I basically just used Testors S4 UFO model as a basis. Added a bunch of lights. Removed the top, cut a hole placed a garden scene inside, put on a magnifying lens and there you have it.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
At the time that the Mk V was placed in production there were growing fears that the Luftwaffe were about to start mass-producing very high flying bombers such as the Junkers Ju 86, which could fly above the reach of most fighters of the time. It was decided that a new Spitfire variant would be required with improved high altitude performance. During a meeting held at the RAE at Farnborough on 17 February 1941 the Air Ministry asked "that a Spitfire should be provided with a pressure cabin capable of maintaining a pressure differential of 1 lb per square inch at 40,000 feet." A Marshall-manufactured compressor was to be used, and it was agreed that the sliding canopy could be replaced by one which could not be slid open, as long as it could be jettisoned by the pilot.
The pressurised cabin was used to counter the physiological problems encountered by pilots at high altitudes. The cabin was not like the fully pressurised cabin of a modern airliner; the pressure differential provided by the modified cockpit of the VI was only two pounds per square inch (which was double the Air Ministry requirement). To achieve this, the forward and rear cockpit bulkheads were completely enclosed, with all control and electrical cables exiting though special rubber sealing grommets. In addition, the side cockpit door was replaced with alloy skin and the canopy was no longer a sliding unit: externally there were no slide rails. Once the pilot was in, the canopy was locked in place with four toggles and sealed with an inflatable rubber tube. It could be jettisoned by the pilot in an emergency. The windscreen of production Mk VIs was the same as the type fitted to the Mark III and some Mk Vs although it was fitted with an inward opening clear-view panel on the port quarter pane. The effect was to make 37,000 ft (11,000 m) seem like 28,000 ft (8,500 m) to the pilot, who would still have to wear an oxygen mask. Pressurisation was achieved by a Marshall-manufactured compressor located on the starboard side of the engine, fed by a long intake below the starboard exhaust stubs. Mk VIs were built with the Coffman cartridge starter, with a small teardrop fairing just ahead of the compressor intake.
The engine was a Rolls-Royce Merlin 47 driving a four-bladed Rotol propeller of 10 ft 9 in (3.27 m) diameter; the new propeller provided increased power at high altitudes, where the atmosphere is much thinner. To help smooth out airflow around the wingtips the standard rounded types were replaced by extended, pointed versions extending the wingspan to 40 ft 2 in (12.2 m). Otherwise the wings were Type B.
The maximum speed of the Mk VI was 356 mph (573 km/h) at 21,800 ft (6,600 m). However, because of the limitations of the single stage supercharger, at 38,000 ft (12,000 m) the maximum speed had fallen away to 264 mph (425 km/h). The service ceiling was 39,200 ft (11,900 m).
The threat of a sustained high altitude campaign by the Luftwaffe did not materialise and only 100 of the Mk VIs were built by Supermarine. Only two units, 124 Squadron and 616 Squadron, were fully equipped with this version, although several other units used them in small numbers as a stop-gap. More often than not, the Spitfire VIs were used at lower altitudes where it was outperformed by conventional Spitfires. At high altitudes it was discovered that modified Spitfire Vs could perform almost as well as the Mk VI. At low levels, especially, pilots were often forced to fly with the canopy removed because the cockpit would get uncomfortably hot and they were not confident it would be possible to jettison the canopy in case of an emergency.
In 1943 five Spitfire VIs (BS106, BS124, BS133, BS134 and BS149) were converted to improvised PR Mk VIs by 680 Squadron in Egypt. These aircraft had been "tropicalised" using the same bulky Vokes filter and other equipment used by Spitfire VB Trops, as well as being painted in a "desert" camouflage scheme.
By the time these aircraft arrived they were no longer required to intercept high-flying Junkers Ju 86P reconnaissance aircraft although there was a need for a pressurised RAF photo reconnaissance aircraft to carry out missions over Crete and the rest of Greece. 103 MU at Aboukir carried out the modifications by removing the armament and installing vertical F8 cameras in the rear fuselage. These Spitfires were used a few times in April and May 1943 but were withdrawn from service by August. They were the first pressurised PR Spitfires.
Friday, June 8, 2018
One often sees images of the Space Shuttle riding atop of a Boeing 747. So I wanted to see how the Orion III shuttle would look.
Though they are not the same scale I think they look pretty good together.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
The Nieuport 24 was a French sesquiplane fighter aircraft during World War I designed by Gustave Delage as a replacement for the successful Nieuport 17. In the event its performance was little better than the type it was meant to replace, which was largely superseded by the SPAD S.7 instead. Operational Nieuport 24s served with French, British and Russian units, and the type also served widely as an advanced trainer.
The Nieuport 24 introduced a new fuselage of improved aerodynamic form, rounded wingtips, and a tail unit incorporating a small fixed fin and a curved rudder. The tailskid was sprung internally and had a neater appearance than that on earlier Nieuports. A 130 hp Le Rhône rotary engine was fitted.
There were initial structural problems with the new tail, and most production aircraft of the type were of the Nieuport 24bis model, which retained the fuselage and wings of the 24, but reverted to the Nieuport 17 type tailplane, tailskid and rectangular balanced rudder. The new tail was finally standardised on the Nieuport 27.
A batch of Nieuport 24bis were built in England for the Royal Naval Air Service.
The standard armament of the Nieuport 17 (a synchronised Vickers in French service - a Lewis gun on a Foster mounting on the top wing in British service) was retained to save weight and retain a good performance, although many 24s were used as advanced trainers and normally flown without guns.
In the summer of 1917, when the Nieuport 24 and 24bis. were coming off the production line, most French fighter squadrons were replacing their Nieuport 17s with SPAD S.VIIs – and many of the new fighters went to fighter training schools, and to France’s allies, including the Russians, and the British, who used theirs well into 1918, due to a shortage of S.E.5as. A few French units retained the Nieuport through late 1917 – the type was actually preferred by some pilots, especially the famous Charles Nungesser.
Some of the large number of Nieuport advanced trainers bought by the Americans for their flying schools in France in November 1917 were 24s or 24bis.
Friday, June 1, 2018
The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to attain operational status and as such "introduced a new vogue in fighter design." The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter, nicknamed "Ishak" or "Ishachok" ("Donkey" or "Burro") by Soviet pilots, figured prominently in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the Spanish Civil War – where it was called the Rata ("Rat") by the Nationalists or Mosca ("Fly") by the Republicans. The Finnish nickname was Siipiorava ("Flying Squirrel").
While working on the Polikarpov I-15 biplane, Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov began designing an advanced monoplane fighter. It featured cutting-edge innovations such as retractable landing gear and a fully enclosed cockpit, and was optimized for speed with a short stubby fuselage (similar to the Gee Bee R-1) and a Wright R-1820 radial engine in a NACA cowling. The aircraft was small, light and simple to build.
Full-scale work on the TsKB-12 prototype began in June 1933, and the aircraft was accepted into production on 22 November 1933, a month before it took to the air. The TsKB-12 was of mixed construction, using a wooden monocoque fuselage and wings employing a KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar, dural ribs and D1 aluminum alloy skinning on the center and leading edges, with the remaining portions of the wings fabric covered. Another modern feature were the ailerons which ran along almost the entire trailing edge of the wing and also operated as flaps (in the manner of more modern flaperons) by drooping 15°. The cockpit was covered by a 40-centimetre-wide (16 in) canopy which featured an Aldis-type tubular gun sight which could slide back and forth on runners fitted with rubber bungee cords. A 225 l (59.4 US gal) fuel tank was fitted directly in front of the cockpit. The main landing gear was fully retractable by a hand crank. The armament consisted of a pair of 7.62×54mmR (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns in the wings, mounted on the outboard side of the main gear and 900 rounds of ammunition.
These features were proposed at first by Andrei Tupolev; however, the NII VVS was more concerned about the stresses a typical combat aircraft was subjected to in combat, and initially considered the risk too great. However, TsAGI, with the help of the 3rd Design Brigade under the leadership of Pavel Sukhoi and Aleksandr Putylov, eventually convinced NII VVS that what was being proposed was not only feasible, but would enhance the aircraft's performance.
The TsKB-12 was designed for the Wright Cyclone SR-1820-F-3 9-cylinder radial engine (rated at 529 kW/710 hp); a license to build this engine under the supervision of the Shvetsov design bureau in the Soviet Union was being negotiated. As the license was not yet approved, Polikarpov was asked to settle for the less powerful M-22 (Soviet-built version of the Gnome-Rhone Jupiter 9ASB, which itself was a licensed version of the Bristol Jupiter VI) with 358 kW (480 hp). This was deemed acceptable because the projected top speed still exceeded 300 km/h (185 mph).
The M-22-powered TsKB-12 first took to the air on 30 December 1933 with the famous Soviet test pilot Valery Chkalov at the controls. The second TsKB-12, with a Cyclone engine and three-bladed propeller, flew in January of the following year. Initial government trials in February 1934 revealed very good maneuverability, but the aircraft did not tolerate abrupt control inputs. Thus the TsKB-12 was deemed dangerous to fly and all aerobatics were forbidden. The M-22 version was preferred due to the vibration of the Cyclone-powered aircraft. Pilots commented early on about the difficulty of climbing into the cockpit, a trait that persisted through the I-16's service life. Before continuing test flights the designers had to answer the question of spin behavior. Wind tunnel testing suggested that the TsKB-12, with its short tail, would enter an unrecoverable flat spin, but real-life trials were necessary to confirm this. Since Cyclone engines were rare, it was decided to risk the M-22 prototype for this purpose. On March 1 and 2, 1934, Chkalov performed 75 spins and discovered that the aircraft had very benign stall behavior (dipping a wing and recovering without input from the pilot when airspeed increased) and intentional spins could be easily terminated by placing the controls in the neutral position. The stories of vicious spin behavior of the I-16 perpetuated in modern literature is unfounded (perhaps extrapolated from Gee Bee experience). In fact, the I-16's stablemate, the biplane Polikarpov I-153, exhibited much worse spin characteristics.
Service trials of the new fighter, designated I-16, began on 22 March 1934. The M-22 prototype reached 359 km/h (223 mph). The manually retracted landing gear was prone to jamming and required considerable strength from the pilot. Most of the test flights were performed with the gear extended. On 1 May 1934, the M-22 prototype participated in the flyover of Red Square. Approximately thirty I-16 Type 1 aircraft were delivered, but were not assigned to any VVS fighter squadron. Most pilots who flew the I-16 Type 1 for evaluation purposes did not find the aircraft to have many redeeming characteristics. Regardless of pilot opinion, much attention was focused on the Cyclone-powered aircraft and the M-25 (the license-built Cyclone). On 14 April 1934, the Cyclone prototype was damaged when one of the landing gear legs collapsed while it was taxiing.
The third prototype with a Cyclone engine incorporated a series of aerodynamic improvements and was delivered for government trials on 7 September 1934. The top speed of 437 km/h (270 mph) no longer satisfied the Air Force, who now wanted the experimental Nazarov M-58 engine and 470 km/h (290 mph). Subsequently, the M-22-powered version entered production at Factory 21 in Nizhny Novgorod and Factory 39 in Moscow. Because it was the fourth aircraft produced by these factories, it received the designation I-16 Type 4. Aircraft fitted with these new engines required a slightly changed airframe, including armor plating for the pilot and changes to the landing gear doors to allow for complete closure.
The M-25 fitted I-16, the I-16 Type 5, featured a new engine cowling which was slightly smaller in diameter and featured nine forward-facing shuttered openings to control cooling airflow, a redesigned exhaust with eight individual outlet stubs, and other changes. The M-25 was rated at 474 kW (635 hp) at sea level and 522 kW (700 hp) at 2,300 m (7,546 ft). Due to the poor quality of the canopy glazing, the I-16 Type 5 pilots typically left the canopy open or removed the rear portion completely. By the time the Type 5 arrived, it was the world's lightest production fighter (1,460 kg/3,219 lb), as well as the world's fastest, able to reach speeds of 454 km/h (282 mph) at altitude and 395 km/h (245 mph) at sea level. While the Type 5 could not perform the high-G maneuvers of other fighters, it possessed superior speed and climb rates, and had extremely responsive aileron control, which gave it a very good roll rate, which led to precision maneuvers in loops and split-Ss.
A total of 7,005 single-seat and 1,639 two-seat trainer variants were produced.
Initial service experience revealed that the ShKAS machine guns had a tendency to jam. This was the result of the guns being installed in the wings upside-down to facilitate the fit. The problem was addressed in later modifications. Evaluations from pilots confirmed the experience with prototypes. Controls were light and very sensitive, abrupt maneuvers resulted in spins, and spin behavior was excellent. An aileron roll could be performed in under 1.5 seconds (roll rate over 240 degrees/second). The machine guns were fired via a cable and the required effort, coupled with sensitive controls, made precision aiming difficult. The rear weight bias made the I-16 easy to handle on unprepared airfields because the aircraft was rather unlikely to flip over the nose even if the front wheels dug in.
The I-16 was a difficult fighter to fly. The pilots had poor visibility, the canopy tended to become fouled with engine oil, and the moving portion was prone to slamming shut during hard maneuvers, which caused many pilots to fix it in the open position. The front section of the fuselage, with the engine, was too close to the centre of gravity, and the pilot's cockpit too far to the rear. The Polikarpov had insufficient longitudinal stability and it was impossible to fly the aircraft "hands off".
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Upon opening this kit I was quite surprised and a little disappointed as to how small the kit was.
That and the small number of parts, so what to do.
First I completely scratched out a new top made totally out of brass. Then I added a barrel to replace the simple box that came with the kit. I then added the chain and rings.
The display base was made from wooden ship spare parts I had.
It's a very small model but pretty.
Turtle (also called American Turtle) was the world's first submersible vessel with a documented record of use in combat. It was built in 1775 by American David Bushnell as a means of attaching explosive charges to ships in a harbor, for use against British Royal Navy vessels occupying North American harbors during the American Revolutionary War. Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull recommended the invention to George Washington, who provided funds and support for the development and testing of the machine.
Several attempts were made using Turtle to affix explosives to the undersides of British warships in New York Harbor in 1776. All failed, and her transport ship was sunk later that year by the British with the submarine aboard. Bushnell claimed eventually to have recovered the machine, but its final fate is unknown. Modern replicas of Turtle have been constructed and are on display in the Connecticut River Museum, the U.S. Navy's Submarine Force Library and Museum, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, and the Oceanographic Museum (Monaco).
The American inventor David Bushnell conceived of the idea of a submersible for use in lifting the British naval blockade during the American War of Independence. Bushnell may have begun studying underwater explosions while at Yale College. By early 1775, he had created a reliable method for detonating underwater explosives, a clockwork connected to a musket firing mechanism, probably a flintlock, adapted for the purpose.
After the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, Bushnell began work near Old Saybrook on a small, individually-manned submersible designed to attach an explosive charge to the hull of an enemy ship, which, he wrote Benjamin Franklin, would be, “Constructed with Great Simplicity and upon Principles of Natural Philosophy.”
Little is known about the origin, inspiration, and influences for Bushnell’s invention. It seems clear Bushnell knew of the work of the Dutch inventor Cornelius Drebbel.
According to Dr. Benjamin Gale, a doctor who taught at Yale, the many brass and mechanical (moving) parts of the submarine were built by the New Haven clock-maker, engraver, silversmith, brass manufacturer and inventor Isaac Doolittle, whose shop was just a half block from Yale. Though Bushnell is given the overall design credit for the Turtle by Gale and others, Doolittle was well known as an "ingenious mechanic" (i.e. an engineer), engraver, and metalworker. He had both designed and manufactured complicated brass-wheel hall-clocks, a mahogany printing-press in 1769 (the first made in America, after Doolittle successfully duplicated the iron screw), brass compasses, and surveying instruments. He also founded and owned a brass foundry where he cast bells. At the start of the American Revolution, the wealthy and patriotic Doolittle built a gunpowder mill with two partners in New Haven to support the war, and was sent by the Connecticut government to prospect for lead.
Though the design of the Turtle was necessarily shrouded in secrecy, based on his mechanical engineering expertise and previous experience in design and manufacturing, it seems Doolittle designed and crafted (and probably funded) the brass and the moving parts of the Turtle, including the propulsion system, the navigation instruments, the brass foot operated water-ballast and forcing pumps, the depth gauge and compass, the brass crown hatch, the clockwork detonator for the mine, and the hand operated propeller crank and foot-driven treadle with flywheel. According to a letter from Benjamin Gale to Benjamin Franklin, Doolittle also designed the mine attachment mechanism, "those Parts which Conveys the Powder, and secures the same to the Bottom of the Ship". The most historically important innovation in the Turtle was the propeller, as it was the first known use of one in a watercraft: it was described as an "oar for rowing forward or backward", with "no precedent" design. As it was probably brass, it was thus likely forged if not designed by Doolittle. Doolittle also likely provided the scarce commodities of gunpowder and lead ballast as well. The wealthy Doolittle, nearly 20 years older than the Yale student Bushnell, was a founder and long time Warden of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green,, and was in charge of New Haven's port inspection and beacon-alarm systems – suggesting that Doolittle provided much of the political and financial leadership in building the Turtle as well as its brass and moving parts.
In making the hull, Bushnell enlisted the services of several skilled artisans, including his brother the farmer Ezra Bushnell and ship's carpenter Phineas Pratt, both, like David Bushnell, from Saybrook.. The hull was “constructed of oak, somewhat like a barrel and bound by heavy wrought-iron hoops.” The shape of the hull, Gale informed Silas Deane, “has the nearest resemblance to the two upper shells of a Tortoise joined together.”
Bushnell's basic design included some elements present in earlier experimental submersibles. The method of raising and lowering the vessel was similar to that developed by Nathaniel Simons in 1729, and the gaskets used to make watertight connections around the connections between the internal and external controls also may have come from Simons, who constructed a submersible based on a 17th-century Italian design by Giovanni Alfonso Borelli.
Sunday, May 13, 2018
This aircraft served with 99 Sqn October 1918.
The Airco DH.9A was a British single-engined light bomber designed and first used shortly before the end of the First World War. It was a development of the unsuccessful Airco DH.9 bomber, featuring a strengthened structure and, crucially, replacing the under-powered and unreliable inline 6-cylinder Siddeley Puma engine of the DH.9 with the American V-12 Liberty engine.
Colloquially known as the "Ninak" (from the phonetic alphabet treatment of designation "nine-A"), it served on in large numbers for the Royal Air Force following the end of the war, both at home and overseas, where it was used for colonial policing in the Middle East, finally being retired in 1931. Over 2,400 examples of an unlicensed version, the Polikarpov R-1, were built in the Soviet Union, the type serving as the standard Soviet light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft through the 1920s.
The DH.9A was planned as an improved version of the existing Airco DH.9. The DH.9 was a disappointment owing to its under-performing and unreliable engines, and the DH.9A was to use a more powerful engine to resolve this. As the Rolls-Royce Eagle engine used in the successful DH.4 was unavailable in sufficient quantities, the new 400 hp (298 kW) American Liberty engine was chosen instead.
As Airco was busy developing the Airco DH.10 twin-engined bomber, detailed design was carried out by Westland Aircraft. The DH.9 was fitted with new, longer-span wings and a strengthened fuselage structure.
The first prototype flew in March 1918, powered by a Rolls-Royce Eagle as no Liberty engines were yet available. The prototype proved successful, with the first Liberty-engined DH.9A flying on 19 April 1918, and deliveries to the Royal Air Force starting in June. By the end of the war, a total of 2,250 DH.9As had been ordered, with 885 being built by the end of the year. As it was decided that the DH.9A would be a standard type in the postwar RAF, the majority of outstanding orders were fulfilled, with 1,730 being built under the wartime contracts before production ceased in 1919.
While the existing aircraft were subject to a programme of refurbishment, a number of small contracts were placed for new production of DH.9As in 1925–26. These contracts resulted in a further 268 DH.9As being built. The new production and refurbished aircraft included batches of dual control trainers, as well as six aircraft powered by 465 hp Napier Lion engines, which were capable of a maximum speed of 144 mph.
The Soviet Union built large numbers of an unlicensed copy of the DH.9A, the R-1. After the production of 20 DH.4 copies, followed by about 200 copies of the DH.9 powered by the Mercedes D.IV engine (also designated R-1) and a further 130 powered by the Siddeley Puma (designated R-2), a copy of the DH.9A powered by the M-5 engine, a Soviet copy of the DH.9A's Liberty, entered production in 1924.
US version and pressurised flightsThe United States also planned to adopt the DH.9A as a replacement for the DH.4. Development work on the Americanization of the aircraft commenced at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. Modifications included a new fuel system with increased fuel capacity, revised wings and tail surfaces, and replacement of the Vickers machine gun on the port side of the British built aircraft with a Browning machine gun on the starboard side. Plans called for Curtiss to build 4,000 modified aircraft, designated USD-9A. This order was cancelled with the end of the war and only nine were built by McCook Field and Dayton-Wright. One McCook aircraft was additionally modified with an enclosed, pressurised cockpit. In 1921, test pilot Lt. Harold R. Harris made the world's first high-altitude flight in a pressurised aircraft in the USD-9A at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.
First World WarThe DH.9A entered service in July 1918 with No. 110 Squadron RAF, moving to France on 31 August 1918 to serve with the RAF's Independent Air Force on strategic bombing missions. Its first mission was against a German airfield on 14 September 1918. A further three squadrons commenced operations over the Western Front before the Armistice, with 99 Squadron (also serving with the Independent Air Force) replacing DH.9s, while 18 Squadron and 216 Squadron replaced DH.4s. Despite the superior performance of the DH.9A over the DH.9, the DH.9A squadrons suffered high losses during their long range bombing missions over Germany. Other squadrons flew coastal patrols from Great Yarmouth before the end of the year.
The United States Marine Corps Northern Bombing Group received at least 53 DH-9As, and commenced operations in September 1918.
Interwar RAF serviceWhile the squadrons in service at the end of the First World War quickly disbanded or re-equipped in the postwar dis-armament, the DH.9A continued in service as the RAF's standard light bomber, with 24 squadrons being equipped between 1920 and 1931, both at home and abroad.
The first post war operations were in southern Russia in 1919, in support of the "White Army" against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. In September 1919, the RAF personnel were ordered to return home, leaving their aircraft behind. A squadron of DH.9As was deployed to Turkey in response to the Chanak Crisis in 1922, but did not engage in combat.
The DH.9A was one of the key weapons used by Britain to manage the territories that were in its control following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following the Great War. Five squadrons of DH.9As served in the Middle East, occasionally carrying out bombing raids against rebellious tribesmen and villages. An additional radiator was fitted under the fuselage to cope with the high temperatures, while additional water containers and spares (including spare wheels lashed to the fuselage) were carried in case the aircraft were forced down in the desert, the DH.9A's struggling under ever heavier loads. Despite this the aircraft served successfully, with the Liberty engine being picked out for particular praise for its reliability ("as good as any Rolls Royce") in such harsh conditions. Some DH.9A aircraft were also transported to India to supplement the British Indian Army.
At home, the DH.9A continued on in regular RAF service until 1930, also forming the initial equipment of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF).