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1/32 Fairey IIIF(M)


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This is the Wellsprop 3D printed Fairey lllF (M). I bought the floatplane version, but may complete the kit as a wheeled version, as they were interchangeable in service use and the wheeled version does not require much additional scratch building.

 

This is the fabric skinned, all metal construction version with the Lion XIA engine (other versions were a combination of metal and wooden construction). According to Sturtivant et al,  there were 93 lllF(M) produced for naval use with serials in the range  S1303-S1356 and S1370-S1408. There were also 10 lllF(M) DC produced with non-folding wings with serials un the range 1454-S1463.

 

The Wellsprop kit is a very large home produced kit of an important Fleet Air Arm type.  It is also a subject that few manufacturers are likely to consider in 1/32 scale.  As is to be expected, the print is covered in striations, all of which need to be removed by sanding with a resulting loss of detail. In such a large scale this means adding all the detail again after sanding.

 

I have Jarrett’s book, digital versions of the Air Publication Manuals (AP1336 for FAA 3-seater and AP1356 2-seater) and a number of different sets of plans. I also own quite a few original photos of Fairey lllF in Fleet Air Arm service. Despite this, it is clear to me that some details of this aeroplane are opaque. There are photos of parts of the interior in the Jarrett book, and schematic diagrams in the Air Publications, but really good photos of the interior are absent. Variations between the different versions (3 and 2-seater, all metal and part-metal construction, and engine type) are also not always clear.

 

One case in point is the rear cut-out for the Lewis gun. The kit as supplied does not have one, but nearly every photo I can find of lllF(M) in FAA service seems to show a Lewis mount. According to Jarret, the Lewis gun could be was mounted on  Fairey high speed mount or a Scarff ring. In both cases, I assume that where a Lewis gun was mounted, it would necessitate the cutout in the rear fuselage to accommodate stowage when not in use; but I do not know this for certain. 

 

The photos in the Jarrett book also show the 3-seater with an anti-skid metal floor and the 2 seat General Purpose version with a wooden floor. I assume that the anti-skid covering was fitted to naval types. Whether the anti-skid covering in the rear cockpit in 3-seater types extended to the pilot’s cockpit is something I have not been able to ascertain, but I assume it did not as the pilot did not make direct contact with the floor (the pilot's seat was suspended on a tubular structure attached to the frames), and the anti-skid would not therefore be necessary. So pretty clearly there will be some guesswork involved in this build.

 

IMG_5683

 

 

 

I assembled the three pieces of the fuselage so that they could be rubbed down together (though the front section is only lightly joined to the rear two sections). The striations are clear in this photo:

 

IMG_5402

 

 

The cockpit print is quite a clever design and adds much structural support to the three fuselage sections. Some compromises on accuracy have been inevitably made for printing. I added longitudinal stringers and removed some of the formers. There should be eight stringers, but I settled on 4 to give the impression when enclosed in the fuselage section.

IMG_5567

 

IMG_5568

 

I added a non-skid metal floor by carefully cutting each former where it joins the floor so that the photo etch could be slid in. I use Flyhawk's non-skid 1/350 warship photo-etch, which surprisingly seems to give a good representation in 1/32nd scale:

 

IMG_5681

 

 

Having assembled the cockpit, I decided to remove the rear bulkhead as photos show this to be an open structure with a canvas cover, presumably to prevent spray reaching the camera installation which was placed aft of the bulkhead. The  frames and stringers have been painted Light Aircraft Grey , with the non-skid floor painted aluminium and a wooden floor fitted to the pilot's position using woodgrain decal:

IMG_5675

I still have to fit the bracing wires and floor fixtures.  More soon.

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@wellsprop here goes...

 

I have made quite a bit of progress on the 1/48 version of the kit though I put it to one side to gain a bit more biplane experience. Your progress so far look excellent.

 

The kit does boast a fantastic fit.

 

What serial do you intend to build? There was a lot of variability in the undercarriage arrangements as I am sure you have gathered from the Jarrett book.

Edited by mahavelona
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2 hours ago, Putty Animal said:

Wow what a fantastic project!  I’ve been working towards doing a Fairey IIID as a scratchbuilding and have been having a hard time finding references.  Can I ask where you sourced the IIIF drawings from?  They may have some similarities that could be useful. 

Thanks.

 

Aviation News plans by John Bishop. Not sure of the date of these as I only kept the plans

Model Aircraft Monthly plans by Len Whalley April 2008

Scale Aircraft Modelling plans by Peter Green  March 2000 (also includes a 1/72 scale build of S1307 as a floatplane)

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1 hour ago, mahavelona said:

@wellsprop here goes...

 

I have made quite a bit of progress on the 1/48 version of the kit though I put it to one side to gain a bit more biplane experience. Your progress so far look excellent.

 

The kit does boast a fantastic fit.

 

What serial do you intend to build? There was a lot of variability in the undercarriage arrangements as I am sure you have gathered from the Jarrett book.

Agreed on the fit.  As to the serial I'm not sure. I haven't decided between a floatplane and wheeled yet. I'm drawn towards a IIIF from Courageous with blue and white checkerboard markings to the fin. Interestingly the Fairey IIIF Profile has S1307 on the cover and centre spread as a floatplane. However, I've yet to find a photo of this aircraft in floatplane configuration (I have 3 photos as a wheeled version).  Also, Profile assign this to Furious with red carrier band and red checkerboards when the aircraft history indicates Courageous (blue carrier band and blue checkboards), unless I've missed something?

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This will be interesting, Ian, especially as I have the old Contrail 3-in-1 vacform waiting for its turn, almost certainly starting with a Mk III. I have the SAM issue with the useful vacform kit Mk 3 build article and Peter Green plans, but I'm sceptical about their accuracy. I understand that the rear of the aft outer struts latched into the leading edges of the tailplanes when the wings were folded, but an arc drawn from the aft strut using the aft end of the wing break / fold line as the pivot point falls well short of the tailplane making this impossible if the plans are accurate. How do they compare with the Whalley and Bishop plans?

Jon

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3 hours ago, iang said:

Thanks.

 

Aviation News plans by John Bishop. Not sure of the date of these as I only kept the plans

Model Aircraft Monthly plans by Len Whalley April 2008

Scale Aircraft Modelling plans by Peter Green  March 2000 (also includes a 1/72 scale build of S1307 as a floatplane)

 

Iang, thank you very much!  That is tremendously helpful.  I'll enjoy hunting them down. 🙏

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9 hours ago, Jonners said:

This will be interesting, Ian, especially as I have the old Contrail 3-in-1 vacform waiting for its turn, almost certainly starting with a Mk III. I have the SAM issue with the useful vacform kit Mk 3 build article and Peter Green plans, but I'm sceptical about their accuracy. I understand that the rear of the aft outer struts latched into the leading edges of the tailplanes when the wings were folded, but an arc drawn from the aft strut using the aft end of the wing break / fold line as the pivot point falls well short of the tailplane making this impossible if the plans are accurate. How do they compare with the Whalley and Bishop plans?

Jon

 

I'll take a look at the three sets tomorrow.

 

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The Fairey high speed mount needed to be scratch built. The mount itself is attached to the final rear cockpit frame with two longitudinal perforated fixtures, which are unlike those used on the later Swordfish, as this schematic shows:

 

Lewis gun stowage copy

 

The mount from the Trumpeter Swordfish is slightly too big, so I built one from brass, which still needs a little cleaning up in this photo. The fixing structure also needs a couple more perforations.

 

IMG_5684

 

 

This assembly will need to be removable and fitted after the fuselage has been detailed and painted.  In this photo the interior of the fuselage has been painted dark pink (mixture of hull red and Light Aircraft Grey) for the fabric sections and dark grey for the metal coming and forward fuselage. I've seen this colour referred to as "Battleship Grey", but chose Extra Dark Sea Grey instead. In truth not much of the interior paintwork can be seen.

IMG_5671

 

This photo also shows the rear fuselage after all the striations have been sanded off. I've also started to add detail back on. I'm not sure about the surrounds to the elevator control wire exit points, but the stitching joints between metal and fabric on the left look fine as a test application. This is Aviattic fabric stitching and there is a lot to apply to the rear fuselage.

 

IMG_5682

 

Hopefully this will all go on tomorrow.

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14 hours ago, iang said:

 

I'll take a look at the three sets tomorrow.

 

I've drawn an arc from the outer strut  on all three plans (using the wingfold to strut distance as the tangent). None intersect the tailplane.

 

First the Green plans:

IMG_5691

 

Bishop plans

IMG_5693

Whalley plans:

 

IMG_5692

 

The Bishop and Whalley plans produce an arc closest to the tail plane, but none of the three produce an arc that intersects.  The only photo of a IIIF with wings folded I can find is on p.53 of the Jarrett book. There is a gap between the aft strut and wing leading edge which might indicate that the Bishop and Whalley plans are OK- it is difficult to tell from the angle of the photo. However, I agree that the Green plans do not seem consistent with the Jarrett photo. 

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The subject of Fairey IIIF plans and drawings is vexed

The plans in the Jarrett book are of the prototype

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the Whalley or Green drawings

I can alert you to the that fact that John (Aeroclub Models) Adams was working on a set of detailed drawings for this type

see https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234934659-fairey-iiif-research/  Based on my exchanges with John I can say that the wing-fold of the IIIF actually engaged with a locking mechanism on the tail-planes  - John had a photo he used to determine the exact geometry of the fold back

 

The other principal area that was occupying him was the precise shape of the nose enclosing the Napier Lion - Looks simple, but when you place an accurate  scale drawing of a Lion engine in its correct position as an overlay on a set of plans you'll see what was occupying John

As to the absence of reliable Fairey scale drawings  - According to John's researches, most of Fairey's draftsman's records were just thrown out when the company was sold/ went defunct

Sadly, unlike the IIID which lives in Portugal,  there are no known surviving airframes of the IIIF /M- which is a bit surprising since it was one of the FAA's principal and most numerous types during the interwar years and one of Fairey's most successful designs

If you can track down John he might be willing to share his drawings with you

Good luck with your project - It's a major type which is seriously under-represented in model form in any scale

David

 

Edited by davidl
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3 hours ago, davidl said:

The subject of Fairey IIIF plans and drawings is vexed

The plans in the Jarrett book are of the prototype

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the Whalley or Green drawings

I can alert you to the that fact that John (Aeroclub Models) Adams was working on a set of detailed drawings for this type

see https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234934659-fairey-iiif-research/  Based on my exchanges with John I can say that the wing-fold of the IIIF actually engaged with a locking mechanism on the tail-planes  - John had a photo he used to determine the exact geometry of the fold back

 

The other principal area that was occupying him was the precise shape of the nose enclosing the Napier Lion - Looks simple, but when you place an accurate  scale drawing of a Lion engine in its correct position as an overlay on a set of plans you'll see what was occupying John

As to the absence of reliable Fairey scale drawings  - According to John's researches, most of Fairey's draftsman's records were just thrown out when the company was sold/ went defunct

Sadly, unlike the IIID which lives in Portugal,  there are no known surviving airframes of the IIIF /M- which is a bit surprising since it was one of the FAA's principal and most numerous types during the interwar years and one of Fairey's most successful designs

If you can track down John he might be willing to share his drawings with you

Good luck with your project - It's a major type which is seriously under-represented in model form in any scale

David

 

Thanks for this David. I'll contact John. I was wondering whether the folded wings were locked to the tailplane in a similar fashion to the Swordfish. If so, a small gap between the  outer struts and the tailplane leading edge could be consistent with a Swordfish type locking mechanism.

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Hi Ian

That general arrangement and Swordfish type of locking mechanism at the tail plane is pretty much what John outlined to me - Apparently getting the hinge angle correct is critical in order to allow the wing tip to engage with the tail plane catch/ lock.

David

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Interesting stuff guys!

I have this kit in 1/32 as well Ian.  I will follow along closely and take notes as I really love the IIIf on floats.  This is one kit I really want to do nicely.  Thanks for paving the way forward for me!

 

Awesome work so far

 

Cheers Anthony

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No work on the exterior for the last few days as I decided to finish the interior before tackling the exterior. The lack of clear photographs is a issue here. However, I braced the rear bays with stainless steel  flat wire and painted the wires black. In the photo below, I also added  the bomb aiming hatch for the observer,  made a canvas cover (from rolled wine bottle top and painted green with brown photo-etch straps), added rudder bars and tailplane adjustment controls (either side of the pilot's seat) on a tubular structure in bay 3 (the pilot's cockpit).

 

IMG_5743

 

The kit pilot seat I replaced with one made from photo-etch and painted it aluminium with a rattle can. I made two leather back cushions - one from Green stuff and the other from Milliput. I've since discovered that the back cushion should be full length, so will use the Milliput version, which still needs some clean up before painting: 

 

IMG_5744

 

 

And loose fitted:

 

IMG_5750

 

Moving on to the folding seat for the Observer, I scratched this from plastic card, along with cushions and supporting tubular structure and working hinge (which still needs to be cut to length in the photo). It located in pre-drilled holes in the uprights:

 

IMG_5747

 

 

It is located on the port side in bay 4, immediately behind the pilot's seat bulkhead. And this  presents a problem. On this bulkhead the controls for the elevators are located. I've fitted these in this photo, but the port elevator control will foul the folding seat operation:

 

IMG_5695

IMG_5753

 

 

 

I'm still puzzling how to resolve this. At this stage I really wish I'd scratch-built the entire cockpit in tubular form from soldered rod.

 

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On 10/1/2022 at 11:28 AM, iang said:

Thanks for this David. I'll contact John. I was wondering whether the folded wings were locked to the tailplane in a similar fashion to the Swordfish. If so, a small gap between the  outer struts and the tailplane leading edge could be consistent with a Swordfish type locking mechanism.

Two years ago I did some research into Fairey IIIF dimensions, you may find it useful. Unfortunately, no drawings are to be trusted, I am afraid.

 

Edited by Patrik
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13 hours ago, Patrik said:

Two years ago I did some research into Fairey IIIF dimensions, you may find it useful. Unfortunately, no drawings are to be trusted, I am afraid.

 

Patrik, that is a very helpful thread. Thanks. I see that Ben rescaled the fuselage length on the 1/32 version. 

I am surprised that the details of this aeroplane, which was an important type equipping every Royal Navy aircraft carrier in the 1930s, are so opaque. When I started building the @wellsprop kit (which I'm very satisfied with and delighted that Ben made it available in 1/32), I had no idea that detailing it would require so much guesswork. The outcome on the interior is going to be a mixture of fact and fiction I'm sure. 

 

 

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Guesswork is definitely correct! 

 

Unfortunately, despite having some drawings, the Jarrett book and various articles, technical manuals and military APs - there just isn't much definitive information. 

 

Combined with this being the first CAD modelled and 3D printed kit I ever made... Fair to say it provides the modeller with a challenge, and this WiP is showcasing some fantastic modelling! 

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I am very pleased with the 48th rendition and concur with the others, for such an important aircraft very difficult to find good references. I am definitely pleased to see the gun arrangement as that had eluded me. Keep up the good work iang.

 

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

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I've resolved the conflict between observer's folding seat and the port elevator control wheel (by reducing their size and relocating lower on the frame). My next problem is the seat for the TAG. I can find no photo of this, nor any indication of where exactly it is positioned. I've found  evidence that one was fitted to the 3-seaters from a US Aircraft Circular on the IIIF, which states:

 

“With the three-seater, the rear gun mounting

is situated in the same position, but the cockpit hooding

is open farther aft, and an additional seat is provided for the

wireless operator, who remains between the gunner and the pilot,

whereas with the two-seater, the rear cockpit opening accommodates

the gunner and the gun mounting alone, and a seat for the

gunner only is fitted.”

 

Any ideas?   Looking at the Swordfish, the seat for the TAG is a small bucket type on the starboard side. So in the absence of direct evidence I will go with something like the Swordfish arrangement.

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