Geoffrey Sinclair said:

It is always a joy to discover yet another designation for a particular item in a different report.

Correspondences between military and company designations, from a 1956 document Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines - Model Deignations and Characteristics:

XR-1830-76          SC2-G

R-1830-76             SSC5-G          installed on: XF4F-3, F4F-3, XF4F-4                                        diameter: 48.06     length: 71.31          two-stage, two-speed

R-1830-86             SSC7-G          installed on: F4F-3, F4F-4 (folding wings), F4F-7, FM-1        diameter: 48.19      length: 67.44         two-stage, two-speed

R-1830-90             S3C4-G          installed on: F4F-3A, F4F-4A, F4F-6, G-36B                          diameter: 48.19      length: 63.41

 

Link:

http://www.enginehistory.org/Piston/P&W/R-1830/R-1830Index.pdf

Edited by ClaudioN
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18 hours ago, ClaudioN said:

spacer.png

Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

This photo is dated October 12, 1940. Note the partly concealed roundel, and the full-height fin flash, rather unusual on a Martlet. Is this the first G-36B, or one of the last G-36A?

Zooming in, I think I see the short cowl and round-tipped prop blades of the G-36A. And (if it was taken at the same time?), you can definitely see the single-row engine in the shot with the Gulfhawk.

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Hi, gentlemen,

 

Is there any indication of the Martlet IIIs (fixed wing,, upper lip carburettor, single cooling flap, blister, cuffed prop -just checking) actual colours when in 805/806 Sqn, FAA, service?

 

The options I have found are:

- Delivery colour of USN Light Grey M-485;

- Middlestone (solid) uppers, LG lowers;

- Middlestone/Dark Earth disruptive uppers, LG lowers;

- Temperate Sea Scheme (LG lowers?)

 

The Desert Scheme is quite interesting (though I would ask for some evidence, other than models and decal sheets) but the last scheme is the one that most interest me. I have read the machines were so repainted when taken to Mackinnon Rd. airfield, Nairobi.

 

Is there any solid evidence of this repaint?

 

Thank you,

 

Fernando

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spacer.png  spacer.png

 

Odd thing I just noticed.

The US star marking on pre-war F4F-3s was large and placed rather inboard. Bu. No. 1850, bottom, shows the standard position, and the important detail is that the wing bomb carrier lies over the roundel. In the photo at top, the roundel lies well outboard of the bomb carrier. This one comes from a set of pictures taken on 12 October 1940 (there are a number of G-36As still around). There weren't many F4F-3s around at the time, so which one are we looking at? From what I have been able to find, the small rectangular fuselage window close to the wheel recess was only present on Bu. Nos. 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847 (and the XF4F-3 protoype, Bu. No. 0383).

  1. for Bu. Nos. 1844 and 1845, photos suggest a standard roundel position, whereas the only photos I found of the XF4F-5 are perfect side views, no chance
  2. the tip of the visible propeller blade seems a bit pointed and "might" suggest a Curtiss propeller

Taking a still closer look, a new question is: what's the thing that changed position, the roundel, or the bomb carrier?

In the photo at the top, the bomb carrier seems to lie almost in line (slightly inboard) with one of the flap actuator fairings, whereas in the bottom photo it is seemingly placed outboard of that same fairing.

Possibly a question for experts of one kind or another, is this a consequence of the modified wing structure from Bu. No. 1848 onwards, or is it just me going nuts?

IIRC, Bu. No. 1845 was involved in armament trials. Any idea?

Edited by ClaudioN
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Perhaps almost answered my own question, as the aircraft seems to have a single wing machine gun, so it has to be Bu. No. 1845.

I share belief in the quote seen in posts by @MDriskill ("Logical assumption is the opposite of research."), yet I hope some degree of logical assumption might help point towards potential research directions of some interest... comments welcome!

 

Claudio

 

Edited by ClaudioN
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20 hours ago, Mike said:

in fact, they use the same printed colour as the wheels.  Question is, does this represent black, grey, or a dark metallic?

 

erm, hard to tell,  dark grey seems most likely

49668021162_e62fffbd9b_c.jpgF4F JEC 03031 by Jeffrey Ethell Collection, on Flickr

 

perhaps @Tailspin Turtle @Dana Bell maybe have some input?

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On 10/2/2022 at 4:33 AM, gingerbob said:

Logical assumptions are a great way to start, because then you can find out why they're wrong!

Exactly true! (I stole that line unashamedly from Nick Millman by the way, and keep it mostly as a reminder to myself.)

 

Often logical assumptions are, indeed, all you have to start. Things go wrong when we get married to them, and forget that even the most logical, oldest, and most widely-accepted of them can be annihilated by the smallest scrap of new evidence.

Edited by MDriskill
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