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RAN WESSEX HAS31B


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Hi - I decided that never having built a helicopter kit I would remedy that by pulling the Italeri 1/48 WESSEX HAS1 out of my stash.

I had a search on Britmodeller and found several builds of 1/72 & 1/48 kits as RAN HAS31's so that firmed up my decision to make the kit as a RAN HAS 31B. I took the photos below in the late 80's at Cooma Airport NSW when two Wessex were on exercise transporting soldiers from the airport to various spots in the local countryside.

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Some good RAN Wessex walkarounds here http://www.grubby-fingers-aircraft-illustration.com/wessex_walkaround.html - just follow link HELICOPTERS>WESTLAND for three different aircraft.

I'm not sure if the HAS31A was purely in an antisubmarine role & the 31B utility as in the photo but I leaned toward modelling it in the utility role - maybe someone could clarify on that?

So armed with the 4PLUS book and referring to the Grubby Fingers Wessex walkarounds I took the plunge.

I also found references on BM in the various builds on here including some with useful photos from Navy870 with of things like the main rotor fold jig in place on the aircraft.

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When I opened the box, I found that I had luckily purchased a Scale Warship Rotor Fold etch & a Rotor Craft folded tail rotor resin upgrade for the kit - other purchases lurking at the bottom of the box were two Wessex HAS31 decal sheets & a Scale Warship Helicopter Deck Grill & tiedowns.

Sooo I plan to make the Wessex all folded up with the cabin door open & I wanted to make the cabin interior detailed - the kit does not have the "dog box" on the Beetleback fairing for this version so whether the build would go ahead depended on whether I could scratch build a passable "dog box"

I started by making a mould for the dog box from a piece of pine & then vacuformed it from some 40thou plastic sheet - I then had to carve a recess in the beetle back to accept the shape of the dog box fairing & remake some of the beetleback fins I had been a bit heavy handed with.

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I decided the fairing was good enough to keep going & would largely be tucked in behind the folded rotor blades, so I turned my attention to the cabin interior. 

I made use of the RP Tools strip cutter which was very handy when you need to cut several strips the same length.

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I decided to make the cabin interior framework more prominent by overlaying the frames in the kit with Evergreen 20thou square strip.

 

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Various gussets & boxes were represented by its of Evergreen plastic, pipes with fine lead wire & electrical cables from electrical wiring with insulation stripped off & teased out into bundles

At this point after studying the RAN Wessex walkarounds I noted that the cabin roof extended only about halfway along the cabin and from there back the curved roof structure of the airframe is visible so I decided to try & incorporate this feature. I wrapped a piece of 40thou sheet around a metal tube with copper wire to hold it in place & plunged it into a cup of boiling water - after a few minutes it had taken up the curve I needed. Next step was to shape it to fit the rear cabin - photo below shows it glued in & frames added - the square of white plastic is there temporarily to help align it.

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The cabin roof part was cut so that it stopped between the two port windows & then the quilting was sanded back & filled with Vallejo putty followed by sanding.

The forward bulkhead was detailed with plastic card & wire to make it look a bit more like the walkaround photos - I note the fire extinguisher should sit in a recess & I may or may not fix that - a piece of 5mm plastic tube was filed flat one side, cut to fit into the framework & added to the rear cabin roof to represent the tail rotor shaft housing.

The fuselage halves were masked along the mating surfaces prior to painting of the cabin interior.

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Having done all that the following shows the glimpses of the interior when closed up temporarily.

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I'm still thinking about the "troop seating"? that fits along the cabin wall but just noticed that the new Airfix Sea King has them on the sprues for one of the kit versions - the other option is to scratch build them.

Thats it for now!

CJP

Edited by CJP
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Wow, great start,  Neat work on the cabin interior and you vac 'Camels Hump'. It's on my list of Wessex build, once I have finished my three HU Mk5 builds (see Green Parrot, elsewhere in the WIPS). FIY, the spherical gas containers in the nose are the came as the Cool Gas generator s on the u/c.

 

Good luck

 

Colin the Wessex nut.

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11 minutes ago, heloman1 said:

Wow, great start,  Neat work on the cabin interior and you vac 'Camels Hump'. It's on my list of Wessex build, once I have finished my three HU Mk5 builds (see Green Parrot, elsewhere in the WIPS). FIY, the spherical gas containers in the nose are the came as the Cool Gas generator s on the u/c.

 

Good luck

 

Colin the Wessex nut.

Thanks Colin - yes, I am already following your Green Parrot build so any more tips like above appreciated.

Chris

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The Wessex HAS31 was an ASW helo with 817 and 725 squadrons . They were updated to HAS31B and served until replaced by the Sea King . They were used in the utility role by removing all the ASW equipment. The seating remained as the asw fit. The SAR Flight aircraft had a bench seat across the back of the cabin. In the early 80s the cabin was fitted with troop seating and plywood floor panels. For Op Bursa extra comms were fitted which resulted in more antennas be fitted.

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6 minutes ago, JOHN ELLIS said:

The Wessex HAS31 was an ASW helo with 817 and 725 squadrons . They were updated to HAS31B and served until replaced by the Sea King . They were used in the utility role by removing all the ASW equipment. The seating remained as the asw fit. The SAR Flight aircraft had a bench seat across the back of the cabin. In the early 80s the cabin was fitted with troop seating and plywood floor panels. For Op Bursa extra comms were fitted which resulted in more antennas be fitted.

Thanks John that really helps narrow down where I am going with this Wessex - I'm thinking I will place it in the era where the ASW equipment was removed and they were used in the utility role prior to the troop seating era - all I need to find out is what the ASW seating was - I am waiting for a book the Gregorys Westland Wessex Owners Manual which I'm hoping will a good source of information on all marks.

Chris

Edited by CJP
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Neat work Chris. To me the hoist/winch seem undersize. Hendie who hangs around here has made some great replacement parts 3D printed.

 

Colin

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10 hours ago, heloman1 said:

Neat work Chris. To me the hoist/winch seem undersize. Hendie who hangs around here has made some great replacement parts 3D printed.

 

Colin

Ok Colin I've noted that - I have seen Hendie's resin Wessex parts & been wondering if I need his rotor head & MRGB set! 

 

Chris

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5 minutes ago, CJP said:

Ok Colin I've noted that - I have seen Hendie's resin Wessex parts & been wondering if I need his rotor head & MGRB set! 

 

Chris

In a word. Yes and the hoist.

 

 

They're uber impressive 

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7 minutes ago, perdu said:

In a word. Yes and the hoist.

 

 

They're uber impressive 

Ok I will definitely look into it & cost of getting it here- thanks!

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that's some remarkable scratch building there CJP. This is going to be a build to follow.

I love the effect you've managed with the ribs and stringers.  I'm going to pull up a chaise lounge if you don't mind.

 

 

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8 hours ago, JOHN ELLIS said:

I forgot to mention. The hole for the sonar was not covered over on the underside of the fuselage. In the cabin the hole was covered by a floor panel.  

Thanks again John - that was something I was wondering about.

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4 hours ago, hendie said:

that's some remarkable scratch building there CJP. This is going to be a build to follow.

I love the effect you've managed with the ribs and stringers.  I'm going to pull up a chaise lounge if you don't mind.

 

 

Thanks Hendie, I enjoyed scratch building the interior and have been nudged by @Heloman1 & @Perdu towards getting your MRGB/rotor head set to improve on the kit parts so is a PM the best way to contact you?

 

Chris

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14 hours ago, CJP said:

 

19 hours ago, CJP said:

H still thinking about the "troop seating"? that fits along the cabin wall but just noticed that the new Airfix Sea King has them on the sprues for one of the kit versions - the other option is to scratch build them.

 

The airfix seaking crew seats are very nice but having seen your excellent scratch building on the Wessex I would suggest that you could create better crew seats from scratch.

 

Absolutely love what you have done with the Wessex so far.

 

Will continue to watch this build with interest.

Edited by AlxBNE
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3 hours ago, AlxBNE said:

The airfix seaking crew seats are very nice but having seen your excellent scratch building on the Wessex I would suggest that you could create better crew seats from scratch.

 

Absolutely love what you have done with the Wessex so far.

 

Will continue to watch this build with interest.

Thanks Alex - I probably will take up your advice & scratch build the seats if needed - all depends on the era I model, @john ellis advised above that one configuration was when they removed all of the ASW gear but retained the ASW seating arrangement when in the utility role.

Chris 

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The ASW seating that John's refering to is the bench seat over the auto hover stab boxes at the front left hand side of the cabin.

 

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2 hours ago, NAVY870 said:

The ASW seating that John's refering to is the bench seat over the auto hover stab boxes at the front left hand side of the cabin.

 

Thanks Navy870 - Is this the bench you referred to? - can you advise what the cabinet on right hand side & metal box on top are? - image from HMAS Albatross RAN museum Wessex.

WESTLAND-Wessex-Walkaround-N7-226-Nowra-

Chris

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Steve . The seats I was referring to were further back next to the forward window. They were side by side on the left side of the cabin leaving room on the right to get past them.  They were the original seats used by the observers. They were there when I joined 723 in 1980 but replaced soon after with the troop seats.

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1 hour ago, perdu said:

Steve its probable that John is referring to the two seats shown here on one of my old builds

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It sounds as if these are they.

I still don't have this seating business 100% sorted in my head but @perdu that is amazing detail you have done with the ASW operators positions.

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